Excavation contractors are fond of telling their friends that they couldn’t bear to give up their childhood dump trucks, so they exchanged them for bigger versions. In the world of construction, excavation contractors do much more than haul dirt around; their responsibilities include site preparation, grading, trenching and many other soil-related tasks. And, yes, they do operate some very large pieces of heavy equipment. In a typical residential construction project, the excavation contractor shows up after the surveying crew determines the house and lot boundaries. The contractor removes the soil to the depth required for the new foundation and ensures that the soil is firm through compaction tests and compaction with equipment, if necessary. The dig requirements are precise, so the excavation contractor must be able to use a level and transit to match the grade posted by the surveying crew. After the foundation contractor pours the footers and stem wall, the excavation contractor backfills around the new foundation.
Excavation contractors are considered subcontractors because their job is often just one part of a larger project. A homeowner can contact an excavation contractor for a personal job, such as digging for a swimming pool, but the excavation contractor won’t oversee the entire project. Excavation contractors often work under the direction of general contractors, who solicit bids, coordinate subcontractor timelines and pay the excavation contractor when he completes his part of the project. If it has to do with moving dirt, an excavation contractor is probably the guy to do it. Depending on the equipment the contractor owns or leases, he can build roads, grade roads, dig ponds and sewers, excavate ditches for water lines or gas lines and operate trenchers that install flexible pipes beneath the ground without creating ditches. Excavation contractors create terraced drainage on agricultural land and build earthen dams.