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Surveying and Clearing Your Site
Paragon C&D Builders / Vallone Real Estate
Wednesday, October 20, 2010 • Posted October 19, 2010 10:00 PM

You can start working on your site, but you should know that the first job that is really working on your building site is the surveying. It is highly recommended you can hire a surveyor for a couple hundred bucks, and have them come out and tell you exactly where your property lines are so that you can mark corners. It is probably smarter than trying to buy all the equipment and learn to do it yourself. This is one job that is smart to turn over to a professional.

A survey of your property measures width, depth, and height of the parcel. It is done to accomplish a few things: one, to mark boundaries; two, find the elevation of a parcel; and three, locate the exact building site for the primary structure and any roadways. There may be other things you need to survey depending on your situation, such as a septic system and drain field. But no matter what your situation is, surveying is important because it is what is going to help you to not encroach on setbacks, and to get your foundation where it needs to be.

Once you finish having the land/lot surveyed, you need to move on to the next step. The next step in your site preparation is clearing the lot of anything that looks like it might halt construction. So this means clearing out any trees, stumps, boulders, buildings, etc. that might be in the way. This job, clearing your land/lot, is going to require some heavy equipment. Because heavy equipment means needing a license or permit, chances are you will have to hire someone to do this work for you. It is a better option than renting and learning how to use heavy equipment, as if you mess up this could cost you a lot more.

A great way to save some money on clearing your land/lot is to make sure you have a clearly marked site map so you know exactly what can stay and what can move. You don’t want to spend the time and money to rip out trees that could have been left alone. Then tag those items with yellow ribbon or spray paint so that the person you hire does not remove them by mistake.

Clearing the land/lot is done by excavation. Excavation can cost you a lot if you let it. You can go way overboard on budget if you are not careful about excavation costs. No one wants to go over budget by too much. So how do you not go over on excavation? Well, get an accurate bid for starters. In order to get an accurate bid you should have the contractor at the site. Have him or her estimate the time it will take, and make sure they are using the right equipment for the job. Make sure they have the right equipment.

Another way to save money with excavation is see if there are any excavators already working in the area that can do your site as well. If you can hire one that is already there you will pay less of a move in fee for equipment, they might be able to fit you in between jobs, or on down time for a job they are working on, and all of that means that excavating your lot costs them less, so it will cost you less. Also, to save money later you should have the excavator pile top soil from building excavation to the side. The later you can spread it out, and you won’t need to purchase as much top soil for landscaping.

Last but not least, you need to understand in picking the site to prepare for the home site. If you pick an area that has a lot of slopes, your foundation will cost more. If you hire a general contractor to assist you, they can shoot some grades and determine the amount of footage within the slopes.

Information for this article was taken from

For all your real estate and building needs, call Debbie at 830-833-4249/713-818-6658 or debbie@vallonereal Offices located in the Historic Blanco Courthouse.

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