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What Happens if a Contractor Finds Rock When Digging



“Wish that I was on ol' Rocky Top”... except when we need to dig through that rocky material for your job.


It’s no secret that Tennessee is rocky and it’s not just in the mountains, it is throughout the entire state. If you are planning on developing a property that requires digging or cutting into the earth there is a good chance that you might encounter rock. In this post we will cover things to consider and ask your contractor before starting a job where rock might be encountered.


Talk to your contractor about rock prior to starting the job:


When collecting a quote from a contractor, it would be a good idea to ask them if they think rock will be encountered during the job. They may have a good idea if rock will be encountered given the scope and location of your project. They should also give you an idea for how similar jobs have gone in the past when they encountered rock.


Why is it more expensive for contractors to go through rock?


Some rock can be removed with smaller equipment, some require large hydraulic hammers attached to an excavator, some might even require explosives. Removing rock is time consuming and once you start adding these additional costs up, it can get very costly.


Why do contractors not know how much it will cost to dig through rock?


There are a few factors of why contractors are not able to tell you an exact time or expense required to remove the rock. Factors such as how deep is the rock, the amount of rock that needs to be removed, the hardness of the rock, the location of rock, and other factors leave contractors scratching their heads as to what to charge. Uncertainty for a contractor normally means they add on more money to cover the risk of the job. This is why most contractors will give you a “rock clause” in the contract.


A Rock Clause, in most instances, essentially states that if the contractor encounters a significant amount of rock during the installation, they are able to charge you additional cost to remove the rock.


Questions to ask a contractor about a Rock Clause


Some Rock Clauses in contracts are vague so it is important to ask your contractor when they might expect to use the rock clause. In some instances, if they can get through the rock within a reasonable time they might not even charge you and additional cost.


Every situation is different so it is important that your contractor remains in contact with you at all times to notify you when additional costs may be coming.


Here are a few questions to ask your contractor on a Rock Clause:


  • Can you give me an example of when you might use this Rock Clause?

  • How do you charge for your rock clause? (Daily, Weekly, Hourly, etc.)

  • What will you do with the rock once removed?



How to Find Out How Much Rock Is On Your Property


If you have a large project on an undeveloped piece of property you may want to have a geotechnical survey performed. During a geotechnical survey, a contractor will come out and take samples through the earth in multiple locations to determine what type of soils, rock, and even water you might encounter when working.


From these samples they can actually give you a general idea how deep and where these soils or rocks are. Giving this information to a contractor and an engineer during the planning phase of the project can help you save money through experience and effectively locating different improvements.


At Excavation Contractors LLC we are here to help you on your next drainage, demo, earthwork, and land clearing project!


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Excavation Contractors LLC

Serving Franklin, Brentwood, Spring Hill and Surrounding Areas



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