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302.1 General

Excavation or fills for buildings or structures shall be constructed or protected such that they do not endanger life or property. Reference is made to Section 109 of this code for requirements governing excavation, grading and earthwork construction, including fills and embankments.

302.2 Cuts 302.2.1 General

Unless otherwise recommended in the approved geotechnical engineering, cuts shall conform to the provisions of this section. In the absence of an approved geotechnical engineering report, these provisions may be waived for minor cuts not intended to support structures.

302.2.2 Slope

The slope of cut surfaces shall be no steeper than is safe for the intended use and shall be no steeper than 1 unit vertical in 2 units horizontal (50% slope) unless a geotechnical engineering, or both, stating that the site has been investigated, and giving an opinion that a cut at a steeper slope will be stable and not create a hazard to public or private property, is submitted and approved. Such cuts shall be protected against erosion or degradation by sufficient cover, drainage, engineering and/or biotechnical means.

302.3 Excavations

302.3.3 Existing footings or foundations which may be affected by any excavation shall be underpinned adequately or otherwise protected against settlement and shall be protected against lateral movement.

302.3.4 Protection of Adjoining Property

The requirement for protection of adjacent property and the depth to which protection is required shall be defined by prevailing law. Where not defined by law, the following shall apply:

1. Before commencing the excavation, the person making or causing the excavation to be made shall notify in writing the owners of adjoining building not less than 10 days before such excavation is to be made and that the adjoining building will be protected. The condition of the adjoining building will be documented to include photographs prior to excavation. Technical documents pertaining to the proposed underpinning and excavation plan shall be provided the owner of the adjacent property.

2. Unless it can shown through a detailed geotechnical investigation that underpinning is unnecessary, any person making or causing an excavation shall protect the excavation so that the soil of adjoining property will not cave in or settle,

In cases where the existing adjacent building will have more basements than the proposed building, the foundation of the proposed building should be designed so as not to impart additional lateral earth pressures on the existing building (see section 304.4).

302.4 Fills 302.4.1 General

Unless otherwise recommended in the approved geotechnical engineering report, fills shall conform to the provisions of this section. In the absence of an approved geotechnical engineering report, these provisions may be waived for minor fills not intended to support structures.

Fills to be used to support the foundations of any building or structure shall be placed in accordance with accepted engineering practice. A geotechnical investigation report and a report of satisfactory placement of fill, both acceptable to the building official, shall be submitted when required by the building official.

No fill or other surcharge loads shall be placed adjacent to any building or structure unless such building or structure is capable of withstanding the additional vertical and horizontal loads caused by the fill or surcharge.

Fill slopes shall not be constructed on natural slopes steeper than 1 unit vertical in 2 units horizontal (50% slope), provided further that benches shall be made to key in the subsequent fill material.

Figure 302-1 Setback Dimensions for Cut and Fill Slopes

H/5 but 0.60 m min. and 3 m max.

H/2 but 0.6 m min. and 6 m


Toe of Slope

Natural or Finish Grade Cut or Fill





* Permit Area Boundary

Top of Slope

Natural or Finish Grade

302.4.2 Preparation of Ground

The ground surface shall be prepared to received fill by removing vegetation, non-complying fill, top soil and other unsuitable materials by scarifying and benching in the case of sloping ground The existing ground surface shall be adequately prepared to receive fill by removing vegetation or any materials, non-complying fill, topsoil and other unsuitable materials, and by scarifying to provide a bond with the new fill.

Where the natural slopes are steeper than 1 unit vertical in 5 units horizontal (20% slope) and the height is greater than 1.5 m, the ground surface shall be prepared by benching into sound bedrock or other competent material as determined by the geotechnical engineer. The bench under the toe of a fill on a slope steeper than 1 unit vertical in 5 units horizontal (20% slope) shall be at least 3 m wide.

The area beyond the toe of fill shall be sloped to drain or a paved drain shall be provided. When fill is to be placed over a cut, the bench under the toe of fill shall be at least 3 m wide but the cut shall be made before placing the fill and only after acceptance by the geotechnical engineer as a suitable foundation for fill.

302.4.3 Fill Material

Any organic or deleterious material shall be removed and will not be permitted in fills. Except as permitted by the geotechnical engineer, no rock or similar irreducible material with a maximum dimension greater than 200 mm shall be buried or placed in fills.


The placement of larger rock may be permitted when the geotechnical engineer properly devises a method of placement, and continuously inspects its placement and approves the fill stability. The following conditions shall also apply:

1. Prior to issuance of the grading permit, potential rock disposal areas shall be delineated on the grading plan.

2. Rock sizes greater than 300 mm in maximum dimension shall be 3 m or more below grade, measured vertically.

3. Rocks shall be placed so as to assure filling of all voids with well-graded soil.

302.4.4 Compaction

All fills shall be compacted in lifts not exceeding 200 mm in thickness to a minimum of 95 percent of maximum density as determined by ASTM Standard D-1557. In-place density shall be determined in accordance with ASTM D-1556, D-2167, D-2922, D-3017 or equivalent.

