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Sewer Infrastructure Question

 
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Old 05-20-2008, 10:28 PM   #1
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Sewer Infrastructure Question


By suggestion I have moved this from the plumbing forum.
==============================================

Hello all,

I am not sure if this the right forum for this question, but if I am wrong I feel confident that some one here will point me in the right direction.

This is a general question about timing and bids on sewer infrastructure install.

I have been told that now(next 6 months) is the best time to have the sewer infrastructure installed our area due to the construction market right now being "soft". The general meaning of this is that a lower bid cost if possible now as opposed to maybe 1 or 2 years from now mainly due to the economy.

In general terms is this a valid thought process??

If Yes, why??

If No, why not??


Thanks in advance.

Les
================================================== =======


Doing it now before the price goes up is a normal thought process for anything. What I have trouble with is rushing into a project because the economy is "soft" make me wonder a bit.

I don' t know what size companies the responders are but let me ask a different type of question.

If a sewer infrastructure is "estimated" to cost $9 million in 2003 and now in 2008 it is to get off the ground. How much realistic cost savings in %percentages% would or could be realized by going to bid in a soft economy??

Can the current economy really show a major difference or could this be a bunch of smoke and mirrors??

How much will a major contractor with a project this size really leave on the table just to get the job??

And as a side question. Is it true that once a job is put out to bid, the project is basically a GO and the only thing that is needed is to award to the lowest bid.

Again I don't know if this is the right location for this question.

Thanks for you comments.

Les

==================================================

The above are my two post in the plumbing forum.

So now I as the questions here. I am not looking for detail pricing but just in general terms on a project this size.

I will give a little more back ground once I see some comments here. My hope is that this will help me as others in the country.

Thanks for responding.

Les
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Old 05-21-2008, 05:21 AM   #2
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Re: Sewer Infrastructure Question


Yes, the economy is soft, but fuel prices are up. There are a bunch of guys that have no work and are bidding jobs cheap just to keep working. Who knows what the future may bring, next yr, the price of fuel could double. My advice is to do your homework and use a contractor that has a good reputation and don't base your decision on price. Cheap is not always the best way.

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Old 05-21-2008, 07:13 AM   #3
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Re: Sewer Infrastructure Question


My prices don't change according to how busy I am.I think people that do supply and demand are theives,but it is the American way.Can you say oil producers,gas station and hotel owners ,store owners,etc,after a natural disaster.I would personally like to see some of those cheats suffer.
If I'm frickin starving I'm not lowering my prices,when times are busy I don't raise my prices.Find someone ethical and honest.
The price of material and fuel will only increase so no point in waiting for those items to change.JMO.
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Old 05-21-2008, 01:23 PM   #4
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Re: Sewer Infrastructure Question


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Originally Posted by threaderman View Post
My prices don't change according to how busy I am.I think people that do supply and demand are theives,but it is the American way.Can you say oil producers,gas station and hotel owners ,store owners,etc,after a natural disaster.I would personally like to see some of those cheats suffer.
If I'm frickin starving I'm not lowering my prices,when times are busy I don't raise my prices.Find someone ethical and honest.
The price of material and fuel will only increase so no point in waiting for those items to change.JMO.

I'm sorry threader but I couldn't disagree more. Supply and Demand is good business economics, not thievery. A thief takes something without allowing you a choice--every one of my clients has a choice to work with me at a higher cost or not. If they are a loyal client and can be backlogged, then I don't charge them more...but if they MY services to other clients to suffer to push their job along, then they will have to pay for that.

It works the same way with oil producers, etc. Our national demand is outrageous--we have a reliance on oil that makes us pay a premium for it. It's not the oil company's fault--it's our own.
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Old 05-21-2008, 04:55 PM   #5
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Re: Sewer Infrastructure Question


My post to his original post in the plumbers forum.




