Designing a box culvert

When we tell people about our culvert, they cannot possibly understand what we are talking about.  If you even KNOW what a culvert is, then you typically picture the round concrete pipe that the driveway goes over.

Ours is a very special culvert.

Just a review of our timeline…We bought our property mid-January.  By mid-March we were about to sell off our dream because we could not figure out how to gain access to our land without spending 40K+ on a culvert.  In a desperate plea on Facebook one day, I posted a picture of a small concrete bridge and asked if anyone knew of someone that could build it.  Henry answered that he could do it.

We took a chance.  Would we do it again the same way? NO WAY.  But we learned a lot and so did Henry.  We made some major mistakes, but it is only money right???  You cannot die with it.  We spent more than we should have, but we still came in under 20K for the culvert.

Lessons learned:

  • Get the contract in writing…every single detail.  How much money, exactly what materials and a DATE.OF.COMPLETION.
  • If there is a change order, make sure it is in writing.
  • Do research BEFORE agreeing to additional purchases. Henry used a structural engineer to design the culvert and it cost the same as our engineered house plans!  We were told after the fact what we owed the engineer.  YIKES!
  • Pay NOTHING up front.  If they are a professional, they will get started without having to buy materials.
  • Pay in chunks.  We paid too much along the way, and ended up getting screwed at the end.
  • Be present as much as possible.  It was not until the culvert washed away that we found out Henry did not use stabilized sand and we had to re-fill the sides.
  • Get everything in writing.
  • Get everything in writing.