Trenching And Pipe Work - Excavation & Site Work - Contractor Talk
View Poll Results: Do you typically provide a safety slope when trenching?
Yes; always 1 6.25%
Only if depth of trench is 4 ft. or more 4 25.00%
Only if depth of trench is 5 ft. or more 2 12.50%
Only if depth of trench is 6 ft. or more 0 0%
No; never 1 6.25%
Depends on the situation, soil type, etc. 5 31.25%
Generally, (not really; only if OSHA is nearby) 0 0%
Do you really expect me to answer this? 3 18.75%
Voters: 16. You may not vote on this poll

Trenching And Pipe Work

 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 11-15-2011, 06:56 PM   #1
Member
 
SlumberJack's Avatar
 
Trade: Site Work, Concrete, and Masonry
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Westchester - NY
Posts: 30
Rewards Points: 25

Trenching And Pipe Work


Hey I've been estimating for years now and always wondered about the way to correctly and accurately quantify trench (pipe) excavation... in other words if say you have a trench that's about 5 ft. deep and 4 ft. wide and a couple hundred feet long or more, you obviously have to (as per OSHA) provide a safety slope to a certain extent if you want to avoid providing shoring/sheeting or trench boxes.

My confusion lies in the fact that every drawing detail and/or spec I have ever seen for trench excavation shows vertical trench walls without a slope and they always have a max width on the trench itself therefore the walls of said trench must be fixed vertically at that given width as shown on the drawing detail ... I know we aren't all providing sheeting/shoring on all these jobs so:

1. Where does that safety slope come in? In order to dig that deep (5 ft. or more) OSHA says you must provide a slope of 1.5 ft. horizontal to 1 ft. vertical (depending on soil type) and if the trench walls are at a fixed width, how do you pull this off???

2. Let's say on a particular job you must provide controlled backfill at the trench (which in most cases we do) and the detail shows a fixed trench width but it's again around 5 ft. deep and you must therefore provide a safety slope...Do you provide controlled backfill at the width of the trench itself and then reuse the previously excavated material to fill in the safety slope areas?

Would appreciate any insight anyone can give... Due to the nature and delays in response times on the forum at times I would appreciate it if everyone would read the issue(s) noted above carefully so as to fully understand the nature of the question(s) and I'll do the same in reading your response(s)...thanks a million in advance for any light you can shed here!!!
SlumberJack is offline  

Warning: The topics covered on this site include activities in which there exists the potential for serious injury or death. ContractorTalk.com DOES NOT guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information contained on this site. Always use proper safety precaution and reference reliable outside sources before attempting any construction or remodeling task!

   

Advertisement

 

Old 11-16-2011, 12:07 AM   #2
Pro
 
Elyrain's Avatar
 
Trade: GC
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Oceanside, Ca
Posts: 404
Rewards Points: 442

Re: Trenching And Pipe Work


Your last paragraph is sooo funny, I voted no, never, because I thought it said SAFETY ROPE! Leave it to an estimator to write that paragraph.

My answer is easy, I always follow osha. If I couldn't bench or slope I would slurry anything over 5'. Or use a box(es). Even a cave in at 5' high could kill someone.

Advertisement

Elyrain is offline  
Old 11-16-2011, 09:36 AM   #3
Member
 
SlumberJack's Avatar
 
Trade: Site Work, Concrete, and Masonry
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Westchester - NY
Posts: 30
Rewards Points: 25

Re: Trenching And Pipe Work


Quote:
Originally Posted by Elyrain View Post
Your last paragraph is sooo funny, I voted no, never, because I thought it said SAFETY ROPE! Leave it to an estimator to write that paragraph.

My answer is easy, I always follow osha. If I couldn't bench or slope I would slurry anything over 5'. Or use a box(es). Even a cave in at 5' high could kill someone.
Elyrain thanks for the reply... that last paragraph may have been written a little prematurely...I haven't posted on this forum in a long time and didn't know how timely the responses would come and to be honest, we contractors don't always take the time to read carefully (trust me, after soliciting bids to a database of several hundred subs for a GC I worked with for years - if I had a penny for every time I had or could have said; did you read it? I'd be rich)...

