After the building lot has been cleared of the existing old home and allowable trees and vegetation have been removed, excavation can begin. During this phase of a construction project, site soils and fill are typically removed from site to allow for the construction of the new foundation.
Safety precautions are important during the excavation phase of a project. Knowledge about the location of all underground services as well as the engineering requirements is essential prior to the commencement of any excavation work. The focus of this website is on the environmental aspects and impacts of construction, however, safety should always be of the utmost concern at every phase of a project. Identifying all potential hazards to neighbouring properties must be reviewed prior to the start of excavation.
The District of North Vancouver issues Soil Permits when more than 18 cubic meters of material is excavated and removed or when it is added to a site. Basic sediment and erosion control information is handed out with the issued soil permit.
The City of North Vancouver provides information with respect to Sediment Control Plan Requirements and enacted the Stream and Drainage System Protection Bylaw to ensure that no deleterious substances are released into the surrounding aquatic environment; the District of West Vancouver enacted the Soil Removal and Deposition Regulation Bylaw in 1993 with the same goal of preventing pollution of the aquatic environment.
While each municipality on the North Shore has different regulations and requirements pertaining to the movement of soil both onto and off of construction sites, the overarching goal is to ensure that no sediment is transferred into the storm water system or local watercourses. The excavation phase of a construction project is the phase where sediment is most easily transferred from site to the storm water system, potentially damaging the surrounding watershed and negatively impacting aquatic organisms. This phase requires the most planning to ensure that the storm system is not polluted, however, planning typically revolves mostly around the new home construction and not the excavation.
Hydraulic and fuel leaks are another risk associated with this phase of construction. During excavation, heavy machinery such as excavators, dump trucks, and stone slingers are frequently used. Due to the heavy use of this type of equipment, the risk of hydraulic and fuel leaks increases during excavation works.