Edmonton Civil Earthworks Company

As A Civil Contractor…

GCS Group Is Able To Provide Earthworks Services To Support Our Other Scopes Of Work Or For Stand-alone Earthworks Projects. GCS Is Able To Provide Services In The Following Areas:

The use of granular materials is the most traditional and the most common base for any paving or concrete applications. Granular materials are preferred because they are relatively cheap, readily available, self-draining, and effective.

Granular materials are also very versatile. They are used on almost all construction sites for multiple applications and structures. Whether you are laying the foundation of your home, placing your driveway & sidewalks, installing utilities, backfilling, or landscaping, granular products come in various shapes, sizes, colors, types, and gradations.

When considering your projects that require gravel, allow GCS to provide you with experienced and professional advice. We can provide you with whatever information you might need, whether that is choosing the right equipment, the right type of granular materials, and what to look for to make sure that your product has been installed to the highest of standards

Equipment Types

Best practices for gravel placement always start with choosing the right equipment for the job. This applies to both the spreading, watering, and compaction equipment. GCS has a wide range of heavy equipment to do any job. We have expertise in the use of skid steers, graders, dozers, and excavators for spreading your gravel. We have successfully placed and compacted gravel for all types of municipal roadways, highways and county roadways, driveways, sidewalks, utility trenches, pipelines, grade beams, concrete slabs, and structural units. We also have a wide range of watering trucks and smaller watering units to ensure that any gravel installation achieves optimum density. Whether you need a large water truck with a spreader bar or if you have a remote and hard to reach spot and need long lengths of hose, we can do it! Choosing the right compaction equipment is very important to a successful and long-lasting product. GCS has access to and proficiency with all types of compaction equipment. Push behind plate tampers, ride on smooth drum packers, pneumatic packers, double drums, GCS can run them all and provide you with the best product.

QA/QC Applications

When completing a granular installation, there are some key QA/QC items to identify prior to finishing.

Optimum Density and Moisture 

All granular materials (except washed products) need to be worked to achieve optimum density. In most scenarios, water needs to be added to the granular product to help carry the fines into the smaller voids between the larger pieces. In all scenarios, the granular product must be compacted. This compaction should be done with a smooth vibrating roller or plate tamper. The vibration, in concert with the appropriate amount of water, will cause the granular pieces to “lock” into place with each other thereby providing the maximum amount of “rock on rock” contract. Optimum gravel density is achieved through a combination of water application and compaction. The optimum water to mass ratio for each product can be provided by either the gravel supplier or by a 3rd party engineering firm. As well, if you wish to ensure that optimum density is achieved, GCS can arrange for density testing to be done. 

Drainage & Sloping

Proper drainage is key to the success of any driveway, road, or parking lot. The correct amount of water in gravel is key to its success, too much water will cause gravel to lose most of its strength. As well, if water saturates a gravel sub-base than your road, sidewalk, or parking lot will be prone to potholes and alligator cracking as that water freezes in the winter and expands. Water crystals forming into ice has a far greater strength than even concrete!

The use of granular materials is the most traditional and the most common base for any paving or concrete applications. Granular materials are preferred because they are relatively cheap, readily available, self-draining, and effective.

Granular materials are also very versatile. They are used on almost all construction sites for multiple applications and structures. Whether you are laying the foundation of your home, placing your driveway & sidewalks, installing utilities, backfilling, or landscaping, granular products come in various shapes, sizes, colors, types, and gradations.

Various Types of Granular Materials

Choosing your aggregate type is an important decision and GCS can assist you in making the right choice for your project. Our experienced employees can meet you on site and personally help you make decisions to choose material that will accomplish what you need, will bring long-term durability, and keep costs as low as possible. Because we have nurtured strong relationships with suppliers, we have the resources and relationships with all the major suppliers and can provide materials at a reduced price.

