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View Full Version : Advice/Opinions Wanted on this potential Job


LB1234
05-17-2011, 08:44 PM
I have a potential job in which I'm honestly still deciding if I even want to bid on. The best way to describe it is through the picture that's attached. It would in a nutshell be replacing the wood retaining wall that is currently in place with a SRW. The homeowner would like to utilize Techo's creta for this. My immediate thoughts were semma or suprema. The wall is approximately 90 lineal feet in length and has an exposed height of approximately 30 inches at its highest point. My thoughts were to build a 4' high wall burying approximately 2' of that height. As you can tell in the pic there are lots of trees to contend with. What happens if during excavation I hit one of those oaks roots...overdig yes...but what happens to an 80' tree that I'm tearing out its uphill roots? My other concern would be in the soil, or lackthereof. This area is extremely rocky, its basically on a mountainside. How do I account for all of the costs associated with this. I think my "clauses" are going to wind up being more expensive than the project itself! Anyhow, I'm looking for advice, feedback, opinions and a little bit of an outsiders perspective and how you may or may not approach this.
Once again, thx.:waving:

221476

DVS Hardscaper
05-17-2011, 09:20 PM
Is this a thread we would see on another forum?

I'm lost as to why you would build a 4-foot high wall and then bury it? There is hardly any surcharge behind the existing wall - due to the close proximity of the dwelling.


Tree Roots: What people do not realize is trees have minimal roots. If you have ever knocked one over with a loader or if the wind has blown one over - you're amazed at what little structure actually holds a tree upright on the ground. Yes, I said "on the ground", not in the ground. Cutting the roots could very well kill the tree. No one can say yes or no for sure. Only mama nature knows.

With that said - this is where your clause that you already have on the disclaimer page of your proposal kicks in. You know, the clause that says you're not liable / responsible for disturbances. The clause that you have stated "trees" as an example.

You will also want to point this out to the client in person.

As far as rock - again, you'll need a clause that in the event a breaker is needed - that'll cost 'em mow-money!

If you want to do the job and walk away with any money, whether its a small amount or large amount of money - you need to dot all your I's and cross all your T's. You'll need to cover every angle there is.

I would help you more, as this is an area I'm strong in, but I havent had dinner yet and I
have a design to start and hopefully finish.


As always, this home owner will find someone to do the job without clauses and for a dirt cheap price. Which, you'll be sound asleep in your comfy bed while that clown is sweating bullets cause he spent all this direct expense budget on labor hours from digging with a pick.


LOL - on a side note: I priced a retaining wall a few weeks ago. The owner DID NOT want to pull a permit! The wall is to go on a property with a NEW HOME under construction, meaning inspectors are there weekly!

In my proposal I inserted a clause stating that the client will assume all liability and responsibility arising from building a wall without a permit. And it stated that client will pay for each day we can't work due to a "stop work" order being issued.

Needless to say..........they went with an out of state contractor...


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LB1234
05-17-2011, 09:33 PM
Is this a thread we would see on another forum?


no.............

LB1234
05-17-2011, 09:37 PM
There is hardly any surcharge behind the existing wall - due to the close proximity of the dwelling.

behind the dwelling is yet another hill like the front. I'm not about to assume minimal surcharge. I'd rather over than under build.

Where I do 100% agree with you is that someone else will likely come in no permits, no clauses, and lose his shorts and that this homeowner will see the 5-10k less price. hence, part of the reason I'm not sure I want to bid on this. looking for opinions exactly as you have laid out. perhaps spark something or look at it from a different angle.

DVS Hardscaper
05-17-2011, 09:52 PM
the hill behind the dwelling will collapse into the basement before it makes it into thr front!

If the soil is rocky - then it has structure and ain't going anywhere. In California their soil isn't rocky and has no structure, thats why they have landslides. So with that said - no need for doing all that burying.

Is it a rock table? Or just shale? If it's just shale and loose rock - a 7,000# excavator will dig the footer just fine.

Keep in mind there is already a wall there. Tell Tale signs. Someone apparantly was able to dig.

Wanna get the job? Here is what you do:

Forget Techo-block material. ALWAYS remember.....the hardscape industry in America THRIVED just fine before Techo-bloc entered the U.S. market.

Go with Nicolock's non-tumbled Colonial wall. Looks identical to the Creta. Only a contractor or a block sales rep can tell the difference. Techo is around, what, $16 to 17 / SF?? Ok, Nicolock's non-tumbled is around 9 bucks / SF. All the non-tumbled means is it has a split face, not wet cast.

Then, then savings in block cost will allow you to pad the labor.

