Digging Into Site Prep for Commercial Construction Projects

Whether the project is construction or excavation, everything starts with laying a good foundation. Sites require diligent preparation before a project can get off the ground.


Site preparation is where a building’s future starts — a delicate time where professional care and respect for procedures set the project’s standard. Quality site prep is a deep process touching many bases of expertise. Construction teams will connect with architects, soil specialists, and environmental agencies to create a circle of professionals all working together toward the same goal.


Start With the Lay (and Law) of the Land


Some projects take more time to prep than others, but they all follow the same basic rules. A good construction firm will be familiar with all regulations governing construction projects. Federal, state, and local rules can and do play a part before the build begins, making proper permits and permissions essential prep documents.


The EPA’s guidelines for obtaining a Construction General Permit indicate the high standards expected from site prep and execution. While it’s a construction company’s job to disturb the land, they only have temporary permission to do so. Provisions must be made to minimize disruption to infrastructure, wildlife, and ecosystems before, during, and after construction. From there, a team can get itself on-site and continue further preparations.


Provisions for Construction Staff, Visitors, and Pollution Control


Construction teams may never live or work in the buildings they erect, but they’re certainly on-site residents until the job’s done. Weeks or months in one location require facilities like portable toilets and job trailers (moveable facilities which may house temporary offices, dining areas or provide storage room). 


Provisions must be made to keep the site supplied with electricity and water for several purposes, and they may come through an on-site water tower, portable generators, or connection to local utilities. Sites often require septic tanks, draining tanks, and a temporary sewer to handle waste. Responsibly preparing for every form of water and waste management, man-made or natural, is a management best practice.


There are strict EPA rules and guidelines to keep workers and the surrounding area healthy and safe. Facility-produced water or rain/storm fall can wash harmful chemicals and debris from a site into local drinking and water sources. Proper site prep involves knowing whether the state or the EPA is the permitting authority for construction activity. 


Soil Testing and Land Investigation


Water management is closely linked to protecting and preserving soil quality during site prep. Construction teams must know the strength, composition, and type of soil they’re about to work on. If it’s too weak or water-absorbent, it won’t be able to support a structure. Soil testing involves taking samples for analysis, and the teamwork between soil graders and construction workers is a vital link in the site-prep chain.


That soil data is analyzed to decide what measures need to be taken to strengthen the site for structural support. Sometimes, new soil may need to be brought in to compensate for a weakness. Other times, recompacting the existing soil may be enough to toughen it up. Once the project has s green light, the greatest care must be taken to prevent soil erosion and control sediment as the work progresses.


Developing a Site Plan


A site has its raw state and then how it looks after the construction team arrives with their equipment. Both must be combined into a site plan that clearly shows natural topography, project boundaries, placement of utilities, and any other pertinent information. For example, the placement of utility lines must be carefully studied to prevent damage, injury, or death before work gets underway.


Sites are organic things; even the best prep won’t protect a project’s layout from changing over time. The site plan must constantly reflect these changes while providing a guide for construction teams and third parties by showing safe entry, exit, and material deposit areas. Site plans may also include details of the surrounding area since man-made and natural features may have to be considered for the duration of the build. 


The Public Face of Site Prep


When all the behind-the-scenes work of permits, geophysical research, and utility placement has been done, the public face of site prep can begin. This is the part of construction everyone can see taking place. It involves clearing the land of any natural or man-made objects, excavating, trenching, and setting up clear safety boundaries to separate the site from the surrounding area.


This is what people typically imagine when someone says “construction site” and none of it would be possible without diligent preparation. At Mikula, we know what it takes to prep a site. We’ve got over 70 years in business serving our community along with EPA and OSHA certifications. We’re here to provide the best in construction site responsibility and affordability.


Contact Mikula Today and Let Us Help Prep Your Next Project


Mikula Contracting, Inc. provides commercial and residential customers with a wide range of excavation, demolition, environmental, snow removal, trucking, and soil materials services. For more information, call 973-772-1684 or email info@mikulainc.com.

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