Before any construction can begin, work needs to be done to prepare the site. Depending on your lot, you may need to have the land surveyed, you may need to have utilities brought in, and for rural lots you may need to drill a water well or install a septic system. All of this is in addition to the work of clearing the building footprint and preparing it to lay a foundation.

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A lot of work goes into turning land into a home and yard.

Backhoe and Bulldozer

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Bulldozers can push around large amounts of dirt.

The bulldozer clears the ground by knocking over trees and moving dirt around to create a level building surface. The backhoe works with the bulldozer by digging out larger areas of dirt that the bulldozer can then spread out. Working in tandem, these large pieces of equipment do the rough preparation of the site so you can move in with smaller tools to fine tune the details.

Level

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The bubble in a level tells you whether the surface is level, and if not, which way it slopes.

The foundation can not slope or the interior floors will also slope. Use a carpenter's level to determine that the foundation is level both side to side and front to back. The newer laser devices can also measure the angles on corners to make sure every corner has exactly 90 degrees and that every side, lies perfectly straight.

Wheelbarrow

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Wheelbarrows help at every stage of the building process.

You may find yourself using a wheelbarrow for everything from hauling away small rocks to moving gravel into the forms for the foundation. Wheelbarrows allow a single person to haul heavy loads into areas too tight for bigger equipment to get into.

Tamping Tool

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Heavy-duty compactors may be used in driveway construction.

The gravel base for the foundation needs compaction before it can provide a stable surface to build on. Tamping tools range from a heavy metal plate on a stick that a person lifts and drops on the gravel by hand, to rollers like you see working on highway projects. Most residential construction uses something between the two, that works mechanically to compact the gravel.

Rebar Cutting Tool and Pliers

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A circular saw with a diamond bit can cut rebar.

Once you have the pad prepared to pour concrete, you still need to use rebar, metal reinforcement to help strengthen the concrete and give it stability so it does not crack and shift. The rebar cutting tool generally takes the form of a saw with a special blade designed for cutting metal, but heavy-duty bolt cutters can also cut through rebar. You need to use heavy wire to hold the rebar in place, so you need large enough pliers to handle the wire ties.