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Question DetailsAsked on 12/2/2017

I have a sloping lot needing to be leveled how does one proceed

8 feet to the front is level then it drops off.about eight ft.down it is full of rocks and trees and over grown with bramble and other grass. about 4000 sq ft. sloped

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This is a significant development, so you will undoubtedly (with rare exceptions) need a building or at least a grading permit - generally required for any structure construction (like if you are prepping to build a house or pool) but also generally needed for any fill or excavation over about 4-5 feet in maximum height/depth (varies by local building codes), and also commonly for any fill or excavation over over (typically) a dumptruck load or so - about 10-50CY is typically the permit requirement cutoff for simple landscaping work.

To get the permit you will almost always need a land surveyor's survey of property lines and locations of wells, septic, houses, etc as well as plans for the construction from an Architect or Engineer. This permit and plan phase is usually handled by an architect for new home construction (or for house additions) - occasionally by a developer or builder themselves for spec developments.

For slope changes only, with no planned structure construction associated with it, a Civil Engineering firm which routinely does site development permitting and plans is what you need - no Angies List category for that, though. They would design the cut and/or fill needed, address (in conjuction with the contractor) runoff issue from construction and necessary sediment control measures and any temporary diversion of surface waters during construction, and address (in the design) handling groundwater and surface water diversion/control/drainage issues. They should also address any required environmental issues - water quality, waterways impacts, enfironmentally sensitive area development, etc. Those issues should be identified FIRST, before proceeding with the design, because in many cases getting permits in environmentally sensitive areas or along wateways costs more than the project is worth to the homeowner, so can be an economic red-flag on the project even if technically obtainable.

Exactly howthe slope it is "handled" depends on what you want to do with it - cut-and-fill construction, where you cut away some earth and use that (assuming it is suitable for fill) as fill so the cut and fill quantities are balanced is cheapest. More expensive is excavation-heavy or fill-heavy designs where a lot of material has to be removed from site or brought into the site. Of those two, unless the material to be excavated is particularly good fill material or the contractor knows of a place nearby needing that type of fill, filling is generally cheaper than excavation and disposal.

And of course, natural slopes are normally a lot cheaper than ones requiring a retaining wall at the bottom side, but of course that limits the amount of flat area the project produces.

Any significant fill needs at least some compaction, but if a structure like a pool or house or even things like paved tennis/basketball courts may go on it, then structural fill needs to be used and properly compacted at proper moisture content in thin (typically about 6-12 inch thick) lifts as it is placed, so it does not settle unacceptably over time due to natural consolidation of the fill material.

Buried drainage layers and/or underdrains/french drains may also be needed to intercept and handle any groundwater- either permanent, or seasonal. The Civil Engineer (independently, or working for an Architect as part of a structure project) can handle these issues as well as help locate a contractor, if an earthwork-only project.

And of course, any utilities (power, phone, gas, water, sewer, septic, wells, fuel tanks and lines, etc) need to be located and surveyed up front, as their presence will cetainly affect the prject and may control what areas it can affect.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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