Earthmoving can “change people’s lives,” says Harley Williams, second in charge at Dirtcon Civil.
“People in a small country town buy little blocks of land,” he has observed, “and you’ve got to get a machine in there to do a shed cut or house cut.”
He believes this ability to develop a site “brings more people into a country town, because [the house sites] are more secluded” than those found in cities and their outlying urban areas.
He noted a number of city residents own a weekender in regions like Braidwood’s for example, and the point he’s making is, earthmoving facilitates the ability to have a house in a private area.
Earthmoving is necessary on projects like subdivisions as well, with not just preparing building sites and carving out roadways but also trenches for everything from plumbing to communication to power plus retaining walls and several other jobs.
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For farmers, the machinery can be used for many things including the most common tasks like ponds and dams and private roads, be it either to construct or to periodically maintain them.
Harley notes that it’s a normal practice to scrape the sediment out of a dam or pond every couple of years. He also explained that the deeper a dam is, the more efficient it is at holding the water, because deeper water is colder and therefore there’s less evaporation. He described three metres as the minimum depth you should aim to retain.
They also do work with Local Land Services, such as maintaining waterways after severe weather events like washed-out creeks, as well as any other works where their equipment can be put to good use.
To describe the variety of the equipment at their disposal, it ranges from the big and capable to the small and manoeuvrable.
“We usually use the [Caterpillar] D5N dozer for a house or shed cut,” Harley says. “Preferably we use the 24 tonne excavator, Volvo, for dam construction. It’s a bit easier making dam walls and digging a hole.”
They have a 30 tonne dump truck which is “handy to have for even a cleanout on a dam.”
There is a 14 tonne excavator. “We generally use that one for smaller, tighter areas where the bigger machines can’t get to.”
There’s a little posi-track that “does general house maintenance, little roads into tight areas, and the 6 tonne truck is handy just to move material around.”
Smaller again is “The little 1.7 tonne excavator, it’s another handy little machine” on house sites for holes and trenches.
Then they also have a grader and roller for maintaining and re-seating roads or starting a new road from scratch, plus some more machinery and equipment as well.