Homeowners who need to dig up some land for a small garden or farm may not need to use a professional excavator, and you may also be able to handle the dig needed for a simple shed or landscaping feature. However, there are times when it's good to call in a professional for excavation work, even after your dig has begun. Note when it's best to leave excavation to professionals and why their services may be needed.
1. When you hit rock
Trying to excavate rock or even rocky soil is not as easy as you might think; trying to simply break it up with a backhoe can be very difficult, and if large portions of the rock were to break suddenly, this could cause your dig to become unstable. A professional excavator will know how to use a jackhammer attachment to a crane or other specialized equipment to safely dig through rock, without it breaking away in large chunks. A professional excavator can also more easily remove those large sections of rock as they break away, rather than letting them fall into the dig and become inaccessible.
2. When there is more mud or water than you expected
When you start digging through many layers of soil, you might hit moist soil that holds more water than you expected. Trying to "scoop" up this soil with a standard backhoe can be nearly impossible, as the water simply leaks out of the bucket. A professional excavator can work with what is called a hydrovac, or equipment that actually vacuums up the soil and water with it. This, too, needs to be done safely so that the ground doesn't collapse under the dig from pulling up too much soil or from allowing the water to seep into surrounding soil, making it soft and unsafe.
3. Land clearing
Land clearing is not always as easy as you would expect; tree roots may easily wrap themselves around underground plumbing pipes, or be longer and thicker than you realize. Pulling up trees and vegetation can also make the soil very soft, as you leave behind air pockets under the topsoil. Land clearing usually then compacting to make the soil safe for building and construction, and even for equipment like backhoes and tractors. A civil engineer specializing in land clearing can also assist with selective clearing, knowing which pieces of vegetation and growth need to be cleared for your construction and which can stay, to keep the soil and environment as healthy as possible.