Take your first step towards the Career of your Dreams,

Discover Indovance Download our Brochure

Edit Template

Fundamentals of Site Grading Plan


Site grading is crucial to the Land Development procedure as  Zoning and land development approval procedures have evolved over time. 

The entitlement process for an owner seeking building permits to obtain zoning approval has grown more challenging as Planning Boards/Commissions have become stringent and enhanced their power and authority. The process of getting a site plan approved is getting harder and harder as the construction industry keeps evolving. 

The success of a land development project is gauged by site grading. Site grading enhances accessibility and helps to resolve drainage issues in new construction. Site  Grading Plans can enhance the landscaping features and curb appeal of existing buildings. 

Site grading requires a high level of expertise. Groundwater may cause structural issues, improper drainage may have a negative impact on the environment, and construction results could differ significantly from the architectural concept without proper ground preparation. 

Therefore, it becomes crucial to design and execute the site grading plan expertly and according to exact specifications for everything from a parking lot or small restaurant to high-rise office buildings. 

What is a Site Grading Plan? 

The Site Grading Plan specifies the details that will be shown on the planned surface after construction. The representation of what the planned ground is expected to look like after construction, as referenced in a land development plan, is typically built by a civil engineer. The final grades in both previous and susceptible areas will be used in a site grading design. The engineer will use a site grading plan to demonstrate how a planned layout might look in terms of elevations on a two-dimensional plane.

The majority of Site Grading Plan documents are multi-sheet plan sets that include a Grading and Drainage plan, among other things. If the project is big enough, those two sub-disciplines may be separated into separate sheets, with a separate but linked Grading Plan and Drainage Plan. This is usually divided at the engineer’s discretion, but it may be required by the Authority with Jurisdiction’s standards and codes.  

Read Related- Site Plan vs Plot Plans

The Drainage Plan would usually describe the details (rim/grate elevations, invert elevations (bottom of pipe)) associated with the inlets (catch basins), storm manholes, flared outlet structures, permanent erosion protection, and outlet control structures in the case of separate grading and drainage design plans. 

Components of a Site Grading Plan

1. Existing topography

To see if the planned grading contours would tie into the existing terrain, the existing topography, including existing contours, will have to be included in the site grading plan. This document is typically referred to as a Topographic Survey 

2. Existing buildings/structures to be demolished

These items must be labeled to indicate to the site contractor which structures should be left in place, and which should be demolished as part of the construction. 

3. Proposed contours

Strong contour lines and corresponding marks for the elevations of the contours would most likely constitute the bulk of the proposed site grading. 

4. Planned layout

The proposed layout of houses, driveways, roads and other impervious areas will be shown on the site grading plan. 

5. Proposed storm drainage system configuration

This will demonstrate how the proposed site grading will drain the various sections of your land creation to the storm drainage system’s various inlets and pipes. 

6. Property line

The legal boundary between the lot in question and adjoining properties and/or public land is defined by a property line. The property line aids city officials in verifying the size, setbacks, and coverage of the lot. This information will be used by earthworks contractors to create a site access plan. 

7. Spot Elevations / Spot Grades

The exact elevation of a point on the surface, or of a level flat region on the surface, is determined by spot grades. Typically, spot grades are taken to the nearest tenth (0.1′) or hundredth (0.01′) of a foot and shown as such (ft.). 

8. Limits of grading

A line demarcating the proposed grading limits will most likely be drawn on the grading plan. One explanation for this is that the proposed grading limit could influence how a land development plan is reviewed and how much review application fees cost. 

9. Existing trees to be felled as part of the development

Individual trees may be identified as needing to be felled as part of the construction process. A proposed tree line could be shown to let the site contractor know the extent of the removal of the current trees if a large group of trees is represented by a general tree line. 

10. Estimate for earthwork – Cut/Fill

The engineer in charge of creating the grading plan should show their estimated cut and fill quantities. These are measured in cubic yards and serve as a guide for the earthworks contractor, who also calculates the amount of soil moved during grading. 

11. Base Flood Elevation and Finished Floor Elevation

Homes constructed on a floodplain in some states, for example, California must have their lowest floor elevated above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) level. If your house is built on a floodplain, building inspectors will likely pay special attention to the finished floor elevation. This detail is usually included in site grading plans in order to certify that the planned home’s floor would be built above the BFE mark. It will also assist the earthworks contractor in estimating cut and fill volumes. 

12. Lot size and coverage

The total lot size, as well as the area of the planned building and any accessory structures, should all be shown on a good site grading plan. The lot coverage percentage measurement should also be included in the drawing: 

Lot Coverage = building area divided by lot area multiplied by 100

Most zoning codes have lot coverage limits, and this calculation helps planning officials to determine if the proposed building meets the construction requirements. 

