Watching Concrete Dry

NOTE: As of September 23, 2009, this post has been edited in
accordance with a court-mediated settlement. The names of the
contractor and his excavation subcontractor have been replaced with

No, I'm not kidding. Contractor A could not be bothered to safeguard his work work, so I'm guarding it for him. (It will not be long before he walks off the job altogether, sabotaging the site before he leaves.)


I'm sitting outside on a plastic lawn chair, making sure that nobody comes by and defaces the newly replaced sidewalk.


I tried to get the corner of the screen in there so you could see that it was 25 Apr 2005, but the resolution of the camera phone isn't that good.

We had a long meeting with our contractor yesterday. We did a lot of arguing about money and contracts. While we didn't come to resolution on either of those issues, the contractor did agree to take a critical step forward to reduce our collective liability.

For the past month, the water under the house has been pumped out to a pipe which shoots a jet of water across the sidewalk and into the gutter. It's been wet long enough that algae has started to grow on the surface of the concrete, making things pretty slippery. The City of Alameda Department of Public Works isn't happy about that. They've sent a notice to Contractor A (although that's the claim Contractor A made, and he's already lied about other interactions with Public Works), asking them to fix the problem. It's a big liability issue: if someone slips, falls, and suffers an injury, we're liable. The solution is to install a pipe under the sidewalk and drill holes in the curb where the water can exit.

Today, the contractor and crew performed that work. Here you can see where they patched the walk:


There are two pipes running under the sidewalk -- one three-inch and one two-inch. One pipe will be for the water coming from the sumps under the house. The other is reserved for the future, when we install gutters and drains for the roof, if we want to we can direct the collected water through that pipe. Both pipes enter a box filled with rocks, which interrupt the progress of the water and slow it down. Five one-inch copper pipes have been drilled into the curb; water exits the box through them. (Copper pipes change the chemical balance of the water, preventing algae from growing.)


A closer view of the pipes drilled into the curb:


The concrete for the sidewalk is still curing, as is some of the concrete used to set the pipes inside the box. Tomorrow, when it is fully cured, the contractor will hook up the sump lines and we'll see how it works.

There's a lot of water down there. The pumps run every 6 to 7 minutes and pump out several gallons of water. Yikes!

posted by noel on 04/25/05