It sounds like you are talking about a big sewer project with mains, pump stations, etc depending on the job. You should have posted this in the excavation forum. Plumbers do not do this kind of work, the most they do is hook up a house to the stub out at the property line.

Now for your question and we are also excavation contractors. The price of equipment, materials, and fuel just keeps going up. Labor may not be going up right now but it is a constant and is not really going down for people in these specialties. So the only thing that can go down is the contractors profit, and with uncertain prices ahead most are not willing to lower their profit and as a percentage of the job they don't make that much after paying overhead, insurance, etc.

Around here construction is still booming compared to the rest of the country, and mainly in commercial projects. But there are still is a lot of residential development going on even if the house sales are slowing down a little. The reason is it is still cheaper to do the project now than to wait for the market to get better because of uncertain prices ahead. Just today I drove by at least 4 or 5 residential developments getting started and they will probably have a total of 400 to 600 lots. And no one I know of has lowered their prices, instead they have actually gone up because of fuel and material prices.
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Old 05-21-2008, 05:31 PM   #6
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Re: Sewer Infrastructure Question


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Originally Posted by ElIngeniero View Post
I'm sorry threader but I couldn't disagree more. Supply and Demand is good business economics, not thievery. A thief takes something without allowing you a choice--every one of my clients has a choice to work with me at a higher cost or not. If they are a loyal client and can be backlogged, then I don't charge them more...but if they MY services to other clients to suffer to push their job along, then they will have to pay for that.

It works the same way with oil producers, etc. Our national demand is outrageous--we have a reliance on oil that makes us pay a premium for it. It's not the oil company's fault--it's our own.

Yeah ,during an ice-storm or after a hurricane people are forced to walk or barely eat because they can't afford inflated prices of fuel,lodging ,food,etc,that's the type of abuse I'm refering to..GREED ,and just another example of mans in-humanity to man.I charge more for evenings and week-ends too,but I'm fair.The government could control those pr3cks with the oil just like they control the unions now but their palms are so greased it's out of control.
We all have opinions and do what we have to do to live with ourselves,your comments were not mean so I take no offense.
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Old 05-21-2008, 09:32 PM   #7
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Re: Sewer Infrastructure Question


Quote:
Originally Posted by threaderman View Post
Yeah ,during an ice-storm or after a hurricane people are forced to walk or barely eat because they can't afford inflated prices of fuel,lodging ,food,etc,that's the type of abuse I'm refering to..GREED ,and just another example of mans in-humanity to man.I charge more for evenings and week-ends too,but I'm fair.The government could control those pr3cks with the oil just like they control the unions now but their palms are so greased it's out of control.
We all have opinions and do what we have to do to live with ourselves,your comments were not mean so I take no offense.
I detect a hint of communism here. Oil is a commodity traded on the board like anything else. No guys in ten gallon hats set the price. The price has sure outpaced demand, but that is due to speculation in the market, not price gouging. Price control will lead to nothing but absolute and total shortage. Our government can only control the price of domestic production. We wouldn't be able to buy oil on the world market at the price set by some commies in Washington. Our domestic production would not keep pace with demand, and certainly wouldn't expand under price control. Where would we be then.

If I need a job, if the market's slow, sure I lower my price. I know my costs I know where I will, and where I won't make money. I might make less if I lower my price, but I make even less by staying home. I have a crew to keep busy. They have families to feed, but I'm not going to pay them to sit in the shop. Is it greedy of me to see my business through the lean times? Is it greedy to keep my guys busy? Or should I turn in the highest highly principaled high bid when I can make money at the lowest?
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Old 05-22-2008, 06:37 AM   #8
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Re: Sewer Infrastructure Question


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I detect a hint of communism here. Oil is a commodity traded on the board like anything else. No guys in ten gallon hats set the price. The price has sure outpaced demand, but that is due to speculation in the market, not price gouging. Price control will lead to nothing but absolute and total shortage. Our government can only control the price of domestic production. We wouldn't be able to buy oil on the world market at the price set by some commies in Washington. Our domestic production would not keep pace with demand, and certainly wouldn't expand under price control. Where would we be then.

If I need a job, if the market's slow, sure I lower my price. I know my costs I know where I will, and where I won't make money. I might make less if I lower my price, but I make even less by staying home. I have a crew to keep busy. They have families to feed, but I'm not going to pay them to sit in the shop. Is it greedy of me to see my business through the lean times? Is it greedy to keep my guys busy? Or should I turn in the highest highly principaled high bid when I can make money at the lowest?
There's nothing wrong with keeping your guys busy and if you can live while lowering your rates fine.My statement was made as opposition to those that charge many times their rate when people are already hurting,you know,the old kick em in the mouth while their down New Orleans type of charging.
I live by a certain code of Fairness and I guess God approves because he keeps me busy,and keeps my skills sharp.
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Old 05-24-2008, 04:29 PM   #9
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Re: Sewer Infrastructure Question


You wanna talk about price gouging with oil check out what your state and federal government are charging you a gallon. When I get busy with work my prices go up to accommodate the quality of employee I will have running each job i.e I have my quality crews running jobs and I have to force together a make shift crew to do the anticipated "extra" work load. Therefore they will not be as productive. But with Pipe work cost of materials is king not production. You may save a little now because guys are taking short cuts to get their foot in the door on a project and you will pay in the long run. If you want a quality project pick three of the best contractors and have them give you a price. Don't bid it out too every douche out their with a back hoe and dump truck. You get what you pay for period.
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Old 05-24-2008, 04:40 PM   #10
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Re: Sewer Infrastructure Question


ABLE, user PipeGuy operates in your area. You might want to scare him up. He does pretty much just this sort of work. I don't think I've seen him around in quite a while here.
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Old 05-24-2008, 07:46 PM   #11
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Re: Sewer Infrastructure Question


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Originally Posted by mdshunk View Post
ABLE, user PipeGuy operates in your area. You might want to scare him up. He does pretty much just this sort of work. I don't think I've seen him around in quite a while here.

MD, thanks for the tip. However I am not looking for a contractor to do the job. I am just trying to gather some input based on the job.

Have you heard about ACT 537 in your area?? From what I hear it is happening all over the great state of Penna. The Pa. DEP determines that a given area (development(s)) that have septic/drain fields are required to have public sewer installed. They then mandate to the Township to get it done with in 5 years. There was no funding offered from the state.

The local township then comes up with a plan and as in my case is forcing the residents to pay for the infrastructure, connection fees, to the tune of possibly $16,000. or more. One area in York County price tag is projected to be $40,000 per home and some of the homes are only worth $85,000.

Locally the supervisors are trying to work up a different plan since there has been a bit of a revolt by the citizens. But in the same breath it is being stated that now might be the best time to get it installed since the construction market is "soft". To me it sounds more like a ploy to make everyone think we better hurry up and get it done because we are going to save dollars now.

I posted my question here to get some input (which I have) on if the construction trade is really "soft" right now or not. From what I have read it would seem that it may make little difference. With the key thought that the price will not go down anytime soon.

The supervisors are also pushing to get the project out for bid this summer with possible start for fall.

One of my concerns is that once it goes out for bid there is no turning back since it will be automatically awarded to the lowest bidder regardless to the price.

It is a very bad feeling not being in control of ones wallet. Or should I say having this project stuff up my ***!!!!

Have a good holiday.
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Old 05-24-2008, 07:53 PM   #12
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Re: Sewer Infrastructure Question


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Have you heard about ACT 537 in your area?? From what I hear it is happening all over the great state of Penna. The Pa. DEP determines that a given area (development(s)) that have septic/drain fields are required to have public sewer installed. They then mandate to the Township to get it done with in 5 years. There was no funding offered from the state.
Yessir. Just went through that last year at my house. It's been in the works for years and years. My community had a community septic system, but I happened to have my own septic. It was basically brand new, then the sewer mandate. All's well now. Plenty of grant money brought the costs way down.

