Sitework – The 1st Step to Building Your Storage System In our series exploring pallet rack storage systems from the ground up, we’re starting at the beginning: sitework. Gray’s Excavating sums up sitework as,

Part of a construction project that is not part of a building or house’s physical structure. This usually includes grading, excavation, construction and installation of septic tanks and filtration systems, driveways and other utilities. Other costly items that are also included in the definition of sitework and are suggested to customers by most contractors are the following:
  • Preparation of the structure’s foundation through excavation or land clearing
  • Rough or initial grading
  • Final grading
  • Landscaping
  • Construction and paving of driveways
  • Addition of walkways
  • Preparation and approval of permits and fees
  • Septic and sewer systems
  • Well or water

Bearing Capacity

As you can see, sitework includes many things. We will focus on one aspect called bearing capacity or soil bearing capacity. Soil bearing capacity is the capacity of soil to support the loads applied to the ground. In building design, it is critical to confirm that the soil bearing capacity meets your load requirements. Soil bearing capacity is tested by using plate load test or a CBR test (check out Heidelberg Cement for more on soil bearing tests). In a storage environment, like a warehouse or manufacturing facility, as weight is distributed down through your pallet rack storage system, the weight is ultimately distributed into the soil beneath your building. That’s why it’s necessary to take into account your site’s grading, soil composition, & soil stratification & how they factor into the load bearing capacity. If you want to geek out on bearing capacity theory & analysis, here’s a nice pdf & a slideshare for you. The sitework processes are completed during the pre-construction phase of building. Because the ground will ultimately bear the brunt of whatever weight is within the building, it is vital to have a qualified engineer to help plan and prepare for your specific needs in your building. It’s not often that we run into this problem in the field. However, no one wants to end up in an unsafe environment or having to do major retrofit upgrades – especially to foundational work. It can get expensive very quickly.

Did we miss something?

There’s a lot that goes into sitework. If we missed something vital, leave us a comment below. While this isn’t directly related to soil bearing capacity or stratification, we couldn’t resist noting that no one wants to end up in a sink hole (except maybe this guy, who looks pretty comfortable there) Guy standing in sink hole]]>

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