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Retaining wall rebuild help please

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by Billpa, Apr 21, 2005.

  1. Billpa

    Billpa LawnSite Member
    from pa
    Messages: 103

    Just curious what thoughts you guys may have on this wall rebuild. Let me start off by saying that I used to work as a mason about tens years ago but have never built retaining walls using dry stack block. I have laid wet and dry mountain stone as well as laying brick and block. I am however going to be partnering with another landscaper who has experience with these walls but I’m afraid his pricing may be out of line for my area and also I’m not sure about pricing since it’s a rebuild.

    The wall is about 118 ft long by a varied 4.5 to 5.5 feet high ( about 6 to 8 blocks)
    as you’ll see in the pics there is a wall made from railroad ties behind the block wall, the first 65 ft the two walls are aprox 2.5 ft apart and you’ll see that it was never back filled causing the blocks to fall back, the rest of the wall has been built against the ties and is still in place.

    It’s hard to see in the pics but access will be up the bank on the left and we’ll be using a small bobcat to move material. We have about 11 feet of ledge to work on for the first 65 feet of the wall then it narrows to about half that.

    We’ll also need to dig down and put in a new base as the last one is set almost at grade.

    Any comments, thoughts, suggestions?

    Any ballpark ideas on what to charge or time it would take? Labor only
    should be 3 of us and I’ll be billing at $40 per man hour minimum.

    I know there are some variables so I’m just looking for a ballpark as the bid is due Monday and I won’t see what my buddy comes up with until the weekend once he gets back to town, that will leave me very little time to chew on his price so I thought I’d get some opinions.


    Dulac wall 001.jpg

    Dulac wall 005.jpg

    Dulac wall 006.jpg

    Dulac wall 009.jpg
  2. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,570

    over 42" needs to be engineered.

    it's not that expensive, and will remove liability from you. shouldn't cost more than $500.00 or so.
  3. Billpa

    Billpa LawnSite Member
    from pa
    Messages: 103

    Thanks for the reply, I am aware of that and letting that process up to my friend as he has something in neighborhood of 15 years in the business and a good deal of hardscape experience.

    As you see by the pics the wall is falling down and the city is involved as the neighbor above has complained, The closing for the house is next week and they want a bid no later than Monday so whatever the bid is there will be some sort of clause stating what we’d do for how much and should any changes need to be made do to requirements we’ll be able to charge accordingly.

    Any ballparks on what you guys would charge for something like this?
  4. mbella

    mbella LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    Bill, my first thought is, how far from the property line (behind the wall) is this wall? Built correctly, this wall needs grid and proper backfill. You need to excavate behind the wall in order to install grid and stone. If the wall is, say, within 4' of the property line then the entire wall needs to be moved.

    My second thought is, why don't you guys have an engineer involved? Yardpro is exactly right, this wall has to be engineered period. The engineer will spec how you rebuild it. Once you have the specs, you can price it.
  5. Billpa

    Billpa LawnSite Member
    from pa
    Messages: 103

    Thanks for the reply.
    This whole property is a mess and like I say the city is involved and yes the wall is on the property line which the city knows, the problem is there is no where to move it forward to, as you can see the original owner made a huge mess and cut the bank back almost to the property line.

    I’m probably not being clear enough, when I said my buddy is dealing with it I didn’t mean we’re not going to use an engineer I’m just saying I’m not dealing with that myself. Also the bid is due Monday and I’d have to pay an engineer for a job I may not get so the plan is to just throw out a number to do just what the other guy is bidding to do, just rebuild and backfill. Now let me say this is not an actual bid but more like a number to compare with. As I stated before everything else will be extra once we determine exactly needs to be done by an engineer.

    I know this whole thing is a bit ridiculous and I’d just normally pass on it but there is a huge amount of work to be done to this property and this should be the only real headache, everything else should be pretty straightforward but according to the homeowner I must show her something for the wall when I bid on the rest of the property.

    Sorry for the poor explanation as I have been dead tired lately and let me say for the record I am very concerned about liability on this one.
  6. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,570

    not to be rude, but if your friend has all this experience, why are you asking for help here?????

    also it is up to YOU to have it engineered, as you will be the one liable for any failures. If he wants to save a few dollars by NOT having it engineered, it will not matter if it fails, YOU built it..

    also if you have it engineered it will have details drawn up that basically spoon feed you the construction methods.
  7. Billpa

    Billpa LawnSite Member
    from pa
    Messages: 103

    Yardpro, maybe you missed what I said, If you read the last post I did state clearly that it would be engineered. I just needed a price to compare to the other guy who is just planning on slapping it up and backfilling it without grid or any other considerations, like I said the whole situation is very odd and the closing is in a couple days and they’re not willing to hold it up while waiting for an engineer. Like I said this is just a number for her to compare labor charges for the same amount of work.

    Secondly if your implying something by saying I shouldn’t be here asking questions if my friend has experience just come out and say it. If you go back and read my post I also stated why I’m here, to compare prices as I said his price may be out of line for my area and I was curious as to what others would charge for this kind of work.

    I’m not trying to start anything here and like I said I am aware and concerned about the liability issues, after all like you said my name is going to be associated with the project. I think maybe you just misread what I said as everything I’m saying here is in my previous post above.
  8. mbella

    mbella LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,284

    Bill, who does the wall belong to, the porperty on top of the hill or the property below?
  9. Billpa

    Billpa LawnSite Member
    from pa
    Messages: 103

    From what I now understand the wall is actually on the property of the above neighbor, I thought the back of the wall was on the line but I was just informed otherwise tonight. This whole thing is a big last minute surprise to the soon to be new owner, she just found out this week that she/the guy who currently owns the property must fix the situation and due to all the unrelated personal issues involved they need the closing to go through but the seller will pay all expense, they just need some figure to work off of.

    well the latest update to the problem is that she has the bid from the guy that wanted to just slap it up and she has agreed to take a ballpark for the wall to be repaired at our best guestimate as to what an engineer may require then she runs it by the owner, above property owner and all the lawyers involved and then if the neighbor agrees to have his yard tore up then WE WILL BRING IN THE ENGINEER to spec it out and then give her an actual price.

    So if anyone has a guestimate to throw out that would be appreciated.

    I think I’m gonna guesstimate tearing down the block wall, coming in from above on the neighbors property and excavating and removing the old wall made of railroad ties, new base , drainage, required stone backfill and maybe 3 layers of grid along with the rebuild of the wall, backfill, re grade/seed neighbors and allow $1000 for plantings. I think this sounds safe for a ballpark.

    My problem is when I run the numbers my friend gave me I just can’t see how I could justifiably ask for that much, He works in a much more upscale area so I think we’d be way off for my town. most of the block is already there so basically I need caps, grid, stone, pipe, textile, seed , straw, plants, rental fees for skid steer and hoe, labor.

  10. YardPro

    YardPro LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,570

    Sorry about the misunderstanding. I missed the "the wall will be engineered" part. sorry for my mistake.

    I am not implying that you should not be asking questions here. I thought you were saying something to the effect... " i am doing this wall for this guy and we are not having it engineered because he knows all about them and there is no need for an engineer..."

    Sorry i came off like a jerk, but i get sort of short with people that try and skip a basic VERY important step, and then try and pass themselves off as competent professionals.

    since that is not the case with you I apologize.

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