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Digging and More Digging

6-20 beard openerBy Randy Beard

Sometimes you think you have everything breaking your way: large job site, easy access and free rein to design and build a great and beautiful project. But even in these dream cases, you can run into the unexpected from time to time. That certainly was true of the project examined in this video.

The property is located in a long-established neighborhood – a throwback to the days when lots were larger and there was plenty of elbow room for outdoor amenities. We designed a large, square pool for the space, ordered stone for huge deck surfaces and got to work.

As you’ll see toward the end of this video, it wasn’t long before we clunked into a large obstacle that set us back a bit – a development that brings a couple key points to mind.

First, soils and geology reports are typically generated from samples rather than comprehensive surveys, so certain site details may be missed. This is why a good contract makes provisions for undetected problems, protecting the contractor in the event something odd crops up. In this case, it was a large concrete obstacle; in others, it might be undetected soils or compaction issues that must be resolved. Whatever the problem, both contractor and client need to understand the consequences with respect to delays and extra costs.

Second, there’s no substitute on the job site for a ready sense of humor about some of the weird things that can happen. You can get upset by events and raise everyone’s blood pressure, or you can take things in stride, figure out solutions and keep moving forward. Frankly, the latter course is almost always the better one and helps in negotiating far greater problems than the one we faced here.

Besides, it was a beautiful day. Why spoil it?

Video: To get the lay of the land, click here.

Randy Beard operates Pure Water Pool, a construction/service firm based in Costa Mesa, Calif. He may be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  

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