What are Firebreaks and Why are They Necessary?

Building a firebreak is one way you can protect your property from bushfire, especially if you live in a rural-urban area, a farm, near a forest or reserve or if your property is surrounded by vegetation. Based on where you live and the size of your property there are different rules regarding your firebreaks.

A firebreak or a fireguard is a piece of land that surrounds or lines your property that is free from flammable materials such as trees, grass, or bushes. It helps by slowing down spreading fires or preventing a fire from reaching your property. Since a firebreak is clear from any obstruction, it also allows fire trucks and personnel to quickly gain access to your property.

How are Firebreaks Created?

Building a firebreak usually requires the use of a slasher or cutter. A slasher is a type of land clearing equipment that attaches to a loader, excavator, or skid steer. It can quickly slash and clear grass, weeds, and low-level bushes. Besides machinery, firebreaks, especially if the area is small, may also be constructed using hand tools such as axes, hoes, and machetes. Some also use chemicals to remove vegetation.

For firebreaks to be efficient in stopping or slowing down spreading bushfires, they should be in the right width. The width of the firebreak depends on the location and the type of surrounding fuel or vegetation.

Types of Firebreaks

Below are common types of firebreaks.

Natural firebreaks

Bluffs and canyons or bodies of water like creeks, lakes, and streams make natural firebreaks. To make sure fire does not cross over the firebreak, there should be no vegetation or combustible material that can ignite. The firebreak must also be wide enough to prevent fire from spreading quickly.

Existing firebreaks

Pasture roads, gravel roads, and cultivated fields are examples of existing firebreaks. Paved roads are also good firebreaks because they allow vehicles like fire trucks to pass through in case of fire.

 Mowed and Wet Lines

Mowed and wet lines go together to make an efficient barrier against spreading fire. Mowed lines reduce the intensity of fire, whilst wet lines serve as the barrier that prevents fire from crossing over.

Constructed firebreaks

Constructed firebreaks that a bulldozer has scraped are considered the most efficient especially if done properly. Ideally, existing crops or vegetation must be removed to expose the bare mineral soil without disturbing much of the ground to prevent erosion.

Firebreak maintenance is as important as building them. To ensure that firebreaks continuously reduce the risk of bushfire, they must be mowed, grazed, or ploughed regularly. They should be cleared from combustible materials that wood, twigs and fallen leaves. Trees near the firebreak should also be pruned to prevent ground fires from burning the tree crowns.

Firebreaks Protect Your Property and Save the Lives of Your Loved Ones

Dobson Excavations offer a wide range of earthmoving services, including firebreak construction and maintenance, in Perth and metro and rural West Australia.

Contact us here for an obligation-free quote …

What is Trenching

Construction projects involve different types of excavation or earthmoving activities. Trenching is one of these.

What is Trenching?

Trenching or trench excavation is the creation of a narrow cut or cavity under the earth’s surface. When you dig a trench, the length of the excavated area typically exceeds the width. If the depth is less than six metres, the trench is considered a shallow trench. Meanwhile, excavations exceeding 6 metres are deep trenches.

When are Trenches Dug?

Trenches are an essential part of the construction activities or maintenance of any site or infrastructure. Below are situations that call for digging trenches:

  • Installation or replacement of drainage, gas, power, or sewer lines
  • Building strip footing or foundation
  • Installation of sprinkler systems
  • Formation of retaining walls

Using a trench digger speeds up the process significantly, reducing costs. There are different sizes based on the type of job.

 

What are the Hazards in Digging Trenches?

Digging trenches poses many safety hazards. These may include the following scenarios:

 

Cave-in

A trench may collapse because of a poor structure or support system. Cave-ins can trap site workers under the ground and cause serious bodily injuries and asphyxiation.

 

Hit Buried Services

When support systems are not properly installed, they can hit power cables, gas pipes, or water mains. If such accidents happen, they may cause electrocution, burn injuries, and exposure to hazardous gases. They may also temporarily interrupt utility services in the affected areas, this is why the owner or person in charge of any site must contact dial before you dig or hire a pipe locator before any digging proceeds.

 

Slip, Trips, and Falls

Lack of proper fencing and safety signage may lead to people, machines, and other objects falling into the excavations. Poorly installed access equipment like ladders can also make it difficult to climb in and out of the trench.

 

Flooding

A broken water pipe or heavy downpour can flood the inside of the trench. If the trench is shallow, water can reach and flood the construction site.

 

Collapse of nearby structures

Excavating close to a building can weaken its foundation. If continued, it may cause the structure to collapse.

 

Falling loads

Excavated dirt may fall into a trench and crush people working underground. It is recommended to disallow working inside the trench during excavation to avoid such instances from happening.

