This section is from the book "Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry, And Building", by James C. et al. Also available from Amazon: Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry And Building.
Clear away lot for building, removing soil and loam from site and 8 feet additional and stacking it within forty feet from the building where it may be used for final grading. Remove rubbish, cut down and remove any trees marked as condemned by Owner or Architect, and carefully protect all trees that are to be preserved.
Excavate for all work covered by this contract, to at least one foot outside the cellar wall to the depth shown, and no deeper. This includes drains, dry wells and trenches, as well as cellar. Dry well for refrigerator waste to be 3 feet in diameter, 6 feet deep, with trench to same 5 feet deep and 8 feet long.
*Note. - For convenience in engineering operations, there is established in each locality a datum line - that is, a horizontal line passing through a certain fixed point marked zero (0). Levels above this are marked thus, " + 15," "+20," etc., which means that these particular points are 15 feet, 20 feet, etc., above the fixed point. In coast regions, this datum line is often fixed at low-water mark.
All city grades are figured from the datum line: and to establish such a line at a building is to fix a level at the required number of feet above the original. Thus, on the seacoast, the levels may run down to +10 or +18; while in Denver, which is at comparatively high altitude, is a datum line or bench mark + one mile (or +5.280 feet). In such localities it is usual to drop the first two figures and call the bench "+80.' '
Grade to level shown on drawings, so as to turn water away from building; using earth and top-soil first removed.
Grade at completion as directed, removing loam where filling is called for, and covering with 12 inches of loam for lawn, and 18 inches depth of loam for shrub plantation. Paths where shown, excavated 12 inches deep, filled with gravel, made to crown 2 inches. Sod, 2 feet wide on border of path and lawn, and 3 feet next to building. Lawn to be leveled, raked clear of stones, and sown with best approved grass seed. To be properly watered and cared for until completion and delivery of building. Allow one hundred dollars ($100.00) for shrubs delivered, and plant same.