The need for land clearing to pave the way for industrial structures remains high.
Land clearing is the first step in preparing for renovations, constructions, and in some instances, selling a property. Unless the lot in question is just a small yard, clearing out a plot of land can be a challenging and complex task that involves careful planning.
Even if last year’s projection was not so favorable for the industrial real-estate industry—especially for warehouses, distribution centers, flexible spaces and buildings with storage facilities—other real estate sectors remain robust. In fact, the need for land clearing, to pave the way for other industrial structures, remains high.
What Is Land Clearing?
Also known as lot clearing, land clearing refers to the process of getting rid of obstructions such as trees, tree stumps, debris, boulders and other large items from a property. It is normally done for property improvement, land development and construction projects and can cover various lands intended for hunting, farming, and real estate development.
Things to Prepare Before Clearing a Plot of Land
Getting rid of the waste coming from an industrial land clearing is not the same as getting rid of yard waste after some home clearing operation.
Here are five methods to ensure safety:
1. Prepare Complete Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
Who knew that you need to have a personal protective equipment, too, if you’re working to clear a plot of industrial land?
The term PPE does not only refer to the astronaut-like garb that medical front liners wear to ward off the coronavirus. As land clearing can be very dangerous and could cause severe injuries to the ones doing it, a complete set of safety gear is essential.
Hard hat, goggles, earmuffs and a pair of ankle length, steel-toe, cut and slip-resistant work boots are the basic gear for you or any of the workers involved in clearing the land. Puncture-proof gloves and a wire mesh face shield are needed in case of chainsaw use.
2. Survey the Area to Identify Equipment Needs
Depending on the soil stability, vegetation density, terrain, and other environmental considerations, land clearing could require various pieces of equipment such as chippers, mulchers, tree shears, track/wheeled carriers, grapples, stump grinders, log jaws, and deck mowers.
To effectively eliminate trees, stumps, brush, roots and other obstructions, using the right equipment is critical, more so the person who can use them properly. Hiring a company like Shilling Excavation to do the land clearing for you is the best idea, simply because they can identify which tools are needed and are trained to use them properly, among other more important reasons.
3. Check and Re-Check Everything
Before embarking on a complex and perilous task such as clearing an industrial plot of land, re-check whether your PPE set doesn’t have holes or cracks on them or is still functional. More importantly, make sure that all the equipment is working and does not have any damage. A machine that conks out mid-use will be very dangerous and may cause death.
Review the whole site to see if there are electric posts that may hinder the land clearing operations. Speaking of external factors, the most important aspect to consider is the weather. Do not attempt to work while a storm is underway. The same precautions apply for icy, rainy and windy conditions. So, you might need to check the weather predictions before working on clearing a plot of land, especially if it’s located in a forested area.
4. Set Emergency Safety Measures in Place
As a highly dangerous task, emergency measures should be set in place to mitigate accidents. This should be explained to all everyone working on the project. Professional land clearing firms typically have a set of safety rules and their workers are trained for this job.
Make sure you have a complete first aid kit, fire extinguishers, a functional phone number or a satellite phone, and the numbers of the nearest hospital or emergency care facilities in case you need them.
What Are The Risks That Could Delay the Lot Clearing Process?
The note of the following risks that can cause delays to your clearing project:
- Underground utilities: Power and telephone lines are visible and you can easily avoid them while clearing the land. The problem lies with utilities buried underground that could get damaged with the digging, excavating, pulling, and pushing over, or simply by a fallen tree. Hence, it’s important to survey the land before proceeding with clearing work.
- Water Sources: In a similar manner, water sources such as natural catch basins are surrounded by soft soil, which may at first be unnoticeable. Unfortunately, these types of land are unfit for construction.
- Damaging existing structures outside the property: Unless you’re working in a forested area, which is unlikely, you’ll have to check whether your land clearing work will affect the nearby privately-owned structures. For instance, you may have a huge tree that could fall on someone’s house or garage.
