Grading & Excavating

Grading & Excavating

Grading & Excavating

V&V offers unmatched residential and commercial grading & excavating services including: road building and driveways, home-site and landscape preparation, environmental services, retaining walls, ponds and more. We believe our clients should expect solid communication, technical skill, honesty, professionalism, and attention to detail.

Good Grading is the foundation of most projects

Simply owning or renting expensive equipment is no assurance of a company’s competence. Nearly half of our earth work schedule consists of fixing others’ mistakes.

V&V has years of experience on technical terrains. Let us help you site and plan your driveway, home, pond, hardscape or other improvements from the beginning. We do not subcontract and will attend to every detail of your project from start to finish.

Roads Are Difficult in The Mountains

Nowhere is road construction more complicated, demanding and expensive than in mountainous terrain. Many factors must come into consideration if a mountain road is to be durable and safe. These factors include grade (steepness), soil conditions, drainage, visibility, compaction, erosion control, re-vegetation, and surfacing. Add to that necessary permitting and engineering and perhaps a handful of subdivision by-laws and the whole affair can seem overwhelming.

Call us before you begin. We are not only committed to building exemplary roads, we are committed to client education, solid value and flawless communication. You will not find another company with more successfully completed roads or greater dedication to client satisfaction.

Do it Right the First Time

Nowhere is our belief “Do It Right The First Time” more essential than with road construction. Nearly half of our road projects involve repairing and/or redesigning poorly built roads, especially driveways. These re-dos are costly, time consuming and, in many cases, unavoidably inferior to roads built correctly from the outset. It is unwise to take anyone’s assurance that they know what they are doing just because they own equipment. Maintaining a poor road can quickly become more costly and inconvenient than the entire initial construction phase.

Road construction involves planning. We have repeatedly found simple measures like soil assessments and digital mapping to be essential. These useful tools pay for themselves many times over during construction phases, while also providing landowners with valuable information about their properties.

Minimize Environmental Impact

Roads are costly and they have high environmental impacts. Hundred-plus year old road cuts still mar most of our ancient mountains. Many of these have contributed to permanent alterations of native ecosystems. Sadly, standards have only marginally improved while the might of modern hydraulic equipment has expanded exponentially.

If you are considering a road building project, do your homework, visit prospective contractors’ previous jobs, both old and new. Become familiar with basic local guidelines and permitting. You will not only end up with a good road, but will save thousands of dollars.

A Great Driveway Leads to a Great Home

Driveways often represent a major cost component in the purchase or construction of a home. More often than not, driveway planning and construction is inadequate, resulting in costly annual maintenance or worse, failure. Driveways are also a common source of environmental degradation in the form of erosion, sedimentation and habitat loss.

A driveway that is safe, attractive and durable begins with thorough planning that takes into account much more than the obvious goal of getting from one place to another. Surrounding habitats, soils, drainage, vegetation, visibility and aspects need careful consideration.

A good driveway is one that fits your property and obeys ALL the fundamentals of solid road construction. At V&V, we are obsessed with the small details that guarantee a driveway will be long-term success. We also know that correctly built driveways ultimately cost much less and add measurably greater value to your home and living experience.

V&V Personnel are Clear Water Contractor Certified, and Also Certified by the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation.

Why Choose V&V For Your Site Preparation?

V & V sets the stage for successful construction. We employ the most cost-effective and sustainable methods available, combining the best conventional grading and erosion control strategies with new technologies such as digital mapping and forestry mulching. In addition to “in house” service support we provide complete design assistance, including surveying and engineering…. all the way down to finished landscaping! We will even complete your permitting! This allows you to consolidate your planning and execution, save time and money, and maximize communication and accountability.

Don’t Make Site Preparation Mistakes

Site prep is often an expensive and poorly considered component of the construction process. Ultimately, site preparation heavily impacts many of your new home’s essential features including: foundation integrity, drainage, access, privacy, slope stability and landscaping. Site preparation also has a dramatic influence on resale value.

