In construction, site work includes the scope of work related to the exterior of a project. Surveying, grading, excavation, site utilities, paving, concrete work and landscaping are all examples that can be included in site work projects.
In short, site work prepares the land to build a physical structure. It’s critical to keeping the project moving smoothly, both for the eventual construction of the building’s shell and its future interior build out.
Surveying is the first step to any ground up project as it sets the lay of the construction land. Surveyors are experts in positioning and measurement. They create an accurate topographical map, make precise locations for foundations, map out boundaries and settle land disputes between neighbors.
Excavation and Grading
With the land mapped out, the general contractor can accurately place temporary construction fencing and install erosion control. Excavators often perform erosion control, the prevention or controlling of wind or water destruction in land development and construction.
Both excavation and grading prepare the land for the structure. Site clearing takes place, trees and shrubs are removed and the land is flattened and smoothed for the foundation.
The installation of site utilities brings the gas, water, electric, fire mains, storm and sewer to the building. Utilities are brought in through a variety of materials in different sizes. Cast iron, concrete, metal and thermoplastic pipes can be used during this stage. The pipes are excavated and laid down on top of some form of bedding material. After inspection, they’re backfilled and leveled to grade.
Concrete and Paving
Concrete can be classified as cast-in-place or pre-cast. Cast-in-place concrete means that the concrete is poured into forms to create the foundation, foundation walls, slabs, sidewalks, patios, etc. Pre-cast concrete is casting concrete in a reusable form. It is cured in a controlled environment before being transported to the site for installation.
Typically, pre-cast concrete gives the general contractor more control over material quality and the final product, but it’s not ideal for every situation. Cast-in-place concrete is superior in versatility, insulation, construction speed and strength.
In many cases, paving is started prior to construction. It involves the pouring of asphalt or concrete over portions of the construction site. Site paving provides a good surface that still allows for construction in bad weather. It also helps with erosion control and offers a solid surface for materials storage.
Roads and parking lots are the most common examples of paving at a construction site. Paving won’t be 100% complete until the final stages of the project, when striping occurs. After the final layer of pavement is applied, lines for parking spots, road directionals and markings are added.
While it may be the finishing touch of construction, many factors, beyond planting trees and grass, are involved in landscaping. Terrain, soil qualities, potential erosion and native flora must all be considered during landscaping. A well-done landscape goes deeper than looks.
From the Expert
As general contractors, the MRG Construction Corp team has completed site work projects for a variety of retail clients. Senior Project Manager, Will Lechleitner shares his thoughts:
“A quality project starts from the preplanning stages through the site work. Issues that arise during the site work can affect the entire project, and even the building’s future. When we take on these types of projects, our #1 goal is longevity. We work to build a solid foundation that will last for years.”
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