New Building Contractor's Guide To Grading Plans For Custom Home Construction

Posted on: 28 May 2015

If you are a newly licensed building contractor who just signed a contract to oversee the building of your first custom home, then you need to understand the importance of a formal grading plan for your building site. A grading plan can save your project time, money, and a lot of frustration.

Here are some considerations for you to think about while working on your grading plan with your grading trade contracting company:

Creating Your Grading Plan on Paper

Your building site's grading plan should be created to scale on grid paper. On the squares of the paper, you should list the corresponding grade of the land and show paths of acceptable drainage to local storm drainage systems in place for the neighborhood.

Considerations for Improper Drainage

Improper drainage can result in a lot of problems for your business and your clients. In fact, you can both be legally liable if the site is not properly graded and stormwater runoff causes damage to surrounding properties.

Proper drainage of the new home site is also important to prevent future damage to:

  • foundations
  • walls
  • landscaping

In addition, excessive runoff can lead to soil erosion on the site. This will necessitate backfilling the area with soil and re-grading.

Considerations for Lot Slope

If the lot you will be building the home on is at a considerable slope, then you need to address not only storm water from roof drainage and landscaping requirements but also the slope of the lot itself. Ask the following questions while formulating the grading plan:

  • Is a French drain necessary for the site at the base of the slope?
  • Can the slope be re-graded?
  • Does the slope need to have a retaining wall constructed?

Your grading subcontractor can offer you solutions to help with the slope challenge in the best way for your homeowners.

Plan to Grade in Summer 

When planning your building timeline, you should take the weather into consideration for grading the site. If you grade the site in the middle of winter, then you may find that erosion will take some of your soil and require you to re-grade the site. This additional work and expense can be avoided by simply grading the home site in the summer season. 


Signing a contract to oversee the building of a new construction is always exciting for a newly licensed building contractor. By working with your chosen grading trade contractor (such as one from Cooley Construction Inc.) on a formal grading plan, you can help ensure that your project stays on schedule and on budget. Congratulations on your building contract - now get to work!


Everyone Deserves a Little Luxury in Their Home

When I was growing up, my parents worked very hard to make ends meet for my family and we lived in a small, basic home. After I landed my first job as an adult, I purchased my first home. When I got a promotion at work, my salary increased dramatically and I started dreaming of having my bathroom remodeled to give it a "luxury spa" feeling. I felt guilty having a luxury spa in my home when my parents still lived in the same small home they raised us in, so I had their bathroom turned into a "luxury spa" as well! It felt great being able to "pay it back" to them for all the hard work they did in raising our family. I am looking into other home remodeling projects now, and I want to share what I am learning with others who would need the information!

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