Earthmoving contractors have a very difficult job, as they not only battle with the weather, soil conditions, resource consents and noise restrictions, they also struggle with getting paid for every cubic metre of dirt they move.
Unlike drainlayers or kerbing contractors, earthmovers can not measure their work with a tape measure.
In fact earthmoving measurement is unique, because the most critical measuring has to be done before the job starts.
The accurate measurement and recording of the original ground topography is one of the most important aspects in enabling the contractor to be correctly paid for the work he has completed.
For years most earthmoving contractors have relied on the tender schedule of quantities to base their contract claims. When there have been Variations they often rely on the clients agent to produce the revised quantities. To backup this system the contractor has sometimes made his own calculations based on load counts and an applicable compaction factor. This system is not only prone to error because of different plant, materials and operators , but it also puts the contractor’s control of his income at a greater risk than normally acceptable. The client is highly unlikely to approve any claims for quantities that exceed his expectations unless supported by sound information, such as eletronic topography.
Every earthmoving contractor can recall the jobs where no money was made because they were unable to substantiate the quantities claimed. These situations happen regularly and put earthmovers at more financial risk than most other businesses, especially in this ??????? economic climate.
Tender schedules of quantities are based on the design at the time of tender. Typically, however, the design can change drastically by the time the project is completed. In some extreme cases we have found the quantities have changed more than 4 x that in the tender schedule of quantities. This can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on the size of the project.
At last, with the advent of modern technology, it is now relatively inexpensive and a less disruptive process for earthmoving contractors to have their work accurately measured and recorded.
For over six years Direct Civil Limited has been measuring earthworks jobs for a number of contractors in the Bay of Plenty/Waikato and has developed a track record for producing precise information to successfully support payment claims.