Types of Trenching

November 17, 2022 12:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Although all trenching is considered a type of excavation, different types of trenching serve different purposes. Trenches are a big part of construction projects as they provide a way to install underground pipes and cables in instances when boring would not be the best option. This quick guide will provide you with more information on trenching and how different types of trenching are done and used. Keep reading to learn more about how does trenching work. 

What Is Trenching?

Trenching is the most basic type of excavation technique. Trenching removes dirt, rocks, and other matter to make a hole. Trenches are dug from above so that it is deeper than it is wide. Trenches can be of varying depths, but by OSHA regulations, an excavation is only technically considered to be a trench if it is less than 15 feet wide at the bottom. Holes that are larger than that are considered to be excavations.

Types of Trenching

Trenching is often used to create ditches. Ditches can be used to install drainage systems, retaining walls, electrical fiber conduits, and sprinkler systems. It can also be used to install gas, water, or sewer lines. When old sewer or water lines need to be replaced, trenching can also be used for this. The type of trench is determined by the shape of the trench. The shape is determined by how the trench will be used.

When determining the type of trenching needed, the following factors are considered:

  • Type of soil being dug
  • Availability of shoring and shielding
  • Size of the pipes or conduits being used
  • Location of the trench
  • Location in relation to utilities and other structures

Four Common Types of Trenching

We will look at the four most common types of trenches.

Straight – This type of trench will have parallel sides formed into right angles. This type of trench is often used when there is a limited surface area, like near buildings.

Sloped- This type will have an angled side to prevent cave-ins. The angle of the slope will be determined by the depth, soil type, and length of the trench. These are often used for installing culverts or pipes.

Benched – A benched trench has sides that have been cut away. This creates steps. The height of the steps is based on the soil type.

Bell Bottom Pier Hole – This unique type of trench is narrower at the top than at the bottom. This gives the trench a bell shape. These can be used for installing footings.

Safety Considerations

Trenching and excavation are extremely dangerous. It is vitally important that safety precautions are followed while trenching. Here are some common dangers that should be avoided.

  • Slip and fall accidents
  • Electrocution
  • Cave-ins
  • Falling loads

It is the responsibility of the contractors to provide a safe work environment for all employees and to follow OSHA regulations to complete trenching projects safely. When choosing an excavation contractor, be sure to do your research to find professionals in your area with a history of safe, reliable work. 

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