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Old 06-17-2011, 07:30 AM   #46
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Talk me off this ledge!


No need to be sorry. I'm not mad at anyone in particular or even any of the dozens of "free" estimate providers that have stopped out. Just seems a strange business model to me.

Morning Phone Call:

Me: Does your company do excavating?
Contractor: Yes
Me: Would you come look at this job?
Contractor: Sure
Me: It's a big job and I need an estimate of how much it will be for doing x and y.
Contractor: No problem all of our estimates are free.
Me: It really is a big job and I need a written estimate. I am getting a couple of bids, so I can pay you to do the bid, that's not a problem.
Contractor: No, all our bids are free.


Site Visit:

Contractor: Phew, boy! You weren't kidding when you said it was a big job!
Me: I know, right.
Contractor: Well, what you need to do is AB and C. X, Y and Z are the last things you need to do
Me: I know AB and C are being handled by me and another guy.
Contractor: Your AB and C should look like this.
Me: Yeah, we looked into that and its not going to work on this job because of LM and N.
Contractor: I really think you'd be better of doing AB and C my way
Me: Well, how about LM and N won't that be a problem?
Contractor: Nah
Me: So, you said on the phone that you do X and Y. I need X and Y done right after I do W and before I do Z. Can you guys do that?
Contractor: Sure
Me: Can you get me written estimate over?
Contractor: Sure
Me: OK, I'll wait for you to call me with that

2 Weeks later

Me: Are you still interested? Hello? Can you call me back?

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Old 06-17-2011, 12:53 PM   #47
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Talk me off this ledge!


Been there! Before I retired, I handled civil projects that paid contractors between 2 and 3 million dollars a year. Not that much of it was concrete work.

You would think all I would have to do was pick up a phone and contractors would come running. For flat work, that was mostly true. But getting anything vertical done was a pain. Note, I was not bidding this work out, I was ready to pay whatever the contractor wanted. I paid $800 a yard for concrete on one job. And I took all responsibility for the work being done in the right location and to the right grade. If a mistake was made, I paid to have it fixed. Hell, if the contractor would just send the workers out to the site I would run the job for him. The only thing he had to guard against was a blow out. Still I would sometimes go 3 months begging for someone to do the job.
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Old 06-18-2011, 10:40 AM   #48
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Talk me off this ledge!


So, I've uncovered enough ledgestone and bedrock to make heavy gravity walls unnecessary.

The trick is going to be tying all of the crumbly ledge together. If you check my YouTube video you can see how fractured this stuff is.

My plan at his point is to drill 24" deep horizontal holes into the ledge and grout rebar into them. Sort of a poor-man's soil nail. Then I'll spray a thin coat of concrete over the whole mess and a waterproof coating on top of that. By adding a Curtain Drain at the top of the slope and a WP layer on top of the crumbly stuff it should stay dry and crumble free.

The walls are going to be a shotcrete gabion hybrid.

I'll set 4' lengths of #5 bar 16" OC sunk 24" into the ledge and tie it all together with horizontal bar and galvanized hardware cloth.

Talk me off this ledge!-gabion-shotcrete.jpg

Back fill it with sandstone rubble pulled off the site (saves hauling it away). As I backfill I'll use a Mortar Sprayer tool to blow SBC or some sort of fiber reinforced cement into the sandstone rubble to tie it and its gabion cage together.

Once the structural portion is done. I'll try my hand at faux rock artistry.
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Old 06-28-2011, 06:17 PM   #49
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Talk me off this ledge!


For anyone who was following my story and was wondering "did he died?"....

Just a quick update. I've been educating myself on Shotcrete and gunite and trying to find rental equipment, ready-mix suppliers and consultants.

My hope was to find someone willing to Shotcrete all of my bars and baskets but I've pretty much given up on finding anyone to do even the smallest piece of the project and guess it will be DIY all the way.

If anyone knows a Shotcrete, Gunite or Swimming Pool contractor in the mid-atlantic states that wouldn't mind training a new nozzleman for a few days, have them PM me. I have family in MD and NC so those would be good from a "place to stay" perspective. If you know anyone in SW PA or Ohio that would work also.

Next week I will be finishing the excavation and starting some rebar nails to stabilize the area.

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