There are several factors must be taken into consideration in preparation of any work, or projects as simple as an asphalt paving. There are many people or companies whom they call themselves a professional. These professionals either have some type of technical background, or studied to become a professional, at technical (trade) school, college, or university level. These technical backgrounds must be involved with several year work of experience. Inquire, and ask these questions from your contractor.
Ask the credentials, and inquire about their licence with RBQ, or Consumer protection association of Quebec, or any government related associations.
What are their specialities in, how many fields of speciality? Does not mean that having an RBQ licence you could do any work, each field requires a special number and permit. Being a member of non governmental association does not mean the contractor is specialized, or has the expertise. Today paying any fees to an association you can become a member of that association, regardless of your credentials and expertise. As long as, they have name of few references, and dues are paid, and contractor has settled their differences with the clients, they can have membership. Every contractor has hopefully few good references, but what about those clients, that you don’t know!
We at Pavcan Construction Inc. believe all professionals in this field must know the soil consistency and land drainage in order to be able to make a sound judgment on the depth of excavation or backfill materials, either for compaction or drainage purpose.
Also one must be very clear about (Settling) or (Compaction). Settlement does not necessarily means ground is well compacted. Compaction is obtained only by adding a certain quantity of water while compressing the gravel (0-3/4) or compaction sand. The common compaction is at 95% Proctor density. Also compaction must be done variable gravel thickness depending on the type of compaction machinery. Where as, settling mainly happens on an area of deep excavation, like newly constructed residence, near foundation area, and or where the water main is installed.
There are several type of soil which commonly knows as Sand, Silt, Clay, and Loam, where each of these behave differently with weather fluctuation and excess humidity (water content). The most unstable of these four are Clay and Silt, which care must be taken into excavation and preparation of sub-base. Most common way of protecting the heaving, or frost movement and stabilization of the base is by installing Geotextile or Membrane. Or in case of deep excavation or structural construction soil bearing capacity must be determined by soil test with a recognized testing lab.
Drainage is also one of the most important aspects of landscaping or construction. Surface drainage is the best way of sloping the land or any structure. Under ground perforated drain is helpful where is possible. Any perforated pipe (French Drain) installation at less than 2 feet below ground, eventually with heave and push upward. If there is no slop to evacuate water, do not install drains to no where. Do not connect your roof gutters or surface runoff to your foundation French drains. In some municipalities this is illegal, and also many insurance companies do not insure you in case of flooding.
We hear this often :
“We see it elsewhere done we want to duplicate“
It has been many years now that slowly some manufactures realizing that the techniques provided an used by majority of contractors are wrong, in use and construction of structures like landing, steps, patios, balconies with STAKABLE BLOCKS of all sorts or commonly known as (Uni-BLOCKS, INTERLOCKING BLOCKS). These Blocks where designed to retain gardens, or light structures with a very good DRAINAGE field in the back with clean ¾ net stone separated from earth be a membrane. The separation of earth from gravel is very important, also the depth and thickness of drainage field in the back of wall determines the life of wall. The very important factors behind these walls are the TYPE of SOIL, and Structure behind it, or determine the LOADS behind wall.
Special attention to this section must be given for those whom like to have multiple landings made with these blocks. We know by fact that any compacted material is subject to expansion when water penetrates and freezes. When compacted gravel base is saturated with water in late fall and frost arrives, the base and compacted gravel will freeze, and as a result it will expand. When gravel is expanded due to freezing it will forces upward, sideway or in all directions, therefore the weakest point is INTERLOCKING retainers, or frames. These interlocking frames are either glued or locked with some sort of device. We know and have heard about the force of ice or frozen materials. As a result the weakest points are the interlocking retainers which will be pushed out. These are the common problem with interlocking landings, or steps that are used this way. This is the main cause of deformed steps balcony, landing, and other structures that build with interlocking wall units.
We believe at Pavcan Construction Inc. These are suitable for warmer climate area, and not for our region with minimum frost depth of 4.5 feet. There are why we have foundations below frost level at minimum 4.5 to 8 feet deep, otherwise we would have had only slabs under our buildings, like Florida or California. There are ways and method of reinforcing these Interlocking walls. This is where the know how and technical background, and experience comes handy, and not blindly following the manufactures spec. No manufacture has yet mentioned the techniques in installing these blocks on grounds with frost depth of 4.5 feet deep, they have left this part to installer’s desecration and judgment.
We at Pavcan Construction Inc. build with pride and strong technical background, using Engineering design and know how in our Hard landscaping and Construction methods in order to give a longer life to our projects. We build majority of our project with introduction of concrete and reinforcement of materials in order to meet your need, and give you a sound and stronger project.
You may ask why others are not doing this. The answer is very simple. If a contractor is not specialized in several field and do not have the capability to do these tasks. They simple will reject doing concrete related work, or masonry type of finishing. It is simply the know how, a sound design by an engineer and requires technical staff or tradesmen that can do this type of work.