Need quick info... concrete sidewalk replacement

kathi06July 18, 2006

We just had our concrete sidewalks replaced. My husband negotiated the work, based on positive recommendations from neighbors. The actual sidewalk replacement looks great.

I am thinking that the contractor didn't complete the job satisfactorily, in that he left ABSOLUTELY NO existing dirt from the adjacent lawn that was dug out for the concrete forms to use as backfill, so we had to purchase a lot of dirt to backfill before setting out new grass seed. (I had anticipated purchasing some to fill in the gaps, but I thought some of the dirt would have been left.)

Plus, he had to break into the street about a foot wide, 2 to 2.5 feet deep, for the driveway forms. The street is being re-done next year, so that is not the problem, but he failed to fill the ditch with stone, leaving the job with a couple 1x12 boards covering the ditch.

I know my husband wasn't thorough in discussing the job, but what is standard as part of a sidewalk replacement job. Was it too much to ask that he leave the dirt that he dug up, and dump some stones to fill the ditch (as he did with our neighbor's work)? He has not returned 2 telephone calls from us inquiring about this.

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He definitely should have backfilled on both the lawn and street side of his work. I think anyone in the construction business would tell you that leaving ditches next to concrete work is not part of a complete job unless there was an agreement to the contrary! there's a reason why he's not returning your calls - he knows what he should have done. Unfortunately, you probably paid him in full!

    Bookmark   July 18, 2006 at 2:58PM
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Sidewalk replacement so this is an older home?

My bigger worry would be if he had a permit to dig up the street. Unless you own the street, that will probably come back and bite you in the butt.

So many tax dollars were alotted to re-paving the street. Repairing what your guy did first, wasn't in that budget. Get on him to fix the street before you get hit with a bill from the city, county or state.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2006 at 9:13PM
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Thanks again for the info...armed with this information, plus some very firm tactics, I got a return call from the guy's wife, who said the work would be completed by Friday. (My take on this business is that the wife gets on him about customer service type things...we had a minor problem in the past with getting a call return, and once she entered the picture, he was right on it!)

And gammyt...our home is 50 years old. The contractor had a permit for the work. The street issue came about when breaking up and removing the concrete driveway. The street is so old (hence the needed repairs) that the adjoining street crumbled, leaving about a 1 foot wide trench that went the length of the driveway. I saw the same issue on many of my neighbor's properties that have undergone the required sidewalk repairs prior to planned replacement.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2006 at 7:07AM
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That contractor must be one of the biggest fools in the business. No contractor with even a modicum of good sense would take his(or her) barricades down until all tools, materials and forming materials have been picked up and all potential trip hazards, to include the backfilling, have been eliminated. In fact, if there was an agreement between the contractor and the homeowner to leave the backfilling undone a prudent contractor would leave a yellow marker tape around the site and let the homeowner take it down when they complete whatever task they planned when negotiating the change. That little 3 or 4" depression in the dirt may seem trivial to some, but you can rest assured that if someone walking on that sidewalk were to inadvertantly step in that depression and fall their lawyer certainly would make a big deal out of it, not mention if a childs bicycle wheel fell off or perhaps a wheelchair or baby stroller.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2006 at 7:53AM
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