What Is Excavation? What Every Architect Needs to Know

February 4, 2020

Many steps go into preparing a construction project and excavation is one of the most important ones.

Without excavating an area, new construction can't be safely built on the site. This can be a dangerous step in the construction process, so the architects involved must be well-trained and knowledgable.

So, what is excavation?

Keep reading to learn all about what excavation is and what the different types are.

What is Excavation?

Excavation is the process of inspecting a piece of land before you begin working on it.

For safety reasons, any piece of land needs to be inspected as well as prepared so a strong foundation can be built on it. Excavation construction is necessary for any construction project.

Throughout the excavation process, objects like rocks and soil are moved to make the area suitable for moving forward. Once these elements are moved, a cavity is built at the construction site.

There are several different kinds of excavations that can be done. The types of excavation needed will depend on the construction site's state.

What Are the Different Kinds of Excavation?

Now that you know what excavation is used for, what are the different types of excavation?


This type of excavation removes the top layer of earth from the construction site.

This is done by removing any vegetation or decaying material that could get in the way of construction.


If there's a rocky surface at the construction site, this is fixed with rock excavation.

Rock excavation is often more difficult than other types of excavation. This is because special equipment is required to clear the rock.


If there's "muck" made up of water and soil at the construction site then it must be cleared.

The muck will either be spread to dry or relocated.


When more than one layer of soil needs to be removed, this is done with earth excavation.

Sometimes the material that's removed is used to create embankments or foundations. This material is often referred to as "spoil."

Cut and Fill

Cut and fill excavation is used when a large area needs to be cleared out. It's also referred to as "stripping excavation."


If any sort of sewer system, foundation, or pipelines need to be laid down at the site, this is done with trench excavation.

Either shallow or deep trenches can be created with trench excavation.


If work below the ground level needs to be done, this is basement excavation.

This type of excavation can become complicated, depending on what needs to be done.

Excavation is a Crucial Step

If you're preparing a piece of land for construction, clearing out any material, muck or rocks is necessary before starting.

If the area isn't properly prepared, the construction cannot be done safely and the project won't be the highest quality it could be.

Now that we've answered, "what is excavation?" let us answer the rest of your construction questions! You can find tons of helpful information in our Engineering section.

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