The Types of Excavations Techniques Used in Earthworks

The engineering works created by processing the earth’s surface involving unformed rock or soil are known as earthworks. Whether you want to construct a residential or commercial building, underground utility pipes, bridges, or roadways, the land needs to be prepared after a thorough inspection to ensure it can provide a firm foundation.

Excavation is a crucial part of every construction project. The process utilises different techniques and tools to move rock, soil, and other materials to form a cavity while preparing the area for construction. The type of excavation used generally depends on the purpose and materials being used. Let’s learn few types of excavations used in construction on the basis of purpose and materials.

Excavation By Material

Topsoil Excavation

This involves the removal of the top area of the earth’s exposed surface. It helps remove soil, vegetation, and other decaying materials that can make the land unsuitable for bearing structural loads. This layer contains a lot of moisture, so when it’s removed, the lower layer loses moisture, which makes the surface easier to handle.

Earth Excavation

Various layers of earth need to be removed to create a solid foundation for bridges, buildings or to construct drainage ditches. This process involves using earthmoving equipment or scrapers to remove the soil immediately under the topsoil but on top of the rock layer.


Filename: Building-Excavator

Alt-text: Excavator clearing out the site

Rock Excavation

This helps clear rocky surfaces that can impede the construction processes. Rock excavation is one of the most challenging compared to other excavation types because the tough surface and rocks can’t be removed without using special techniques and equipment for blasting and drilling.

Muck Excavation

Muck, the combination of excessive water and soil, needs to be removed as its undesirable during construction. Muck can seldom be used in the embankment because it’s not stable under load. The muck is usually spread over a large area to let it dry. Water is removed by stabilising the muck with another material or changing the soil’s characteristics.

Excavation By Purpose

Stripping Excavation

Also known as cut and fill excavation, this process involves clearing extensive areas for construction. Shallow and wide layers of rocks, topsoil, sand, and other undesirable materials are removed. The procedure can also include land grading.

Trench Excavation

The length of the area that needs excavation exceeds the depth in this type of excavation. It’s typically used to install sewer systems and pipelines, bury service lines, or lay foundations. Several techniques can be used for deep or shallow trench excavation, depending on various factors like ground conditions, purpose, number of obstructions, and so on.

Footing Excavation

This involves the digging of a wall foundation or column for a building. Footing excavations are done to grade and neat a line as much as possible to ensure that the concrete can be cast without forms. Although this elimination of forms helps save money, more-than-normal handwork and special equipment are required for footing excavations.

Footing refers to the foundation structures used for supporting bridges, buildings, and other structures as they spread the load to ensure the heavy structure above doesn’t collapse or sink. The process is done once the building site is properly graded. Footing excavation is somewhat more precise than all other excavation types, as it involves concrete for footings to be poured out and left to set.

Excavator clearing out the site

These were just some of the many types of excavations used in construction. If you’re looking for earthworks & excavation contractors in Christchurch, Riverstone Concrete offers a whole package with a highly experienced earthworks team that will get the job done on time.

We’re also known to be one of the best concrete paver contractors in Christchurch, New Zealand. Our services include concrete paving services, Asphalt Services, concrete flooring services, concrete foundation services, concrete driveway services, decorative concrete landscaping services, and more.

Give us a call today. We look forward to hearing from you.