Welcome to the calculate cut and fill website

First a little bit of background. My name is Edward Kenny and I’ve been working in the excavation business the last 43 years. I’ve worn a lot of hats during those 43 years and one of my favorite jobs was sitting at a drafting table or in front of the computer doing estimating. I have had to calculate cut and fill on a lot of jobs and I’d like to think that I’m  pretty good at (my bosses always seem to think so since they kept throwing plans my way).

So before I ride off into the sunset of retirement, I want to use this website to help teach you how to calculate cut and fill volumes as quickly and efficiently as possible.

A primer on how to calculate cut and fill

The first question you ask is what are cut and fill. well, cut and fill is what is excavators have to do in order to level the building site before those concrete guys in pavers framers and reverse and start to build a new home or business of yours.

Some areas of your lot are going to be too high so I have to cut down the ground in that area down the proper elevation.other areas will be too low so I have to fill those areas in order to raise the elevations to what they need to be. that’s what cottontail is. We cut high elevations down and fill low elevations up.

before we can do all that cutting felling with all those fancy yellow machines, is we estimators need to take the plans from the engineer or builder and calculate the cut and fill for that building site. those plans are called site plans. The site plan shows both before elevations and after elevations for building site. the before elevations look a lot like hiking maps with lines of constant elevations called contours. the after elevations show flat areas for buildings, sort of flat areas parking lots and landscaped areas.

In the old days, I is drawn evenly spaced grid across the entire site and at each grid intersection figured out how much dirt we have to cut  or dirt we had to fill at that spot. The single front that hundreds of those spots and took a lot of time. Once that happens, are still just figured out I cannot all four numbers for each square average them and multiply by 27 to figure out how to dirt need to be cut or fill in that box. So slow in various tedious way to calculate but before computers pencils and rulers and machines were all we had. It easily take me a whole day to calculate cut and fill for just one job.but you don’t have a computer and proper software, is still the best way to do it.

Computers and software help to calculate cut and fill

help arrived in the mid-1980s when the IBM PC, electronic drafting boards and some very early excavation estimating software. It certainly made my life a lot easier.

with that throw paper plan on one of these electronic tracking boards, called digitizers, and asymmetries in all my elevations in the computer calculate cotton fill for me. Now I can pound out of cut and filll estimates four times faster than I could before and much more accurately.

and now you don’t even need is digitizers. The site plans available now as PDF or tiff documents we can do all of our work right on screen with the mouse.

I feel like one of those kids who went West with his family in a covered wagon and drove back with his grandkids on interstate highway.

Well here droned on way too long, so I click the link below if you want to learn how to and calculate a site plan with the grid method.

Click here to learn the grid method

Click here to learn the cross-section method

Look here to learn about cut and fill software

All the best,
Ed Kenney

PS: If you’d like to download my PDF of  “How to Calculate Cut and Fill Accurately”, fill in the form below:

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