Not knocking contractors here at all ... am one... been one... just wanted to get the answers right the first time if you know what I mean...

Hoping to hear some feedback on the actual issue though of my dilemma with fixed trench widths (vertical walls) when you need to provide a bench/safety slope... wracking my brain!
SlumberJack is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 11-16-2011, 09:08 PM   #4
terrafirma relocator
 
CanDoExcavating's Avatar
 
Trade: excavating
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Sioux Falls
Posts: 177
Rewards Points: 150

Re: Trenching And Pipe Work


Sliding trench box
__________________
my other job!!! ahhh still playin in the dirt
http://s698.photobucket.com/home/LighteningMcChevy
CanDoExcavating is offline  
Old 11-16-2011, 09:21 PM   #5
Pro
 
Anti-wingnut's Avatar
 
Trade: Commercial Superintendent
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 2,931
Rewards Points: 3,414

Re: Trenching And Pipe Work


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bestimator View Post

Would appreciate any insight anyone can give... Due to the nature and delays in response times on the forum at times I would appreciate it if everyone would read the issue(s) noted above carefully so as to fully understand the nature of the question(s) and I'll do the same in reading your response(s)...thanks a million in advance for any light you can shed here!!!
Yes sir, your Highness
Anti-wingnut is online now  
Old 11-16-2011, 09:22 PM   #6
Pro
 
PipeGuy's Avatar
 
Trade: underground
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Southeast USA
Posts: 3,265
Rewards Points: 2,000

Re: Trenching And Pipe Work


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bestimator View Post
...I've been estimating for years...and [haven't yet learned the right way] to quantify trench excavation.

1. Where does that safety slope come in? If the trench walls are at a fixed width, how do you pull this off???

2. Let's say on a particular job you must provide controlled backfill... Do you provide controlled backfill?

Would appreciate...if everyone would read the issue(s) noted above carefully so as to fully understand the nature of the question(s).
#8. Do you really expect me to answer this?
__________________
Fortunately I keep my feathers numbered for...for just such an emergency. -Foghorn Leghorn
PipeGuy is offline  
Old 11-16-2011, 09:25 PM   #7
Pro
 
Anti-wingnut's Avatar
 
Trade: Commercial Superintendent
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 2,931
Rewards Points: 3,414

Re: Trenching And Pipe Work


Shouldn't you ask the geo-tech? If they want a 5' deep trench no wider than 4', with the plans seemingly not allowing any terracing, shouldn't a RFI on your part be issued? Either that, or put in a lot of money for trench shoring.
Anti-wingnut is online now  
Old 11-17-2011, 10:01 AM   #8
Member
 
SlumberJack's Avatar
 
Trade: Site Work, Concrete, and Masonry
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Westchester - NY
Posts: 30
Rewards Points: 25

Re: Trenching And Pipe Work


Quote:
Originally Posted by Anti-wingnut View Post
Shouldn't you ask the geo-tech? If they want a 5' deep trench no wider than 4', with the plans seemingly not allowing any terracing, shouldn't a RFI on your part be issued? Either that, or put in a lot of money for trench shoring.
This was more of a general question than a job-specific one because this stands true on at least 80% of my jobs...and shoring/sheeting isn't always cost-effective so any trenches 5' deep or more (according to OSHA) need to be supported with some sort of shoring/sheeting system... but I know our competition is not figuring on the cost to shore/sheet all of these trenches... I'm looking at a job right now with 11,000 LF of trenching which is both under roads and under park property in NYC ... shoring sheeting will likely be required in certain sections but I'm definitely not figuring it on all 11,000 LF...so I'm going to figure on benching it out but ... here's my issue (on this and many other jobs I come across) ... the detail in the drawings for the trench excavation shows vertical walls (as do 95% of most trench excavation details you see on any given set of plans) as I'm sure most of you would agree...I can't be the only one seeing this...

I guess what I need to know more than anything; is there a geotechnical factor involved in why you would only want vertical trench walls instead of sloped walls (for safety purposes when diggin in excess of 5')? I mean, will sloping the trench walls compromise the pipe bedding and backfill in any way or are there any other variables affected by having vertical as opposed to benched trench walls that I don't see?

