Well T&M Didn’t… Yet They Construct Bridges and Roadways
But in order to be sure, they spent thousands of dollars to have soil samples taken on our property in their quest for knowledge. Truth be told, even after doing so, they still don’t know.
I knew it was going to be bad when the Borough’s engineer called to inform me that they were going to have to drill soil samples to prove that the peninsula could bear the weight of our foundation. Samples to help them “calculate” the width of our footings. Oh my — very impressive. But, is this really necessary for a single family home? Or, can one just make these impressive calculations based on existing scientific reference and experience?
Well, the day prior to the “Drilling,” I asked the engineer exactly where and how many samples they would be taking? She informed me that they would need at least two samples from diagonal corners of the lot. When I questioned how they would get the coring machine into the corners of the lot — as any diagonal corners were covered with structures — she stated that it would not be a problem. Pressing further on the issue, I informed her that in order obtain what she was asking for, they would have to receive permission from the neighbors to access their lots. Her reply was, that it’s not her concern “it’s a government project and they will have to allow it.” As if we didn’t already have enough problems with our neighbors, just because we bought a house that they had been hating on for years. So, now I was VERY AFRAID!
When the coring company showed up, they laughed at the engineer’s requested locations for soil testing — instructing them to take the samples in areas where their machine wouldn’t even fit. So then after some discussion, I removed sections of our fence in order for them to access the front and back of our side yard. Oh no, we should have been stopped! We just used logic in Sea Bright, where it is forbidden to do so by the local government.
Fast forward to 10 hours, broken coring bits, a plethora of curse words, the soil testing company finally gave up. Unable to reach the depth specified by the engineer, because the compacted Quaternary Period sand was too tough for their machine, eating their coring bits. Would you believe the soil beneath our house matches exactly what the USGS, NJGS and Rutgers reference materials describe? So guess what? We ended up with footings of standard width and depth for the area. Information that was readily available to use for their calculations, was ignored. Therefore, the incomplete testing yielded the logical results: We “really” are sitting on compacted sand! But it was educational to see potentially thousand year-old mollusc shells.
Not to knock the need for soil testing to design foundations, but everything has its logical place. This was complete overkill for our project and was one more avenue of waste. If everyone involved in government projects didn’t spend so much money on CYA proofs, attempting to fend off potential litigation of their failures, think how far the money could actually go. Projects like this one are defined by CBAs (Cost Benefit Analysis). You really have to be respectful of what provides an actual benefit.
This was the equivalent of a doctor ordering an MRI of a patient’s skull at the onset of a headache, just to be sure he could prescribe the patient, aspirin.
Human beings will generally exercise power when they get it, and they will exercise it most undoubtedly in popular governments under pretense of public safety.Daniel Webster