Houston Premium Outlet Mall Built By Premium Contractor
Featuring high quality designer and name brands, the Houston Premium Outlets is being built on a 25 acre site in Cypress, Texas. High quality also applies to the concrete contractor on the job. TAS Commercial Concrete is a Texas place and finish firm established in 1980 that has grown to be one of the top subcontractors in the nation and as a company embraces “pumps as part of our image.”
Phase One of the project is nearing completion and includes 482,000 square feet of slabs, 301,000 square feet of tilt-up walls and 1,203,000 square feet of parking – all placed and finished with TAS crews and pumps. The project started in January 2007 and will be completed this spring. Wet weather last summer delayed pours, but a dedication to the pumping method has kept the project on track.
“We were the first concrete contractor in the area to incorporate pumping into our scope of work,” explains Eddie Sanders, TAS vice-president and head marketer for the company, “The economics of pumping sold us on the method and there are so many other benefits that appeal to our customers.” He cites the higher quality product that is the result when finishers are not required to drag concrete around all day. “Pumping is like our right hand and finishing is our left. You can’t work effectively without both hands.”
With over 800 hourly workers on the payroll, TAS understands labor costs. “The savings on labor pays for the pump so we use it for everything from 1,000 square foot placements to a million square feet,” Sanders states. And with 1.2 million square feet of parking on the Houston Premium Outlets project, TAS needed the kind of production that “endears you to the general contractor,” according to Sanders. The company has pumped and finished up to 100,000 square feet of parking lot in one day.
Steve Hiscox, TAS project manager on the Houston Premium Outlets, formerly worked for a general contractor. “On tilt-up projects it is more cost effective to cast the panels on the completed slabs, and the majority on this project were done that way.” First 786 piers were drilled and filled with concrete to accommodate the Houston soil conditions. The average size of these slab supports was 18 to 24-inch diameter and 12-18-feet deep with a bell shape at the bottom. TAS is able to pump multiple piers from one location immediately after they are drilled.
The high production nature of TAS pairs their concrete pump with a fleet of company owned laser screeds which were used to achieve the required flatness specification of 25 on the Houston Premium Outlets slabs. Positioning one of the company’s 42-meter booms adjacent to a slab pour allowed more than 25,000 square feet to be placed and finished pouring in front of the laser screeds and multiple self-propelled, ride-on trowels.
Average panel size that were pumped and tilted into place on the completed slabs was 24 x 36–feet. The reach of the TAS booms allowed up to 10 panels to be pumped from one set-up. Some of the TAS pumps are equipped with Super X outriggers that do not extend in front of the truck cab allowing maximum utilization of the boom’s reach. Most of the panels on the project were 7 to 8-inches thick. The store front panels, with large knockouts for windows, were 11.25-inches thick. Nearly 6,000 yards were required to create the walls for 120 stores that will open in Spring 2008.
TAS area general superintendent, Mike Hansen is in charge of the pumping at Houston Premium Outlets. The 17 year employee used every size of the company’s 12 pump all-Schwing fleet on the project. “When it was so wet in July we would make a road to the pour with our grading equipment and occasionally went pump to pump to keep the project going,” Hansen explains. “I like the way the 39-meter can move on site with the three-axle truck, it’s got enough reach for our needs and it’s more maneuverable for multiple pours in a day,” he stated. The company also owns Schwing 32, 34 and 42-meter boom pumps.
The company equips most of their Schwing pumps with the 2525-5 120/80 Generation 3 pumpkit that provides smooth output with the 10-inch diameter material cylinders combined with a 98-inch stroke. “It’s a continuous stream from the end hose and very capable of handling the 80 to100 yards per hour output we like to average,” Hansen added. At the company’s average pour rate, the pump is stroking only 8 to 10 times per minute which results in reduced wear and longer boom life – a significant advantage to a high production pumper like TAS. The units pump the 5.5 to 6 sack mixes with up to 1.5-inch aggregate with no problem thanks to the Big Rock valve that offers a larger housing to efficiently fill the material cylinders.
Equipment manager Greg Kirsh is responsible for everything from dozers to motor graders to pump trucks and he emphasizes support after the sale as a big factor in his purchasing decision. “I get a real warm feeling when the guy on the other end of the line knows my name,” explains Kirsh, “I have been very pleased with the maintenance requirements of the Schwings. We run a pretty small shop when you consider the amount of equipment we own and operate.” TAS is a high production company with some of the pumps averaging 80,000 cubic yards per year.”
Well kept, reliable equipment and a customer service oriented attitude are hallmarks of TAS. Another factor that makes a difference to general contractors when choosing a sub is safety. Grace Fox, safety director for the company, heads an eight person department between the company’s Houston and Dallas operations. “We conduct monthly meetings to discuss accidents that occur with TAS or with other companies in the area,” she explained. TAS cooperates with the regional OSHA office with voluntary site inspections and safety audits. “We often download ACPA safety topics from the website and use those for our monthly discussions and all of our operators are ACPA certified.” Safety bulletins and checklists can be found on the ACPA home page at www.concretepumpers.com . TAS has received a Gold Award from their insurance carrier several times for its safety record.
A drive around Houston is like a tour of TAS projects from warehouses to schools to auto dealerships to office buildings and medical centers. As Sanders notes, “One of the big reasons for our success is pumping is included automatically with TAS.”
Project: Houston Premium Outlets, Cypress, TX
Owner: Chelsea Property Group, Roseland, NJ (a division of Simon Property Group)
Architect: Collaborative, Cleveland, OH
General Contractor: Hardin Construction, Atlanta, GA
Concrete Contractor: TAS – offices in Houston and Dallas
Equipment: Schwing KVM 32 XL, Schwing KVM 34 X, Schwing KVM 39 X and Schwing S 42 SX.