Asphalt Maintenance [Jan-Feb 2022 Community Associations Journal]
Find asphalt professionals in the WSCAI Business Directory.
Elements of an Asphalt Maintenance Assessment
- Crack fill. How many linear feet of cracks – with a width greater than ¼ of an inch – are in the parking lot? You need linear feet so that when you go to bid, everyone bids the exact same thing.
- Quantity of raised concrete edges. This occurs when the concrete sidewalk panels are raised, typically, from tree roots creating a trip hazard. You should grind these down or replace them if the concrete is raised too high.
- Linear footage of curbs that must be painted.
- Linear footage of broken curbs that must be replaced.
- Number of stencils on curbs and what the stencils say. For example: “No Parking. Fire Lane.”
- Number of hash marks, stalls, handicapped stencils, arrows, etc. This helps the contractor know the exact amount of striping to propose.
- Identify all areas that are alligatoring in the parking lot. Create a map, then number the map and correlate the map with pictures to ensure you know exactly where each area of failed asphalt lives. Then, mark each picture with a red box or circle and provide the square footage; this way, each contractor bids the exact same space. For areas damaged by tree roots, simply mark them as RR (root removal) on the map and photos to ensure all areas are properly identified.
- Finally, create an overview site map. Google Earth is a helpful tool that shows the exact square footage of the entire parking lot. A site map is necessary to ensure accurate area measurements for seal coating.
Provide a map identifying each area of failed asphalt, noting square footage. This way, each contractor bids the exact same space.
Identifying Needed Materials
High Strength Concrete
Curbs and concrete should be poured with high strength concrete. This concrete should be 4000 PSI mixed with a 6-sack mix. This gives you a very strong concrete that is less likely to crack and fail.
How many linear feet of cracks – with a width greater than ¼ of an inch – are in the parking lot? You need linear feet so that when you go to bid, everyone bids the exact same thing.
When it comes to seal coating, we recommend two coats of Armor Seal A 100 HD, or similar. This is a heavy-duty commercial grade product. Make sure that technicians install two coats and communicate this requirement up front. Otherwise, contractors may dilute the product with water or only apply one coat, which will significantly lessen how long the seal coat will last. With two coats, the application should last 5-7 years.
We recommend direct fire crack filler from Armor Seal or similar. This is very important, and it is recommended that this be done annually. Crack filler prevents surface water from getting to the substrate soil. To see how this could be a problem, picture what happens when you put a soda can in the freezer. It expands and ultimately explodes. Similarly, water gets under the asphalt through cracks and then as the ground temperature drops below freezing, the water under the asphalt freezes and expands creating more cracks, more damage, and more money in costly asphalt repairs. Sealing these cracks in the parking lot helps prevent this costly damage from occurring.
Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA)
For any and all new paving or patching, be sure to use Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA). We currently consider HMA the best because it cools very quickly, which allows for quick vehicle access after the work has been completed. HMA is also the most durable grade of asphalt, and because of this, it’s used on most high traffic roads and freeways. Never allow any type of cold mix asphalt application. Cold mixes will flake out and fail.
If the lot is in such bad condition that it must be completely replaced, we recommend a mill and pave option. Milling is where the asphalt contractor comes in with a milling machine and grinds and compacts the existing asphalt and hauls off the grindings. If, for example, a parking lot is 4 inches thick, the contractor may mill off 2.5 inches. Once the milling is complete, the remaining asphalt receives new tack and a fresh, smooth, HMA application. We believe that this process yields the best results for community associations.
Achieving High Quality Bids
Now that you understand the types of materials used in asphalt maintenance, you can create a bid request. Firstly, perform a pre-bid site walk in order to get the most competitive cost. A site walk helps all bidding contractors identify the exact deliverables to include in the Request for Proposal (RFP). As a result, everyone will be on the same page bidding apples to apples.
After the pre-bid site walk, provide contractors with bid sheets so that all bids are submitted on the same form. These bid sheets should include expected timelines and payment terms. By having the same bid sheet, you maintain control of the bidding process and therefore receive higher quality bids.
Asphalt Maintenance Contract Terms
Once a contractor is selected to perform the work, the association’s legal counsel should review and provide recommended changes prior to both parties signing the final agreement. This will help avoid the risk of agreeing to terms you did not intend or worse, terms that may negatively impact the association in the long run.
After both parties have signed the final contract, the contractor should list the association as additionally insured on the contractor’s insurance and provide copies of their W-9, current license, and current contractor bond in place. Verify that a contractor is bonded and licensed in Washington State. Consequently, this initial due diligence will go a long way if issues arise with that contractor during or after the asphalt maintenance project is complete.
The All-Important Project Schedule
Ultimately, project logistics and management will be key to the association’s success for any asphalt maintenance project. And in our opinion, it starts with the schedule.
Example Asphalt Maintenance Schedule
Three Weeks Out — Send both email and standard mail notices to all association owners. Include parking options, access, and vehicle movement requirements.
Two Weeks Prior to Start Date — Send a follow-up email and post notices of asphalt and concrete work and schedule at all mailboxes, cabanas, courts, gym areas, etc.
One Week Prior to Start Date — Send a second follow-up email to all owners reminding them of the asphalt maintenance project.
Two Days Prior to Start — Place flyers in all doors reminding all residents of the time that all cars need to be removed from the lot to ensure that the asphalt maintenance work can be done.
Night Before — Place cones to block off all work areas, staging areas, and otherwise prepare for the work to begin.
Asphalt Maintenance Work Starts
First Morning — Make sure all cars are clear from the lot; knock on doors if any cars remain. If necessary, be ready to have any cars left in the lot to be towed so delays can be avoided. Do a final check and start work.
Day One — Remove and replace all damaged asphalt. All patch work is typically done this first day.
Day Two —
- Sweep the parking lot of all debris and pressure wash where necessary.
- Crack seal the parking lot.
- Seal coat one half of the parking lot. To ensure community members don’t walk or drive through the wet seal coat, make sure that the lot is completely coned and taped off. Post notices of asphalt maintenance around the taped perimeter.
Day Three — Seal coat the other half of the parking lot. Like before, make sure to cone and tape off the lot to prevent unwanted traction through the wet seal coat.
Day Four — Stripe the parking lot. Perform final clean up and walk the site with the community association manager.
Prepare Backup Plans
This is a basic schedule. It is important to have a detailed schedule, backup schedule for weather delays, a tow truck on site, and the pre-project notifications described above so your asphalt initiative goes as planned. With the proper pre planning and organization, the association can avoid most of the issues that plague parking lot asphalt projects.
Get Asphalt Maintenance Right the First Time
Lastly, ensure that your team understands the process and works with a reliable asphalt contractor. Take the time to do things right and prepare the association and your community for the very best outcome. Be prepared and do it right the first time!
Dave has been in the construction industry for over 20 years and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the forefront of the business. His experience is not just in construction. Dave owned and operated one of the largest privately held condominium management companies in the NW until 2016. He has a background in insurance, facility management, land development, and real estate. He is a published author and philanthropist. Dave leads the Transblue franchise company as Chief Executive Officer.