PDA

View Full Version : New Construction Clean-up


SiteSolutions
11-30-2007, 09:09 AM
Anyone have any ideas on cleaning home sites before grading? I'm waiting on five houses right now because the builder wants them picked clean by hand. I say there's got to be a better way. Some thoughts so far...

>Harley rake all the trash into a pile (Tends to tear up the rake though)
>Open bottom rock bucket
>root grapple with narrowly spaced tines
>Top Soil screen; clean up with loader and use a screen to sift out the good dirt from the trash and rocks

Anyone know how much a used screen setup is going for?

I went over and helped his laborer for a couple hours yesterday to try to speed things along, and I'm sore from it this morning.

AWJ Services
11-30-2007, 09:21 AM
It sucks for sure.
Several companies make buckets that they are designed for construction debris.Something like a rock bucket.

Most builders will not pay to have them cleaned properly and most of the debris gets covered up here.
Pulling pipe in with a plow leads to some interesting suprises.

We just do it by hand.
It goes fast with a couple guys.

Anyone know how much a used screen setup is going for?

I wonder if the bricks and stone used in construction will cause problems to the machine.

I went over and helped his laborer for a couple hours yesterday to try to speed things along, and I'm sore from it this morning.

I enjoy the labor.It makes me sore but it also makes me appreciate my equipment more.

Dirt Digger2
11-30-2007, 09:41 AM
what do you leave jobsites like down there? Up here the most that has to be picked up is a few strewn 2x4's if that...we don't have crap laying all around, everything ends up in a dumpster at the end of the day

and if the mason left a few bricks or field stones they just get mixed in with the dirt

dozerman21
11-30-2007, 09:53 AM
I take it you mean before you rough grade or finish grade the yard? Around here, most builders use trash bins of some sort, whether it be a dumpster or just a fence type bin, to keep all the trash in one spot. Most counties require some sort of trash bin on every lot.

After the house is framed, the open wood trash pile gets hauled away, and after the house is bricked, the open brick trash pile is also hauled away, separate from the bin trash. Most of the trash contractors use container trucks with a boom on it so they can load the trash stacked by the curb from the street.

This set up is the best way to go for cleaning up the trash. Most of the time when I go to grade a yard, the bulk of the trash is gone, along with the containers. Trying to screen out the trash with a machine is making it much harder than it needs to be. I'd have the builder look into some sort of container or dumpster.

AWJ Services
11-30-2007, 09:56 AM
I have filled up a 30 yard can on a jobsite before.
Most Builders here expect it to be included in the Landscapers price so they get sloppy at the end.
Saves them money.
I refuse to do it without being paid extra so I fail to get many jobs.

We use cans here as well and we have clean up crews with trash trucks but the buider usually leaves the last clean up for the Landscaper.

Sunscaper
11-30-2007, 09:58 AM
Dig a hole in the back yard. Push the trash into the hole. Cover trash.

AWJ Services
11-30-2007, 10:02 AM
Can only bury stone,bricks and concrete here.

RockSet N' Grade
11-30-2007, 10:03 AM
Builders down in this area are what I call "wanna-be's". I have been on only one job site this year where the General was organized and had a plan and his site was clean. Yesterday I went to bid a rock wall two tiers each 7' high across his whole side and back of his lot. House is framed. There is no access, we could barely even walk through the trash to get to the back yard. No trash container. Trash being thrown into the yard while we were down there..........no leadership present at the job at all. The job was running itself. The best way to clean a site that I have found is by hand with 3-4 guys walking in front of a machine and loading as you go......then dump into bin or truck. Actually, the best way is to stay on top of it daily.......but that rarely is the case.

tallrick
11-30-2007, 10:47 AM
I have seen all kinds of cleanup strategies, and around here there is no soil to bury anything in. A root grapple seems to work the best, with tines as close as 6" or so. The drawback is that no matter how much you do with the skid loader alone, there will be lots of little things in the dirt. What always worked well was having two skid loaders, one with grapple and the other with a large mulch bucket. The debris can be carried to the dumpster if it is large, or small stuff can be dumped into the other skid steers bucket. If you only have one person/one machine it just means that you have to make more trips to the dumpster or truck. I have seen sites where they drive the truck closer to the work area but that usually means that tires will be going flat. Debris is often hidden by weeds so the skid steer and grapple is the way to go. After the big stuff is picked up, the smaller stuff could be power raked. Around here that only works with sand. A final pass here was usually with a wheelbarrow and rake, or skid steer and rakes.

dozerman21
11-30-2007, 11:06 AM
We use cans here as well and we have clean up crews with trash trucks but the buider usually leaves the last clean up for the Landscaper.

Same here. On an average sized lot, the landscaper has around 2 or 3 yards of trash/rocks/morter/concrete that need to be hauled away. The majority of the time they take it to another lot and lose it somewhere, usually around the overdig of a foundation.

bobcat_ron
11-30-2007, 12:32 PM
Grab all the big stuff that you can, rake out the rest and discard. Rip everything up with a scarifier attachment and start final grading, that way all the soil settles evenly, I didn't do this the first time I did a clean up, and after the homeowner complained he had puddles in his topsoil before sodding. Now I rip everything up and now everything settles evenly with no puddles.

Gravel Rat
11-30-2007, 03:05 PM
No job sites in this area are left in a mess any wood scraps etc is all cleaned up. The general contractor either gets the homeowner to pick it up or the homeowners pay a labourer to do it. From September to early May wood scraps and anything that can be burned is burned. Always a fire going it keeps the site clean. A messy jobsite is the sign of a sloppy contractor.

If the site is that bad then tell the guy you need to strip 6 to 12 inches off the top screen the material with a shaker screen plant and put the sifted material back.

Have you got any pictures ?

Dirt Digger2
11-30-2007, 04:26 PM
If the site is that bad then tell the guy you need to strip 6 to 12 inches off the top screen the material with a shaker screen plant and put the sifted material back.



you're nuts...haha, nobody will pay for this just to finish grade...chances are there is a pile of topsoil on site, what doesn't get picked up gets covered over

bobcat_ron
11-30-2007, 04:32 PM
And that's the sad part of today's building boom, just cover it over and send the bill.

Last job I did for a plumber digging in a new water line, there was 3 inches of topsoil and the rest was absolute crap, sand, gravel rocks and chunks of God knows what, you know how hard it is to make it look like nothing was ever done there after the trench was back filled?!?!?
I'd rather see a final grade person haul out at least 12" and bring back in the same amount of "useable" soil", that way if there is ever anything that gets dug up in the future, it can be covered over by the same soil with out hauling anything away.

YellowDogSVC
11-30-2007, 05:13 PM
what do you leave jobsites like down there? Up here the most that has to be picked up is a few strewn 2x4's if that...we don't have crap laying all around, everything ends up in a dumpster at the end of the day

and if the mason left a few bricks or field stones they just get mixed in with the dirt

I lived in Alabama. there are old cars, trucks, trailers, christmas trees from years gone by, and tires to pick up before you can build! :laugh:

YellowDogSVC
11-30-2007, 05:15 PM
I use an industrial fork grapple, tooth bocket and a landscape rake and 30yd dumpster or dump trailer. Haven't had to do one in a while but that's how we used to do it. Ask around the neighborhood if you have good lumber leftover that can be cut again. Maybe someone will sort through and leave you just pieces and you won't have to haul so much away.

SiteSolutions
11-30-2007, 06:27 PM
We / they can burn most of the trash, provided it isn't mixed up too much with dirt. I have a good relationship with the builder but he doesn't look at things from a "how can I make these the best lawns in the region?" perspective.

There's a 15 yd dumpster at each house, but nobody hardly uses them! The builder's laborer has to put half the stuff in there. The masons leave bricks everywhere. The sheet rock guys; you're lucky if they bother to throw their trash outside. Half the time they leave it in the house. These houses look like they have been narrowly missed by a tornado.

This summer I got the extra couple bucks to do the clean-up & rough-in. It isn't worth it just for what it pays, but it lets me get started on a job and fix the grade how i want it and get paid, which I will have to do to an extent anyway. The most valuable thing is, I don't have to wait for somebody else to do the clean-up before I can get started.