To help you choose the right type of material, please see a brief description of each type:

Sand is the finest grade (smallest sized rock) and is produced by the continual crushing of gravel until sand sized gravel is produced. Sand is a favorite choice for use under paving stones and other highly detailed work. This is because sand can be graded to precise elevations and shaped easily. Sand is also a favorite for use around utilities and pipes. This is because the sand has been crushed to such a small size that when it becomes compacted, there is little danger of sharp corners or edges damaging conduits, cables, or pipeline coatings. However, sand is not as effective in dispersing heavy loads due to its smaller size. That is why sand is rarely ever used under sidewalks, driveways, roadways, or concrete slabs.

Road Crush

Road crush is the most common granular material used today. It is cost effective, strong, and durable. Most construction projects will use a road crush under their roads, sidewalks, concrete slabs, foundations, grade beams, driveways, and parking lots. In fact, road crush will be found underneath almost every road and sidewalk that you see! It is produced in bulk and can be found readily available just about anywhere. Road crush disperses downward force more efficiently than sand because there is greater “rock on rock” contact. The smaller gradations then fill in the remaining voids between the rock contact points. However, because road crush has a nominal size usually around 20mm–25mm (about 1”) it can be clumsier and more difficult to grade within a tolerance of less than 20mm.

Washed Rock

Washed rocks are often used for 2 different types of applications: Decorative rock and for backfilling where compaction is not safe or possible. Washed rock is exactly as its name suggests. The rock is placed onto a sieve or series of sieves and water is poured over that rock. The water picks up and removes all of the small and undesirable particles and rock sizes leaving a clean product. Washed rock can come in various sizes, shapes, and colors. It can also come in rounded river rock or crushed angular pieces.

Because washed rock is not well graded (meaning containing a balanced range of sizes) compaction is not necessary. Often called “self compacting” rock, it is better to state that in a contained space, compaction is not necessary or required as settlement will not occur. For this reason, washed rock is often used to backfill sunken structures or in trenches where it is not possible or safe to put manpower and equipment in to compact other gravel types.

Washed rock is also a common decorative rock because it is clean, durable, and easy to maintain. It is also easy to isolate and group of the same type, color, style, etc. Rainbow rock, dark rock, specialized colored rock, and others like them are all a washed rock product.

Recycled Concrete

Recycled concrete is a relatively new product that is worth considering for any road or parking lot structure. Whether you have a commercial parking lot or are building an access road to your cabin, very few products perform as well as recycled concrete. For years, municipalities struggled with how to manage all of the removed concrete and asphalt from replaced roads and sidewalks. They are now crushed and mixed together to form a granular product that has pieces as large as 63mm (2.5”). Substantially larger, recycled concrete is noted for being a superior product for strength, lifespan, and handling water. When using traditional gravel types, you must be careful on how much water is applied to them. With recycled concrete, that level of carefulness is not as necessary. The strength of the product comes from the contact between the large pieces of crushed concrete and can handle far more water presence than traditional concrete before losing strength. As well, roads and parking lots built with recycled concrete tend to prevent movement or “soft spots” or rutting during the spring melt and during large rain events. Consider using recycled concrete on your next parking lot, municipal road, or access road. You will be happy with the results.

GCS has extensive experience completing road construction removals and excavation. Members of our team have over 20 years experience doing neighborhood rehabilitations and roadway upgrades. As a major part of the annual construction experience in Edmonton, roadway removals and excavation play a unique and vital part of our core business.

GCS has an impeccable record of safety, productivity, and quality. Having performed removals and excavation on many of the major roadways in and around Edmonton. We have also proudly performed roadway work for both the Valley Line LRT and for the Metro Line LRT segments.

Concrete and asphalt removals are done in the most careful manner. Our equipment is masterfully maintained and equipped with the best hydraulic breaker hammers available. We use screens and skirts to protect the public, private property, and vehicles from flying debris. All concrete and asphalt is broken up into reasonably sized pieces and gently loaded up into dump trucks to be recycled into new road base.

