Buildings don’t just build themselves overnight. No matter how big or small a structure is, one thing is certain: there is a lot of work in these structures even before the foundations are laid down. One of the first steps in pre-construction is site excavation. Knowing how this unfolds can give you a better understanding of the time and cost that goes into it. 

How Are Construction Sites Excavated?

Before Excavation

Before excavation can begin, you have to do two things. First, the plans and design of the foundation have to be settled so the excavation experts can make their assessment on how to start the dig. The contractors later go to examine the site to survey the area.

Examining the Plans

Planning is essential when building a large structure. Before anything is ever built, everything is assessed to the nth degree. Excavation contractors can’t start their process if the project manager hasn’t presented the plans for the building’s foundations. Here are the common types of foundations that every excavation expert is familiar with.

Types of Foundation

This is by far the most common foundation that project managers go for. Most plans lean towards having a basement foundation for that extra storage room below or a convenient parking lot for employees or customers from malls and commercial buildings to houses. 

Basements require an ample amount of excavation since they have to make room, so its cost will be at the higher end of the spectrum, though it is worth the price for an extra room.

Crawl spaces have been rising in popularity because it does take less work. Instead of having a whole other room underground, excavators will dig about 30 inches to protect the local environment. Some locations need medium frost mitigation for their crawl space. For mountainous regions, the excavation is about 36 to 40 inches. 

While it is less of a dig than basements, it does not necessarily cost more. You still have to pay for the costs of getting equipment over. Getting an extra four to six feet won’t impact costs significantly. 

The slab is the most basic type of foundation. Just like a crawl space, you will need to make sure that this foundation will hold up against frost mitigation requirements. It isn’t necessarily the most popular choice of foundation mostly because the cost to excavate for it isn’t significantly cheaper, so it would often make more sense to go for a crawl space or basement.

Excavation Duration

Once the plans are settled, excavation contractors can get to work. They often go to the site to make their assessments relative to the plans given to them. The 3 to 4 days or up to 3 weeks to complete a successful excavation.


Construction excavation is more than just digging up dirt. It requires experience, skills, precision, and attention to detail because it is part of creating a solid foundation for a large structure. With the right amount of tools and heavy machinery, this can easily be fulfilled by an excavation expert.

Are you looking for the best excavating services in Southwest Saskatchewan for your construction project? DL Nagel Excavating Ltd. is a full-service excavation company that has been in the business for the past 30 years in many construction projects in Saskatchewan and many other parts of the country. Call us today!