And dont forget the root clause.



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mdlwn1
05-18-2011, 01:15 AM
behind the dwelling is yet another hill like the front. I'm not about to assume minimal surcharge. I'd rather over than under build.

Where I do 100% agree with you is that someone else will likely come in no permits, no clauses, and lose his shorts and that this homeowner will see the 5-10k less price. hence, part of the reason I'm not sure I want to bid on this. looking for opinions exactly as you have laid out. perhaps spark something or look at it from a different angle.

I know well qualified people that will underbid you big time on that wall (based on what you said you would do) and they would do fine and be done quickly.

LB1234
05-18-2011, 11:38 AM
I know well qualified people that will underbid you big time on that wall (based on what you said you would do) and they would do fine and be done quickly.


I don't disagree

Cam.at.Heritage
05-18-2011, 11:51 AM
I agree with mdlwn1, you are putting way to much thought into this. What surcharge? I am not sure you understand surcharge...Its a timber wall that seems to be holding up just fine so I doubt that surcharge or poor base is really a concern.

Also disagree with product selection, seems like a country-ish lot with a more natural feel and your going to throw in precast wall? I know its the owners choice but I would use your experience and possible design knowledge to sway them other wise.

A simple 1 or 2 courses of large armourstone or boulders will hold up much better, and if it shifts a little due to the tree roots it won't compromise the wall.

Just my opinion, take it or leave it.

DVS Hardscaper
05-18-2011, 06:52 PM
I agree with mdlwn1, you are putting way to much thought into this. What surcharge? I am not sure you understand surcharge...Its a timber wall that seems to be holding up just fine so I doubt that surcharge or poor base is really a concern.




I noticed that too lastnight. That the existing wall really appears structurally sound. Al least what the angle of photograghy shows.

Thats a job I myself would price and I bet we'd get it. AND.......I'll make money.

Sometime when we're burned out we tend to get a little negative :hammerhead:

And yes, in terms of patio sales - I'm as burned out as can be, so I can relate to LB1234's sour attitude :)


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Bru75
05-19-2011, 09:49 AM
In my proposal I inserted a clause stating that the client will assume all liability and responsibility arising from building a wall without a permit. And it stated that client will pay for each day we can't work due to a "stop work" order being issued.

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Is this one of your jokes?
In VA we are required to have "A statement of assurance that the contractor will comply with all local requirements for building permits, inspections, and zoning" in our contracts.
I can't imagine that MD is less strict.
If I were to use your clause and get caught, there are lawyers that might refer to it as written evidence of intentionally ignoring the law.
Read 9.e on page 26: http://www.dpor.virginia.gov/dporweb/con_reg.pdf

DVS Hardscaper
05-19-2011, 03:16 PM
Posted via Mobile Device

DVS Hardscaper
05-19-2011, 03:21 PM
Keep in mind VA is a commonwealth state.

Not a joke. The client is building a new house on one of the wealthiest roads in the country, in Potomac Md.

The client owns a construction company!

He is of a religion that is known for pinching pennies.

He didn't wanna pay for engineering required for the permit for his 7' high wall and didn't wanna get a permit!

Ok, we'll build your wall but I dont want any part of your decision to do this without a permit......

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Posted via Mobile Device

LB1234
05-19-2011, 10:41 PM
My two main concerns were the tree roots...more specifically what I do to those trees and the rock I know I'm going to hit. Wanted a little insight if anyone perhaps saw a concern that I'm overlooking. I know its tough from a single pic but hey, doesn't hurt anything. I'll admit I'm nervous about removing tree roots on an uphill side, I'm no arborist but I know it isn't the best thing to do. Heck I've seen whole sides of trees go dead and the cause was determined to be the trenching that was done to run piping, wiring, etc.

Already have the bid worked up for material, I'm just going to submit and not hold my breath.:laugh:

DVS Hardscaper
05-19-2011, 11:13 PM
As far as the tree roots, your clause in your PROPOSAL (NOT "Bid") has that covered. Or you can talk the people into walking the new wall further up the hill. They'll have to sacrifice something. Wall for tree or tree for wall.



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Bru75
05-21-2011, 12:42 AM
Keep in mind VA is a commonwealth state.

Not a joke. The client is building a new house on one of the wealthiest roads in the country, in Potomac Md.

The client owns a construction company!

He is of a religion that is known for pinching pennies.

He didn't wanna pay for engineering required for the permit for his 7' high wall and didn't wanna get a permit!

Ok, we'll build your wall but I dont want any part of your decision to do this without a permit......

