CalContractor Compact Equipment 2017

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Pouring Multiple Levels on 8-Unit Hillside Podium Project in Pacific Palisades PG. 6



Equipment Issue





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On the Cover:

Front Cover Photo: John Deere 17G compact excavator working for Completely Concrete Structures, Inc. on a project in Pacific Palisades. Photo taken by Kerry Hoover of Construction Marketing Services, LLC.

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CalContractor Magazine / PUBLISHER: Kerry Hoover



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Completely Concrete Structures, Inc. -

Pouring Multiple Levels on Nine Buildings for 53-Unit Hillside Podium Project in Pacific Palisades By Brian Hoover, CMS, Senior Editor

Photos by Kerry Hoover, Publisher

Above L to R: Miguel Posada, Noah Ornstein, John Stich and George Warren, Completely Concrete Structures, Inc.

Completely Concrete Structures, Inc. (CCS) was established in 2015 by partners, John Stich and Noah Ornstein. Stich has a long history of ownership and experience in the concrete construction industry, while Ornstein has made his mark as an attorney, developer, and entrepreneur. CCS has quickly grabbed a foothold in the Southern California concrete construction business, with both owners’ ability to leverage past relationships, as well as their talents, knowledge, and experience. They are a full service structural concrete contractor with more than $300 million of concrete work


on their resume. They have quickly developed a reputation for providing the highest quality workmanship and service in the most efficient way possible. The company’s operational sophistication is easily noticed in all aspects of their concrete construction offerings; however, their star has seemingly shined brightest on their hillside and mid-rise construction projects. They are also leading the way in the podium construction arena, taking on multifamily condominiums, apartments, as well as in traditional and cutting-edge modular techniques. CCS currently offers commercial concrete

2017 Compact Equipment ISSUE CALCONTRACTOR

construction services in office and multifamily construction, including slab-on-grade and podium foundation systems. They also provide concrete construction services in the residential sector, as well as a long list of successful projects in multilevel parking structures, seismic retrofit, along with a wide range of consulting services. The Great Recession created a low profit or even a no profit environment for many contractors back in 2008 and beyond. Numerous long time construction professionals moved on to work in other industries or for contractors still hanging on in the concrete industry. After more than 20 years as a successful concrete contractor, John Stich found himself in this very position when he made the decision to close down his company. “08 and 09 were very difficult years for our industry and hard times call for tough decisions,” says Stich. “Successful individuals always seem to find a silver lining and I found that in eventually forming a partnership with Noah Ornstein. We had worked together on a couple of projects in previous years, and I knew that he was

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Above: Completely Concrete Structures operator on the Pacific Palisades Podium Project digging footings with their new John Deere 17G compact excavator purchased from Coastline Equipment.

a very smart and talented individual.” According to Stich, Ornstein was already in the modular and green development industry. After a few meetings, the two men realized that their experience and interests could work together symbiotically and so a partnership was formed. Ornstein serves CCS as the in-house counsel, as well as heading up the modular construction end of the business. “It was a good fit. We do the foundations and then set up the modular components,” says Stich. “Noah does all of the legal and background work that is required in getting these development jobs going. He works with engineers and design firms, while also researching properties and other opportunities.” Stich, on the other hand, spends most of


his days doing everything from negotiating with and nurturing clients, to receiving plans and double-checking estimates. He is a proven leader, humbly putting his years of experience to work, allowing clients to feel at ease, knowing that their job is in very capable hands. “It is the little things on the job site that make our clients notice that CCS is not your everyday concrete contracto. Because we are a developer, we are especially sensative to the needs of other developers, including progress hurdles for lenders and other nuanced financial requirements that most folks pouring mud don't undertand.,” says Stich. “Additionally, we will do what is necessary to help out the other trades on a particular project.” Stich points out that there is nothing worse for an

2017 Compact Equipment ISSUE CALCONTRACTOR

owner than a contractor on-site that wants to charge for every little thing. “If another trade asks us to move a pile of dirt so that they can place a trailer on-site, or needs a little help with our forklift, we are there for them without an attitude. At the end of the day, we all have the same goal and that is to finish the job safely, on time and put a little money in our pockets in the process.” Stich is proud of his company’s work ethic and he personally walks most every job, looking for the smallest of issues, in an effort to keep quality control at its highest possible levels. “Every project is different and they all come with their own unique challenges,” says Stich. “My job is to navigate our foreman, crews and office personnel through everything from

financial issues to all the twists and turns a job can take from one day to another.” One of the more challenging areas CCS works in on a regular basis is podium construction. This can get even more interesting when this work is done on a steep hillside. “We have a true hillside project coming up soon in Beverly Hills, where we will begin our excavation at the top of the project and then traverse down the hill and work our way out during the construction process,” says Stich. “Many of the other hillside projects start out with the excavating contractor providing us with a nice flat surface graded right into the hillside. From there we are able to dig our footings on a level surface.” CCS is very experienced in podium construction where they will go in and pour multiple levels, both subterranean with several levels that go below grade and vertical with as many as nine stories above grade. They are currently on a hillside podium project in Pacific Palisades where they will be pouring

approximately 30 thousand yards of concrete. The job started a few months back and is scheduled for completion in February 2018. According to Stich, there are nine buildings on this project, each with a mat slab foundation and a minimum of four structural decks, including the roof. Etco Homes of Beverly Hills and Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Taylor Morrison are collaborating on the project, known as One Coast (Pacific Palisades). The project broke ground in fall of 2016 and when completed, will consist of 38 four- and five-bedroom townhomes and 15 single-level condos. According to the developers, the largest units will be around 5,000 square feet, and prices will start in the $3 million range. This project site is located on a bluff, above the sea in Pacific Palisades and the first homes are expected to be move-in ready by the first quarter of 2018. CCS is performing all of the concrete, rebar and masonry work on this project. According to Stich, the project began a few months

back but was delayed due to permitting issues. “Because the structures are on a hillside, we drilled multiple 1- to 3-foot thick concrete friction piles that varied in depths of up to 80 feet. We then craned in a rebar cage with multiple ties and layers and dropped it into the drilled holes,” says Stich. “Next we filled the hole with concrete to the bottom of the grade with exposed doweling protruding from the top. Finally, we utilized our grade beam system to intertwine the grade beam cages with the doweling coming out of the piles.” Stich explains that they monolithically poured the mat foundation that consisted of four layers of rebar. “The mat foundation served as the structural deck, and was anywhere from 1 foot to 20-feet thick, depending on the area. After we finish the structural deck, we go vertical and begin pouring the columns and walls,” says Stich. After this, CCS makes room for the mechanical, electric and plumbing trades to install their underground services.

Left: Completely Concrete Structures using their new John Deere 333G skid steer loader to grade a gravel base on the Pacific Palisades Podium Project.

2017 Compact Equipment Issue CALCONTRACTOR


"We then proceed to pour the slab on grade and then go vertically up to the podium. This is where the framing of the superstructure begins,” says Stich. “There is a bit of a logistical challenge on this project because there is only one way in and out. We have to start at one end of the project and then work our way out.” When a podium project is more than two levels, CCS will many times crane in their compact equipment. “We use our compact excavators to excavate footings and pads and our skid steer loaders to clean up the spoils and move the excess dirt to another location on the job site,” says Stich. The CCS fleet currently consists of compact excavators, skid steers, forklifts and other smaller pieces of support equipment. “We are in the process of adding more equipment to our fleet and when it comes to compact excavators and skid steer loaders, we go with John Deere and Coastline Equipment,” says Stich. “We use our smaller excavators like the John Deere 17G (1,720 lbs.) for the tight access areas and our larger 60G (13,547 lbs.) for the open area jobs where we need more productivity. These work out great with the zero turning radius, compared to a backhoe that is harder to maneuver and takes up more space.” Stich says that he goes with John Deere for their reliability and power. “I have tried all of the other brands in my many years in this business, and John Deere stands heads and shoulders above the crowd,” says Stich. “We have been working with Coastline Equipment since the inception of our company, and our rep, JR Van Osten has


Above: John Deere 60G compact excavator backfilling a trench on the Pacific Palisades Hillside Podium Project.

