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August 6, 2021

So, you are ready to go forward with site preparation for your latest project. But are you really ready, though? The process of preparing the construction site is no walk in the park. In fact, it is critical for a successful construction project. Site preparation is one of the initial stages to complete before executing the actual construction. Not only that but you also need to know when to hire a general contractor.

This article will cover the proper preparation setup you need to finalize. Only then will you be able to start the construction process.

Plan development (and hiring a general contractor?)

A construction plan should, at the very least, go through development at the beginning of a construction project. However, that does not mean that it should be a static document. It must receive updates and undergo additional expansion as things in the project also change.

The purpose of a construction plan – be it at the start of the project or during the estimating stage – is to help the team understand the company’s approach to developing the project. An estimator will often need a project plan to determine the approximate number of feet of fence or plywood needed.

Because of this, the entire project team should create a construction plan. This includes the project manager, superintendent, estimator, and any other participating staff. Different people will provide different perspectives on problems and solutions. As for when to hire a general contractor, we are not quite there yet.

Observing and evaluating the site

First things first, you need to identify the site’s peculiarities. That is why you measure and evaluate before dealing with the other tasks on your to-do list. By conducting a site investigation and examination, you ensure that your project is placed in a suitable location.

Take the site’s size, orientation, and slope into consideration. Additionally, think about the climate and microclimate of the forthcoming building’s location. Doing this will help you decide if cooling breezes or solar access should be a top priority for your building. Moreover, it will help in leveraging seasonal temperatures, humidity levels, and winds, among other elements.

Finally, you should consult with local authorities in regards to any building restrictions. They should also provide information about certain factors. Specifically, if there are old or existing water, gas, and sewer lines passing through the site.

Testing the soil

Soil testing is among the more vital tasks that have to be completed prior to obtaining the site. The soil’s main composition must be determined in order to test its ability to absorb water. Additionally, examine its capacity to endure the structure. The site engineer must do all the necessary soil testing procedures before going forward with any structural tasks. 

If the site’s soil isn’t suitable for future projects, then you may have to look for another site that possesses the appropriate soil. Below are the different classes of soil:

  • A (Acceptable): The rocks and sand have next to no ground movement.
  • S (Satisfactory): The clay sites are slightly reactive and have minimal ground movement.
  • M (Moderate): Moderately slit sites or reactive clay that are susceptible to moderate ground movement.
  • H1 and H2 (Highly reactive): Clay sites are highly reactive and can experience even higher ground movement.
  • E (Extreme): Extremely reactive sites that frequently experience extreme ground movement.
  • P (Problem): Sites that have softer soils, such as a slit or soft clay. Soil experiences erosion, which is not classifiable otherwise.

Designing the site plan

Following the soil testing is the installation of necessary septic tanks and drainage. This step focuses on modifying the design to pinpoint fixture and septic tank placement. Furthermore, there should be a permanent record of the underground areas.

A construction site is seen as a living thing. Therefore, it experiences everyday changes when the water tank’s placements alter slightly. Oftentimes, underground rock formations trigger changes. Using a crew scheduler superior is beneficial when executing a site plan design.

When to hire a general contractor

At last, we can answer the “when to hire a general contractor” inquiry. Generally speaking, hiring a general contractor for construction work is not always mandatory. If you don’t know if your project needs one or not, keep the following tips in mind. You should only employ a general contractor if…

  • …the duration of your project will exceed a week
  • …your project involves various subcontractors
  • …your project requires permits

So, you know when to hire a general contractor, but now you need to know how. Tom Silva of “This Old House” fame recommends the following steps when looking for and hiring a general contractor:

  1. Acquire recommendations.
  2. Conduct interviews over the phone.
  3. Arrange a face-to-face meeting.
  4. Outline the plans and make bids.
  5. Establish a payment schedule.
  6. Make sure you have it all in writing.

For more information about employing a general contractor, contact our Calgary construction location. Additionally, if you want to learn about subcontractors and the interior designing phase, check out or article Can An Interior Designer Hire Subcontractors.