ADA compliance for parking lots

Parking lot compliance, according to the regulations set forth in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), is more important now than ever before. Not only is lack of compliant ADA parking designations or truncated warning domes, for example, considered a liability which may result in personal injury, but it is also in direct violation of the law.

It is a misconception that buildings older than 1990 are grandfathered, and do not have to comply with the requirements of the ADA. This is not true. In fact, all building owners are mandated (as of March 15, 2012) to comply with Title III of the ADA, which specifically requires the removal of any and all barriers to entry in order to guarantee that persons with disabilities are provided accommodations and access equal to the general public into commercial facilities and areas of public accommodation. Building owners, facility managers, and even landlords can be jointly liable for violations including not adhering to “path of travel” standards, incorrectly constructing curb ramps, and excessive slope in ADA parking spaces.

What can you do? Don’t get caught on a “slippery slope” when it comes to your parking lots. If you own or manage properties that fit into either category—public accommodation or commercial facility—you are responsible for ensuring that your parking lots comply with the ADA regulations.

What to expect in a proposal from a contractor that is going to work on your property.

Any reputable contractor doing work on your house or property will provide you with a written proposal for the work requested. Proposals can look different from company to company but they should have essentially the same information.

  • The names and address of both the contractor and the homeowner.
  • The scope of work. This should be as detailed as possible.
  • The cost of the work.
  • Payment terms. Example: 1/2 upon signing contract, 1/2 upon completion or Net
  • Warranty period: One year is typical on labor and materials

It is not uncommon for proposals to contain additional information. When reviewing  proposals make sure to compare apples to apples. Do your home work on any contractor working on your property and always ask for proof of insurance before the work begins.

Please feel free to call upon us to provide a written proposal for your next project @ 203.943.0584

How to care for your asphalt driveway...

Asphalt driveway require the least amount of maintenance compared to; gravel driveways, oil & stone driveways, or interlocking pacers. 

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Asphalt driveways are basically maintenance free, but to keep them looking their best we recommend the following procedure :

1. Broom clean or blow any loose debris from the driveway. If you have a permeable asphalt driveway you should probably vacuum it to remove any sand on debis that could impede the water draining through the asphalt. 

2. Soak the driveway with a garden hose and generously pour powder laundry detergent on any oil spots or stains. Allow the detergent to sit for 10-15 minutes then with a stiff scrubbing brush prefereith a long handle scrub the stains.  

3. Rinse the driveway with a hose or a power washer. DO NOT use tips with less that a 40 degree angle. Keep the wand approximately 2 ft. away from the pavement and work from one side to the other than back. 

This method will not completely remove oil stains but should make them less noticeable. When any petroleum products get on asphalt the most important this is absorb them up as quickly as possible. Kitty litter or speedy dry work well. With a little maintenance your asphalt driveway should be looking great for years to come. If your driveway is beyond cleaning give us a call so we can give you a detailed estimate on how much it will be to replace it with a new driveway. 

Will I have to pay "Sales Tax" on my driveway project??

Like most things when dealing with the State on Connecticut it is not a simply  "Yes" or "No" answer.

This is from the Building Contractors' Guide to Sales and Use Tax

Paving(See also Maintenance Services to Real Property)

Paving involves covering the ground with a hard smooth surface such as:

  •   asphalt macadam
  •   poured concrete tar

Paving includes the replacement of sections or the complete repaving of

  •  basketball courts tennis courts
  • driveways walks
  • parking areas

Paving does not include covering driveways, parking areas, and walks with materials such as crushed stone, crushed stone with oil, or gravel. However, these services are taxable when rendered to existing commercial, industrial, and income-producing property.

Paving services do include all preparatory work, where performed as part of the entire job, as well as the subsequent sealing or dressing of the pavement.

Initial Installation

Materials: The paving contractor pays tax on all purchases of materials including:

  • asphalt macadam
  • concrete tar

Labor: The contractor does not charge tax when a driveway, parking lot, or walk is paved for the first time. Therefore, if the contractor is putting in a driveway, parking lot, or walkway at a new construction site or paving for the first time an existing driveway, parking lot, or walkway originally constructed of dirt, loose stone, or gravel, the labor is not subject to tax on:

  •  New construction
  •  Owner-occupied residential property
  •  Existing commercial property
  •  Existing industrial property
  •  Existing income-producing property

Repair or Replacement (of an existing paved driveway, parking lot, or walkway)

Materials: The paving contractor pays tax on all materials purchased to repair or replace an existing paved driveway, parking lot, walkway, basketball court, or tennis court.

Labor: The contractor must charge tax on the labor to repair or replace existing pavement on:

  •  New construction of commercial, industrial, and
  •  Income-producing real property
  • Existing commercial property
  • Existing industrial property
  • Existing income-producing property

The contractor does not charge tax on the labor to repair or replace existing pavement on:

  • Owner-occupied residential property.

If you have any other question please feel free to call on our professional staff.

Why not to seal your driveway!

Is sealing your driveway worth the time, effort and expense.

For a homeowner in my opinion "No"

Sealing companies will tell you that it protects your driveway from:

  • Water penetration
  • UV rays
  • Weather
  • Chemicals

1. If a driveway is installed with the proper pitch ( 1 inch for every 8 feet) water should drain off your driveway. The asphalt emulsion that binds the stones and sand together is not water soluble and will not wash away.

