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Bidding Sinkholes?

Discussion in 'General Industry Questions' started by CAT D9H, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. CAT D9H

    CAT D9H Senior Member

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    I have fixed alot of sink holes before but I have never had to bid one until now, whats the best way to bid a sink hole when you cant see what you are getting into ?
     
  2. EZ TRBO

    EZ TRBO Senior Member

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    Dirt work of this nature is always hard to bid cause you just dont' really know...You either will be WAY too low or they will look at your high bid and think you are crazy. The only way that I myself would "bid" this is to give them a price at $XX per yard of dirt moved. This way you are giving them a set price per yard but not a total...I know this is not what a customer will be wanting but its almost impossible to know how much its really going to take, thus making it HARD to give a number without loosing your ass.

    Trbo
     
  3. dayexco

    dayexco Senior Member

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    i would ask the owner to provide a soils report from an engineer, bid accordingly...if things fall out of the scope of his report, then ask for a change order.
     
  4. CAT D9H

    CAT D9H Senior Member

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    Thanks , another thing that will make this hard to bid , is its in a paved parking lot right next to a side walk next to a 3 story building. they dont "think" its eaten out "very much" material under the side walk and building I havent got a chance to go look at it in depth yet, I will be doing it tomorrow ,I am just afraid that its under the building then I'll have to pump alot of concrete and I really dont want to have to tell the owner this, I guess I'll find out tomorrow
     
  5. special tool

    special tool Senior Member

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    Please post pictures of this site, if you can get them today.
     
  6. Dwan Hall

    Dwan Hall Senior Member

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    I would try to bid it in 2 stages, first to explore the sink hole then to repair. Ask the PO if it could be covered by there insurance. some are some aren't.
     
  7. CM1995

    CM1995 Super Moderator

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    With the information provided, I would run fast, very fast away from this job. Unknown sinkhole size and close proximity of a 3 story building with an owner that wants a hard bid.:confused: My first question is - "Who is the project engineer?". And if there is not one, then why?

    If you do want this project, I would suggest to the owner to structure the bid with what Ezturbo and dayexco have said. First there needs to be a geotechnical subsurface exploration and that report becomes part of the project documents. There also needs to be a structural engineer on call if there are any problems with the building. The bid needs to be on a unit basis - Per CY of rock, fill, concrete, etc.

    Another thing to consider - does your insurance cover you if you get into underpinning and filling under the building?
     
  8. joispoi

    joispoi Senior Member

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    This job could be a can of worms. If you decide to give a fixed price, make sure you put it in clear English what's included and what's excluded. If you're getting into pouring new sidewalks, paving or shoring up a building, put it in writing including your quantities. Give a unit price for work beyond what you spec out.

    One of my colleagues told me about a customer that wanted a firm price on sitework for a new house. For this particular job, it was unknown how much ledge there was, so he told the customer the best way to do the job was by the hour. The customer insisted on a firm price, so my friend assumed that the job was 90% ledge and gave the price accordingly. When the customer recieved the estimate he called my friend and demanded why he was so high. He explained that this kind of bidding is gambling and that he had to assume the worst case scenario since he was taking responsibility for the conditions. The customer quickly changed his mind about needing a firm bid and the job was performed on an hourly basis. Both parties were satisfied when the job was completed.

    BTW- if your customer absolutely MUST have a firm price, it may be because they just don't have the money to pay for additional work that may be required.

    If it's a condo association or anything that closely resembles one, run the other way and don't look back.
     
  9. CAT D9H

    CAT D9H Senior Member

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    Sorry for the long delay , I have been sick the last 2 days I finally went to the site today , they didnt really want me to take pics of the damage so sorry I cant give you any , by the way it is a hotel that is about 4 years old ,
    The sink hole has grown from what the manager told me , its now 12' wide and about 10' long and no tellin how deep but the hole you can stand in is about 2' deep , I am going to stay as far away from this as I can , I was looking at the edge of the concrete and pavement and saw an opening that seemed to go down and angle back towards the sidewalk and under the building so I assume its up underneath the building , the owner of this hotel is going to try and get in touch with the contractor that did all the dirtwork (which is now bankrupt) and try and get them to come back and fix it , since I said I wont do it
     
  10. Canadian_digger

    Canadian_digger Senior Member

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    I'm just wondering what would cause a sink hole like this?
     
  11. D5G

    D5G Senior Member

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    If the hole is growing in size, my first question would be WHY? Is there a storm sewer or other kind of pipe leaking and leaching out soil? Or some other problem... good idea to run away, IMO.
     
