"Dirt's a commodity; some days you win, some days you lose. We have dirt salesmen on the road trying to find places to put it. People make it sound easy but we spend a lot of money and time trying to make sure this dirt can go to the right places," says John Strittmatter, vice president of Strittmatter Construction.
It's a cost of doing business that, according to Jon Banister of Bisnow.com, is contributing to high construction costs as it becomes more difficult to relocate the byproducts of excavation - aka dirt.
Niche business such as independent brokers work with dirt coordinators to find sites that will take good dirt. Unsuitable dirt that is rocky or contaminated can cost up to $200 per truckload to dump in a landfill, which adds up. Transportation logistics, load weight restrictions, pre-conditioning excavated soil to make it more usable, are compounding the challenges contractors face. "This is becoming the biggest concern in our business, where will the dirt go?” Strittmatter said.