Excavation, Bedding and Backfilling Work

April 19, 2017


Laborious efforts uncover straight-edged trenches. This is a job for excavation equipment, the machinery that carves channels out of any soil type. Essentially, this work requires a great deal of engineering aptitude, plus many excavation tools. Importantly, what's being described here is a finitely managed cycle, a process that involves excavation, bedding, and backfilling work. Here's a closer look at this challenging excavation work.

Establishing the Trench

After the trench route is planned and all potential subterranean obstacles are identified, it's time to call in the excavator. There are root systems and junk, gravel and clay, and numerous soil types to dig out. Existing ground features also must be accommodated, so the equipment has to be capable of boring horizontally, perhaps under a road or pathway. Shoring work is next. The protective buttressing structure holds back the earthen walls. Carefully, very carefully, existing pipes and cables are exposed.

What Exactly is Bedding?

Simply put, bedding is a layer of aggregate spread across the trench bottom. The reason for covering the bottom of the carved out channel in gravel or some loose granular material is fairly easy to explain. Its presence is intended as a trench bed leveller. The material supports pipework, cushions the hollow conduits, then stabilises the entire pipe run by extending this uniform surface. There's sand, a bedding that cushions the pipework and adds a measure of elasticity to the mix. Then there's gravel and coarser materials. The larger granules are preferred when a non-compressible zone needs to be established around an interred conduit.

Applying a Backfill

Material backfill may come at the end of the work cycle, but that fact doesn't mean this stage isn't important. Imagine a substandard backfill. The trench is now occupied by water pipes or cables, storm drains or sewage lines, so the soil must be returned by implementing a backfill strategy. Imagine if this wasn't the case, and the filled trench passed under a road. A depression would form as rainwater helped the soil settle. The result of this settling effect would be a cracked road or damaged foundation. In order to avoid this catastrophic event, the returned fill must be carefully compacted.

Service disruptions are avoided by evaluating each stage of the work. The excavation work is conducted by the backhoe equipment and boring tools, with every soil strip circuit monitored. Equally managed, the bedding is partially compacted and properly spread so that its thickness is uniform and the pipes are supported. Finally, the backfill is expertly compacted and inspected to ensure any ground shrinkage is avoided.

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