Some areas have sloping hills no matter where you look, so it is no surprise that sometimes you may need to construct your commercial building at the bottom of a hill, on the hill, or into the side of a hill. When that happens, there are several challenges you may face during construction. Here are five of the most common.
Understanding the subsurface and surface water movements in the area can be crucial when building on or near a sloped area. This is especially true of sewage treatment and the location of the nearest city or county line. Employing lift station pumps can help ease the situational problems, whether the sewage needs to go uphill or downhill.
Cutting the foundation of a large commercial building into the side of a hill can raise costs, but there are often more pressing concerns. Additional drainage pipes, retaining walls, greater specialty insulation use, and additional pressure supports to outer walls may raise construction costs. Depending on the building’s location, getting equipment to the site may also be a problem.
Carving a level platform into the sloping earth can be difficult, but after removing the soil, another problem can arise. Removed earth, or spoil, is often saved to be used in landscaping, road building, and retaining wall construction. The leftover spoil must often be taken away, and that can be expensive.
Although local codes may have drainage regulations in place, unforeseen complications can arise when a building is built at the bottom of a hill or into the side of a sloped area. Rain, melting snowfall, and other surface waters can cause problems if not planned for. Pumps can prevent water from pooling in unwanted areas and keep the groundwater from flooding basement or ground floors during especially high periods.
Building into the side of a hill can result in mudslides during heavy rains because of the unsecured soil during the first few years after initial construction. The building may also be more susceptible to earthquakes due to the possible earth pressure of buried retaining walls. Also, escaping from the building may be more difficult for employees.
Building on a sloped construction site can result in a beautiful building with magnificent views, but it can be a complex project. Knowing the possible problems the construction project may present can help you plan for eventual complications and save you money.