That being said, these houses are almost done being cleaned and roughed and I should be able to start on them next week. Just in the nick of time, too. I don't think I have ever been this broke in my life.

As far as hauling in and hauling out, not on these houses. These are all starter homes. The yards are all "chert" (sp?) which is basically red clay with the addition of little sandstone rocks in it. I'm actually supposed to get the stuff smoothed out flat! I harley rake it twice to get some of the rocks out, and then the sod goes down right on top of it. It's worse in the back yards; there's no sod! Just grass seed on red dirt. Not my favorite work but it really pays the bills when I can do several at a time.

YellowDogSVC
11-30-2007, 06:40 PM
That being said, these houses are almost done being cleaned and roughed and I should be able to start on them next week. Just in the nick of time, too. I don't think I have ever been this broke in my life.

As far as hauling in and hauling out, not on these houses. These are all starter homes. The yards are all "chert" (sp?) which is basically red clay with the addition of little sandstone rocks in it. I'm actually supposed to get the stuff smoothed out flat! I harley rake it twice to get some of the rocks out, and then the sod goes down right on top of it. It's worse in the back yards; there's no sod! Just grass seed on red dirt. Not my favorite work but it really pays the bills when I can do several at a time.


Sounds like my above listed attachments would fit your bill. I remember well the N and Central AL soils. The rockhound would be a good choice to clean up the little stuff like bricks and pieces of brick. No boulders over 6" inches unless you load them slow.

You could make quick work of that 15yd dumpster and be out in a few hours. Ask if you can clean up the inside too and contractor bag the stuff. When I was starting out, we did the inside and outside. I have since moved on mostly to clearing and chipping but I have always liked cleanup. Good jobs to take pictures because before and after is usually a dramatic change. I bet you could get a lot of work in one neighborhood whether houses are selling or not. If they are nearly complete or complete, they need to have the yard cleaned up even if it's too cold to plant grass. Raked chert is better than lumpy chert for showoff purposes. We call that stuff caliche down here.
I wouldn't burn anything near a new construction. Too much liability for me.

Gravel Rat
12-01-2007, 05:18 AM
When you are investing 300,000-500,000 just for the house cleaning up the yard and doing the landscaping is a drop in the bucket. After the construction is done there is no remnants left behind even every bent nail is picked up.

As for Site Solutions job it sounds like these are what we call Spec Houses which are slapped together quickly nothing is over built or over done they are cheap cracker box houses. Get them built and sold then move on.

SS has the chore of making crap look like honey which is hard to do when the builder gives you a shoe string budget to work with.

A brush rake on a excavator would work good. Start in one corner and start raking the crap out and leaving what ever dirt is left. Even if you had something to grab with the bucket and thumb that you could rake with. A custom made rake with 12 inch tines spread 3-4 inches apart.

With a excavator it would be just like a person raking the ground with a hand rake. You can see what your doing get a bunch of piles then move it around with a skid steer. Find a space in the back yard dig a hole and bury the debris not something I recommend because that can come back and haunt who ever owns the property.

It used to be common practice years ago to bury crap even old cars were used for back fill :laugh:

The inspectors don't allow that kind of stuff anymore.

I'am not a person that does cover up jobs if you can't do the job properly don't do it at all. It ends up you have to re-do the job again next year or a few years down the road. Then you get the bad reputation that you do shoddy work even thou it was the builder/developer wanted you to do the job that way. The developer probably already has a bad repuation of building cheap junk houses.

That might be a job you want to cover your name up on your equipment and you get paid in cash no paper trail leading to you :laugh:

Another consideration would be you take no responsibility if anything happens or fails etc next year.

Good Luck

Scag48
12-01-2007, 05:28 AM
'Round these parts, the general cleans up the site before they're gone. This is usually done by never making a huge mess in the first place. I've never been on a house site that was considered messy or needed serious amounts of cleanup, ever. You'd think guys would use their brain, a little time spent on the front end of things could save some of the profit margin toward the end of the project. Guess nobody thinks that far ahead when they're building spec houses. Figures.

Sounds like a guy could make some pretty good coin jumping from house to house doing these jobs, but that niche market would not exist here.

