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Old 10-01-2012, 02:27 PM   #1
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Trencher - how much time to estimate?


I need to replace the water pipe from the street to the house. We have a big property and it's a total of about 340 feet! So if go rent a good trencher, can anyone take a guess how much time this will take me to dig that long of a trench, about 2 ft. deep? Thanks!

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Old 10-01-2012, 03:37 PM   #2
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Trencher - how much time to estimate?


have you asked the people that would rent you the trencher? I'm sure they know the capability of their equipment, and since they are in the area you're located would know a lot more about the type of soils you have. I could trench a whole lot faster in South Florida because of the muck we had as compared to the gravely soils I have in Massachusetts.

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Old 10-01-2012, 03:51 PM   #3
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Trencher - how much time to estimate?


You must be in a southern climate to only run a water line down 2 ft. I would be finding out what code is in your area to first determine how deep it must go. And as stated the speed at which you can progress is directly proportional to the soil type.

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Old 10-01-2012, 04:06 PM   #4
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Trencher - how much time to estimate?


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Originally Posted by Jackofall1 View Post
You must be in a southern climate to only run a water line down 2 ft. I would be finding out what code is in your area to first determine how deep it must go. And as stated the speed at which you can progress is directly proportional to the soil type.

Mark
We live near Seattle. Frost levels are not deep here even though we're along the north end of the country. So two feet is correct. Our soil is somewhat rocky with up to 3" round glacial rocks being common, but is usually easy to dig through. Always moist to wet.

Sure, you can't know for sure till you start but ... with any experience, can we ball park it? I have to decide on how much time (and rental tool money) this will take, or whether it's better to hire a contractor.

Normal house/property, this ought to be a few hours. But for 340 feet I figure this to be several days work.

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Old 10-01-2012, 06:37 PM   #5
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Trencher - how much time to estimate?


According to RS Means (a standard cost estimating library), the following trencher:

Excavating, chain trencher, utility trench, common earth, 12 H.P., 4" wide, 24" deep, chain trencher, operator walking
is capable of 88 linear feet per hour in common soil. This is a pretty powerful trencher, note the 12 HP. If you rent a smaller trencher, you may assume proportional results, however bear in mind that trencher performance is closely coupled to the size of rock, a 12HP trencher can move relatively large stones out of the way, a low powered (say 3 HP) trencher is going to stall on large rocks (say over 12 inches), and will have effectively zero productivity. The crew for the RS Means trencher is one person.
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:52 PM   #6
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Trencher - how much time to estimate?


most trenchers can do a good job at that depth...we finished a 500'gas line took us 16.5 hrs....340'....this should be able to be done over a day an1/2 ...rent machine on saturday won't be back till monday...sure to get it done in that time frame....
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Old 10-02-2012, 07:21 AM   #7
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Trencher - how much time to estimate?


The guys have already covered the variables, but just to reiterate, don't skimp on horsepower, as Dan mentioned, and, although it is very conceivable that you could wrap it up in a single day, do as Ben mentioned, pick it up first thing Saturday, and you should definitely be done before the weekend is over. One of the last ones that I did, we picked up the trencher, drove about 10 miles to the site, trenched about 70', 4' deep, with rocks running 4-6" diameter, laid a conduit, backfilled, and had the trencher back at the shop inside of 4 hours. Just be sure to keep others away from the machine, because a decent size trencher will kick those rocks out with fairly significant hurt factor.
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:16 AM   #8
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Trencher - how much time to estimate?


Thanks guys, good info, just what I needed!

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