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What are the Different Types of Excavation Work?

By Jessica Bosari
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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Various machines do excavation work for varying purposes. Excavation contractors may need to perform grading, trenching, digging, dredging or site development work. The type of equipment used to perform the excavation work will depend on the type of excavation done.

Most people are familiar with site-development excavation work. This involves digging a hole for the foundation of a house and grading the area around the home to ready the yard for landscaping. A hole is also needed when the homebuilder plans to install a swimming pool.

Backhoes are usually used for smaller site excavation work because of their versatility. Backhoes have a boom with a digging scoop at one end and a loader shovel attachment on the other end. Dump trucks are used to carry out the excavated material or place it elsewhere on the property to be graded later.

While the hole for the foundation is often dug with a backhoe, grading is often done with a front end loader. This machine has a loader that is larger than the attachment on a backhoe, making it able to grade large areas. Front end loaders are sometimes called bucket loaders, scoop loaders, or shovels.

Homeowners may also be familiar with fishing lakes, bodies of water used for pleasure fishing at a person’s home. They are sometimes called pools, ranch lakes or stock tanks. Excavation companies dig these large holes with backhoes.

Large construction projects also require site-development work. Whenever a company puts up a building for a new office, excavation work must be done to dig out the foundation. Large projects like this will use excavators to dig out the foundation and bulldozers to transfer excavated dirt and grade the large expanses of land.

A construction company will often employ machine operators to handle trenching for electrical lines and plumbing, rather than hiring another contractor to do the work. The size of backhoe they use for trench work will depend on how much material they need to move with each scoop of the backhoe.

For smaller excavation work, contractors may use a skid steer loader. This type of loader is agile and turns by spinning the rear wheel on either the right or left side. A skid steer loader can come with a backhoe attachment different attachments making the machine versatile and preferable for many smaller jobs. Because of its small size, a skid steer loader is easier to transport to the work site.

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Discussion Comments
By anon267156 — On May 09, 2012

@RobsLady: I agree with your point regarding the careful examination of the site before excavation works are carried out. However, doing so involves a certain cost that the people involved might not be willing to fork over.

By RobsLady — On Jun 07, 2011

Something to remember is that excavation work can have extremely detrimental effects where artifacts may be present.

Especially in European countries or older metropolises, and even in remote areas of the American Midwest where dinosaurs once roamed, excavation can reveal important artifacts and fossils. However, if the work is not performed carefully or with the consultation of a site evaluation by an archeological team, it can destroy valuable clues to our past.

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