PDA

View Full Version : Retaining wall rebuild help please


Billpa
04-21-2005, 01:08 AM
Just curious what thoughts you guys may have on this wall rebuild. Let me start off by saying that I used to work as a mason about tens years ago but have never built retaining walls using dry stack block. I have laid wet and dry mountain stone as well as laying brick and block. I am however going to be partnering with another landscaper who has experience with these walls but Iím afraid his pricing may be out of line for my area and also Iím not sure about pricing since itís a rebuild.

The wall is about 118 ft long by a varied 4.5 to 5.5 feet high ( about 6 to 8 blocks)
as youíll see in the pics there is a wall made from railroad ties behind the block wall, the first 65 ft the two walls are aprox 2.5 ft apart and youíll see that it was never back filled causing the blocks to fall back, the rest of the wall has been built against the ties and is still in place.

Itís hard to see in the pics but access will be up the bank on the left and weíll be using a small bobcat to move material. We have about 11 feet of ledge to work on for the first 65 feet of the wall then it narrows to about half that.

Weíll also need to dig down and put in a new base as the last one is set almost at grade.

Any comments, thoughts, suggestions?

Any ballpark ideas on what to charge or time it would take? Labor only
should be 3 of us and Iíll be billing at $40 per man hour minimum.

I know there are some variables so Iím just looking for a ballpark as the bid is due Monday and I wonít see what my buddy comes up with until the weekend once he gets back to town, that will leave me very little time to chew on his price so I thought Iíd get some opinions.

Thanks

YardPro
04-21-2005, 07:32 AM
over 42" needs to be engineered.

it's not that expensive, and will remove liability from you. shouldn't cost more than $500.00 or so.

Billpa
04-21-2005, 11:43 PM
Thanks for the reply, I am aware of that and letting that process up to my friend as he has something in neighborhood of 15 years in the business and a good deal of hardscape experience.

As you see by the pics the wall is falling down and the city is involved as the neighbor above has complained, The closing for the house is next week and they want a bid no later than Monday so whatever the bid is there will be some sort of clause stating what weíd do for how much and should any changes need to be made do to requirements weíll be able to charge accordingly.

Any ballparks on what you guys would charge for something like this?

mbella
04-22-2005, 12:50 AM
Bill, my first thought is, how far from the property line (behind the wall) is this wall? Built correctly, this wall needs grid and proper backfill. You need to excavate behind the wall in order to install grid and stone. If the wall is, say, within 4' of the property line then the entire wall needs to be moved.

My second thought is, why don't you guys have an engineer involved? Yardpro is exactly right, this wall has to be engineered period. The engineer will spec how you rebuild it. Once you have the specs, you can price it.

Billpa
04-22-2005, 09:14 PM
Bill, my first thought is, how far from the property line (behind the wall) is this wall? Built correctly, this wall needs grid and proper backfill. You need to excavate behind the wall in order to install grid and stone. If the wall is, say, within 4' of the property line then the entire wall needs to be moved.

My second thought is, why don't you guys have an engineer involved? Yardpro is exactly right, this wall has to be engineered period. The engineer will spec how you rebuild it. Once you have the specs, you can price it.

Thanks for the reply.
This whole property is a mess and like I say the city is involved and yes the wall is on the property line which the city knows, the problem is there is no where to move it forward to, as you can see the original owner made a huge mess and cut the bank back almost to the property line.

Iím probably not being clear enough, when I said my buddy is dealing with it I didnít mean weíre not going to use an engineer Iím just saying Iím not dealing with that myself. Also the bid is due Monday and Iíd have to pay an engineer for a job I may not get so the plan is to just throw out a number to do just what the other guy is bidding to do, just rebuild and backfill. Now let me say this is not an actual bid but more like a number to compare with. As I stated before everything else will be extra once we determine exactly needs to be done by an engineer.

I know this whole thing is a bit ridiculous and Iíd just normally pass on it but there is a huge amount of work to be done to this property and this should be the only real headache, everything else should be pretty straightforward but according to the homeowner I must show her something for the wall when I bid on the rest of the property.

Sorry for the poor explanation as I have been dead tired lately and let me say for the record I am very concerned about liability on this one.

YardPro
04-23-2005, 08:11 AM
not to be rude, but if your friend has all this experience, why are you asking for help here?????

also it is up to YOU to have it engineered, as you will be the one liable for any failures. If he wants to save a few dollars by NOT having it engineered, it will not matter if it fails, YOU built it..

also if you have it engineered it will have details drawn up that basically spoon feed you the construction methods.

