The importance of groundworks in any construction project, and the professional contractor you hire to complete them, cannot be overstated. Before any construction project can start, it’s critical that high-quality groundworks services are carried out – it’s quite literally the foundation on which your property or structure will be built upon and carries the entire weight of it all. We’ll dive deeper into why groundworks are quite so critical to do and do them right!
What exactly are groundworks?
As the very first stage of construction, groundworks encompass ground investigation, site clearance, demolition and substructures to landscaping, foundations, underpinning and much more. In the simplest of terms, groundworks refer to the preparation work needed before construction can begin.
So, now you know the basics, what are the stages of groundworks, and why is it so important?
- Site Investigation
The process of groundworks begins with a full site or ground investigation – not only a matter of good practice within most local authorities, but also often a legal requirement. A site investigation helps to identify any potential problems, past land uses and the imperative stability levels. During this stage, your groundworks contractor will gather data on soil conditions, hydrology, and geology, determining how they will interact with your planned development, whilst highlighting any issues such as chemical contamination, voids or abandoned mine workings.
Statistics demonstrate that a massive 80% of problems encountered on construction projects are due to unforeseen ground conditions, so having a site investigation can help to start off your development on the right foot!
- Demolition and Clearance
As part of the initial preparation, for many construction projects the site will need to be cleared or have existing structures demolished or dismantled in a safe and careful manner. This gives you a clean slate to work with, and ensures that the area is free from any accumulated waste, hazards, obstacles or messes. In projects such as basement construction, tonnes of soil will need to be excavated and removed too. The importance of groundworks speaks for itself here – a building can’t be built until you’ve got somewhere to build it!
- Substructure & Ground Stabilisation
Once the site is clear from waste, we move onto substructure and ground stabilisation. In any size, shape or form of landscaping or construction projects, stable, level surfaces are key for building on – whether it’s a new driveway, patio or new build! Get your ground prep wrong and you could experience costly and unsightly subsidence, where your property gradually sinks into the ground. Doesn’t sound great, does it.
This stage covers a wide range of processes, from filling voids in the ground from water, animals or tree roots, to using soil type knowledge to protect against subsidence or heave from specific soils by employing vibrocompaction, lime/cement treatment or other stability-enhancing methods to increase strength. Your groundworks contractor will then construct foundations to suit your property or structure type, which could be shallow or deep and reinforced as needed, and can also address issues with soil type.
Incorrectly installed foundations, or foundations that aren’t strong enough to support the weight of the building, can cause costly and extremely dangerous issues. Your property could partially or completely collapse, falling upon those below and resulting in serious injury or even death. This is just one of the reasons why groundworks are so important, and why selecting the right contractor is a truly critical decision!
- Site Services
When it comes to buildings and commercial premises, utilities are essential. The provision of site services is another crucial consideration in groundworks, ensuring that the building has access to effective drainage systems, electricity, water, sewerage and any cabling that might be needed for the development to be a success. This may involve alterations of the existing utility provisions, or installation of new solutions tailored specifically to the development, and can be fairly straightforward or difficult with specialist tunnelling or shaft sinking solutions required. Without a professional contracting team that has the expert knowledge of the site services you’ll need (and how to implement them), buildings most likely won’t have access to these elements, and without them, will be useless.
If required, groundworks can also include landscaping services that are needed, from driveways for residential developments to road surfacing, car parks and more. After all, what’s a stunning domestic or commercial property if it’s just surrounded by mud? Landscaping brings it all together, contributing significantly to the value and aesthetics of your property, whilst providing required functionality and utility and assisting with water drainage and energy efficiency.
Why is it so essential to hire a professional groundwork company?
Experience is critical when it comes to groundwork, and choosing the right, trusted company is the most crucial decision you will need to make. If it’s not obvious from our lengthy explanation of the groundworks process, the contractor you hire can be the difference between a safe and secure construction, or a disastrous project that costs you money, damages your reputation and puts your safety at risk. Your groundworks contractor needs to be focused, professional, and committed to delivering only the most meticulous standards, working efficiently whilst adhering to industry safety regulations.
Here at Vale Contracting, we can offer you a winning combination of exceptional service and many years of experience within the industry. We’ll work with you every step of the way, from evaluation, to planning, and all the way through to execution. Cutting corners is never an option, and safety is always at the forefront of our work. Our proven track record and loyal customer base demonstrate that we can deliver and guarantee the exceptional service you deserve.