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Help Finding Cuts and Fills Course

Help Finding Cuts and Fills Course

Help Finding Cuts and Fills Course

I have a friend with an earthwork company. He does things like ponds and building pads. He told me that if I take a basic cuts and fills course, he will mentor me and possibly, eventually give me work. The problem is that I cannot find any local classes or courses (in the Houston area). I have found online courses and full-on college programs, but I am just looking for a 1 to 2 week Cuts and Fills 101 sort of thing. Maybe I'm using the wrong terminology.

ny help would be greatly appreciated, even if it's just telling me the proper terminology. Thanks in advance.

RE: Help Finding Cuts and Fills Course

I would think getting a text book and just reading it might be an answer. In my college days that was part of the surveying course, but probably not now.

Here is an Internet link for a computer program for doing what you are eventually wanting to do, but chances are some basic reading will help first. What you should have under your belt are the calculations and how to do them by hand before you go to a computer. Knowing the basics of land topography maps with the contours will be needed also.


You also need to know about highway stationing and right and left offsets.

Take this link and note that cross sections of the site are needed.


The search I did was "construction site work calculations".

Maybe someone can come up with a text to get you going first however. Try Amazon.com

Anther link with some book info. It's English, but the basics are there.


Here is a chapter from a state highway manual. Reading it will help a little. Note the use of a planimeter. A very handy gadget for this work, to measure areas on a cross section drawing.


Doing some perusing of these and other links will be a start, to give you an idea of what you are in for. However, a basic book would seem required as a reference.

RE: Help Finding Cuts and Fills Course

Read Chapter 4 of "Principles and Practices of Commercial Construction", Ninth Edition by Woods, Andres and Smith. It give both the top area method and the end area method for determining earthwork quantities.

RE: Help Finding Cuts and Fills Course

Thank you for the great information! This is so much more than I was expecting.

RE: Help Finding Cuts and Fills Course

I can't believe this book is still around. I have a well worn copy in my desk drawer, 1949 edition that was used by a correspondence school course out of Scranton, PA. Original book dated 1930, almost as old as me.

I see Amazon has a copy for $10.

The earthwork section is the good old fashioned method of doing things. There even is a section on surveying that you might need. With a builder's level a lot can be done simply.


A bunch of useful sections still valid.

RE: Help Finding Cuts and Fills Course

Not sure what your background is but the calculations are relatively simple. The hardest part of the job is getting the information to use in those calculations. Here is a brief summary of one way.

For simple projects like ponds and dams associated with them, you need a topographical map of the job site with contours of elevation. That can be prepared using he surveying methods shown in the book, or by hand leveling and measuring with spot elevation on the land and then drawing in the contours. It may be possible to use a USGS map that you buy from USGS or similar library or on line. At least those maps are a start.

I think Google Earth may also be sufficient for rough site elevations in some cases.

Many communities have been mapped with good topography maps available.

Then either on that map or separately you need to have a map of contours of the finished job.

Then, envision a series of vertical cuts through the site at given spacing, such as 50 feet. These cross sections are drawn to scale on graph paper. It is from them, the areas of cuts and fills can be found, either with a planimeter or by counting squares or other area computation method.

Then you can do the earthwork calculatios.

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