Billpa
04-23-2005, 09:12 PM
not to be rude, but if your friend has all this experience, why are you asking for help here?????

also it is up to YOU to have it engineered, as you will be the one liable for any failures. If he wants to save a few dollars by NOT having it engineered, it will not matter if it fails, YOU built it..

also if you have it engineered it will have details drawn up that basically spoon feed you the construction methods.


Yardpro, maybe you missed what I said, If you read the last post I did state clearly that it would be engineered. I just needed a price to compare to the other guy who is just planning on slapping it up and backfilling it without grid or any other considerations, like I said the whole situation is very odd and the closing is in a couple days and theyíre not willing to hold it up while waiting for an engineer. Like I said this is just a number for her to compare labor charges for the same amount of work.

Secondly if your implying something by saying I shouldnít be here asking questions if my friend has experience just come out and say it. If you go back and read my post I also stated why Iím here, to compare prices as I said his price may be out of line for my area and I was curious as to what others would charge for this kind of work.

Iím not trying to start anything here and like I said I am aware and concerned about the liability issues, after all like you said my name is going to be associated with the project. I think maybe you just misread what I said as everything Iím saying here is in my previous post above.

mbella
04-23-2005, 11:14 PM
Bill, who does the wall belong to, the porperty on top of the hill or the property below?

Billpa
04-24-2005, 01:58 AM
Bill, who does the wall belong to, the porperty on top of the hill or the property below?


Mike,
From what I now understand the wall is actually on the property of the above neighbor, I thought the back of the wall was on the line but I was just informed otherwise tonight. This whole thing is a big last minute surprise to the soon to be new owner, she just found out this week that she/the guy who currently owns the property must fix the situation and due to all the unrelated personal issues involved they need the closing to go through but the seller will pay all expense, they just need some figure to work off of.

well the latest update to the problem is that she has the bid from the guy that wanted to just slap it up and she has agreed to take a ballpark for the wall to be repaired at our best guestimate as to what an engineer may require then she runs it by the owner, above property owner and all the lawyers involved and then if the neighbor agrees to have his yard tore up then WE WILL BRING IN THE ENGINEER to spec it out and then give her an actual price.

So if anyone has a guestimate to throw out that would be appreciated.

I think Iím gonna guesstimate tearing down the block wall, coming in from above on the neighbors property and excavating and removing the old wall made of railroad ties, new base , drainage, required stone backfill and maybe 3 layers of grid along with the rebuild of the wall, backfill, re grade/seed neighbors and allow $1000 for plantings. I think this sounds safe for a ballpark.

My problem is when I run the numbers my friend gave me I just canít see how I could justifiably ask for that much, He works in a much more upscale area so I think weíd be way off for my town. most of the block is already there so basically I need caps, grid, stone, pipe, textile, seed , straw, plants, rental fees for skid steer and hoe, labor.

Bill

YardPro
04-24-2005, 09:28 AM
Yardpro, maybe you missed what I said, If you read the last post I did state clearly that it would be engineered. I just needed a price to compare to the other guy who is just planning on slapping it up and backfilling it without grid or any other considerations, like I said the whole situation is very odd and the closing is in a couple days and theyíre not willing to hold it up while waiting for an engineer. Like I said this is just a number for her to compare labor charges for the same amount of work.

Secondly if your implying something by saying I shouldn'tít be here asking questions if my friend has experience just come out and say it. If you go back and read my post I also stated why Iím here, to compare prices as I said his price may be out of line for my area and I was curious as to what others would charge for this kind of work.

Iím not trying to start anything here and like I said I am aware and concerned about the liability issues, after all like you said my name is going to be associated with the project. I think maybe you just misread what I said as everything Iím saying here is in my previous post above.


Sorry about the misunderstanding. I missed the "the wall will be engineered" part. sorry for my mistake.

I am not implying that you should not be asking questions here. I thought you were saying something to the effect... " i am doing this wall for this guy and we are not having it engineered because he knows all about them and there is no need for an engineer..."

Sorry i came off like a jerk, but i get sort of short with people that try and skip a basic VERY important step, and then try and pass themselves off as competent professionals.

since that is not the case with you I apologize.

mbella
04-24-2005, 09:33 AM
Bill, I'm confused. Why would the owner of the property below have built that wall? Were they going to use that terraced area for something?

Billpa
04-24-2005, 07:48 PM
Yardpro, thank you.... I understand where your coming from as there is a lot of that going on, this whole property is an example of someone just going out buying some material and skipping the rest, this is only one of several walls that need repaired.


