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Realization of an earthworks

Earthworks are essential to prepare the plot of land that will accommodate future construction, whether it is a swimming pool, a greenhouse, a terrace, a garage or even a house.
In partnership with Via-Mobilis

Earthworks are used to properly level the soil with a cut or embankment to provide a good foundation so that it can support the weight of the structure. The operations carried out during the works make it possible to avoid landslides and collapses of ground as well as settlements of grounds, that is why, it is very important to carry out an earthworks of quality, it is about the lifespan of your project of construction.
It is often quite expensive to have the earthworks done by a company. However, to minimize the cost of your project, it is possible to do it properly by yourself, by obtaining the necessary equipment and respecting the few steps that we will present in this article.

Planning and organization of the site

Weather conditions can sometimes be a problem in earthworks, so choose the most suitable period, in the south, the driest season and the coldest in the north. Indeed, the soil must not be soggy and must have the most consistent structure possible, as such, freezing periods are quite appropriate.
The organization is a step not to neglect, especially in the case of a project to build a house or an imposing building. It is therefore necessary to be well informed about the content of the site, the resources to be implemented, the legislation in force in your municipality (it is possible that your property is classified as a flood zone), as well as the various steps to take. Oh good. It will be necessary to take into account the access of the machines to the construction site, the storage of the materials and the trenches to be dug for the various connections, water, gas, electricity, optical fiber, etc.

Find the necessary equipment for earthworks

Successful earth moving can not be done without the proper equipment and gear. Thanks to construction and construction machinery such as mini excavators, graders, articulated haulers and compactors, you will save a lot of time to achieve your earthwork and therefore not suffer the vagaries of the weather, which could come to disrupt the work. To minimize costs, the purchase of used earthmoving equipment is one of the best options. For example, buying your mini-excavator allows you to have it available for the duration of the work (because you could use it for other applications) and avoid paying several round trips that would be necessary with the rental. Once finished, you can sell your machine by posting an ad on the internet, often at the same price as the acquisition.

Ground picketing

Once your material is found, think about picking your land. Only an expert surveyor is able to carry it out officially. His job is to demarcate the property and the land that requires earthworks, to ensure that no pipe will be perforated and that you will not encroach on neighboring properties, all in compliance with construction plans. It is possible that the picking of the land has already been done, this is often the case in subdivisions. Although it is not mandatory, it is strongly recommended to have it done by a surveyor before starting the work, so you will be sure to avoid any dispute with the neighborhood, however, you can do it yourself if that's what you want.

Water evacuation

In some cases, it is necessary to install drains, pipes, create a slope, or dig furrows, which can evacuate water from sources or runoff of rainwater. This operation will ensure you have a stable ground even if the weather is wet and heavy rains come to arrive.


The disbursement is the structural phase of the construction site. It involves clearing the ground on the desired height, using machines that vary according to the type of work to be done. You'll need to use scraper, mini excavator or loader to scour the topsoil, level the terrain, clear the dirt and rubble, etc. If you have never used this kind of gear, you can follow a small training that can usually be done in less than one day by organizations near you. It is not very difficult to learn to use a mini excavator because it is one of the smallest construction machines. For its purchase, a selection of mini excavators present on Europe TP will facilitate the choice taking into account the requirements of the field. It is also important to know that the machines must keep a safety distance of at least 1 meter from the edges of the excavation, so as not to weaken the earthworks in progress, but also to avoid an accident stupidly.
During clearing, the topsoil can be conserved for reuse in packing, for example to make plantations. The other rubble must be placed in a bucket so that they can be evacuated more easily.
When the disbursement work is finished, a snow groomer or rammer is used to compact the soil before placing the stabilizing bed.

The stabilization bed

The stabilization bed consists of a layer of at least 10 cm thick (after settlement) of all-coming, cuttings or a mixture of gravel and sand. It helps stabilize the foundations of the future building, pool or terrace and contributes to its life.
Laying a geotextile film between the soil and the stabilizing layer is recommended in most situations. Indeed, the application of this film has many virtues, it prevents the growth of weeds and roots of neighboring trees that could come to disturb the cables and pipes, it avoids the rise of moisture (however it leaves the rainwater run out) and, finally, it allows the layer of embankments not to mix with the earth over the months, which would make it lose its effectiveness.


To begin, it should be known that the backfilling is subject to legislation according to the zones and the communes. It is therefore important to be well informed before starting the work to ensure compliance with the various standards in this area.
Ideally, the embankment should consist of a layer of rubble, then a layer of crushed gravel and, finally, a layer of sand. However, the materials that can be used also depend on the nature of the soil. Particular attention must be paid to the quality of the materials used. Indeed, if you use gravel that is not provided for this purpose, you may be confronted, thereafter, instability of the structure that can, in particular, result in cracks in the building. Therefore, banish all calcareous and decorative gravels, which fall apart over time.

After bringing the embankment, it is necessary to compact to compact the materials. To do this, several machines are effective, the pneumatic compactor, the vibrating compactor with tamper foot or even the vibrating plate.

You must also take into account that after compaction, the volume will be considerably reduced, so it should be increased by 20 to 30%.

(photos / visuals: Viamobilis, except special mention)

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