Digging In Your Lot

Shovels in the Ground

By now you’ve taken the first big step in your home construction journey – you’ve purchased your building lot, finalized your home design, and applied for your building permit. But before you’re able to complete your permit application, there are a few items that need to happen that. One of the earliest items to complete would be to apply for a driveway permit (if no road address exists for your building lot).

Your local municipality tells you where to put your driveway and assigns your actual address. But where do you put your home? Maybe you have a view you want to capture, a feature you want to focus on, or just to hide from your neighbours . Perhaps you want your home to be in line with the road, or to enjoy spectacular sunsets in the backyard. You will hire and work with an engineer to determine the layout of your lot, where your home and where all the required elements need to be.

Take That Dirt, and Shove(l) It!

Using your lot plan, your chosen excavator will begin to transform your bare lot into a work site, beginning with the construction of your driveway. A culvert will need to be laid to access the road, and a rough driveway laid down on firm land. A nice straight driveway does make it simpler to access the site, but you might want to curve your laneway around some rocks, or trees. Next, your excavator will clear any trees (if needed) and start to remove earth for your foundation.

If you are on a rural property, now is also a great time to get your well drilled. Once the well driller has found a good source of water, they will install the wellhead and register your well.

Holey Moley

Referencing the site plan, the excavator will then complete the excavation of the foundation, in preparation of the construction of the foundation. One item to consider at this time is whether your septic system (again, if you’re in a rural location) should be installed before or after the home construction. Often waiting until the home is at least partially completed is better, it helps the septic installer and plumber coordinate, so the outflow of the waste system has a nice smooth slope down to the septic tank. But, sometimes, the location of the septic system calls for it to be installed before the foundation is in.

The size and location of the septic system reflect your home design, and your lot conditions. The size/specification of your septic system are normally based on the number of bedrooms in your home design. Your lot conditions can also impact the septic system – if you’ve got limited space, or poor soil conditions, then your septic design will be adjusted to suit.

Finishing Touches

With the foundation in and inspected, now you’ve got to cover up all that hard work. Backfilling the foundation means moving the earth back around the foundation. Sometimes this is a simple as filling in a hole, while in other cases, you may need to build up the surrounding grade of soil to protect your foundation and direct water away from your home. This also has the added bonus of making life easier on the construction workers!

One final thing to consider during the ‘rough’ earthworks phase would be to keep in mind your photo finish. That is to say, what your home and yard will looks like once construction is wrapped up. While the finishing touches on the landscaping usually wait until after the majority of the exterior construction work is done, sometimes now is the best time to move that rock or flatten that hill. Every little bit to make your home and lot picture-perfect.