Mike,
That is a good question, let me answer it with some information I just found out from a different neighbor above the wall next property to the right. Apparently the lady who is buying the property now is buying it from her friends which bought the property about one year ago, they purchased the property from the guy who made this mess. He built several walls on the property of various types, some have failed completely and some are leaning out severely. According to the one neighbor above, a wooden 4x4 wall lasted only several days before a heavy rain storm came and took it down. This guy also built a traditional block and mortar retaining wall around the pool area which is about 12 to 15 feet high and starting to show signs of failure, he had planned to have some sort of powered dome over head that he could open and close at the push of a button, lol I guess all this craziness explains why he is now bankrupt.

As to why he built that wall above, I guess the neighbor complained and the city instructed him to do it, It makes no sense to me either, thatís why I say this is just one ridiculous mess.

After some thought I figure itís going to be about $4000 to repair, reseed and replant the above neighbors yard and bed so with that being said do you think $20k sounds ok or way off with all considered? Like I said I normally donít do these walls so it just sounds like a lot of money for a wall when most of the block is already there, well in my town anyway.

mbella
04-24-2005, 10:04 PM
Bill, I was thinking $20,000 plus. That is a very loose number. Why not just remove it and be done with it?

PAPS Landscape Design
04-24-2005, 11:10 PM
I would be around $15,000-$20,000 on that wall pending type of block used, site conditions etc. It would take us about (1) week to complete, pending access.
Also, note that engineering is solely up to what the town says in terms of its permits and conditions. Dont let anyone tell you becuase its over this or that that you need engineering. It all depends on what the town says and what is require by there building codes. We do walls that are 8ft that dont require engineering in some towns by me, and did a wall recently that was 3 ft that the town wanted engineering.

Billpa
04-25-2005, 12:19 AM
I would be around $15,000-$20,000 on that wall pending type of block used, site conditions etc. It would take us about (1) week to complete, pending access.
Also, note that engineering is solely up to what the town says in terms of its permits and conditions. Dont let anyone tell you becuase its over this or that that you need engineering. It all depends on what the town says and what is require by there building codes. We do walls that are 8ft that dont require engineering in some towns by me, and did a wall recently that was 3 ft that the town wanted engineering.


Thanks for the reply, when you say youíd be around $15-$20k depending on type of block used are you talking about the cost fluctuation in labor time due to different installation systems for the blocks or are you saying this because of the cost of block itself? Just wanted to make sure Iím understanding you correctly as most of the block is already there.

I wouldnít feel comfortable touching this one without an engineer as the bank below the wall is also in questionable condition and may be an issue itself. Thereís a lot that could go wrong with this property.

I think there should be some sort of cutoff on wall height which requires engineering but I donít have the experience or education to even guess at what that number should be. We do have a maximum wall height here as well I believe itís either 42 or 48" I do think in some circumstances and cities they go way overboard on this, I think Iíve heard some say that a two coarse wall needed to be engineered in some states, I wouldnít want to be anywhere near something that size if it came down :rolleyes:

Billpa
04-25-2005, 12:43 AM
Bill, I was thinking $20,000 plus. That is a very loose number. Why not just remove it and be done with it?

Mike,
I guess the city wants it rebuilt as the yard above is giving way on the very edge, nothing major (yet) I really donít understand why, how, what the city is thinking but I guess they are in charge and the lawyers have agreed that the current seller must rebuild, Iíve given up on trying to figure the reasoning behind all the decisions being made. if you look on the first pic youíll see what the area below the wall looks like, huge mess and it appears to be eroding away and if I had to guess whether itís gonna hold up or not Iím betting no, she wants the bank graded to a plantable slope but since thereís nothing up top to pull down a large amount of fill needs to be brought in, my question is would that be stable? Iím not sure so I will have the engineer determine what should be done there as well.

I think Iíll be ok with 20k for now, like I said itís only a ballpark so they can get an idea of the kind of extra cash that will need to be moved around, here I thought it was way to high :) thanks for your input

If you could see the whole property youíd be scratching your head for sure, Iíve never seen anything like it, disaster after disaster, luckily the other problems arenít on the property lines and can be dealt with as the owners cash flow allows. If I was the one buying the property you can bet Iíd be running away from it as fast as I could by now.

mbella
04-25-2005, 07:31 PM
If I could see the whole property? I saw enough in that one shot of the entire hill. That's why I was wondering.

