Commercial construction grading is an extremely specialized part of the construction process. Ground preparation is critical to ensure that construction results are consistent with the architectural plan. Groundwater can cause structural problems and groundwater could lead to poor drainage.
It is important to properly plan and execute site grading. This includes everything from parking lots or small restaurants to high-rise office buildings.
What is Site Grading?
Before construction can begin, there must be some preparation. This includes land leveling and grading. Grading is the process of shaping the land to meet specific needs. Grading has the following goals:
- Give the property the aesthetics you desire
- Ensure proper drainage
- Respect zoning regulations and other requirements
- Set the maximum height and depth for cuts, fills, or swales
- Stormwater runoff, potential pollutants, and erosion can all be considered when protecting the environment
Construction Grading: Benefits
Not only is it important for the building, but also for nearby homes and other buildings.
Poor grading could lead to water runoff moving towards the building instead of being directed away. Hydrostatic pressure can cause structural damage if water builds up around or beneath the foundation.
Poor grading could also lead to water or pollutants being directed towards other properties. This can create liability for the owner or builder of the new facility. Erosion can also cause property damage.
Different types of Grading in Construction
What does “grading a lot” mean? There are many types of grading used in construction projects.
- Landscape Grading is required when a landscaping project, whether municipal or commercial, is underway. This may include topsoil removal to install irrigation systems, smoothing out areas for planting, or modifying slopes and elevations to improve drainage. Landscape grading can be described as the act of changing land areas to alter water runoff patterns and/or alter property elevations. It is essential to do the job right to ensure drainage and get the best results.
- Architectural Grading is the process of altering the land contours for a new home or housing development. It involves changing the landscape’s contours to allow drainage to be properly arranged, remove unwanted elevations and prepare foundation areas.
- Grading: This involves lowering or increasing the level of a particular land area. This could be a large area or a small project.
- Final Grade: For specific purposes, such as gravel roads or earthworks projects, grading includes the entire construction’s surface and cover, and not just the base. Finish grading is the final shaping of the area for planting, seeding, or sodding. It is used in landscaping projects. Final grading is the finishing touches to the grading project. This step removes large chunks of soil and rocks from the surface to create a smooth finish.
- Rough Grading: This is the process of setting the slope or leveling an area in order to make it suitable for landscaping projects, such as turf development or fixing drainage problems. This could include the addition, removal, or relocation of topsoil. This stage forms the ground to the desired shape and elevations. It also creates the soil composition and establishes the drainage flow.
- Final Grade: To complete the construction grading and prepare for final landscaping or seeding, it is necessary to finish the surface using a material that encourages growth. To complete the grading process, final grading involves the application of a screen or similar material to the surface.
How to get approvals for Construction Grading Projects
Many municipalities and regions require grading plans before construction can start. In addition, inspections are necessary to ensure that the grade of the work is passing.
Grading projects must be inspected before construction or landscaping can begin. This approval means that the elevations and drainage are consistent with the original grading plan.
Planning officials will need to evaluate site grading plans for several reasons.
- Lots size and coverage percentage – Many jurisdictions have minimum coverage requirements for buildings and other structures. This value provides reviewers with an instant reference point to help them determine if the requirement has been met.
- These statistics provide valuable information about how much material is needed to complete the cut and fill the job.
- Property lines, easements, and utility lines.
Methods and purposes of Grading
For a rough finish, grading is best done with modern heavy equipment like bulldozers and excavators. Graders can be used to achieve a smoother finish.
Engineers with experience understand the impact of land grading techniques on final results. This includes:
- Respecting the client’s expectations and needs
- Make sure you have the right drainage
- Respect all federal, state, local, and state requirements
- All environmental issues should be considered
A grading plan can seem overwhelming to anyone who first looks at it. Site grading plans provide a wealth of information about the current site condition and the proposed results. Examiners can then evaluate the plan and approve, deny, or make changes to it.
How do you read construction grading plans and elevations?
The interpretation and reading of grades elevations are easier if you follow professional excavation and grading standards.
Grading plans are a 3-dimensional representation of a site. They use contour lines to follow the elevations of the site. These lines are usually set with 2-foot elevation changes. A grading plan that has contour lines further apart indicates a gentle slope. Conversely, lines closer together will indicate a steeper slope.
The contour lines shown in dashes indicate the current contours of the site, while the solid lines or bold lines indicate proposed contours.
Another piece of information that is included in a grading program includes “spot elevations,” which indicate the relationship with mean sea level. This information can be crucial in certain areas. This is where existing and proposed values are represented with “x” to indicate existing values and “+”, for the proposed position.
Also, grading plans provide valuable information about trees, property lines, and proposed and existing drainage lines. Other information is also included that is crucial to the grading process, such as underground utilities that must be considered when grading.
What is the cost of a Construction Grading Program?
Both excavation and grade require heavy equipment and special skills. A licensed architect or certified civil engineer can create a complete grading plan.
Many municipalities and homeowner bylaws require that detailed grading plans be approved before any work begins, particularly for large projects or those with potential environmental impact.
Costs for construction grading plans will vary depending upon the lot size and scope. Other factors such as drainage requirements, neighboring properties, earth composition, and underground utilities could also play a role.
How to get started with a site-grading plan
A precise grading plan that maximizes the use of existing materials can save money on the actual grading process. It is possible to save money by using soil from an area to fill in other areas, instead of removing them. This allows for less material to move, which saves time and money.
Greenbar Excavation has been providing quality grading services to central Oregon for over ten years. We understand the importance of knowing your project. Greenbar Excavation is a fully licensed, insured, and accredited Excavation company based in Prineville, Oregon. Don’t look any further, go with the company with your best interest in mind! We offer a multitude of services which include:
- Septic pumping
- Drainage Services
- Landscape prep
- Site grading
- Foundation excavation
- Concrete/ prep finish
- Utility trenching
- Septic tank replacement
- Complete septic system replacement