Retaining Walls

Landscaping / Construction Nightmare – How to Hire a Contractor

Well I got my tits in a ringer for a video I made last week about a construction nightmare a law firm contacted me and told me that I had to take that video down all right I’m here with you guys are technically my competition but I’m going to help you guys and so I did but now I’m going to put the video back up I’m going to take out all the legal mumbo, jumbo in the video and I’m going to blur the faces of anybody and everybody because the message is very strong in this video it’s a message to consumers on how to hire a contractor and it’s a message to contractors how to represent yourself to consumers so let’s get started.


There is a difference between a qualified contractor and a cheap contract there’s a market for both but the problem is a lot of cheap contractors market themselves as qualified contractors when they’re not. It’s okay to be in expensive but it’s not okay to mislead consumers into believing they’re paying for more skills than you can maybe possibly have, today’s project is a great example of exactly that going to describe this job for you it was rebuilding a retaining wall but this retaining wall could not possibly be rebuilt on the exact same spot under any circumstances this retaining wall was here, there was a building here, and this retaining wall held up the building and held up the driveway the reason it wasn’t possible to rebuild this field retaining wall in the exact same spot is because you couldn’t get drainage aggregate behind it, you couldn’t get your grid reinforcement beneath the existing structures, these structures we’re putting pressure on to this retaining wall that’s called a surcharge. It’s a technical term but it’s a way of evaluating how to design this retaining wall without removing a garage, without removing a driveway, the only possible way to build this retaining wall is very simply move it out.

So I’m here on a site that I visited my buddy a year ago timber retaining walls and utterly failed, moved away from the structures and you eliminate the surcharge. It’s a simple design change but it’s something that only comes from years of experience, what you’re going to see in today’s video is i meet with my competition while they’re actually building this retaining wall technically these guys are my competition when I’m going to help them out we were talking about what they’ve got to do to correct this thing and I help them through the process of understanding how to better design and build this retaining wall.

They don’t have any base material and at this point they’re going to have to unfortunately remove what they’ve already done and they’re back over again so they can get six inches of base material in plus they don’t have enough room for their drainage to get behind the retaining wall, they’re going to be bumping the wall and so they can get the right amount of drainage material in. A` number of very basic mistakes are occurring in this video and on this job site number one absolutely no basic grid yet, number two no training to get they planned on back filling with the existing onsite soils, number three not compensating for the weight of the structures, number four not compensating for the excess water that was going to be directed at that retaining wall.


It’s two hundred pounds per square foot for the formulas two hundred pounds per square foot divided by two thousand and you know how many times the bring in that tell you the wall that was enough for the base material. So you have two hundred sixty four square feet times two hundred divide by two thousand that’s how you figure out how many material you need. Guys you need twenty six point four tons of three quarter inch rocks to do this job right, the right way they were going to core fill with this onsite soil but, if they did that this wall would have failed probably within one or two seasons. So a couple of keys to keep you guys on the right track.


This was for sure failure for two parties, the parties that were involved in paying for the retaining wall to be replaced and the contractor himself, this contractor proceeded with this plan, he would have been in big trouble. If you’re a contractor and you’re just getting started and you don’t have all the answers, I don’t want that to stop you but I do want you to understand that you need to represent that to the consumer, there’s going to be plenty of projects where you get to practice on the consumer gets a break in price and you get to sharpen your skills, t’s an important way of starting out but, there’s job states that you should plan it simply not be practicing on this was one of those cases, there is a market for inexpensive contractors there’s people that just plain and simply can’t afford for the skills and qualifications of having somebody that knows what they’re doing come out and do a project for them.

Consumers the best thing you can possibly do is to ask questions if you do not know you’re getting an inexperienced contractor apples to apples and oranges to oranges is the way to go, get multiple bids and ask questions. Write down a list of questions that you think may be relevant and then ask each of the contractors and look for the answers and more importantly look for the answers that they offer you with us can questions what does that mean if they’re willing to share more knowledge, give you more examples of ways to do things right that’s a sure sign that you’re getting someone that’s qualified, now if you’re looking for the bottom dollar on a project you’re going to get what you pay for and that’s okay as long as you’re willing to accept a contractor that may be learning on your job site and when you hire a contractor to come on your job say and if the price seems too good to be true there’s probably a reason. Final wrap up contractors you may not have all the answers and that’s okay, just make sure you represent that to the consumer there’s still a market for your services because there’s people that just don’t have the funds to hire a qualified skilled contractor and consumers, when you were looking at hiring a contractor and you were worried about the person that you’re thinking about hiring ask questions, get multiple bids break down a list of things that you want to know and look for the answers in between the lines that’s going to help you choose from a good skilled qualified contractor and someone that may not have all the qualifications can talk the talk but they don’t walk the walk look for those answers in between the lines.


God bless, go get them.

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