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Question DetailsAsked on 9/14/2016

is it typical for a contractor to leave your yard a disaster after installing a concrete driveway and garage?

In May I signed an agreement for a contractor to tear out pour and extend our driveway and build a 2+car garage. Work was supposed to begin 6 weeks after that. They didn't start until after 4th of July and now mid September the driveway just got poured and the garage is 80% complete, but my yard is a mess! They tore out block retaining wall from the garden, dug out my plants which died laying in the middle of the yard. The line that was dug for electrical out to the garage is about a foot high piled up through the yard. I consulted a landscaper because there's no way I can fix this myself and was told I would need top soil brought in to fill the holes they left, a roller and excavator to smooth out the yard and my garden blocks put back in place, then the yard seeded. My estimate was $2k to fix my yard after paying $28k to have a job done. Then on top of that they dented my fence gate when they moved it. I don't know what to do or what's typical. Help!

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If you have not made final payment, you have some leverage, otherwise a claim against his insurance or bond might be the route to go. You would have to send him a letter (certified return receipt signature required for proof, and keep a copy printed at same time) identifying the cleanup yuou want done. Obviously, any normal tracking or trampling damage or tearout needed to do the actual work - so in the finished drive or garage area or within about 6-10 feet of garage or within about 3-4 feet alongside the drive - would be considered "normal".

Excavated soil that was not used in the job should be hauled away or, with your permission and agreement on location, spread in the yard or a low spot or such onsite. Mounding over utility trenches is commonly left 3-6 inches high to allow for settlement for 6-12 months, then smoothed and reseeded in the next growing season - though that reclamation would not be considered mandatory for this type of work unless specified in the contract.

Garden blocks, if they had to be moved to do the work but can now be put back the contractor should do, but replacement of plants would not be normal assuming they needed to come out for access. The time to think about them would have been when you saw they were about to be dug up - or better uet in the bidding phase in a discussion about areas to be disturbed by the construction.

Sounds like the bulk of your issue is failure to have a defined scope in the contract regarding temporary or permanent transplanting of plants that needed to be disturbed, and definition of the condition the yard was to be left in. Generally, normal foot traffic and necessary wheel or tracked traffic from equipment needed to do the work, scuffing from delivery and handling of materials, etc would be "normal" damage - and unless the contract spelled out revegetation of damaged areas would not normally be required or considered part of the contract. Contract terms regarding cleanup and revegetation and taping off work areas so the damaged area does not spread around the building can make a tremendous difference in the amount of damage that occurs to a yard on a construction site.

The fence damage they should pay to repair or repair themselves - depending on what type of fence and what the "dent" was.

I would say talk to the owner, following up with a certified letter if necessary with a copy to his insurance and bonding carriers, about some general cleanup - removing excess or cobbly/bouldery waste material, resetting the planter blocks and putting spilled topsoil that can be swcavenged back into it, raking out lawn damage and reseeding (if not too late in the year for tht in your area) - and the gate repair. Sounds like about a couple to few manhours work, plus the fence which might require a fencing professional, so not a major amount of work for him to do (at no additiuonal cost to you).

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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