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Site Preparation
Written by Elizabeth Wood
Editor In Chief, United Home Improvement


Site preparation is a fundamental and challenging activity in the organization and execution of construction projects. It is a step-by-step process that includes soil testing, site-plan designs, zoning restrictions, environmental concerns, how utilities will run within the home, and clearing and excavation. Each step will be carefully investigated and eventually will go through a process of approval, and finally put into action. The result will be utilities, water, and sewer or septic properly placed and a suitable foundation.

Soil Testing: Soil testing is an important tool in developing efficient soil for a contruction site. A soil test provides basic information on the composition of the soil and its ability to support a structure; as well as the absorption and drainage rate of the soil. The absorption rate will give homeowners an idea on how well the soil will accommodate septic and water. A soil test determines where a septic system and well will be placed. For this reason, soil tests are usually performed before a site is purchased.

Site-Plan Design: A “site-plan design” is a crucial step in site preparation. It is the step that indicates the anticipated placement of the building, septic tank and leach field (or public sewer connections), well location (or public water connections), and any other fixtures. The site-plan design will also portray current vegetation that will be removed, surrounding wetlands or protected areas, access roads for construction vehicles, anticipated location of any paved driveway or road, and curb-cut locations. All site-plan designs must adhere to local or town regulations and be brought before zoning-approval boards to be used in the permitting process. This step takes places shortly after soil testing.

Additional Steps: Additional steps in site preparation include clearing and excavation. Certain sites will require you to remove trees and stumps from the building site in order to make room for septic systems, wells and utilities. The process of clearing and excavation is very expensive. For this reason, it is suggested that you only clear the necessary areas. Too much clearing can be very expensive and affect erosion.

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