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Cleared Rural Building Lot Issue

Cleared Rural Building Lot Issue

(OP)
I bought a piece of rural treed land & hired a contractor to clear a 80’x120’ building lot for cottage & recreational purpose this June. In the contract I clearly specified that all trees & stubs to be removed. However, just 5 weeks after there is lots of small trees come out from the cleared surface, see attached photos. This site is located in the District of Muskoka, Ontario (150 Km north of Toronto). This contractor is tough to deal with. I hired him to build a 160 feet long “L” shape driveway with this lot, measured only 130 feet long on centerline. In response he told me driveway should always be measured from outside, which is 157 feet long. This is against common sense. However I cannot prove he is wrong, until I published his theory on this forum & got help from experienced civil engineers. Now I am facing even tougher issue: I need solid prove that he did not remove the tree stubs probably, otherwise no chance to get him back for rework. Is this lot cleared probably according to normal building lot clear procedures? Anyone can help? Thanks.

RE: Cleared Rural Building Lot Issue

Did you have any sort of specification as to hoe detailed he has to get in clearing. For instance how about brush 1/4" diameter?

These sorts of plants are common to come up given the way Mother nature works. Instead, I'd think about how you will maintain this later. Are you adding any topsoil? How about grass planting? From the photos, site appears to be sand and the trees in the background suggest a short depth to ground water. If the site is mostly sand, growing grass may be difficult, unless there is organic matter there. I'd expect these things to come up, but mowing will keep them under control.

Others may offer suggestions on what to plant. Back in the woods this way, I's say it is to be expected that small brush and beginning tree growth will come up.

Were there any big trees and stumps to go? If so, those disturbed areas may not provide suitable building support, unless that compactor did the job of compacting.

As a bit of advice from what I have seen with contractors in rural areas on jobs like this. If you cause them too much grief about fussy little things, costing them money, you will pay many times over with other contractors, since the word gets around. I have a neighbor like this at a similar setting in the country in Wisconsin. They then wanted to do some other work on site, such as improving the building, etc. They received bids for the work and none of them were cheap. Word got around and the fussy reputation they had developed is hurting them but good.

RE: Cleared Rural Building Lot Issue

(OP)
Thanks for your advice. In the contract no detailed specification on lot clearing, just specified:
(1) Trees & stubs to be removed
(2) Lot to be leveled & compacted by 35 tons machine
(3) Lot to be covered by 1” thick small stones or sand
All small trees you saw on the photos attached to an underground tree root. As during the construction I was not on site, I cannot tell whether this contractor had removed all tree stubs or just trimmed them; second the lot was pretty smooth when the job just finished, now I can see some areas has 4-5 feet circular concave & the center has several inches sink. How to tell a lot was compacted by a 35 tons machine, not 4 tons? The contractor originally quoted to use a 4 tons machine, I insisted to use 35 tons.

RE: Cleared Rural Building Lot Issue

Was the lot cleared at the time it was 'turned over' to you? and are these new growth? They appear to be.

Was the driveway constructed a shown on the drawings?

The contractor may have done his job.

RE: Cleared Rural Building Lot Issue

I agree with the post above, the new trees/shrubs are not unexpected. That is the way nature works.

If the near surface soils are sandy, then they will always be somewhat loose no matter how hard you compact them.

Mike Lambert

RE: Cleared Rural Building Lot Issue

(OP)
When the job just completed the surface was clear, these small trees came out the surface 3 weeks after. The near surface soil is not sandy, it's soil & gravel; the sand was shipped here to cover the surface

RE: Cleared Rural Building Lot Issue

you can cut a cottonwood down and the suckers will grow up from the remaining roots. since the roots can travel well beyond the drip line - cut down one large cottonwood and you get about a hundred smaller ones growing up all over the place in about 3 weeks. I'm sure other types of trees will behave in a similar manner to cottonwoods.

A better approach would have been to grub to remove the shallow tree roots also. They may continue to cause you problems for years to come.

RE: Cleared Rural Building Lot Issue

I'd live with it. The main concern you should have is making sure the site will support the building. A 35 ton roller is not a common machine and I suspect that did not show up. Your building site probably needs foundations extending below frost effects, not a slab on grade. Heaving of the lower soil is to be expected in winter destroying any compaction that occurred on the site work. In your area I would expect the foundations should be down at least 4 feet, possibly deeper per building code there. If you can stand heaving, as for an out building or garage, well have the slab so reinforced that it does not get all cracked up. Advice from a structural engineer might help. I usually say reinforce so that any area measuring 10 x 10 feet can span over nothing. That includes slab corners.

That sand covering may be an asset or it may be a problem later. In any case, be prepared to periodically go over the site with a bush hog set low to the ground. Also, there are chemicals you can apply to the fresh cut stems of brush that will go back and kill the underground plant remnants.

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