Earth excavation and grading can be a fascinating part of a construction project. The powerful heavy equipment, used to their best advantage by a skilled operator, is a joy to behold. The scope of the excavation job varies from digging footings for a small building to moving millions of cubic yards of earth. The one thing all excavation jobs have in common, though, is that careful planning is the key to success.
There are several terms which should be defined. Excavation is often used as a broad term which includes cut (or excavation) and fill (or embankment). Cut is defined as removing material to lower the elevation of an area. Fill is defined as placing material to raise the elevation of an area. Compaction must take placed during a fill operation to increase the density of the soil material being placed. Another common breakdown in excavation work is bulk excavation and trench excavation.