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View Full Version : Would you classify buried underground piping....


DVS Hardscaper
06-13-2009, 09:39 AM
........as an Underground Utility????

Here is what I have:

We have a client with existing piping buried underground. This pipe is piping water from 3 roof downspouts.

In my opinion, there are two types of utilities:

1: Public (electric, telephone, cable, gas, water and sewer)
2: Private (well lines, septic lines, electric running from house to pool, shed, garage, lamp post, etc., Gas lines running fom buried gas tank to pool heater, oil lines)

Ok, do you guys think that buried piping for roofing downspouts would be considered an underground utility?? I would be interested in hearing legitimate opinions from as many as possible here.

We're currently doing a job and I'm learning from this job that I need to go back and make modifications to 3 different clauses of our contract.


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mrusk
06-13-2009, 09:54 AM
DVS when I do a hardscape job, I always include in the price piping out the downspouts. If the downspouts are already piped out, I still factor it in since chances are they will be tore up anyway.

DVS Hardscaper
06-13-2009, 10:13 AM
MRusk - thats exactly what I do as well, and I state in the proposal that we will be installing and or replacing piping.

However, my question IS would you or would you not consider the underground downspout piping to be considered an "underground utility"?

An example is, a septic sewer line (the line that goes to the tank) IS typically considered an underground utility.

Isobel
06-13-2009, 10:21 AM
I would think its not, but I don't have anything to really base that on. It's not covered by digsafe--as its really not a public line.

I suppose it could be considered a private line, as downspout lines usually just stay on private property.

In our contracts we have a part that says the client needs to tell us about any sort of underground lines on their property--irrigation, lighting, french drains, etc. But I also let them know that if we come across something we're not expecting, there could be additional costs.

kabrac
06-13-2009, 12:03 PM
No. You're thinking too much. Rest that brain.

Bru75
06-13-2009, 03:14 PM
I wouldn't consider it a utility.
I do have a clause in my contract that it is the owner's responsibility to tell me the location of anything burried other than public utilities.

Kizzelwhix
06-13-2009, 03:38 PM
its not a utility, but you should include that in your pricing, as you may hit it and need to replace it

I just did a wall job where the homeowner marked all the private utilities (wires running to septic, well, garage) - however the septic pipe that carries all the crap (literally) from house to tank was not marked. I hit it with the excavator and ended up having to replace a section - ironic thing is I hit it while digging the septic wires deeper because they would have been coming out the face of the wall otherwise.

PVC isn't all that expensive and if you include it in an estimate, and you hit it, you're covered. If you dont hit it, dont charge them for it. A quote is another story, but its good to cover your ass.

IF you have a metal/wire detector, you can run a snake through the piping from where the downspout meets it and mark it yourself.

DVS Hardscaper
06-13-2009, 08:07 PM
We're doing a job where it was a mutual decision between the client and I to access the work area from a different place than origianally discussed and from what the contract was based on. Turns out.....3 down spouts are connected to a buried pipe, and it's been raining like pistons and sparkplugs lately, we're moving close to 200 cubic yards of fill soil into the backyard......therefore the piping is trashed! I always factor in replacing underground drain pipes, but I didn't with this job because I origianally wasn't planning to traverse on that side.

We're replacing the pipe. And we're also upgrading from what was origianally there. The client is paying for the materials and we're providing the labor. No worries. And all is well.

13 years in the construction business and this is the first time we've changed course (meaning decided to access an area from a different location than origianally planned). Our disclaimer page addresses underground utilities, however it's time to specifically state specific examples (along with the wording "but not limited to"). Had my proposal specifically stated examples - I'd be able to charge the client to fix it.

Like I said, 13 years and never any problems. Thats a long time. I suggest everyone else make sure your contracts account for this.

Would you folks like to chime in and provide examples of what should be listed?



,

Mid-Ohio Scaper
06-14-2009, 02:11 PM
The Owner will be responsible for disclosing all property lines, corners, downspouts, underdrainage, “invisible fence”, irrigation, etc. prior to commencing work.

Basically the homeowner is responsible for telling me about everything on their property that the utilities protection service is not responsible for marking.

