When I arrived on the property, I knew ahead of time that the customer was extremely unhappy with their new paving project. I knew that they had tried to make amends with the contractor, and the contractor tried to make them happy but was failing miserably. I also knew what their RFP (Request for Proposal) was, and what I seen on property told me they got exactly what they paid for.
As with most communities, the board decided to go with the lowest bidder, and no one thought to ask why they were almost half the cost of the second lowest bidder, but they did note that he was a really nice guy! If I could have $100 for every time a board told me that a contractor “seemed like a nice guy,” I would be a millionaire!
The RFP the community sent out did not clarify whether or not they wanted to mill out the existing asphalt cap or just pave right over it. Even before seeing the pictures of the previous asphalt cap, I would have recommended that the community remove the existing asphalt cap strictly because of the concrete curbing and gutter that separated the parking stalls from the roadway.
The second hint that I would have milled out the old asphalt was a doorway that led to the trash dumpster. Nobody thought about it prior to paving but when the contractor raised the asphalt cap 1” he prevented the door from opening. When the board addressed the problem with the paving contractor, they jumped right on the problem and ground out the new asphalt to allow for the door to open all the way! YAY! No.
When they took out the asphalt from in front of the doorway only, they created a ponding area that now held water if it rained. Not only did it hold water, it also posed as a trip hazard for anyone trying to navigate their way into the doorway! Definitely not the solution the community was hoping for!
In addition to the standing water issue by the doorway, the community was starting to notice that the new asphalt was starting to “spall” or come up when the residents were backing out of their parking stalls. They notified the contractor of the issue and the contractor came out and laid new asphalt on top of the weakened, spalled areas and called it a day. When the board arrived to view the correction, they were mortified to see that although the thin areas were corrected, they now had large black repairs on top of the new pavement and it looked horrible! The contractor’s corrections were making their property look worse than it did before the new overlay!
It’s great that we can copy and paste a paving specification from one document to another but not understanding what we are requesting can lead you down the wrong path twice! Make sure that when you are looking at paving bids that they take note of difficult areas like doorways, access ramps, manhole covers, and hardscapes. Without taking these things into consideration, you might be paying for something you don’t want or worse, paying for something you requested but not something you wanted!
Asphalt Restoration Technology Systems, Inc. (AR Tech) has been established in Florida since 1993. Connie Lorenz is President of AR Tech and has been with the company since 1999. Her leadership, skills and classes have taught thousands of consumers about proper asphalt maintenance and has helped save them thousands of dollars, and she has become an advocate in the industry focusing on protecting homeowners, property managers, and owners from the downfalls of questionable contractors and improper techniques. For more information, visit www.asphaltnews.com.