For clean granular materials, the use of the foregoing procedures is inappropriate. Relative density criteria shall

be used based on ASTM D5030 -04. A minimum of three tests for every 500 m2 area should be performed for every lift to verify compliance with compaction requirements.

302.4.5 Slope

The slope of fill surfaces shall be no steeper than is safe for the intended use. Fill slopes shall be no steeper than 1 unit vertical in 2 units horizontal (50% slope) unless substantiating slope stability analyses justifying steeper slopes are submitted and approved.

302.5 Setbacks 302.5.1 General

Cut and fill slopes shall be set back from site boundaries in accordance with this section subject to verification with detailed slope stability study. Setback dimensions shall be horizontal distances measured perpendicular to the site boundary. Setback dimensions shall be as shown in Figure 302-1.

302.5.2 Top of Cut Slope

The top of cut slopes shall not be made nearer to a site boundary line than one fifth of the vertical height of cut with a minimum of 0.6 m and a maximum of 3 m. The setback may need to be increased for any required interceptor drains.

302.5.3 Toe of Fill Slope

The toe of fill slope shall be made not nearer to the site boundary line than one half the height of the slope with a minimum of 0.6 m and a maximum of 6 m. Where a fill slope is to be located near the site boundary and the adjacent off-site property is developed, special precautions shall be incorporated in the work as the building official deems necessary to protect the adjoining property from damage as a result of such grading. These precautions may include but are not limited to:

1. Additional setbacks.

2. Provision for retaining or slough walls.

3. Mechanical stabilization or chemical treatment of the fill slope surface to minimize erosion.

4. Rockfall protection

5. Provisions for the control of surface waters.

302.5.4 Modification of Slope Location

The building official may approve alternate setbacks. The building official may require an investigation and recommendation by a qualified geotechnical engineer to demonstrate that the intent of this section has been satisfied.

302.5 Drainage and Terracing 302.5.1 General

Unless otherwise indicated on the approved grading plan, drainage facilities and terracing shall conform to the provisions of this section for cut or fill slopes steeper than 1 unit vertical in 3 units horizontal (33.3% slope).

302.5.2 Terrace

Terraces at least 2 m in width shall be established at not more than 10 m vertical intervals on all cut or fill slopes to control surface drainage and debris except that where only one terrace is required, it shall be at mid-height. For cut or fill slopes greater than 20 m and up to 40 m in vertical height, one terrace at approximately mid-height shall be 4 m in width. Terrace widths and spacing for cut and fill slopes greater than 40 m in height shall be designed by the civil engineer and approved by the building official.

Suitable access shall be provided to permit proper cleaning and maintenance.

Swales or ditches on terraces shall be designed to effectively collect surface water and discharge to an outfall.

It shall have a minimum gradient of 0.5 percent and must be paved with reinforced concrete not less than 75 mm in thickness or an approved equal paving material.

A single run of swale or ditch shall not collect runoff from a tributary area exceeding 1,000 m2 (projected area) without discharging into a down drain.

302.5.3 Subsurface Drainage

Cut and fill slopes shall be provided with surface drainage as necessary for stability.

302.5.4 Disposal

All drainage facilities shall be designed to carry waters to the nearest practicable drainage way approved by the building official or other appropriate jurisdiction as a safe place to deposit such waters. Erosion of ground in the area of discharge shall be prevented by installation of non-erosive down drains or other devices or splash blocks and sedimentation basins.

Building pads shall have a drainage gradient of 2 percent toward approved drainage facilities, unless waived by the building official.


The gradient from the building pad may be 1 percent if all of the following conditions exist throughout the permit area:

1. No proposed fills are greater than 3 m maximum depth.

2. No proposed finish cut or fill slope faces have a vertical height in excess of 3 m.

3. No existing slope faces steeper than 1 unit vertical in 10 units horizontal (10% slope) have a vertical height in excess of 3m.

302.5.5 Interceptor Drains

Paved or Lined interceptor drains shall be installed along the top of all cut slopes where the tributary drainage area above slopes toward the cut has a drainage path greater than 12 m measured horizontally. Interceptor drains shall be paved with a minimum of 75 mm of concrete or gunite and reinforced. They shall have a minimum depth of 300 mm and a minimum paved width of 750 mm measured horizontally across the drain. The slope of drain shall be approved by the building official.

302.6 Erosion Control 302.6.1 Slopes

The faces of cut and fill slopes shall be prepared and maintained to control against erosion. This control may consist of effective planting adapted to or indigenous to the locality. The protection for the slopes shall be installed as soon as practicable and prior to calling for final approval.

Where cut slopes are not subject to erosion due to the erosion-resistant character of the materials, such protection may be omitted.

302.6.2 Other Devices

Where necessary, check dams, cribbing, riprap or other devices or methods shall be employed to control erosion and provide safety.