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  • Lisa Gardener

Groundworkers: what do they do?

The groundworkers are the first trade on site. They are also there at various stages throughout the build and they are, almost, the last trade to leave site. As a result, a list of the typical tasks is considerably longer than that for any other trade:

  • Create an entry and clear site of vegetation

  • Form a hardstanding for entry and storage of materials

  • Strip topsoil and stack for re-use

  • Set out the building or attend the surveyor in doing so

  • Excavate foundation trenches and "crumb out" the bottoms

  • Load spoil onto dumpers for stacking and eventual re-use or load onto lorries for off-site disposal

  • Position level pegs for the foundation concrete levels and pour and lay concrete

  • Lay foundation blockwork to dampproof course level, including all necessary cranked ventilation, drainage exit lintels and service sleeving, unless this is carried out by the bricklayers

  • Level out oversize and backfill trenches outside the building

  • Fill the foundation cavities with lean-mix concrete

If it is proposed to have a solid oversize, then the groundworker will:

  • Fill and consolidate oversize with suitable hardcore or aggregate

  • Sand blind

  • Lay dampproof membranes

  • Position below slab insulation

  • Cut, lay and wire up reinforcement mesh

  • Pour and lay oversize concrete

If it is proposed to have a beam and block oversite, then the groundworker will:

  • Position floor beams on the DPC

  • Position infill blocks

  • Brush grout infill blocks

Drains and services:

  • Excavate trenches for foul and surface water drains

  • Lay drainage runs on pea shingle beds

  • Bring any upstands into the oversite

  • Haunch over all drainage runs with pea shingle

  • Build or assemble all manholes

  • Connect foul drainage to the foul sewer, if this is on site. Otherwise take to the boundary for connection to the main sewer by others

  • If there is no mains drainage, install septic tank and drainage field or sewerage treatment plant and connect foul drainage

  • Lay any necessary weeper drainage or connect outflow to agreed position

  • Construct all soakaways and connect to surface water drainage

  • Backfill all drainage trenches

  • Excavate all service trenches on site and backfilll when required

  • Carry out any agreed soft and hard landscaping

  • Lay driveways, paths and patios to agreed specifications


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