Thursday, February 19, 2009

Swamped, Scraped, Crushed, Ouch


In the past week, we watched that little bit of ground water that you saw in last week's pictures start to rise throughout the entire excavated lot. See for yourself:

The ground along the sides of the lot have settled into the excavated area in some areas, which will require re-pouring of some deck pier footers. We were frustrated by this since Bartley - the excavator and concrete company - plans to charge us again to re-do this work. But they were the ones who took the risk of digging the deck piers before excavating for the house. We're not the excavation experts, they are. So when there was a problem based on their decision, why should we have to pay the cost for it?


As reported last week, we had to hire a soils consultant to look at the lot and make a recommendation that will allow us to proceed with the construction. The best option was to pump the ground water out, scape 6" of mud out, haul that mud away, and then put down a geotextile matting and then 18" of stone on top. 12" for water avoidance & stability + the 6" of depth for the scraped-away mud = 18" of stone.


18" of #57 crushed stone across the size of our excavated area translates to 205 tons. That's more than the empty weight of a Boeing 747 aircraft. The stone will go into our scraped, excavated pit. It then will be compacted. As I understand it, this stone serves two purposes: 1) along with the geotextile, it will create the necessary stability for the footers of the house; 2) it will provide a drain plane for the ground water, allowing the water to stay away from our foundation. That's a great thing.


We expected to run into some challenges and additional expenses while constructing this house, and this sure is an expensive one. We're trying to find ways to save money on this, but the extra $12,000 hit on our budget is not very welcome. Maybe we can do without a roof on the house to cover this extra cost?


  1. That's bad. The digging company should have been able to assess the situation. Now they're going to charge you again? Really, that stinks.

    We just finished renovating and, after our experience, I go to the contractors' board online and check out every contractor for future projects.

  2. VDOT #57 Stone does not need compaction since it is commonly thought as significantly dense as placed. The geofabric was used to separate the stone layer from the soft soils below. Without it the stone would migrate.

  3. Anonymous, we might have had some misinformation originally, but that's been cleared up now. You're exactly right as to the stone and the purpose of the geofabric. No compacting was required so Bartley didn't charge us for that.

    Kathleen, our architect and contractor both have worked with Bartley on numerous occasions and haven't had any issues. Some of this might be a learning curve for us as first time builders. All-in-all, we feel Bartley has done a good job for us and they're working hard to ensure this is a successful project for them and for us.