The Most Common Machines Used In Excavation

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Equipment acquisition can be a tricky task for an excavation contractor. Owners want to invest in machines that are versatile and can be used on a wide variety of jobs. This can be especially tough on Southern Vancouver Island where we have many different types of ground including rock, sand, brown and blue clay to name a few.

Excavating sometimes requires the use of specialized equipment and having quick access to the right gear is key, whether through ownership, industry relationships or rentals companies.

Below are some of the most common machines used in excavating here on the West Coast.


Definitely the most common machine in excavation. Sure, it can dig and backfill holes, but a talented operator can use an excavator for dozens of other tasks including grading, demolition, lifting and installation of concrete blocks and other materials and much more.

You’ll see a variety of excavators around Victoria and Langford ranging from micro excavators such as the Cat 301.7 all the way up to 45ton and even 60ton machines. Most experienced contractors have access to a variety of excavators to suit different types of jobs.

Skid Steer

Commonly called a Bobcat, which is actually a brand name rather than a type of machine, skid steers are a common sight on excavation jobs. A skid steer can be used for loading trucks, grading material, light land clearing, driveway construction and more. There is a booming industry for aftermarket skid steer attachments that can transform a basic skid steer into a high-powered snowblower, log-splitter, forklift and much more.


Backhoes are the Swiss Army Knife of the excavation industry. They give the operator the ability to perform a wide range of tasks with one machine. The tradeoff is, they’re a multi-tool and are often a compromise. They can’t dig quite as deep or as fast as a similar-sized excavator or load as much material as a wheel loader. That said, if you can only have one machine on site, they’re incredibly useful as a multi-purpose machine.


There are several different types of rollers, but they all serve the same purpose – compaction. Rollers are used for compacting material into a stable base for structures, roads, parking lots and more.

When new material is laid, it must be compacted to be useful for building on. Rollers use the weight of the machine combined with vibration to compact gravel, sand and soil down to a point where it can bear a load.


Bulldozers move material by pushing it forward. Bulldozers can be used for land clearing, driveway construction, landscaping, material spreading and compaction. Some dozers are equipped with a rear ripper to churn and loosen up hard material.

Wheel Loader

Wheel loaders are generally used for moving large quantities of material either on site, or loading trucks. They have a large bucket and a high lift and are ideal for loading and stacking dirt, sand, gravel and pretty much any aggregate. As an articulating machine, they’re quite maneuverable and useful at gravel pits and large sites but you won’t likely see a loader at a smaller dig.

Related: The Dangers Of Not Calling BC 1 Call

There are dozens of other types of excavation equipment, but the machines listed above are the most common ones that you’ll see on jobsites around Victoria, Langford and Sidney.

Are you looking for a reliable, experienced excavation company in Victoria? Well, you’ve found us! Contact us today to discuss your next excavation project.

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