HOW TO BUILD A CUSTOM HOME, Part 14: Excavation

In this series, the professionals at the B.O.L.D. Company will take you through the process of building a custom home in the Greater Cincinnati – Northern Kentucky area. From plan and lot selection, to mortgage approval, to the actual construction, we’ll take you behind-the-scenes each week for an inside look at a different part of the process.

This week, we leave the pre-construction preparation and take a look at the first stage of construction!

We are all familiar with this common construction metaphor: start with a good foundation. While this is true, in order to have a good foundation, you must first prepare the site. This means:

*Review the position of the house. This is your last chance to make any changes. Consider: property lines, height above the curb, grade of the yard and steepness of the driveway, trees to save or remove, city and/or subdivision set-back requirements. If you do choose to make any significant changes to the position of the house, however, you will probably be required to have the change reviewed by the governing bodies that have issued permits based on the previous site plan: Design and architecture review boards and building-zoning departments.

*Clear any trees or debris that will be in the way of the excavators. Trees that sit where the hole is to be dug, of course, cannot be saved. However, saving those established trees that CAN be saved can be a great benefit, in terms of providing shade and giving the home character. Remember, though, that even trees that are not in the immediate vicinity can suffer; trees often have lengthy roots. Keep in mind that the stress on the unseen roots may require some extra attention to these trees in the years following construction, especially during times of drought.

*Stake the corners of the house to get a feel for how the home will sit on the lot. This will also tell the excavators where to dig. But, before they begin:

*Move the stakes out 3 feet in each direction. The hole needs to be larger than the foundation that will occupy it.

Now you are ready to dig the hole! This type of excavation is performed by an experienced and knowledgeable operator driving a powerful and very large piece of equipment. In most cases, digging the hole will take an entire work day (8 to 10 hours). Tons and tons of dirt will be removed from this massive hole that will hold your foundation. Much of that dirt will be used later to fill in the extra space around the foundation (remember, the excavators will dig the hole 3 feet bigger in each direction than the size of the foundation), so make sure that wherever you put the dirt in the meantime, you will have access to it later. In order to keep from having to dispose of this veritable mountain of dirt that will be created, contractors will generally dig the foundation to a depth that will put the height of the house about two feet higher than the original grade of the lot. The excess dirt will fill in to raise the grade of the yard to the height of the house.

Once the hole is completed, your work has only just begun!

The B.O.L.D. Company is uniquely situated to help you through each and every step of the custom home building process, from financing and design/selections to construction and warranty service. We are available to build on your lot in Northern Kentucky, or let our licensed real estate agents help you find the perfect home site! Our in-house drafting and design team, together with our on-staff licensed Professional Engineer, can help you find or design the plan of your dreams! And of course, B.O.L.D. combines quality products and craftsmanship with unsurpassed customer service, so that the finished home is everything you expect and more. Find out why 400+ other new home customers have trusted The B.O.L.D. Company since 1986!

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