Grading and excavation are popular keywords among the most popular jargon in the construction industry. These processes are integral steps of commercial or residential projects. They build the foundation for any building site and ensure structural integrity to prevent premature wear and tear or collapse.

Grading & excavation contractors use these equally important but dissimilar techniques for different purposes at different phases of a construction project.

Therefore, learning the more intricate details about these processes, especially their differences, can help you determine the type of services you need for your project.

What is Excavation?

Excavation is the process of trenching, digging, dredging, and removing debris from a construction site to prepare a strong and stable surface before other processes can begin. The process can be as simple as digging a hole right away or as complicated as removing tree stumps, construction waste, and boulders as well. Contractors employ specialized excavation equipment for the job, including bulldozers, excavators, tractors, and more.

The debris is collected and stored in dirt piles that are hauled away by dump trucks. Excavating can be used for a wide range of applications, including:

  • Landscaping
  • Debris or waste removal
  • Building a swimming pool or underground facility
  • Building a residential or commercial property
  • Building a parking lot
  • Pipeline installation
  • Gravel road construction, etc.

What is Grading?

In contrast, land grading is a surface-leveling engineering process done by pushing soil around a construction site as per its specifications to reduce any holes and bumps on the ground, leaving behind a smooth surface. The process is also used to protect heavy machinery used on the site from damage from incidents caused by steep  slopes.

Contractors grade the job site after the excavation process using specialized  equipment, such as bobcats, blades, tractors, scrapers, and motor graders. Just like excavation, grading can be done for different purposes, including (but not limited to):

  • Drainage line installation
  • Land reconfiguration
  • Surface debris removal (finish grading)
  • Erosion control
  • Sloping (rough grading)

The Differences Between Grading and Excavating

While both grading and excavation involve the use of heavy machinery and complex engineering skills, several differences separate these two processes. For starters, excavating services work during the initial stages of a project to establish a new foundation after acquiring the necessary permits.

Meanwhile, grading is done in the latter stages to remove excess dirt, fix drainage issues, or expand the surface area of a site. Secondly, grading contractors are responsible for ensuring the area looks aesthetically pleasing. In contrast, an excavating project focuses solely on the safe removal of unwanted earth materials and is usually part of a larger project.

Thirdly, grading and excavating employ different machinery and require different types of engineering and construction expertise, even though both projects essentially involve working with large chunks of soil.

An Overview of a Typical Grading and Excavation Project

To better explain how both these processes work, below is an overview of a standard road construction project in three steps:

1.      Land Clearing & Site Preparation

A typical road construction project begins by procuring the required resources (labor, equipment, etc.) along with completing the necessary paperwork. Once everything is ready, contractors clear the project site of trees, old gravel, or other natural/man-made elements. Land clearing is a crucial step in the overall process as it prevents undergrowth and other issues that could affect the timeline or the project’s integrity.

2.      Excavation

Once the land is clear of any debris, the excavation team utilizes heavy equipment to move the debris and slope the land according to the road plan. Depending on the project scope, they may also excavate  for irrigation or utility lines.

3.      Grading

Once the excavation process is complete, the grading team mobilizes  its equipment to the site and commences the process of leveling, sloping, and debris removal. However, instead of digging holes and moving earth materials, the team shapes it according to the site plan.

Looking for Top-Notch Grading & Excavation Services in Illinois?

If you’re in the market for a grading & excavation contractor in Lakemoor, Libertyville, Crystal Lake, and other parts of Cook, McHenry, and Lake County, Illinois, look no further than Behm Enterprises, Inc.

With over 35 years of experience in the construction industry, you can rest assured we have the expertise, skills, resources, and equipment to handle any type of grading and excavation project, from planning to building site preparation, execution, and cleanup.

So, whether you’re looking for foundation repairs or new construction, contact our team right away by calling 815-344-0197.

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