Home excavation projects can take various forms, from digging a slim utility trench to hollowing out an entire pool. There are various reasons why a landscaping project may require excavation, including the construction of vertical structures and optimizing drainage. While landscape contractors bear a great deal of responsibility for the safety and smoothness of the excavation, there are also things that homeowners can do to ensure the success of their landscaping project. Here are a few do’s and don’ts that you, as a Winnetka, IL, homeowner, should be aware of when hiring a landscape contractor to excavate your property.
Do Ensure That all Utilities Have Been Located
Landscape contractors research the placement of utilities underneath a particular property before beginning an excavation. If you happen to already be aware of the placement of your utilities and recent changes made to them, offer this information to your contractor. A call to your local or government utility location service will also reveal the locations of all underground gas, electric, water and sewer pipes, and cables in your area.
Do Check That Your Contractor Is Insured
Landscape contractors recommend that homeowners ask for written documentation to verify a contractor’s claims of liability and confirm that there is workers’ compensation insurance for all workers on site. Do not engage in business with uninsured contractors, as you can then be held liable for on-site accidents and incur significant costs as a result.
Do Ensure That Safety Is Prioritized
Trenches deeper than 5 feet, unless made in entirely stable rock, should be fitted with a protective system. Ensure that this requirement is adhered to by your contractor and ask about other safety measures that have been put in place to prevent cave-ins and other hazards. Additional safety measures may include sloping, for example, in which the trench wall is cut at an incline that is angled away from the excavation. Shoring is another additional measure that may be taken and entails installing supports that prevent the movement of soil.
Don’t Get Near a Trench
It is in your best interest to maintain a safe distance from trenches—especially unprotected ones. Do not enter an unprotected trench under any circumstances as cave-ins can occur in a matter of seconds and can cause fatal injuries.
Don’t Allow Heavy Loads Near the Excavation
Most protective systems are designed to support the weight of the soil and prevent its movement. However, they are not designed to support additional loads. Equipment being used in the excavation should be placed as far as possible from where the work is occurring when it is not in use. Excess soil and other materials should never be dumped near the edge of the excavation either as they might fall in or cause cave-ins. Keep an eye on your excavation project and ensure that these guidelines are adhered to. Errors and accidents not only waste time, but can also increase the cost of a project, so be on the lookout for ways they can be prevented.
To be sure, when you work with Joe and Tony Landscaping, you don’t have to worry about the “dos and don’ts.” Our highly trained and specialized teams have extensive experience in residential excavations and enjoying setting the groundwork for homeowners’ dream landscape projects.