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Tips on preventing soil damage during construction projects

Published Wednesday 22nd January 2020

Good quality soil must retain its drainage characteristics and support vegetation which enables the creation of green spaces while helping minimise the risk of flooding. As well as these obvious environmental factors, such sustainable business practices can reduce overheads while enhancing your company’s brand.

Reducing Soil Management Costs and Waste

Forward planning is just as important as management during the construction project. An effective measure to plan in advance is the reduction of soil handling. Moving soil from one area to another can compact the soil, leaving it with poor drainage capabilities. Avoid this problem by ensuring you only need to move the soil a minimum amount of time. The soil will remain healthier and negate any need to import new soil for landscaping purposes.

Also plan a purpose for surplus soils that can help you save even more costs on other projects. This will help you comply with waste legislation and improve your standing with customers as well as regulators by exhibiting your company’s environmental credentials.

Conduct a Soil Resources Survey

A professional soil resources survey can be carried out by a qualified soil scientist such as those registered with the British Society of Soil. This is necessary as geotechnical or geo-environmental surveys are unlikely to be detailed enough to fully examine the soil resources. The survey’s results will help you develop a soil management plan and budget, allowing you to manage the soil sustainably.

Soil Protection and Repair

There are various soil protection methods available, with one of the popular techniques employing permeable paving. When covering the soil with paving, use porous materials or design gaps and voids within the paved areas to allow water to drain thoroughly, minimising the risk of flooding. Another option for consideration when permanently covering soil is the use of gravel. A ton bag of gravel or shingle can stretch a long way and is another effective drainage solution.

 

One rarer option that is slowly growing in popularity is the green roof. These are environmentally friendly roofs that are covered with vegetation which significantly reduces the volume of rainwater run-off.

A lot of damaged soil can be repaired with the addition of fine loam topsoil to enable the regrowth of vegetation. Topsoil bulk bags can be applied to areas where construction work has damaged the soil quality. Buying bags of topsoil in bulk is also cost-effective for use across multiple construction projects.

Soil Maintenance After Construction Project

The services of landscaping contractors are often retained for years after a project’s completion via a defects liability contract. This will often involve an ongoing soil maintenance programme which will monitor the soil quality.

 

Effective treatments to improve the aftercare of soil include the application of fertiliser and certain herbicides, as well as over-seeding to improve grass cover. Other covering methods include the aforementioned topsoil dressing, with other options including sand and compost.