New Hampshire Chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute

Curing Pedestrian Paver Hazards
by Harold Henry, Northeast Region Technical Sales Director, Hanover Architectural Products

Your paver project has progressed from concept which involved collaboration with your client.

Materials have been selected along with means and methods for actual construction.

The project goes out for bid. At this point you may receive RFI’s looking for clarification on some details, or offering substitutions for materials and/or methods of construction.

Another possible scenario is that changes are requested shortly before work is to commence. Reasons given can range from material availability, lower material cost, less expensive methods of installation such as switching a bituminous setting bed to a sand setting bed. Many times, requests to alter the paver setting bed is a result of the awarding of the work to someone with little or no experience in the specified method of construction. That is why it is always wise to include minimum qualifications in the specification such as “installer must demonstrate___ years of experience (typically 5 years) in this method of construction”.

Obviously there are times when substitutions are required. Such as If materials are not available when needed. In most instances, this occurs because the contractor did not order the material in a timely manner. Most manufacturers are diligent about projecting lead times. Cold weather limitations can also be an issue when working with setting bed materials such as mortar or bituminous.

So, all of your time and effort in selecting a material and method of construction is called into question. I always suggest that if you specify materials  and methods of installation that you have developed specific reasons for your selections and then be prepared to defend them if and when you are challenged.

I am reminded of a project that we supplied approximately 10 years ago in North Carolina. A great deal of time was spent consulting with the landscape architect regarding type of paving materials and method of construction. The subcontractor approached the owner, who had not participated in the development of plans and specifications, and allowed the subcontractor to modify the setting bed which resulted in a failure of the paving system.

Even though the project was not built per plans and specifications and the landscape architect was not consulted regarding the changes, she was included in the lawsuit which was subsequently filed. Even though she was able to get herself excluded from the lawsuit, she still had to hire legal representation.