What Are Catwork and Excavation Services?

What is Catwork? What about excavation? The short answer is that “Catwork” is a moniker for heavy equipment jobs, and excavation is moving or removing earth. Now, that short answer leaves out a great deal of information about exactly what these services entail. In truth, excavation and heavy equipment are not easy tasks, so having a crew of experienced, well-trained professionals handling the job is a must.


The Caterpillar corporation is the world’s largest manufacturer of construction machinery. The company was established in 1910 and is now a Fortune 100 company with global name recognition. The heavy equipment they build is specialized for its intended purposes, and operators must be trained for each machine and any attachments they may be using. “Cat” is the generally accepted abbreviation for the corporation as well as the name of its flagship brand.

Catwork is work done by heavy equipment such as dozers, trenchers, backhoes, soil compactors, road reclaimers, graders, and excavators. This kind of work can be modest residential projects such as leveling and grading an access road on your property or more extensive projects such as trenching pipelines or digging out foundations for large construction sites and commercial buildings.

Whatever the job size, experienced professionals like the team at Mr. Tree can assess the project scope, determine the appropriate machinery, manage all safety procedures and equipment required, and quickly handle any issues that may arise during the job.

Catwork Equipment

As mentioned above, heavy equipment can be used for a variety of jobs. Dozers are designed for creating ditches and rough grading, and are especially useful for removing trees, tree stumps, and large material like boulders. These can clear landscapes for development, level an area, and occasionally transport materials over short distances. If you need to lay pipe for new gas lines or to access and repair existing drain and sewage lines, a trencher is the tool.

Trenchers come in a variety of sizes, speeds, and horsepower so knowing which one you need will take some consideration. The quality of the soil will affect the speed and difficulty of the job. As you might expect, if the ground is hard, clay-packed, or especially rocky, it will take more time and effort. A contractor will be able to survey the area and determine exactly which trencher is needed.

Another handy piece of equipment is the backhoe. A backhoe is designed to both dig and doze. The front end is a digging scoop, and the backend is fitted with a bucket for moving materials. Mostly used on smaller-scale projects, a backhoe is versatile in that it’s also possible to change attachments, with options such as hammers, compactors, rippers, brooms and sweepers, and augers.

Some of the more specialized equipment includes motor graders and road reclaimers. The motor grader is designed to scrape and level a surface using a large blade attachment on the front end, much like a snowplow. In fact, road graders are frequently used for clearing snow from roadways. A road reclaimer is a remarkable machine that grinds up old asphalt and then returns the material to the road by mixing it into new paving materials. This essentially reuses and recycles a road in one amazing process.

Excavation Equipment

Excavation is earthmoving, and there are many equipment options to choose from for your specific job. The most-used excavator types are the backhoe, crawler, wheeled vehicles, dragline, suction, and long-reach. Backhoes, described earlier, are probably the most frequently used for residential landscaping.

Crawlers are chain and track systems—think of a military tank. These are generally good for mining, forestry, and grading.

Wheeled excavators are faster and more maneuverable, but they aren’t recommended for sloped or soft sites. Some examples of wheeled vehicles include suction excavators and skid excavators. Skid excavators are designed for residential landscaping and small jobs. They are distinguishable by the bucket’s orientation away from the operator and have differential steering that allows for a zero-degree turning radius. This also makes the skid steer valuable for small space construction.

A suction excavator is a large vehicle with a high-pressure vacuum and water jets. It’s designed for underground excavation, delicate sites, and precision removal. It can also be used for underwater excavation and pile driving.

Dragline excavators are commonly found at mining sites and large projects such as canal digging, where enormous amounts of earth must be moved. The largest of the options are the long-reach excavators, which have a 40- to 100-foot extendable arm with attachments. These are designed for industrial demolition and heavy-duty digging.

Excavators are essential equipment for construction, and part of what makes them so is the ability to change attachments. Attachments include buckets, breakers, clamps, couplers, and augers. It makes sense to have a piece of machinery with this kind of versatility.

As you can see, Catwork and excavation require a professional with the proper training and experience to manage efficient and safe work.


Safety must be a top priority for heavy equipment operators and owners. Some basic guidelines are provided by OSHA, but the manufacturer will provide the best, most accurate safety instructions. Your operator should be aware of current operating practices for every piece of machinery they are using.

Before using the equipment, the operator needs to inspect and determine that the machinery is in good condition and proper working order. Unfortunately, the majority of accidents are due to human error.

Heavy equipment hazards can be deadly. Something as simple as fastening a seatbelt can prevent an operator from falling out of the cab and endangering themselves or others. Typically, this can happen when the operator is too close to a steep slope or the load is unstable enough to cause a roll-over.

Tipping can also be caused by lifting the bucket too high or lifting unstable loads. There is also a very real risk of hitting something like people, structures, or other vehicles. Finally, a falling load is a risk. Lifting, moving, stacking, whatever the task is, falling materials are dangerous.

All owners and operators are subject to OSHA safety guidelines, and OSHA has a list of recommended guidelines. However, the regulatory agency is not an expert equipment operator currently working in the industry, so make certain you find a qualified company that is. You can start your search by visiting Mr. Trees excavation services. Talk with us about your project, and let’s see what we can do together, no matter what kind of Catwork you need.

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About Mr.Tree, Inc.

We take pride in our quality service and complete and total customer satisfaction. Our professional and certified arborists have the knowledge and experience to take care of all your tree service needs. We have a highly trained team that is always up to date on all the latest techniques and equipped with the most state of the art tools to handle all your tree care needs. Feel free to browse through our website for more information about the services we offer.

We can help you with everything from lot clearing to tree pruning. We would be more than happy to help you turn your residential or commercial property into something you can be proud of. If you want to use a company that offers the most comprehensive tree services in the area, call Mr. Tree today.

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