2. UV rays do break down asphalt. If you look  closely at asphalt what do you see? Depending on how old the asphalt is you will see varying sizes of stone and sand and asphalt emultion that binds all of this together. Class II asphalt has only 5.8% - 5.9 % asphalt emulation in it. When the asphalt is brand new the stones and sand have a thin coating of asphalt, that is why fresh asphalt is so black.  As it is exposed to traffic and UV rays it breaks down. I don't know how driveway sealer which is made of asphalt emulsion protects the asphalt under it. What ends up happening is the sealer breaks down over time becomes faded and cracks or wears off, hence leading to another coat of sealer being applied. It is like an annuity for sealing companies. Keeps you coming back every two years or so. 

3. Weather is driveways biggest enemy, especially frost and thaw cycles. Driveway seal cannot stop Mother Nature. In late winter early spring the asphalt pavement heaves with the frost and cracks open. When the asphalt gets older and more brittle it cracks more leading to failure. Unfortunately the driveway sealers do not have the ability to span these cracks. 

4. Chemicals, some chemicals can damage asphalt, especially petroleum products. At the least they stain the asphalt and over an extended period they break down the bond between the asphalt emultion and the aggregate. So if you have a car that leaks oil all the time, operate a gas station, convenience store or auto parts store, I would recommend driveway sealer to protect the pavement, but for the a homeowner I would not.

If sealing really extends a paved surfaces life, then why does the State of Conneticut and the local municipalities not seal their roads or parking lots ?? Hummm... 

Why "Resurfacing" might be the wrong scope of work for your driveway.

Why "Resurfacing" might be the wrong scope of work for your driveway.

So your driveway is not looking so good and you have been putting off paving and the time has come that you start to make some calls. How to choose the companies to call is a topic for a future blog, but what choosing the proper scope of work is what this will be about.

Resurfacing Your Driveway

So if your driveway has some cracks here and there "Resurfacing" might be a good option. If your driveway has plenty of pitch and it only has to be flush with the garage. When a driveway is "Resurfaced" We remove a section of the existing driveway in front of the garage. We look for any evidence of rocks being pushed up by frost. Generally a protrusion pushing the asphalt up about one foot in diameter. If any we remove cut around them and remove the stone and compact the material and patch the asphalt. A wedge of asphalt is placed from the existing asphalt to the base material. Then a coat of asphalt is placed over the entire driveway and compacted.

Ripping Out, Grading and Paving Your Driveway

If your driveway has many cracks we some times refer to this as "Alligatored" and any reputable contractor should not recommend resurfacing, maybe it even has potholes. It might be tempting to resurface from a financial point of view because it can be up to half the cost, but the fact is no matter how much asphalt is installed on top of it the cracks will come thru very quickly. It will look good when completed but will not stand up to the test of time and could crack in a year or two depending on how severe the coming winters frost and thaw cycles are. The correct scope of work for a driveway like this is to completely remove the existing asphalt, compact the existing base material. Fine grade using processed aggregate and compact again. Then install the asphalt and compact a final time.

Hopefully this information will help you choose the right scope for your driveway. As always feel free to call us at 203.943.0584  to have us come out and give you our expert opinion and a detailed proposal. If you have found it helpful please let us know in our comments section.

"Alligatored" asphalt is easiest to spot after it has rained

"Alligatored" asphalt is easiest to spot after it has rained

What you need to know about polymeteic sand when having paver driveway installed.

When installing a paver driveway you:

Layout

Excavate

Compact

Rough grade base material

Compacting again

Fine grade

Compact again,

Screed the sand

Compact one last time

Laying the pavers 

and... 

the last step has changed over the years. Years ago you would sweep fine sand in the joints and compact with a plate compactor, repeat, and then hose down the area and touch up any areas where gaps were present .

Normal  sand can be displaced by erosion or believe it or not ants and can support weed growth. 

To combat these factors polymetric ic sand was invented. The only thing polymetric sand and common mason sand have in common is the basic size of the sand. Polymetric sand comes in a variety of colors, mason sand only one. Polymetric sand has polomers that when mixed with water are activated and when installed properly make a bronding agent that prevents erosion, ants and weed growth. Plus the different colors can really put the finishing touches on your project. 

To make sure you get the greatest return on tour investment make sure you choose a reputable contractor that is not willing to cut corners and is going to install quality product.

Give us a call and we will make sure your project is something that both of us can be proud of. 

A driveway in Darien, CT with a parking area that has polymetric sand  to prevent erosion. 

A driveway in Darien, CT with a parking area that has polymetric sand  to prevent erosion. 

 

 

Polymetric sand was used on a Belgium block apron in Wilton CT and can be used on othermasonary accents like flagstone walkways. 

Polymetric sand was used on a Belgium block apron in Wilton CT and can be used on othermasonary accents like flagstone walkways. 

 

Congratulations to Richard Bergmann For His Award On " Bend-in-the-Road-Landscape"

We are proud to have work on this project with Dick. The reason why I like it so much is that everything that was done matches the houses original character and comes together so well. 

Our scope of the work was to remove the old driveway, excavate for the installation of the conduits to bury the electrical service, install drainage structures and pipe, excavate for the new configured driveway, install the Belgium block curbing and aprons and circular accent, pave the driveway and then after a curing period we came back and installed oil & stone with native stone.

The only thing that surprises me about the design is that it has not received more awards.

"Congrats Dick!"

Oil & Stone Driveway in Darien CT with Belgium block aprons, curbing, accent and stone pillars