I'm sure there are; but more often than not aren't trenches benched anyway? I know we don't sheet/shore the majority of our trenches...

Thanks for the replies; appreciate any insight you can give!
SlumberJack is offline  
Old 11-17-2011, 10:10 AM   #9
Member
 
SlumberJack's Avatar
 
Trade: Site Work, Concrete, and Masonry
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Westchester - NY
Posts: 30
Rewards Points: 25

Re: Trenching And Pipe Work


Quote:
Originally Posted by PipeGuy View Post
#8. Do you really expect me to answer this?
PipeGuy, you came highly recommended to me by another user here on the forum in another recent post...

Exactly what are you getting at here with your quote and short response? I sense major sarcasm. I reached out here as it seemed to be the place a guy like me could receive and offer help on these very topics.

I realize the last paragraph may have read a little condescending or coarse and I meant no disrespect by it. We both know many contractors breeze through most things in written form and I just wanted to be sure people understood my actual question(s).

I don't mean to beat a dead horse here but if you look at the responses, there's one instance where it's obvious the person either misunderstood the question or just ignored what I was asking... that's exactly what I meant by the last paragraph so the proof is in the pudding.

I'm a humble guy trying to make a living doing the same thing you all do...I don't know it all and hope to gain some experience here by talking to you guys.

I just read a recent post about this forum possibly being considered to be taken off - and that people need to post more... you'd think when a newbie comes out and posts like I just did you'd be more apt to answer rather than be sarcastic. Just my humble opinion. Give me a break here.
SlumberJack is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to SlumberJack For This Useful Post:
rino1494 (11-17-2011)
Old 11-17-2011, 10:29 AM   #10
Pro
 
Anti-wingnut's Avatar
 
Trade: Commercial Superintendent
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 2,931
Rewards Points: 3,414

Re: Trenching And Pipe Work


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bestimator View Post
I mean, will sloping the trench walls compromise the pipe bedding and backfill in any way or are there any other variables affected by having vertical as opposed to benched trench walls that I don't see?
The only answer I know of here is :possibly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bestimator View Post
... the detail in the drawings for the trench excavation shows vertical walls
Probably because it is not the responsibility of the drafter to detail, infer or specify how you maintain trench safety. If you feel that slopes and benches are the best way to ensure worker safety, but are concerned that you may violate geotechnical guidelines, you should seek out site specific answers.

In answer to another question you had, I would maintain that if the plans call for controlled fill of your trench, that would apply to your entire trench, including the volume of sloping and benching. If your competitors do not seem to be doing this, some discreet questioning should answer whether this is a industry standard of your area
Anti-wingnut is online now  
The Following User Says Thank You to Anti-wingnut For This Useful Post:
SlumberJack (11-17-2011)
Old 11-17-2011, 12:20 PM   #11
Pro
 
Sar-Con's Avatar
 
Trade: Civil Construction, Excavation, Concrete + Forming
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Ontario
Posts: 842
Rewards Points: 504

Re: Trenching And Pipe Work


First, loose the condescending remarks, you're giving estimators a bad name

If you've got good soil you can excavate straight up and down 4' max. The safe slope is considered 90. After four vertical feet, the geo-tech report will tell you safe sloping for the type of soil you're in.

So, for example, if you're five feet deep only the top 1' is sloped. Since its the same triangle on both sides of the excavation, you have a very easy calculation. Length of trench x height of slope x distance of repose will give you your volume.

Generaly, you can only use native backfill if it will meet the compaction spec (ie 95% proctor)
Sar-Con is offline  
Old 11-17-2011, 12:29 PM   #12
Member
 
SlumberJack's Avatar
 
Trade: Site Work, Concrete, and Masonry
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Westchester - NY
Posts: 30
Rewards Points: 25

Re: Trenching And Pipe Work


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sar-Con View Post
First, loose the condescending remarks, you're giving estimators a bad name
Sar-Con...I appreciate the insight... even the extra tip on the calculations...boy if I don't know that after 10 years doing takeoffs I'm in trouble...thanks again.

And please you guys...we're men. We're in construction - tell me you'd be complaining like this on the job site if someone said something a little rough/coarse... again I meant no disrespect as I wrote to PipeGuy...

