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An Introduction to Earthwork for Foundations

COURSE NO: 2025-31-03
An Introduction to Earthwork for Foundations
Note: This course is only applicable to South Carolina Special Inspectors.
Accepted in:
Course Highlights

This online engineering PDH course provides an introduction to earthwork for foundations. In general, excavation for subsurface structures will consist of open excavation and shaft and tunnel excavation. Where excavation to great depths is required, a variety of soils and rock may be encountered at a single site. Soils may range through a wide spectrum of textures and water contents. Rock encountered may vary from soft rock, very similar to a firm soil in its excavation requirements, to extremely hard rock requiring extensive blasting operations for removal.


Groundwater may or may not be present. The groundwater conditions and the adequacy of groundwater control measures are important factors in excavation, in maintaining a stable foundation, and in backfilling operations. The extent to which groundwater can be controlled also influences the slopes to which the open excavation can be cut, the bracing required to support shaft and tunnel excavation, and the handling of the excavated material.


This 3 PDH online course is intended for civil and geotechnical engineers and other infrastructure design and construction professionals seeking an introduction to earthwork operations for foundations of buildings and other structures.

Learning Objectives

This PE continuing education course is intended to provide you with the following specific knowledge and skills:

  • Understanding the problems encountered during excavation related to groundwater conditions, slope stability, and adverse weather conditions
  • Knowing the importance of accurate daily records such as of the quantity of water removed by the dewatering system and of the piezometric levels in the foundation and beneath excavation slopes
  • Knowing the importance of protection of exposed earthwork materials
  • Knowing the importance of checking exposed rock by a slaking test
  • Learning how to minimize problems associated with the compaction of backfill by following good backfilling procedures
  • Learning about open-zone compaction of coarse-grained soils that exhibit slight plasticity (clayey sands, silty sands, clayey gravels, and silty gravels) using either sheepsfoot or rubber-tired rollers
  • Learning about the general rules for lift thickness
  • Learning about the guidelines for earthwork operations in freezing temperatures
Course Document

In this professional engineering CEU course, you need to review the course document titled, "An Introduction to Earthwork for Foundations".

To view, print and study the course document, please click on the following link(s):
An introduction to Earthwork for Foundations (3.12 MB)
Course Quiz
Once you complete your course review, you need to take a multiple-choice quiz consisting of fifteen (15) questions to earn 3 PDH credits. The quiz will be based on the entire document.
The minimum passing score is 70%. There is no time limit on the quiz, and you can take it multiple times until you pass at no additional cost.
Certificate of Completion

Upon successful completion of the quiz, print your Certificate of Completion instantly. (Note: if you are paying by check or money order, you will be able to print it after we receive your payment.) For your convenience, we will also email it to you. Please note that you can log in to your account at any time to access and print your Certificate of Completion.

To buy the course and take the quiz, please click on: