View Full Version : Earthmoving Quiz - Find the problem

01-27-2006, 08:40 AM
Oldest Earthmovers trick in book:

Client wants site cleaned and house pad prepped. No probs, 1 load green waste away, cut with trash rake and 1 load grass and roots away.
No problemo!

01-27-2006, 08:44 AM
Then Old trick:

Too much organic matter in topsoil for house pad - solution??load it all out and then bring in truck loads of clean builders sand...No No.:nono: ..we are smarter than your average bear...and had good trainer:blush:

Dig big hole outside building envelope and mine good clean sand. Push all crap in hole and bury...Whalla!
No problemo!

01-27-2006, 08:47 AM
and here tis...can you guess (Hint - Murphy's Law):cry: :cry: :cry: :cry:

now don't laugh too much when you work it out:blob4:

01-27-2006, 11:04 AM
Ok, here's a hint:

"I'm always in it, only the depth varies"

01-27-2006, 11:51 AM
in the poop

Gravel Rat
01-27-2006, 02:15 PM
How do they build house foundations down under with the ground being nothing but sand ?

Here in B.C. its dig down to the solid rock which usually at most is 4' build the footings and put poured concrete walls on top of the footings.

Contractors here used to bury the over burden on the property but that practice isn't done anymore everything is trucked away. What ever green material like trees and brush its burn't on site.

Also a contractor here had a flat lot like the one you have shown we would use a excavator like your 161 with a clean up bucket and do the whole job.

I do have to say you do make some people jealous that your digging in easy dry conditions. Around here you can be up to your knees in mud in the pouring rain in full rain gear and rubber boots your just as wet from sweating.

Anyhow its good to see your busy :drinkup:

01-27-2006, 03:15 PM
We'll them street tires on your loader can't help with traction.....thats a big thing in florida with the contractors burying their junk a day or two before the landscapers come in to final grade and sod..... No big deal in florida,. they don't reallyhave much "soil" to so speak, but they do it up here too and you end up having problems fairly quickly...

01-27-2006, 03:23 PM
We'll them street tires on your loader can't help with traction.....thats a big thing in florida with the contractors burying their junk a day or two before the landscapers come in to final grade and sod..... No big deal in florida,. they don't reallyhave much "soil" to so speak, but they do it up here too and you end up having problems fairly quickly...

01-27-2006, 06:14 PM
randosh is the winner!. Got the sewer main:realmad: . So much for dial-before you dig. The sewer from the house in front had been relocated and the drawing wasn't updated. Not my problem but of course it stuffs up your days work.

I run these crossplies because they are great in the sand and even better on the hard stuff. We only run them at 18-20 Psi for sand work. A lot of guys here run radial RV (4x4) tyres such as Kellys but they get heaps of punctures and only about 350 hours. These babies will do 1000 hrs plus.

01-27-2006, 06:33 PM
Hey Marc, we don't bury any debris, only the topsoil. If there is one thing I can't stand is diggging out for a retaining wall and finding a whole pile of rubbish. The purpose of the excercise is to get good clean sand for the pad not to bury rubbish. We took all the grass and some roots out with the second load.

GR: 99% of our houses are on concrete slabs. Because there is no clay, lateral subsidence is not the issue. Remove the organic matter and compact, thats the name of the game. I'll have a 1600lb platey and plenty of water on the site today and be testing with a penetrometer. Its all sand.

Gravel Rat
01-28-2006, 04:07 AM
That makes it nice if you can have slab on grade not much money spent on yards of concrete for the foundation.

As for hitting pipes don't feel bad its been done here many times. It happened to me and another guy we were digging a trench for a drainage line. There wasn't supposed to be any pipes in the area well that wasn't the case there was a 4" water main before we could say what is that the other guy I was working with hit the pipe. Alot of water comes out of a 4" main had to get a key to turn the water valve off and fix the pipe.

Around here you can tell when your digging a trench and your suspicious that there are other pipes in the area you look for the bedding sand which is gray or light brown. The trench we were digging the pipe we hit was bedded with just dirt no sand.

We have ripped out peoples sewage line its not a nice job to fix the pipe when you got a big turd laying in the broken spot on the pipe :o

01-28-2006, 04:33 PM
Yeah, don't feel too bad Squizzy. I was digging a pad for a swimming pool last summer and was told that water line to the house was farther from the dig than it actually was. about 10 feet down I hit a 2" water main. That was great fun. I had it patched up in under an hour, but it was still a PITA.