This is the engineer that took all the headaches away:
http://www.debei.com/municipal.htm
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Old 05-24-2008, 08:32 PM   #13
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Re: Sewer Infrastructure Question


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Yessir. Just went through that last year at my house. It's been in the works for years and years. My community had a community septic system, but I happened to have my own septic. It was basically brand new, then the sewer mandate. All's well now. Plenty of grant money brought the costs way down.

This is the engineer that took all the headaches away:
http://www.debei.com/municipal.htm
MD,

When you say that they were able to bring the cost way down can you tell me what was the original estimate and what percentage was it reduced??

What kind of system did you finally hook up to??

Were your supervisors willing to work for the best solution.

Do you know what grants were available and do you have any directions as to where to look.

I know lots of questions................................

At this point this is all I can do at this point.

Thanks,

Les
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Old 05-24-2008, 08:44 PM   #14
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Re: Sewer Infrastructure Question


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MD,

When you say that they were able to bring the cost way down can you tell me what was the original estimate and what percentage was it reduced??
It was originally going to be about 25K a person, and it got down to just a tap fee. It was a small diameter system, but not a force main. This was literally years and years in planning, meetings, and moaning and groaning. They originally had a force main spec'd, but some of us were smart enough to show them that sewage flows downhill and if you're digging a trench you might as well dig it so things flow downhill, and while you're at it, put a big pipe in there instead of a little wee one.

The sewer authority's site is down, but there was tons of info on it there. You might check the wayback machine for www.cfjma.com
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Old 05-24-2008, 09:38 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by mdshunk View Post
It was originally going to be about 25K a person, and it got down to just a tap fee. It was a small diameter system, but not a force main. This was literally years and years in planning, meetings, and moaning and groaning. They originally had a force main spec'd, but some of us were smart enough to show them that sewage flows downhill and if you're digging a trench you might as well dig it so things flow downhill, and while you're at it, put a big pipe in there instead of a little wee one.

The sewer authority's site is down, but there was tons of info on it there. You might check the wayback machine for www.cfjma.com

MD,

Thanks for the input.

So your township found grants or floated a bond to pay for the infrastructure??

Sounds like you had a bit of a battle to get them to see it your way. Did the residents get a lawyer involved??

Thanks,
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Old 05-24-2008, 10:16 PM   #16
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Re: Sewer Infrastructure Question


THE DEP shut down tap inns on the sewer authority where I live because people have their rain conductors tied in to the sanitary sewer, after a storm the treatment plant floods into the conniqunessing creek .After a year of no construction in 4 townships and devistateing local builders and sub trades they came to agreement with the DEP to smoke test, raintest ,and camera all sewer laterals on the authority , if the owner cant afford to repair it the authority replaces it and leins the property, also any realty being sold is inspected and corrected before closeing.

Also note worthy the feds told the DEP they had 5 years to clean up the nitrates in the chesepeak bay because it is killing the water fowl, The nitrates come from sewage treatment plants and farmers fields , I know an engineer working on this, They are talking about treating mine water and emitting it when rainfall is low to delute the nitrates.

I dont know if you are in the chesepeak water shed but the tree huggers state and federal would think nothing of devistating our industry by stopping expansion of sewage systems ,More important than cost, if you have approvals put it in for your future employment and for future growth and and prosperity.
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Old 05-25-2008, 07:39 AM   #17
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Re: Sewer Infrastructure Question


I tend to agree with everyone. If you have approval and can afford to make the installations and hold the property till the economy picks back up you should do well.

I have seen few times, where the sewer and water systems were in for a couple years, with no building, and the lot density was changed and everything had to be ripped out and re-done.

