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Site Grading Basics

Appropriate site grading is an essential part of any commercial real estate construction project. Civil engineers know how to minimize the contours and slopes of a given parcel and prepare the ground for construction.

Why Grade?

Proper grading ensures there’s a strong base that drains appropriately upon which to build, regardless of the improvements to be made on the land. It also helps mitigate the effects of possible risks to commercial real estate development such as the heavy rains that tend to hit Colorado in the late summer and can cause flooding, erosion or soil instability. Grading needs vary by the kind of site as well as the expected end result, such as a road, athletic fields, a pad site, subdivisions or commercial buildings.

Rough Grade vs. Final Grade

Rough grading is basically a first pass over a parcel. It generally involves having a surveyor come out and stake the parcel according to analysis and assessments that have already been done by civil engineers. These stakes establish the parameters for grading the parcel, such as how far and to what depth.

In some cases, trees, brush, and other debris will be cleared. Soil material may need to be removed; in other cases, it will need to be added. Sometimes, both are necessary: unstable soil is removed and replaced with engineered fill. Commercial real estate is generally rough graded by heavy construction equipment like excavators, bulldozers, and dump trucks.

Final grading is generally a second pass with a motor grader and similar equipment. This phase of grading fine-tunes the heavy lifting that came before. This is where the ground is prepped for the next stage of commercial real estate development, such as pouring concrete or paving.

The Role of Civil Engineers in Grading

A civil engineer has the expertise to properly analyze the parcel, from its physical characteristics to an assessment of its current stability to determining what, if any, remediation is needed before a commercial real estate development. After all, it’s a big investment of time and money; it just makes good sense to build on a solid foundation primed to support the final construction. Contact CenterPoint Integrated Solutions today! for reliable expertise on site grading for the Denver metro area.

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