Everyone has heard that proper planning now will prevent a poor performance later. Planning is crucial for deep excavation construction because the stakes are often higher. If you don’t do things right, you might find yourself in trouble with the law and local ordinances, but you could also inadvertently hurt others.
Open excavation work is highly complex and uses geotechnical engineering to complete the task. Therefore, it presents many challenges that could ultimately affect the safety of the worksite and the project’s performance overall.
Early planning efforts are crucial, but working with an expert who can catch potential issues or avoid them altogether is essential. This will lead to better working conditions and productivity throughout the process.
Three Key Steps for Your Deep Excavation Project
There are three primary steps to take when planning a deep excavation project. These include:
- Understand and consider the project challenges, including accessibility, structures, groundwater and soil, and excavation size.
- Choose an expert to partner with who will help during the shoring process.
- Follow the best practices for deep excavation to ensure it’s done right.
Deep Excavation Challenges
There are usually multiple challenges associated with deep excavations, and the employees must consider all the potential issues. Many people focus solely on the greatest risk, but that’s often difficult to pinpoint with open excavation work.
Remember that deep excavations are often open for extended periods. There might be a few problems initially, but there could be significant issues as the work continues. It’s not always possible to prevent them, but they can be fixed as they occur.
As you continue digging deeper, there is more lateral earth pressure. Your bracing system must withstand those forces at all times. Likewise, the width of your excavation comes into play, and you may require cross braces.
Traditional cross bracing could be inadequate, but it depends on the span. Likewise, unsupported cross braces could break down over a long time frame. If that happens, it could be very dangerous when you put a load on the cross brace. The deflected cross brace could be a significant risk whenever lateral earth forces grow in time.
Groundwater and Soil
Several factors go into selecting the best protective system. One crucial thing to consider is the soil type where the work will happen. The primary goal of your retaining system is to hold the soil back so that work can commence. Certain soil types are more stable than others. When focused on retaining wall construction, knowing what you’re dealing with is important.
When you have stable soil, there is a lower lateral earth pressure. However, less stable soil will have a higher lateral earth pressure.
Likewise, you can’t overlook the appearance or presence of groundwater. A temporary retaining wall is designed to hold the soil load back but cannot work with a combination of water and soil.
In many cases, most manufactured systems and site-specific excavation plans will call for groundwater to be at lower elevations under the excavation. Most designers believe that groundwater removal will happen on the outside of the shoring system. They think it’s the only way to get rid of the unexpected hydraulic load.
When you can’t remove the hydraulic load through a retaining wall or a well-point system, you must factor it into the equation. This may mean using a more durable shoring system.
Any nearby structures to the excavation should be protected so that soil can’t come out from under the building. Otherwise, you risk structure failure. Nearby, in this context, means anything within the working area that’s at the same depth of the excavation and within the space surrounding the excavation.
Any surcharge created by a structure’s existence must also be calculated into the design of the protective system. These structures might include railroads, roadways, and floating slabs.
Adjacent or nearby structures such as rail or motor vehicles can include traffic. Regardless, you must pay close attention to the vibration and weight of these sources. Therefore, it’s wise to work with a professional.
During the deep excavation process, you’ll generally find exposed utilities. Therefore, the professional you choose must use proper supportive measures for the utilities that cross the excavation and for any times they run parallel to your work site.
Accessibility of your open excavation site is also something to consider. A tight space could impose certain limitations on the equipment you can use and how the shoring equipment will be maneuvered or handled within a narrow or inaccessible job site.
One Key Consideration to Consider for Deep Excavation Projects
Since there could be many potential issues for a deep excavation project, bringing in a professional who can help you with the shoring and design process is crucial. Having someone who understands excavation and construction means you’ll have a safe environment and will prevent overspending and costly downtime.
Typically, working with a professional will mean you benefit from their experience. They can find potential problems before they become significant and will determine which shoring systems you need.
Best Practices for Deep Excavations
Planning is essential, and here are the deep excavation best practices:
- Have someone review the plans and schedule a visit to the site.
- Focus more on groundwater management and control before breaking ground. Dewatering can give you a dry site and is often required.
- There are various dewatering options, so you must choose the one that works well for you. A professional is handy here. They will streamline the process and design a system that works seamlessly.
- Locate the utilities first before the excavation process to determine their exact locations.
- Identify the best shoring solutions. The system is specific to the job and designed to accommodate your preferred construction methods.
- The actual construction can start once the protective systems are in place and the excavation is complete.
It’s crucial to ensure that no employees enter the excavation site until your protective system has been installed. Everyone should be aware of any potential hazards.
Why Choose a Company Focused on Efficiency and Productivity
Deep excavation isn’t something you should undertake yourself. You need careful execution and proper planning to ensure everyone’s safety without damaging utilities, adjacent structures, and equipment.
Ace Construction Texas, Inc. can help you with your deep excavation project. Request your free estimate today!