How to make excavations and how to calculate the earthwork volumes with a BIM software during the design phase? Let’s find out all the steps for an easy operation

Excavation and terrain modelling involve numerous activities on a construction site. Further on this article, we’ll be seeing the excavation and the calculation of quantities relating to a building construction while using a software. Specifically, we will see how to make an earthwork with Edificius, the BIM software for the architectural design, and what are the aspects to be taken into account during the design stage.

How to reproduce an earthwork

Once the construction site has been modelled with the contour lines or by importing the terrain profiles using Google Maps, we can proceed to the excavation design.


From the Project Management sidebar of the Edificius Terrain Environment we start creating a project level for each one of the interventions to be represented on the Terrain. We can create a level on each tab of the software in the order in which they will be executed.

Each intervention needs to be reproduced using the Earthwork object.

We begin the excavation by defining the perimeter of the intervention area first. Once the insertion is complete, we can proceed to modify the perimeter using the objects grips or by defining an offset value.

We can modify the perimeter of the intervention area inserting nodes, while by using the Change to Arc function we can change a line and make it curved.

With the Escarpment function we can instead insert an escarpment in the project.

Still in the Earthwork object, within the Properties editor, we can modify the elevation of the entire earthwork, or the perimeter side or the vertex. We also have the option to verify the project in the 3D view.

Finally in the 3D View we can graphically edit the elevation.

Earthwork properties, excavation volumes and carriover calculations


In the Earthwork Properties toolbar we can define the elevation of the earthwork plane, or the elevation of a single level vertex. Alternatively we can also assign the same elevation of the terrain to each point of the plane.

In the Properties editor, we can continue to modify the Geometry in order to change the type of plane. Next, we can choose the mode for defining the slope whether to be horizontal or inclined.

Still in the Geometry section of the Properties toolbox we can read the information relating to the surface, the perimeter and automatically calculate the excavation volumes (or carry-over).

Alternatively we have two other ways to view the excavation (or carry-over) volumes of the whole project:

  1. Within the Architectural Design environment, by clicking on the 3D view, we can launch the Terrain tool and read all the information relating to the volumes in the terrain window.
  2. We can open a level and then from the objects toolbar we can select the 2D Graphics and then Terrain Legend. We can then click on the model to insert and view the legend.

Excavation and carryover volumes can finally be used for the project estimate.


Do you need an architectural BIM software to easily manage all your project steps? Download Edificius and try it for free!