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Posted via Mobile Device

Hey, whatever works for you is fine with me.
Just seems kind of like putting in a clause that says the homeowner is responsible for all speeding tickets I get on the way to the job.
Hmmm, I might have to try that.

JoeyDipetro
05-21-2011, 12:51 AM
Keep in mind VA is a commonwealth state.

Not a joke. The client is building a new house on one of the wealthiest roads in the country, in Potomac Md.

The client owns a construction company!

He is of a religion that is known for pinching pennies.

He didn't wanna pay for engineering required for the permit for his 7' high wall and didn't wanna get a permit!

Ok, we'll build your wall but I dont want any part of your decision to do this without a permit......

,
Posted via Mobile Device

Wow! That really surprises me coming from you. You seem so concerned with other contractors "doing what the homeowner wants" and allowing a homeowner to drive the design process and other aesthetic considerations. However, you admittedly parrticipate in a customer's circumvention of the permit (legal) process.

DVS Hardscaper
05-21-2011, 01:14 PM
Joseph.

You need to go back and read my posts without the hateful mindset because you have no clue what we're talking about.

I was not interested in doing the work.

Ok?

My way out of the job was to insert a clause that I knew the client would not go for. What client would EVER accept a proposal with such a clause????


Now after you done with sucking your thumb go back and read.



In terms of permits, the contractor does not have to pull a permit. The homeowner can. If the contractor gets the permit, the homeowner must sign the application. Where as a speeding ticket involves only the person committing the offense.

When work is done without a permit and you're caught, the permit dept will review the wording of the contract and will determine if the contractor was negligent or the home owner was negligent. So if you do work without a permit you word the paperwork accordingly.

Our jobs all have permits.
Posted via Mobile Device

Bru75
05-22-2011, 03:48 PM
My way out of the job was to insert a clause that I knew the client would not go for. What client would EVER accept a proposal with such a clause????


Now after you done with sucking your thumb go back and read.



In terms of permits, the contractor does not have to pull a permit. The homeowner can. If the contractor gets the permit, the homeowner must sign the application. Where as a speeding ticket involves only the person committing the offense.

When work is done without a permit and you're caught, the permit dept will review the wording of the contract and will determine if the contractor was negligent or the home owner was negligent. So if you do work without a permit you word the paperwork accordingly.

Our jobs all have permits.
Posted via Mobile Device

Different states, different laws. Here a contractor can sign for a permit (the application has a place for signature of owner or agent).
Just one question, why not just tell the guy that you won't build without a permit and say no thanks? I know you're not bashful.

DVS Hardscaper
05-22-2011, 08:01 PM
Different states, different laws. Here a contractor can sign for a permit (the application has a place for signature of owner or agent).
Just one question, why not just tell the guy that you won't build without a permit and say no thanks? I know you're not bashful.


Let's not get confused. Here, either the contractor can obtain the permit, or the property owner can get the permit. It's their property, they may apply for a permit. It's better if the contractor obtains the permit, this way the contractor can answer any questions the planning or zoning dept's may have.

Building a wall without a permit is not a criminal offense. Worst case is they issue a 'Stop Work' Order and the client's wall does not get finished. You have to rip the wall apart and start over so the inspections can be done. If the client is willing to knowingly take that risk and willing to pay a contractor to tear it apart and start over - that's no sweat off the contractor's back.

Now. if you're driving 70,000 pound dump trucks over a city or county owned curb and sidewalk, and don't have a permit, and didn't put up a bond, and you damage the curbing or walk - then you could have to pay for the damages.

Bru - why not tell the client not interested? #1. You never turn down work. You value engineer and you price accordingly. If you don't want the work - price it high. #2. After working together on specing a job for a period of time and the client makes a sudden change - you don't just fold up. Again, value engineer. Frankly, I think it's obsurd to build a wall at a 2 million dollar new home and not pay $800 for engineering and $130 for the permit, for a $20,000 wall!


Our jobs have permits when required. Infact in one county, a change to the inspection process for walls was made because of a phone call that I personally made to the top man in charge of the inspectors. And I have been known to educate the inspectors on the proper installation of grid when they are inspecting the grid installations.

JoeyDipetro
05-23-2011, 01:11 AM
Joseph.

You need to go back and read my posts without the hateful mindset because you have no clue what we're talking about.

I was not interested in doing the work.

Ok?

My way out of the job was to insert a clause that I knew the client would not go for. What client would EVER accept a proposal with such a clause????


Now after you done with sucking your thumb go back and read.



In terms of permits, the contractor does not have to pull a permit. The homeowner can. If the contractor gets the permit, the homeowner must sign the application. Where as a speeding ticket involves only the person committing the offense.

