The first big step to prepare for building is clearing the organics (stumps, bushes, topsoil, etc.) off of the site. Organics change size and move as they decompose, so you don’t want them under driving or building areas.
Unfortunately, organics are one of those things that can be expensive if you want them, and expensive if you don’t. Prime topsoil can be worth a lot, but the rooty, rocky, mossy organics at my site really just needed to be removed. In some situations organics can be dispersed or disposed of on-site, but often they have to be carted off by dumptruck at significant expense.
After spending many peaceful afternoons up at the lot working with hand tools, it’s pretty wild to see an excavator rumbling around, ripping up stumps and flinging tons of material here and there. But it’s also awesome to see this amount of progress happen in a single day, especially with winter right around the corner.
Photos taken September 16, 2019. Posted November 2, 2019.