Concrete and Excavation Bids

In the fall, we were still hoping to get our excavation and concrete work done before winter arrived in earnest. Early signs were good; though things were a little behind schedule, we got a very reasonable bid for the concrete work. It was a little more money than doing the work in the summer – about $7,000. But that seemed reasonable for getting a seven-month head-start. But then we got the excavation bid.

The excavator’s bid had been $45k for our work in the fall. When we asked about getting things done in the late fall, their response was to more than double their bid, from $45k to over $120k. Their explanation was that a lot of the excavated dirt would need to be removed from site. Which was true, but we were still talking about two weeks of work for two guys. In reality, it seemed like they got some other work and didn’t particularly want to do the project.

It brought to mind this quote from Christmas Vacation: 

I want him brought right here, with a big ribbon on his head, and I want to look him straight in the eye and I want to tell him what a cheap, lying, no-good, rotten, four-flushing, low-life, snake-licking, dirt-eating, inbred, overstuffed, ignorant, blood-sucking, dog-kissing, brainless, dickless, hopeless, heartless, fat-ass, bug-eyed, stiff-legged, spotty-lipped, worm-headed sack of monkey shit he is! Hallelujah! Holy shit! Where’s the Tylenol?

The increased excavation costs would have blown through the 10% contingency in our budget in the first stage of actual construction. Though we wanted to move things forward, it the acceleration wasn’t worth $80k. We shopped around for some other bids, but we weren’t able to find anyone so late in the season that still had availability and/or hadn’t switched over to snow removal for the winter. Meanwhile, the weather got snowier, and the frost deeper, until we decided to just shelve things and wait for spring.

But we weren’t done with everything just yet. We were midway through the close of our construction loan. And since we had locked in a decent rate and were already nearly finished with the process, we decided to press forward to close the loan.