I resent what you said about giving estimators a bad name. We're focusing on the result but not the cause. My issue is with guys who fail to take the time to read through a post and respond incorrectly. If that's not you; ignore it and move on...again; so far it's been all men here. I better watch myself; mean no disrespect to the ladies in construction either. Have worked with a few remarkable women in the field. And not just in administration.
SlumberJack is offline  
Old 11-17-2011, 12:32 PM   #13
Pro
 
Anti-wingnut's Avatar
 
Trade: Commercial Superintendent
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 2,931
Rewards Points: 3,414

Re: Trenching And Pipe Work


Quote:
Originally Posted by Sar-Con View Post
First, loose the condescending remarks, you're giving estimators a bad name
Is that even possible?

Oops, my bad

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bestimator View Post
I resent what you said about giving estimators a bad name

Last edited by Anti-wingnut; 11-17-2011 at 12:34 PM. Reason: Bestimator proved me wrong
Anti-wingnut is online now  
Old 11-17-2011, 12:37 PM   #14
Pro
 
Anti-wingnut's Avatar
 
Trade: Commercial Superintendent
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 2,931
Rewards Points: 3,414

Re: Trenching And Pipe Work


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bestimator View Post
And please you guys...we're men. We're in construction - tell me you'd be complaining like this on the job site if someone said something a little rough/coarse...
I think you've been the chief complainer

Quote:
Mommy!!!! Sar-con is being mean to me again
Anti-wingnut is online now  
Old 11-17-2011, 12:43 PM   #15
Member
 
SlumberJack's Avatar
 
Trade: Site Work, Concrete, and Masonry
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Westchester - NY
Posts: 30
Rewards Points: 25

Re: Trenching And Pipe Work


Look I'm going to say something once and for all and I hope I can continue to post on this forum without people jumping on the bandwagon to make me out like I'm some condescending Pri*% because I'm not.

I'm only in this side of the business 10 years; most guys I talk to are 15, 20, or more...I'd like to learn something from everyone but I don't want to take a ton of time rexplaining what I meant (as you see I try and take the time to write clearly), as I've done in the past, for everyone's sake. It's one thing to clarify, it's another thing entirely to pay half attention and run hastily through a post and respond short, sweet, but incorrectly.

Time is money. We all know that because most of us are in business for ourselves and we all value it. I'm no guru but I'm taking the time to sit here on this forum and offer any insights I may have; as I did to the other new guy looking for estimating/bidding help... and just the same, when I take the time to present myself to the forum to ask a slightly complicated question, I'm just asking that we all do the same.

I apologize sincerely to the forum - let's drop the slick talk and focus on what we love. It's really easy to talk sideways on the computer, which is probably why this happens a lot on the internet. Things get taken out of context a lot...had I been standing next to you I'd have probably smiled and chuckled as I was saying it so you would know I'm not being super serious or a jerk - just making a suggestion.

Wingnut your response will dictate who the chief complainer really is. Do you have the time for this?
SlumberJack is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to SlumberJack For This Useful Post:
rino1494 (11-17-2011)
Old 11-17-2011, 12:57 PM   #16
Pro
 
Anti-wingnut's Avatar
 
Trade: Commercial Superintendent
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 2,931
Rewards Points: 3,414

Re: Trenching And Pipe Work


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bestimator View Post
I'd have probably smiled and chuckled as I was saying it so you would know I'm not being super serious or a jerk - just making a suggestion.

Wingnut your response will dictate who the chief complainer really is. Do you have the time for this?
This is the inter-net, you come here and ask a question, which is fine. You get a lot of answers, all of which seem correct.

But you also tell us how to behave on "your thread", imply you are very busy and chide us for answers you do not believe are becoming.

You kind of seem full of self-importance
Anti-wingnut is online now  
Old 11-17-2011, 01:12 PM   #17
Member
 
SlumberJack's Avatar
 
Trade: Site Work, Concrete, and Masonry
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Westchester - NY
Posts: 30
Rewards Points: 25

Re: Trenching And Pipe Work


Quote:
Originally Posted by Anti-wingnut View Post
This is the inter-net, you come here and ask a question, which is fine. You get a lot of answers, all of which seem correct.

