Excavator during construction new road in forest area.

What Types of Excavation Are Out There?

Whether you’re developing land or constructing residential or commercial buildings, the land needs to be prepared – a key piece of which is excavation. Simple right? Excavation is excavation is excavation, right? After all it’s all just digging isn’t it? Wrong! There are several different types of excavation out there and we can group them together by materials and purpose.  This time on the BC Land Dev blog we’re going to do just that, giving you a rundown of just some of the different types of excavation!

Types of Excavation by Material (in Alphabetical Order)

Earth Excavation

Earth excavation is used when you need to make foundations for bridges, buildings, or if you are looking to create drainage ditches. In any of these scenarios it’s time to remove a few layers of earth. Earth excavation removes soil (the layer below topsoil – more on that later) for construction.

Muck Excavation

Muck is the combo of soil and water and it sure doesn’t make for a good, stable foundation for any construction. So when the land has muck components, it’s time for muck excavation. The muck is either excavated and moved to another area or spread out over an area to dry out.

Rock Excavation

Rocks in the way? Rock excavation is one of the more challenging types of excavation as the material that needs to be moved is a notoriously tricky one. Rock excavation needs special equipment and techniques, using drills or blasting to break apart the rocky surfaces so that they can be moved from the land.

Topsoil Excavation

Topsoil excavation is what it says on the tin! Excavation just for removing the topmost layer of the soil. It removes vegetation, soil, and potentially any decaying material that might make the land unsuitable for development. 

Types of Excavation by Purpose

Another way to break up the different types of excavation? By purpose.

Basement Excavation

Basement excavation is used when the new construction is going to have space below ground level. Depending on the proposed property and size this type of excavation can be relatively simple or complicated. This really comes down to the prospective construction planned.

Cut and Fill Excavation

Cut and fill excavation, also known as stripping excavation, is used to clear large areas of land. Excavators will take a wide but shallow layer of rocks, sand, topsoil, or other materials that aren’t wanted. Land grading may also be required after the cut and fill excavating. 


When there’s excavating that needs to be done under some amount of water? Well that’s dredging time! Sediment deposits build up over time under water, which can make building in those spaces difficult. Dredging then excavates those sediments and debris from under the water so that construction can take place. Dredging is also done to create easy, safe passage for ships.

Road Excavation

Excavating for roads is a little different from some of the other types we’ve talked about so far because when it comes to road excavation it’s really a combination of two types of excavation work, specifically topsoil excavating and then cut and fill.

Trench Excavation

Trench excavation means that the length of the area is past the depth. Typically used to bury sewer systems, service lines, pipelines – that sort of stuff.  The exact way trench excavation is done depends on a  few factors like the ground condition as well as the potential obstructions in the path of the trench and so on.

Knowing what kind of material is being excavated and the purpose of the excavation is necessary to make sure the right service is performed and the final product meets the need. While excavations may vary based on material and purpose – the right excavation company can handle it all!

If you want to partner with a team that has all of that and more, reach out to BC Land Dev. We specialize in both residential and commercial land development in Arizona and know the land better than anyone else in the area. Give us a call today at 480-360-9180 and discover what a professional and a fun land development team can do for you. 

Break Ground With Us!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *