On August 24, 2002, Western Concrete Pumping, San Diego, completed a 13,502-yard mat pour for a foundation that now supports one tower of a twin story luxury condo development known as Grande Towers. On October 4, 2003, general contractor Bosa Construction, Inc., a division of Bosa Ventures, Inc., Burnaby, British Columbia, commissioned Western’s extensive pumping fleet to complete the foundation for the second condo structure, a mirror image of the first.

Fifteen-year old industry powerhouse Western Concrete Pumping, operating out of San Diego, Los Angeles and Phoenix, boasts a fleet of 27 concrete pumps, all manufactured by Schwing America. The firm services Southern California and has been contracted for several out-of-state projects as well, specializing in deck pours, placing boom pours and multi-pump, high-volume pours. Their extensive resume and versatile, modern long-boom fleet earned them both projects with Bosa.

After the first pour was completed the summer of 2002, Western General Manager Steve Delamarian, predicted the slab pour scheduled for October of 2003 would go smoothly. “It’s going to be a different project and different specs, but certainly the same sort of coordinated effort,” said Delamarian. For the second time, coordination among contractors added to the efficient execution of a huge monolithic slab pour.

On October 4, Western went to work setting up 15 pumps from the Schwing fleet in and around the excavation. The pumper set up one each of their 58-meter, 42-meter, 39-meter, and 32-meter pumps around the outside of the 11-foot deep hole. Also stationed around the hole were three S 47 SX, three KVM 34 X, and two 36-meter Schwing pumps.

Set-up inside the hole, two KVM 42 pumps and one KVM 34 X were supplied concrete by the three 34-meter pumps set up on the exterior of the excavation. Western pumped the first yard of concrete at 7:00 am, with finishers and laborers from D & D Concrete Construction, Inc., San Diego, working in the hole.

Throughout the 11-hour pour, all of Western’s Schwing pumps remained in their original setup positions until the project neared completion. The pumps’ hassle-free performance allowed Western to keep up with their plan to complete 4,000 yards of concrete in the first hour. “Our operators put their best foot forward on this one,” said Western’s Area Manager. “They made sure their pumps were squeaky clean – no leaks, not a spot on them.”

Western Mechanic Tom Laverty and Operations Manager Don Campbell also ensured the pumps were in exceptional shape for the long project.
“Not one of us had a wrench in our hand that whole pour. We didn’t have to do so much as tighten a fitting.”

Finishing contractor D & D President Derek Leffler commented that a number of logistical issues were considered and resolved based on the first giant mat pour.

“In a general sense, we all had an idea of how to improve pump positioning, increase truck flow efficiency, and most effectively use man power,” he said.

Western, D & D and concrete contractor Newway Structures, Inc., San Diego also devised an efficient way to complete a 4,000-yard pour within the first hour. By attaching hard line to five of the Schwing pumps they were able to concentrate on the section furthest from the pumps. This enabled Western to supply concrete to the area without pump relocation, and D & D finishers to begin topping the section off at the beginning of their third hour. D & D provided 46 finishers and 18 laborers on the site for the 13,502-yard mat pour.

Contractors all across the board agreed that the pour went as smoothly as possible, thanks to a month and a half of pre-pour planning. “When you’re planning something this big, you have to consider everything – right down to the caterer,” said Terry Kemp, Dispatch Supervisor for ready-mix supplier Hanson Aggregate, San Diego. “If we had run into a problem we didn’t anticipate, we could have had three to four hundred yards on the road.”

Things went just as smoothly for the ready-mix supplier, who utilized 259 trucks dispatched from seven different Hanson batch plants. Some trucks covered a 46-mile round trip to supply the 3000 psi concrete with 40 percent fly ash to the site. In addition to the truck operators, at least 100 Hanson employees including dispatchers and on-site supervisors coordinated and controlled ready-mix supply. Bill Jones, Senior Traffic Engineer for the City of San Diego headed up a team of traffic control coordinators for lane closures and re-routing. The effort proved to provide quick truck turnaround and easy job site access. Between 30 and 40 washout bins were set up in three different areas within a mile radius of the pour, allowing for fast cleanup. The massive effort allowed Hanson to supply an average of 1440 yards per hour.

Careful planning and innovation led to a successful, monolithic pour. Pumpers wrapped up around 6:00 pm that evening, only 11 hours after pumping the first yard. “I dare say this was the most organized pour anyone has ever completed,” said Delamarian.

In late October, Western and Hanson also completed a 2700-yard pour for the condo’s adjoining parking structure.

Bosa Construction has purchased land along the shoreline in downtown San Diego with plans to redevelop popular sections of the area. Other developers seem to have the same idea. According to Delamarian, 168 building permits have been distributed to developers in the last few years. “In the next six to nine years, these contractors want to turn downtown San Diego area into a 24-hour city. We’re talking about a New Orleans or New York right here on the west coast. It’s exciting.”