13 Jan 2012

Preparing a building site

Posted by bcsands

Some of the preparation involved in getting a building site ready for new construction to begin is obvious – like demolishing any existing buildings! However, builders tend not to include site preparation costs in their quotes. This is because the process of preparing the site can uncover issues that were not apparent on the surface, making it almost impossible to quote accurately.

Here are some of the things that a builder needs to be ready for.


Any existing buildings on the site will have to be demolished, including outbuildings and sheds. Demolition is a hazardous process and is covered by Australian Standards. Before demolition can start, services including gas, electricity and water should be disconnected, any stormwater and sewer drains sealed, and the site fenced to protect the public. Neighbouring properties may also need some kind of protection.

If the buildings contain asbestos, then the demolition will have to comply with special safety conditions.

Having demolished any existing buildings, your site may need to be levelled and any uneven areas filled or removed. Vegetation, soil, debris and rubbish will need to be removed and disposed of.

Preserving trees

If a building site contains mature trees, local councils tend to take an interest and can demand that these be preserved. The location of any trees to be kept will be taken into account at an early stage in planning and drawings, but a builder will also have to take them into account during building, which may include marking the trees so that they can easily be identified and, if necessary, fencing them in for their protection.

Setting up services

Once any existing buildings are demolished and the site cleared of any debris, basic services need to be connected, including water, electricity, stormwater, sewerage and, if relevant, gas. Toilet facilities – usually a portable toilet – also have to be set up before building can begin.

Fencing, signs and safety

Fencing must be set up around the site and has to stay in place until construction is completed. Safety signs will have to be set up to meet safety requirements and help ensure the safety of everyone on site. Site induction will have to be carried out for workers and trades coming on to the site so they understand any hazards and risks, and safe site access may include clearly marked entry and exit areas for site traffic.

Sediment control

Local councils take a dim view of site debris, building supplies and mud being washed onto surrounding roads and properties during heavy rain and will fine offenders – for example $1500 in the Sutherland Shire. So as part of site set up a builder will establish perimeter and drain protection, stockpile containment and stormwater management in good shape. Measures may include silt fence, which is a fabric fence which is dug into the ground to a depth of 150mm, straw bales, sand bags, filter socks or Bio Sock.

Site office

Larger construction sites will have some kind of site office, which will need to be set up with the basics for administration, communication and security. Even smaller sites may have a temporary structure such as a shed to protect certain equipment and supplies.

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One Response to “Preparing a building site”

  1. Some great tips. We are always on building sites across Australia and its great to read some articles and experiences of other operators in the market.



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