If you have an upcoming excavation, it’s important to have a solid project checklist in place. This allows you to have a clear understanding of what will happen before, during, and after the project is complete. Follow this excavation project checklist and lightly modify it to your upcoming project to ensure the entire excavation is safe and damage-free.

1. Before the Project

Before you begin your excavation process, you must complete three important steps: make project information accessible, gather permits, and create clear guidelines for the excavation. As with any type of project, the sooner you begin to prepare for excavating, the better likelihood the project will move smoothly and efficiently.

    • Clearly Organize Pertinent Information</strong – While it may seem like a simple step, making important information easy accessible is crucial. In the event of an emergency, you do not want to be scrambling to find or access pertinent information.Where you store this information is up to you. Some of the standard documents to keep readily available include:
      1. Contact information in case of an emergency,
      2. Guidelines and procedures documentation,
      3. Information regarding the nearest medical facility and how to get there,
      4. Utility information,
      5. Permits and other approval documents.

      If your excavation or job site have any unique aspects, be sure to document those as well.

    • Gather Permits – You will most likely need at least one permit to perform your excavation. Some of the documentation you will need to submit includes the location, excavation methods, and project supervisor.If there are any important utilities in the area, you will be notified upon approval of your permit. However, it is important for you and your team to be diligent during any excavation.  While you wait for the permit, call 811 and your local utility locator to make sure you have all of the utility information you need.
    • Provide Clear GuidelinesSafety is of the utmost importance during any excavation. You do not want any of your team injured, and you certainly do not want to hit any important utilities. Make sure you create clear guidelines that explain the scope of the project and how it will be performed. Additionally, be sure to go over the emergency procedures thoroughly. In the unfortunate event of an emergency, you need everyone to be on the same page.

2. During the Project

Once you have the approval to move forward with the project, it’s time to gather your team and get started on the excavation. Utilizing utility mapping and the proper equipment will help ensure the process is smooth from start to finish.

    • Identifying Markings – You will receive a notification of marked utilities before the excavation begins. Remind your team to leave buffer zones to prevent any damage. If any unmarked utilities are discovered, immediately report them. It is your responsibility to make sure these unmarked utilities are properly reported.
    • Use the Proper Underground Utility Equipment -During the excavation, the right tools need to be used in order to complete the project efficiently and safely. When possible, hydrovac equipment should be utilized to prevent the likelihood of puncturing or damaging utilities.At this point, you may come across breaks or damage to the system. If this occurs, relevant authorities must be informed. Similar to unmarked utilities, it is your responsibility to immediately report any damage you come across.

3. After The Project

  • Removal of Excavated Material – After the initial excavation is finished, the project is far from over. Any debris must be removed from the job site by the agreed upon deadline. This deadline can be found in the project documents and guidelines that were established before the project began. How and where the debris can be transferred will depend on local ordinances.
  • Sit Inspection – The final step involves waiting for the final inspection. The inspector will come out and verify the scope of the job has been completed correctly. They must sign off on the project before any other contractors can move forward on their piece of the complete project.

Related article: Tips for Safe Digging.

SoftDig Helps Check One Box Off Your Excavation Project Checklist

SoftDig is the oldest full-service SEU firm in the nation. Since 1959, we have been leading innovations in underground utility locating. Before you dig, contact our team and learn how our services can save you numerous resources while prepare for excavating.


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