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  1. #1
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    May. 22, 2003
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    Default Type of contractor needed for outdoor arena construction? (NC)

    We are gearing up to build our outdoor arena from scratch. I want to start talking to different contractors -- but exactly what type of contractor do I need to look for? Ideally, I'd like someone who can do everything except fence it in -- essentially need someone to do the grading, drains, and compacting the sub-base and base, arrange for materials, etc. I plan to ask if they have experience doing riding arenas, but I need somewhere to start. Do I look for contractors who specializing in excavation / grading / site prep and roads?

    If anyone has specific recommendations for someone who does this in the southwest area of NC (or the Charlotte area), please let me know. I do have one recommendation from a COTHer on my list so far, but would appreciate others, too.

    And yes, I do have the USDF booklet, Underfoot.



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov. 6, 2002
    Location
    Henrico, NC 36 30'50.49" N 77 50'17.47" W
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    Call World Tractor and ask if they have any recommendations. They probably know all of them in your area. They probably won't want to answer the question, but may give some advice and a starting place.

    World Tractor & Equipment Company, LLC
    10600 Nations Ford Road
    Charlotte, NC 28273 USA
    PH: (704) 544-7740
    FX: (704) 544-7616



  3. #3
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    Mar. 26, 2005
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    Back to Normal.. or as close as I'll ever get
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    I went with the excavator who put in my septic system. He did both pads for barn & indoor. Also brought in the base & final sand footing for the arena, crusher-run for barn & stalls.

    The one FBI (barn builders) recommended was not returning their calls.

    This guy was the Da Vinci of excavators, took him weeks to level to his satisfaction, but it paid off.

    He had never done an arena, but took the time to read my copy of Underfoot & look up a local guy with an indoor so he could get the sand I wanted.
    He even brought me a bucket of that guy's arena sand for my approval.
    6 years later floor in barn & arena both serve my needs & no problems with drainage or footing.

    Like TK suggests, contact local agency and/or talk to people in your area who have existing arenas for referrals.
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009, Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009
    Sam(Jaybee Altair) 1994-2015



  4. #4
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    May. 21, 2009
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    NC
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    Good for your contractor! I don't have a great arena, esp. now that I let weeds take control over the summer, but I used my local grading/excavator guy and was pleased. I studied the Under Foot book too and knew what I wanted when I talked with my guy. He had done enough work in the area to understand what I needed done and also had done a few rings in the area, not dressage though, and so he listened and learned too :-). I don't like the ring as it is small arena size...I prefer the standard size, but I don't have enough space without sacrificing more pasture. I need to add sand this year as well....but my sub base/base is great!



  5. #5
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    Oct. 14, 2010
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    SE Pa
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    Default

    I was curious what is the under foot book you are referring to?

    thanks



  6. #6
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    Nov. 6, 2002
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    Henrico, NC 36 30'50.49" N 77 50'17.47" W
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  7. #7
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    Mar. 24, 2007
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    I would use some specialized in road construction.....we had a paving company put in our ring.

    Dalemma



  8. #8
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    May. 21, 2004
    Location
    N. TX...just N.East of paradise...
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    IDK but I started a thread on wondering what it cost folks to put an arena in. I'd love to know at the end what it did cost ya, if you don't mind sharing...
    "As a rule we disbelieve all the facts and theories for which we have no use."- William James
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Proud member of the Wheat Loss Clique.



  9. #9
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    Apr. 11, 2001
    Location
    Tennessee
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalemma View Post
    I would use some specialized in road construction.....we had a paving company put in our ring.
    I'm going to use the same guy that did the digging and excavating for our house that is under construction. He also has extensive experience building parking lots and access roads for utility companies--these are roads that go through private property that are finished with grass over them so they aren't noticeable, but will hold up to the traffic of very large vehicles in wet weather. I've been told that these guys really understand what "hard" means when you're talking about subsurfaces.



  10. #10
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    May. 22, 2003
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    Default

    Thank you all so much. I really appreciate it.



  11. #11
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    Dec. 13, 1999
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    Greensboro, NC
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dalemma View Post
    I would use some specialized in road construction.....we had a paving company put in our ring.

    Dalemma
    The guy I used does just that - paving. But he also has the added bonus of having done more than a few rings as well. He TOTALLY understood the importance of NOT having any low spots.

    The first guys I hired, and eventually fired, said they did roads too, as well as building pads. They obviously did NOT understand the importance of not having low spots They were also the guys I fired
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  12. #12
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    May. 22, 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    The guy I used does just that - paving. But he also has the added bonus of having done more than a few rings as well. He TOTALLY understood the importance of NOT having any low spots.

    The first guys I hired, and eventually fired, said they did roads too, as well as building pads. They obviously did NOT understand the importance of not having low spots They were also the guys I fired
    I am going to be calling your guy first, by the way.



  13. #13
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    Dec. 13, 1999
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    Greensboro, NC
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    I hope he can help you!
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  14. #14
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    Mar. 24, 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    The guy I used does just that - paving. But he also has the added bonus of having done more than a few rings as well. He TOTALLY understood the importance of NOT having any low spots.

