Want To Be An Excavation Foreman? 4 Types Of Soil You'll Need To Be Familiar With

If your goal is to be the foreman on a construction excavation contractor team, you're going to be responsible for the safety of your team, as well as the safety of the construction equipment. One way to keep your team safe is to have a thorough knowledge and understanding of the various soils you may come in contact with. There are four types of soil that are commonly found during excavation projects. Here is a brief explanation of each type.

Type 1 – Hard Ground

When you dig into type 1 soil, you're not going to find much give. In fact, the soil will be so hard it will feel like you're digging into solid rock. During excavation of this type of soil, the sides will stay solid, with very little loose dirt. In fact, even when left alone, the sides of the trench you've dug will stay intact. One problem with this type of soil is that you can't do any of the excavation by hand. The soil is simply too hard for manual tools, such as pick axes. You'll need heavy duty construction equipment to excavate through type 1 soil. 

Type 1 – Silt and Clay

Silt and clay are slightly easier to dig into. You'll be able to use manual tools for a portion of the excavation, although it will still be a considerable amount of hard work to use tools such as pick axes. Because type 2 soils are softer, they can break down shortly after being excavated, so it's important to shore up the sides of the trenches as you dig.

Type 3 – Sand and Granules

This type of soil is soil that has already been excavated at some point. It will have a moist sand consistency. When excavating this type of soil, it's important to note that it won't hold its shape for very long. In fact, it will begin to collapse shortly after excavation. Extra safety precautions will need to be taken when excavating type 3 soil.

Type 4 – High Moisture Soil

High moisture soil, such as wet clay or quicksand, will flow freely. They do not settle into a compacted state during excavation, so they won't hold a solid trench. When excavating through type 4 soil, you'll need to enforce the work area, to prevent cave-ins and collapses.

Being a foreman on an excavation team is a lot of responsibility. Knowing the types of soil you'll be dealing with will help you keep you and your team safe throughout the project.