The Difference Between Site Preparation And Grading – And The Importance Of Both

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Site preparation and grading are two important aspects of the post frame building process. These two ideas seem similar at first glance, but just what are they? Read on to find out!

SITE PREPARATION

Site preparation is a critical step in the building process of a structure. Below are common questions asked by our customers:

Who does it?
A professional excavator who has experience using the equipment needed to create a level surface

What is it?
The creation of a “pad”, aka leveling the ground and packing the dirt tight to have a stable working surface.

When is it done?
Site preparation should be done 1-3 weeks before build time. This is because over time, environmental factors affect the site, causing the ground to unsettle, erode, and loosen so if you prep the site too soon, you might need to re-prep it before building.

Why is it important?
It is understood that dirt will eventually change a bit and move, but once your structure is placed and built, the actual integrity of the structure allows it to flex and adjust with the small amount of change in the dirt over time. If you add concrete flooring to your structure, it adds even more stability.

How is it done?
A professional excavator uses specialized equipment, such as a transit level, to achieve the most accurate results. Although “eye-balling” the surface could seem sufficient, if the site is not level, it can result in additional expenses to the customer.


GRADING

Grading isn’t as important as site preparation when it comes to building a structure; however, it is important for maintaining the structure and surrounding area. Want to learn more about grading? Read below…

Who does it?
A contractor who has experience with grading, recognizing the amount and angle of slope required for your particular site.

What is it?
Grading is the process of distributing dirt in a strategic way to allow water runoff to flow in the best direction for your site.

When is it done?
Normally, grading is done at the end of your project – also known as final grading – so any leftover dirt is distributed and to ensure all building equipment is clear from the site before grading starts.

Why is it important?
Without proper grading, water runoff and erosion can disrupt your structure, causing repairs to be needed, safety issues or material breakdown like premature rotting. The flow of storm water needs to be controlled so it doesn’t collect around the base of your structure. Grading also can be adjusted based on the landscaping planned for your site and the appearance you desire.

How is it done?
A variety of equipment is used for grading including an excavator and bulldozer. Dirt is normally redistributed to create the slope needed or can be used to fill low spots.

 

 

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