7.10 Manage the Construction 

Summary: 

  • choose construction options,
  • use standard contract procedures,
  • consider cost saving measures.
Plan the construction phase of trail development as carefully as the design phases. Ensure that the construction practices will meet the specifications and guidelines of the design package. Poor construction nullifies good design. Well-designed and constructed trails require far less maintenance and hence reduced operation costs. Key points to bear in mind are the length of construction season, employee safety, the management of trail contractors, and performance standards. 

7.10.1 Choose Construction Options 

Use

1. Parks Branch permanent or seasonal work crews, under the supervision of staff or a contract trail designer: 

  • staff work crews may have specialized trail building skills,
  • staff work crews are familiar with management zones and park management practices,
  • labour costs of staff may be higher.
2. Contract work crews under the supervision of staff or design contractor: 
  • capital costs may be lower if the tender is competitive, but staff liaison and supervision time may be high,
  • contract work crews may lack experience in parks or may not be familiar with the design and management intent,
3. Contract work crews under the supervision of contract supervision staff: 

4. Volunteer work crews under staff supervision. 

  • volunteers may be highly experienced and motivated to perform the work.
5. Job creation project work crews under staff supervision: 
  • work crews may lack experience in trail construction,
  • result may be uneven between projects,
7.10.2 Use Standard Contract Procedures 
  • Tender trail construction contracts well before the construction season to allow time for bidding, contract award, administrative arrangements and mobilization of trail crews.
  • Ensure competent supervision of all trail construction work. Monitor each phase of the work and check compliance with the design specifications. Record any deviations from the original design intent.
  • Choose between full time supervision or critical stage inspections. Suitable stages for inspections are after clearing, after tread preparation, after construction of bridges and other structures and substantial completion. Complete a final inspection after the work crew has remedied any deficiencies noted during the substantial completion inspection.
  • Allow for design and specification changes to accommodate site conditions.
7.10.3 Consider Cost Saving Measures 
  • Pre-cut and prefabricate all structures. Fly in materials to remote areas for assembly on site.
  • Fly in fill by helicopter if economical. One 45 gal. drum will hold .2m3 or about 700 lbs (~ 318kg) of crushed fill.
  • In remote areas, compare the cost of flying trail fill and other materials from nearby staging areas, versus hand digging at several small borrow pits in the park. A helicopter may still be needed for local transportation, so the cost of labour may well exceed the cost of doing the whole operation by helicopter. For example, even if flying time per ml is cut in half, the cost of two people digging out a m3 of fill, plus getting to and from the site could make up the difference in cost.
  • Consider economies of scale. The cost of constructing short trail sections may be cheaper if done in-house, but longer trails may be more economical if done by contract.
  • Consider splitting out certain aspects of construction to achieve cost efficiency. For example, the unit price of fill for trails could be reduced considerably if all the required fill was trucked to a staging area and transported to sites in one season's operation; even though the construction period may extend over several seasons.
  • Provide maintenance for trail rehabilitation work during the establishment period. Plant in the fall to reduce this maintenance requirement since plants are past their growing season, and would not need moisture until the spring. Snow melt moisture will reduce the need for immediate watering. If landscape rehabilitation is done in mid summer, then a crew will have to water the plants unless rainfall is adequate. Maintenance during the establishment period will increase the initial cost, yet is essential to protect the investment.