It is not enough to simply rely upon your builder or the accuracy of your site plans. You need qualified and experienced professionals to assist you in planning and executing your site prep. Mistakes, although commonplace, are difficult and expensive to fix once your new home is constructed. Call us before you Begin. We’ve designed and executed sites for many of the areas most reputable builders, and on some of the most demanding and technical terrains. We will help you feel comfortable with the process right from the start.

Proper Site Prep Planning Saves Time and Money

Take your site preparation seriously! Poor site prep can ruin the appeal and livability of an otherwise attractive home, as well as needlessly damaging the surrounding environment. The practice of presenting house plans without full elevations or grading plans, although common, contributes to mistakes and major cost overruns.

We recommend most of our clients have fully designed building elevations and grading plans before they commence grading activities. For those building in designated steep slope or geologically unstable areas this is a minimum permitting requirement. Visualization is essential for everyone involved from start to finish. A little money spent up front on proper design will save you big money once boots and tracks hit the ground.

Good Site Integration lowers Costs and Maximizes Property Potential

There are numerous possibilities for every site, each demanding careful consideration. The home should “fit” into its environment. This fit is largely determined by your site prep planning and execution. Whenever possible design your home to take advantage of natural land contours so that earthwork and material costs are minimized. We will take the time to explore your property’s available options, familiarize you with permitting and steep slope requirements and thoroughly review your house plans.

Benefits of Mulch Clearing for Site Preparation

In recent years all Southeastern states have tightened permitting and regulations related to conventional land clearing. In many municipalities, disturbing more than a quarter acre of land requires a permit. Nearly all open burning is now regulated or prohibited. Hauling and dumping are fiendishly expensive. Developers and homeowners alike are fully aware of the costs and hassles associated with clearing in restricted communities and subdivisions.

As the difficulties of conventional land clearing practices continue to grow, a cheaper, more practical technology is rapidly replacing them – mulch clearing. Mulch clearing is an excellent compliment to conventional site prep and lot clearing. First, mulching equipment literally reduces biomass to mulch, making its own tractable footing as it goes. The delicate topsoil layer is left undisturbed so site impacts are drastically reduced. Second, there is no burning, hauling and no need to seed immediately. Finally, no permitting is required. Call us to learn more.

Forestry Mulching for Erosion Control

Presuming that grading activities have been carried out correctly, the solution for nearly all erosion control problems is ground cover (re-vegetation/mulch). If adequate ground cover is established, the chance of erosion is minimized and usually negated entirely.

Mulch, such as that produced by forestry mulching, is as good as any ground cover available at dissipating the impact and flow of rainwater. Mulch is the beneficial by-product of our clearing technology, so no additional erosion control costs beyond initial clearing are incurred. Mulch, unlike the delicate grasses associated with fresh seeding, can withstand repeated traffic without significant reduction of erosion control capacities. mulch can also be bermed behind required silt fencing to bolster its effectiveness.

Site Assessment is the Key

Pond building demands special considerations often ignored by traditional excavation companies. The first of these is an extremely thorough site assessment. Just because you want a pond does not mean it's possible; your land must conform to specific requirements.

A good site assessment encompasses the entire drainage area for a proposed pond, not just the direct water source and immediate impact area. Everything matters – how much acreage is forest versus field, how much sun and shade an area receives, previous land use, and, most importantly, soils. Unlined ponds require a heavy clay base. Without correct clay composition, ponds usually devolve into expensive holes. Lining ponds is a limiting factor that adds significant costs, and a higher risk of failure.

Build for Longevity

Once your chosen site has been deemed suitable a second tier of requirements must be confronted. Pond depth and shape, standpipe and overflow construction, aeration, habitat, access, bank stability and more. Ponds are maintenance structures that can’t be ignored for long intervals. As much as possible, you want your pond to manage itself.

Your pond should not be constructed in the path of an existing waterway. In many cases this is illegal, and usually this type of construction sets the course for extreme sedimentation and thus, a short pond life. It is best if ponds are spring-fed from above or less desirably from an existing adjacent stream.

