Construction Cost Management: Understanding the Factors Driving Excavation Costs

17 March 2017
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog


Most structures require significant excavation of the ground prior to the commencement of the actual construction work. This initial stage prepares the land for the setup of the foundation of the entire structure. In simple terms, the excavation ensures that the ground will provide proper support, promoting durability and longevity. This process will also help in levelling the ground and eliminating land imperfections. Unfortunately, the costs of excavation can be quite high, and this can compromise the rest of the project budget. Therefore, here are the most important factors to consider if you want to manage the pertinent expenses.

Labour Hire Rate

The primary costs of excavation can be attributed to the labour provided by contractors and the general excavation workers. Therefore, you should carefully evaluate these expenses during the initial planning stage of your construction project. In general, it is advisable to check the standard costs of hire per hour or unit time for excavation workers before proceeding. Additionally, you should request for accurate labour estimates from your preferred contractors by providing sufficient details of the work to be done. Poor description of the required labour often leads to significant changes in the actual price. This will help you budget more efficiently for better expense management.

Equipment Hire and Attachments

In most cases, excavation contractors will bring their own excavators. The cost details for equipment hire should be explicitly defined in the presented quote. If the contractor does not have a free excavator for your project, they will most likely have to acquire it from a secondary service provider. This means that there will be charges added to the actual rental price since the contractor will have expended extra effort.

You can minimise the cost by renting the equipment personally for the duration of the excavation phase if this is the case. Furthermore, you should note there will be separate expenses attached to additional attachments. For example, if you would like a grading blade in addition to the standard bucket, you will have to pay for the extra attachment separately. If possible, limit the usage of specialty excavator attachments.

Clean-up and Disposal

Finally, you should consider the clean-up of the site and disposal of the waste material. In ideal circumstances, you should keep the soil within your worksite. The material can be used for landscaping applications or sold for alternative uses. If this is not possible, you will need to account for multiple expenses, including loading equipment, dump truck and landfill charges.