Excavation plays a crucial role in a wide variety of construction tasks, from installing utility lines, to building retaining walls and other structures you can build at home. Homeowners with a background in construction often undertake such excavation projects themselves. Renting an excavator from a reputable tool company usually costs far less than hiring someone to do the job for you.
But even a relatively simply excavation job can turn ugly if you don't follow some key protocols. If you have an upcoming excavation project you intend to undertake yourself, keep reading. This article takes a closer look at three key tips for ensuring a safe and successful excavation job.
1. Mark Off Your Dig Site
The first step in any excavation job involves clearly delineating the boundaries of your proposed dig site. Such markings serve two crucial purposes. First of all, those markings tell utility companies exactly where you plan to excavate. Second of all, clear markings ensure that you stay within correct boundaries — and make straight cuts — once your digging begins.
You may never break ground until your proposed dig site has been approved by local utility companies, who will determine whether any buried utility lines lie beneath the soil. Use white marking products such as flags, stakes, paint, or whiskers to identify your dig site. If digging in snowy terrain, use fluorescent pink paint instead.
Markings play just as important a role once excavation gets underway. Easily identified markers ensure that you dig perfectly straight lines, which can be difficult to achieve otherwise. Wise operators also take the time to mark out how their movements will progress. Such information ensures that you do not box your excavator machine into an awkward position.
2. Keep Your Excavator Level
When the time comes to begin digging, the position of your excavator plays a huge role in the quality of your cuts. The single most important rule to follow involves keeping your excavator level at all times. For one thing, a level excavator has a much greater degree of stability, protecting you against tip-overs, cave-ins, and other potentially life-threatening accidents.
Keeping your excavator level also improves the quality of your cuts. Even a small tilt means that neither the walls nor the floor of your excavation will be straight. Fortunately, you can ensure that your excavator remains in the proper position by taping a basic level to the inside of the cab.
For even more accurate results, use a high quality grade laser. Just know that, when using this option, you must calibrate the grade laser relative to the position of your bucket. In either case, address any unwanted tilting by packing dirt underneath the wheels on the appropriate side of the excavator.
3. Always Position Your Blade Behind You
For most residential and small excavation projects, a compact excavator offers the best results. The relatively small size of such excavators allow them to more easily maneuver around homes and landscaping features. The lighter weight of a compact excavator also reduces the risk of excessive soil compaction, which can potentially damage buried utility lines.
Operators must follow correct positioning guidelines when using a compact excavator. Otherwise, you put yourself at risk of tipping over the machine while digging. A compact excavator contains a blade mounted to the tracks, as well as a bucket that attaches to the rotating cab.
The most important thing to understand involves the position of your bucket relative to your blade. When digging, always point your car such that the blade lies on the opposite side from the bucket. That way, as you dig, the blade stabilizes the cab. Otherwise the force of the bucket digging into the ground tilts the cab backwards and can overturn the excavator.
Excavators play a crucial role in the construction industry and can help you accomplish some DIY projects at home. For more information on renting the right excavator for your next project, please contact Detroit's tool experts at Ever-Joy Rent All Corp.