Estimate this job (2 tiered wall)

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by PAPS, Feb 12, 2002.

  1. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,073


    in general, most guys I know are pricing techo-blok at a base of 27 a foot, but for smaller jobs, like to be in the 30 a foot range.

    Maybe I missed it, but I still don't see a answer to paul's question of whether or not you got a engineer to look at this project.

    Not for nothing, but building a wall OVER 4 ft without a design can lead to SERIOUS, and I mean SERIOUS problems. Not just structurualy, but code wise.

    I have seen/heard/experienced nightmare stories where inspectors will come in, measure the wall, and if it is even a hair over 4 ft, start asking a LOT of questions. I've seen 14 ft walls completely torn down so that the inspector can see proof of the proper installation of geogrid.

    I know a few guys who use to sound just like you on the subject of needing a engineer or not worrying about the wall being over 4 ft. Well, after the first run in with a building code inspector, they all have changed there philosophies on building walls.

    Also, I've seen '5 ft walls' where the buider 'thought' reinforcement wasn't needed collapse. I've also seen walls where the the installer 'thought' he'd throw some geogrid in as a safety measure anyways fail miserably.

    Without the engineers drawing, you are putting yourself at great risk. For less than a 1k, you could have a drawing done. Is 1k saved on a 33k job worth the risk?

    Granted, the wall may be fine, and you may feel confident, but it is a risk.

    Also, in my own opinions, techo blok is a product that I feel is not as strong as other manufactures (its designed more for aesthetics than function). Block size is much smaller than that of others such as versa, keystone, allan, etc. I would be very nervous building a wall out of techo that tall without a stamped drawing. For something that tall, I would be thinking tumbled versa-lok may be better for strength and also more economical. Just my own opinions though:)

    If anything, be sure to take pictures of your wall as it is being built. Be sure to take a few shots of the grid being installed (if you do install it) and be sure to put them in a safe place. They may save you but some day.

    And, just a note. A 5 foot wall is not code. plain and simple. Do guys get away with it, yes, all the time.....but, a lot of guys also get caught.

  2. PAPS

    PAPS LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 404

    Steveair... thanks for the heads up and the comments...
    The client really likes the Techo-Creta, I told him that I thought that Keystone would be a better choice for this job. So, I gave him a quote for both products. The wall will be basically installed for looks. The area being retained is a slope in the woods... we could actually do a rockery with some planting and it would be nice too, but he wants some walls installed for looks. We are going to use geogrid without a doubt... at first I questioned it... but realized that its a neccesity. i will be contacting the town for local permits etc. before starting. If the town says i need an engineer... so be it.. i'll get an engineer. But i am confident that the walls will hold fine. We have done many walls, and to date, have had no problems with any of our work.
  3. steveair

    steveair LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,073

    It sounds like you know what you are doing then!:)

    I personally don't like the techo for bigger walls. That's why I really like the tumble versa-lok now, because its a nice compromise between the techo and a 'regular' wall block. Plus, they've re-engineering the tumble versa-lok now, so it is as structurally equivalent to the non-tumbled v-lok ( they use to actually tumble the wall block and this made it very, they have a process that basically only tumbles the face of the blocks, not ruining its structure. They basically just beat the hell out of the face with chains)

    From my own experiences, the techo seems weak as the smaller pieces seem to be 'floating around' on the inside of the wall. I'm interesting in seeing some of the walls as the years go by and whether all those pieces will stay in place.

    Techo is a beutiful block though, and once people see it, they want it, so I understand not being able to convince him else wise.

    Good luck with the wall. Hope the town doesn't harass you. They can be a real pain sometimes.

  4. landman

    landman LawnSite Member
    from NJ
    Messages: 110

    I would ask you sales rep to take a look at the job and give his opinion. I know that if I have ?'s about a particulr install I give him a call and he comes out and looks, at no charge of course, they are willing especially if they are going to sell you the product.
  5. creative concepts

    creative concepts LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69


    My question of are you going to charge a split pallet price for some of the blocks is that Techo block is only sold in full pallets of, I beleive for creta, is 27 sq ft. I agree with Stevair on the structural soundness of Techo block for a wall like this. Those little plastic dowels that fit in the groves just don't seem very strong and the tolerances between blocks is large. But, like you said, if the customer wants it he gets it.

    I do not understand though how some can charge so cheap for this wall system since the Techo block costs about $13 per sq ft to purchase at a full pallet. If this were a regular block wall (i.e. keystone, diamond, E.P. Henry, Grinnel etc...) than I would agree with the other prices of about $30,000.00. If I figured this out correctly, that means you will only make about a 7-10% profit on this job after all is said and done. Just figured I would add my 2 cents worth.

    Creative Concepts
  6. kutnkru

    kutnkru LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,662

    The way that I see it is that the pricing structure for materials by a company who builds hundreds of thousands of feet of wall per year is much different than someone who only builds several hundred feet.

    Its virtually impossible for a smaller guy like myself to out bid an operation of Pauls magnitude successfully. what might cost you or I $13 can cost them $3-4.
  7. PAPS

    PAPS LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 404

    Like i said before... the job is really only like 900-1000 sq. ft. So at 900 sq. ft X $35.00/sq. ft = $31,500. Thats how i got my number, and everyone else besides you agreed that it was a decent number
  8. creative concepts

    creative concepts LawnSite Member
    Messages: 69


    The price I estimated was for the original measurements you gave. Since there is only 900 sq ft with no stairs or extra drainage work needed and there is easy access to the areas, that is a reasonable price.
  9. kris

    kris LawnSite Bronze Member
    from nowhere
    Messages: 1,578

    Paul ... I did not know that you taught this stuff... In doing tiered walls would you say (in general) that the distance between two walls must be at least 2 x the height of the lower wall to perform independently???

    Also please .... this wall is next to a cemetery(will be Allan block) ... because of this, the construction zone behind the wall IS LIMITED to 3 ft ... the wall is 8 ft high and in clean sand/gravel. I need a acceptable solution.... fellow mentioned masonry reinforcement which I have never done . I was thinking perhaps a 2 ft deep gravity wall (double wall)... any comments or suggestions ?
  10. paul

    paul Lawnsite Addict
    Messages: 1,625

    Kris, Double walls are tricky without knowing how other forces are going to react to your second (highwall) I couldn't tell you right off hand. parking areas, traffic (foot, mowers, golf carts) all can affect your wall, along with water run off, ground water and soil mositure%. Other things like compactoin ratings of the subsoil and back fill also play a big part of the design.

    For your other question a 8' wall could be done with 3' working room on the back side. I wonder if you could reniforce the toe of the wall with a 16" x 6" concrete curb with 2 #5 rebar and then use three foot grid sections every 18" going up. You might want to look into soil nailing also, but I don't think that they make them that short. My main concern would be if I built it would I be able to remove any water away from the top of the wall by regrading the top or redirecting water way from the wall and making sure my fill cap was impermable, not allowing any water to penatrate to the wall. Hopefully it won't have any traffic at the top other than a hand mower or weed whip, I also wouldn't use it for plantings.

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