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Heavy Equipment Site Preparation for Construction

By Liam Brosnan
June 8, 2023

What’s the role of equipment in site preparation?

Construction doesn’t just start with the wave of a wand. Projects of all sizes require thorough site preparation before construction can commence. This involves clearing the area, grading the land, and compacting the soil. If site preparation isn’t properly done, it compromises the safety and quality of the entire project – leading to long delays and budget blowouts.

Heavy equipment is undeniably essential for carrying out thorough site preparation. Now let’s unpack the details.

What does site preparation include?

There are several processes involved in site preparation, including clearing, grading, and compacting the land to create a solid base where the project will be built. It’s not just a matter of making the ground firm enough to build a structure on top of, but also includes considerations around access points, such as driveways and walkways, as well as landscaping and drainage. 

Unique site factors will determine exactly what preparation needs to be carried out. For example, a fresh plot of land that hasn’t been built on before is likely to require more attention to compaction. Whereas a previously developed site, perhaps where a building has been demolished, is likely to already be compacted – so the key challenge is grading (ie. levelling) and clearing any leftover debris. 

In amongst these heavy machinery applications, there are other important steps to be taken, including site surveyance, soil testing, and planning of underground works such as pipes and plumbing. This will determine how the site should be laid out, what type of compaction is required, and what type of foundations need to be laid.

Heavy equipment – used correctly – ensures preparation work can be carried out efficiently, to a high standard, and that workers remain safe throughout.

Site preparation also vastly improves accessibility for vehicles and workers around the site, while reducing the impact of construction on the surrounding environment.

A yellow Wacker Neuson road roller, a crucial piece of heavy equipment with large tires and a cabin, is parked on a dirt construction site surrounded by trees and an overcast sky. The machine is essential for compacting soil, asphalt, and other materials in road construction projects.

What types of heavy equipment are used in site preparation?

Although soil compaction may be the main objective of site preparation, it takes a range of different equipment to get the job done. 

Site access may determine exactly which equipment can be used. For example, on a cramped urban construction site with small streets and neighbouring buildings, you may only be able to use smaller equipment – such as an 8-11 tonne smooth drum roller, which is compact and manoeuvrable in small spaces. 

In contrast, on large, isolated sites, where there are no traffic or noise considerations, you can use whatever equipment will get things done more efficiently – most likely a larger unit that can cover more ground, like a 24-27 tonne roller.

Looking to hire compaction rollers for your next project? Explore our hire range

Here’s a quick breakdown of the equipment commonly used in site preparation.:

  • Compaction
    Rollers, plate compactors, and vibratory compactors are all types of compaction machinery. This equipment is used to compact the soil and lay a firm foundation. Effective compaction is essential to prevent settling, while guaranteeing the stability and safety of the structure.

Need to hire the best smooth drum rollers in Australia? Get a quote now 

  • Excavators
    Excavators can be used for a wide range of site preparation tasks. They’re commonly utilised for clearing debris, grading the land, and digging trenches. The size of the excavator is generally dictated by the size of the project. Excavators’ hydraulic systems enable them to carry out a variety of operations like digging, lifting, and moving heavy objects.

     

  • Bulldozers
    Built for heavy-duty work, bulldozers are used to level the ground, remove debris, and move large amounts of earth. Both tracked and wheeled versions of bulldozers are available, and come in various sizes. Bulldozers can be used in a wide range of applications, from modest construction sites to significant infrastructure projects.

     

  • Scrapers
    Scrapers are typically used to level and grade large areas of land, such as construction sites, highways, and airports by moving large quantities of soil and other materials from one location to another. Scrapers consist of a tractor unit that pulls a blade, which is used to scrape the ground and collect material. The material is then taken to a place where it can be dumped, like a stockpile or fill area, where it can be used for different things, like filling in holes or elevating certain sections of the ground as needed.
  • Loaders
    Skid steer loaders are compact and versatile machines. They help prepare the ground for digging, grading, and moving materials. They’re perfect for smaller projects because they’re highly manoeuvrable and built to operate in confined spaces. Skid steer loaders come in a variety of sizes and can be equipped with a variety of attachments.

     

  • Graders
    Graders are large machines used not just to level out the land, but can also adjust the gradient of the slope as needed. They smooth out the surface and remove any ridges. The operator of a grader can grade the land to the desired level using an adjustable blade. Graders are frequently used in road construction projects and come in a range of sizes.

Looking to hire compaction rollers for your next project? Explore our hire range

A yellow Conplant road roller, a piece of heavy equipment, compacts a large dirt construction site under a clear blue sky. Tire marks and construction materials are visible on the ground, with trees lining the horizon in the background.

How to get the best value from your heavy equipment

Of course, with heavy machinery comes potentially heavy consequences. Not only in terms of worker safety, but also erosion of the surrounding environment. To reduce these risks, it’s crucial to put erosion control and stormwater management measures in place.

We’re also proud to say that Deutz’s US EPA Tier 4 / EU Stage IV engines meet all the latest emission standards to keep your people safe and protect the environment without sacrificing performance.

At Conplant, we focus on building successful partnerships, not just transactions. We don’t just sell you the roller – we follow up to make sure you’re getting the most value out of it. Our support doesn’t stop when your equipment leaves our yard. Our team is knowledgeable and always happy to offer their advice and expertise when you need it.

Want to buy brand new compaction equipment? Get a quote

Not sure exactly what equipment you need? Call us on 1300 166 166 to discuss options and find the best price in your area.

A construction site with surveying equipment in the foreground, a green steamroller exhibiting its heavy equipment prowess on the right, a helicopter in the distance, and a mountain under a blue sky with scattered clouds. The ground is covered with gravel and dirt, marking thorough site preparation.

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