16 Types of Excavation You Need To Know

16 Types of Excavation You Need To Know

In any construction project, earth excavation and grading is the most captivating part. The formidable heavy equipment, used to best advantage by a skilled operator, is a joy to behold. This article teaches you about the 16 different types of excavation there is.

Priming of the ground is essential before the pouring of concrete or laying of sod. Excavation is the first step to any construction job because it clears space for the project, whether you want to construct a commercial or a residential building, roads, bridges, install pipes or underground utility lines.

Excavation involves the removal of soil, rock or other materials from a site with tools, equipment or explosives. These processes can include earthwork, trenching, wall shafts, tunnelling and underground. Unique tools, machinery and techniques are needed in each of these processes to get the job done correctly.

Careful examination of the site is critical before any excavation process can begin to ensure the preservation of the natural habitat and artefacts surrounding it throughout the process.

After that, the plans for the size and depth of the site are to be made, with Môreson Grondverskuiwers making drawings to mark the excavation boundaries. After finalising these significant steps, excavation can start.

Excavation for projects could range from underground water and sewer line repair or replacement; service and installation of wells or septic tanks; or backhoe service for demolition, maintenance or landscape projects.

Let’s take a look at the different types of excavations.

Topsoil Excavation

As the name suggests, this type of excavation involves the removal of the exposed layer or the top-most area of the earth’s surface. The excavation method removes vegetation, soil, and any other decaying material that could make the soil compressible and unfitting to bear structural loads. The depth varies from site to site but is usually in a range of 150-300 mm.

Rock Excavation

This type of excavation is named for the removal of the rock and works to remove surfaces that might obstruct construction projects. Rock excavation is the most complex as compared to the other types.

Ripping, blasting or breaking rock is known as mechanical splitting. A bulldozer can be used to supply the force.

Blasting involves explosives placed in drill holes and detonated. When the rock quantity is small or blasting is not feasible, a hydraulic hammer mounted on an excavator can be used.

Muck Excavation

The removal of undesirable soil and water is often necessary before construction can begin. This mixture which is called ‘muck’ is either moved to another area or spread out to dry.

Earth Excavation

Removal of various layers of earth allows a construction company to lay a foundation for buildings and bridges or to construct drainage ditches. Earth excavation involves the removal of soil, a layer below the topsoil, for construction.

Cut and Fill Excavation

Also known as stripping excavation, this type of excavation is used to clear large areas before construction or engineering projects. The process involves the removal of broad and shallow layers of topsoil, rocks, sand, and other unwanted materials. The procedure may also include grading the land.

Trench Excavation

The length of the excavated area exceeds the depth in this type of excavation Trench excavation is typically used to bury service lines, to install pipelines and sewer systems, or lay foundations. Shallow trenches of less than 6m or deep trenches of more than 6m are done using this type of excavation. The techniques used for this type is dependent on factors like the purpose, ground conditions, number of obstructions, and so on.

Drainage Excavation

Drainage is used to carry water away from areas which means that they must be precise and done correctly to ensure they remain unblocked and run freely.

These systems include ditches, trenches; storm drains agricultural drainage, runoff, and so on, as well as any structures related to drainage.

These structures must be excavated to conduit water away from habitation, infrastructure, agriculture, and other sensitive areas.

Drainage excavation changes the flow of water away from specific areas.

Channel Excavation

Channel excavation is the removal of materials from channels to change the flow of water or increase the capacity of water flow.

It helps to alleviate flooding, sediment buildup and water stagnation.

Materials may be excavated from channels, ditches, or other areas to improve flow.

Basement Excavation

Basement is typically the area below the ground level. When construction has to be done at least partially below the ground level, then basement excavation can be done.

Depending on the size of the property, this type of excavation can be complicated.


Sediment deposits in waterways can build up over time, which makes water passage challenging to navigate. The process of dredging involves excavating and removing sediments and debris.

Footing Excavation

To ensure that buildings, bridges and any other structures do not sink or collapse, they need support. This excavation is fairly more precise than other types of excavation as footing concrete is poured and left to set.

Bridge Excavation

In the construction of bridges, materials that might impede the construction of its foundations and substructures has to be removed through excavations hence the term bridge excavation. This process needs to be well informed so that it can support the weight of the bridge above.

Roadway Excavation

This type of excavation can have different purposes. Materials may be moved out to another location to create a path for road construction. Conversely, excavated materials to build roadways, such as embankments, is also used regularly. In some cases, other excavated materials are used to replace unsuitable slope materials for better support.

Underground Excavation

This kind of excavation involves creating tunnels and shafts. Underground excavation is necessary to construct subways, sewage systems and other passages. This type of excavation typically requires special tools and techniques.

Borrow Excavation

This type of excavation is the removal of material to make way for construction. However, the goal of borrow excavation is not just to remove materials, but also to relocate soil and gravel from one location to another. One can use these materials to grade, fill or mix it with other construction materials such as concrete.

Unclassified Excavation

The removal of difficult distinguishable materials, a combination or the manner in which they are excavated are known as “unclassified excavation.”

Why Choose Us For All Your Excavation Needs

Môreson Grondverskuiwers sets high standards and is committed to providing quality services in the earth moving industry, specialising in land preparation and dam construction.

With a fleet of 73 machines including 27 bulldozers (from 20 tons to 67 tons), 28 excavators, dumper trucks, scrapers and vibration rollers. The fleet represents the newest technology available. The company plays a major role in many large excavation projects.

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