How to Clear a Construction Site
Clearing a construction site can be a do-it-yourself job or may require more advanced skills and equipment. Before deciding whether to do the work yourself or hire a contractor, inspect the site to get an idea of the magnitude of the job and to make a plan. Note the lay of the land, the size and distribution of trees and shrubs and boulders or other heavy objects, and the presence of grasses or ground-covering plants. Consider what you want to do with the property around the building, whether to leave it in its natural state or go for a more manicured look, whether to cut down trees and whether to add some attractive noninvasive plants.
Map out the area for the building. Completely clear growth and debris from the building space, including an area 10 feet around it on all sides. Remove all plant roots. Apply herbicide to any nonremovable roots. Re-establish the grade where the building will go as close to level as practical.
Clear a space near a road or other point of access. Utilize a place designated for a driveway, garage or other cleared space. Use the space to stockpile the plant debris and other waste material. Keep the amount of debris in the stockpile at a minimum. Large piles can be a fire hazard.
Remove and relocate the undesired growth and debris on the rest of the property outside the building area to the space cleared in Step 2.
Haul away and discard the debris stockpiled on the property. Rough-grade the disturbed places on the property and leave it in a clean and orderly condition.
- Contract with a professional if the job seems too large or complex. Online matching and screening services (see Resources) can help you find a contractor.
- Wear protective gear and clothing if you do the work yourself.
- Stump removal is particularly tricky, and you may need to hire a professional. In any event, you will need heavy equipment such as a backhoe, as roots are not going to be easy to sever with merely a shovel.
- Check with your local waste management authority to see if brush removal is part of your service. Even if the service charges a fee, it's likely to be much cheaper than hiring a contractor for the same purpose.
- Insects and wild animals, including venomous ones, could be hiding in that bush you are about to remove.
- Before you begin, check your local building and environmental codes. In some jurisdictions, it's illegal to remove large trees.
- If you do the work yourself, make sure you're physically up to the job. Such labor involves a lot of stooping and bending, which can be hard on your back.