really done a great job taking care of our needs. He has been there for us at every point of the sale, including bringing out a machine to demo, inviting me to the Coastline facility to review all of the models and options and then delivering the machine to our job site.” CCS works throughout Southern California, occasionally going as far North as San Jose and South to San Diego. They currently have more than 150 employees, counting the masons and rebar workers. “We are fortunate to be working with companies like, ETCO Homes, who has been a client of mine for more than 20 years,” says Stich. “We have many other clients like this that know our work and we appreciate the faith and trust they have put in us.” CCS will soon be working on an office building project on Olympic Boulevard in Beverly Hills and another large podium project in the Valley. “Our future here at CCS is very bright and my partner Noah and I have had many long discussions about new areas of growth.” According to Stich, his partner

2017 Compact Equipment ISSUE CALCONTRACTOR

Noah Ornstein is involved in several business ventures that include everything from electronics to land development. “Noah’s specialty is small lot subdivision and modular work where he is green conscience. We have talked about taking the onsite modular construction and joining it with the podium construction model. This would allow us to set the buildings modularly and avoid standard construction practices and the need for all of the various trades out on the project,” says Stich. “Noah has also pitched the idea of doing mini highrise construction as an owners/ developer within the next five to eight years. He has some great funding contacts and I believe we should be able to make this a reality more sooner than later.” For more information on Completely Concrete Structures, Inc., please visit their website at www. or call their Los Angeles headquarters at (323) 999-4379. Cc

TRACK LOADERS ASV’s POSI-TRACK COMPACT TRACK LOADERS COME IN FOUR SIZES PLUS A SPECIAL FORESTRY CONFIGURATION. Each model is designed from the ground up to run on a rubber track undercarriage, unlike most other brands that are skid steer loaders re-configured to run on tracks. The difference is ASV Compact Track Loaders give you better performance, better balance and have higher ground clearance so you can work more productively in a wider range of ground conditions.


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• Engine: Deutz TD2.9L4 • Operating Weight: 7,422 lbs • Tipping Load: 5,198 lbs

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General Contractor,

Dreambuilder Construction Corp. Proudly Serves Caltrans and Other Statewide Agencies with Industry Leading Highway Construction Services

By Brian Hoover, CMS, Senior Editor

Photos contributed by: Dreambuilder Construction Corp.

Above: Dreambuilder Construction Corp. using their Cat 262D skid steer loader to load and move concrete and other demo material, as well as to place Class II base on a job in Wasco near Bakersfield.

Dreambuilder Construction Corp. was established in 2006 by Anurag Singh and is a Class A, General Engineering contractor with DBE and federal 8(a) certification. They primarily provide construction services to California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and other statewide civic agencies within California. The Singh family has been involved in this type of work since 1998, and Anurag worked for his father while pursuing his Civil Engineering degree at Cal Poly Pomona. In 2004, he took a job with a consulting firm, designing primarily Caltrans projects. He learned a lot in those few years, but with a credit card and student loan debt looming over his head, he knew that he would need to find a way to make more than his


current job was affording him. He made the decision to start his own construction firm in February 2006, while still working for the consulting firm. By the end of 2006, Singh decided that it would finally make sense to go full time with his company, aptly named, Dreambuilder Construction Corp. (Dreambuilder). “My father’s company was doing the same type of work that we are doing now, only on a smaller scale,” says Singh. “Working for the family business and then for a design/consulting firm afforded me the knowledge and experience necessary to go out on my own.” The company started out primarily doing jobs that were in the $10k to $100 thousand range. The jobs varied from guardrail work to small slope

