Planning and Cost Estimation

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Excavation Best Practices

Excavation Project Planning and Cost Estimation – Laying a Solid Foundation

At Orb Excavations, we believe that well-planned projects are successful projects. Thorough planning and precise cost estimation form the bedrock upon which we build client confidence, ensure on-time project delivery, and safeguard profit margins. This article highlights best practices for these foundational aspects of our work, aiming to provide a resource for our crews and illustrate the care we devote to each project, large or small.

Excavation Projects: Unique Planning Considerations

While project planning shares basic principles across many industries, earthworks contain distinct facets that require special attention:

  • Soil and Site Assessment: Every site is unique. Before an accurate blueprint can be drawn, soil composition, prior modifications, the presence of bedrock, and environmental factors must be thoroughly investigated. A rush to break ground is a recipe for unexpected cost overruns.
  • Utility Interference: Damage to buried utilities isn’t merely expensive – it represents danger to crews and severe disruption to the community. Reliable utility locates and conscientious planning to work around or protect utility lines is non-negotiable.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Local, state, or federal requirements regarding environmental controls, noise mitigation, or work hours can dramatically impact timelines and require proactive integration into the plan.
  • Equipment Coordination: Matching the precise type and size of equipment to the soil, desired excavation dimensions, and available working space optimizes project efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

The Cost Estimation Puzzle – Putting the Pieces Together

Developing a detailed, accurate cost estimate for an excavation project demands a clear understanding of various cost components:

  • Labor: This encompasses all skilled crew members involved directly with the job, including operating equipment, laying down support structures, and handling grading or backfilling. Labor projections factor in prevailing wages, overtime potential, and estimated project duration.
  • Materials: This extends beyond simply calculating cubic yardage to incorporate items like temporary shoring materials, pipework for drainage, special soil mixes, and erosion control products.
  • Equipment: Owned equipment must have operating costs calculated (fuel, maintenance, potential replacements), while rented machinery involves clear-cut hourly or daily rates. Importantly, equipment costs factor in soil type and site size for best efficiency.
  • Logistics: Hauling material both away and to the site, spoil pile management, and the length of trucking distances contribute to overall cost and should be estimated strategically.
  • Overhead and Contingencies: Project administration, safety resources, permitting, or insurance should be accounted for within the overhead allocation. Additionally, a reasonable contingency plan for unforeseen events (equipment breakdowns, weather delays) offers vital financial protection.

Best Practices for Success: The Orb Excavations Approach

We take several critical steps to ensure our projects begin well-positioned for profitability and minimal unforeseen challenges:

  • Detailed Scoping: A thorough, written project scope includes more than just a rough description. We detail planned equipment, methodology, an anticipated timeline, and identify known soil conditions for the site.
  • Historical Data Analysis: Past projects provide valuable cost metrics. Trends in labor needs, fuel consumption, or average hauling costs for particular soil types act as a solid benchmark for pricing a new excavation proposal.
  • Software Tools: Our estimating and project management tools support complex calculations, provide a centralized repository for site data, and allow us to model possible scenarios to optimize efficiency.
  • Clear Communication: Both internally and with clients, we foster a culture of clear communication. Project managers involve crews in planning discussions, promoting ownership of schedules and budgets, which minimizes mid-project misunderstandings.

Additional Factors Influencing Planning and Cost

No two excavation projects are identical, demanding adaptability:

  • Project Scale: Excavation for major infrastructure demands vastly different plans compared to site prep for a single-family dwelling. Scalability is crucial in processes and estimating methodologies.
  • Client Needs: Project timelines, limitations on working hours, and environmental considerations may shape our recommendations to the client regarding methodology or sequencing.
  • Market Fluctuations: External factors like rising fuel costs or material shortages require an “evergreen” approach to estimation and may necessitate updating proposals mid-project.

At Orb Excavations, we embrace the challenge of precise excavation planning and cost control. It’s an opportunity to demonstrate not only our technical skill in earthworks but also our commitment to business excellence. Meticulous planning is how we safeguard our clients’ interests, protect our hard-earned reputation, and position every project for a strong and profitable completion.

New Years Break

The team at Orb Excavations wishes you a safe and joyous holiday. We are currently on leave till the 15th of Jan, 2024.

We are unable to take phone calls for the time being. Please leave us an email through our contact form and we’ll get back to you shortly.

Happy New Years!