Excavation and site work are an important cost category on many construction jobs. Early in the job, they're also a major unknown -- you can never be absolutely sure what's down there until you start digging.

Those underground unknowns can also mean unexpected costs. Installing drainage for a wet soil, excavating and replacing a weak soil, or simply compacting a difficult soil can add days to the schedule and strip big dollars off the bottom line. Soil erosion that pollutes waterways or clogs storm drains can bring on major penalties, or even shut...

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