But you also tell us how to behave on "your thread", imply you are very busy and chide us for answers you do not believe are becoming.

You kind of seem full of self-importance
Wingnut don't manipulate what I wrote... you love the drama; I can see it in your other posts... Forum» Trade Talk» Specialty Trades» Property Preservation» A Joke - Fee's

I can take it like the best of them...but in the above mentioned post, the main point by Ken (which you “Thanked”) after you offended OP, was that the nature of our profession is a little rough around the edges and a certain degree of this can be expected/accepted here; more to the point I was making originally... if this is the case why was my comment not: more of the same? If the type of talk you displayed in that post; calling someone with no provocation "a windbag" is accepted by you (or all here) then certainly without hypocrisy you should be able to take with a grain of salt my first post, which was the initial issue here.

Can we get off this now? If the ultimate goal here (or one of them) is to attract more like-minded, capable professionals, perhaps there’s another, slightly more attractive approach to go about it.
SlumberJack is offline  
Old 11-17-2011, 01:16 PM   #18
Pro
 
Anti-wingnut's Avatar
 
Trade: Commercial Superintendent
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 2,931
Rewards Points: 3,414

Re: Trenching And Pipe Work


For somebody with ten posts, most if not all asking "how do I ?", you sure want to tell people how this place should be.

I promise I won't call you a "windbag". What I privately think is my own business though
Anti-wingnut is online now  
Old 11-17-2011, 01:25 PM   #19
Pro
 
Sar-Con's Avatar
 
Trade: Civil Construction, Excavation, Concrete + Forming
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Ontario
Posts: 842
Rewards Points: 504

Re: Trenching And Pipe Work


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bestimator View Post
Sar-Con...I appreciate the insight... even the extra tip on the calculations...boy if I don't know that after 10 years doing takeoffs I'm in trouble...thanks again.
Is that sincere or are you being a "condescending Pri*%" (using your own words)
Sar-Con is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to Sar-Con For This Useful Post:
Anti-wingnut (11-17-2011)
Old 11-17-2011, 01:39 PM   #20
Member
 
SlumberJack's Avatar
 
Trade: Site Work, Concrete, and Masonry
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Westchester - NY
Posts: 30
Rewards Points: 25

Re: Trenching And Pipe Work


The ignorance must be bliss here with (hoping only) the two of you...I wouldn't have said this had you not again taken another jab but Sar-Con you're drowning in your own point here on that one...thinking logically; your original comment was actually condescending because what you did here was; you went beyond the issue and question at hand and offered entry level, basic calculations that I didn't ask for and that weren't even relevant to what I asked originally (more to my initial point) - that would be and was fine until you now throw my response in my face...I didn't ask about simple geometry or how to quantify trench excavation and for you to offer this is kind/harmless, yes, but a bit condescending in itself because I did state I've been doing this a full decade -- really didn't bother me any that you wrote it but I thought I'd address it in passing...I didn't retaliate and tell you this immediately - I only made a wise crack "If I can't do that after 10 years I'm in trouble" to sort of indirectly let you know it was a silly thing to offer being that I had not asked for that info...

But let's jump on the bandwagon here; come on...

And Wingnut: Just so the record is straight, your partially correct; I’ve posted 10 times but in only 2 threads - there wasn't 10 "how-do-I" posts (just 1). 1 thread someone else had started (that new guy who was looking for help which I offered) and the other I started (this one). Again, don’t manipulate to suit your point.
I’ll give you the last word here…I’ll concentrate on the trade relevant posts. Thanks for sharing, both of you.

Is this silly to anyone else?

Advertisement

SlumberJack is offline  


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Trenching Production denick Excavation & Site Work 4 04-18-2006 04:56 AM

Join Now... It's Fast and FREE!

I am a professional contractor
I am a DIY Homeowner
Drywall Talk is for
PROFESSIONAL CONTRACTORS ONLY!

At DrywallTalk.com we cater exlusivly to professional contractors who make their living as a contractor. Knowing that many homeowners and DIYers are looking for a community to call home, we've created www.DIYChatroom.com DIY Chatroom is full of helpful advices and perfect for DIY homeowners.

Redirecing in 10 seconds
No Thanks
terms of service

Already Have an Account?