One of the single most time-consuming tasks in house construction is preparing the pad on which to pour the foundation (we have "slab" foundations here). The pad is built up to create a level space for the foundation. Our property slopes at a rate of 1 foot of drop per 30 linear feet. The back part of our five-car garage, which represents the deepest construction element, will be about five feet above its natural 'ground'.
Why does it take so long? It has a lot of variables. It is weather dependent, it is "trades" dependent (can you get a contractor out there), and dirt dependent. It is hard to work with mud, to smooth it, and avoid digging deep trenches in it when the soil is wet. This is especially true when felling trees and pulling them out by the root-ball (we do not want tree roots trying to find their wat through our foundation). Trade dependency includes their availability, the state of their equipment, and the health of both them and their families. Sometimes you have to take off when mom needs to make an urgent run to the hospital. The dirt has to be on order and qualified by specifications and available at the time we need it for the par. All told, this one-week job, as advertised, has turned into a three-week job and counting.
Here are some pictures of the clearing efforts and debris removal: