Excavation Techniques

Excavation is among the most fundamental and important of construction techniques. It (Excavation) is primarily used in the case of the presence of new construction. However, it can also be employed in the removal of polluted soil.

Furthermore, though there are many "offshoots" which aren't listed in this article, excavation has four principal techniques. The four principal excavation techniques are as follows:

Vertical excavation

Vertical excavation is the ideal choice for any excavation project which takes place in a large, urban setting with a high level of residential and / or commercial occupancy. In using vertical excavation, each individual layer of the excavation site is exposed, which leaves the excavation site looking like a sort of vertical shaft, with each soil and / or rock layer clearly visible. This is perhaps one of, if not THE oldest excavation techniques in existence, as evidenced by the many 19th century mines which used this technique, many of which are still visible today.

Horizontal excavation

Of the four excavation techniques discussed here, horizontal excavation is the preferred choice for projects involving shallow sites with a light or non-existent residential and/or commercial population. In rare cases, both the horizontal and vertical excavation techniques are used. However, such hybrid excavation techniques are rarely employed without great cause, since the more excavation occurs, the less structural integrity is maintained throughout the excavation site.

Step Trenching

Though terrace farming has been used for centuries, as excavation techniques go, this one is fairly unique.The step trenching method is another example of the various excavation techniques commonly used by modern construction workers, being employed when deep digging is required, and derives its name from the unique "steps" formed in the process of digging the excavation site. As the excavation site goes deeper and deeper into the earth, these steps become narrower, and the chasm eventually terminates in a V-like point at the base of the resulting trench.


The final method in the 4 principal excavation techniques discussed so far is known as the cofferdam method. As you may have guessed from the name, it is principally employed when there is a higher than normal danger that the sides or walls of an excavation site might collapse as a result of deep excavation. It is also commonly used in sites which contain a very high moisture content, where it again helps to provide structural strength.

While each of these excavation techniques has its place, there are, as previously stated, many "offshoots" to be considered, such as the vacuum excavation method. One should always do their own independent research before beginning any excavation project, no matter the excavation techniques they intend to use. As is the case with many things, Google is a friend to the excavation researcher - use it! Many companies can be hired to help you with any questions or projects you may be considering. Happy hunting!

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