I found the man to be a very friendly, Christian man. I believe he is genuine. He likes to work with churches to keep them from making mistakes that will cost them in the long run. He spent a great deal of time not just making the recommendations but telling me why he was making the recommendations. The following are his recommendations.
He strongly, strongly recommended that we have engineers stake off the property. He said no paving company can guarantee the lot is not going to hold water (puddle) without it being staked. I told him that I did not think it was puddling but he showed me two large areas where water is seeping through the rock. Once asphalt is put down, it will puddle there. He recommended EEFS Engineering (205-424-3737) and talk to Daniel Mayfield (205-288-2111). He thinks the cost might be $5,000. He said that needed to be done no matter who we hired to pave.
If we can, we need to wait for temperatures to stay above 60. We can pave in cooler weather but it will not look as good as the asphalt will cool too quickly, leaving visible seams.
Do not pave over the existing rock. It needs to be dug up, stock piled, or hauled off. He said some of the smaller companies would just dig out around the edges to bring in fresh rock, but that our rock was too big and would roll under the asphalt. We need six inches of dense-grade base rock, then the lot paved with 2 inches of asphalt binder and 1 inch of asphalt. That is standard grade paving for cars, pick-up trucks, and an occasional heavy-duty truck.
He warned that there is a group suing businesses in the area for having handicapped parking that is not up to code. He had not heard of them suing a church yet, but thought we should do away with the three handicapped places on the slope in front of the drive through. They are too steep. The slope grade should not exceed 2%.
Unless we are putting the nose-to-nose curbing to deter turn arounds in the parking lot, he would not recommend them. Painting the lines would do the same for less money. If we want curbs there, he suggested putting the concrete parking blocks like our handicapped bumpers and putting one bumper at the top of each space, with enough room between them to keep the cars from hitting one another.
Each parking space should be 18 feet deep. Driving lanes should be 20 feet wide. Using this, the distance from the side of the parking lot to the first nose-to-nose line should be at least 56 feet.
He told me that none of the curbing outfits that Cottingham uses would curb this small of a job (including John Woodham whom I already contacted). These companies would not even do Grace Life's lot. He knows of some smaller companies that would. (He mentioned Mark Dunn who stained our new building floors). The smaller companies will not do the survey work so again we need to have the engineers do that.
We need to install curbing gutter, which is "L" shaped curbing, with a vertical side and a base plate that extends into the parking lot. Curbing alone will break after being repeatedly bumped.
As far as building an island that would keep out large trucks, he was not encouraging. He has seen semis bank curbing that was 10-12 inches high. He recommended putting heavy concrete planters with maple trees or shrubs in the center and on both sides of the entrance. He thought the oval concrete island would be as sufficient if that is what we wanted to do.
In discussing paving to the wall around the side and back, he said we should discuss that idea with the engineer. He believed a French drain would be better, but if we did asphalt to the wall, the engineers would have to stake it off to ensure continuous water flow.
He discouraged paving all the way to the building on the side and back. It would have to be done by hand and would drive up the costs tremendously plus no matter what you did, you could not pave behind the units or under the lines. He said we could pave in front of the AC units if the gutter drain is deep enough. They will be digging down at least nine inches everywhere they pave. They could asphalt to the doors.
Their price would be based on units meaning if the square footage was more than estimated, the price would go up. If the square footage was less, the price would go down. This would be true for the linear length on the concrete as well.