Building Paver Patio on Slope - PICS

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by JimLewis, Oct 13, 2012.

  1. Agape

    Agape LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,644

    I know that if i was repairing a roof (example only)and found a rotten board I would be liable to fix it or let the HO get someone else to fix it. but how is the stairs connected to Jim's project?
    did he raise the level of the ground? (not just bring the ground level, but raise the actual ground level there).
    And if he fixed the stairs and noticed a loose board on the deck would he then have to fix that? and while he was bent down to fix the board he noticed the deck was somehow not to code or had carpenter ants..., or perhaps he didn't know at all?....I think you can see where this is going.

    Just for my own edification, I'm just curious at what point you can step back and not be liable for other previous projects.:waving:
  2. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    The patio is essentially the landing which for at least a 3'x3' area is a part of the staircase system for code purposes. Even if the existing stairs are or were not to code, correct, safe, whatever. The new patio, regardless of the height of the old landing, becomes part of the stair system. Therefor by doing so the patio installer opens themselves up to liability from stair system. The best thing to do for everyone ( this should be read as the best thing to protect Jim's multi-million dollar company from a personal injury lawsuit. ) would have been to rebuild the stairs.

    With the stagnant economy and election year I have seen a larger than normal amount of renovation hardscape jobs this year taken on by new guys, plumbers, handyman, etc because the client can't help the great deal of a mailbox flyer. The type of jobs that most large companies aren't even interested in looking at. 60sqft walkways, etc. The thing I see over and over again is large risers. The subgrade of the original builder walkway settled leaving a 12-14" rise from lowest tread to the walkway. So the new walkway goes in, and guess what the rise did not change. So you've spent $1000 on that new walkway, but you need to remind grandma to jump with both feet. Is this to say that they are not liable for this because it was like that originally. No, once they remove the old walkway they absolve the builder of his liability and take it on themselves by working on part of the stair system.

    You have to remember why we are all owners. I'm pretty certain that most owners started their companies because they figured they could do it better, faster, more efficient, and more profitable than the other guys. If we all did not think we were better than the rest we wouldn't be good business men. I can't picture going to a client, "Well yes we can do it, but if you want the job done better you should use this guy." I understand what you are saying, but I think that all owners must have a certain level of cockyness to them or else they stand to become stagnant and let in the dust of the progressively forward moving industry.The trick is to be just cocky enough to want to be better, but not so cocky that you are feel you have no room to improve. Likewise I think most guys in the industry are more hands on and are better fitted to actually laying stone than sitting at the clients table trying to sell. Personally I'll talk to you all day, but I would much rather be doing the work than talking to you about it. The other side is the salesman type. We have a few of those. These are the guys that run multiple crews and get all sorts of work, but might not even know how to start their own machines.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
  3. DVS Hardscaper

    DVS Hardscaper LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,623

    I recently submitted a thread titled "Ego Scaper from another prospective". Shovel is dead on correct. No cockyness. No ego. No self confidence. Equals no success.

    I'm a contractor. I'm not a landscaper. I'm not a hardscaper. I'm a contractor. Who happens to be good at sales. I'm good with people. My customers like me. My employees usually like me. My vendors - they all probably wanna run and hide when they see me pull up!

    I'm not interested in reading books. Most of us learn how to play with others in pre-school. Life isn't difficult. Be nice to people. Do what you promise. Smile. Eat well. Exercise. Be active with your kids. And thats all it takes.

    There is also a difference between an owner operator that is active in the field vs an owner who focuses on selling jobs and spends most of his/her day in his/her truck driving around.

    As an active owner operator I know first hand that galvanized spikes are the way to go to anchor restraint to the ground. I know this because I am there to see the outcome when a client whom we did a job for 10 years ago calls us back to add on to the work we previously did. I am there if a job we did 5 years ago needs warranty work. I see first hand things that many other owners have never seen. My experience and knowledge is something that many owners will never ever come close to no matter how many books they read. Which in turn I win customers over because they can hear in my voice and see on my face that we're the real deal.

    I never ventured into business because I thought I could do something better. I have always been self employed from the age of 13, and this year I've enjoyed it more than ever :) So far it looks like my 9 yr old kid is following in my steps. Last week he asked me why I keep receipts for nearly everything I buy. Which lead to an indepth conversation about profit, business expenses, and income taxes. He knows everything about the work we do and knows how to run all the machinery. I come from a family of leadership. I'm not writing to brag about my kid and my family - My point I'm trying to make is many folks become what they know.


    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
  4. amscapes03

    amscapes03 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 398

    OK........drop the bomb on us now. How long before he becomes a lawnsite member? DVS & DVS Jr. :)
  5. Groomer

    Groomer LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,681

    Thats good! Title? careful. lol
  6. zedosix

    zedosix LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,665

    Its just too damn serious thats all. I personally don't care what anyone thinks, especially on site. Too me, none of this matters in my day to day routine. I just think about getting home at night, jumping in my car and going for a drive. I think about spending time at the cottage every weekend, I think about my family. Lawnsite is just ....lawnsite.
  7. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    Ok. So you're basically making my point for me. This forum is filled up with a lot of cocky, arrogant jerks who think they know better than everyone else how someone else's job should have been done.

