An "Oh ****" Retaining Wall

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by dmbmikee, Jul 20, 2004.

  1. dmbmikee

    dmbmikee LawnSite Member
    Messages: 84

    Just got asked to do a bid (that I know I'll pretty much get), on a retaining wall with 60 tons of boulders. The customer is an aquantance and says the job was bid at $10,200 but the company cannot start until mid august and the customer needs it done NOW! My problem is, I've never done a huge wall like this before. In some spots it will be 12-14 foot high. Also, I only own a 30hp Ford with a large bucket. I know I'm gonna need somethin like a bobcat or maybe a boom truck, but I'm really not sure what the hell I'm doing. Should I just pass the job up, or give it my best shot? I already told the customer that I've never done a job this big before, but they say, "that's o.k." So......Any advice on equipment or materials would be great, and hell maybe I'll even sub the job out? Thanks a whole lot:)

  2. rubicacher

    rubicacher LawnSite Member
    Messages: 8

    If you get in over your head it's not hard to burn up 10K
  3. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    What kind of stone are you looking at using? Granite, sandstone, limestone,????

    12-14' high is pretty tall for any kind of stone retaining wall. It's tall for a block wall.

    If you've never done anything like it (probably not many have), I'd either pass on it, or do it on a T&M basis.

    Most likely you will want something other than a tractor to set the boulders. How big will the boulders be? I'd probably look at a combination of a skidsteer with forks to move the boulders around, and a mini-excavator to set them with. The mini-ex will need to have a hydraulic "thumb" attachment. A Bobcat 337 is big enough to pick up a good sized rock, probably at least a ton at full extension, a lot more closer to the cab....

  4. earthtool

    earthtool LawnSite Member
    Messages: 115


    I am familiar with your area we make trips your way to pick boulders for various jobs here, and have them shipped by rail. Of course we always make pit stops at Benton Harbor ( Jackson Beach ).
    As you are very familiar with the fact that boulders in your neck of the woods are a nuisance to many contractors and they almost give them away for peanuts.

    But back to your situation.

    Since you have no experience at this type of work I would be foolish not to advise you to sub out this work to a qualified contractor that has a geo engineer in their pocket.
    We routinely sub work out to a network of subs that can handle work when we are over our heads in work. Do not be shy make some calls find someone that knows this game, take 5% and watch and learn.
    Good Luck
  5. JohnK

    JohnK LawnSite Member
    from Seattle
    Messages: 53

    What is a T&M basis? I haven't heard that term before.

    For Mike, it sounds like the job is to big for you, to big for most landscapers I'd bet, and subing it out would be the best course. You don't want to do a poor job, or even worse get injured working on a 14' wall.
  6. gogetter

    gogetter Banned
    Messages: 3,256

    Time & Materials.
  7. dmbmikee

    dmbmikee LawnSite Member
    Messages: 84

    Hey Guys! Thanks a hell of a lot for the advice! I went out and looked at the job today, the official estimate. The job is actually much smaller than I'd thought:) It's not 14 foot high, it is two tiers, that are about 6-7 foot high each. Basically, it's two tiers of boulders about 60 ft. long and 6-7 ft high. After setting the first few rows, we'll need some fill dirt. Total dirt needed will be around 60yds. Then I'll have to rent some equipment. I'm seriously thinking about doin this. Before I was hesitant, but only b/c the customer made it sound like I was filling, grading, and retaining a ski slope. All actuality it's comparable to a 100 yard pile of dirt. Maybe I'll get into some trouble, but I think I can handle it. Any advice on the project as a whole would be greatly appreciated! Also, including the price of 60 tons of boulders, what would you bid something like this at? Thanks again!
  8. dmbmikee

    dmbmikee LawnSite Member
    Messages: 84

    Oh one more thing, how much do you think it'll cost to rent a skidsteer at a per day rate?
  9. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    What kind of boulders are you talking about?

    I don't generally give dollar amounts on estimates online, but I will be glad to help with it however I can...

    How big are the boulders?

  10. steve in Pa.

    steve in Pa. LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 294

    mikee, how far back is the second tier going to be from the fist one. it has to be at least two times the height of the first wall without the use of geogrid. i would say more like three times the height. if any closer the use of geogrid must be used. if less than twice the height, it is still just one wall 12-14' with the same surcharge on ground as one 12' - 14' wall. i would be sure to have this wall engineered!!!!!

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