You may not necessarily get a "bargain" by doing it now but it will only get more expensive in the future, if not just for material increases, regulations can change and it can cost a fortune to comply with the new regs.
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Old 05-26-2008, 07:26 PM   #18
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Re: Sewer Infrastructure Question


To follow up on Tom's point, you should also consider the cost of engineering you have invested. I don't know what point you're at there. If you have approval, you may want to proceed. I know most of our local municipalities will only approve plans for one year, after which they have to be re-submitted to meet current code. A couple of towns love to drag this process out for about six or eight months, add as much as they can possibly require and run your cost of engineering through the roof.
Sorry, it gets me a little hot under the skin. Government at work. It's something that may be worth considering.
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Old 05-28-2008, 05:01 AM   #19
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Re: Sewer Infrastructure Question


Quote:
Originally Posted by cmec View Post
THE DEP shut down tap inns on the sewer authority where I live because people have their rain conductors tied in to the sanitary sewer, after a storm the treatment plant floods into the conniqunessing creek .After a year of no construction in 4 townships and devistateing local builders and sub trades they came to agreement with the DEP to smoke test, raintest ,and camera all sewer laterals on the authority , if the owner cant afford to repair it the authority replaces it and leins the property, also any realty being sold is inspected and corrected before closeing.

Also note worthy the feds told the DEP they had 5 years to clean up the nitrates in the chesepeak bay because it is killing the water fowl, The nitrates come from sewage treatment plants and farmers fields , I know an engineer working on this, They are talking about treating mine water and emitting it when rainfall is low to delute the nitrates.

I dont know if you are in the chesepeak water shed but the tree huggers state and federal would think nothing of devistating our industry by stopping expansion of sewage systems ,More important than cost, if you have approvals put it in for your future employment and for future growth and and prosperity.
Same thing happens here. People have rain leaders and sump pumps tied into the sanitary sewer system and everytime it rains, the pumps overflow and dump into the creek. My local sewer authority just installed another holding tank to treat the effluent for nitrates. We also live in the chesepeak watershed and we have to tip toe around all the creeks.
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Old 05-28-2008, 10:03 AM   #20
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Re: Sewer Infrastructure Question


Quote:
Originally Posted by ABLE1 View Post
By suggestion I have moved this from the plumbing forum.
==============================================

Hello all,

I am not sure if this the right forum for this question, but if I am wrong I feel confident that some one here will point me in the right direction.

This is a general question about timing and bids on sewer infrastructure install.

I have been told that now(next 6 months) is the best time to have the sewer infrastructure installed our area due to the construction market right now being "soft". The general meaning of this is that a lower bid cost if possible now as opposed to maybe 1 or 2 years from now mainly due to the economy.

In general terms is this a valid thought process??

If Yes, why??

If No, why not??


Thanks in advance.

Les
================================================== =======


Doing it now before the price goes up is a normal thought process for anything. What I have trouble with is rushing into a project because the economy is "soft" make me wonder a bit.

I don' t know what size companies the responders are but let me ask a different type of question.

If a sewer infrastructure is "estimated" to cost $9 million in 2003 and now in 2008 it is to get off the ground. How much realistic cost savings in %percentages% would or could be realized by going to bid in a soft economy??

Can the current economy really show a major difference or could this be a bunch of smoke and mirrors??

How much will a major contractor with a project this size really leave on the table just to get the job??

And as a side question. Is it true that once a job is put out to bid, the project is basically a GO and the only thing that is needed is to award to the lowest bid.

Again I don't know if this is the right location for this question.

Thanks for you comments.

Les

==================================================

The above are my two post in the plumbing forum.

So now I as the questions here. I am not looking for detail pricing but just in general terms on a project this size.

I will give a little more back ground once I see some comments here. My hope is that this will help me as others in the country.

Thanks for responding.

Les
remember the market is soft but costs are increasing and the bills you had before you have now prices dont go down in a recession they go up to cover the losses from the work amount declining

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