After many emails and several phone conversations, we have concrete information about the retaining wall. First, a reminder that the wall was inspected in 2012. The report explained that the wall was nearing the end of its effective life cycle (10 years) and that failures of the wall would likely begin within the next 2-5 years. The most compromised area, the northwest wall, failed in 2003 and was rebuilt with railroad ties. We definitely do not want to have this happen again, so now is the time to build a sturdy, long-lasting retaining wall.
When we began to solicit bids from contractors, Cheryl Hurst (former secretary/treasurer and a landscape engineer) agreed to be the contact person concerning the project. Unfortunately, the previous contractors interested in bidding declined, but she was able to use their reports as a basis for estimating the cost of a phased approach. The 2014 Special Assessment ($3600) was based in part on what Bob McCrainie (former president) reported at the March 2012 meeting after discussing the wall with Knight Erosion Control. Finally, Cheryl was able to contact Glenn Campbell who reached out to two contractors willing to take the project. The design would feature a soil nail wall, like highway retaining walls, instead of railroad ties.
In September 2014, Glenn Campbell attended a board meeting to present the progress of the design and further adapt it to help us phase out the wall construction. The design was completed in November 2014 and submitted to the contractors for bidding.
By the December meeting, we received the OPCC (Opinion of Probable Costs) from Glenn Campbell, but we still had several questions for the contractors. The board received bids from the contractors on February 7th before the February 8th meeting. Unfortunately, a more incremental, phased approach could not be achieved due to mobilization costs, etc., which are very expensive. Also, the main entrance wall (southwest), the long wall facing Dallas Drive (west), the back entrance (northwest), and the short wall on the left side of the back entrance (northeast) are all soil nail walls. Therefore, it makes more sense to construct them at the same time. In addition, phasing the long west wall into two parts is not an option because a seam could compromise the integrity of the wall.
The Board chose Oscar Orduno, Inc., Specialty Contracting, because the bid was lower than the other contractor. Still, to construct the walls described above, the cost is significantly higher than we expected: $290,000 (approximately) instead of around $150,000. Then, a few days before the annual meeting on Sunday, February 22, 2015, we learned that Orduno, Inc., could begin the project as early as March 2, and that the project would take around 5-6 weeks. Usually the final payment is due within 2-3 weeks of receiving an invoice, so we would need to be ready to pay by April, latest May. Also, the bid only lasts 30 days, which is customary. If we do not take this slot, they may not be able to get to us until well after summer.
After talking with Orduno, Inc., and after an on-sight meeting Friday, February 27, the Board decided to construct the soil nail wall without the architectural fascia (the rock facing) to bring down the cost. Orduno, Inc., will come back later to complete the facing. Nevertheless, the cost is still around $220,000 which means we need at least $70,000 on top of the $150,000 of the 2014 Special Assessment–assuming all the assessments are paid in full by April, latest May. Each unit would pay an added 2015 Special Assessment of $1900 because we want to have money on hand for contingencies. The remaining $70,000 for the aesthetics will be raised over a longer period of time to be determined later.
The Board would like to accept this bid by Wednesday, March 4, to begin construction by Monday, March 16. We should not wait any longer because the wall, especially the northwest entrance corner, is rapidly eroding. Spring/summer moisture and heat could structurally compromise the wall and further neglect could exasperate degradation. In short, the wall could fail again as it did in 2003, and paying for failure and resultant damage to units would undoubtedly cost more than our current burden.
We have submitted a loan application to Capital One to help raise the funds for this project; however, confirmation is pending, and we may not be approved. Therefore, we are asking all homeowners to pay the 2014 assessment in full and the $1900, 2015 assessment by May 31, 2015. For added incentive, homeowners who pay in full by May 31, 2015, can reduce the 2015 Special Assessment to $1700.
We understand the financial burden for all of us, including members of the Timberidge HOA Board of Directors; however, it is our responsibility as a community to protect our investments for current and future homeowners and the safety of our tenants. Since we need to move quickly, we ask that everyone complete the Google form below by Tuesday, March, 3,2015, telling the THOA Board of Directors how you plan to pay. Your responses will not be viewed by anyone other than the THOA Board and Acclaim Management.
Thank you, and we appreciate your prompt responses. – Timberidge HOA