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Worried about potential flooding

Discussion in 'Commercial Snow Removal' started by Bajak, Feb 9, 2009.

  1. Bajak

    Bajak Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    I have a Shoppers Drugmart Plaza that I plow on a seasonal contract. Salting and removal is extra. I have a large pile of snow placed over a double catch basin that no one seems to want to pay to get rid of. (I know it is not a good place for snow and I do sewer and watermain before the lectures start). The last time we did a removal was Dec. 11. and that was because of the Christmas rush and they needed the parking. I have voiced my concerns and kept records of my communications.

    I normally would just go ahead and do it for my own peace of mind but some people remind me that the contractor from last year is still owed money for a removal. There is more to the story too as to why they haven't been payed, basically there were a lot of complaints. I have been payed for everything so far up to date with no complaints. Should it flood that may change. I feel the pile has grown way too big and all they say is as long as they have enough parking they are happy.

    What am I to do? I would like that extra money for my machine, no one will give me the go ahead that I need to get paid. I will be completely embarrassed if the lot should flood. Am I liable if it does flood?
    I am looking for advice.
  2. IMAGE

    IMAGE Sponsor
    Messages: 1,747

    Present them with two options:

    1. Pay to remove the pile.
    2. Sign this waiver stating you are not liable if the lot floods because you put the snow where they told you to.
  3. augerandblade

    augerandblade PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,054

    I guess it all depends on the wording of the contract. I know mine mentions clearing of drains and catch basins etc etc. If you got that in yours and if you can extra bill for removal of the snow to get to the drain I get it done asap. If its not in the wording and you have documented your concerns then you can not be held negligent. negligence is knowing something is wrong and failing to do anything about it. Hope it works out for you.
  4. procut1

    procut1 Senior Member
    Messages: 380

    Notify them of the problem and your concern.

    Put the decision in their court.

    Then whatever happens is their problem, not yours.

    And dont forget to charge more to dig out a flooded lot when they call.
  5. Bajak

    Bajak Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    Thanks, I feel the ethical thing to do is at least clear the drain. 10 feet high and 16 feet in but at least they can't say I didn't try.

    I was hoping for some icing on the cake. Oh well. Next year when they have full occupancy they'll need the parking, that will mean more removals.payup
  6. Dstosh

    Dstosh Senior Member
    Messages: 534

    If you are going there to clean out the drain, Why dont you sell the customer on the fact that it will be cheaper if you move the snow when you are there then if you have to come back.

    " I have noticed that the parking lot drain is blocked. I realize that that is my fault, and I will clean the drain at no charge. However if you would like me to move more snow, the $150 ( Or what ever you charge) mobilization fee will be waved"

    Thats how I would approach it. Do you want the contract next year?
  7. The mayor

    The mayor Senior Member
    Messages: 272

    If you put the snow there you should move it...no charge. If someone else put it there. Offer to move it for a fee.
  8. Watch out yelow

    Watch out yelow Member
    Messages: 35

    First of all you never should stack snow on a drain or in the path that water would travel to a drain. I dont know what your lot looks like but going from what you have stated so far I would have stacked the snow in a parking spot area that would not stop drainage. Then if they wanted more parking spaces they would hire you to remove it. It is a good idea to stack snow in area where this type of thing can not happen. Imagine if you had a rain storm, the lot flooded and then the temps fell below freezing quickly. Remove the snow paid or not and then never stack it there again.
  9. Krieger91

    Krieger91 Senior Member
    Messages: 353

    That sounds like the best idea to me. That way you're bringing to their attention, and giving them your professional opinion. And if they turn it down, they sign the waiver saying you brought it to their attention and they said no; then you're covered if they ever try to come at you with legal actions.
  10. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    That's what I was thinking.

    That is like the guy that plows the driveway for free, but leaves a burm at the end of the driveway. If the customer wants to get in, they pay.

    You can't do something you know is wrong and then expect to bill the customer for it. Go over with your loader and cut a path like you mentioned. You will sleep better and it won't cost you that much.
  11. oldmankent

    oldmankent PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,322

    Can you just dig a hole to the drain so water can get out, and leave the snow on site? Otherwise as long as you put the snow where they told you to, I wouldn't worry too much about flooding. You have warned them.

    IPLOWSNO PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,620

    id just fix it before you have problems.
  13. timmy1

    timmy1 Senior Member
    from RI
    Messages: 470

    Take an extend-a-hoe over there and clear just a bucket width trench to the drain. And come up with a plan for next years contract. Either putting the snow somewhere else or maintaining a trench to the drain.

    Like someone else said, if it's a good customer and you count on them to pay your bills, I wouldn't make waves (no pun).
  14. Bajak

    Bajak Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    I put it where I was told and it takes up 18 parking spaces and the isle before it even reaches the catch basin. That is about 100 loads right there. Then there is another 80 loads after that. Also, there is no other place to stack without interfering with fire hydrant access, entrances or loading docks. I started calling to inform them of the situation when there was about 80 loads. That would be about 9hrs work for a loader and 4 triaxle dump trucks. $444.00/hr for the 5 pieces of equipment, included in the quote as an extra for removal, that's $3996.00. I'm not doing that No Charge. That is just to get to the drain right now. About 20hrs to get rid of all of it.

    If they would have just spent their 4Gs when I first suggested it, I wouldn't have felt the need to start this thread.

    The contract is mine for next year if I want it but if they are going to cheap out on the extras I'll have to seriously consider looking for something else. In the mean time I'll just do what I can about this matter. Make some more phone calls and keep an eye on it. The backhoe is on site if something should happen but I don't like to give the service away.
  15. Oasis

    Oasis Senior Member
    Messages: 273

    I honestly do not see where you would be liable at all if you have placed the snow where you have been told and you have alerted the owner/pharmacist of the potential flooding problem. I agree that you should have them sign a waiver regarding this issue or at the least send them one more warning registered mail. I wouldnt go out of my way to provide free extras especially when the problem was originally brought on by them trying to cut corners and save money. Make sure you also take some pictures of the piles and where they are located so you can prove that the snow is where you were told to place it.

    This is a Shoppers Drug Mart you said... they are not a dinky business they should know better then to cut corners when it comes to safety or other potential disasters. You can also CC a copy of the letter to Shoppers Drug Mart corporate Canada.

  16. Bajak

    Bajak Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    Thanks Oasis, that is what I figured should be my next step too. It seems there are too many middle men. I just want to do my job properly and all I ask is the go ahead. I normally don't wait, I just do it but as I posted in #1, the last guy is still owed coin from last season.

    I will make phone calls and record them, with them knowing it is being recorded. I think that should keep my A$$ off the burner.
  17. QuadPlower

    QuadPlower PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,056

    You never mentioned that you were told to put the snow there. And even if you were, you are the professional snow remover AND you said you do sewer and water mains. You should have known better.

    I had a customer this year say, "Just push it into the cul-de-sac instead of into my yard. That is what the guy last year did." I told her it was illegal to do that and any turf damage I caused by pushing into her yard, I would fix in the spring.

    Are you worried about flooding or are you worried about flooding and re-freezing into an ice rink? In my area we are looking at 62 degrees today and above freezing for the next week. Any snow that melts will have time to run off before it freezes again. What does the forecast say for your area?
  18. dieseld

    dieseld Senior Member
    from 90210
    Messages: 634

    You cannot take the backhoe and dig a trench to the drain? It would take a little bit of time but certainly would be easier and cheaper than all the equipment you listed. 1Guy working for 8 hours is probably affordable to show you care. Best of luck.
  19. Bajak

    Bajak Senior Member
    Messages: 999

    The water seems to have found its way to the drain so we are in good shape. I got off the phone with the manager and they are O.K. with me doing whatever needs to be done if it becomes a major issue. They still don't want to haul any snow off site at this point but next year we will have it in the contract that when the pile is up to the catch basin (about 80 loads), I as the contractor can make the call to have it hauled away.payup.

    The building still has 8 000 sq ft vacant and doesn't need all the parking but when it is occupied next year they will need the parking.

    Next year I will have waivers for just such predicaments.

    Thanks for your comments and advice.:salute:
  20. On the one site we do that has a sewer drain we delibertly pile the first snow of the season over the drain and keep pileing up slope from there. The snow acts as an insulator and keeps the drain from freezing. Snow melts and runs under the pile making tunnels and drains away. It has worked well for more than 10 or 15 years.