If you’re adding something onto your home as part of a large renovation, you may find that you have to excavate near it to lay the new part of the foundation. Although you want to do the entire project yourself, you may be nervous about damaging the existing foundation so use the following to safely excavate next to your house without doing any harm to the existing structure.
Before you break the first bit of ground, you need to know what lies underneath because you are working next to your home, there could be gas lines or water pipes that run into your house. If you were to accidentally strike one of these, you would not only damage the lines but the impact could also crack the foundation wall. If you have the original blueprints to your house, carefully look at them to see if they show where the lines or pipes are located. When these are not available, contact your utility company — tell them you are planning to excavate and will need to know what is underground. After talking with the utility company, you may find out that there are pipes and lines. If so, you will have to decide whether you want to proceed with the job yourself or have a professional do it — the latter may be better if you are unsure how to work around them safely.
Once you have decided that you want to continue with the excavation, it will be time to start removing the sod and dirt. As you do this, it is best if you work in small, layered sections — this will help you control your actions so that you do not inadvertently hit the foundation with your shovel or equipment. To start, remove the sod from the area first — this will not only make it easier to dig into the dirt, but it will also mark the section to make it easier to visualise your work area. After the sod has been removed, remove the soil in portions that measure two metres by two metres — only go down a depth of one metre in case you hit a large rock or shale.
By taking your time and following the previously stated tips, you should be able to safely excavate around your foundation but if you run into a problem or do not feel you can do the job yourself without causing damage, you may want to speak to excavating contractors — they may be able to perform this phase of your project for you.