Excavation Work—1 Job on Your Self-Build You Shouldn't Do Yourself

Excavation work involves the moving of soil. There are a number of reasons you may need to use excavation equipment during your self-build project. Clearing your building plot, levelling the land, demolition, hauling off existing buildings, drainage and septic tank installation are the most common jobs you're likely to need done. Whether it's for the challenge and satisfaction or to save money, you may be planning to do a lot of the work on your building project yourself. While there are certain jobs that a competent person can undertake, there are some jobs that really should be done by professionals. Below are two common hazards involved in excavation work. Make sure you're aware of the pitfalls (pun intended) that can occur before you undertake the job.


Cave-ins are one of the most common and severe problems that can occur on any-size job. You'll need to ensure that you know how to make any tunnel or hole you dig safe. This means you'll need to know something about excavation construction before you begin. Excavation construction involves building frames and forms that can hold back dirt and prevent it from collapsing and filling the hole you dig. The recommended practice will vary according to the type of hole or tunnel you dig. Be sure you can identify what safety method is appropriate for what type of excavation.

Exposure to Underground Services

When you dig into the ground in a populated area, there is always a chance that you'll hit underground services like gas, water or electrics. You should locate the exact position of all buried utilities by referring to the plot's plant drawings. You'll start by digging manually to find the exact position before employing machinery to finish. Once they've been located, you'll need to mark them so that you know where they are at all times. You may need to obtain permission from the relevant authorities before you start. If you suspect that the utilities will pose a hazard, you should arrange for them to be shut off and disconnected before excavating.

These are just two of the potential problems that can occur with excavation work. If you undertake the work yourself, you should be prepared for these scenarios. In the worst cases, they can be life-threatening; in the best, they may cause problems that you'll need to pay to fix. If you feel at all unsure about your competence to manage and prevent them, you should hire professional excavation services and ensure that the work is done properly.