Support a trench safely and in compliance with the building code


A ditch always harbors a physically unavoidable risk of collapse. Therefore, the standard rule of the Building Standards Committee must be followed. To the depth of 1.25 meters and widths below sixty centimeters, relatively few rules are to be observed, in addition, a comprehensive set of rules and regulations must be implemented.

General rule standard

Anyone who digs a trench and exceeds the dimensions of a shallow gutter must ensure reliable support. Decisive for this is the DIN 4124 for vertical, bended and built trenches and excavations. It does not matter which tool was used for lifting.

As a general rule, open ditches may only be excavated up to a maximum depth of 1.25 meters with vertical walls. For larger depths sloping slopes in varying degrees are mandatory. The regulations in detail refer to the nature of the soil classify us into cohesive and non-cohesive soils. Exact definitions and classifications as well as legal regulations are kept ready by the professional associations of the construction industry.

Make a plan sketch

Basically, a distinction is made between unobstructed and built-in trenches. The support with an "interior design" example of formwork boards with columns is referred to as shoring. The prescribed minimum distance to the trench edge for construction equipment such as excavators is forty centimeters.

When creating a trench raising plan, you must know and specify the following measures and values:

  • Depth, width and length
  • Slope angle, if present
  • ground slope
  • Soil quality (stiff, cohesive, non-indigestible)
  • Soil, exposure
  • road access
  • Inventory depth development
  • Location of supply and disposal lines
  • soil layering
  • Groundwater level
  • Weight and size of the construction equipment

Special form Künette

A special form of shallow trench is a trifle. Slanted wall channels are typically created as open drainage ditches. Here, the standards of DIN 4124 can not apply, but this must be checked in advance with the competent authority.

Tips & Tricks

Do not be put off by the supposedly overly precise regulations in the standard sheets. For supporting trenches from private land, many of the standards automatically comply with common sense. Of course, when digging your trench with a hauler weighing over a ton, you do not drive to the edge of the trench.


Video Board: Trenching & Excavation Safety