Types of Excavation


In this article, we will study excavation and its types in detail that play a significant role in the branch of civil engineering. It is the first step for the execution of every construction. Excavation can vary for different types of construction depending upon the location and area of the construction site.


It is an activity that involves the removal of soil, rocks from the surface of the earth by using different methods and machinery is called excavation.

The purposes for the excavation of a construction site are:

  • Foundation of the buildings
  • For the construction of reservoirs
  • For road/pavements construction

The purpose of the excavation is not only to create a hole or a cavity in the surface. It contains a proper procedure of removing the soil from one place to another for establishing a trench, tunnel, or open hole. There are many types of excavations depending upon their material and the requirements of that construction. Now we will discuss some of the types of excavation with their uses.

For small site construction, excavation can be carried out manually using a spade, hoe, shovels, wheelbarrows, etc.

But for deep digging, excavators and bulldozers are mainly installed for such constructions.

Material Excavation

This type of excavation involves the removal of material from the surface of the earth. It contains different types of materials. Their names also depend upon their type of material. Following are the types of material excavation.

1)Topsoil Excavation

This type of excavation involves the removal of soil from the top surface. It could be any material present on the top-most surface like vegetation, decaying material, etc. Its removal is necessary due to a large amount of moisture available in that part of the surface.

This moisture can reduce the ability to bear structural loads. The range for this type is of few inches, which can be from 150 to 300 mm.


2)Rock Excavation

It is a material excavation that involves the removal of rocks to get a smooth and clear surface. It is one of the challenging excavations that cannot proceed manually. This type of excavation requires some methodologies like drilling or blasting for the removal of these materials.

Heavy machinery is also necessary for rock excavation. The type of equipment and technique depends on the size or depth of the rocks.

  • Jack-hammer is suitable for the smaller rocks.
  • There is a need to explode for the large rocky areas.


3)Earth Excavation

This type of excavation involves the removal of layers of earth soil present after the top-soil surface. The deep scooping of earth soil enhances the stability of the foundation to resist loads.

Its range can vary for different types of foundations. It mainly occurs for such purposes.

  • It is applicable for the construction of foundations of buildings.
  • It is suitable for drainage works.
  • It is also beneficial for the construction of bridge foundations.


4)Muck Excavation

Muck is a material consisting of soil with the presence of high water content in it. This type of soil causes damage to the foundation and also results in settlement and consolidation.

It is also a material excavation that involves the removal of muck from the layers of soil to strengthen the foundation. The purpose of this excavation is to form a stable foundation.


5)Unclassified Excavation

This type of material excavation involves a combination of materials. These materials cannot classify like the other types of material excavation. We can also say that it contains all materials like earth, topsoil, and muck. But we cannot differentiate between them.

Work-Based Excavation

This type depends on the purpose of the work for which the excavation is in process. In this type, Excavation relies upon the purpose of the construction and its application.

  • Roadway Excavation
  • Cut and fill Excavation
  • Drainage Excavation
  • Dredging Excavation
  • Footing Excavation
  • Trench Excavation
  • Basement Excavation
  • Bridge Excavation

We will discuss each of them with their pictures for better understanding.

1)Roadway Excavation

This type of excavation includes various purposes.

  • It involves the removal of material to provide a path for road construction.
  • It can also be done for the construction of the road itself
  • To make a durable foundation for flexible and rigid pavements
  • For the replacement of materials


2)Cut and fill Excavation

This type can easily recognize by its name. It involves the removal of different soil layers from a wide area of excavation. In this type, the soil is cut from one part and then filled into another part of the construction. Following are the purposes of cut and fill excavation.

  • To elevate the level of the ground.
  • It can be used as filler for embankments.
  • Leveling of the surface.

cut fill.png.opdownload

3)Drainage Excavation

This type of excavation involves the removal of soil, rocks, or any material for the construction of a proper drainage system. Its purpose is the conveyance of water through different drainage structures. These structures include:

  • Road pipes
  • Culverts
  • Ditches
  • Drainage system for storm water
  • Drains for agriculture


4)Footing Excavation

The footing excavation deals with the removal of soil for the construction of deep and shallow foundations. Excavation is necessary to build a stable foundation. Footing is the main component of buildings and bridges to bear the loads and has resistance against them.


5)Dredging Excavation

As we know that sedimentation occurs in the water bodies as time passes. It can cause difficulty in the passage of water for boats. This type of excavation involves the removal of these sediments from underwater.

  • This excavation also helps the easy traveling for ships without any disturbance.
  • It is also beneficial for construction work


6)Trench Excavation

This type involves the excavation of an area with great depth. These tranches can be shallow as well as deep. Shallow trenches have a depth of fewer than 6 meters. Deep trenches have a depth of more than 6 meters.

There are some applications of this type of excavation.

    • Installation of service lines
    • Construction of strip foundation
    • Installation of the Sewer system


7)Bridge Excavation

This type involves the removal of soil to construct a bearable foundation of the bridge. Foundations and sub-structures of bridges play a significant role in the performance of that bridge.


8)Basement Excavation

The excavation that includes the removal of material below the ground surface is called basement excavation. It is a part of a building excavation and also an expensive excavation. It can be partial or complete underground excavation according to the requirements of that building.


Related Posts