Moving on Up -General Contractor Self Performs Concrete with Trailer Pump
Self-sufficiency is a source of pride in rural Minnesota and sometimes it just makes good business sense. For commercial and residential general contractors Wilcon Construction located in St. James, Minnesota, about 100 miles southwest of the Twin Cities, self-sufficiency means self performing as much of the construction process as possible. The purchase of a new trailer pump recently furthered this goal on a multi-family project that they are also developing.
As the developers on the Quail Path project, Wilcon can control the construction schedule on the nine side-by-side twinhomes and one triplex that will complete the development of 40 total units. Each of the slab supported structures has 3,600 square feet of concrete that is being completed with a new Schwing SP-305 concrete pump that was purchased after a recent demonstration.
“We had a mechanical ball-valve pump that we worked real hard doing most of our concrete pumping,” explained Andrew Freitag, vice-president of Wilcon and one of five family members involved in the business. As the person in charge of concrete work for the company, Andy was aware of the amount the company was spending on rental pumps when the Schwing P-88 ball valve’s 20-yard per hour and ½-inch aggregate limits were not up to the task. “The P-88 is a great pump for block fill and we used it for patios and footings but if the aggregate grading wasn’t right from the ready-mix plant we risked plugging if some one-inch rock got in the line,” Freitag explained.
Their experience with Schwing parts and service and the reliability of the P-88 steered them to the Schwing SP-305 – newly named with the designation SP (stationary pump) for 2008. This machine offers thirty yards per hour output and is rated for one-inch aggregate mixes. It is an all-hydraulic pump with a transfer tube valve. “Thirty yards per hour satisfies most of our requirements and allows us to handle all of our floor mixes along with structural concrete on our commercial jobs, “ according to Freitag, “With the 625 psi pressure capabilities, the 305 can place a deck on most any commercial building we would run into in southern Minnesota.”
The SP-305 went right to work on the Quail Path project where it was demonstrated. “We can pump 3600 square feet of floor in the morning, clean-up and pump a couple of driveways in the afternoon,” Freitag stated, “We recently rented a pump to pour 16,000 square feet of post-tensioned six-inch decks on a commercial building. We think we could now tackle that with this new 305.”
Winter work at Quail Path required that the Wilcon crews, thaw out the ground to pour footings. Then the structure is enclosed by the company, which also self-performs carpentry, and the floors are poured via pipeline system after the ground has thawed inside the structure. “We bought 110-feet of flexible line with the pump which should cover the majority of our needs on residential pours,” according to Freitag. The remote control with 100-feet of cable allows the operator to keep an eye on the pour site and the pump.
As the company completes the remaining units through 2008, form and pour crews will be able to layout and pour two slabs with the pump positioned equidistance from both lots. The company prefers to keep ready-mix trucks on the street to prevent mud tracking on existing pavement in the Quail Path neighborhood.
“This pump can pour at thirty yards an hour compared to our other pump’s twenty yards per hour, “states Freitag, “That means more work done in the same amount of time.” An upcoming core-fill project has prompted the company to buy 90-feet of additional system. “This pump offers us the reliability factor of all-hydraulic operation and opens up more projects that would have required a rental pump, “ comments Freitag, “The 305 will pay for itself in less than two years.”
Project: Quail Path, St. James, Minnesota
Owner/Developer: Wilcon Construction, St. James, Minnesota
General Contractor: Wilcon Construction, St. James, Minnesota
Concrete Contractor: Wilcon Construction, St. James, Minnesota
Equipment: Schwing SP 305 trailer-mounted concrete pump.