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Deanna's Forum Posts: 16

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By Deanna on 12/29/2005


 

 

When we purchased our lot, our neighborhood came with deed restrictions. One restricition was, builder maintains roads during construction. HAS ANYONE DEALT WITH THIS BEFORE? We recieved a certified letter in the mail in May 2005 stating that due to the construction of our home the street (asphault) was cracked in serveral places adjacent to our home, and that we were responsible for paying for the repairs at $25 per sq. ft. WHAT?? (My lot is 400' wide and most of it is cracked. . it would be $$$$) The streets are cracked everywhere, even down a whole street that only has 3 homes on it. I have taken pictures of all the cracked areas in our neighborhood with and without homes on the lots. Does anyone have any advice on this issue. . before we hire a costly attorney.


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Ambryn's Forum Posts: 34

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By Ambryn in Santa Cruz, CA on 12/29/2005


Well...before I start in on this let me just say, I've never heard of this and I'm not an authority on the subject....BUT I can give you some information about real costs to repair and some insight on subdivision road design etc. I have been on projects where damage to the road due to construction would be back charged to whoever did it, but they mean damage caused by a forklift or backhoe---dents, gouges or scrapes. Cracking is usually indicative of a major structural problem or defective materials. But let's look at several things:

First off, the $25/sf is ridiculous!!!! I have a contract with a city to charge them +/- $6.50/sf to demo and replace 2" of asphalt and I work for a union contractor (higher labor costs then where you are...I assume, because I don't know where you are) and we also have high materials costs in our area.

OK, now let's look at the road design. Roads are designed with typically two layers of materials in their structural cross section. There is the asphalt (on concrete) top section and then an underlying section of baserock (aggregate rock). The thicknesses of both section are derived from what is called a "traffic index". The traffic index (TI) can usually be found in the soils report for the subdivision project. The typical sections of baserock and asphalt for a low use road in a subdivision is 3" of asphalt over 6" - 9" of baserock. It is very common for a subdivision to use the smallest (i.e. cheapest) section that they can get approved by the city/county. One important note--it is common for a subdivision to leave the asphalt low and then put a final asphalt overlay on after all the construction is done. You can easily tell if they did this by looking at the joint between the asphalt and the concrete gutter; they should be vertically flush. If the asphalt is about 1" to 1 1/2" lower than the concrete, then they left the asphalt low so that they can cover any construction damage with a final layer of fresh asphalt. The reason this is important is that if they did leave the asphalt low, the road is not as strong and thus not able to handle the loading of the construction traffic...not your fault!

(I'm going to break this into 2 posts so I don't lose it again.....)

Here's is a picture of construction damage to asphalt that should be paid for


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Ambryn's Forum Posts: 34

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By Ambryn in Santa Cruz, CA on 12/29/2005


Ok, not sure how I got that post in front of yours, but....I will continue!

If that is not the case (asphalt is flush with the concrete), I would concentrate on getting a copy of the subdivisions plans (check asphalt and rock sections) and the soils report (will have traffic index and other interesting soil condition info), and write a letter back to whoever wrote it and say that you checked the plans and soils report and the traffic index indicates that the road was designed to handle construction traffic loading and that the damage to the road is obviously due to a design or material defect and you are not liable for repairs to said road (yadda, yadda). Include pictures of your road and the road that has no construction on it showing the same conditions (use a camera with a date stamp). I think the burden is on them to prove that the cracking was caused by your construction traffic. You can call a local asphalt contractor to "get a quote" and at the same time ask him if he has any idea why it is cracked, he may help you with some suggestions to defend yourself. If you really want to protect yourself, get the help of a geotechnical firm; The asphalt contractor can probably give you some names--just don't use the same firm that did the soils report for the subdivision!! Show the geotech the cracks in your road and the road with no construction traffic on it. If they look the same, hopefully they will help you write a letter to these guys and tell them the same (or more)--that there is a structural design problem and that it is not your problem to fix. I bet the geotech guy will look at the cracks and and soils report and say that the road section, based on the traffic index, should have been able to handle the construction traffic and that the asphalt (or the road) is defective.

FYI, different cracks are caused by different things, here are some examples I've seen:

1) Cracks in roads caused by clay soils that expand when wet and heave the road up and crack it.

2) Cracks caused by too high of loads on a road section that was designed for less traffic. It is the responsibility of the subdivision owner to design the roads to normal handle construction traffic!

3) It might even be defective asphalt--there are ways to test it! They take core samples with a diamond drill (drills out a 4" diameter puck) and check to see if thickness of the asphalt is what it was supposed to be (maybe the paving contractor put down 2" instead of the 3" required!) and then they can test the asphalt to see if it is defective (rock gradation, rock strength, asphalt oil content, etc.)

These are just the most likely reasons, but without a picture there are even more possible reasons! Send or post pictures and I might even be able to help you more.

I think the most important thing for you to do is to send them the message that you are not going to roll over and that if they are really dead set on trying to force the issue, you will come out fighting. I really don't think that you need a lawyer, except it might help to have the letter on his stationery. The geotech advice is worth more in my opinion. You could do all of it at once--get a letter from the geotech and write the letter and have a lawyer edit it and send them a full package!! That would really say, "don't fuss with me!!"

I hope this helps!!


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Ambryn's Forum Posts: 34

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By Ambryn in Santa Cruz, CA on 2/21/2006


Hi Deanna, did you have any luck with your situation?
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