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What should I receive in a quote and why

You need to know your contractor is fully aware of what you need for your project.

1. Scope of works

It should clearly state exactly what your quote covers.

2. Exclusions

These may at times appear daunting, better to know all exclusions than to presume they are covered.

3. Wall Dimensions

Length and Height. Generally your would have a site diagram marked up with the walls clearly marked on it.

4. Componentry

Steel - Steel size, Steel Type, Steel Protection. This will vary with wall height, proximity to corrosive atmosphere and bearing requirements. Steel quantities to be used in your project.

Sleepers - Length, width, concrete MPA, Quantity to be used in your project.

Concrete - Sluped aggregate size and Concrete strength, Quantity to be used in your project.

Drilling - Time allowed to drill your piers.

Your Guarentee

Backfill & Drainage - A description of the extent of backfill and drainage.

Any special notes, you or your estimator wish to convey to each other. 

A quote or personal set out in t his manner discloses everything about your project and how it will be constructed. It will give you the opportunity to:

1. Understand how and what is being built.

2. Allow you to see if anything is missed.

3. Give you apples to compare with others, particularly in quanitites and wall dimensions. 

Your contractor should follow you up to discuss any queries you have, any alternatives you wish to have priced and ofcourse all with the view of letting your contract to the best placed contractor, who you feel comfortable with.


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The Larger Companies must be more expensive fallacy

Large companies didn’t become large by being the most expensive. Companies grow because they satisfy more customers more often.

  1. Better Buying Power

Suppliers want the bigger Companies orders. They will often pass on savings to their clients. RWI Clients enjoy larger than normal savings on materials, both domestic and commercial.

  1. Capability

Larger Companies can handle larger projects and challenging time frames. More plant, More diversified Plant, Better logistics, more experienced staff. With 7 Drill Rigs and 5 crews, RWI clients have more fire power for their project than any other company who build retaining walls.

  1. Experience

The best people gravitate toward the leaders in their industry. Civil Construction and Retention is no different. The best people tend to stay with great companies. RWI have many staff who have been with them for 10 years or more. Many have had their own businesses, are qualified tradesmen. Larger companies keep the best people.

  1. Confidence

The same people who build $500,000 projects build our domestic walls. Clients who are investing many $1,000’s in their project, need to know their project is in the best hands. RWI is Adelaide’s largest Retaining Wall Builder. We build more walls per year than any other wall builder.

We treat all our clients as friends, with the respect and co-operation you expect from anyone servicing your needs. With our dedicated Client Liaison Officer Melissa Cool, Estimating and production team our clients enjoy a level of service and co-operation you’d expect when making a major investment. 

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How do I select a good contractor?

  1. Check they have a builders License on the following Website:
  2. Check They have Home Owners Warranty Insurance Certification on the following website:
  3. Have your Contractor give you a list of past clients to contact (at least 10) then select a few at random to call.
  4. Check Terms and Conditions, they are designed to take away ambiguity don’t take it for granted that everything is covered if it’s NOT in writing.
  5. DO NOT under any circumstances pay more than $1,100.00 deposit regardless of your project size.

    DO NOT pay for materials up front. If your contractor can not carry your project in his cashflow, you are taking a big risk. We have many stories of client’s never seeing a contractor again or their money after paying a large sum up front.
  6. How long did it take to get your quote? How much detail is in your quote?
  7. Do they have an office you can physically attend?
  8. What are your contractors Quality Assurance Procedures? Do you get a copy?
  9. Can you compare Lengths, Heights and Material quantities with others? These should all be supplied to you.
  10. Do your contractors use a Safe Works Methods Statement (S.W.M.S) and a Job Safety Analysis (JSA). Whilst this is not a requirement for Domestic properties, Good contractors have this in place with all clients.
  11. Do you feel comfortable with the company you are going to invest with?

    Remember, Once your house is built chances are if anything goes wrong with your retaining wall You won’t be able to get in to fix it.



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The "Cut Below Law" - The biggest factor in Price increases for Retaining Walls

The “Cut Below Law”

The biggest factor in price increases for Retaining Walls

It is important you understand this law. (Law 75 2-A/C)

This law has been introduced for all walls over 400mm (In combination with a 1.8m high fence) which retain filling on a boundary. Its purpose is to design the wall so that any excavation of 600mm against and below the wall will not structurally affect the wall.

To do this the wall design height is Height of the wall + 600mm.

So for a 1 metre high wall:

figure a

In a Cut situation, away from a boundary or where a joint wall has already cut 600mm or more below a neighbour’s fill:

 figure b

So where the cut below law applies and taking 1.0m high walls as an example,

                                  Walls not covered by law              Walls subject to the law

Pier Depth                                 1.0m                                                 2.2m

As you can see, Steel increases, drilling increases, concrete increases and handling also increases.

This law alone can make up to $3,000 difference in price on a $15,000 project or 20%.

Check your quotes carefully, expensive may be a complying structure and cheap may be non-complying.

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“Why is there often $1000’s of dollars’ difference in one quote compared to another quote?”

Generally, there are very clear reasons.

  1. NO allowance for the cut below law
    (see “The Cut Below Law” on our Retaining Walls FAQ page ) This can add $1,000’s to a quote if allowed for where another quote has not.

  2. Capability
    Project and Contractor/Plant capability make a huge difference to project efficiency and construction times. Make sure your contractor has vast experience in projects of your size and complexity.

  3. Project Scope
    Check that your scope of works is exactly the same with each contractor. 

    For Example: One quote may include Backfill, Hot Dipped Galvanised Steel Beams, Coloured and Patterned Sleepers, Earthworks and Onsite Certification whilst the other may not. This could make a huge difference in pricing.
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