The Pole Building Site Preparation Guide

One of the most important aspects of a successful and hassle-free building process is working together to ensure that our crew will be greeted with a properly prepared building site when they arrive.

Choosing a professional excavator to clear the land and properly prepare the site is a very important part of your project. A professional excavator will know what type of fill is acceptable to use for leveling your area. Ideally you should use a compactable material that causes minimal settling but is still workable enough that we can auger through for post footings.

It is important to avoid using large rocks, debris, or loose slabs of shale to fill in your area. Improper fill can be very hard to auger through and could result in extra costs to you for excessive time spent on the post holes. If you are unable to locate an excavator on your own, please contact us and we will be happy to assist you the best we can.

While Timberline does not provide actual site excavation services we consider it a privilege to serve your building needs and our ultimate goal is that you would end up with a highly functional and appealing building that will serve your needs now and well into the future.

With this goal in mind and pulling from the experience of having completed thousands of successful projects, we present you with this Pole Building Site Preparation Guide which will tell you and your professional excavator the steps to take to properly prepare your pole building site.


5 Steps to Prepare Your Building Site

  1. Select the desired and most functional location on your property by determining what location will work best for your needs. For Example = Is the building to be used as a secondary garage with easy street access or is it more for general storage out back?
    Also, see Choosing Your Building Site
  2. After selecting the desired location consider the terrain. Is the land fairly flat or is it sloped? Are there any wet spots or storm waterways that might interfere? Is the land workable or will rocks and other debris prevent proper excavation or digging of the post holes? Are there any underground obstructions such as septic systems, power lines, water lines, or any other known obstructions?
  3. Walk the area with your excavator and determine if any surface obstructions need to be removed or relocated such as trees, shrubbery, or overhead cables. Keep in mind that in addition to having a site prepared for the building itself you will also be responsible for providing full access to the site for delivery of materials and equipment as well as room for our crews to maneuver during the construction process.
  4. Inquire with your municipality as to how far you must stay from your property line with your new building. (Otherwise referred to as “setbacks”.) Also keep in mind that our crews do not want to cause problems for you by damaging a neighbor’s property. Therefore it is wise to maintain as much room as possible between the new building and your neighbors property.
  5. Follow the illustrations shown on the next page as a guide for a properly prepared site with ideal access and working room.

Quick Tip:

Save spreading the 2-B stone until after the building is erected. If you select the concrete floor option our crews will spread your supplied stone for you.

Quick tip to preparing your building site

The Ideal Building Site

Below we have illustrated what an ideal building site looks like. We understand that the site layout will vary according to your property’s unique characteristics, but the components shown should be present at each site when our crews arrive.

The idea building site

Site Preparation Checklist

  • Site is graded to within 3’’ of level all the way across.
  • Finished floor elevation has been considered in relation to surrounding terrain.
  • Surrounding terrain has been improved and excavated to allow proper drainage and future landscaping.
  • Desired finished floor elevation has been established and communicated to Timberline Representative.
  • Rough stakes or markers are placed at corners of proposed building location.
  • Area is leveled at least 3’ feet beyond proposed footprint on all sides. Example = A 30’x40’ building would require a 36’x46’ level area to build upon.
  • Access to the site has been established and potential obstacles have been removed.
  • 2-B or ¾’’ clean stone is either piled on-site or is on order for delivery on the same day that the crew arrives on site. (Only if Timberline is providing and pouring concrete floor.)
  • Underground utilities have been located and clearly marked.
  • Timberline management has been notified of any potential issues with underground obstructions, overhead obstructions, or access to site.

Download Site Prep Check list

Q. What do you use to dig the holes?

A. We use an auger on a skidsteer for most buildings.

Q. How deep are the footings?

A. Minimally they are 36" deep. There are a few variable factors that affect the depth required such as frost depth in your area, size of the building, etc. Each building is designed for the code requirements in your area and footing depths and sizes are determined accordingly.

Q. Do you pour concrete to set the posts on?

A. On small to medium sized buildings we use a pre-cast pole pill. Larger buildings typically require a wet poured footing because of the larger footing size required.

Q. What goes back in the hole after the post is set?

A. On most buildings we tamp dirt back into the hole for backfill. In some designs such as open buildings or very large buildings we will add concrete around the posts for additional wind uplift restraint.

Q. Who applies for the building permit?

A. All required zoning permits and building permits are the responsibility of the homeowner. A full set of structural building prints will be provided at no charge. If your township requires sealed prints they can be provided by us for a $500 fee.

Q. Can I get a picture or preliminary drawing showing the building I am looking for?

A. Yes! With our in-house design capabilities, our staff can provide you with preliminary drawings to help you visualize your project.