When thinking about excavation work, you’ll most likely think of a backhoe or excavator to remove earth soils and rock. Traditional excavators are great until there are a lot of underground utilities. Typically, it can be a slow and sometimes risky process if there are pipes, cables and optic fibre lines. With all that in mind, the operator needs to take their time on the excavation site.

Unfortunately, sometimes, even with the proper underground service locating work done, accidents still happen, resulting in expensive damages. It occurs more often than you think – even the most skilled backhoe operator can accidentally snag a bucket on a pipe or cable without realising it.

For an almost risk-free and economical excavation method, vacuum, or hydro excavators are a great option. Vacuum excavation is a non-mechanical and non-invasive method that loosens soil with high-pressure air or water, and vacuums it up as it’s broken apart. This method is gentler than traditional mechanical excavation. Vacuum excavators can be used across a number of excavation types including trench excavation, open excavation, and even underground service locating.

If you’re looking to get some excavation work done, this article will outline the key points to consider so that you can choose the right excavation method for the job.

Are there underground services?

If you’re on a job site and a lot of underground utilities have appeared on the service locator, the last thing you’ll want to do is start digging with a backhoe, as there may be a high chance the backhoe will break something. Even with radar service locating done, there won’t be a clear image of exactly where the buried services are. Breaking a service is costly, interrupts work, and can be dangerous.

Vacuum excavators remove topsoil, dirt and materials non-destructively, and if a service is found there isn’t any risk of breaking or damaging it. So, not only is vacuum excavation great for earth excavation but service locating as well.

Do you need to reduce on-site damage?

Some job sites have strict guidelines on keeping environmental damage to a minimum. Just as an example, maybe a test pit needs to be excavated on a golf course. Backhoes and diggers need the tracks to move around so the operator can get their job done properly. Unfortunately, a side effect of this is that any grass, soil, or dirt surfaces are going to get damaged and pulled up by excavator tracks.

For a precise and non-destructive excavation method, vacuum trucks are a great option. The truck or trailer will stay in one location as work is being done and then roll away once the work is completed, reducing any damage to the site. Some trucks also have booms, allowing easy remote access to work areas.

Is it a limited-access site?

If there is limited access to the job site, like basement excavation for example, a backhoe or digger may not have enough room to operate properly. To get the job done a backhoe excavator may require some extra demolishing work to allow for the extra room. This isn’t always a viable option.

Vacuum excavators come in all manner of sizes, including trailer sizes, and don’t require a lot of room to work in. Excavated material is also extracted quickly and safely from the site, removing the worry of where to store the fill as it’s being dug.

A smaller size excavation

Sometimes a digger or backhoe is an overkill for certain jobs like trench excavations and potholing. Vacuum excavators are precise and quick, and perfect for these smaller jobs. The excavated material is quickly removed, allowing for any gas, water pipes and cables to be easily installed.

Too much dust

If a job is in a city or nearby a residential area, it’s important to keep dust pollution down, as it can be a health hazard and an environmental hazard. In addition, dust settles over everything, annoying the locals and resulting in complaints. 

Backhoe excavators inevitably throw up a lot of dust and debris as they work, requiring workers to water the site to reduce dust. Vacuum excavation eliminates the need to worry about dust. The powerful vacuum sucks up all the dust as it excavates the soil and earth removing the risk of dust pollution.

Muck excavation

If a job needs to be done in a location with a lot of muck and wet materials, a traditional excavator isn’t going to work. Vacuum excavation is an efficient method for removing any slurry-like materials from the site hassle-free. The powerful vacuum extracts it and stores it in the tank, to be disposed of safely, later on.

Do you need a vacuum excavator?

If your job site needs excavation work and has any of the listed conditions above, you may need a vacuum excavator. Vermeer WA & NT provide reliable, high quality construction equipment that can tackle any job.

Our range of vacuum excavators are perfect for deep excavation work, trench work and soil extractions. Additional services include after-sale maintenance and warranty, to ensure your equipment keeps up with the high standards we are known for. 

Please don’t hesitate and get in touch with us through our enquiry system or call our team on (08) 9479 4994.


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