01-28-2006, 04:46 PM
I got one better. Digging new water line to a house. I had another excavator friend of mine spotting as we approached the point of anticipated tie in. Believing the main was further off from the stub than it was, he stated the infamous "One more bucket outta do it". I hit the 6" line. What seemed like 10K gallons of water started filling my trench and started leaking into the house. Lucky the basement was being refinished and so damage was done. It sucked. The home owner insisted on paying me. I decided it was only appropriate that I work for free that day.

01-28-2006, 05:07 PM
Ouch. I hate working with 6" line, especially sewer line. We installed an irrigation system at a gas station just down the road from my house and our only way to tap into the system was about 3 feet from the asphalt skirt they had. Since it was just a big patch of dirt, all the delivery trucks would drive over the vault we had placed over the vertical riser and when they drove over it, it would smash the riser down and break the pipe. So one day I dug it all out with the excavator, we had a huge whole but even with the valve turned off we were getting alot of water back in the hole, so I had to "trench" away from the hole to direct water elsewhere. In the event of me trenching, I hit an 8" sewer pipe that was used to direct drain water from drains in the asphalt. That was absolutely no fun. Since our town is really small nobody carried 8" sewer pipe, so I had to drive 35 miles at 3 PM to go get some. Cut the broken section at a length of about 15 feet and had to pound the new piece in with a sledge, those rubber gaskets suck! That day was absolutely no fun at all.

I better get used to working with this stuff if I plan on doing this for a living.

01-28-2006, 05:36 PM
:confused: rubber gasketed sewer pipe has never given me too much trouble getting it together. did you have it lubed up good?

01-28-2006, 06:21 PM
Yeah, we did, it's just the way we had to put it in that was the killer. Since we had 2 ends to connect to, both ends buried, we had to drive it in at an angle, that was the hard part. Once it went far enough, the un-gasketed end fell right into place and we secured the slip coupler.

Dirty Water
01-28-2006, 06:24 PM
The trick with SDR-35 is to lube up the ends really well, and make sure they are straight.

Another trick is to use the bucket of your excavator to push the segments together. Works like a charm.

Do you guys carry big enough valve keys to shut the street down when you hit these mains? Thats a lot of water, really fast.

01-28-2006, 07:34 PM
Gravel Rat:

We have alot of sand and also exansible clays, as well as clay mixed with volcanic chunked rock. There are no basements to speak of, except the one we are digging to build our house and a few other site where they drive piles to shore the land next door.

All slabs are post tensioned and 3' thick. We typically excavate a space 5' deep below where the house pad is going, then use the pad foot roller to hit the bottom and get 90% modified proctor scale hardeness.

We then add in 8" lifts, the soil we excavated out, after we blend the moisture and check it witha gauge off the dig site. Every 24" the engineers stop the job until they can check soils hardness again. After we rebuild the sub soil, then we level a pad. Then the concrete is poured, it sets for the full 28 day cure time and engineers go along the slab and torque the tensioners. In case you were wondering, those tension cables work the same way as rebar, except, because they are pre loaded, they work better in earthquake and bad soils situations. They work so well that in the 2004 mud slides in Laguna Beach, an entire house slide on it's pad, down a slope and rested at a 4% slant to the right of being level. You could still open and close every door and window on the house and I would not have believed it unless I walked through it myself. The family who lived there rode it down the hill at about 7AM.

This is one scenario where the building department should have told the developer the land would be best donated as a park. It was all round sided rock and sand, like Bank Run, and not sharp sided as we have in our area. So, our soils have some cohesion, the soils there did not.

01-28-2006, 07:53 PM
Bill, that's wild! I had no idea what kind of earthquake requirements you guys have to perform, but for very good reason. Is Laguna Beach really that stupid in real life or is the TV show full of sh!t?

01-28-2006, 08:35 PM
:eek: we just dig down till we hit good solid virgin ground, step the hole down when needed, then pour the footing then the walls. sounds like a lot of work

01-28-2006, 09:08 PM
Our requirement for the 12" under the slab is that it a) Free of Clay b) Free of terrestial bodies??:eek: which means rocks, bricks etc & c) free of organic matter - basically anything thicker than a pencil has to go.

In reality we are almost at the stage of washing and sterilising the sand. Because of the building boom, and because the builders are under the pump with their contracts they will use any excuse to reject a pad so they can start later.

We often have to cut the building envelope down a foot or 2 and bring it up in steps like Bill describes. Because we have sandy soils and loams with little clay along the coast all the resident soil is acceptable for the pad its just the builders expect to see a totally sterile pad in builders yellow.

In the pics above I still ended up bringing in 4 truckloads of yellow from the quarry. By burying the grey topsoil and using the clean/coarse sand to start the pad I saved the owner about $1,500.00 at least. Some people seem to think I was burying rubbish but have a look at the pics please and you will see the pile of dirt that was buried. No bricks or vegetation just some couch roots. Why send this soil to landfill?? Builders are...********

Gravel Rat, we still pour the footing for walls and loadbearing points we just don't have the tensioning Bill describes. Last earthquake here was in 1968 and we have no specific seismic building codes..only cyclone stuff:


Also, if you think your a great earthmover and in the rough and tumble of clay, mud and rocks you will come unstuck here in our coastal sandhills. Soft doesn't always mean easy digging and it takes years of practice to handle a machine in the sand without tearing the place up and being bogged all the time. Aggresive tyres are useless. We see many supposedly great operators who can hardly get the machine to run level.

01-29-2006, 11:53 PM

Laguna is filled with more money than you can imagine, the bulk of the population is Gay and artsie fartsie types. In Summer they don this thing called Pageant of the Masters, which sounds pretty weird but in real life is awesome. They take paintings, famous paintings, and use real people, stage lighting and props, darken the stage, then light it and create, using real people, the painting. It's freeken amazing!

In summer, thongs walk along Coast Highway 101 and cause lots of rear enders.

The people whose houses fell off the mountain are basic ocean view hard on types. These types will pay anything and do anything and sacrifice all to get that ocean view. The type is not specific to Laguna Beach, the mentality is anywhere and eveywhere along the coast.

Whith what those morons pay for a view of that ocean, I could have 15 income producing properties and I wouldn't have to worry about my house sliding down a hill.....

01-30-2006, 02:54 AM
Amazing. I don't have much interest in California, but I would like to have a local take me around some time and show me how things are down there for about a week. Then, it's back up to WA state where I belong.

Gravel Rat
01-30-2006, 03:17 AM
Scag you can tell you are a Pacific Northwester aka normal :D

California is probably a nice place to visit but I prolly wouldn't want to live there full time. For me it probably would be too hot I don't like excessive heat. I would miss the rain and mild weather we have here in the Pacific Northwest.

I have met quite a few people from California that come here and love it up in the Pacific Nortwest through B.C. to Alaska. I know the ones that have passed through here comment man its nice and quiet and nice sceanery oh ya they are not used to breathing fresh air :gunsfirin

01-30-2006, 03:27 AM
I hear ya GR, I wouldn't want to live there, but just to visit. I hear alot of people down there are real a-holes, just not something I want to deal with. Alot of money can be made down there in the service business though, most folks have money coming out of their ears and that's like opportunity knocking on someone's door.

01-30-2006, 03:28 AM
We never go below 40° nor hotter than 85° unless you go inland.

Gravel Rat
01-30-2006, 04:02 AM
I converted the temp figures to celcius I can take 85 farenheit for couple days after that I would be dead to the world I can't function in hot weather as for the lowest temperature being 40 farenheit I could deal with that. Around here the coldest it gets is 23 farenheit but lately with the rainy winter its been above 40 but wet. It has rained closed to 27 days this January.

01-30-2006, 04:07 AM
Chelan gets the extremes. Can get down to 5 degrees F in winter, 105 F in the summer. Lynnwood sucks, I hate it here in the Seattle area. 30 days of rain, very seldom gets much blelow 30 degrees and not much above 80 in the summer.

01-30-2006, 04:12 AM
All this rain has made things fun. its actually raining right now, and its blowing pretty good too. looks like tomorrow might be rain gear weather after all.

01-30-2006, 04:15 AM
I love it how there's tree limbs and crap all over the streets. The last big rain/wind storm we had knocked out power on a section of Aurora Ave. at about 7 PM and people were blowing right through stoplights at 45 MPH like they weren't even there because technically they weren't. It was an absolute mess.

01-30-2006, 05:30 AM
And to think this thread started off just about Sh*t!