Need To Find A Retaining Wall Contractor? Check Their Credentials To Narrow Your Choices

Posted on: 14 July 2021

Backyards can provide an additional space for enjoying time together with your family and friends. But what if your backyard is an upward sloping hill that is too steep for a pool, playground equipment, a seating area, or a flat surface to play games? You build a retaining wall! Essentially, a retaining wall will allow you to remove the hill from your yard.

However, it's crucial for your retaining wall to only be designed by a professional civil engineer, excavated by a professional excavator, and built by a retaining wall contractor. Here's why and how you can find the professionals you need to open up your backyard. 

Hire a Retaining Wall Contractor as a Project Manager

Retaining walls are under a great deal of pressure and stress from the hydrostatic pressure that is present in the soil behind the wall. The hydrostatic pressure increases as groundwater accumulates in the soil. Too much hydrostatic pressure can cause the retaining wall to fail, which would result in a cascade of wall material and soil into your backyard and, possibly, into your home, depending on the circumstances. This is just one example of how a retaining wall can fail and is a perfect reason why you should hire only professionals to design and build your retaining wall, especially if the hill is steep. 

The work to build the retaining wall, from designing to excavating to building the wall, should be done only by trained professionals. Typically, you can hire a retaining wall contractor and they will either sub-contract the various processes to others or they will have professionals on their payroll who do them, such as designing, excavating, and building. It's ideal to hire a retaining wall contractor who will work as a project manager and coordinate everything, including hiring a civil engineer. 

Narrowing Down Your Options

Locate the names and contact information for the retaining wall contractors who serve your area. Begin by checking their credentials.

Check state and local licensing. When you're narrowing down your choices for a retaining wall contractor, you can check to see if they fulfill the licensing requirements in your state and local government, as well as federal regulations. To check local licensing requirements, contact your building code authorities in your county and municipality. Usually, the licensing number can be located on the contractor's website. Retaining wall contractors are also called hardscape landscapers, so you can use that term in your search as well. 

Check insurance. It's important to check if contractors have insurance coverage, particularly liability and workers' compensation insurance coverage. If the work will be sub-contracted out, you'll need to check to make sure the sub-contractors have insurance coverage as well. To do this, ask the contractor for their insurance information. Then, contact the insurance company to verify and request a certificate of insurance to be mailed to you. That way, should an adverse event happen, you'll have the insurance information on hand. 

Ask referrals. Ask the contractors to give you a list of referrals. Call the referrals to get their opinion on the work that was accomplished and if they would recommend the contractor. The key to this is to ask for referrals that had work completed similar to your retaining wall project. Therefore, ask for referrals after the contractor has seen your property and given you a bid. 

After you've narrowed down your choices to several options, compare the bids or estimates you receive. If you're still unsure on which contractor to hire, consult with a third-party civil engineer to get their opinion on the designs of the retaining wall of each contractor.