PAPS Landscape Design
04-26-2005, 02:05 AM
No, I was talking about using block from other companies (Versa-Lok, Techo, Keystone etc.) therfore varying in price range... If you are using the block on site... then Id probably be around $12-15$ a sq. in labor only.
PAPS

Billpa
04-27-2005, 12:37 AM
No, I was talking about using block from other companies (Versa-Lok, Techo, Keystone etc.) therfore varying in price range... If you are using the block on site... then Id probably be around $12-15$ a sq. in labor only.
PAPS

Ok, thanks


Thanks to everyone who replied

The closing is Friday so the lady is hoping the engineer gets there by Thursday, not that heís going to be able to do anything by then but sheís hoping he has some insight into what the options may be, she had mentioned the other day should she have to have mostly wall back there she may back out of the closing.

If I end up doing the project Iíll post some pics with results.

Thanks again

Billpa
04-29-2005, 10:07 AM
Well well well looks like I can build a twenty foot tall wall with no engineer :dizzy:

after all time and effort on this project i get the shaft in the end :cry: , should have known better.

I Had everything in order and all parties agreed to go ahead and engineer this project so i had an engineer come in at 7:30 this morning, he drove 1 1/2 hours to get here and guess what happens, the current owner comes out and says ďyou can forget about that wall we have it all figured outĒ turns out it was the township they have been dealing with and they came back up to look at it and said they donít need a permit so of course theyíre not required to engineer it. The joker with ten years supposed experience is going to lay it back up with no grid for $5000

when I left the property I drove past the township building so I decided to stop in and see just what the deal was and sure enough they told me I could build any wall I wanted no matter the scale or height they have no say or care over what is done, I said donít you think your creating a dangerous condition by allowing this, his response ďthat may very well be but thatís not up to meĒ What a joke, there is going to be a deck right under this wall with children on it!!!

What Iíve learned, NOTHING, well other than the township has no requirements all this did was reinforce my beliefs in the sleaziness of others, money, money, money, the homeowner has no regard for the safety of the people who will be sitting on the deck and the landscaper is an idiot, ok thatís 2 things, I didnít know this guy was a moron and now I do.

mbella
04-29-2005, 10:42 AM
Bill, that is interesting. That is why in another thread I was curious why somebody stated that engineering was needed only if the local municipality required it. That's ridiculous. Regardless of whether or not the local municipality requires it, that wall should be engineered. Walk away and don't look back.

MarcusLndscp
04-29-2005, 05:51 PM
I just read this whole thread for the first time.......UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!

stevelsc1
04-29-2005, 07:15 PM
I have been in that position once or twice in my 35 years of business. For bids and things like that I get a retainers just to deal with it.If I get the job I factor it in. If not I get paid for my time and effort.

If they refuse then you haven't lost anything but a one visit prospect,and if you mail them your post card or ad piece you never no

Good luck and have a good year

Billpa
04-29-2005, 10:06 PM
Bill, that is interesting. That is why in another thread I was curious why somebody stated that engineering was needed only if the local municipality required it. That's ridiculous. Regardless of whether or not the local municipality requires it, that wall should be engineered. Walk away and don't look back.

I'm already gone :D

Thanks for your help and advise

Billpa
04-29-2005, 10:07 PM
I just read this whole thread for the first time.......UNBELIEVABLE!!!!!

I'm still having a hard time believing it myself :dizzy:

Billpa
04-29-2005, 10:13 PM
I have been in that position once or twice in my 35 years of business. For bids and things like that I get a retainers just to deal with it.If I get the job I factor it in. If not I get paid for my time and effort.

If they refuse then you haven't lost anything but a one visit prospect,and if you mail them your post card or ad piece you never no

Good luck and have a good year


Thatís a good idea, I think next time Iíll do it. The thought did cross my mind at one point to work something out with them so Iíd be compensated but I thought for sure Iíd get at least some part of jobs she had, at least that was what I was led to believe.

Thanks for the tip

sorry so many replies but Iím not sure how to do multiple quotes in one reply

mbella
04-29-2005, 10:41 PM
Thatís a good idea, I think next time Iíll do it. The thought did cross my mind at one point to work something out with them so Iíd be compensated but I thought for sure Iíd get at least some part of jobs she had, at least that was what I was led to believe.

Thanks for the tip

sorry so many replies but Iím not sure how to do multiple quotes in one reply

I would bet my lunch money that this customer wouldn't have given you a retainer.

PAPS Landscape Design
05-01-2005, 12:04 AM
I thought I was me who said engineering was left up to townships and building depts. usually?

Billpa
05-02-2005, 12:03 AM
I would bet my lunch money that this customer wouldn't have given you a retainer.

Mike,
your probably right but it could have saved a lot of wasted time in a situation like this.