Trenching depths for homeowner - Electrician Talk - Professional Electrical Contractors Forum
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Old 05-22-2020, 11:08 AM   #1
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Default Trenching depths for homeowner

I find that when I price a job that involves trenching, the homeowners like to offer to put their kids to work with a pick and shovel to save on costs.
I don't do any digging anyway and the contractor I sub my trenching to is always too busy for the little jobs anyway.
For those of you that leave it to the homeowner to trench, how deep and wide do you tell them to go? For non vehicular areas I always say 24" deep and 6" wide minimum. Just numbers that are easy to remember for me. For most teck cable this is more than whats required, especially if its being covered with wood planks.
I'm just curious what you guys say in these scenarios.
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Old 05-22-2020, 11:31 AM   #2
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I go with Table 53. 450mm for Teck.
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Old 05-22-2020, 11:34 AM   #3
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I tell homeowner customers 20 inches. They agree heartedly because they wanna save big bucks. Then they go down about six to eight inches and call me up and say its all ready.
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Old 05-22-2020, 04:48 PM   #4
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I usually inform them the trench must be 18" or deeper, and usually 6" or wider.

We also like to tell them to have sand to cover the cable or conduit.
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Old 05-22-2020, 06:46 PM   #5
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I had to put in a service to a granny flat 100 feet of trench in hardpan last year in august . The kids were on the high school football team . I left them a 60 pound demo hammer with a chisel and spade . Left on Friday came back Monday morning . The big bad kids got maybe 25 feet . They said they were at it 12 hours a day and no way could it be done .

The loving family left to do some shopping they were gone for around 4 hours . When the came home I was putting in the pipe and having a well deserved beer . They ask me when my crew left . I just laughed and told them "I am the crew" .

4 high school kids 24 hours 25 feet .
Skilled tradesman 4 hours 75 feet with pipe installed .

Funny part was the kids were pissed that an old man could do that so they told the Plummer they would dig his sewer line . it was 200 feet . It took them over a month to dig it . I built the whole granny flat of 900 square feet before they finished the sewer line . From slab to finish 30 days .
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Old 05-25-2020, 05:04 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by 99cents View Post
I go with Table 53. 450mm for Teck.

Note though that is to the top of the cable, trench has to be deeper.

For non vehicle areas I do the 24" and 6". Amateur help rarely gets the whole trench to the proscribed depth anyways and it leaves a little room for sand under the cable if needed while still getting the top of the cable below 18".
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