- Hazardous Materials: Oftentimes, toxic household items and other industrial wastes may be dumped in a vacant lot, further being pushed and buried underground over time. Check whether the land you’re clearing is free from these materials.
What Are the Most Common Land Clearing Methods?
Below are some of the common methods used to clear out plots of land:
1. Cut and Grind
If you’re going to clear a property that only has small trees, this may be the best way to do it. Brush and weeds have to be cleared out, then a machine starts taking the trees down and piles them.
Bulldozers, backhoes, and trucks are also needed to further remove the stumps. As a more sustainable measure, instead of disposing of the tree stump, try mulching and spreading them on the soil, leaving them to decompose to help improve soil quality.
You often hear people saying, “don’t be a pushover” to people who refuse to budge despite being treated badly. That’s how this method works. Pushover land clearing entails pushing huge trees and other obstructions using a lean and mean machine, typically a bulldozer or a back hoe.
You have to think well before deciding whether this technique works for you, because it could be a dangerous process. This method entails attaching chains to the tractor and tying it around the trees or other obstructions and pulling them away. While it may sound like a simple method, it has a lot of limitations, too.
4. Pile and Burn
People have been using this method for a long time. It’s an inexpensive and simple method of getting rid of obstructions. You clear out the land using various equipment, most commonly a tractor, arrange everything into a pile, then start burning the pile.
Make sure that you’re able to control the fire and that it doesn’t spread to the nearby areas. Avoid this method if your site is windy, or if you’re dealing with trees that may produce toxic materials when burned.
What Processes Are Involved in Lot Clearing?
Lot clearing processes most often involve these basic steps, although it may be a bit complicated in some instances.
1. Obtaining Permits
Before starting with your lot clearing work, make sure that you’ve acquired all the necessary permits. Requirements vary from one state or municipality to another, so be aware and work on these promptly.
2. Site Preparation
This is time consuming and labor-intensive and takes into account various aspects such us the area and its neighboring places, the type of soil, the obstructions that need to be removed, and the overall desired result.
3. Vegetation Removal
In some cases, you may not have to remove all the trees in the vicinity to preserve the property. However, this may entail specialized equipment and a qualified person to operate it. That’s why it’s best to leave lot clearing to the experts.
4. Stump Grinding and Removal
Stumps refer to the remains of a fallen tree. They’re notoriously difficult to remove. Professionals deal with them in two ways: grinding them to soil level so they cease to become obstructions, or removing them entirely from the ground.
In removing the stump, there are other considerations you have to think about such as irrigation, pipe, and gas lines, as well as other underground structures.
5. Right-of-Way Clearing
This allows for a more flawless land clearing process because it facilitates the access of heavy equipment in the area.
6. Grading the Land
Grading simply means to level the ground to prepare for construction. It involves compacting and smoothing the soil, as well as filling any holes.
Why Do You Need to Hire a Land Clearing Company?
Here are some of the top reasons to hire a land clearing company:
- To save time: Land clearing companies have a pool of professionals who can identify the kind of work needed to get things done. It goes without saying that they have to tools and other resources to do the tasks faster and in a more efficient manner.
- To keep your property safe: Professional land clearing workers are trained to mitigate any threats and risks involved in the operations, thus giving you peace of mind. They not only make sure that your property is safe, they also ensure that you don’t have to think about lawsuits from injured or disgruntled neighbors with damaged properties.
- To simplify the work: They can do the job well and with efficiency. With their expertise, training, and resources, trust these firms to deal with complex situations easily.
- To keep your property’s aesthetic value: If you’re planning to sell the property that you’re clearing, hiring a land clearing firm will ensure that your property’s value does not depreciate due to poorly done lot clearing work.
Safely clearing your property entails a lot of complex factors, especially if you’re preparing it for construction. That’s why it is best to contact the professionals to take care of your land preparation needs. When you think about it, the cost of hiring the services of a land clearing company may be expensive. But you’ll reap the benefits of a job well done, sooner or later, especially if you’re planning to sell.