Foundation woes.... continued...

Folks -
Well, I am back at it with the foundation layout and cutting of the footings. Wif and I restrung the foundation lines and make our cut lines for the backhoe guy again... He wanted the line 3" OUTSIDE of where the cut was to be.... So he showed up this morning and got started. Lo and behold - he didn't make his cut 3" inside the chalkline, he SPLIT the chalkline and dug 30" deep instead of 20". Goddamn it! I needed a trench 1 foot wide, now the trenches vary between 18" and a bit over 24". So now I'll end up A) buying appx 1 acre more fill sand than I was planning; or B) renting a compactor and tamping the soil to get my depth right, building my forms, and backfilling the sides and compacting that; or C) Both.
I perhaps should have gotten some other backhoe service, but this was the only guy to return repeated calls. Sometimes I just *ucking ***HATE*** contractors. Nothing personal, to those of you who are, I was just hoping to at least have the footings dug out before someone pissed me off....
John
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Uuuuhhh.....John?
I think I'm gonna have to take back what I said in my ABPW response a few days ago.
You are NOT enjoying this way too much any more.
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I guess now you know why he was the only one not working. Good luck with your fix.
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John Moorhead wrote:

I can empathize with you. Sometimes I just want to scream when you cannot leave someone to do his job without supervision. You try to get someone you know and trust or who has a good recommendation from someone whose recommendation you trust. Sometimes shit happens.     sigh,     jo4hn
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Learn by this experience. Checkout your other subs before they show up on the job (really before you contract with them).
Better luck as the building progresses.
Tin Woodsmn
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wrote:

Dealing with contractors can be a major hassle. Just wait until you try to get a concrete guy to do the flatwork. Around here, anyway, they're so damn busy that apparently they can get away with crappy pre-sales conduct (not showing up, not returning calls, etc).
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Put gravel in the bottoms of the footings. At least you'll have good drainage around them then plus you won't have to compact it. Also, have you thought about installing drain pipe around the building?

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Damn John! You've got my sympathies. I've been there and I know just how PO'd it makes you. But... I've got to ask - why aren't you just backfilling with the materials that came out of the footers? Unless you have some very bad materials that you're digging the footers in, there is really no reason you can't backfill with what came out. It's not always a must to compact the backfill either. Make sure there are no big rocks going in against the block or the pour (which ever is the case), and have the operator shake it in if he's using a bucket. A bulldozer operator will backfill in pushes and he will bring the fill up gradually that way. If you're using this same fellow to do the backfills, then make sure he does not run along the wall with his machine as he backfills or tries to compact the fill. Whether it's a hoe or a bulldozer, this puts pressure on the wall and should be avoided. Fills and grades are always done from the wall, away. From the sounds of your experience, I would not trust that this fellow knows that kind of thing. In case you don't already know - allow ~20% for compaction (settling) of fills that are not tamped in. So - if you want your grade to finish 1 foot below your siding, have the operator grade it maybe 8-10 inches below your siding.
You are correct in having to tamp your fills that will bring your subgrade up to the elevation it's supposed to be at. I would not pay this guy the originally agreed to price though. He clearly is somewhat incompetent and has not delivered the workmanship that it was reasonable to expect. Any decent hoe operator should be able to dig footer trenches within an inch in his sleep, unless the ground is full of large stone. Really good operators can do it within 1/4". At the very least, I would hold back the cost of the rental for the tamper and a reasonable amount to cover your time in having to repair his damages to your trenches. It's safe to assume a laborer rates out at $16.00 - $20.00 per hour for this type of work in upstate NY, don't know about your area.
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@sprintmail.com
  Click to see the full signature.
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From my experience with contractors, as a homeowner, city assistant engineer, and roadway inspector.
    Before work is to begin for the day, or week, make sure you review the specifics of the block of work with the contractor. A professional will appreciate your concern with the project and the reinforcement that the both of you are on the same page. I think we ALL do this when the SWMBO is involved, right ? We always double check, why is this not different. Once you both understand what is going on, get out of their way, if they make a mistake, point it out and reinforce the idea that this was discussed and agreed upon before work began. Having the wife or another party around when the specifics we agreed upon helps. This quitely reinforces to the contractor that you mean business and that it will not be just your word against theirs. You do not have to be confrontational (sp?) just reasonable.
    If a respected contractor or contractors do not call you back, it means they are too busy. Period. I went through this about 7 years ago when I wanted to replace about 900 sf of sidewalk. I could not get anyone to call me back or come out and give me a price. I put the project on hold for about 5 years. Two years ago I contacted 5 contractors, I ended up with 5 bids (One did not bid the job, but I got one to come to the door, hearing that I was requesting bids). If a contractor is too busy, then ask them to recommend someone that might not be as busy. If once again, they are a good business person, and know they are too busy to bid your work, then they will be more than glad to help you out.
    References. Nuf said. Review their work at other locations. A couple of hours of investigation could well keep you out of court.
    Maybe rescheduling the work for another time will get you the contractor you want and at a reasonable price. If it is indoor work, and the contractors are busier outside during the summer, then schedule the indoor work during the cold months (if you live in a area that has cold weather). They are probably slower at that time of the year and appreciate the opportunity to keep busy (and have money rolling in). The lesson here is to not be in too big of a hurry to get the work done. Haste makes waste ! You do not HAVE to have the kithcen remodeled this month, just wait a month or two. Last summer I wanted to build a driveway and pond at our country lot. The two contractors I really wanted were busy. I scheduled time to review the plans and walk the site last fall when both were not busy. I got prices from both of them this spring and chosse one of them. The work has not begun yet, but will in about 2 weeks. At the time I really wanted to get this work done last year. I stress that I did not HAVE to have this work done, I WANTED it done.
HTH JAW
        
John Moorhead wrote:

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It sounds as if you are trying to dig to a string line. There are good operators who can do this, but it is too easy to deflect the string.
If you have not completed the excavation, it would be much better to set your string lines on the batter boards to establish the building, plumb down to stretch a tight dry line just clearing the dirt surface. Buy a bag of lime, use a paper cup or similar to shake a bright white line along the string. Remove strings during the excavation. Reset strings on batters to set and control anchor bolts, steel placement, etc.
Some excavators prefer the line in the center of their bucket. With the line established, the time can be spent controlling depth. You do know that it is your responsibility to shoot grade if you are functioning as the GC. This is typically done by shooting the depth of excavation about every 10 feet. True, a good operator will get within inches with very little babysitting, especially if the building pad has been well leveled.
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Keep the whole world singing. . . . DanG
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If the excavation has you crazy, you are doomed when it comes to actual construction.
Good luck and start (or quit) Drinking. One way or the other youi'll be in a program. Bring a whittling knife.
Rudy

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Preach it Brother!
I am getting around to putting the Hardi plank on my new shop now that its a bit cooler outside and not raining. Framing drove me crazy with all the up the ladder/down the ladder/tote and cut, tote and cut. Only one of me and I didn't have any help either... It was fun. <sigh> I recommend it to anyone!

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On Fri, 30 Jul 2004 01:32:08 -0400, "Mark Hopkins"
remove ns from my header address to reply via email

So buy a cherry picker and stop bitching! <G>
Seriously. Having somebody just standing around, handing stuff up or maybe cutting if trusted, can be worth far more than one person should be, when you are doing roofing stuff. ***************************************************** It's not the milk and honey we hate. It's having it rammed down our throats.
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