Retaining What?

 

Approximately two years ago I was asked to quote for the construction of a large retaining wall in the valley; this wall was primarily needed to support a terrace walkway on the upper level together with the rear wall and roof of the main house above. My quotation was to construct a 25m long heavily reinforced ‘L’ shaped concrete retaining wall.


Understandably there is a great amount of work involved in a construction of this type and this was reflected in my quotation.


As is normal and understandable the owner asked for a second quotation from another builder. On receiving both quotations the owner soon realised that my quotation was more expensive and promptly asked the other builder to carry out the work. No references were asked for or given, no checks were undertaken to ascertain the builder’s honesty or capabilities and no inspections were carried out on any of the builder’s previous works. Some 10 months later, I received a call from the owner asking me to inspect the work that had been carried out. To my amazement the wall that had been constructed was in imminent danger of collapsing, it was leaning outward badly, had several large cracks and had separated from the terrace above. On further inspection it could be seen that the wall was only one block thick and built directly off the top soil. There were no foundations and more importantly no physical means of retaining the many tons of earth and property above it.


I was then told by the owner that he had contacted the builder on several occasions who was uninterested in the many problems and refused to come back. My immediate thought was that nothing could be done and the best solution was to demolish the wall and start again. The owner was understandably devastated, not only would he now have the cost of rebuilding the wall but would have the added cost of demolition.


The agreed solution was for me to try and stabilise the wall and prevent any further deterioration, not an ideal option as this work would not improve the looks of the wall but never the less the least expensive. We did this by installing vertical cantilevered beams at 2m centres giving the necessary lateral support and then underpinning the existing wall to give vertical support. The wall is now stable; it does not look very pretty and has probably finished up costing more than my original quotation.


Remember, if you are asking for quotations for any proposed project, make sure they are like for like and always do your homework on the builder.

 


John Phillips (F.I.A.S. F.A.B.E. M.I.B.C.O. F.F.B. M.R.S.H. C.M.W.O.B.O. M.B.I.M)
Construction Buena Vista

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Construction Buena Vista
Urb. Palmeria. Orba 03790

 

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Buena Vista Villas s.l.

Urb. Palmeria. Orba 03790

 

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0034 965 577 464 (office)

 

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