What Is Trenching?

Trenching in construction means excavating a narrow space below the surface of the ground by using an earthmoving machine named a trencher.

Trenching v Excavating – what is the difference?

All trenches are excavations but not all excavations are trenches. The difference is a trench is narrower than it is wide, and the width does not usually exceed 15 feet. Trenching is commonly used for laying pipe electrical cables, telephone wires, or sewage lines. Whereas an excavation can be any shape or size and is usually used for creating building foundations, reservoirs, roads, and drainage ditches.

What Are Trenches Used For?

The different types of trenches can be determined by the shape as this usually is dependent upon the purpose of the trench. The type of trench required in a project will be decided on based on a number of factors, this could be the soil, the size of the pipe or conduit to be installed, and the space given from the building to the trench. A couple of the most commonly used are straight, sloped, benched, and bell-bottom pier holes.

Straight trenches are as to be expected where the sides are parallel and at right angles to the base. This can often be necessary when space is limited, and your project is required to not disturb any surrounding areas such as buildings or roads.

Sloped trenches are similar to straight except the sides have been angled to prevent a cave-in. The required angle is determined by the depth, the soil or the time it will be used for.

Benched trench is when the sides are cut away to create steps, the height of the steps must be determined by soil type.

Bell bottom pier hole trenches are when the top is narrow, and it then widens at the bottom which is what gives it its name as it resembles a bell. This is the riskier of the options as the probability of this collapsing is much greater. Supplying staff who work In such trenches with additional protective equipment is required.

History of Trenching

When many people think of trenches their minds go to World War I (1914-1918), where thousands of miles of trenches were dug across Europe by military engineers. But in actual fact trenches have been utilized well before WWI and for a lot more than warfare, for the construction industry and development of modern infrastructure.

Trenching was first used by the Romans for installing indoor plumbing through a system of aqueducts and pipes terminating at homes, public wells, and fountains.

What Equipment is Required?

A range of equipment can be used when it comes to trenching. It is essential you know your project’s requirements before you come to purchase your machinery as your needs will vary depending on a number of factors. You would need to understand what type of trench you are creating, the type of material you will be excavating and what the surrounding areas are like.

More often than not excavators are required for digging holes, foundations and for trenching purposes. Their versatility and effectiveness make them crucial on construction sites in industries such as mining, forestry, construction, pipeline industries, and much more.

However, a trencher is a precision machine designed for the sole purpose of digging trenches. It’s a faster, more efficient, and less expensive machine to dig a trench with a trencher than with an excavator.

Browse our wide selection of excavators below from leading brands such as LiebherrHitachiHyundai and Komatsu. If you have specific requirements for your excavator that are not shown below, please do not hesitate to contact our knowledgeable team who can help to source the perfect machine for you. Before shipment, we always ensure that our machines are up-to-date and are fully tested. Should you require something more specialist, please contact us and our expert team will aim to source the machine required for your project.