  12. Dualie

    Dualie Senior Member

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    Good luck with trying to find a bankrupt contractor.


    sometimes in situations like this you have to walk away. Sometimes you can get a reasonable insurance adjuster that understands the complexity's of a problem like this and work out a reasonable payment schedule but often times its better to just walk away rather than loose you azz in a job gone bad
     
  13. CAT D9H

    CAT D9H Senior Member

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    The owner said they had some sort of drains installed when they built the hotel im not sure what they are drains for though im thinking its for the emergency sprinkler system that they say constantly leaks , well they know where the 3rd and 2nd floor drains exit at but they have no idea where the first floor drains exit at , I couldnt tell from the blueprints but I have a good idea where it drains at and if its draining where I think it is then I might as well go knock half the building down now
    the total design of the place was done very poorly and cheaply, so im not surprised they are having the problems that they are I was talking to code enforcement when was there and he said they arent too far from shutting them down
     
  14. Monte1255

    Monte1255 Senior Member

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    I know I'm new to dirt work, but pls excuse me if I ask a few questions. In such a case as you have described could it be reasonable to expect that if code enforcement is looking sternly at them, could it also be expected that a demolition of the building in question could be in the near future? (condemed?) I know the building is only only four years old, but four years old with sinkholes? :eek:
     
  15. RT Engineering

    RT Engineering Active Member

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    Run Forrest ..... run

    I would run from this project. There will be lawyers involved very soon, and of course you would be named in the case even though you were there to fix the problem. The lawyers would also make sure they are paid first, and a few years later you might get what is left over.

    A couple of questions about the project. Was there a soils engineer testing during the original construction? Where is their report? Is there underground parking? Does the building show any signs of setteling? Cracks at doorways or windows? Uneven floors? Is the project located in an area of high groundwater?


    If you do the project:
    I would definetly have them retain a soils engineer, probably a different one than used for the construction, and get some recommendations from the engineers. Then write your proposal per the soils report. At least that way you will have something to back you up.

    I also get the feeling that the owners are looking for a quick and cheap fix, and the correct repair will be neither.

    RT
     
  16. alco

    alco Senior Member

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    A company I used to work for did a sink hole repair years before I started with them. We had a customer request that we bid on one that came up while I was working there. The boss shared his formula for bidding work like that. One, make sure your lawyer has everything looked over with a fine tooth comb. Two, figure out what you think it will cost in the worst case scenario. Three, double the amount from step two. Four, quadruple the amount from step three. Five, sit back and laugh while you watch the guy who bid the job too low struggle through it.

    May not seem like the nicest thing to do, but they got taken to the cleaners once. The lawyers battled it out for years and they got most of their money in the end. Turned out to be an old mine tunnel that was collapsing and they had to put almost 300,000 tons of rock in before the hole was seemingly filled. They estimated a little over 100,000 tons to fill 'er up.
     
  17. CAT D9H

    CAT D9H Senior Member

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    I dont know if they tested soil before construction , the owner had no recollection of any being done , I would definatly say no there were no tests done , the building is in great shape , other then the poor craftsmanship that went into it during construction , other then that alls fine, atleast everything the public would see, the site is located just a bit over 100 yards from a small river
    I am going to stay out of this project , I am not going to put in a bid , but I will keep tabs on the project , the first thing the owner said to me after I looked at it was"how fast can you do it and I want to do it as cheap as I can "

    Alco I like that formula ! just hate to hear that someone had to get raked over the coals to come up with it
     
  18. joispoi

    joispoi Senior Member

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    That's exactly the mentallity that got him into his current predicament. Kinda funny how some people don't learn from their mistakes.
     
  19. CM1995

    CM1995 Super Moderator

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    It seems like the small hotel (3-4 stories, wood frame) construction market is this way. I did a total site package for one of the larger chains. The GC cared about two things - speed and covering their ass, and that was about it.

    The site was previously filled out parcel next to a major highway. Those sites are always suspect in my book. You never know what could be there, the owner could have had a sign up saying "dump clean fill" and we all know it is never "clean" or the HWY contractor dumped all the spoils from the road construction many years ago.

    Anyway we ran into a seam of topsoil where the natural cut/fill line was located. This seam was 3' or so wide and 4-6' deep and ran across a section of the parking lot. The topsoil was covered with 1' or so of red dirt. The area was pumping badly, so we dug out the soft spot only to find the topsoil. I called the super out to take a look at the problem and to come up with a solution. What I got was cussed out and accused of "nickel and dime'ing the project with change orders". This would have been my second change order on the job, the first being one for repairing curbs damaged by the framing contractor.

    Not one to show my ass on the job and also one not to take a chewing, I told the geotech who was present and the super "Fine this is your parking lot and when it fails, I'll have the pictures for the attorneys and this conversation for review". The super then grumbled "get me a price for digging it out, I just want the parking lot in" as he huffed away. We dug out the topsoil, put down some fabric and stone we had left over and I didn't even send a CO. I know I could and should have but it was just the principle and my own satisfaction.

    This whole above mentioned project was very poorly constructed as well. I think the hotel companies just want a project online as quick as possible and accept that their building has a short life span.:beatsme That job was not very profitable for me but I did make a little, learned another segment of the construction market (which I probably won't work in again:rolleyes:) and kept my guys working.
     
  20. swampdog

    swampdog Senior Member

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    A lot of sinkholes result from the soil disappearing being drawn into flowing water. A nearby sewer or water pipe, with a break in it, could pull soil away causing a large cavity to develop. Streets collapse without warning when that happens.

    Saw a similar thing on an excavation for a high rise downtown. The excavation under the new building was shored but had gaps between the shoring. Ground water poured in from several sides carrying soil in with it. The pumps kept on pumping the muddy water out to allow work to continue. It was not surprising when the alley behind the building collapsed and a hole developed under the building next to the construction site.