    The first guys I hired, and eventually fired, said they did roads too, as well as building pads. They obviously did NOT understand the importance of not having low spots They were also the guys I fired
    Mine had also done several rings and understood exactly what I needed plus they had the best laser grader operator in the area.

    Dalemma



  15. #15
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    Dec. 13, 1999
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    Greensboro, NC
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    I'll add - I know it CAN be done without one, but it takes a very, very patient operator who truly understands what he's doing to grade a ring with anything but a motor grader. I DO know people who have beautiful rings done with a bulldozer.

    So be very picky about what equipment is used. I knew a MG should have been used, but my first guys insisted they could to it all with dozers and bobcats and surveyor's equipment, and I believed them, 'cause after all, they'd done roads! But GAH what a mess they made!

    So yeah, unless you have a really, REALLY good reason not to, insist a motor grader is used. My first guys said the job wasn't big enough to warrant one
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    I'll add - I know it CAN be done without one, but it takes a very, very patient operator who truly understands what he's doing to grade a ring with anything but a motor grader. I DO know people who have beautiful rings done with a bulldozer.

    So be very picky about what equipment is used. I knew a MG should have been used, but my first guys insisted they could to it all with dozers and bobcats and surveyor's equipment, and I believed them, 'cause after all, they'd done roads! But GAH what a mess they made!

    So yeah, unless you have a really, REALLY good reason not to, insist a motor grader is used. My first guys said the job wasn't big enough to warrant one :rolleyes:
    Well in my opinion having a lazer grader is much quicker....we did ours in a one 12 hour day.........it comes down to how many days do you want to spend on a lesser piece of equipement ......it should do the same job for a cheaper price if not you should be looking at what makes the job go quicker and easier.......after all isn't that how contractors make their money.......by getting in and out (and doing a good) and moving on to the next job.....no point in spinning your wheels.

    I know when we do a job.....we look at what equipment bests fits that job........it seems to me lazer graders are extremely well suited to building rings.......why would you use a different piece of equipement that would take you days to get the same results that you could get in done in one day with the grader. 12 hours cost me $1200.00.

    Dalemma



  17. #17
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    Maybe we're talking about the same thing? Can't a motor grader also be laser?
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    Maybe we're talking about the same thing? Can't a motor grader also be laser?
    I don't know JB.......its possible they are the same thing? I'm not sure what you mean by motor grader? I know the lazer grader eliminates the need for a transit.....as the lazer is what determines the slope and keeps it consistent......but the machine is only as good as its operator.

    Dalemma



  19. #19
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    Mar. 24, 2007
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    JB .....I googled motor grader then lazer grader......basically a motor grader has a motor ........a lazer grader can be several different types of machine set up with attached lazers or built in lazers which allows you to get with 1/8" of being level.

    The lazer grader we used was one of the big ones you see building highways..........I see from googling there are much smaller ones.

    If you do a google I think you will understand the difference.

    Dalemma



  20. #20
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    Nov. 6, 2002
    Location
    Henrico, NC 36 30'50.49" N 77 50'17.47" W
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    Laser controls are available even for some Bobcat attachments. Laser levels are good if you want something flat.

    Our dressage ring has a 5" crown in the middle, just like I wanted, so we have one level 20 meter circle. It could not have been done with any kind of laser control on a machine that I know anything about, or certainly no one around here has one.

    Here's a few simple rules that can be passed along to a Heavy Equipment Contractor about building a ring.


    1.Any fill has to be compacted. Any fill needed has to be packed for every few inches of fill just like building a pad for a building on a slab.

    2. The base needs to be graded so it sheds water. This can either be a slope or a crown. You do not want ANY sized spot to hold a spoonful of water. It will just get bigger, softer and deeper.

    3. Any surface water needs to drain away from the whole arena. No spot can hold any water.

    4. Surface water ABSOLUTELY CANNOT cross any part of the surface at any time. Not only does it need to be graded to shed water, but some provision has to be made to carry it away.

    5. I've known some operators for all sorts of equipment that can do wonders with what they have operated for years, but no one can work magic without the proper piece for any part of the job. Do any immediate pass on anyone who tells you that you don't need a motor grader. Anyone capable of doing what you want for this job will have one.

    6. Required equipment, with good operators, includes a Motor Grader, and at least a 20 ton Vibratory Roller. The roller might need to be brought in by a paving contractor-bigger is better. If any fill is needed you need either a dedicated packer or a big sheepsfoot roller behind a 150 hp tractor. Whatever is used to move dirt, like a dozer or a pan, doesn't matter, BUT you don't want a shovel full of dirt cut off too much and have to refill.

    7. All this requires good, big equipment with very good, experienced operators. No piece of equipment is worth it's cost without a good operator in the seat.

    8. reread #3.

    This is just for the sub base that's under everything else.

    Footing needs to be the same depth all over. This is not something that anyone I know can do from the seat of a tractor or grader unless it's a laser guded machine over a flat laser guided base. I made a "paver" by welding some big angle iron skiis on the sides of a box blade, leaving the right footing depth under the blade (the big spot welds were ground off to put the box back to being a box after the job-no big deal). This was operated just like a paver, with another loader keeping the box full. Tracks left for the skiis were filled in by shovels from a loader bucket.



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