2017 Compact Equipment ISSUE CALCONTRACTOR

repair, curb & gutter and sidewalk construction, and other smaller jobs withing bonding capacity. The small startup was going along smoothly and growing from its original crew of three or four employees but hit a slight detour when 2008 came along. “When the last recession brought about a drastic downturn in the economy, we were overwhelmed by the flow of private sector contractors wanting to move over to Caltrans and public works projects,” says Singh. “Where we were once facing three or four competitors, we were now competing against as many as 30 other bidders.” Singh points out that many of these companies had little or no experience with this type of work, and they were bidding jobs well below cost. “This slowed our growth because

we were being outbid on a lot of work and consequently decided not to bid on work that we knew would come in below cost. It was a tough time.” According to Singh, getting steady reliable work continued to be an issue in 2010 when California was going through a major budget struggle. During this time, many projects were not even advertised until the budget passed, and this resulted in delays in Caltrans project starts throughout California. “We took a pretty big hit in 2010 with big gaps in our work schedule due to state budget issues,” says Singh. “We have grown strong since that time through slow, steady growth. I believe the key to surviving in the construction

“All of our work is bonded and we are limited to how many projects we can do at one time,” says Singh. “In the beginning, we didn’t have much credit, and our bonding capacity was only a few hundred thousand dollars, so it was very important that we maintained our cash flow. When you work as a subcontractor, your cash flow is in the hands of the prime contractor. By working as a general contractor, we get paid much faster and are then free to go on to the next project.” Dreambuilder’s bonding capacity is now much larger than when the company started, and although they are now taking on much larger projects, they still perform as a prime contractor.

would have to be able to bond the job when it came available.” Fortunately, Dreambuilder is now working on much larger Caltrans projects, like the $1.8 million job that they recently completed for Caltrans District 12 in Orange County. According to Singh, the project called for the installation of approximately 200 ADA ramps for highway on and off ramps located alongside the I-5 Freeway. The ADA ramps were installed from the San Diego County line to the 55 Freeway, midway into Orange County. “That was a good job for us, and Caltrans was very pleased with our work,” says Singh. “ADA curb ramp construction is not easy work because the specifications

Below: Dreambuilder Construction Corp. using their Cat 303 mini excavator and Cat 262D skid steer loader to demo concrete for contruction of ADA ramps on Caltrans job near Bakersfield.

business is to not give in when you are hurting most, and do everything you can to stay the course.” This philosophy has paid off for Dreambuilder as they continue to advance their interests with an ever increasing bonding capacity. It is important to point out that Dreambuilder performs all of their work exclusively as a general contractor. They only bid on projects as a prime contractor and although this may seem unorthodox to some, Singh has his reasons for going this route.

“Our current jobs are at a comfortable size, where we have better project options. I don't believe that we would survive if were were still stuck bidding on only those smaller Caltrans projects,” says Singh. “I say this primarily because there just arn't very many smaller projects on the market these days. When we first started out, we would work four or five months and then maybe sit and wait for work for another four or five months, because the smaller jobs were not always available on the market, and you

and tolerances are so very tight. If you are off by just that little bit, the ramp will be rejected and you will have to demo and start again.” Singh points to other challenges on the project, including the logistical issues that come with controlling the closing of hundreds of on and off ramps, while keeping both Caltrans and the various city entities happy along the way. “The final project was accepted without any issues,” says Singh. “We had our punch list items here and there, but overall our crews did an

2017 Compact Equipment Issue CALCONTRACTOR


outstanding job and they received tremendous praise from Caltrans for their good work.” Dreambuilder is currently on another ADA ramp project for Caltrans in Bakersfield, where they are constructing around 70 ramps for the cities of Wasco and Shafter. The job also called for the installations of traffic signals at several intersections. “We are performing the ADA ramp construction and traffic control, and have subbed out the electrical work to one of our trusted subcontractors,” says Singh. Along with the ADA ramp construction, Dreambuilder is also excavating drainage trenches and installing culverts and boxes in certain locations. The excavation of the trenches and ADA ramps requires the use of reliable construction machinery. “We use our mini excavators and skid steer loaders on these projects and it is imperative that we have reliable equipment and work with a dealer that will be there for us when we need them,” says Singh. Dreambuilder recently added a new Cat 262D skid steer and a new Cat 303 mini excavator to their equipment fleet. “We had been renting machines like these for a while and the time had come where owning just made more sense,” says Singh. “I shopped all of the top brands and the main thing I was looking for was quality at a good price. As it turned out, the cost was about the same from brand to brand, but when it came to the final package with all of the necessary attachments, Quinn Company and Cat won out hands down.” Singh says that he also appreciated the fast response and attention he received from Quinn Company. “We were talking to another major supplier that was a little slow in responding, and we just did not have the patience or ability to wait,” says Singh. "Quinn and our sales rep, Dennis


Above: Cat 262D skid steer loader grading area prior to ADA ramp installation for Caltrans in the City of Wasco.

