How to deal this client, retaining wall on a lake..

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by SouthernYankee, Sep 15, 2006.

  1. SouthernYankee

    SouthernYankee LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 789

    Heres my problem, I want input from all you old veterans out there about how to defuse this problem.

    I get a call from another landscaper asking me to come out and look at this job that hes got. Anyways its a brand new house on one of those mud pits, I mean manmade neighborhood lakes that everyone loves around here. He got hired to build a retaining wall on a lake with materials that some idiot tried to build with. Basically its 6x6 posts every 6 feet, with 2x12 pt screwed and bolted to them.

    I am sure that at this point you see the problem. Anyways this landscaper did a decent job with what he had, I wouldnt have ever taken on this problem, but he made some nice loot off the job. Anyways all he wants me to do is to back fill the natural soil which consists of clay and river mud back into the wall.

    I spend the day backfilling very carefully making sure not to hit the wall, or put too much pressure on the wall. In my mind I did what I was suppose to do.

    Home owner calls the other guy, telling him that walls are somewhat bowed. The walls had moved moved a few inches due to the weight of soil, but I knew that they would move because they are not made out of concrete nor are they built with the right materials.

    Anyways I have to go meet with this guy, what would you tell him? Or am I just an idiot for backfilling on a 2x12 wall on a lake!
  2. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Posts: 3,563

    are there any deadmen? or walers??? if not then you cannot help the shoddy construction of the wall...

    here the walls will push out a bit with backfill, but you then go tighten the nuts on the threaded rod anchoring through the deadmen to straighten ot back out.
  3. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    You just backfilled native soil against the back of that "Wall"?

    Getting involved in that is a fiasco waiting to happen. Clearly specify to the homeowner that all you were was a skidsteer operator, and had nothing to do with the design (or lack off) of the wall.
  4. dozerman21

    dozerman21 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Posts: 1,170

    In hindsight, you should have agreed in writing with the homeowner that you're not responsible for the wall bowing or even caving in, due to the conditions. Chances are, that wall would have bowed in after the first hard rain if it hadn't already.

    I would just tell the homeowner that you did all you could do to be careful, but the wall wasn't built correctly to hold that kind of weight. Top soil or at least dry dirt should have been brought in to replace the clay and mud too.:hammerhead:

    It would probably be a good idea to talk to a couple of other landscapers who build retaining walls, and have them give you an estimate of the materials and specs they would use on a wall the same size. That will show the homeowner that his/her wall wasn't constructed properly, so you are not at fault.

    Good luck! Keep us posted.
  5. RockSet N' Grade

    RockSet N' Grade LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,454

    Every job you do should have a signed contract by you and the other party.

    If the wall was crap to begin with, you end up with the same as a finished product.....
    The design of that wall, if in doubt, should have been done by an engineer with his stamp and signature on it and inspected as it was installed.
    Lots of people are looking for a fall-guy when they created this situation from the beginning......I'd say that by the wall bowing now may be a blessing and they should thank you for exposing possible current and future problems with this structure.....
  6. DBL

    DBL LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,219

    how bad is it like everyones saying its shotty work but when that stuff fills how bad is the bow are the screws coming out or is it just arched in the middle
  7. Dirty Water

    Dirty Water LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,799

    You should have put a drainage aggregate behind the wall, not native soil.
  8. Scag48

    Scag48 LawnSite Fanatic
    Posts: 6,067

    Yeah, there should have been some sort of drainage rock behind the wall if all the soil is muddy and wet as it is.
  9. TXTom

    TXTom LawnSite Member
    Posts: 71

    Well to me it sounds like you were hired by the other landscaper. Who is paying you? If it were me, I would not meet with the homeowner. Your "friend" that built the wall should do all of the talking with the homeowner. Especially since he made decent money building a wall that was poorly designed. All you did was move some dirt around. If you hit the wall, or pushed dirt against it to the point of failure then you might have some responsibility.
  10. jazak

    jazak LawnSite Senior Member
    from NJ
    Posts: 843

    I would have NEVER gotten involved, suprised the wall didn't fall right over.;)

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