Types of excavation: In engineering and construction, excavation consists of using tools, equipment, or explosives for the purposes of moving soil, rocks, or other materials. Excavation is undertaken for a number of purposes, and different types of excavation are classified either by their specific purpose or the type of material being excavated. Below are thirteen common types of excavation, by both type and material.
Types of Excavation (By Type & Material)
This type of excavation is related to the construction of bridges and centers on removing any materials that might impede the construction of the foundations, substructures, and so on required to support the bridge.
In many types of excavation, materials are removed to make way for construction. Borrow excavation does just the opposite. In this type of excavation, materials like soil or gravel are taken from a “borrow” pit (sometimes called a sandbox) to be used in another location. These materials may be used for grading, fill, or mixing with other construction materials like concrete, just for example.
Channel excavation consists of removing materials from channels, drainage ditches, and so on for one of several purposes, but often to change the flow of water or increase capacity. This could help to alleviate flooding or alternately, stagnation and sediment buildup.
Drainage is related to carrying water away from areas and could include ditches, trenches, storm drains, agricultural drainage, drainage for runoff, and so on, as well as any structures related to such drainage. These ditches must be excavated to funnel water away from habitation, infrastructure, agriculture, and other areas that could be harmed.
Sediment deposits in waterways can build up over time, making them impassable. Dredging is a type of excavation that takes place underwater, generally in rivers or shallow ocean passages (or other waterways) for the purpose of removing sediment to other locations so that boat traffic can navigate without getting stuck.
This is a type of excavation classification that centers on the material being excavated, rather than the purpose for excavation. As you can probably guess, it pertains to the removal of soil (located beneath topsoil) and it could apply to earth removal for the purposes of laying a structure foundation, digging a drainage ditch, or any number of other construction or engineering projects.
Footings are foundations structures used to support buildings, bridges, and other structures by spreading the load so that the heavy structure above doesn’t sink or collapse. Footing excavation occurs after a building site has been properly graded, at which point excavation can begin. This type of excavation may be somewhat more precise than other types as the concrete for footings will likely be poured and left to set.
Like earth excavation, this is a type of excavation based on material, in this case muck, or a combination of water and soil. Specifically, muck includes water and/or soil that is somehow undesirable, perhaps due to contamination of some sort, or maybe just because of the water content, which makes an area impassable. Excavation can be used to remove muck to another area, or to spread it out so that soil can dry.
Excavation related to roadways can have a couple of different purposes. For example, excavated materials may be removed to another location to make way for road construction. However, excavated materials may also be used in the building of the roadway, such as to build embankments. In some cases, unsuitable slope materials will be excavated and removed, and other excavated materials will be brought in to replace them.
Rock excavation is based on the removal of materials, generally due to rocky surfaces that impede construction or engineering projects. This type of excavation is often considered more challenging than other types and may require specialized equipment to break up and/or remove rocks before a project can proceed.
Stripping is a type of excavation that revolves more around clearing a large area rather than digging a pit or a trench, for example. Before construction or engineering projects can begin, an area may need to be cleared of topsoil, gravel, sand, rocks, and so on and grading might need to be done. In such cases, excavation will consist of clearing away wide, shallow swaths of material.
This is often confused with stripping because stripping is the method of excavation used to remove topsoil. However, this type of excavation is specific to the material, topsoil, consisting of vegetation and the uppermost level of soil.
Excavations of this type occur underground, rather than above ground, meaning that different tools, equipment, and techniques may be required to remove materials safely and effectively. In many cases, vertical or diagonal shafts and/or horizontal tunnels are excavated for the purposes of building roadways, subways, canals, sewage, or other underground passages, as well as for other purposes.
Want to learn more about the different types of excavation in construction? Contact Ron Meyer & Associates Excavating today.
Other Helpful Resources
- Excavation Shoring Methods & Shielding Types
- 5 Ways of Preventing Soil Erosion (for Homeowners)
- 20 Main Parts of an Excavator
- What is Cut and Fill in Excavation?
- Excavation Terminology: 15 Handy Trenching & Shoring Definitions
With a crew that has a combined 92 years of experience, Ron Meyer & Associates Excavating offers a variety of earthwork & excavation services throughout Ottawa County and West Michigan. As the general contractor or subcontractor, our experienced foremen, equipment operators, pipe layers, truck drivers and well-maintained equipment fleet make us an undeniable choice for your excavating services. Let’s talk about your project!