How Long Does It Take To Dig a 6 Foot Hole? Production Rates For Manual and Mechanical Excavation in Light, Medium and Heavy Soil

How Long Does It Take To Dig a 6 Foot Hole? Production Rates For Manual and Mechanical Excavation in Clay, Sand, Silt, Loam, Silty Sand, Silty Clay and Sandy Clay.

How long it takes to dig a hole depends on the production rate or excavation rate in this case, and the production rate for construction work depends on a variety of factors which are going to be discussed below.

A 6 foot hole is roughly 1.83 metres deep in metric units. This is a very deep hole that would require earthwork support and means of access in and out of the hole. To give you an idea of how deep this hole is, the average height of human beings around the world ranges from 5 foot (152cm) to (6.10 foot (185.6cm). How long it takes to dig a hole of this nature depends not just on its height, but on its width or diameter as well. More importantly, you have to consider other factors such as the ground conditions. The rates for digging in different types of soils are not the same. It’s much easier, quicker and cheaper to dig in light soil such as silty sand, loess or loam. Digging in medium soil such as sandy clay will slightly reduce the production output rate and increase the labour cost. Digging in heavy soils such as clay, shale and caliche will reduce the production output rate further, and increase costs. Heavy soils are the most expensive soil type to dig in if we are not taking rock into consideration, otherwise ground with loose and hard rock is the most expensive.

Heavy soils are cohesive soils with a high amount of fine particles (clay). They tend to be hard when dry and plastic when moist. Light soils are granular soils like sand and silt with a small amount or absence of clay. As a result, they lack cohesive strength, which makes them easier to dig in than cohesive soils.

The degree of surface and subsurface soil compaction has a bearing on how easy and how long it would take to dig any hole or trench. Highly trafficked ground which is used a lot by motor vehicles, livestock and human beings will have its subsurface layer compacted to a higher degree than less trafficked ground. Even granular soil like sand and gravel can get compacted to a high degree making it difficult to excavate.

How long it takes to dig a hole also depends on the type of digging equipment used. Obviously, a labourer using a power digging tool like a tractor-mounted auger will make progress much more quickly than a labourer using a pick, shovel and clamshovel to dig a 6 foot hole.

Chart – Production Rates for Digging Holes and Trenches in Light, Medium and Heavy Soil

Calculations – How Long It Takes To Dig a 6 Foot Hole [ Manual Excavation Using a Pick and Shovel ]

Shown below are calculations for excavation production outputs for digging a 6 foot deep traditional grave and stormwater drywell using hand tools (pick, shovel, clamshovel etc.) in different types of soils.

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