810-215-1500 Monday - Friday 7:00 - 4:00 1090 Grant Street Fenton, Michigan 48430

Safe, Quality Trenching is Crucial to Your Build

Spring is close at hand and with it the return of birds, blossoms, and blooms – and something else: building. Last January, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) forecasted that new home sales would increase 2.5 percent in 2020 from 2019, reaching 708,000 new homes. That was the first time since 2007 that first year sales would exceed 700,000. According to NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz, “Low resale inventory, favorable mortgage rates, historically low unemployment, and accelerating wage growth are driving builder sentiment and point to single-family production gains in 2020.” Despite the pandemic and its many effects, in September 2020, single-family housing starts were at a rate of 1.1 million, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Census Bureau. Figures continue to point to growth in 2021. These figures bode well for the building industry.

With this good news comes decision-making. Builders, business owners, and others constructing new homes and buildings will choose the contractors and subcontractors responsible for these new projects. One crucial decision regards the highly important task of excavating and trenching.

Trenching involves digging and removing dirt and debris from a property. The next step is to establish a narrow furrow or depression that is typically deeper than its width. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) considers an “excavation to be a trench if it is 15 feet wide or less at the bottom of the excavation.”

Trenching is crucial to a construction project. For those new to this important step, trenching is a specific type of excavation technique. It allows builders to install foundation footings, underground pipes, and cables. They are able to position underground utilities that are more fragile and easily broken like telephone lines and water and gas mains. Thus, trenches are an important part of all types of construction projects. Further, their maintenance is crucial to the integrity of an infrastructure. However, this work is perilous.

According to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) researchers, “Trenching and excavation hazards during construction activities resulted in 488 deaths between 1992 and 2000 – an average of 54 fatalities each year.” Trenching is a highly important part of building and maintaining any structure, but it is precarious work. Therefore, it requires expert knowledge and skill. So, builders, business owners, and anyone planning on building a structure should turn to the area experts: Rock Foundations of Fenton, Michigan.

Rock Foundations has served Fenton and its surrounding communities for years, providing highly skilled work for hundreds of builders. It consistently receives the highest marks for its knowledge, skill, dependability, and overall professional service. Rock Foundations has years of experiences excavating and safely creating trenches, relying on the safest procedures and best equipment.

For example, many excavation jobs require tractor-mounted backhoes with dirt-scooping buckets on booms. For those excavation projects on an even larger scale, Rock Foundations may use a self-propelled machine that can move tons of dirt utilizing large buckets. Power trenchers, of course, are usually necessary as well. This process requires precise equipment and skill level to use them properly, and that is why trenching is best left to Rock Foundations, the expert in this area of building.

Another important aspect of trenching is soil analysis and its impact on safety. There are many soil types that impact the excavation as it reaches a certain depth. Once the soil is analyzed and its type determined, the next step is to ascertain whether it has the potential to shift and collapse. This is a challenging situation and should be accomplished by the experts at Rock Foundations. Some soils are hard and dense; others are soft and loose or wet and muddy. The type of soil is determined by its many characteristics: how it appears, if the soil has been previously excavated, the presence of water and its seepage, and how difficult the soil will be to remove. Some properties have varying soil types from top to bottom within one trench. It is a challenging analysis that only experts should perform. Problems with soil can lead to trench collapse – a dangerous situation – so Rock Foundations should be in charge of such work.

In addition to soil analysis, there are many other actions Rock Foundations will perform:

  • – Locate all of the buried utilities. This often requires contacting utility services to mark the locations. Also, locate overhead power lines and identify their types.
  • Survey surrounding areas for any issues that might impact the soil’s stability, including nearby vehicles and equipment and buildings/structures. Anything that vibrates or applies pressure to the soil can pose a hazard to the trench.
  • Test for hazardous chemicals like gas and other vapors. Also check the oxygen levels at all times.
  • Remove debris and water before the excavation and throughout.
  • Utilize sloping and other protective structures to avoid trench collapses and cave-ins. These include shoring, trench boxes, and other prefabricated systems.
  • Make sure only the minimum number of workers needed to perform are at the excavation site.
  • Create a plan for the project and oversee its implementation, so that the minimum number of workers are in the trench.
  • Make sure there is a safe way to enter and exit the trench.
  • Provide the proper safety precautions for workers: training about hazards and safety protocols, protective gear, and an emergency plan with rescue instructions.
  • Also, in addition to all of the above, Rock Foundations will keep abreast of all local, state, and federal standards and requirements.

These measures are undertaken by Rock Foundations with the goal of creating the highest functioning trenches while maintaining worker safety. It has successfully performed this type of work for years throughout the Fenton area and beyond and is considered one of the best.
Spring is an exciting time, ripe with possibility, and one of those is a new home or business. All across the US, structures are being erected, and that is good news for everyone. Yet, a structure is only as well functioning and safe as its underlying infrastructure. Well-built trenches of integrity are crucial to a building’s safety and ongoing maintenance. So, Rock Foundations should the business of choice to deliver on extreme quality and safety. When Rock Foundations is in charge of the excavating and trenching project, all involved can enjoy a new season of safe and productive building.

So, if homeowners are concerned that one of their prized possessions – their homes – is experiencing any of these issues, they must not delay. They should call Rock Foundations – the leader in all foundation issues. Winter should be a time of family fun and a safe, cozy home. Therefore, people should put their homes in order and their minds at ease: Contact the Rock Foundation experts today

About the author