With the land development project nearly complete, the next step in the site work process is doing the flatwork.
Flatwork is the installation of concrete and paving that provides access to the structure and is the last major site work service necessary for turning a raw piece of land into a ready home or building site.
Once the site work contractors add all access ways on and around the property, all that’s left is the landscaping to improve the appearance of the lot.
Two Types of Flatwork
There are two types of flatwork involved in each site work project: on-site and off-site:
- On-Site - Flatwork done on the individual building lot as a part of that one property and consists of walkways, driveways, patios, stoops, and more.
- Off-Site - Flatwork done within the city’s right of way and off the individual building lot and consists of sidewalks and driveway approaches.
Though both the on and off-site flatwork are usually done by the same site work contractor as the last step in the land development process, everything installed within the building lot is owned by the property owner while sidewalks and drive approaches are owned by the city.
Preparing for the Flatwork
Before any concrete can be poured for flatwork, there are a number of preparatory steps that a site work service must complete:
- Subgrade Preparation - Done during the finish grading step, subgrade prep is the process of cutting out the grade where the flatwork will be poured. Contractors doing the finish grading must prepare the area to within the higher or lower grade tolerance designated by the contractor doing the flatwork based on the site work design.
- Soil Moisture and Compaction - After the subgrade preparation is complete, the site work contractor will do soil testing to determine moisture content, then add moisture as needed to get the soil to the perfect condition so it can be compacted in preparation for concrete pouring. Correct compaction prevents the soil from shifting or loosening under the concrete and destabilizing it later.
- Forming - Forming is the process of framing out the different parts of the flatwork to contain the concrete once it’s poured.Site work services build frames with 2x4 or 2x6 lumber that is staked into the ground to hold it in place to support the wet concrete.
Pouring and Finishing the Flatwork
After the flatwork preparation is complete and the concrete forms are built, contractors can then pour the concrete to make walkways, patios, sidewalks, and all other flatwork components that finish off the heavy site work for the project.
Concrete is leveled as it’s poured using screeds, then top finished in various ways depending on the final look and texture that’s desired.
Concrete can be finished smooth, broom finished to give it a bit of a texture, or stamped with a patterned tool that gives it the look of brick, stone, shale, and more.
The surface can also be finished with a top cast waterproofing agent for protective and decorative purposes.
After the concrete has dried, the site work service will cut control joints into larger slabs to control cracking over time.
Flatwork Paves the Way for The Final Site Development Step
Flatwork is the important final major site work that takes a land development project from being an unfinished land lot to a completed home or building site that’s ready for use.
Once the concrete accessways are installed, all that’s left is making the lot look prettier.
With everything else finally complete, landscapers can now come in and do their magic to complete the project.
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Land Development Series:
Land Development Series:
Land Development – Part One – Overview
Land Development – Part Two – Rough Grading
Land Development – Part Three – Web Utilities
Land Development – Part Four – Dry Utilities
Land Development – Part Five – Fencing
Land Development – Part Six – Finish Grading
Land Development – Part Seven – Flatwork
Land Development – Part Eight – Landscaping