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Estimation of walls, columns, etc

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by MarcusLndscp, Sep 9, 2004.

  1. MarcusLndscp

    MarcusLndscp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 634

    This question is a bit complex because of the many factors that go along with doing stone work. I've been doing high end stone work for 10 years now and no matter what company I have worked for they always seem to have a hard time pricing the construction of them. Whether it's the materials or the labor something is always wrong. I'm looking for an idea of facial square footage per man hour for building columns (dry and wet laid), for building retaining walls (dry and wet), and for building double sided walls (dry and wet). My current employer uses Means along with experience for his rates but sometimes doesn't see all the details.
    For example we recently finished 2 columns at a driveway entrance out of southbay quartzite, wet laid, 3' by 3' square and 6 ' 6" tall. One column was split in two to allow for a mechanical cedar gate to slide through from right to left as you drove in. So this column was actually two walls, each was 1' by 3' with stone connecting the two at the top..........the opening for the gate was obviously 1' wide. This split column as a result had 8 corners to build which is a time consumer, and each one being only 1' wide was a time factor as well as both sides in and out had to be rock face. The stone was to be laid to have a dry stack look and with pieces of various sizes........from 1" thick pieces to 12" thick pieces. Also incorporated were knox boxes for fire department access, key pads for entry, and conduits for future lighting. Just throwing this out there to see how you guys price these jobs.
    By the way I can't emphasize high end work enough - tight tight joints, corners that are perfectly plumb/crisp and lots of style and class to the way each stone is laid and weaved in with the next.
  2. landscapingpoolguy

    landscapingpoolguy LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 821

    well something like that i would figure on time and materials plus %50 or square footage plus 30-45%....typically my sq ft pricing is higher then time and materials but when I price by time and materials with a estimated time I always go over that is why i have the extra %50......that kind of work is for a single trades man not really a crew only because the details have to be so percise with everything else.....Masonary work tends to be very expensive as it is and the more details the higher end the price should be.Sometimes pricing has to be made on affordabilty for the customer and getting the job but thats when set backs and extras can really eat up profits. Typically that kind of work id have to say would be priced out indidvdually by the contractor based on his individual skill level and confidence in the project.

  3. MarcusLndscp

    MarcusLndscp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 634

    So Chuck in man hours what would you give a two man crew (one highly skilled and one who definitely knows how to lay rock....just not as detail oriented and needs to be over seen a VERY little bit) to build these columns. Limitations.......no water on site because it was at the end of a mile long driveway and had to bring trash cans of water everyday for mortar, hence the lack of ability to clean the mixer on site every day so it had to be hauled back to shop everyday for good cleaning. Just give it a guess if you could.
    And do you allow for differences in columns to retaining walls to double sided walls........even differences in dry laid to wet laid??? I know each has it's difference from the other just want to know how everyone else feels about this.
    Thanks Mark
  4. Rex Mann

    Rex Mann LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 621

    We use a variety of things to generate our pricing. We use production rates, payrate, location of job, accessibility, staging area or lack of, time of year, how busy we are, overhead, desired profit. All of these things go into our pricing.

    One thing that really helps is having a former foreman as a salesperson. He sees all the little detail items (read as very time consuming), that make each job unique.

    If you are just trying to determine a labor cost move your crew to piece rate. Also, figuring materials should be almost a no-brainer for most companies.



    Turf Medic likes this.
  5. MarcusLndscp

    MarcusLndscp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 634

    Rex I could not agree with you more about the foreman/salesman issue. It is sometimes very difficult for me to tell my bosses these things because they have never laid a significant amount of rock in their life. They just don't understand why some things are more time consuming than others....they feel you should just lay rock and slap it up. In the same breathe they want it to always look like an object of perfection.
    Is anybody willing to take a guess at the man hours that went into the forementioned columns??????
    Thanks Mark
  6. MarcusLndscp

    MarcusLndscp LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 634

    oh by the way the job site was only 7 or 8 miles away.....maybe 15 minutes one way max. The stone was right by our side the entire time and very easy to split, chip, make flat faces and to make corners. I'll try to post a picture if I can figure out how

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