What is Site Work Construction?

Articles from the Construction Industry

What is Site Work Construction?

If you’re new to the industry, the following will answer the question of ‘what is site work’ in construction.

In construction, site work includes the scope of work related to the exterior of a project. Surveying, clearing, excavation, grading, site utilities, paving, concrete work, and landscaping all fall into the site work realm. In short, site work prepares the land to build a physical structure. A quality project starts from the pre-planning stages. Any issues that arise during the site work phase can affect the entire project and even the building’s future. 

It’s critical to keep the project moving smoothly. This is important for the eventual construction of the building’s shell and its future interior build out. 


Surveying is the first step to any ground-up project, as it establishes the parameters at which the project is built. Surveyors are experts in positioning and measurement. They can layout project disturbance boundaries and make precise locations for all components of a project. That is including grades, utilities, and building pads and foundations. 

Clearing, Excavation, and Grading

Major land clearing and earthwork activities can only proceed once erosion control measures are set in place. During the excavation and grading process, large pieces of heavy equipment with experienced operators are used to remove, transport, place, and grade soils and other materials as specified by engineered construction plans.   

Site Utilities

The installation of site utilities brings gas, water, electric, fire mains, storm, and sewer through the site and to the building. Pipes may be made from ductile iron, reinforced concrete, metal, and thermoplastic pipes, all of various diameters. During installation, trenches are excavated, pipe is placed at specified elevations atop of some form of bedding material, and inspected, backfilled, and compacted.

Concrete and Paving

Concrete can be classified as cast-in or pre-cast. Cast-in-place concrete means that the concrete is poured into forms to create the foundation, foundation walls, slabs, sidewalks, patios, etc. Pre-cast concrete is casting concrete in a reusable form. It is cured in a controlled environment before being transported to the site for installation. 

Typically, pre-cast concrete allows for more control over material quality and the final product, but it’s not ideal for every situation. Cast-in-place concrete is superior in versatility, insulation, construction speed and strength. 

In some cases, paving is started prior to building construction. This involves the installation of asphalt or concrete over portions of the construction site, which provides a solid, workable surface, regardless of site conditions. It also helps with erosion control and offers a solid surface for materials storage. 

Roads and parking lots are the most common examples of paving a construction site. Paving won’t be 100% complete until the final stages of the project, when striping occurs. After the final layer of pavement is applied, lines for parking stalls, road directionals and markings are applied.  


While it may be the finishing touches of construction, many factors beyond planting trees and grass are involved in landscaping. Terrain, soil qualities, potential erosion, and native flora must all be considered during landscaping. A well-done landscape is much more complex than it appears.