By Lew Akins
In many parts of the country, it’s not uncommon to encounter the unexpected when you start digging to make way for a swimming pool or some other watershape. There might be field stone, a rock ledge, a buried outcropping or even hardpan. Depending on the size, depth and extent of these stony intrusions, running into any of them can, as the video linked below suggests, take a homeowner’s budget expectations and throw them right out the window.
And it’s not just rock that can be a hidden issue: Various types of soil can be problematic, as can the groundwater level in the
location where the excavation will take place. And it’s not just about big slopes, either: Excavation can uncover surprises on flat land – including such buried treasure as old, forgotten air-raid shelters or even abandoned septic systems.
Everyone needs protection against such eventualities, homeowners and contractors alike. My preference is to place everything on the table ahead of time, discussing possibilities that make sense given my experience with other projects in the general area as well as my familiarity with years’ worth of horror stories about projects run off the rails by “little surprises.”
Communication is the key: If you do your job well and prepare clients with realistic expectations about what the process might involve, everyone will be better off because there’s a better chance the project will overcome any obstacles and move forward toward completion.
To see a brief discussion of what’s involved and pitfalls to avoid, click here.