For your excavation and earthmoving projects in Perth and West Australia, hire Dobson Excavations. We offer a wide range of services and high-quality equipment for your next construction project. Our team of experienced contractors will ensure that your project is completed safely and promptly.

 

Contact us here for a quote or to know more about our services.…

Steps when building a New Concrete Driveway

A concrete driveway not only brings a functional element of your property but also has an important visual function impact the curb appeal of your property. Building a new concrete driveway needs to follow a well defined process.

Why Build a Concrete Driveway?

Concrete is a durable and weather-resistant paving material, so it’s a popular choice of material in driveway construction. It also needs minimal maintenance and is easy to repair.

Constructing a concrete driveway on your property allows you to create an attractive exterior on your property. While concrete possesses a basic grey colour, decorative treatments are available to give concrete a fresher and more modern look.

Steps in Building a New Concrete Driveway

If you’re up to the challenge of building your concrete driveway, you can follow these steps.

Plan your driveway’s design.

In creating the design of your driveway, consider the number and size of the vehicles you have and whether you need space to turn or manoeuvre your vehicles. If you’re working on a large space, you might want to add a few enhancements, like greenery or a water feature.

Keep in mind that the size of your driveway affects the cost of the project as it will determine the number of materials you need.

Mobilise materials to the site.

After sorting out your design and budget, gather all the supplies, materials, and equipment you need to build.

 

Prep the area.

Start by removing existing material like grass, leaves, and trash. Once cleaned of debris, it is easier to for you to create the layout of the garden, firm up the base and lay down the concrete.

Install forms.

Drive metal or wooden pegs at the boundaries and connect them with strings. Doing this will let you see the layout of your driveway and guide you on where to pour the concrete.

Compact the base.

If the ground you’re working on is loose or sandy, a clay base will do. For loamy soil, firm it up with sand or gravel. You may consider adding weed control substances if necessary. After adding material, dampen the base with water to make soil compacting easier.

Install stabilisations sheets and grade pegs.

To strengthen the base, you can install stabilisation sheets. This can be a geotextile fabric that helps reduce materials from sinking. Grade pegs serve as a guide on how much concrete you should pour to achieve the correct height.

Pour concrete.

Lay down the concrete mix from the corner, then spread it evenly using a rake or shovel. If concrete seeps through the edges, remove it with an edging trowel. Keep in mind that the concrete needs to be at a height of at least four inches for it to withstand daily wear and tear.

Level the surface.

Use a trowel to create a flat, level finish. Edges can also be smoothened out with a bullnose to remove rough areas.

Install contraction joints.

As concrete dries, it expands and could crack. You can avoid this by using wood …

What Can Go Wrong with Soakwells?

A soakwell, also called a storm pit, drywell or soak hole, is an underground reservoir that catches water runoff and slowly disperses water to the surrounding soil. A soak well is an important part of a property because it prevents water build-up that may affect the structural integrity of buildings and other structures above or near them.

 

Whether you own a residential or commercial property, you must ensure that your soakwell system is properly maintained. Even if containing water runoff is not a problem in your area, keeping a well-managed soakwell can protect not only your property but also neighbouring properties should unexpected weather conditions happen.

 

What Can Go Wrong with Your Soakwell?

 

A faulty soakwell system can result in many problems. It can cause the surrounding soil to absorb too much rainwater quickly, and eventually result in sinking pavers, grass or concrete. Rainwater can also rise and dampen walls, floors and footing. If wooden structures are above the soakwell, the rising water could rot and weaken the wood.

 

You might deal with the following issues if the soakwell in your property is not efficiently managed.

 

A Soakwell deteriorates and collapses.

If the soakwell in your property is made from poor quality materials, it can collapse faster than expected. If the paving above the soakwell sinks or you see sand rising through, this could mean that the soakwell is damaged or has collapsed.

 

A soakwell is unable to control heavy runoff.

Besides using poor construction materials, another reason a soakwell could underperform is when it cannot retain the expected volume of water that enters it. To prevent this, you or your soakwell contractor must calculate the soakwell volume capacity based on the size of the catchment area. Upon calculating the volume capacity, you can either replace the existing soakwell or install additional soakwells.

 

Soakwell is filled with debris.

 

Sand, debris, or other sediments can enter the soakwell along with water. These materials can also penetrate if there are gaps in the soakwell’s lid. When there’s too much material inside the soakwell, they can block the holes in the soakwell’s walls, preventing water to seep out of it. This may lead to soakwell damage or collapse if left untreated. To remedy this, you can hire soakwell cleaning services to remove materials and clean the soakwell. You can also prevent materials from seeping inside the soakwell by installing a filter on the drain line or cleaning gutters and pipes regularly.

Avoid most of these problems with properly by having Dobson Excavation take care of the soakwell installation.…