So you’ve got a plan, you’ve got a contracting company, and you’ve got a budget and timeline. You are ready to put the shovel in the ground and get your project going. Right? Before anything gets started, you need to assess the site and figure out the ins and outs of how you are actually going to build this project. Fortunately, most of what needs to be done will be done by the construction contractors. So what are the steps they need to take to get a building built? A site must first be scouted, planned and prepared before work can begin. Let’s take a deeper look at those steps. Any good commercial contractor should follow the following steps to make sure that a site is good for building and all goes according to plan.

The siting process involves four main parts. Assuming you’ve got the location agreed upon, here are the steps needed to ensure good building is possible:

  1. Geotechnical report.
  2. Clearing of excavation site.
  3. Grading the site.
  4. Compaction.

Geotechnical report

The geotechnical report is of course an in-depth procedure that can get quite technical. We will try to simplify as well as we can so you can make sure who you hired for your construction is following the right steps.

This report is basically a report on the quality of the soil for building. It creates a communication line between the site condition and the project recommendation. The report is a series of soil tests that basically determines if the planned construction will be feasible for the location desired. It also includes things that the site may be prone to, such as earthquakes, soil freeze, and landslides.

The geotechnical report also defines several elements of construction:

  • Type of foundation that will be required for the building.
  • Groundwater quantities.
  • Excavation hazards.
  • Stability of the earth/slope to be built upon.
  • Soil bearing capacity.
  • Liquefaction possibilities.
  • Much more.

Essentially, the report dictates what kind of structure the ground can bear, how big the structure can be, and importantly, the foundational requirements.

Site clearing and excavation

This process can be long and technical as well, but it is not quite as scientific as the geotechnical report. The primary goal of this step, as you might imagine, is clearing the land. It involves the removal of several things in order to make a site ready for construction.

  • Removal of trees.
  • Removal of large boulders.
  • Removal of rubbish/old constructions.
  • Removal of vegetation.
  • Removal of underground structures.
  • Removal of the first layer of top soil.

There are quite a few things to keep in mind during this step of building. Firstly, there are many ways to remove vegetation. Controlled burns are one method, another is pushing away the vegetation and hauling it off, roots and all. The final method is cutting and grinding, in which trees and vegetation is cut, only to have the stumps and roots removed and disposed of at a later date. Each method has its pluses, and you/your contractor should work to find the most efficient way to clear the land.

Keep in mind that during and after this process, the top layer of soil is removed, so there will be a risk of erosion in the case of inclement weather. Additionally, small plots may be cleared without outside help, but larger plots will almost certainly need a team of professionals to clear on time and within budget.

Grading the site

Site grading is basically determining the success of the new construction. For newer buildings, it can help create good access pathways and pave the way for good drainage. In older buildings it can make the landscape better/more appealing. Ideal grading should use the existing land’s form and beauty to create a new, functional piece of land that serves the building and looks good. Of course, there can be plenty of complicated and technical aspects of grading as well, but we will keep it simple here to ensure you know what you are looking for in a grading plan.

  • The land should be configured to make it best for its intended use. Houses can be built on hills that look appealing and help resist flooding, but that same grading might not work for a storage facility.
  • New and efficient drainage should be a part of grading. Drainage is important, because without it, the soil/foundation can degrade with repeated ingress by water. Water should always flow away from the project.
  • Grading will build up a good appearance and the “personality” of the site. A uniquely-situated building has much more character and creates a lasting impression in the minds of visitors/clients.


This is the process of making the soil denser to make in an appropriate place to build on. There are some famous examples of buildings whose earth was not good for building, and thus have fallen over or become unstable. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is the most famous example of this.

This process is also a technical one, and will require heavy machinery and expertise. This is one of the steps you will want to leave to the professionals for the most part. They will know about soil aeration, lifting, and what type of heavy machinery is the best for working on your soon-to-be building site. You will still want to keep in contact with your contractors during this process though, as small mistakes can lead to big hold-ups down the road.

Get your site assessed and prepared the right way

If the steps listed above seem like quite a lot for you alone, we are here to help. Reliable Commercial has been doing this for over 35 years, so we have the experience to prepare just about any site. From the first steps of assessment to the compaction/excavation to prepare for building a foundation, we will be with you every step of the way. Our philosophy of relentless service means that not only will we do a top-notch job on your site, we will be there to talk, answer questions, and give explanations the whole way. If you want a job done right, get it done reliably. Contact us today to get started.