JDSKIDSTEER
12-01-2007, 07:04 AM
I lived in Alabama. there are old cars, trucks, trailers, christmas trees from years gone by, and tires to pick up before you can build! :laugh:True....They are clearing a lot on the corner and there must af been 20 old rusty cars and trucks laying around in the tree thicket. A vintage car collector dream of junk.

:laugh:

Fieldman12
12-01-2007, 10:40 AM
The clean up jobs around here are actually not all that bad. Problem is if a guy just tried to just do the cleanup work alone meaning not counting any grading I doubt you would get that many jobs. What runs the price up so much is having to have at least one dumpster. Even then lets say you can get all the stuff in one dumpster. You usually still have a couple pieces of concrete that need hauled off or buried. Another thing that I think runs the price up is risk of getting flats on the skid steer. I cannot believe the amount of nails left on the ground. For instance when we had the barn built this spring I bet at least three of us on several occasion's picked up at least 30 nails a piece. Just think of the flats with the skid steer so that needs added in the price. I think if I start doing much of the work I will get one of those magnetic strips that I can attach to hang from the bucket so I can drive around and pick up nails. Every job so far I have looked at with cleanup I always figure the grading in the price. As other said though the jobs I looked at you need several people out walking the grounds cleaning up

AllProMow
12-01-2007, 11:21 AM
When roofing houses a few years back, it was usually common practice for the crew I worked on to stop about an hour before quitting time and do an overall cleanup of the jobsite. That way we started the next morning with a clean slate and weren't tripping over the previous day's trash. If more contractors did this, clean-ups and grading jobs would be a breeze for those who do them.

YellowDogSVC
12-01-2007, 11:36 AM
The illegals and other contractor laborers around here put the trash on the ground or in enclosures surrounded by 6" mess square panels. The trash is all over the place. Most of the wood scraps are mixed in with whataburger bags, subway cups, taco cabana boxes, soda cans and bottles, etc. They throw the trash on the ground just like they do on the roads leading into the subdivisions or new construction. Because there is so much small trash mixed in, I found the rockhound to be of assistance to sweep the area. On some jobsites, the neighbors would complain about all the trash that blows off the jobsite. In my experience, the general isn't on site too much instead relying on his laborers to build his house unsupervised. Things have to get fixed or just covered up because of the lack of attention. Other than a few, the builders I have worked with do not run tight sites and end up with a bigger mess than they should have. Still, a couple of rolloffs and a skid with a few attachments makes quick work of it.

Lawndog57
12-01-2007, 12:39 PM
We must be lucky with the contractors that we cleanup for.My crew uses a landscape rake behind tractor,then walks lot to get real small stuff.We recycle everthing we can brick,wood,concrete etc.Usally the site foremans crew does a good job of staying on top of stuff.:cool2::cool2::cool2:

Gravel Rat
12-01-2007, 03:29 PM
One of the jobs I was working on removing debris the homeowners didn't care what it cost just send in the bill. They were very perticular homeowners they wanted everything just right. The project manager would come over and look and want it cleaned up a little more. I didn't care how long it took it was 15 dollars per hour at that time I also charged for standby time for the truck sitting on the site. It was a gravy train job I made a decent chunk of money from the homeowners with no problems getting paid from them.

The houses built today in this area is the house the person is going to die in. People are dumping every cent they have into their retirement home most of them will be living in the house till they can't live there anymore.

lawnman456
12-01-2007, 04:12 PM
i found a car that was down 3 feet when we were digging for a wall :dizzy:

YellowDogSVC
12-01-2007, 06:21 PM
True....They are clearing a lot on the corner and there must af been 20 old rusty cars and trucks laying around in the tree thicket. A vintage car collector dream of junk.

:laugh:

see, I speak only the truth! :)

Gravel Rat
12-02-2007, 05:31 PM
With the price of scrap cars so high there isn't many old junkers laying in back yards around here. Each car is 100 to 200 dollars a old truck is 250 dollars.

dozerman21
12-02-2007, 09:22 PM
Most of the wood scraps are mixed in with whataburger bags, subway cups, taco cabana boxes, soda cans and bottles, etc.


Ah... Good 'ol Whataburger! I forgot all about those. That takes me back to my South Padre days!:drinkup: