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Tips for Proper Site Preparation

07 May 2019, Posted by F.A. in Concrete Forms Tips

A building is only as strong as its foundation. No matter the size of your job, you have to properly prepare the site – especially before bringing concrete form rentals to the project.

Site preparation includes removing dirt and rubbish, evaluating subsurface structures and utilities, and building a good, solid base to pour the concrete on. This can be a challenging task, especially since the site has to be perfect before anything can be built on it.

In short, proper site preparation helps ensure a properly constructed and stable foundation for any structure.

The Value in Investing in Site Preparation

Concrete structures should last for decades, especially when constructed properly. This is exactly why proper site preparation is so important; it helps build a strong foundation for the building to withstand whatever comes its way.

Varying moisture content, improper site compaction, different soil types, and undercutting displacements are all factors that can weaken the stability of your completed structure. You don’t want your concrete to crack or crumble after it has been poured – and this is exactly why site preparation includes critical activities like demolition, excavation, stabilization, and even shoring.

Assessing and preparing your site can also give you a fair idea of the amount of concrete base you’ll need for the foundation. For example, you might not need to build an additional base if your site has sandy and gravelly soil. If you’re building a concrete base over organic soil or heavy clay, then you might need to increase your base layers.

This is exactly why you need to call your concrete supplier to help with ground assessment. A good supplier will be able to recommend the right amount of base depth and the type of concrete you should use.

How To Prep For A Strong Base

There are various methods for preparing your site for proper concrete placement, depending upon the job and structure. Preparation usually starts with the removal of surface vegetation and shrubbery, followed by excavation of higher grade areas, surface preparation and fill placement.

Clearing To Provide A Solid Base

The process starts with clearing away any obstacles, and cleaning the construction site. Specifically, this includes removing trees, demolishing any structures present on site, and removal of any old underground infrastructure.

Concrete tends to crack and crumble if not poured over a solid and stable base. This can be avoided by bringing in 4 to 6 inches of excellent compactable base, as this is the general rule of thumb. The exact amount can vary depending upon the condition of the pre-existing soil, the climate, and the type of the structure being constructed.

Site Survey and Safety

Survey pegs are used to identify the block to be built upon. A surveyor will examine the site, and determine exactly where the structure needs to be built. It generates a physical representation of the construction plan provided given by the contractor.

Job site safety is the most important part of this stage, especially as a number of people work on construction sites with heavy equipment, power tools, and sharp objects.

For smaller projects, jobsite safety can be as simple as ensuring that the proper safety equipment and tools are in perfect condition. This also means hiring experienced workers who know their way around a construction site.

For larger projects, this step means clearing off main traffic areas by putting up construction signs and barriers.

Compaction of Layers and Moisture Control

Rammers, often called jumping jacks, work by delivering high-impact force in smaller frequencies to confined areas to make fine grain soil – like clay and silt – increasingly dense. Three or four passes should be made with a compactor when you add 2 inches to the base, or even after the addition of each new layer.

Water is also required for achieving the desired density of the concrete. Dry bases won’t compact well, so a spray down is essential for dampening the layers to achieve maximum compaction. This added water can simply be provided by a garden hose.

To check if the base material has enough moisture content, grab a handful and squeeze it into a ball. If it manages to hold its shape, then you can proceed with the next phase. Care should be taken to prevent the base from becoming oversaturated, as it will start to lose its shape.

Once your base is ready, the actual construction work can begin, such as securing the concrete forms, screwing on the stakes and setting the rebar. Remember, a well-prepared, even surface with uniformly compacted density can form a strong, solid foundation for your structure – along with ensuring that the concrete does not crack or crumble over time.

Your next step will be implementing concrete forms. Contact Forming America for your next concrete project. We specialize in Symons steel-ply forms and are proud to deliver high quality materials and equipment right to your job site.