Avoid Common Mistakes: Engineer for Success

There are many mistakes that plague bond building, Foremost among which is improper dam construction. A correctly built dam is a well-compacted dam composed of high-plasticity soils. To create an impervious levee appropriate soils must be tightly compacted in thin layers or “lifts”, which should begin several feet below the finished grade of the proposed pond bottom to form a key-way or “core”. The core is essential for the dam's strength and seal. Once water finds its way through or beneath a dam, major mitigation costs are soon to follow. Additionally, there are generally accepted slope standards for both the front and back of an earthen levee which should be adhered to by your contractor. A dam with slopes that are too steep is a recipe for neglect and failure.

Most ponds require standpipe systems

Stand pipe and overflow systems are generally the next points of failure. The purpose of the former is to regulate water level. The latter provides an evacuation route for excess during extreme weather or standpipe failure. For larger ponds/lakes, or for dams that will double as roadways, concrete or buried drainage structures with head wall protection are advisable for overflows. All should be engineered for your specific environment and circumstances.

The Devil's in the Details

There are many aspects of pond building that must be considered to assure success. Remember, a healthy pond is one that creates a positive ecological impact, providing habitat not only for aquatic species, but nearly every type of creature from bugs to birds. For this reason, your choice of vegetation around your pond is crucial. Create a substantial buffer around your pond by planting native grasses, trees and shrubs.

Your local state wildlife agent can help you

Where fish are concerned, make sure you choose appropriate species and correct stocking rates for your conditions. Your local USDA or wildlife agent can usually help with this. Consider building gravel-lined shelves into the pond sides for bedding. Create shelter for fish by placing boulders or dropping in old pallets tied together. Remember, a healthy aquatic environment has abundant oxygen, a correct pH range (slightly alkaline), and is devoid of damaging invasive vegetation.

You may need a permit for your pond

Depending on where you plan to build your pond and how it is to be designed you may require one or more permits. Permitting takes into account not only the safety of those downstream but environmental impacts as well. Each state has different permitting requirements. Know what is needed before you invest too much in your pond building dreams.

Our streams and rivers are the earth’s veins and arteries, an ancient and indispensable filtration and circulatory system with a primary role in sustaining every aspect of life. Just as with the body they provide direct feedback on our cultural beliefs and practices, technology and evolution.

No home, farm, community, or city can be truly healthy if its waterways are degraded. Although we are slowly waking to this realization after centuries of ignorance and abuse, the damage has been done. The amount of work and money needed to restore our waterways to health is staggering. To overcome one issue is to confront another. From erosion and sedimentation to pollution and invasive vegetation, each problem is deeply interconnected.

Imagine a World of Healthy Waterways

Stream restoration is always a multidisciplinary effort requiring thoughtful planning, precise execution, creativity and sustained monitoring. V&V specializes in stream restoration primarily associated with agricultural and logging damage. These pursuits, along with mining, were granted exemptions under the statutes of the Clean Water Act and remain largely unregulated. Despite improvements in these fields, industry ‘push-back’ and a culture of intransigence has slowed the pace considerably.

So common are deeply incised, undercut and eroding banks, blanketed in invasive vegetation, that many of us haven’t considered that it could be otherwise. Likewise, we assume that a bare stream running in a perfectly straight line through a valley of hay fields is quaint and ‘natural’ – Usually these streams were former wetlands or meandering watercourses incised and straightened for row cropping and animal fencing decades ago.

V&V assists in all aspects of stream restoration including, education, mapping, design and permitting, as well as routine maintenance. Working in step with our philosophy of Integrated Land Management, we will help you streamline and consolidate planning for your project, regardless of size. More importantly, we provide unmatched earthwork services including: mechanical grubbing, channel contouring, armoring, and stream bed reconstruction. We also offer customized strategies and services for invasive vegetation removal, erosion control, hydroseeding and native planting.

I am extremely glad I had the opportunity to work with V&V Land Management. Frank got the project going quickly and efficiently. I enjoyed meeting your associates and observing their meticulous work. When I had questions or concerns, they were attended to promptly and everyone had a positive attitude. I would highly recommend your company's work. I look forward to a continued relationship with V&V for years to come.

- Jim Barkley
Weaverville, NC • June 2014

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