The JOY of building the BEST

Different Types of Grading in Construction  

  • Architectural Grading – In order to accommodate proper drainage, eliminate undesirable elevations, and prepare foundation areas, changing the contours of a land area for a new house, housing development, or commercial property is typical. 
  • Landscape grading – landscaping projects may require topsoil removal for irrigation system installation, smoothing out areas for planting, and modifying slopes or elevations to improve drainage or change the appearance. The process of reshaping a land area to change water runoff patterns or otherwise change property elevations is known as landscape grading. To ensure proper drainage and to get the best results, the job must be done correctly. 
  • Regrading – Regrading entails changing a land’s elevation by lowering or raising the levels. 
  • Rough Grading – Rough grading is the process of setting the slope or leveling an area for tasks like landscaping, laying a foundation for turf development, or addressing drainage issues. Topsoil placement, removal, and addition are all examples of this. This phase also creates the desired soil composition, establishes the drainage flow, and shapes the ground to the desired basic shape and elevation. 
  • Finished Grade – Grading extends to include the surface and cover of the finished construction, not just the base, for specific projects like gravel roads and earthworks. Finished Grade in landscaping refers to completing the project’s final contour and forming the desired area in order to get it ready for sodding, seeding, or planting. Finish grading entails giving the grading project one last polish. After removing undesirable debris like large rocks, soil chunks, and other objects, the surface is smooth.  
  • Final Grade – It is frequently necessary to finish the surface with a material that encourages growth in order to complete the grading process and get ready for the final landscaping or seeding. To finish the grading project, screened topsoil or a comparable material is spread over the area. 

Read Also –  What is an ALTA Survey? – All You Need to Know

The Importance of Site Grading Plan in Construction Projects 

Site grading plans are crucial in the Land Development process. The approval processes for zoning and land development have improved over time. The entitlement process for an owner requesting Building permits to receive Zoning Approval has become more complex as Planning Boards/Commissions have become more astute in terms of their power and authority.  

A successful site grading design incorporates existing natural landscapes to create a visually appealing, practical, and cost-effective site plan. They must strike a balance between utility and purpose while still appealing to the eye. 

Below are a few of the objectives of a Site Grading Plan:

  • Foundation of the structure – If the project is for a residential, a light commercial building, or a heavy industrial building, adequately planning the base to support the structure can prevent structural damage from settling caused by insufficient load-bearing properties. Experienced grading engineers would have a thorough understanding of where compacting is needed to support higher demands for the intended structure, as well as how to manage runoff water with grading. 
  • Defining the site’s aesthetics – To achieve the desired architectural picture of the finished property, land leveling and grading will be required. This takes into account the elevations and leveling that will be needed for walkways, parking areas, driveways, patios, gardens, and other site plan elements. 
  • Drainage Layouts – When designing a grading strategy, controlling water flow from rain or other sources is a top priority. Buildings, other properties, and the environment must all be considered in a responsible manner that complies with all zoning and ethical standards. 
  • Optimize Land Surface for the Intended use – The structure’s relative height, streets, parks, parking areas, and other features should be consistent with those of adjacent and current structures to ensure functionality. 

Although the site grading plan is just one part of the overall land development plan, it is an important one. This plan ensures that your land development is available, drains properly, and complies with all relevant regulations. Your land development project will be extremely difficult to construct without a proper site grading plan. 

Follow INDOVANCE Inc for AEC Industry Updates and Global Construction News.  

Indovance Inc  with its exclusive delivery hub in India is a global CAD technology partner serving the needs of the AEC industry since 2003. At INDOVANCE we focus on the unique need of each project or client and believe in addressing the real challenges and guarantee that the process will be well-coordinated, smooth, efficient, and hassle-free.  

We collaborate with our customers around the world to develop bespoke business solutions using our enormous engineering talent pool and state-of-the-art technology. To deliver long-term engineering and business strategies, we align with your culture and processes to create an unbreakable partnership. With over 500 full-time employees and more than 600 customers in the US, Europe, India, and Asia, we are poised for the next level of success.  

Indovance Inc will assist you with site grading plans as per your project’s requirements. Our civil engineers can design a grading strategy that drains rainwater away from your building and neighboring properties while keeping the aesthetics of the landscape intact. 

Indovance acts as a catalyst, Empowering You for positive change and supporting you to Do More. 

For more queries regarding any of the above-mentioned topics, feel free to connect with us on our website www.indovance.com or contact us on +1-919-238-4044 

Latest Posts
  • All Posts
  • Architecture
  • CAD Info
  • Civil
  • Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Events
  • Industry Info and CAD Tips
  • Mechanical
  • News
  • Press Releases
  • Publishing
  • Signage
  • Uncategorised

Related Posts

Quick Links

Indovance Inc

Billing Address
1051 Pemberton Hill Road, Suite 101, Apex, NC 27502, USA

Indovance Pvt Ltd

Offshore CAD Studio
4th Floor, Navale Prestige, Narhe, Pune 411 041, Maharashtra, India
© 2023 Indovance. All Rights Reserved.
Scroll to Top