The best excavation practices for roadways always starts at the top. It is always best to excavate out the landscaping before anything else. GCS always uses a lawn edger to create a clear, straight, and well-defined limit of excavation in existing landscaping. This technique allows the existing sod to peel away gently and leaves an excellent edge for the new sod to be tied into. Pulling the landscaping excavation into the sidewalk excavation or roadway excavation allows for a more efficient work practice as compared to attempting to complete the landscaping excavation post concrete construction.

Sidewalks and curb/gutters are always excavated out with precision. Whether that be the horizontal alignment, geometry of the excavation, or designed slope, GCS has the tools and expertise to keep all grades to within a +/-10mm range. GCS has access to some of the highest quality excavators to complete sidewalk excavations. Consideration for what size excavator to use is often determined by the obstacles in the path of the sidewalk alignment. Mature trees now pose a serious consideration for all roadwork excavation projects. Whether it be height restrictions, tree roots, or limited access, trees are now a major consideration. GCS has vast experience performing excavations around mature trees and working around tree roots.

Often the key portion of any roadworks excavation is the coring of the roadway. With ever increasingly difficult in road geometry and lowering grade tolerances, road excavation is becoming a challenge to do efficiently. When considering the application of multiple addons such as bike lane structures, LRT tracks, and utility ROW’s, GCS’ expertise, knowledge, and experience could be the difference between a successful project and a project struggling to maintain schedule.

GCS has access to a full range of excavators, skid steers, loaders, and dump trucks to meet any road construction project. All our excavators come with twist wrist buckets and thumbs to expedite both the removals and excavation portions of the job. We carry a full fleet of dump trucks ranging from tandem dump to full quad trucks with pup trailers.

Knowing where water is going to go is one of the biggest considerations when doing any project. Whether you are redoing the landscaping in your yard, replacing sidewalk around your home, building a driveway, garage pad, access road, or doing large scale site grading, a plan must be made to ensure that water will drain off of your site and will not pool in the wrong places.
Poor water drainage can lead to settlement issues, sinkholes, water entry into homes, foundation cracking, driving ruts, and water pooling in all the wrong places. There are several ways that GCS can expertly help you solve your drainage issues.

Site Grading

One of the best ways to control and disperse water is to make sure that all surface water goes where you want it to go! This is most often done by shaping the land in such a way that all surface water is directed to the appropriate locations.
GCS can provide you with an estimate to help shape your land or if you have a construction project that requires site grading or site cut-and-fill. We have decades worth of experience using all types of earthmoving equipment includes dozers, excavators, skid steers, loaders, and sheep foot packers. As well, we can provide in house surveying and grade checking to ensure that your project will remain dry.
If you require any excess material to hauled away or if you require additional materials to properly grade your project, GCS can provide whatever you need. We have a full fleet of tandem duck trucks, end-dumps, and tri-axle truck and pups to haul whatever volume of material is necessary!

Weeping Tiles

When even the best site grading cannot solve site drainage issues, then weeping tile can be used to facilitate water drainage below the surface. Weeping tile is porous plastic pipe encased in washed rock that collects water and then channels that water in a trench below the surface to the desired location. Often the trench is lined with a non-woven geotextile fabric to contain the washed rock and to prevent native materials from filling in the pores and voids of the washed rock and weeping tile pipe. Weeping tile is inexpensive and relatively easy to install. Where can weeping tiles be installed? Do you have low lying areas that pools water? Do you have water flowing on the surface that you w ant free up for alternate uses? Then weeping tile may be a solution. Such locations as golf courses use weeping tile to collect and transport water below the fairways so as not to interrupt golfer play, keep up visual appearances, and remove unsightly site grading tools such as swales. Weeping tile can also be used to collect surface water from multiple locations on property or project and collect that water in a single location. That water can then be used for water features, ponds, or irrigation.