A building pad (also known as a house pad or a dirt pad) is an important part of the land development and home building process. Your house pad begins the construction process, setting the foundation for what’s to come – literally! But, what is a building pad?
A solid, stable building pad is the literal foundation of every construction large or small project, even before the actual foundation is built.
It’s essentially the area that will be occupied by future construction, including future buildings, structures, graded areas and accessory uses are to be constructed on a proposed parcel. The finalized, fully prepped piece of land that is ready to support a solid foundation. It’s been graded, drainage has been prepped, and everything is ready to go.
There is no difference between a house pad, a dirt pad, and a building pad. They are all common terms that mean the same thing, however, “dirt pads” can be smaller in size and used to raise certain features of your future build. Like creating steps leading up to a porch.
Unless the dirt pad is constructed correctly by a qualified land development company that understands the precision required, there is a high risk of failures later on that could compromise the whole structure.
Think of it this way: if the Leaning Tower of Pisa had a stable building pad, then it may not be leaning to this day! The tower’s foundation settled unevenly on the ground beneath it, which is a dense mixture of clay, sand and shells. As a result, the structure had begun to tilt visibly toward the south. If the land developers knew that and accounted for it, well, the tower may not be as famous as it is today!
Building Pad Construction All Starts With The Soil
It may look like dirt, but you never truly know what lies under the surface. Think back to the Leaning Tower of Pisa – the soil beneath it is one of the biggest reasons why that building is, well, leaning. While your home likely won’t have such a dramatic shift, it could sink into the ground, settle, crack your foundation, or worse – split your home in two.
This is because different soils behave in different ways when supporting heavy loads.Everything from soil composition to how loose it is and how much water it can absorb affects soil stability and in turn, the stability of the structure.
Building pad construction starts with an analysis of the soil to prevent all of that from happening. Your land development compat will analyze the soil and determine how to best proceed so you can safely build there. That involves grading your land, filling it and excavating it where necessary, and tightly compacting it.
Once that is done, contractors can then build a solid foundation to evenly hold the weight of the structure built on top of it and keep it from shifting or sinking.
It is also a good idea to have the house builder periodically inspect the pad construction process so that the construction buildings can start without delays.
Do All Homes Need a House Pad?
Yes and no. Not every home will need one, but we always recommend one. They are literally the ground in which your home and your foundation sits on, so it doesn’t make much sense to leave it unstable.
Additionally, a dirt pad also gives homeowners more control over the final look of their home elevation.
If you do decide to have a building pad placed (and you should), ensure your land developer knows exactly what your plans are. It is also extremely important that the pad is the right size to accommodate whatever you plan on having constructed. While possible to extend building pads, it is not recommended and is a difficult process to get right, especially if the land developer doesn’t have direct access to the existing building pad (for example, adding onto it once a foundation is already in place).
How Do I Find a Good Land Developer?
If you want your construction to start off on the right foot, then you need a good land developer. Thankfully, finding one is pretty easy if you know where to look. First, know if you’re planning a commercial or a residential project, and then plan accordingly. Some land developers specialize in one of the other.
Once you know what type of project you’re planning, look for a land developer who is experienced in that type of building, including the size and scale of the project, and who commonly works in your area. They will likely know the soil composition better than anyone and will be prepared to start the project on time.
If you want to partner with a team that has all of that and more, reach out to BC Land Dev. They specialize in both residential and commercial land development in Arizona and know the land better than anyone else in the area. Give them a call today at 480-660-9798 and discover what a professional and a fun land development team can do for you.