When work is done without a permit and you're caught, the permit dept will review the wording of the contract and will determine if the contractor was negligent or the home owner was negligent. So if you do work without a permit you word the paperwork accordingly.

Our jobs all have permits.
Posted via Mobile Device

Ours do too. That's why we wouldn't waste our time on a potential client that didn't want to pull a permit. We wouldn't be dishonest and provide an exaggerated price. If we are informed that the potential client doesn't want to pull a permit, we politely respond with the truth that is we will not install a project without the required permit. That's just us. No need to waste anybody's time.

HHlandscaping
05-23-2011, 05:44 PM
@ dvs lol I cant stop laughing about the he comes from a religous back round that is tight with money lol

DVS Hardscaper
05-23-2011, 07:05 PM
Ours do too. That's why we wouldn't waste our time on a potential client that didn't want to pull a permit. We wouldn't be dishonest and provide an exaggerated price. If we are informed that the potential client doesn't want to pull a permit, we politely respond with the truth that is we will not install a project without the required permit. That's just us. No need to waste anybody's time.


And this is what I mean by you need to clear the negativioty out of your head. As you initial previous response was typed out of hatefulness.

It's causing you to waste alotta time trying to persuade my adversaries. If I had said that I discovered a cure for cancer, you would attack me for taking too long :) But hey....as long as it makes you sleep better.

Joseph, I don't think there are ANY veteran contractors here that would waste their time or a prospective client's time. Especially in the month of April. :hammerhead:

A buddy of mine once told me "it's human nature to over react". With that said, Joseph, before you are quick to presume, you otta allow yourself time to realize that you're only reading the "in a nutshell" portion, when it comes to online exchange of ideas and experiences.

When you do outdoor advertising (billboards) you can not write a story. Same with an internet forum, Joseph. Unless one has no life and absolutely nothin to do - one can't write every detail that lead up to something or that transpired.....on a forum.

Thanks for following along and you can be assured that you can look forward to reading much more of my wisdom and expertise for many months to come.


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JoeyDipetro
05-24-2011, 12:26 AM
And this is what I mean by you need to clear the negativioty out of your head. As you initial previous response was typed out of hatefulness.

It's causing you to waste alotta time trying to persuade my adversaries. If I had said that I discovered a cure for cancer, you would attack me for taking too long :) But hey....as long as it makes you sleep better.

Joseph, I don't think there are ANY veteran contractors here that would waste their time or a prospective client's time. Especially in the month of April. :hammerhead:

A buddy of mine once told me "it's human nature to over react". With that said, Joseph, before you are quick to presume, you otta allow yourself time to realize that you're only reading the "in a nutshell" portion, when it comes to online exchange of ideas and experiences.

When you do outdoor advertising (billboards) you can not write a story. Same with an internet forum, Joseph. Unless one has no life and absolutely nothin to do - one can't write every detail that lead up to something or that transpired.....on a forum.

Thanks for following along and you can be assured that you can look forward to reading much more of my wisdom and expertise for many months to come.


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"Hatefullness?" Your "adversaries?" Holy hell dude, I just call it like I see it. I'm no cyber psychologist as you seem to think you are.....I just call it like I see it.:dizzy:

White Gardens
05-24-2011, 01:05 AM
As far as the tree roots, your clause in your PROPOSAL (NOT "Bid") has that covered. Or you can talk the people into walking the new wall further up the hill. They'll have to sacrifice something. Wall for tree or tree for wall.



.

Back to the original post, I think this is the best response.

DVS Hardscaper
05-24-2011, 09:18 AM
"Hatefullness?" Your "adversaries?" Holy hell dude, I just call it like I see it. I'm no cyber psychologist as you seem to think you are.....I just call it like I see it.:dizzy:

It's funny when people respond with "I call it like I see it".

A few years back a guy down that road accused a neighbor of something that took place a
Mile away. The neighbor who had out of town guests never left his house. When the accuser was set straight - his response was "I call it like I see it"! LOL. Spoken in a Barney Rubble voice- "Oh! Ok, that excuses you from your ignorant actions"

In other words when people say "I call it like I see it" - that's means "you made a good point and im not gonna admit it becuase I don't no when too shut my mouth"


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Posted via Mobile Device

LB1234
07-17-2011, 03:19 PM
FYI, didn't get job. The appartent reasons was that I couldn't start it before september. I think I was considered over priced. I bid around 20k. they are probablly going to use the same company they had build a similar wall down the hill by the street. I think I may still have a pick of the year old wall...i'm assuming they built it with the lean away from the hill on purpose:laugh: