by Danny Borzellingo, BBA
Shortly spring will be upon us and as most years as the snow melts the problem with our existing asphalt paving will be staring us in the face. With the proper information all property owners or managers can assess their asphalt and start seeking the proper company to complete the work required.
The quality of the work is reflected in the job description which should meet or exceed future usages. The execution of the project depends on machinery, skills, experience and the quality of materials. Life expectancy of asphalt is a function of the above stated in conjunction with maintenance. A proper maintenance program can prolong the life of asphalt and reduce the replacement cost. Amortization and proper cost analysis should be looked at as in any long term investment.
The correct job description for present and future use will extend the life of your asphalt service. Some customers wish to employ the services of an engineer, at a fixed cost for the tender package or a percentage cost on the management of the work. An educated and experience contractor can design the job, and see it through to competition. This will save you 5 to 10% in management fees and $10,000 for tender packages.
An anonymous property manager enlisted the services of an engineering firm to tender a job for a large and expensive parking lot. The engineer knew that the lot rehabilitation would cost $1.5 million dollars. The low bid was $1.25 million and the property manager gave them the job. With all the extras the job surpassed the $2 million dollar amount. The two lessons in the story are that a proper job description could forecast some of these extra expenses or the contract language was to loose in its interpretation, which the paving contractor took advantage of in order to make a profit. The old adage “pay me now or pay me later” could be modified to include this situation.
A good paving contractor would have told the engineer the deficiencies in their tender package and ask that the project be re-tendered so that all pricing is fair and disclosed. A good property manager would have realized that the price was too cheap and that the extra work would break the manager’s budget projections for that year. With the low bid the property manager should have had the work re-tendered with other contractors.
Modern paving equipment is what is needed to produce high quality jobs in a timely and cost effective manor. As an example, newer pavers and rollers increase compaction, and improve on the service appearance of the project therefore extending their life. The innovation of the grinder allows customers an additional choice when choosing their repair solutions. All this machinery comes in different sizes to offer the same quality of road work to the common parking lot. The trucks have become safer and better to ensure that the material gets to the job on time and hot. Earth moving equipment has followed suit.
The material is constantly being innovated for our environment.
Material choices also affect the final job. Recycled material may be cheaper but it is not better. As with all things you get what you pay for. The high quality material is more expensive up front but saves money in the long term with extended life. The different grades also have different applications.
Maintenance is essential to extend the life of a good job. Maintenance will include route and seal, pot hole repair, sealer, line painting and removal of damaged areas. All these activities save the asphalt therefore protecting your base. The asphalt is like a roof on a house which protects all the valuables held within. The base is the most expansive part of a project, so if it is protected the chances are it will not only last longer, but can possibly be reused.
Return on investment comes in many forms. The most tangible of which is pay parking. The intangibles are curb appeal, increased flow through efficient parking and availability. Pay parking is the obvious, retail traffic and rentability, all pay dividends exceeding the original installation cost. The ongoing return will cover any of the maintenance costs. The more you invest in a parking lot the more return you will make.