Preparing a lot for your house

The Florida Times-Union recently reported that the statistics from the Department of Commerce show a 15.7 percent increase in new construction due to a solid job growth and decline in mortgage rates, fantastic news for home buyers/builders.

Congratulations, you’ve decided to custom build your new home.  Obviously, the first step in the building process is to call Mike at Cogdill Builders Florida to discuss your budget, location, and what you want from your dream home. Once this is completed you are finally ready to “break ground” and prepare a lot for your house.

Home Building Answers notes that a solid planning session with your contractor and detailed knowledge of you house layout is key in proper site preparation.

Site preparation is one of the most important aspects in the actual construction of your home. It is the process of clearing away impeding objects, completing any necessary rough grading and excavation, and staking the house location for the foundation.

It is important to know the house layout so it can be rough staked. Approximately staking where your house will sit helps determine which trees need to be removed.

Clearing Impeding Objects

Clearing a lot for a home includes the removal of trees, roots, vegetation, and other debris. The clearing process can be expensive and time consuming depending on the method you choose.

The first method is the traditional bull dozing route. With this process, you will either have to haul the debris away, which is very expensive, or have it burned or buried. The latter is typically only an option in rural areas or very large lots.

Burning and burying both come with their own inherent obstacles. If electing to burn, a permit may be required in addition to the presence of the local fire department. A trash hole is an easier option as long as you choose a spot far from the home site as it will settle and depress as the limbs decay. It is possible though, that this method could cause drainage issues or damage patios and driveways.

The second option in lot preparation is mulch clearing. Mulch clearing is a single step process in which undesirable vegetation is ground into mulch and spread evenly over the cutting area. The Benefits of Mulch Clearing include:

  • No damage to roots of surrounding trees
  • No brush piles left behind for burning or haul-off
  • No stumps
  • Extremely fast
  • Low ground pressure and minimal ground disturbance for erosion protection
  • Material recycles into natural organic nutrients

These two methods vary in the amount of soil compaction and cost. With mulching, unless you specify differently, the machine blades never break the ground allowing the natural integrity to remain intact and offers a soil compaction of less than 3.5 pounds per square inch (less than a human footprint).In contrast, bull dozing results in a 20 percent mortality rate of trees near the work area and a high rate of soil erosion.

It is best to contact your contractor to decide which method is appropriate and feasible for your location. They may even be able to recommend a reputable company.

Rough Grading and Excavation

Once the lot is cleared it is time to begin rough grading and excavation. Rough grading is basically the cutting and filling of the site while excavation is simply the digging process. They are both done with the use of a dozer.

Preplan and identify problem areas where you can use excess dirt to fill in holes and avoid the additional expenses of hauling dirt in and out. Topsoil is expensive and a finish grade will need to be applied after the home is built. Planning will also eliminate the need for additional hours of a hired bull dozer.

It is highly probable that you will need to move dirt around to achieve the desired grade level for the home and allow water drainage away from the house. Serious damage problems can occur due to improper drainage causing flooding or standing water.

It is important to get as much of the grading done as possible especially since some builders like to pour the concrete for the driveway and foundation at the same time. Again, contact your contractor for information on this process.

Now that your lot has been prepared for a home by means of clearing brush, excavating, and rough grading, it is time to stake the home and pour the concrete. Your highly qualified contractor will take it from here.

Preparing a lot for your house is one of the most important aspects in the actual construction of your home. Talking and planning with your contractor can take the guess work out of site preparation. Call or email Mike at Cogdill Builders Florida to learn more about your site preparation options.

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