Building a Grand Design: Preparing a Site

28 Feb
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There are various stages of building a home in Australia, but when you bring a grand, custom home design to life, the construction process rarely follows a standard plan. 

With all projects, however, before you can start building, you will need to prepare the site, converting a raw piece of land into a viable foundation for a property to stand. 

Proper house site preparation is critical and can make or break your project. As a professional homebuilder specialising in custom homes, Leneeva Homes have prepared some information on the steps involved in site preparation, including grading land, earthworks risk assessment, and more, so you can be confident that your project starts on solid ground.


Site Observation and Evaluation

As one of the earliest stages of building a home in Australia, your team must conduct a thorough site observation and evaluation to identify any potential issues that may arise later on in the construction and building process. This step typically involves visually inspecting the site itself, reviewing the soil, slope, drainage, vegetation, and other factors that may affect the project. We must also evaluate site accessibility and safety to ensure that the equipment and workers, such as earthworks contractors, can access the site safely.


Performing Soil Testing

Soil quality is the determining factor in the stability of your building’s foundation. A geotechnical engineer will take a small sample of soil for testing, analysing it within a laboratory setting to understand the exact classification, composition, slope stability, weight-bearing capacity, and general condition.

There are various Australian standards in relation to soil testing, including:


Class A: Typically found in sand and rock sites with minimal ground displacement caused by moisture changes.

Class S: Generally associated with slightly reactive clay sites that may experience minor ground movement due to moisture changes.

Class M: Commonly found in moderately reactive clay or silt sites, which may experience medium ground movement due to moisture changes.

Class H1: Typically associated with highly reactive clay sites that may experience significant ground movement due to moisture changes.

Class H2: Usually found in highly reactive clay sites that may experience extremely high ground movement caused by moisture changes.

Class E: Typically associated with extremely reactive sites that may experience extreme ground movement due to moisture changes.

Class P: This category covers a range of site types, including those with soft soils such as soft clay or silt, loose sands, landslide-prone areas, subsidence-prone soils, collapsing soils, erodible soils, reactive sites subject to abnormal moisture conditions, or sites that cannot be classified using other categories.


Several types of soil tests can be conducted. The results will determine whether the soil needs to be stabilised before construction begins, as well as dictating the type of home landscape design available.


Underground Utility Mapping and Connections

Before you can start digging, you need to know where the underground utilities are located, otherwise, you run the risk of damaging important pipes and connections (and incurring a significant repair bill). 

Mapping underground utilities is a critical step in house site preparation, and includes identifying and marking the locations of gas lines, water pipes, and electrical cables. Your contractors often perform this as part of the earthworks risk assessment process, working directly with utility companies to ensure that proper connections are made, and safety measures are taken during the ongoing construction and building process.


Site Surveying and Set Out

Site surveying is the process of determining the exact boundaries of your property and setting out the location of your building, as per the grand designs put forward by your architect. Accurate surveying is essential to ensure your building complies with zoning and building regulations, and that there are no errors or disruptions encountered throughout the construction and building process.

We use advanced technology to survey the site, set out the boundaries, and determine the best location for all elements of home and landscape design.


Site Clearing, Grading Land & Excavation

Now comes the physical work. Where a level site is required, the site must be level and free of obstructions to lay down the slab. Grading land (levelling land) involves redistributing soil from higher areas on the site down to lower areas, ensuring a nice, flat surface to hold the foundations of your project. Alongside grading land, there will also be a range of excavation and earthworks tasks, removing any trees, vegetation, and debris, digging the foundation of your building, and shaping the site to ensure proper drainage. 

Proper site clearing is essential to ensure that workers and equipment can access the site safely.


Work with Specialist Custom Home Designers & Builders Leneeva Home

As important as grading land, earthworks risk assessments, and soil tests are in the stages of building a house in Australia, it must be balanced with a robust design process and proven construction building process. Speak with our team at Leneeva Homes for more on how we can help bring your dream property and grand designs to life.

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