    The problem still stands. When people are that cocky and arrogant they are not very persuasive. There's a huge difference between being helpful and offering constructive criticism and just being a jerk. As I said before, most of the time it's the latter. And you all think you are helping the industry by making cocky arrogant comments, but the reality is your words often go unheeded by the person you are criticizing while at the very same time you're totally discouraging dozens (if not hundreds) of others from ever posting photos etc. in the forum because the last thing they want is to get skewered as well. So you're actually limiting discourse and limiting progress.

    I bet you for ever 1 person who posts photos in this forum there are at least 10 others who will not, because of this exact problem. The solution would be simple. Just be polite and nice and offer constructive criticism for contractors and maybe [God forbid] throw in a compliment or two once in a while rather than just offering negative critique. But I know that's too much to ask for to this "cocky" crowd.... :rolleyes:
  8. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    All forums are filled with these types because it is the internet and women are men and children are adults and despite what you are told not everything you read is true. This forum is pretty tame compared to some of the others out there. New guys are not shunned unless they deserve it, and no one is called nube for failing to search.

    And yes your point is correct to an extent we are all somewhat righteous being owners and whatnot. Are you saying that you've never bid a job and after not getting it drove by and thought how you would have done it better? I get your point of proper delivery, but we've all been around here for a while and this is no secret that forums are a mix of all types.

    I do not really think anyone was intentionally being rude with any of the posts. There were many compliments, myself included complimenting the water feature. Some, mine included might have been cold and to the point, but it is an issue of the reader being closed to comments as you pointed out. That is an issue with the reader themselves not being able to pick through the comments to make something constructive out of it. Now if the poster puts something up expecting all "good jobs" and "well done sir" than they will often be disappointed cause well this is the internet and even the old lady next door is going to have an opinion and you will never make everyone happy.

    I do ask you this though. Will you ever construct another patio without addressing how the stairs will be part of it, or build a raised patio without thinking about your liability in a fall scenario. I certainly would hope not. If so than your own cockyness is getting in the way of making you a better operator.
  9. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    I disagree. The other hardscape forum that several members here also belong to is much nicer, much more about constructive criticism and seems to not tolerate rude behavior. Unfortunately for them, that also means they don't have nearly as many members. Half the people here would have been thrown out of that one.

    Of course not. But there have been plenty of times that a competitor of mine was showing me a job they did or a photo of a wall they did or something. And I didn't say to them, "Forget the wall. Look at that eye soar over in the corner. Did you do that too? WTF? Well, even if you didn't you should have fixed it. That's messed up! You should no better than to leave a landscape like that." No. He wasn't asking me about that thing off in the distance. He was showing me a wall. So I said it looked nice. That's it.

    Well, I wasn't necessarily saying that in this particular post people were being rude. In this case, I think it got WAY off track. Here I was trying to highlight an idea that I thought was kind of unique and might help someone else. And instead of talking about that, we've spent most of the time talking about some damn stairs I never touched. Everyone seemed to miss the entire point of my thread. Which just tells me when I bother to post something that I think might be helpful to others I should probably not even bother. Because it's just going to turn into something else. THAT'S the kind of stuff that turns people off in this forum.

    There was some jerkoff saying we do B-grade work. That was obviously condescending and rude. But whatever....

    I'll consider that in the future yes. But I and a lot of others still won't be posting much because every time anyone does it always turns into a pissing match or gets WAY off track. It just discourages people. I wish you guys saw the PMs and emails I get about this. It's a problem that keeps a lot of people participating in this forums - and yes, it is this forum more than the others. It's too bad. I saw some really nice photos of another contractor I met in the commercial lawn forum the other day and it was really beautiful work. But he'll never post those photos here. Everyone knows what comes of it when they or others do. It's just sad. It limits the forum. Even with this post, I think 75% of the people who read it totally missed the entire point of my post because it got so far off track with comments that were unrelated to the wall I was trying to share.
  10. shovelracer

    shovelracer LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,008

    Just remember all this happened because you being an established company and as a veteran member are held to a higher standard. Would be no different if I or DVS or Zedo or many of the others put up their work. Likewise there are plenty of amateurish jobs on here that are left alone because they are obviously not on the same level.

    In my area there are a few larger companies about your size and they get a similar approach to work. Many of them have such name recognition or sheer size that they can consistently produce B-grade work and no one thinks anything of it. Not horrible work, but cheap materials when promised premium, not quite right practices, and overall something is just off. These are also the guys that at trade shows and classes are flashing their feathers all around and are looking down at anyone that is not them. These types are pure DBags and I'll put any single one of my projects up against theirs any day. I suggest you hold yourself to a higher standard as well. I'll be working on another thread about how these types exist.

    For the record though I do like your job all safety issues aside, it is creative and I'm sure a drastic improvement. I would like to see how it actually went together and the stone is tied to the wall, but it seems this thread should be buried in the archives after all this.

Share This Page