I also state I will exercise extreme caution in marked areas, however, these items may still be damaged and I cannot assume liability for these items, and repairs will be passed on to Owner at cost on final billing.

STRINGALATION
06-14-2009, 03:23 PM
funny but i was really waiting to hear your punch line DVS. I HAVE READ YOUR THREADS AND LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR POST so i said to myself why is he asking this
i said he tore it up and wants the customer to pay for it because he did not know it was down there. i was pretty close

now for the record i feel a buried down spout is a public/private utility i thought so at first but the definition of utility cleared that right up in my mind it is def. a utility

DVS Hardscaper
06-15-2009, 09:30 PM
Also, I think we contractors take for granted that we assume the home owner understands that even though we may not be digging where pipes or wires are buried....they can still get damaged.

A home owner does not realize a typical skid steer weighs 8000#, add a pallet of material and that's another 3,000#.

A home owner also does not realize that a skid steer....SKIDS, thus applying pressure to the ground below and around the wheels and or tracks. Yes, in wet soil a tracked machine DOES sink after many passes back and forth.


Lets all learn from this.

We're now performing 3, maybe 4 hrs of work for free.

Go back and look at the wording of your clause regarding this matter.


Here is a statement from a wise gentleman at another industry forum:

"You were actually too specific by saying "utilities" when you should have written "any unknown or incorrectly marked objects or conditions underground". You need to be more "precise" rather than "specific".

I hope this helps others learn from my mistakes, and I hope you folks make sure you properly address this issue in your proposals.




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STRINGALATION
06-15-2009, 10:26 PM
so for the record the drain lines were crushed from driving over them in wet conditions.

DVS Hardscaper
06-17-2009, 08:07 PM
so for the record the drain lines were crushed from driving over them in wet conditions.


Wet or dry, it was inevitable (sp?).

The former drain piping was 4-inch flexible drain tubing.

180 cu yds of fill and 27 cu yards of top soil was humped over the plastic flex line with a 10,000# CTL that carries only 1/2 yard at a time. Thats 14 tandem axle truck loads. That's alotta passes, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth! With that much soil it would have been pancaked even with dry soil, based on the way it was placed in the ground.



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Danscapes
06-17-2009, 08:45 PM
[QUOTE=

The former drain piping was 4-inch flexible drain tubing.





,[/QUOTE]

Well we all know that that's not any way to bury a downspout line (only sch 40 on my jobs). So with that being said, its the customers responsibility for it being crushed (let alone the fact that they didn't inform you of it in the first place)

Now as far as it being a utility, I look at it this way "utilities" feed something whether it be, like you said, gas for house or pool, electric for both, or water. Also "utilities" are able to be trced with that magic wand that the companies use, downspouts are PVC and have no feed back. So really even if the customer told you that they were out there, there is no way in hell you would even know were to find them.:waving:

Danscapes
06-17-2009, 08:47 PM
Sorry for the messed up quote thingy. I haven't figured out how to extract only one sentence. LOL.

DVS Hardscaper
06-17-2009, 09:47 PM
Well we all know that that's not any way to bury a downspout line (only sch 40 on my jobs). So with that being said, its the customers responsibility for it being crushed (let alone the fact that they didn't inform you of it in the first place)

Now as far as it being a utility, I look at it this way "utilities" feed something whether it be, like you said, gas for house or pool, electric for both, or water. Also "utilities" are able to be trced with that magic wand that the companies use, downspouts are PVC and have no feed back. So really even if the customer told you that they were out there, there is no way in hell you would even know were to find them.:waving:


Good to hear some here have the same mentality as I have. This client turned out to literally be a "client from hell". The job we did wasn't a hardscape related project, it falls more in the line of excavation, we demolished a historic structure in the backyard that is formerly owned by a former U.S. president.

We finished the job yesterday, they paid the bill in full, and we're moving on. It's been almost 5 years since we've had a client from hell, and this latest has been quite a learning experience for me. So much so that I am seriously considering having an attorney that specializes in CONTRACTOR LAW write the disclaimer page of our proposal.

One of these days after the smoke stops bellowing from my ears I hope to share what I learned from this job.

LOL - last week the client stopped payment on a check and appeared as if they expected us to continue to work! LOL