Groundwork is a buzzword in the construction industry which involves the preparation of the ground and the layer below it for construction work. It can also be defined as a set of tasks which involves the preliminary digging of the ground which leads to the establishment of the foundations.
Aside from preliminary excavations, groundworks also involve cabling and laying drains. Depending on the type of construction project involved, it can also involve the laying of several utilities such as gas pipes, water pipes, telephone lines and fibre optic cables, as well as site enabling and demolition works. It is usually the primary stage of any construction endeavour.
Construction projects involve several stages before a building can be completed. Before you put up a building or structure, it is important to prepare the sub-surfaces first. They are as important as any stage of construction - from demolition to completion of the structure - without proper preparation, the whole project can fail or problems may arise somewhere down the line that can be difficult and expensive to resolve.
Preparation is key. Not only do you need to ensure that you have the properly trained staff in place: you also need to make sure they have the tools they need to carry out the task in an efficient manner.
Groundwork covers many stages in construction. These include:
- Ground investigation
- Site clearance
- Substructure and ground stabilisation works
- Basement construction
- Site services
- Sewer construction
The first stages of the construction project will involve fulfilling several legal requirements and proper preparation, both of which are key to the success of the construction endeavour. The construction site is placed under a thorough check before any type of construction work begins. This initial preparation helps to recognise potential complications which may affect the finished structure.
Take for instance how the land was previously used: if it was used as an unused mine or was contaminated with harmful chemicals, the land is probably not fit for construction. The condition of the soil will be thoroughly checked as well. The soil condition will determine what type of foundation will be utilised to hold and maintain a stable structure, avoiding the incidence of subsidence and slippage from occurring in the years to come.
What comes next is site clearance. This involves several tasks; the removal of the topsoil, the levelling of the ground and the creation of retaining walls that are required to construct level platforms for the construction progress and inhibit the ground from eroding, collapsing or slipping.
As soon as the first steps are completed, the groundwork experts can work on the design and creation of the sub-surface, which involves excavating the construction site and laying the foundations and structure basement. This will also involve the creation of retaining walls which is mostly made from brick, blocks, stones or reinforced concrete. Steel formwork and fixing may be utilised to enhance and build up the load bearing capacity of the foundation. All of these tasks are designed to make the ground steady and secure enough to support a structure, from humble homes or magnificent skyscrapers.
Foundations are designed to support the entire final structure, delivering the structure’s entire load down to the layers of the ground. The depth of the foundations will depend on the calculations based on how the final structure is intended to stand on a rock or on the ground and the sub-surface’s capability of bearing such load. Other elements that will affect which type of foundation is needed for a project is the presence of water in the construction site, the type of structure that will be constructed, how the structure will be used, the accessibility of the construction site and the sensitivity of the area to noise or vibration.
After a steady sub-surface and foundation has been secured, the groundworks team may also undertake landscaping tasks such as creating car parks or roads for commercial projects or creating driveways for residential projects.
Each stage requires specialist equipment which is designed for many different aspects of the work involved. In planning a construction project, particular attention must be paid to each feature of the machinery and its suitability to the task in hand. You also need to choose the right contractors who have relevant training on each piece of equipment.
Common machinery used for groundwork stages of a construction project include:
- 180-degree backhoe loaders
- 360-degree excavators
- Loading shovels
- Compactor plates
- Forward tipping dumpers
- Ride on road rollers
- Boom lifts
- Mobile access towers
Of course, there are many other pieces of machinery and tools that you need, so you need to shop around first.
At this point, you might be wondering why groundwork is an essential part of construction. Consider this: the overall weight of a home or building is going to lean on its foundation so if the groundworks are faulty, the entire property will not last for long. Proper groundwork, therefore, is essential to the favourable outcome of any construction endeavour. The building industry also takes proper groundwork with very high regard because it is vital to their overall success. Because of this justification, groundworks serve as the commencement for any development project.
To reiterate the importance of groundworks, it provides the layout and foundation of any structure and supplies the durability and firmness that holds the weight of the entire structure.
As a final note, the responsibility of planning and evaluating the groundworks is given to the building contractor you are planning to hire. They are expected to lay out your project in accordance with the expected end product, even before the construction process begins.
Tiger Plant Hire has a full selection of machinery to hire that you need for laying the ground for your project and much more besides. If you're a construction company in Swindon and Wiltshire, then you need a company you can trust to deliver your needs at a reasonable price. We have many different tools and machinery for all stages of building works to suit every budget. Contact us today!