Easily Stay Compliant with
the Davis Bacon Act
80% of Users Report an 80% Savings of Time and Money
Compared to Manually Prepared Payroll
5 Attributes for Telehandler Tires
Support (and Practice) Safe Digging
Atlas Molded Products: ASTM Designation
Warehouse Compliance
Inside This Issue
Doleco’s revolutionary DoNova
PowerLash Textile Lashing Chain
and Tie Down System is made of
high-performance Dyneema
Dyneema’s ultra-high-molecular-weight
polyethylene (UHMWPE) material is 15
times stronger than steel by weight,
and made into chain, up to 85 percent
lighter—so lightweight, in fact, that it
floats on water. The flexibility of DoNova
PowerLash chain promotes easier
handling of heavy-duty load securing
devices. See cover story on page 26.
Industry News ............................ 08
Modern Construction Products ... 61
What’s Trending ......................... 62
management solution
What Lurks Below
maturing of utility detection in heavy construction
equipment solution
Securing the Payload
new chain technology makes securement easier
project profile
Complex Made Simple
automatic excavator system
safety solution
Netting Systems
play a critical role
Reel Trailers
optimal equipment utilization
project profile
Ready to Roll Part 1 of 2
how 1,000 pounds of spinning metal changed the Missouri ditch liner industry
5 Attributes for Telehandler Tires
Support (and Practice) Safe Digging
Atlas Molded Products: ASTM Designation
Warehouse Compliance
Donna Campbell
Editor in Chief
This month’s issue focuses on equipment. I’m a big fan of equipment, tools, and digital
apps. The construction industry has truly evolved over the years, and COVID-19 has
certainly added to strengthened safety protocols and communication efforts. For many, it’s
a new frontier on the construction horizon.
With projects still underway in many parts of the U.S., equipment varies, and so do
the articles this month as we highlight Curb Roller Manufacturing (pg 14) and Topcon’s
Automatic Excavator System (pg 18). From cobble stone pavers being used to redo streets
in a community (pg 22) to the maturity of utility detection in heavy construction (pg 36), the
jobsites today are works of art. And, there is always room for improvement. Check out the
article on proactive problem prevention by Christine Corelli (pg 38) and the legal article on
business retooling (pg 44).
For commentary from the frontline, five questions were asked of The BILCO Company’s
general manager, Mike Toohey; see What’s Trending on page 62.
Finally, a huge THANK YOU to those that attended the premier MCS virtual expo this
month; I hope the attendees learned what’s new from our wonderful sponsors and
exhibitors. A special thanks to Caterpillar, Milwaukee Tool, Case, Hilti North America,
InEight, and construction industry thought leaders Randy Goruk and Wally Adamchik for
contributing to the webinar/podcast educational section of the expo; their help was greatly
appreciated. I’ll be sharing from the educational content in upcoming issues.
Stay well; be strong, my friends.
P.O. Box 660197 | Birmingham, AL 35266
Editor in Chief
Media Consultant
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Digital Media Specialist
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Vice President, Editorial
Vice President
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Contractor Solutions, or who are not specifically
employed by Highlands Publications are purely
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Modern Contractor
Solutions Magazine
Modern Contractor
Ready to Roll: Part 1 of 2 ........................................... 14
Complex Made Simple .............................................. 18
Mitigate Flooding ...................................................... 22
Securing the Payload ................................................. 26
Reel Trailers .............................................................. 30
“True” All-electric Machine ........................................ 34
What Lurks Below ..................................................... 36
3Ps to the Rescue ..................................................... 38
Digital Transformation ............................................... 42
Business Retooling .................................................... 44
Moving Forward ........................................................ 46
Sound Decisions ....................................................... 48
Netting Systems ........................................................ 52
Concrete’s Enemy: Water .......................................... 56
Diablo Drill Bits ......................................................... 60
Guest Post by Holly Welles
Birmingham Native on Frontlines of U.S. Navy Coronavirus Fight
By Rick Burke, Navy Office of Community Outreach
Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric Johnson, a native of Birmingham, Alabama, is playing a critical role in the U.S.
Navy’s efforts to maintain a healthy and ready fighting force in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic. As a
hospital corpsman and preventive medicine technician working at Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine
Unit FIVE in San Diego, Johnson’s skills are vital to maintaining the health of the sailors in the San Diego area,
and by extension, the readiness of the Navy’s operational ships and submarines on which they serve.
inquiries or changes:
AUGUST 2020 www.mcsmag.com8
industry news
Raken, the top-rated mobile field management solution for the
construction industry, announces an enterprise agreement with
Hensel Phelps, one of the largest employee-owned general
contractors in the U.S. During its trial phase, Hensel Phelps saw
nearly 100 percent compliance with Raken’s platform across
its workforce. This high compliance rate is the reason behind
the contractor’s decision to implement Raken company-wide
to produce efficient daily reports and gather insightful data
from the field. Hensel Phelps has chosen to deploy Raken in
addition to ProjectSight for its project and field management
needs, respectively. For more, visit or
DEWALT announces its new ToughSystem
2.0 Storage
System, which offers improved durability and modularity versus
previous units, is now available. With an increased wheel size
and a durable design, they can withstand the rough treatment
of the jobsite, workshop, and van racking. The ToughSystem
line includes a wide range of products, from storage boxes
and organizers, to trolleys as well as racking. Fully backwards
compatible with the original ToughSystem products launched
in 2011, the ToughSystem 2.0 Storage System has upgraded
features and provides users with customizable storage
solutions to fit their jobsite needs. The next generation of
ToughSystem includes a Toolbox (DWST08165), a Large Toolbox
(DWST08300), an Extra-Large Toolbox (DWST08400), and a
Rolling Toolbox (DWST08450), all sold separately. For more, visit
In 1985, Caterpillar expanded its revolutionary elevated sprocket
undercarriage concept to its medium track-type tractor (MTTT)
line with the launch of the H-Series models. Still unique to
this day for the 130 to 350 hp (100 to 250 kW) dozer class, the
high drive design conformed to the ground better, improving
durability, serviceability, and performance compared to low-drive
and oval track designs.
The Cat
D4H, D5H, D6H, and D7H dozer models were the first
to feature the high drive design, and in 1987, the D8L model was
added to the family. In addition to bringing many of the same
large dozer advantages to the medium line, the elevated drive
sprocket allowed movement of the front and rear track idlers.
This helped to fine-tune machine balance and ground pressure
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AUGUST 2020 www.mcsmag.com10
industry news
for specific applications more easily than oval track machines.
For the first time, variable pitch angle tilt (VPAT) blades were
made available to high drive dozers with the D4H and D5H
models for finishing jobs faster by grading at higher speeds.
Thirty-five years later, Caterpillar celebrates the unrivaled
success of the elevated sprocket design in the medium dozer
class by producing three commemorative 175,000 units in May
2020. “One of the original taglines to promote the early high
drive tractors was ‘Beyond Known Capabilities,’ because these
units set a new standard for efficiency, productivity and ease of
operation,” says Wes Holm, chief engineer, Caterpillar medium
tractor products. “With our next generation medium dozer line,
which includes the new D5, D6, and D7 models, we continue
to push these envelopes through adaptation of technology to
drive productivity and efficiency to another level.” For more, visit
The sales team at MAX USA hit a strong first half throughout the
U.S. this year. With the growing TwinTier platform and PowerLite
high pressure tools the market has shown high interest in the
products offered to the construction market. Southwest regional
sales executive, Gary Tharp had the largest regional growth with a
64 percent increase, whereas John Parsons, Midwest regional sales
executive increased his profit margin with a 55 percent growth.
Since 2016, Gary Tharp has been working with new and
existing clients at MAX to bridge his 40 years of sales
experience full circle. His leadership quality and ability to
encourage contractors to integrate the technical innovations
through MAX, has proven to be no different. With an individual
64 percent of growth in the Southwest territory, Gary has found
that the tilt-up construction market seems to be one of the
increasing ways for contractors to keep the workforce moving.
Being able to educate our clients on how our TwinTier
platform can deliver cost and time effective measures in
the field has proven to be extremely beneficial,” says Gary.
Additionally, we are finding that because of these key
deliverables, the labor shortage can be overcome with the
integration this technology.”
When it comes to influencing the construction market with
new opportunities to address day-to-day challenges, John
Parsons works with his clients to identify their processes to
help evolve core operations in the field. With a personal sales
increase of 55 percent in just the first half of this year, John
has demonstrated that being an active member in this industry
and working to provide a service peddles itself. John shares,
“For the past 6 years, I have worked onsite with our growing
AUGUST 2020 www.mcsmag.com12
industry news
partnerships to support their solutions and help them maintain
dependability, efficiency, and above all, safer operations.
Specifically, with the RB401T-E, I have been able to demonstrate
this breakthrough rebar tying technology and how it is shaping
road and bridge sites. We have an extremely unique tool that
is allowing ironworks to deploy the technology in an upright
position that avoids the constant back pain and injuries
as a result from the labor-intensive work.” For more, visit
Milwaukee Tool announces its One-Key™ digital platform
now integrates with Autodesk Construction Cloud’s BIM 360
construction management software, enabling customers to
seamlessly share information between the two solutions and
enhance asset tracking, project management, and reporting.
As the industry’s largest and most robust asset management
platform and tracking network, One-Key incorporates industry-
leading tool electronics with a custom-built, cloud-based software
application to provide control over asset data and simplifying the
way construction projects get done. The Milwaukee Tool One-
Key and BIM 360 integration provides enhanced control, tying in
critical project information to further inform asset management.
Once users link their One-Key account with their BIM
360 account, master records like Projects and Contacts can
be imported directly into One-Key, keeping collaboration
systems synchronized. Furthermore, users of Milwaukee’s
new M12 FUEL™ Digital Torque Wrenches will be able to
upload torque reports directly from One-Key into BIM 360
Docs, digitally syncing torque quality data from the field to
the back office. Milwaukee plans to roll out similar reporting
functionalities with other tools over time. For more, visit
Buyers Products, a leading manufacturer in the work truck
equipment industry, is doubling the size of its distribution center
and corporate headquarters in Mentor, Ohio, to accommodate
the company’s growing business needs.
The expansion includes 280,000 square feet of 67-foot-high,
brand new, state-of-the-art warehouse space with 20 additional
docks. Simultaneously Buyers will add another 17,500 square
feet of office space and expand its employee parking. Buyers
current warehouse stands at 250,000 square feet. It was built
in 2002 and expanded to its current size in 2007. For more, visit
ROME specializes in disc plows, earthmoving
scrapers, land leveling scrapers, and haul road
maintenance equipment for the construction
ROMEROME manufactures construction disc plows from
6' wide up to 20' wide that range from 400 pounds
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ROME has you covered on your construction
tillage needs.tillage needs.
ROME manufactures earth moving scrapers in
both pivot dump and ejector styles. The pivot
dump line ranges from 9 yards to 21 yards. The
ejector line ranges from 16 yards to 35 yards.
ROME's haul road maintenance line is far and
above the most diverse in the industry. Whether
you need a simple bottomless scraper, ejector
finishing scraper, or a roller box scraper ROME
has you covered.
For more information on our products or
for the closest authorized ROME dealer
please contact us.
AUGUST 2020 www.mcsmag.com14
project profile
Ready to Roll
how 1,000 pounds of spinning metal
changed the Missouri ditch liner industry
ear the Kansas City International Airport lies a well-
traveled stretch of road that connects NE Cookingham
Drive to I-435. A 20-mile jaunt separates the airport from
downtown Kansas City, and while some drivers might make
their way via the direct I-29 route, others choose the I-435 route
that might take a little longer but sees less traffic.
If drivers happened to take the Cookingham/I-435 route
during late summer 2019, they may have caught a glimpse of an
impressive road construction project and some never-before-seen
equipment. The construction site was home to a 24-foot-wide,
1,000-pound rolling tube of steel. And a real head-turner it was.
The onramp that connects Cookingham Drive to I-435 appears
to the naked eye to be a standard ramp, but the positioning of
the onramp and the surrounding area were causing headaches
for the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT). A
field that runs parallel to the ramp often produces significant
rainwater runoff that makes its way onto the onramp. In a usual
case, rainwater and subsequent runoff don’t pose huge issues
for highways and ramps, but this was a different story.
Sedimentary dirt and debris filled the south side of the ditch
and the onramp. As the ditch filled up with sediment and dirt
carried by the runoff, the material would spill over onto the
south lane of the onramp. This presented slippery, dangerous
situations for drivers heading for the interstate at 55-60 mph.
To combat the issue, MoDOT maintenance crews used heavy-
duty equipment to tackle the buildup, closing the onramp every
few years to clear the ditch and roadway with skid steers, track
hoes, and several haul trucks. Last time they cleaned it, they
shut down the onramp for 2 days to complete the cleaning. This
method solved the problem temporarily but created headaches
for drivers and a lot of unnecessary work for crews.
MoDOT tried incorporating pre-shaped paved flumes to carry the
rainwater, but the flumes filled up just as quickly as the unpaved
ditch and required just as much cleaning. MoDOT contemplated
installing a rock-based lining, but research showed the quickly
accumulating rainwater would likely carry the rocks away.
MoDOT continued to search for a viable solution to address
the maintenance problem and finally found a permanent answer
as part of a large concrete patching job on the roadway.
In the early summer of 2019, Realm Construction was
subcontracted to patch the concrete on Cookingham Drive and the
onramp to I-435. Manager of Field Operations Russ Stark and his
team specialize in concrete patchwork. They completed that portion
of the job and then sat down to find a way to tackle the ditch liner,
which was a concrete project they were less familiar with.
Stark, who has worked for Realm for more than 11 years,
needed to find a solution that would stay within the budget and
the assigned timeframe. The mission was to essentially line the
AUGUST 2020 www.mcsmag.com16
project profile
ditch with concrete, and Stark initially
only knew of one conventional method to
accomplish it.
That method was to form the ditch in
a sectional approach. This could be done
either by pouring the bottom concrete
and pulling a tube or screed up by
hand, or pouring it transverse—coming
down the slope to the bottom and then
back up. Crews would pour one 20-foot
bay, skip a 20-foot area, pour another
20-foot bay and so on. The next day,
after the bays dried, crews could fill in
the alternating empty areas. While this
method is inexpensive and proven, it is
time consuming and physically taxing.
“If we approached this project the
conventional way, we’d only be able to pour
about four bays a day, which is 80 feet of
ditch liner a day,” Stark says. “At that rate,
the project would have taken us 15-20 days.
I knew we could do it quicker than that.”
Stark’s ultimate solution would include
an approach that might end up with a
higher initial equipment cost. But could
that additional investment in equipment
end up saving him time and money?
Stark proposed commissioning a
large metal flume drum from Curb
Roller Manufacturing. The company is
known for their hydraulic- and battery-
powered concrete roller screeds, but also
manufactures custom-sized rolling drums.
The drums are commonly used for pouring
streets, medians, v-gutters or flumes, and
while the company prides itself on creating
custom solutions, this drum exceeded the
size of any created in the past.
“I had seen a ditch liner drum on a
different project a year prior and asked
the contractor—Clarkson Construction—
who made it,” Stark says. “It was only
about 14 feet wide and I knew we’d need
something nearly double that size. But I
thought it could work.”
Curb Roller Manufacturing, based out
of Fairview, Kansas, has been serving all
industries from landscapers to government
entities for more than 10 years. When
Realm Construction approached them with
the custom request, they were eager to
engineer a solution.
The contractors were also ready to begin
the project, but delivering an oversized
custom drum to a jobsite had its obstacles.
First, Stark had to get approval from MoDOT
to implement this unique equipment and
process. He presented his case, highlighting
the potential for a better finished product
and a significantly improved timeline.
Matt Daulton, MoDOT resident engineer
for the project, reviewed Stark’s proposal
and approved with one stipulation—using
the Curb Roller couldn’t increase the
overall cost of the project.
“We try to encourage innovation on
every project,” Daulton says. “I had
never seen something like this, but our
contractors and manufacturers in the
industry often have new ideas and the
best answers. So, we were open to it.”
After gaining clearance from MoDOT,
Stark and his team had to work with the
grading and excavation subcontractor who
was preparing the ditch. The original design
of the ditch, before implementing the
Curb Roller idea, included varying widths
and a flat bottom. This approach would
save grading and excavating costs on a
traditional concrete project, but the Curb
Roller method would require a consistent
width to successfully lay concrete. Stark
was convinced that the extra cost in grading
and excavating would make up for itself in
the time savings down the line.
If the crews had done the whole project
by hand, there would have been an
increased potential for neck, knee, and
back injuries along the way. AUGUST 2020
“I knew that this would create a more
uniform product, which would be easier
for MoDOT maintenance to clean out,”
Stark says. “The original cross section of
the ditch had varying slope widths and
lengths through the entire 1,600-foot-
long ditch liner. So, we had to get the
grading team to adjust and create a
consistent canvas for the concrete.”
While the grading and excavating
teams prepared the base, Stark worked
with Curb Roller Manufacturing to design
and craft the perfect flume drum.
Kraig Pyle, general manager of Curb
Roller Manufacturing, worked with Stark
throughout the planning process. While
the company specializes in custom
drums, they’d never designed something
of this magnitude before.
“We had designed drums as long and
as large in diameter, but never with this
kind of combination,” Pyle says. “This
was so impressive because it had such
a large pan and slope wings. We know
the capabilities of our product and we
were confident taking on this challenge.
We knew that with a few adjustments
and alterations, we could pull this off and
save the contractor time and labor.”
Stark officially submitted his order
to Curb Roller Manufacturing: a 24-foot
wide, 1,000-pound hollow rolling flume
drum. He calculated the required slope
of the sides of the ditch according to
MoDOT requirements. Each wing section
of the drum was 8 feet wide, with an
8-foot flat pan section in the middle. The
drum was 52 inches in diameter with 4:1
backslopes. Since the ditch liner itself is 2
feet deep, they achieved a 25-degree rise
by implementing a 1-foot drop for every
4-foot run.
Pyle sent Stark a design of the product,
which he promptly approved. The company
delivered the drum to the jobsite just 5
days later. Look for part 2 of this article
in the next issue of MCS as the project
unfolds and the savings are discovered.
for more information
Curb Roller Manufacturing has been the world
leader in shaped concrete roller screeds
for more than 10 years. With high-quality
products for everyday concrete work, Curb
Roller’s ergonomic machines make it easy to
shape standard curb, gutter, and sidewalks,
flume, v-gutter, swale, and other unique
shapes. For more, visit
AUGUST 2020 www.mcsmag.com18
project profile
Complex Made Simple
automatic excavator system provides design and position
By Jeff Winke AUGUST 2020
he history of the construction
excavator goes back quite some
time. The very first excavator is said
to have been built in 1882 by Sir W. G.
Armstrong & Company in England, where
it was used in the construction of Port of
Hull docks. Unlike today’s excavators that
use hydraulic fluid, water was used to
operate the hydraulic functions back then.
It was not a true hydraulic machine, but an
approximation that used cables to operate
the bucket, and with a hydraulic cylinder
operating a set of multiplying sheaves.
The idea on Sir W. G. Armstrong’s machine
was not successful, nor were machines
of somewhat similar design, which
followed and were built into the start
of the 20th century.
These first excavators and successors
that were developed and evolved well
into the 1990’s are virtual dinosaurs
when compared to the sophisticated
machines available for the mining,
construction, and utility markets
today. Today, construction equipment
manufacturers have an emphasis on
developing technologically advanced and
efficient excavators that are designed to
be more productive. Manufacturers are
also trying to meet the propelling growth
of the global excavator market.
From large construction areas to small
jobs in tight areas, there are a wide
range of excavators to meet the needs
of any construction job. Conventional
tail swing models are designed to offer
increased side and lifting stability,
while the minimum tail swing models
are designed for jobs in tight quarters,
with no room for wasted movement. All
technologically-advanced excavators are
designed to optimize the material moving
process in the construction industry.
There have also been developments in how
heavy equipment is controlled. Automated
control has changed the earthmoving
process with GPS machine control systems
governing motor graders and dozers.
AUGUST 2020 www.mcsmag.com22
project profile
uilt along the edges of several
canals in Foster City, California,
the Island J complex has been
compared to Santorini, Greece, for
its flat roofs and linear patterns, as
well as its quaint cobblestone streets.
When the city was developed 60 years
ago, the architect insisted on having
design freedom over what is now the
Island J complex, making it unique
from surrounding neighborhoods.
However, over time, its once beautiful
streets have been through numerous
repair projects aimed at replacing
broken cobblestones at the lowest
possible cost.
The result was a patchwork of
stone, concrete, and asphalt that not
only detracted from Island J’s overall
aesthetic and equity, but also created
flooding and safety concerns for its
residents. The Island J Homeowner’s
Association (HOA) recently underwent a
$2 million project to replace all 100,000
square feet of its roadways with
Belgard’s Cambridge Cobble in Tuscana
color. As a result, the community has
seen the return of its timeless aesthetic
and an increase in overall equity.
“Residents have always asked if we
could return to pavers instead of asphalt,
but all previous estimates we received
just put that dream out of reach,”
explains Bart Besseling, Island J HOA
president. “So, we saved for 10 years
to have enough money to replace the
roads with asphalt and then spoke with
several contractors.”
Among the companies Besseling
contacted was Modern Paving; the
company’s vice president, David Tetrault,
explains they didn’t work on asphalt
projects. However, after discussing the
parameters of the project he provided an
estimate for using pavers. “After talking
to him, we were surprised and thrilled
to find out we actually could afford to
restore the beautiful look of pavers to the
community for less than we’d saved for
the asphalt,” says Besseling.
The commercial-thickness (80mm)
pavers are a special order, manufactured
in Belgard’s facility in nearby Stockton,
California. The fact that Belgard could
deliver them within 4 to 6 weeks, more
quickly than other companies who bid
on the project, was also a key selling
feature. “We could start work within the
desired timeframe because we didn’t
have to wait for material,” says Tetrault.
Foster City, California, was an engineering
feat, developed—or, more literally, was
filled, formed, and constructed—in 1958.
The city’s concept was considered so
unique and futuristic at the time that
models and artists’ renderings of it were
displayed at the Modern Art Museum in
San Francisco. Developer T. Jack Foster
and his sons purchased 4 square-miles
of land known as Brewer’s Island and
set out to build a new city from scratch
over the mud flats of the San Francisco
Bay. The island was situated at mean
sea level, so surface elevation needed
to be raised 4 to 5 feet. To accomplish
this, 14 million cubic yards of sand was
pumped from San Francisco Bay onto
Brewer’s Island over the course of 6
years (24 hours a day, 7 days a week). A
central drainage basin from which water
could be pumped back into the Bay was
also created. This now serves as Foster
City’s beautiful lagoon, a centerpiece on
which residents and visitors alike enjoy
numerous recreational activities.
As the city’s original streets eroded and
were replaced with large, flat asphalt
surfaces, the struggle against water
resurfaced. After significant rainfall, several
homes in the community would have large
puddles in the front yard for weeks until
the ground could soak it back up. “The
streets had become bumpy over time, so
this new project gave us a chance to level
everything out and also correct the slopes
for better drainage,” says Besseling.
The streets of Island J were in fact
long overdue for maintenance and repair;
previous HOA boards had neglected to
do reserve studies to schedule and pay
for it. “When this board came in during
the early 2000s, we found we were $5
million dollars behind in maintenance
for all components,” explains Besseling.
“We spent several years mitigating other
issues, and the streets are the last of
these overdue projects we’re tackling.”
Tetrault and his team provided a very
comprehensive presentation for the HOA
Mitigate Flooding
restoring original charm with cobble pavers
that laid out how they would install the
paver system. Besseling notes, “The
quality of their work and work ethic of
their personnel was very clear from that
presentation and we were happy to move
forward with them.”
The HOA chose Belgard’s Cambridge
Cobble in Tuscana color because it
complemented the Islands’ bright color
scheme of white, blue, and yellow
properties. “The homes are the equity,
so we didn’t want to draw attention away
from them, but rather to blend nicely
with them,” says Besseling.
Although choosing the design aesthetic
for the roadways was easy enough, there
were many structural considerations.
Tetrault recommends using geotextile
fabric between the soil and the paver
system “to keep the system independent
of what’s going on beneath it,” he says.
He also specified the commercial-grade
pavers because of The Islands’ resident
traffic, as well as a lot of heavy truck
traffic. The area is comprised of several,
narrow and curvy streets that Foster City
fire and police use as a monthly training
route, and garbage and recycling trucks
come through twice a week.
To minimize negative impact on The
Islands’ residents during installation,
Modern Paving and the HOA came up
with a well-organized plan. Modern
Paving worked on a small stretch of
street at a time, including one of several
parking lots. Work began after people
left for the workday and stopped at five
o’clock. Even mail was rescheduled to
be delivered after five. A ramp would
allow people to drive over the work area
to their homes. “We say it’s a temporary
inconvenience for a permanent
improvement,” says Besseling.
With more than half the installation
complete, the new roads look better,
provide better drainage and even improve
residents’ safety. “The asphalt roads felt
like a freeway, so people drove at freeway
speeds,” explains Besseling. “We have a
lot of young families in this community
and kids play in the streets, so it became
a concern. Pavers automatically make
people drive more slowly.”
The project also offers a good return
on investment with increased property
values. On average, the units in The
Islands sell for approximately $1.2
million. “Having new, sturdy, and good-
looking roads increases the equity
of the entire HOA, which will also
positively impact the value of each unit,”
says Besseling.
for more information
Belgard, part of Oldcastle APG, offers
a complete collection of paver and wall
products for outdoor living spaces,
walkways, driveways, parking areas,
and retaining walls. For more, visit
AUGUST 2020 www.mcsmag.com24
AUGUST 2020 www.mcsmag.com26
equipment solution
Securing the Payload
new chain technology makes open-deck
cargo securement easier
nyone who has ever had to
secure cargo with chains knows
that simply getting the chains in
position to begin securing the payload
can be quite a task. Thirty-foot lengths
of half-inch, 100-grade steel chain can
weigh as much as 85 pounds each,
98 pounds if you carry the necessary
15-pound load binder at the same time.
Now, multiply that by the number of
chains that may be needed to adequately
secure a load and you can be talking
about a lot of cumulative weight.
“We use a different amount of chain
for each load depending on the load
weight and available securement points,”
says Ace Carter, engineer for Northwest
Logistics Heavy Haul, an Oklahoma-
based heavy-haul service provider
doing business throughout the U.S. and
Canada. “A theoretical load requiring 14,
30-foot, half-inch 100-grade steel chains
and binders with a 15,000-pound working
load limit (WLL), would add up to about
1,372 pounds of securement, and simply
deploying this is a long and strenuous
task for even a two-man crew.
Once the chains are situated around a
trailer and its cargo, the real work begins.
Some cargo items have engineered anchor
points that enable workers to connect load
securement devices directly to the cargo
and this is known as “direct” securement.
Other cargo articles have nothing to
attach to, so the securement has to pass
through, over, or around the article, and
this is known as “indirect” securement.
Carter says that on larger loads like
tanks, a team of two would generally
be used to secure the load. One person
usually throws a guide rope, attached
to the chain, over the tank to a second
person on the opposite side of the trailer,
who then pulls the chain up and over the
vessel as the first helps guide it. “Either
way,” Carter says, “steel chains take
time to set and secure and it’s physically
demanding work.
Steel chains aren’t just heavy, they
can be abrasive as well, and when
using them, Northwest often had to
use carpet, rubber, fire hose, and other
liners to protect the cargo’s finish from
being damaged. The process sometimes
required climbing ladders and the use
of manlifts or forklift baskets, and there
were more materials to buy, transport,
store, and maintain. More care was also
required when handling, orienting, and
securing heavy chains, to avoid damage
to payloads that could ultimately result in
customer dissatisfaction.
In late 2018, Carter and Northwest began
exploring a new cargo securement
technology from Doleco USA that
promised to alleviate some of the issues
surrounding the use of steel chains
for cargo securement. Doleco’s new
product had the potential to change
not only Northwest’s approach to load
securement with steel chains, but the
ubiquitous use of steel chains across the
entire heavy-haul industry.
Doleco’s revolutionary DoNova
PowerLash Textile Lashing Chain
and Tie Down System is made of
high-performance Dyneema
Dyneema’s ultra-high-molecular-weight
polyethylene (UHMWPE) material is 15
times stronger than steel by weight,
and made into chain, up to 85 percent
lighter—so lightweight, in fact, that it
floats on water.
“The DoNova PowerLash Textile
Lashing Chain has extremely low
moisture absorption, is self-lubricating,
is highly resistant to corrosive chemicals,
and is 15 percent more resistant to
abrasion than carbon steel,” says Ralph
Abato, president and managing director
of Doleco USA. “The textile chain is
available with a WLL as high as 22,000
pounds, more than that of half-inch steel
chain and just under the 22,600-pound
WLL of 5/8-inch steel chain.”
Since the DoNova PowerLash Textile
Lashing Chain in the same 30-foot
lengths weighed 85 percent less than the
half-inch steel chains they would replace,
Northwest’s crews needed only 10
DoNova PowerLash Tiedowns to do the
job of 14 steel chains. Coupled with other
tangible benefits, Northwest decided to
give the DoNova product a try.
AUGUST 2020 www.mcsmag.com28
equipment solution
“Carrying the lightweight DoNova
chains from their storage location on
the truck or support vehicle to every
point of securement on the trailer now
requires much less effort. Less weight
means easier handling, less fatigue,
and a lower potential for injury,” Carter
says. “It is safe to say that the workers
love the product.”
Carter notes that now his folks can
toss the guide rope over and pull the
lightweight DoNova PowerLash Textile
Lashing Chain over a tank and secure both
sides, without worrying about scratching
the tank’s finish. He believes that DoNova
chains save time and effort while reducing
worker fatigue and risk of injury.
“Time savings is likely less significant
than weight savings and increased
capacity,” Carter says. “Now we have
less effort required for securement, less
risk of personal injury, less gross weight
to haul and permit, fewer securement
devices required on some loads, and
the 10-metric-ton-capacity matches
securement points on many of our
European trailers.”
Securing cargo on an open-deck trailer
can be daunting at times. Construction
materials and equipment in particular
present unique challenges. Those
securing cargo and vehicle operators
must be familiar with federal regulations
and must have a working knowledge of
the physics of how cargo behaves once
it’s in motion.
Depending on the type of load and the
requisite securement method called for,
those doing the securing have a number
of decisions to make. Some cargo
types are simpler than others and some
are downright complicated, requiring
significant physical effort. Some loads
may be heavy, have sharp edges or be
prone to shifting. Climbing into, onto,
and around items in order to attach
restraints can expose workers to a host
of hazards.
“Maybe your heavy-haul drop deck
or lowboy trailer is carrying large or
articulating equipment to and from an
off-highway worksite, Abato says. “If
so, you have to know that any and all
hydraulic arms need to be secured, and
that any dirt and rocks left on the deck
may be considered ‘unsecured cargo’ by
the authorities.”
The point is, that replacing heavy
steel chains with DoNova PowerLash
Textile Chains makes life easier and less
complicated, and gives fleets and owner-
operators one less thing to worry about.
The extremely low weight and
flexibility of DoNova PowerLash chain
promotes easier handling of heavy-duty
load securing devices. It can be easily
thrown over even large loads or guided
around complex cargo geometries
without damaging them or their finish.
With DoNova, individual workers can
handle long lashing chains of more than
60 feet all by themselves.
The textile chains can also be
shortened very quickly since all
hooks of the tensioning device can
be attached directly to the flexible
chain links. This chain is particularly
well suited for heavy use since it
is extremely resistant to abrasion,
chemicals, and even seawater. AUGUST 2020
Special load binders have also been developed for the DoNova
Textile Chain. At just three quarters as long as a standard load
binder, the DoRa® Ratcheting Load Binder fits into tighter
spaces, but expands to enable users to reach twice as far as
any other. The compact size and extra length of the DoRa save
users time and trouble, because they don’t have to detach and
reattach chains when periodically retensioning cargo.
“Doleco’s DoRa Ratcheting Load Binder is 20 percent shorter
than others, extends to twice their length and makes chain
retensioning a breeze. Abato shares, “The patented spindle-in-a-
spindle design of the DoRa Ratcheting Load Binder saves time,
giving users unrivaled tensioning capabilities when securing
cargo with steel chains, but is designed specifically to work as a
system with Doleco’s DoNova PowerLash Textile Lashing Chain.
With its WLL of 22,000 pounds, the DoNova PowerLash 25/8
may be used with the lashing strap as a tensioning element.
Doleco’s Heavy Duty 2-inch Ratchet with Gear Drive, webbing
made with Dyneema, features special eye-hooks and coupling
links can substitute for standard load binders, and gives the load
securement system an increased tensioning range at a reduced
weight. The WLL of the tensioning elements employed (straight
pull or loop) are easily matched to the WLL of the textile chain
and hooks effortlessly into their respective chain elements.
DoNova can also be used as a head sling. If a load has no
fastening points, it can be secured with a sling that runs over
and/or around the cargo. This indirect lashing method allows
even the most unwieldy load to be brought under control.
“The DoNova PowerLash head sling not only secures
voluminous loads without lashing points, it also functions as
a headboard substitute for loads that can’t be placed against
the actual headboard of the vehicle,” Abato says. “DoNova can
be guided around the load flexibly and tensioned with lashing
straps that are hooked directly to the chain links.”
Few new products offer the quantity of dramatic advantages
delivered by Doleco’s advanced textile chain technology. The
contrast between steel chain and the DoNova PowerLash Textile
Chain is quite tangible.
All I have to do is let folks hold a steel chain in their bare
hand and a DoNova Textile Chain in the other,” says Abato.
“People immediately understand that this is an advancement
in material engineering and industrial design that will have
implications that extend far beyond cargo securement. There’s
almost always a slight look of awe on their face.”
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AUGUST 2020 www.mcsmag.com30
equipment solution
Reel Trailers
allowing optimal equipment utilization
outhland Electric, Inc. is a San
Diego-based commercial and
industrial electrical contractor that
serves the Southern California region.
The woman-owned company does
electrical work for entities like Cox Cable,
San Diego city schools, San Diego Gas &
Electric (SDGE), and many more.
“We install, splice, and test SDGE’s
fiber optic and copper communication
cables between substations. Recently,
we have been installing a fiber optic
cable 1 foot above a 16-inch gas main,”
says Dale Thompson, an outside plant
supervisor for Southland Electric, Inc.
Southland needed a few cable reel
trailers to free up its Telsta, a bucket
truck(s) with a reel carrier on the back,
to do aerial work where needed. When
conversations first started, Southland
was looking at Felling’s FT-14 R cable
reel trailer. Dale worked with Mark
Rapp, Felling’s Utility & Telecom
product manager, to ensure that
they ordered the right trailer for the
project. After reviewing the project’s
needs, Dale decided that the FT-6 R
would be sufficient for the company’s
current needs.
Southland took delivery of its first FT-6 R
cable reel in May; the trailer was equipped
with hydraulic retriever/take-up, rim drive,
with a self-contained hydraulic power pack.
“I was thoroughly impressed with our
new FT-6 R reel trailer. It’s a beautiful
cable dolly. Hydraulics are very well
done. Very sharp in appearance. Very
easy to use,” says Dale.
On gas projects, we start the process
with a 4,500-foot reel of fiber optic cable.
The gas line is being installed in the
middle of the street, so at the end of the
day, the cable has to go back on the reel
so we can lower it into the trench and
then cover it with steel plates,” says Dale.
“We are only trenching 150 to 200 feet a
day, so we have to figure 8 the entire reel
of cable so that we have a starting end of
the cable to pull under any gas, telecom,
cable, etc. encountered. Then, we use
our new Felling FT-6R trailer to wind up
the cable and put it back in the trench.”
What is a figure 8? The process of
“figure 8’ing” allows a contractor to park
the trailer mid-span of the run and pull
it in both directions. The cable has to be
emptied from the reel and laid on the
ground, laying it in a figure 8 pattern; it
prevents it from being twisted as it is
pulled in two directions. Not knowing
how much material they will need or
what they are going to run into, they
figure 8 the entire reel. Once the material
is pulled through the obstacle, they load
the material back on the reel, and it then
can be deployed by driving along the
unobstructed trench.
With the first FT-6 R in service, an
additional one or two reel trailers were
still needed; these would need to be
a bit more customized for the project
application. Dale had two more projects
coming up that would need the capacity
for 38-inch reel, (50 reels total), which
would require the rim drive to be
extended by another 2 inches.
Customizing a trailer to a customer’s
needs is Felling’s forte. Mark worked
with Felling’s Engineering and Weld
teams to execute the extension request.
The hydraulic drive was extended to
accommodate the turning of a 38-inch-
diameter reel, allowing for the rim drive
hydraulic retriever/take-up system’s
Felling FT-6 R with hydraulic
retriever/take-up rim drive. AUGUST 2020
smooth operation. The additional one to
two trailers have turned into three trailers
to date, with a happy customer getting
their projects done.
“Thank you for such a great product,”
shares Dale.
Southland Electric, Inc. is a locally owned
and operated electrical contractor which
was originally established in 1977 and
later became a 100-percent woman-
owned business in 2014. Southland
proudly serves customers in San Diego
and across Southern California with a
complete range of services, capabilities,
and experience related to commercial,
institutional, and industrial medium and
low-voltage systems. With an expert
staff of passionate electricians and
electrical specialists and an unmatched
commitment to safety, Southland is the
premier electrical contractor in the San
Diego, California, area.
Felling Trailers is a family owned and
operated Full Line Trailer Manufacturer
located in Central
Minnesota. Started
in 1974, Felling Trailers, Inc. has grown
from a small shop to a factory and
office complex that today covers over
325,000 square feet. Felling’s pride and
differentiation is its customized trailer
division. Its engineers utilize the latest
Industry-leading design techniques,
and its experienced metal craftspeople
use cutting-edge technology to turn its
customers’ conceptual trailer needs
into a tangible product. Felling has been
providing innovative trailer solutions
to the transportation industry for more
than 45 years. Felling Trailers’ current
capabilities allow them to provide a high-
quality product that is distributed across
North America and internationally.
for more information
For more about the Felling FT-6 R, visit
AUGUST 2020 www.mcsmag.com32 • 563-583-0556
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AUGUST 2020 www.mcsmag.com34
equipment solution
he electrification trend that has
been a topic of conversation for
some time is now catching on in
various vehicle segments, most notably
in the automotive space. Following the
recent advances in the auto industry’s
speed of introduction of electric cars,
construction equipment manufacturers,
typically fast followers of the automotive
industry, have continued to iterate and
launch electrified machines with varying
degrees of electrification technology. The
focus is around potential environmental
and productivity advantages. A recent
report published by IDTechEx Research
predicts that the majority of new
construction vehicles will be electrically
powered by 2029, less than 10 years
from now.
Electric scissor lifts have been in
production for decades. Since that
time there has been rapid adoption and
growth in utilization of scissor lifts in a
wide range of applications. Many new
categories with different shape and size
scissor lifts have been created to respond
to unique end-user jobs. Throughout
the decades, innovation has been
relatively incremental, adding new height
classes and few differentiating features.
The market has focused on low-cost
innovation and there have been shifts in
customer preference accordingly.
One of the most popular
configurations features an electric drive
system which offers fewer hydraulic
hoses, therefore fewer leak points. In
recent years, as talk about electrification
has ramped up, and environmental
regulations have become more
stringent, advances in electrification
have continued to move forward. As
more manufacturers add varying levels
of electric technology, be it DC (direct
current) or AC (alternating current) drive
motors, the improvement in duty cycles
and reduction in potential leaks through
fewer leak points has been notable.
Electric powered scissor lifts are more
environmentally friendly than their engine
powered counterparts and they are
especially useful for working in enclosed
spaces. The simplified nature of batteries
compared to engines, especially as
engine regulations have continued
to evolve adding aftertreatment,
Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) and other
technologies that have driven engine
costs higher. The result has been and
will continue to be increased demand
for electric products since they reduce
the number of service calls related
to engines, aftertreatment and likely
drive reduced fluid leaks on jobsites,
a common type of scissor repair
technicians is called upon to fix.
Depending on the make and model
selected, the upcoming ANSI 92.20
regulations have required specification
changes on some models, more or less
capacity in certain categories and clear
distinctions for operation parameters
in indoor vs outdoor use. The JLG ES
Series, has been the industry benchmark
for electric scissor lifts due to its highly
efficient electric drive system and strong
return on investment. The batteries in the
ES Series deliver up to 200 percent more
life per charge for improved performance
on the job. They tend to last longer,
“True” All-electric Machine
reimagining the scissor lift for the next generation of jobsites
By Rafael Nunez
allowing rental companies to extend the
life of batteries, the single highest cost
driver for scissor lift ownership. The
expanded ES line features a wide range
of models from 13-ft to 32-ft platform
heights and was launched with new
productivity and digital features that will
make it the continued market leader in
the scissor lift category for many years
to come.
Though there is no shortage of battery
powered scissors on the market today,
the next generation of electrification
is upon us. Some manufacturers are
highlighting that they are “battery-
powered” or “electric,” or in some cases
“fully-electric” while still maintaining
hydraulic cylinders for actuation.
The newest all-electric scissor lift
is manufactured with sustainable
technology that drives a high value over
the lifecycle of the machine. It is ideal for
applications such as data centers, clean
rooms, hotels, casinos, museums, big
box stores, and in urban spaces where
stringent environmental regulations
related to noise and emissions
must be met.
As JLG continues to push the
envelope in innovation around the entire
ecosystem from our rental partners to
jobsites. This new machine unlocks
new possibilities and applications
where these types of machines could
not be used in the past due to leak
opportunities. We look forward to
partnering with users to help them
maximize productivity and continue
to help build and maintain the
infrastructure in the world in more
sustainable ways.
Looking towards the future, the JLG
Davinci delivers an environmentally
friendly innovation without unmatched
machine performance. The AE1932
raises the bar and sets a new industry
benchmark for productivity with minimal
maintenance. And, the unit is the only
scissor lift in the industry to recover
energy when the platform is being
lowered, contributing to a 70 percent
decrease in power consumption and
allowing for the use of a single lithium-
ion battery.
Read more about evolving to
all-electric, lithium batteries,
and the reduction in the
total cost of ownership in
this article on
about the author
Rafael Nunez is senior product manager,
scissor & vertical lifts, with JLG Industries, Inc.
JLG launched the new Davinci-series scissor
lift at ConExpo earlier this year. For more, visit
AUGUST 2020 www.mcsmag.com36
ne of the biggest threats facing construction projects
today is an invisible one that lurks just below the
surface. The labyrinth of pipelines and utilities buried
under modern cities pose a significant risk to projects. In 2018,
workers reported more than 330,000 underground utilities
strikes in the United States and more than 11,000 in Canada.
That was an increase of about 13.5 percent since 2015,
numbers show.
On average, there is a utility strike somewhere in North
America every 10 seconds, but it’s a problem that doesn’t have
to exist, and there is a clear solution. In eliminating the threat,
organizations can save money—not to mention headaches or
even the potential for loss of human life.
Data from The Civil Quarterly (TCQ), a new publication launched
in July 2020 from Dodge Data & Analytics, revealed contractors
in heavy construction are facing supply chain issues and other
challenges in keeping their jobsites going amid COVID-19.
But digging deeper, this brand-new data also revealed that 63
percent of the contractors contacted for the study are currently
using or considering using utility detection tools. A staggering
two-thirds of contractors shared a new prioritization on safety
investments overall, to include utility detection.
According to a somewhat dated Purdue University study,
which remains the most commonly cited in the industry,
companies can save $4.62 for every dollar spent on utility
detection. Other estimates show potentially more significant
cost savings, possibly reaching $18 for every dollar spent.
Regardless, the savings can total billions of dollars every year.
Shutting down a project because of a utility strike can easily
cost companies $2,000 or more per hour, a significant impact on
the bottom line of any company or project.
Many utility strikes result from excavation mistakes. Others are
made because crews didn’t report they were digging or because
of errors in reporting underground utilities’ existence.
There are two primary technologies to help crews detect
underground utilities: electromagnetic locators and ground-
penetrating radar.
These technologies work differently, so one is not necessarily
superior. Electromagnetic locators effectively locate metal or
metallicized utilities, while ground-penetrating radar can help
find other buried items, such as plastic pipes.
Remaining vigilant while excavating a jobsite remains of
paramount importance as neither tool is guaranteed to find
everything, particularly items found buried deeper than 15 feet.
But, working in tandem, these tools capture the overwhelming
majority of buried utilities.
The field of super subsurface utility engineering continues
to evolve as it matures. It is poised for significant growth as
projects become increasingly complex and budgets tighten,
making mistakes even more costly.
There are three emerging sections within the utility detection
arena: utility companies, specialized detection companies, and
construction companies that take it on themselves. Now there
are new—and easier-to-use tools—that are simplifying utility
detection across the industry.
Today, 40 percent of contractors use utility detection tools,
while another 23 percent use or consider the technology,
according to TCQ.
There are free options for detecting underground utilities. While
these are tempting, it’s important to remember the old adage,
“you get what you pay for.”
An estimated 65 percent of the buried utility lines in North
America are deemed private, so many buried utilities aren’t fully
verified. Considering utility owners aren’t necessarily required
to participate in nonprofit programs—such as the Common
Ground Alliance’s 811 program—that help companies locate
underground utilities before they dig, and there is a potential
recipe for disaster.
While asset owners theoretically know where their
underground utilities are buried, free services often inaccurately
mark the locations. It’s one thing for a homeowner to receive
wrong markings, it’s another for bad markings on a significant
What Lurks Below
the maturing of utility
detection in heavy construction
By Simon Pedley
management solution AUGUST 2020
commercial project where millions of
dollars—and even dozens of lives—are
at stake.
Mapping utilities used to be a time-
consuming affair, as crews would have to
download data from a detecting device,
upload it to another system, and then
cross-reference the data to make sure
where they planned to dig is safe.
It’s no problem for teams with days to
spare, but today, it’s about getting the
information in real time to keep crews
active and working safely and efficiently.
Modern solutions have changed
the approach, making it easier for
companies of all sizes to understand
what lies beneath their project and
keep everyone on their team in the
loop. They can also be deployed by
small teams or single team members,
making these solutions well-suited for
the new social distancing requirements
amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Due
to the easy-to-use and advanced
implementation of these solutions, they
can also be deployed without hiring
additional team members or undergoing
extensive training.
But, detecting utilities is just the first
step in the process.
Tools employ smart algorithms to
create digital utility maps in minutes,
displaying detected results while users
are still in the field, allowing project
managers to make real-time decisions.
Users can export the data for use with
post-processing software and machines,
or they can overlay with additional
data for a more robust picture of
an environment.
Technology is a powerful enabler of a
better way to approach problems facing
organizations today. From advanced,
multi-dimensional drawings of project
sites to realistic 3D renderings of
new projects months or even years
before completion, technology has
revolutionized the construction industry,
and utility detection is no exception.
There is no reason to strike an
underground utility because the crew
did not take the time to try and locate it.
Today’s available solutions streamline
processes and make the jobsite safer
and allow project managers and their
teams to avoid inadvertent strikes of
buried pipelines and utilities.
Simply using this technology can
save thousands—potentially millions—
in fees, repairs and lost time. Why
wait any longer?
about the author
Simon Pedley is the detection sales manager
in North America for Leica Geosystems. His
expertise lies within the latest detection
tools and technology, as well as supporting
customers in damage prevention, safety
monitoring, and utility mapping.
AUGUST 2020 www.mcsmag.com38
management solution
hat quote from Ben Franklin
applies to many things in business
and in life. It especially applies to
handling problems and complaints.
What’s the best way to handle problems
and complaints? There are many answers
to that question. Essentially, with the
utmost professionalism; with cool, calm
collectedness; with tact and diplomacy.
Here’s the BEST answer: Avoid them
in the first place! I’m a firm believer in
the best practice of Proactive Complaint
and Problem Prevention.
As a contractor, there are numerous
actions to take that will help you to
avoid problems and complaints. Review
and implement these best practices
of progressive contractors to reduce
problems and complaints.
Oh, come on Sam. We don’t need a
meeting. We’ve worked with you for
years!” Go over the punch list with
your subs on every job—even if you
have worked for years with the sub
and you know they do a great job.
Let the sub know that the prework
meeting to go over the punch list is
not optional. It is mandatory.
Document every complaint and
talk about how they could have
been avoided.
Hold weekly meetings to discuss
“Hits,” “Runs,” and “Misses.”
Have your accounting team check
and double check every entry into
your accounting system.
On a regular basis, ask your
project manager, accountant,
office manager, etc. this question:
“Is there anything I should know
about?” If you don’t ask, they may
not tell you.
Demand workers to start working
at start time, and not stand around
chatting and drinking coffee for
half an hour before they
get started.
Keep your tools and equipment
in tip top shape. Note when
parts need to be replaced and
equipment needs maintenance
service. No one likes downtime.
Communication and accountability
from each member of your team is
imperative to accomplish even the
simplest task.
Hold weekly meetings with your
superintendent, project managers,
and foremen to talk about the week
before; discuss any problems that
occurred and how you could have
avoided potential problems.
Make sure your estimator applies
their expertise, skills, and
knowledge to account for any
uncertainties that might arise during
a construction project.
Make sure every department and
every employee will make every
effort to provide great service to
each other. If they don’t, how can
you develop a reputation for being a
top-notch contractor?
Check and cross-check the punch
list with pertinent documents.
Keep your client informed when
a problem occurs. Honesty is the
best policy.
Instruct every employee to display
a sense of urgency to respond to
any request.
Never make a promise you
can’t keep.
Ask complete questions, paraphrase
to reconfirm what customers want
so you don’t make a mistake.
If you are not sure of something,
just ask!
3Ps to the Rescue
an ounce of prevention
is worth a pound of cure
By Christine Corelli
What do you say when there’s a
complaint or problem? Use words and
phrases that display professionalism
and empathy. This can be challenging—
especially when you have to deal with
someone who thinks they know better
than you! The following are examples
of phrases known by customer service
professionals as “verbal cushions.”
These should help you face these
difficult situations.
John, I would like to be able
to tell you I can do this for you.
Unfortunately, it’s not feasible with
this project.” Then, explain why.
“Based on my experience, this could
have been avoided if…”
“I don’t blame you for being upset,
Mr. Smith. I would feel the same if I
were you.”
“I feel really bad about this, John. It
couldn’t be helped.”
“I’m understand the seriousness of
being behind. The I appreciate your
patience. The weather has been
against us.”
“I apologize if there’s been a
misunderstanding. Mr. Smith,
I’ll talk with the project manager
immediately and get back
to you as soon as I obtain
answers for you.”
“I am sorry that you think you
were overcharged, Joe. Let’s walk
through the invoice together. If
there are any errors, we will make
corrections immediately.”
“I understand your position, John. If
I could do more for you, I would.”
Take the leadership role. Work with
your team to create your own list.
Print it out so everyone has them and
consistently update them.
A final word on problems and
complaints: Never carry an encounter
with a difficult client or situation
over to your next job, or take it out
on your team. Understand that times
are tough for everyone these days.
Accept that in the construction
business, and in every business,
complaints and problems come
with the territory. What is most
important is that you have systems
and procedures to prevent them
from occurring. Proactive complaint
and problem prevention is a
smart practice.
about the author
Christine Corelli is a conference speaker,
workshop facilitator, and business
columnist. She has worked with an
abundance of construction contractor
companies and been a featured speaker at
industry associations. To contact her for an
upcoming meeting, conference, or special
event, call 847.477.7376. For more, visit
AUGUST 2020 www.mcsmag.com40
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software solution
Digital Transformation
more attainable than ever before
By AJ Waters
ven with the advancements
we have made in personal
technology, the mention of a digital
transformation continues to set off
alarms for many companies, especially
in construction. The continually evolving
nature of technology means digital
transformations are more akin to ongoing
cultural shifts than a single finite project.
The move to digitize the way we
work has become a fundamental part
of our daily lives that can no longer
be dismissed as an idea reserved
for corporate giants with seemingly
unlimited resources. Implementations
are no longer as complicated or labor
intensive as they once were, thanks
to the leaps forward in consumer
technology, and construction
companies of all sizes are beginning
to reap benefits.
From the advent of the first computer,
digital transformations were being
consumed at different levels based on
available budget and savvy. Remember
how BlackBerry took corporations by
storm? However, that all began to change
with the announcement of the first-
generation iPhone. The race to create
consumer level advanced technology
was on, and now almost everyone
carries around the most advanced mobile
devices in their pocket.
With the explosion of mobile
technology came the need for a cloud
backbone to support it. Today, the cloud
is everywhere, and rightfully so, with our
ever-increasing use of data catapulting
cloud businesses to exponential
consumer growth.
But there is an often-overlooked
component that arguably has been
more vital than each of these. User
experience (UX) and user interface took
center stage as developers went to work
accommodating these new screens and
speeds. No digital transformation is
ever successful without being intuitive
to the end user, and this move to
consumer mobility was no different. As
evidenced by the rapid UX professional
growth over the last decade, rising from
100,000 in 2010 to over a million in 2020,
technology developers scrambled to
make platforms easier to use, and easier
to saturate into the market.
This rapid consumerization of digital
transformations has business benefits,
too. The very first versions of estimating
software required a dedicated machine
loaded with a set of twelve floppy disks,
installed in a particular order. However,
thanks to the enterprise advancements in
cloud computing, today it is as simple as
typing a URL into a web browser that’s
already installed on your PC.
The same is true with mobile
technology. Most of your on-site
personnel are already carrying a smart
phone and the download of a simple
app transforms them into project
management tools. Not only does this
significantly reduce hardware costs, but
it also reduces the time users take to
become comfortable with navigating the
technology. Any training that might be
needed can be delivered in-app, allowing
the user to learn while on the job.
The foundation of all of this, though,
is the 30 years of user interface
improvements. Power buttons, volume
sliders, swipe left to advance. The list
is endless. It is the synergy found by
combining of each of these factors,
intuitive, mobile technologies deployed
with SaaS cloud computing, that brings
the real win to organizations—visibly
reducing the time, cost, and resources
required for implementation of a
digital transformation.
With all of this in mind, there
are three “quick wins” that could
kickoff constructions’ path to digital
transformation. First, the way project
drawings are managed has struggled to
evolve over the last 30 years. What was
AUGUST 202042 AUGUST 2020
acceptable then is no longer capable of
addressing the large data demands of a
rapidly changing, modern construction
site. While there has no doubt been
some improvement, version control is
still a struggle for most projects.
Second, yet another paper process,
is timecard and progress management.
This goes beyond payroll as it loops in
safety, quality and often more. Without
a level of digitalization, this remains a
labor-intensive, manual process.
Finally, without digital transformation,
the future value of the data being
collected remains hidden. History and
past costs might be stored somewhere,
but without proper access and reference
points, you are unable to take actionable
steps to improve plans for the next time,
or to reduce rework. It is no wonder the
construction industry continues to be
plagued with projects that are behind
schedule and over budget.
Even with everything that has been
discussed, a digital transformation may
still seem daunting. While it is often
difficult to understand where to begin,
here are three questions that can help
set you up on a road toward success:
1. Are we truly prepared for this?
Do we know what is important
to us?
Do we have the right people
in place?
Remember, this is an ever-changing
journey, not just a one-time, finite
project. Now, more than ever, digital
transformation success is waiting for
companies of all shapes and sizes in the
construction industry.
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about the author
AJ Waters is the director industry solutions
with InEight, a leader in construction project
management software. For more, visit
If the idea of a “digital transformation” still
leaves you hesitant, look around for a moment.
The transformation has already happened in the
devices your employees use personally every day,
now is the time to take advantage of that.
AUGUST 2020 www.mcsmag.com44
legal solution
lthough deemed an “essential
business” by many states,
the construction industry is
evolving in conjunction with a pandemic
and increased market volatility leaving
construction companies wondering
what is next or where business will
take them. Now is the time for those in
the construction industry to abandon a
specialization in strictly private projects
or strictly public projects. The shift from
private projects to public works can be
intimidating; nevertheless, most public
works projects considered essential
during the pandemic will continue
whereas private projects are at a greater
risk to shut down.
Damage to the construction industry
during the first half of 2020 was
unmistakable. Overall, the industry
plunged 22 percent below the first half
of 2019, yet public bidding opportunities
remain available in abundance. In early
June, Dodge Data and Analytics found
that there were more than 500 public
bidding opportunities in California, Texas,
Florida, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and
New York alone.
Diversifying your ability to bid on
both public and private projects ensures
that your business is open to every
opportunity. This article examines the
differences between public and private
projects to assist those considering
expanding their reach across the public-
private lines. The article will also examine
certain relevant preferences that may
assist in obtaining public projects.
Private bidding is a quality-driven
procurement while public bidding is far
more competitive, often driven by cost
dictated by governments with budget
deficits. In a private project, the owner,
on the advice of its design professionals,
selects who it wants to work with based
on factors that which the owner deems
as a priority. A private project owner
also has the prerogative to bid-shop and
negotiate with its contractor.
Public bidding is regulated to ensure
fair competition. Most states have
enacted statutes on competitive bidding.
Colorado calls on government employees
to adhere to the “highest standards of
ethical behavior” relative to procurement.
Likewise, West Virginia implements
personal liability for those state employees
who violate procurement procedures.
Profit margins are generally higher on
private projects. Because public projects
generally award to the lowest bidder,
the private-project bidder can include a
higher profit margin into its bids without
the risk of price disqualification. On the
other hand, there is more confidence
in getting paid when procuring a public
contract. The government pays, just not
always timely.
Bonding requirements add cost to
a project. The Miller Act, applicable to
federal public jobs, requires contractors
to post several different bonds. Before
a contract of $100,000.00 or more
is awarded, a construction company
must furnish a performance bond and a
payment bond. The bonds must provide
coverage for taxes.
Under principles of contract law, private
contracts are negotiable. Public contracts
are often non-negotiable. If the terms of
a public contract are unsettling, nothing
typically can be done about it. For example,
in most instances, states have a boilerplate
contract that must be signed when
performing work on highway projects.
Regardless, it is important to have an
attorney review a public contract to make
sure that the terms can be adhered to and
that the contract is as fair as possible.
Public contract term negotiations can be
Business Retooling
diversify to thrive in times of uncertainty
By Danielle Waltz and Alexis Hailpern
initiated, but a realistic understanding of
the outcome is important.
To bring diversity and inclusion to the
construction industry, states and the
federal government offer advantageous
bidding consideration to those
businesses with certain designations and
certifications. Obtaining designations
and certifications avails a construction
company to greater opportunities,
including preference in bid selection.
Some companies, simply because of
ownership and demographic, will not
qualify for certain designations, but
doing business with companies that have
designations will help those unqualified
businesses “score” better when applying
for grants and contracts.
In 1983, Congress enacted the
Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE)
Program. DBE requires the U.S. Department
of Transportation to award at least 10
percent of federal funds designated
for transit projects to DBE qualified
businesses. To be certified as a DBE, a
business must have at least 51 percent
ownership and control by a woman,
minority, disabled person, or veteran who
physically resides in the United States and
can prove economic disadvantages.
The Minority Business Enterprise
(MBE) certification also requires that
a business be owned and controlled
at least 51 percent by a member of
an identified minority group who is a
U.S. citizen. MBE is similar to the DBE,
but a business does not have to be
certified by the government to receive
the designation. The National Minority
Supplier Development Council, for
example, is one of the largest MBE
certifiers in the United States. The
programs differ in that MBE requires
citizenship while DBE requires residency.
The Women-Owned Small Business
(WOSB) program was established by the
Small Business Administration. The program
calls for the federal government and its
agencies to award at least 5 percent of all
industry dollars to businesses designated
as WOSB. To be eligible for the WOSB, a
business must be a small business, but
at least 51 percent must be owned and
controlled by a woman who is U.S. citizen
and manages the day-to-day operations of
the business while possessing long-term
decision making power.
As things change in an unprecedented
world, construction businesses may need to
make changes as well to maintain revenue
stream. Diversifying the abilities of your
team and your projects can open doors in
both the private and public sector. Although
crossing the private-public lines may appear
intimidating, your business will have an
ability to thrive even in difficult times. Now
may be the time to at least transition of
portion of your business to public projects.
about the authors
Danielle Waltz is a commercial and
construction litigator and government relations
specialist in Jackson Kelly PLLC’s Charleston,
West Virginia, office, where she is a member.
She represents a variety of construction
clients. She is a member of the International
Association of Defense Counsel (IADC) and is
active in its Construction Law and Litigation
Group. She can be contacted, via e-mail at Alexis Hailpern is a
commercial attorney in Jackson Kelly’s Denver
Office. She represents a variety of construction
professionals. She can be contacted via email
Diversifying your ability to bid on both public and
private projects ensures that your business is open
to every opportunity.
AUGUST 2020 www.mcsmag.com46
technology solution
here’s a difference between
managing projects and running a
construction company—at least
that’s what most people think. Many
companies will conduct internal capital
projects to create a new product or
improve efficiencies, but it’s not their
main source of income. For construction
companies, delivering projects is how
they directly serve their customers, and
essentially, how they make money. More
specifically, the projects they deliver
directly affect their bottom line.
The fact of the matter is productivity
in the construction industry has
remained stagnant and even declined.
By understanding the seven challenges
of the construction industry, it will be
easier to take the necessary steps to
be more productive, profitable, and
ultimately successful.
Construction companies are often
submitting RFPs and RFIs for ERPs and
business systems with requirements that
are limited around project accounting.
This assumes that any kind of financial
and operational project management
is done in third-party applications or
spreadsheets, but not in the main
business application. It’s time these
companies demand more from the
business solutions they adopt. Sticking
to the status quo due to habit means
technology providers will continue
to sell glorified accounting software,
which means construction companies
will continue to manage their business
processes through spreadsheets and
disparate point solutions.
It’s impossible to identify as something
you don’t know exists. The term Project
Business has been around for a while,
but it remains relatively unknown
to project-based companies (e.g.,
construction) that should be recognizing
themselves as such. Failing to identify as
a Project Business causes them to focus
on the wrong aspect of their business.
Oftentimes, project-based companies will
focus on the 5 percent of their business
that makes them unique from other
companies when really their focus should
be on the core part of their business
projects. To see the most productivity
gains, construction companies need to
take care of managing projects. After all,
it’s 80 to 90 percent of what they do.
There’s been a lot of effort in trying
to squeeze as much efficiency out of
silos, or the different aspects of project
management that are managed in
spreadsheets and point solutions that
make up the fragmented data landscape.
As a result, productivity in construction
continues to decline. Instead of putting
time and effort optimizing these
individual silos, construction companies
need to focus on optimizing the net total
of all the silos and think of the enterprise
as a whole and implement a single,
integrated solution that manages all their
Project Business processes.
Moving Forward
seven challenges of the construction industry
By Daniel Bévort AUGUST 2020
Oftentimes, key stakeholders
have different versions of project
information and operate within their
own silos, making it difficult for them
to collaborate and have a shared
opinion of where a project is at.
Why? They are operating in different
tools and using different information.
It’s impossible to implement a
communication strategy or Project
Business governance program in
such a disjointed arrangement. To
do a better job of communicating,
everyone needs to be on the same
page. Giving key stakeholders the tools
and having them work from one source
of truth enables better outcomes for
your projects.
Construction companies operate in a
very fragmented application landscape,
deploying multiple tools and solutions
to manage their business. This
results in the lack of Project Business
governance—a standardized approach to
the management of processes and data
in project-based companies. Not only is
it difficult to control the process, it’s also
difficult to trust the output. In addition,
instead of having a governed set of
processes, you’re relying on individuals.
In the long run, it makes it difficult for
construction companies to have scalable
business processes.
Construction workloads or processes
are usually limited within a silo. There
are workloads that happen in the
planning silo, workloads in a specific
spreadsheet, or workloads that happen
on the procurement side. If something
happens in the planning silo, that event
needs to translate into a spreadsheet
or communicated to the procurement
department. Lack of automation means
someone needs to intervene and make
that transition from one silo to the next.
And oftentimes, that doesn’t happen. As
a result, project controls and workloads
are neglected, and it prevents the flow
of information across the enterprise.
Construction companies operate in a
very fluid, high-risk environment that
demands organizational agility.
The number one complaint from C-level
executives is they don’t actually know
what’s going on with their projects
until they are done. Why? They don’t
have that information available. If
they want that information, they must
dedicate people to finding that specific
information and presenting it in the
right format. This means executives
end up making important business
decisions based on either no data or
unreliable, outdated data. In some
cases, they don’t make any decisions at
all. In addition, lack of real-time insight
means there’s no way to have early
detection of issues. If you’re able to
identify a problem while it’s small and
manageable, then you can mitigate and
prevent it from becoming worse.
If you’ve done the same thing for
decades, making a big change can
be difficult. But when the bread and
butter of your company depends on
completing projects on time and within
budget, ensuring your Project Business
processes are as efficient as they
can be is essential. Recognizing the
seven challenges of the construction
industry not only helps you identify what
solutions are possible but positions the
company for growth and success.
about the author
Daniel Bévort is founder and CEO of ADEACA.
For more, visit
AUGUST 2020 www.mcsmag.com48
technology solution
he team at Beecher Walker faced
more than its share of challenges
in the design and construction
of The Hale Centre Theatre in Sandy,
Utah. Weather, timing, and establishing a
foundation strong enough to support the
structure in watery soil were among the
most pressing riddles facing the architects
and construction management teams, and
the room for error was as thin as a thimble.
One other concern confronting architects
was solving acoustical issues. The
theater, with a seating capacity for 1,360
patrons spread out over two theaters,
sits below the flight path for planes
heading into and out of a nearby airport.
Cars, trucks, and other vehicles rumble
past the theater on an adjacent highway.
Nothing can destroy the mood of “Mary
Poppins”—one of the Centre’s shows
scheduled for this year—like the sound of
the horn of a 16-wheeler rumbling past,
the wail of sirens from an emergency
vehicle, or thunder from an overhead
airliner arriving for a landing.
With those underlying concerns in
mind, every acoustical decision had
to be on point. “This,” architect Lyle
Beecher says, “is a career project.” His
team selected every detail carefully,
particularly as they related to acoustics.
They constructed 18-inch thick
concrete walls and installed mechanical
equipment outside walls to minimize
noise infiltration. They also selected 20
acoustical smoke vents manufactured
by The BILCO Company. This year,
BILCO introduced its new ACDSV smoke
vent, which provides the highest level
of protection against exterior noise
intrusion. Smoke vents are also life
safety products that also help protect the
building structure.
Air traffic was a big consideration for
us,” Beecher says. “The smoke vents
are the only thing stopping the noise
coming in from the loading level on the
outside. BILCO has a good reputation
for its products and the sound issue was
pretty intense.”
Acoustical performance is one of the
major concerns for architects in the
construction of theaters, stages, and other
performance centers. The key indicators
in equipment are ratings that fall into two
categories: sound transmission class
and outdoor-indoor transmission class.
Depending upon the structure being built,
the difference in ratings is essential for
architects to understand.
While there are a lot of considerations
in determining acoustic quality, building
materials are largely measured by STC
and OITC ratings. Architects and material
specialists must not only select the
materials with the proper rating for each
project, but also must determine which
measurement is more important for that
particular project.
STC measures the extent to which
sound is prevented from being transferred
from one area to another. The higher the
STC value, the less that sound can be
transferred through a building product.
STC is typically used to measure sound
transmission loss over a frequency range
from 125 to 4000 hertz and is most
applicable for interior areas that experience
mid to high-frequency noises, such as
conversation, television, telephones, and
office equipment. A product with a high
STC value, ranging from 50-60, indicates
that loud speech is barely heard (assuming
a typical background sound level for an
office, approximately 45dBA) through the
product. A low STC rating, 20-25, indicates
that loud speech would be audible through
the product.
OITC rates the transmission loss of
sound through a material when outdoor
Sound Decisions
different ratings help architects
weigh acoustical choices
By Thomas Renner
performance is
a major concern
for architects in
the construction
of theaters,
auditoriums, and
centers. They
are guided in
their selection
of building
materials by STC
and OITC sound
ratings. Photo
by Brooksie
Productions. AUGUST 2020
sources need to be considered. Like the STC rating, OITC
measures sound intensity loss in decibels. The OITC rating
was developed in 1990 and is typically used to measure sound
transmission loss over a frequency range from 80 to 4000 hertz. It
is most applicable for measuring the prevention of low-frequency
exterior sounds such as automotive traffic, construction, and low-
flying airplanes through exterior building surfaces.
OITC is the preferred rating when addressing sound
insulation from exterior noise—especially when transportation
noise sources are impacting a building facade with significant
low-frequency (bass) sound,” says Harold Merck, principal
and acoustician for Merck & Hill Consultants of Atlanta. “While
STC ratings may be fine for typical interior noise sources
such as voices, STC doesn’t adequately address the extended
low-frequency noise contribution of aircraft, traffic, or even
large roof-top equipment. This also applies to large roof-top
equipment noise sources as well. The OITC better addresses
low-frequency noise impacts and is the more applicable sound
rating for roof mounted automatic smoke vents.”
According to Albert Maniscalco, a partner with Cerami and
Associates in New York, the STC and OITC requirements vary
according to each project.
In school construction, for instance, the STC ratings are used
for acoustically rated doors and windows within the school
such as for music practice rooms. However, the school may
also require acoustically rated exterior windows or other façade
elements to properly mitigate exterior noise intrusion. In this
instance, the OITC rating would be used.
Maniscalco also explained that noise control works both
ways. He cited the example where elements of a building
exterior can be designed to keep the sound within the building
such as a concert or sports venue that is near residences.
“Noise goes both ways,” Maniscalco says. “Sound can come
in and go out. How that façade performs with noise coming in
or going out is important to know.”
Building materials include STC and OITC ratings, but
architects have to account for various sources of noise and
make the appropriate choices. “Windows might have an
excellent STC rating, but without a high OITC rating, low-
frequency sounds can be intrusive,” Merck says. “Windows
with a high STC rating typically have the same OITC rating
as windows with a lesser STC rating, which can be a bit
misleading. Ratings that include the OITC are more useful to
assess how well a window will isolate environmental noise.”
The new smoke vents from BILCO come with an STC rating of 50
and an OITC rating of 46, providing the highest level of protection
against exterior noise intrusion. In addition, the product has
also received an ISO-140-18 sound rating when tested against
rainfall sound. The rating measures the impact of sound
insulation on building materials—such as roofs, skylights, and
roof/ceiling systems—incur when exposed to artificial rainfall.
Automatic smoke vents are life safety products that are
generally used in large one-story buildings per National Fire
Protection Association (NFPA) standards. In the event of a
fire, the vents exhaust smoke, heat, and burning gases from
the building to improve visibility and to protect the building
structure. This provides safe egress for building occupants and
allows firefighters to enter the building and contain the fire.
The new design of the BILCO acoustical smoke vent features
mineral wool insulation and high-density sound mat material
within the unit’s covers and curb to better inhibit sound
transmission. Structural improvements include the use of
heavier gauge steel for the curb and cover liner, a new cover
gasketing system, gas-spring lift assistance, and a center-
mounted gas traction spring to ensure reliable and controlled
smoke vent operation.
At the Hale Centre Theatre, the smoke vents provided a
critical safety component while also protecting against noise
infiltration. The new theater provides more than twice the
seating capacity of its former facility, and gives patrons a
first-class experience—without having to hear the nuisance of
exterior noise.
“This theater, by all standards, is a world-class venue,”
says Mark Dietlein, the president, CEO and executive director
of the theater.
about the author
Thomas Renner writes on building, construction, manufacturing, and other
topics for U.S.-based trade publications.
20 acoustical smoke vents were used in the construction of the Hale Centre
Theatre in Utah to help limit noise intrusion from the exterior. Photo courtesy of
Hale Centre Theatre.
Go to for
solution-based articles with
insight from industry experts.
AUGUST 2020 www.mcsmag.com52
safety solution
onstruction managers, general
contractors, and building owners
are certainly familiar with safety
netting systems and the reasons to
install them, which include protecting
workers and debris from falling from
structures, as well as façade and ceiling
containment. They also believe these
passive systems create and maintain a
safe work environment.
However, when it comes to specifying
the appropriate solution for a construction
project, many see netting systems as,
well, pretty much all the same.
In reality, this could not be
further from the truth, given the
broad variability in the quality
and construction of nets,
suitability for the
stated safety
testing, and other factors that impact the
ability to meet a broad range of national
and state fall protection and debris
control standards.
While this list is extensive, it only serves
to underscore the fact that netting
system selection should squarely rest
in the domain of experts and engineers,
and not viewed as a mere commodity
item. As such, contractors and building
owners often rely on third parties with
a wealth of netting-specific knowledge
and expertise when devising safety plans
or designing and installing rented or
purchased nets and systems.
You can’t just put a netting system
together that you feel is going to work,
only to realize at the end of the day it
was not sufficient for the purpose,” says
Harry Weidmyer of Construction Safety
Service and Solutions. “You are taking
something that is a vital part of safety on
a project and so you can’t take shortcuts
and put up netting that seems easier, or
maybe requires a little less labor.”
There are other reasons that
well manufactured and designed
netting system also makes
good business sense
beyond the safety aspect.
It can also reduce
insurance costs,
improve safety
ratings, speed
Netting Systems
variability in quality/design illustrates the critical role
of third-party experts
productivity, boost worker morale, and
create a positive public image.
As vice president of risk management at
a major construction firm in New York for
20 years and now president of his own
company, Weidmyer has witnessed the
variability in netting system installation
Given his company’s focus on risk
assessment and loss control, Weidmyer
has had the opportunity to work with
contractors in New York, Connecticut,
New Jersey, and Florida to review their
insurances and to monitor their safety
program and protocols.
Outside of New York City, which is
known for the some of the most stringent
netting system codes in the country,
Weidmyer says, “I’ve seen netting system
installed by contractors that I feel slice it
thin in terms of protection. For example,
they install a debris net that serves only
the minor purpose of catching light
debris, but if somebody fell into it, it is
not going to support them.”
Weidmyer says that in New York
City, the nets specified and installed
are often expected to serve double
duty of catching heavy debris as well
as providing personnel fall protection.
The codes even require paperwork that
verifies the integrity of the manufacture
of the net itself.
OSHA Guidelines Subpart M and Article
19 of the NYC Building Code require
specific safety systems on a construction
site. To meet the guidelines, contractors
must submit a site safety plan to the city.
For high rise buildings 15 stories or
more, netting is typically mandated in
the safety plans from the 6th floor up.
Nets are the primary passive fall arrest
system option on the market and usually
the most cost effective. They provide not
only fall protection and the separation
of trades, but also protection of workers
and the public, in addition to other
property below from falling debris.
In addition, netting can be used for
other purposes including as a scaffold and
barrier netting, for façade containment,
and to protect the public from falling
debris from deteriorating buildings until
permanent repairs can be undertaken.
For the past 35 years, Weidmyer says
he has relied on Pucuda – Leading Edge
for the netting system designs in his
safety proposals. Pucuda – Leading Edge
designs the system and can submits the
relevant paperwork and follows through
until it is authorized by the Department
of Buildings, if needed.
Pucuda – Leading Edge is one of the
few netting system manufacturers that
produces nets in the United States and
that has a history of innovation in product
design. The company was founded 27
years ago by hands-on netting expert
John Rexroad, president, founder, and
CEO of the company.
Weidmyer says the company is
basically a one-stop-shop and he also
turns to them for the nets as well, all of
which conform to all ANSI, OSHA, Army
Corps of Engineers, and ASTM standards.
John is a phenomenal net system
designer and so is his team,” says
Weidmyer. “I have recommended him to
quite a few contractors in New York City
because I know his systems are designed
properly and there is no second thought
or concern about them working properly.”
Pucuda is also involved in a unique
project at the Kennedy Space Center at
the Air Force station at Cape Canaveral,
supplying netting systems for a structural
steel project to construct a launch tower
and a lightning strike tower.
On a portion of this particular project,
we are building two towers and the primary
function of the netting is to catch debris,”
explains Alan Bukis of S&R Enterprises, the
on-site project manager for the structural
steel construction company. “So, if
somebody is working up on level 400 and
accidentally drops something, the debris
netting will catch it before it goes to the
ground and potentially hurts somebody.”
In addition, the nets are technically
rated for fall protection even though it is
not the intended use. In addition to the
netting, workers are expected to tie off
using a fully body harness whenever they
are 6 feet above the floor.
AUGUST 2020 www.mcsmag.com54
safety solution
These towers represent protection
for the first new build of a Launch Pad
in several decades. Therefore, it was
important for S&R to interview several
netting manufactures.
Overall, [Pucuda – Leading Edge] had
the best presentation as far as we were
concerned,” says Bukis. “John Rexroad
definitely knows the netting industry
inside and out, and it was very evident in
our initial discussions.”
One important aspect of the presentation
was a review of samples of the netting,
brought in by two of the three companies.
“By appearance alone, you could see there
was a higher quality netting with Pucuda
– Leading Edge,” says Bukis. “The other
company brought a sample and it was a
considerable difference.”
Quality in the manufacturing and
materials of netting is a major factor
in the selection process. Many nets
supplied by U.S. based companies are
imported from China or India where
the manufacturing process is driven
by supplying an inexpensive product in
mass quantities.
Even nets that appear adequate may
have quality issues lurking under the
surface that are not easily identifiable
by the untrained eye. One example is
a deterioration condition caused when
an overseas supplier manufactures a
net with a linked polymer that begins
to deteriorate almost immediately. The
condition is referred to as “wooly bear
syndrome, due to its appearance. This
can dramatically affect the longevity and
safety of the products.
