At Rino, we do a lot of digging. Our operators work together with our laborers, foreman and project managers to get each excavation project done on time. We don’t shy away from challenges, and being native to the Pacific Northwest, we don’t mind the rain. 

What is Excavation?

Some little kids never lose their love for heavy equipment. Those are the folks who grow up to operate our excavators, dozers, trucks, and skid steers. Excavation can mean many different kinds of earth moving, but it always includes moving many cubic yards of earth from one place to another with heavy equipment. 

In Washington, we work year-round on excavation projects. We’re accustomed to mud, rock, clay, and sand and the many slopes that are common to our region. Project excavation is arguably the most important part of construction, because it prepares the ground for everything that comes next.  

One example is that of the Allura at Tiffany park project, completed in 2017. Allura was a 94-lot subdivision requiring us to clear 21 acres of land, cut-and-fill over 100,00 cubic yards of earth, and dig down over 30 feet for a sewer. 

Clearing the Renton property was hard work. It was heavily forested and close to a large residential property, with plenty of foot traffic and concerned neighbors. 

It is a great example of two kinds of excavation: topsoil and cut-and-fill. 

What Kinds of Projects Does Rino Do?

While it’s true that we’re working through the Pacific Northwest winters and springs, part of the drive to keep projects going stems from the healthy competition surrounding earthworks in the King County area. 

Staying at it means we keep our skills sharp and don’t let our clients down.

Most of our excavation projects, like Allura at Tiffany Park, prepare sites for future builds. Subdivisions, housing developments, apartments, hotels; every time a new structure is planned, it requires the earth to be prepared for utilities installation and drainage. 

 

What Types of Excavation are There?

When working with various materials, each type of soil requires knowledge of how that particular substance behaves. How hard is it? How easily will it cave on you? Is it waterlogged? Knowing the answers to these questions will determine how successful you will be. 

Steep grades, poor drainage, volcanic ash, and an annual average of more than 40 inches of rain are all characteristics that make Washington soils unique. Experience and knowledge come in handy when it comes to facing these conditions. 

Mass Excavation by Material:

Topsoil

the topmost layer of earth. Usually soft. Includes vegetation, trees, debris, and any detritus or decaying material that could inhibit the land’s capability of bearing structural loads

Rock

Unsurprisingly, rock is difficult work to excavate. To excavate rock we have to utilize blasting, drilling, and special equipment exclusively for digging out rock. Even with specialized equipment, rock presents serious challenges.

Muck

Muck is soggy, waterlogged soil. When we excavate muck, we’re thinking especially about where it’s going to go once we remove it. If we can put it to use somewhere else, we move it. Muck can also be spread out to dry in another area.

Earth

Earth is the soil just beneath the topsoil. Earthworks is a broader term for excavation in general--here we are talking specifically about removing the soil layer to create a foundation for buildings, bridges, drainage ditches, or other types of construction.

Mass Excavation by Purpose

Defining mass excavation by purpose emphasizes the importance of excavation on our everyday lives as a society. As the first step in building infrastructure, we believe it’s an important step to get right. 

Dredging

Dredging is excavating underwater, and it is as messy and difficult as it sounds. Existing sediment or sediment built up over time can block waterways. The effects of dredging can have a profound impact that reaches beyond the environment itself. Dredging can change the capacity of a water passage, harbor, or bay to allow for deep-water vessels, which can mean increased economic growth for a given community.

Basement Excavation

Basement excavation refers to the area of a building below ground level. It’s complex, whether for residential housing or urban landscapes. It takes serious equipment and solid knowledge. The basement excavation required for some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers means digging down to the bedrock, often more than 50 meters. That’s a lot of dirt coming out of a really big hole.

Trench Excavation

This process of excavation aims for long and narrow as opposed to deep and wide. Trench excavation is used to lay foundations, install pipelines and sewer systems, or to bury service lines. Like all types of excavation, the importance of trench excavation to our homes and neighborhoods is unlike anything else, but it remains unseen.

Cut and Fill

Cut and Fill Excavation is also referred to as stripping. Before any other projects can begin, an area needs to be cleared of wide shallow layers of sand, rock, topsoil, and other material, and graded. With cut-and fill; wide, shallow swaths of material are cleared from a site in preparation for construction.

What are the Main Types of Equipment Used in Excavation Projects?

Excavator

Excavators are the most essential pieces of construction equipment used in heavy civil construction. Generally, excavators are used for excavating, but they can also be used for heavy lifting, demolition, dredging, cutting trees, and land clearing.

Excavators are equipped with a long arm and a digging bucket attached at the end. The cab arrangement can rotate up to 360 degrees, giving an operator the capacity to work multiple targets from one area.

Backhoe

Backhoes, like their name suggests, have a bucket on the front with the digging tool on the back of the equipment. Backhoes are versatile, and can be used in:

  • earthmoving
  • small demolition and breaking concrete
  • digging holes
  • excavating
  • landscaping
  • trenches
  • loading/unloading material

Backhoe buckets can be replaced with other attachments, like grapplers, hammers, or augers.

Bulldozer

Bulldozers can navigate rough terrain because of their wide tracks. The weight of the ‘dozer is spread out, which means it can work even in unstable soils like mud or sand. 

Primarily for earthmoving, the blade on the front of a bulldozer is used for pushing or removing soil, sand, and debris on construction sites. The plate is raised and lowered using hydraulic pistons, and it can be replaced with a ripper attachment. Rippers can be used to break up surface rock, pavement, asphalt, and concrete.

Scrapers

Scrapers smooth the surface of the work area, and can be used to move earth over short distances (two miles or less).  Scrapers are used predominantly in road construction, because they are very effective for removing dirt, gravel, or other unwanted material from the site surface, a.k.a. “scraping” the area.

Scrapers consist of a cab pulling a large, heavy wagon.  The wagon section has a gated front with a blade at the bottom.  When the gate is open, the blade scrapes up material as the wagon is pulled forward, until the wagon is filled.  Once full, the gate is closed and the material is transported to an area where it can be disposed of.

Haul Trucks

Specifically for high-production mining and heavy duty environments, haul trucks carry material like crushed rock and broken concrete from one place to another.  They may have several axels to support the weight of the loads they haul, and their drivers are skilled professionals when it comes to maneuvering these heavy vehicles. 

Built similarly to a dump truck but much more rugged and with a very high weight rating, haul trucks include a cab for the driver and a large bed for the material.  Haul trucks can be customized for different applications, like extremely hot or cold environments. 

In addition to Excavators, Backhoes, Scrapers, Haul Trucks, and Bulldozers; some projects call for more specialized excavation equipment like Trenchers, Loaders, or even Tower Cranes.

Why Rino?

At Rino we’re a team, we love overcoming obstacles, and we strive to be the best at everything we do. Our equipment is well-maintained and we’re honest and good to our word. Above all this, it’s our people that really make us the best choice for your excavation project. We’ve got people who will go the extra mile to do things right, and problem-solvers who don’t back down from a challenge. 

Want to learn more about the types of equipment used on excavation projects in Washington? Ready to explore your career at Rino? Give us a call or check out our website at www.rinocon.com.

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