The task of clearing land jobs can be arduous, with rugged terrain, remote job sites, and tight deadlines being common challenges. However, the difficulties begin well before the actual clearing process.
Bidding for a land clearing job
The bidding process for such jobs can be complex, as contractors need a comprehensive understanding of the job requirements to submit the best possible bid.
This entails gathering information on various aspects of the project, leading to a myriad of questions. According to Jeff Bradley, Recycling & Forestry product manager at Vermeer, if there were only three considerations, the job of bidding for land-clearing projects would be much simpler.
Instead, contractors need to consider various factors such as project deadlines, location and size of the area to be cleared, topography, regulations, labor requirements, and material disposal, among others.
Sometimes, bid documents do not contain all the necessary information. As a result, even experienced contractors need to be aware of the specific questions they should ask to obtain the required answers.
The contents of the request for proposal (RFP) can vary depending on the project. Therefore, contractors must sometimes conduct research to gather enough information to bid on the job and minimize their risks, according to Bradley.
The most crucial factor to consider is always the deadline, especially in land-clearing jobs where timelines are often short and inflexible. This is because many other construction activities depend on the land being prepared first. Any delays in land clearing can cause setbacks for everyone involved.
Bradley notes that for pipeline owners, meeting the timeline is usually their top priority, and failure to meet it can stall the installation of other parts of the project.
However, many variables can affect the timeline. Therefore, successful contractors often have contingency plans in place to prepare for unforeseen circumstances, and this is a crucial factor that they consider when creating their bids.
Contractors often have contingency plans in place to minimize project delays, such as keeping extra machine parts on hand, including wear items like mulcher head tips for forestry mulchers.
Other plans may include backup equipment and accounting for weather-related delays. However, it is crucial not to ignore machine maintenance during the project.
Even though tight deadlines may create the temptation to delay maintenance, doing so can cause the project to fall behind schedule.
When creating a bid, it is essential to consider the availability of local support.
According to Bradley, having a network of dealers to support their machines is critical. If an issue arises, the local dealer can quickly get the machine back to work, enabling the project to remain on target with its schedule.
Topography is a significant factor to consider when bidding on a job as it affects the job’s duration, the equipment used, and the type of tracks or tires required.
For instance, tracks are typically better on hills with a forestry mulcher due to the improved traction.
If a job requires road crossings, additional time and costs for planking the track equipment across the roadway or loading it onto a truck must be considered. However, a contractor’s limited fleet of equipment may limit their options, impacting the bid.
A thick and heavy brush can create visibility issues while clearing large trees can be challenging due to the need to remove and haul them offsite.
Having a good relationship with a robust dealer network can help, especially when bidding on a job in an unfamiliar area.
Other important site-related factors to consider when bidding on a project include the site’s size, location, and the kind of access available.
Contractors should be familiar with regulations that could affect their work. One of the most significant trends is the increasing restrictions on the traditional pile-and-burn method for environmental and safety reasons.
Local governments are also taking action to reduce the impact of burning debris, which is not popular with the public, including landowners along the pipeline route.
Regulations on soil disturbance, runoff, and environmental impact are also increasingly common, implemented by governments or pipeline owners themselves.
Machinery choice is critical to ground disturbance and ground pressure, and contractors should consider this when bidding on a job.
The use of forestry mulchers in land-clearing jobs has increased due to these trends. Forestry mulchers on tracks are a more environmentally friendly option with less ground disturbance.
Moreover, the processed material provides ground cover along the pipeline route, leading to less soil erosion. Contractors have realized the efficiency and less ground disturbance of forestry mulchers, leading to their mainstream usage.
The process of bidding on a land-clearing job requires considering a multitude of factors, with deadlines, topography, regulations, labor, and material disposal being just a few.
The timeline for land clearing is critical to ensure that construction activity can proceed, and successful contractors have contingency plans in place for unexpected events.