Although in the construction industry
nets are often rented for a project, S&R
Enterprises decided to purchase the nets
from Pucuda in anticipation of additional
future projects. For this reason, it was
even more important that the net and
system were manufactured with the
highest quality materials and with
longevity in mind.
Bukis says there were installation
challenges to overcome as well.,
as one of the towers was a sloping
triangle that progressively narrowed as
it went up.
“When our team was installing the
nets, they had a ton of questions about
installing the netting correctly,” says
Bukis. “So, we asked John to come to
the site.”
“He is not afraid to come out and go
up in a structure and actually look at the
installation,” adds Bukis, noting that this
was also during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Just him being here and knowing that
he’s the expert and him confirming that
the installation was correct alleviated
all their concerns. So, it was definitely
beneficial that he was willing to come
out and do that.”
With netting systems, the most well-
designed and manufactured systems are
those that go unnoticed and can be taken
for granted. It is only when someone, or
something, falls and causes damage or
injury to people or property, and it makes
the evening news that netting systems
take center stage.
With so much at stake, contractors and
building owners would be well served
to seek out expert advice from netting
system experts to avoid installing
defective products that fall below the
safety standards.
“It all comes down to safety,”
explains Bukis. “If something or
someone happens to fall, you are
going to want the best nets available.
I feel much more comfortable with a
higher quality product, because the
goal is, we don’t ever want any of our
people hurt.”
for more information
For more information about netting and
Pucuda – Leading Edge, visit AUGUST 2020
TALBERTMFG.COM | 800-348-5232
AUGUST 2020 www.mcsmag.com56
maintenance solution
oncrete has been used as a
strong, durable building material
for thousands of years, dating
back to many ancient concrete structures
that are still standing to this day. Yet,
it has one fundamental enemy it can’t
escape—water. As an uptick in humidity
and rainstorms wash across many
regions of the country throughout the
summer months, water infiltration can
lead to issues such as below-grade
reinforcement corrosion, surface scaling,
aggregate expansion, mold growth,
and more.
In order to provide sufficient
workability for proper placement,
compaction, mixing, and transportation
to the jobsite, most plant-batched
concrete will contain excess water
required to hydrate or chemically react
with the cement. As concrete hardens,
this excess water evaporates from the
concrete and creates a network of fine
capillaries and internal pores—essentially
forming a “dense sponge” that allows
water to transport through the surface,
causing damage as a result.
Here are a few of the most innovative
reactive technologies that concrete
contractors can use to combat water-
related damage and ensure optimal
concrete protection:
Crystalline waterproofing materials can be
applied as a slurry coating to the surface
of an existing concrete structure, such
as a foundation wall or floor slab, as
well as broadcast onto fresh horizontal
concrete and troweled into the surface. An
alternative approach involves adding the
admixture directly into the concrete at the
batch plant. In all cases, the waterproofing
function includes both complex chemical
and physical mechanisms that take place
within the concrete surface.
As concrete hardens, the reaction
between water and cement generates
chemical by-products, which reside in
the capillaries and pores of the concrete.
When crystalline waterproofing materials
are applied, the by-products of cement
hydration and the crystalline chemicals
produce a chemical reaction with very
dense, non-soluble crystal formations.
This crystalline formation will only occur
where moisture is present, forming in
the pores, capillary tracts, and shrinkage
cracks of the concrete—the same routes
susceptible to water ingress. Chemical
diffusion can carry these crystalline
materials deep into the concrete,
plugging the voids in concrete and
becoming an integral, permanent part of
the structure.
In lieu of penetrating from the surface
as seen with a coating application,
adding crystalline waterproofing
chemicals to the concrete at the batch
plant ensures that the crystalline
formation occurs uniformly throughout
the slab or structure. In addition, by
adding crystalline chemicals directly
to the concrete mix at the time of
batching, the same crystal growth and
Concrete’s Enemy: Water
ways to ensure optimal concrete protection
By Jennifer Crisman AUGUST 2020
waterproofing functions take place in
a quicker, more cost-effective manner
because labor associated with a surface
treatment application is eliminated.
Procedural sequence for addition will
vary according to the type of batch, plant
operation, and equipment. For most
mixtures, the dosage rate of integral
crystalline waterproofing admixture is
1-2 percent, based on the amount of
cementitious material in the mix.
The use of a waterproofing coating can
be undesirable in some cases due to
aesthetics or the desire for a simpler
application process. Certain concrete
applications do not need to be fully
waterproofed, but instead can function
properly with a water repellent treatment,
such as silane and siloxane.
Derived from the silicone molecule,
silane and siloxane create an envelope
of protection that can extend the life of
substrates even in difficult environments.
Both are UV stable, reduce efflorescence
and freeze-thaw damage, are highly
wear-resistant, and permit the substrate
to breathe—in turn allowing interior
moisture vapor to escape. Water
repellent sealers can be used to impart
water repellency to a variety of porous
substrates, including poured-in-place or
pre-cast concrete.
Silane and siloxane sealers reveal little
to no change in the appearance of the
substrates to which they are applied.
There is no gloss, color change or hiding
of the substrate underneath. This is
important when water protection is
required for architectural finishes where
a waterproofing coating would hide the
decorative feature.
While silanes and siloxanes provide
excellent water repellency to surfaces,
each has its own performance differences.
Silane-Based Water Repellents.
Corrosion and scaling due to exposure
to salt spray and chemical deicing
products is a primary cause of concrete
deterioration. Silane-based sealers
provide an extremely effective solution
to prevent deterioration from water and
salt. Silanes penetrate deep because
of their extremely small molecular size
and ability to chemically bond with silica
to form a permanent attachment to the
water-repellent molecule. This creates
a deep hydrophobic layer that prevents
water and waterborne contaminants
from entering the substrate and
causing premature deterioration, while
simultaneously leaving the surface with a
completely invisible finish and providing
a chemical “screen” that prevents
chloride ions from reaching embedded
steel in concrete.
Once applied, silane water repellents
penetrate into the substrate and react
chemically with calcium hydroxide to
form a hydrophobic, water-repellent resin
within the pores and on the surface. In
order for this chemical reaction to take
place, the substrate must be alkaline
(high pH) and contain calcium hydroxide.
Because silanes do not change the skid
or slip resistance of concrete, they are
ideal for surfaces such as walkways,
bridges, and roadways. Silanes are not
effective in sealing other substrates such
as natural stone, clay, brick, or wood.
Because silanes consist of smaller
molecules than siloxanes, they will
typically penetrate deeper than siloxanes
and thus perform better on dense
surfaces such as poured-in-place and
pre-cast concrete. A consequence of this
molecular size is that silanes are quite
volatile. Therefore, the solids content
of a silane water repellent should be
high enough to compensate for the
evaporation of reactive material during
application and curing.
Siloxane-Based Water Repellents.
Siloxanes have a slightly larger molecular
structure and are somewhat effective
on substrates up to medium porosity,
such as heavyweight, smooth-faced, and
concrete block. Despite being closely
related, the siloxane-based chemical
composition does not encourage rapid
evaporation. The solids content and cost
of a siloxane-based sealer is typically
lower than that of silanes.
Unlike silanes, siloxanes are not
dependent on substrate pH to react. They
can react with atmospheric moisture, as
well as any moisture in the substrate,
to form the hydrophobic resin. For this
reason, siloxanes are ideal for treating
non-cementitious building materials such
as brick, stucco, and stone.
By using the latest technologies,
concrete contractors can combat water-
related damage and ensure optimal
concrete protection.
about the author
Jennifer Crisman is director of marketing
services at The Euclid Chemical Company, a
leading manufacturer of specialty concrete
and masonry construction solutions. A
20-plus-year industry veteran, Crisman
manages the marketing communications
activities for Euclid’s expansive line of
admixtures, fiber reinforcement, concrete
repair products, flooring materials, and
decorative concrete systems. For more, visit
AUGUST 2020 www.mcsmag.com58 AUGUST 2020
AUGUST 2020 www.mcsmag.com60
featured product
iablo, a solution-oriented range of
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SDS-Plus and SDS-Max Rebar Demon™
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Concrete building trends continue to
grow at a fast pace, driven by both the
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forcing power tool manufacturers to
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However, current drilling solutions in the
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For years, Diablo has received end-
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Rebar Demon
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covering a range of sizes:
• SDS-Plus range: 5/32 to 1-1/8 in.
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For more, visit
AUGUST 2020 www.mcsmag.com62
have you seen in your business
since the start of the pandemic?
Very strong start to year and
then the bottom fell out mid-March.
Began to see improvement in May, led by
our residential products. The number of
orders received never really declined, just
the quantity of products on those orders.
Our distribution partners continued
to order but were keeping inventories
at a minimum.
Have you seen some parts of the
country rebounding faster than others?
Can you go into more detail about that?
Business has been fragmented
geographically. Sales on the West Coast
and in the South have been strong.
Not sure how the recent flare-ups of
COVID-19 in those regions will impact
things going forward. The Upper Midwest
and New England have been improving;
Pennsylvania and Massachusetts seem
to be rebounding after being one of the
states hardest hit by shutdowns.
It seems like things are slowly getting
back to some level of normalcy.
What do you expect to see in the next
6 months? In the next 18 months?
I think Q3 will be solid due to
pent up demand and taper off a bit in Q4.
Various projections show construction
slowly improving into 2021 but the impact
of the pandemic this summer and fall
is a great wild card. I’m also concerned
about projects that were deferred due to
COVID-19. I think some of those are just
going to go away.
Are certain sectors of construction—
i.e., hospitals, commercial buildings,
schools—seeing a more rapid rebound
than others?
Education and infrastructure
seem to be very busy. The summer
historically is the busiest time in our
business for school construction and
everyone is operating, and has to, on the
premise that kids will be back in school
in the fall. A lot of funding was already
in place for water and waste treatment
construction and these projects are also
proceeding at a steady clip.
I think it’s fair to say the pandemic
caught everybody with their guard
down. What are your key takeaways
from the pandemic, and what
processes do you think will change in
the building and construction industry
as we move forward?
I think everyone has learned
to operate remotely and found that,
for the most part, it can be done quite
successfully. Safety has always been
critical in the construction industry,
and I think the pandemic has only
heightened this. Everyone seems
refocused on the importance of PPE
and other safety protocols to protect
employees. Going forward, it will be
interesting to see what kind of impact
the shift to working remotely has on
commercial construction. Over the next
several years, we will likely see many
organizations downsize their office
footprint to reflect having fewer people
on site.
f someone had told you at the beginning of 2020 that a pandemic would wreak havoc on the American economy
and impact every industry in some way, shape, or form … would you have believed it? How have companies in the construction
sector fared with the “new normal?” Here’s what Mike Toohey, general manager of The Bilco Company, shares in five questions.
for more information
Mike Toohey has been with The BILCO
Company for 32 years and started on
the residential side of the business. For
the last 27 years, Mike has worked on
the commercial/architectural side of the
company, most recently as director of
architectural sales & marketing. In his
new position, Mike will now oversee
sales and marketing, operations, and
engineering for BILCO architectural and
residential products.
Mike Toohey Shares
5 questions with the general manager of The BILCO Company