Toronto says park stairs would cost $65k to build, man makes them for $550


Of course you can. The city can inspect them, and see if they’re up to spec, but there’s no reason citizens can’t provide a service.

Obviously, the city won’t be making gobs of money on these stairs like the ones the city wants to build, but props to Mr Asti for shining a light on this kind of BS.


there is the rub right? if it was just “build a set of wood stairs that do the job” it wouldn’t be a $65,000 project. What makes it $65k is the architectural plans, the landscape architects plans for the landscaping around the stairs, the cost for not just stairs, but solid cement/concrete, or stone stairs that will last far longer and fit the “code” and standards…plus, the ramps needed so its wheelchair/handicap accessible…etc etc.

When you have to meet the needs of XYZ number of sub groups as any governmental project does, it becomes far more than just a crummy set of wooden stairs.


Architect Tender

Hey - what did Home Depot ever do to him?


Sounds as if Toronto has caught a nasty case of “USA Edifice Complex Virus”


Find a licensed contractor who owes a fine to the city or has been sentence for some minor offense to community service. Pay them for the materials and count the labor for constructing the stairs to code as payment of the fine / X hours of community service.


Agreed. If it’s not up to code, then bring it up to code.


I did a quick back-of-the-napkin estimate of what it would take assuming concrete stairs with metal railings, stupidly inexpensive materials, and a week with no overtime to do and came up with $20k-$30k US.

This is with willful ignorance for the costs of actually designing this and making sure that it is both safe and will last through a winter.


Which would involve ripping those insanely terrible looking stairs out and starting from scratch. More expensive than if nothing had been done at all.


They look fine. They look much safer than what the previous approach was.

I’m not actually sure what you think looks so dangerous about them.


So much information missing here. Does the bid include an ADA ramp? Was an engineer involved? Hooking into an existing trail or sidewalk system? Moving sewage or other services? Extensive excavation? Want construction completed with long lasting materials, techniques and for it to be up to code and completed by a licensed professional? Not to mention those stairs look like a DIY disaster, they’ll be lucky to last a season if this is a well used park. Additionally, this is Toronto. Nothing is going to be cheap in Toronto.

People love to look at a government or commercial project and rip the costs compared to their DIY projects but the two simply cannot be compared.


This sort of completely invalidates the guys entire argument. The guy who built the expectation clearly didn’t see it as the be-all and end-all of the stair situation - he clearly presented as a stopgap meant to prevent injuries in the here and now, injuries occurring due to a known problem.



:confused: :us:



Re: lasting a season, these also can’t heave during frosts, since it freezes here.


you ever walk down snow and ice covered wooden stairs? Yeah…someone is more likely to break their neck on these, than on the open steep path.


The only support for the stair is the center bit which looks incredibly dodgy to me doubly so for something made out of wood and exposed to the elements.


I’m guessing he didn’t pay that homeless guy a living wage or check his immigration status.


Most contractors also pad the estimate to allow for the fact that they’ll probably have to wait for up to a year to actually get paid on any government job.


LOL. Given that recent fire in London, kinda spooky.

I wish I could find the old Flying Circus shows to steam. IIRC they are mostly kid friendly and I recent had my kiddo watch The Holy Grail and she liked it (sans castle Anthrax).


Eh, I think its a pretty solid design. It has two center supports which looks to be one piece of wood with the stair pattern cut out. That’s how we made my deck stairs. Assuming it has screws and not nails, they should stay in there. I too would like to see one on the sides too.

But the guy said he was willing to change it if they told them what they needed.


Nope. It’s not about the perfect being the enemy of the good or any such nonsense, it’s about the fact that what’s good enough for someone’s backyard is by definition not going to be good enough for a public walkway in a public park. The city has to abide by its own code, and it has to build something that will last for a long time and be safe to use for a long time. It has to do this not just because of government regulations but because it will get its ass sued off if it puts in something that isn’t durable or safe and then someone falls and breaks their neck trying to use it.

Exactly. Those amateur built stairs are fine for your backyard if you don’t mind not having a permit and don’t mind redoing it every few years because they’ve eroded to uselessness and the only people being put in danger by your shoddy work are yourself and your family.

On a steep slope like that, in Toronto’s climate, you need deep foundations to protect against frost heaving, you need to shore up the slope for a ways out on either side of the steps so the whole thing won’t wash out with the first spring thaw, and so on. The stairs by themselves, done properly in your backyard, are (educated guess) a low five-figure job. Add more for landscaping and more for plans, surveys, and permits, and I can see it, as a backyard project, edging up past 20k. But it’s not being done in your backyard.

Considering that it’s a public park, you have to make the stairs wide enough to be used by multiple people going both ways at once. You have to make it durable enough to be used not hundreds or low thousands of times a year, but hundreds of thousands or millions of times a year. Both of those add quite a bit to the cost compared to a backyard project. I can see the cost going to 50k even before we add in the fact that it’s being done by a municipality and you have to have competitive bids and public hearings and use union labour and so on.