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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
bid on a job, lost it....contractor that got it is a "friend" of mine...we trade work back and forth, he's very reputable....job i lost to him, called for 6" of granular bedding material below the invert elevation, and 6" over the top of the pipe...where he was working, was a very sandy/gravelly area....he rented a read 2 deck screen...made all this bedding material out of what he took out of the excavation...a brilliant move to my line of thinking....the bedding material was paid for by the l.f.....he invoiced, they denied, said he didn't haul any in...he goes, i made it onsite, what difference does it make where it came from as long as it met your spec? i totally agree with him, he put a bedding material that met the spec...engineer calls me, says owner doesn't want to pay for it, and asks what my opinion is on it...i asked the engineer, did what he used meet your spec? he had to agree...i feel he's entitled to his money. be interesting to see how this turns out, i'll keep you posted...this material for us is about $18 a ton delivered. near as i can tell, he made it for about $3 with screen rent..i feel, more power to him!!!
 

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Maker of Fine Sawdust
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Comes down to what his contract said. If he said he was going to have it hauled in then all they owe is for the rental and labor for screening the fill out. If nothing was mentioned and it was stated that the fill would be such and such a price then they need to pay him.

They certainly can't expect it for free because it was on their property to begin with. Thats like cutting a bunch of trees down and making it into fire wood. You can't claim it wasn't hauled in and I won't pay. There is an amount of work that has to be performed to get the product.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
nothing was specified as to where it came from...it just gave the spec as to what kind of bedding material was accepted, and how it was placed.
 

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Without seeing the contract it is hard to reply. I demo'ed a building found a bunch of chip sand were the underground detention system was going in, kept that to myself, found a bunch of class II sand on the site kept that to myself. Come time to do the underground and site work I bid it importing all the material and hauling out the spoils, I won this time. You might not know of Holloway Construction Company, he got a job in Penn. years ago, he was responsable to remove all the debris from the site, the job was putting a road through a mountain, he did his own soil borings found a bunch of coal, he won. Was this a private or public contract ? I learned alot from Dan Holloway, when he died he had $ 500 million dollars in equipment. Most of it I keep to myself. digger
 

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Head Grunt
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I would tell your friend to stick to his guns. If the agreed contract didnt state where the fill/stone/gravel used on the job was to come from and it was applied properly as contract stated then there should be no dis-agreement. The contractor fulfilled his agreement as stated. Just because the contractor has the knowledge to know of the ground content and cheaper methods of performing the job doesnt mean the customer gets a break.

I guess some people feel if you got the materials for free from the last job then it should be free for them too right? Good Luck with that!!!!
 

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From what I read here I'd say if the bedding material met the spec there's no justification for a change in the contract price.
 

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...this material for us is about $18 a ton delivered. near as i can tell, he made it for about $3 with screen rent.
so you can rent and operate a screen for something like $2.25 / cy of recovered material? How much excavated volume had to be processed to recover 1 cy? Who was on the hook for the cost of exporting the displaced volume? Or was it needed in a fill?
 

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Contractor
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I agree with the above.

As an example, if he could source the pipe, or any other cost of the project, for cheaper would that change the contract sum?

I'd say he took some risk when deciding to rent the screen, the material may not have come up to spec, it did he wins.
If it had not, he would have been out the rental and still would have to buy the aggregate.
 

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The Duke
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We rent out our gravel pit to our neighbor who is an excavator. At first it surprised me that he did similar to what you say. He will clear a lot, bring it over to process, screen it for loam, then sell the exact soil he excavated right back to the HO or builder.

He will charge them for the clearing, then charge them for the hauling and disposal, and charge them for the topsoil. This I agree with.

He does the same with trees. He will take them to the mill or use for firewood or pulp. He says they're his. This I do not agree with him.

To your post, I'd say he was inventive and found a way. Good for him and client should pay up. He took a calculated risk and he won.
 

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The question in regards to ethics is really whether of not the property owner is being ethical. There was an agreed upon price and agreed upon specs. If the excavator meets both of those and does it in a creative way to save himself the cost of materials, then that should be to his benefit and not to theirs. That seems to be the problem with society today. We expect everyone to work according to the lowest level of producers. If you excel at what you do through hard work and creativity, people want to "punish" you rather than "reward" you for your efforts. The reason most of us are self-employed is so that we can think outside of the box and not be limited by those around us. I say this is a low blow to a guy who is using his head.........the property owners need to be aware that they got what they wanted for the price that they agreed upon. If they feel any other way, then they are being unethical, not the contractor.
 

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I don't see any ethical problem. There's a good chance he wouldn't make up what he needed, or a variety of other problems could have come up. It might cross the line if the contractor started excavating an extra pit just to make up the fill, but if he managed it with the material that would have been removed anyway, that's to his benefit. The client should be happy in this time of "green" and "low carbon" talk that the contractor did that- probably reduced the "carbon footprint" some. Heck- maybe they should apply for a credit...
 

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That has been happening around here a lot lately, and as far as I know no one got a break on the price.

Also why I would like to get myself a screen as I have been running into a lot of good material lately if I had a screen. And have been giving away a lot of it as fill, etc.
 

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Vagitarian
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Since we are surrounded by rock here, contractors make their own bedding material on site all the time. As long as it met the specs then pay up or go to court.
 

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I agree, can't see any reason to punish the guy for finding a way to do the job cheaper on his end and still meet spec. Like said before he could of screened the material and it not meet spec then what, I doubt he was going to get a change order for the screen use. I run into this with topsoil, import new screened topsoil or screen whats on site. The specs say "screened topsoil" so do you haul away what you stripped off as spoils and then bring in new. I wish I owned a screen and then I would haul to my yard, screen it and then bring it back. Someday I will own a screen, I have about 400 yards of unscreened saved at my place and some day when my pile gets to big I will rent a screen or buy one. Just of topic, but do you guys think you can screen topsoil and then stock pile it or do you think the pile will never dry out enough to reload and truck it maybe a year or more after you screen it?
 
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