Madden, were great to work with. They made the entire process simple and pain-free, plus it is good to know that we are backed by such an iconic company as Caterpillar.” According to Singh, it is necessary that his company be available to take on work throughout the entire state of California. “If we are to remain busy, we simply can’t choose to only work here in Southern California,” says Singh. “Our costs go up with travel, but the competition is just too fierce and that is why we are currently on projects in Chico, Baker, Fresno, Los Banos, Sacramento and the Cajon Pass.” In an effort to control costs and be more competitive, Singh decided a few years ago to purchase two volumetric mixer trucks so that his company would have the ability to produce their own concrete. “We use our volumetric trucks on many different Caltrans projects and I think that the decision to do this has given us an edge and allowed us to be more competitive,” says Singh. “In this business with such tight margins, anything you can do to cut costs and boost productivity is a step in the right direction.”

2017 Compact Equipment ISSUE CALCONTRACTOR

Dreambuilder Construction Corp. currently has around 15 employees that work for the company year-round, but that number will go to 25 and beyond when their workload is at its maximum. Singh considers himself fortunate to have his family working at Dreambuilder. “My mother (Anju Singh) runs the office and administrative duties, along with four other team members, while my father (Alex Singh), with his years of experience, helps us as our chief estimator and project coordinator. Together we have more than 20 years of Caltrans construction experience, and the majority of everything we do right now is for Caltrans,” says Singh. “This experience makes a difference, because we know their expectations and what they will accept and what they are going to reject and that should never be underestimated. I am looking forward to what the future has in store for all of us here at Dreambuilder Construction Corp.” For more information on Dreambuilder Construction Corp, please call their Placentia headquarters at (714) 646-3697. Cc

Black Star Paving Inc. Quality, Workmanship and Owner Involvement Prove that Bigger is Quite Often Not Better By Brian Hoover, CMS, Senior Editor

Photos by Kerry Hoover, Publisher

Above: Keith Woodside, Owner and President of Black Star Paving, Inc. on a remove and replace project for Costco Wholesale in Alhambra.

Keith Woodside has been working in the grading and paving industry for nearly 25 years and in 2014 he decided that it was time for a new challenge; the result of which was the inception of Black Star Paving, Inc. (Black Star Paving). He went out on his own, after working for Universal Asphalt, and other asphalt related companies for 17 years. While working at Universal Asphalt, Woodside learned the


ins and outs of sales, estimating and project management. “Working for a company like Universal Asphalt, who I consider to be at the top of our industry, was a great experience for me,” says Woodside. “I learned from the best which prepared me for the challenges that go with starting your own asphalt paving company from scratch. It was a true startup, and in the beginning, I did most all of the work myself. Finding

2017 Compact Equipment ISSUE CALCONTRACTOR

the right operators and laborers was a huge challenge, but we now have a great crew made up of four veteran asphalt pros and a couple of very talented young men that we have trained from the ground up.” Black Star Paving started out in 2014 doing smaller asphalt paving work for private and commercial clients from San Diego to Lancaster. They did small parking lot paving jobs, as well as drainage and catch

Savala has a fleet of T4F mini excavators. Models available are: CAT 305.5, CAT 308E2 CR, and JD85G. Variety of buckets, 18” compaction wheel and 1,000lb. breaker. Please contact dispatch for rates.

OTHER SUPPORT EQUIPMENT • 2000 Gallon Water Trucks

• Blades

• Backhoes

• Dozers

• Excavators

• Scrapers

• Loaders

• Rollers

• Skiploaders

• Compactors

Above: Black Star Paving, Inc. using their brand new Cat CB24B compactor on Costco project in Alhambra. The Cat compactor is ideal for finishing edges and small trench overlay projects.

basin work, v-ditches, flow lines and even a small amount of concrete construction work. Since their inception, the company has evolved into other areas of expertise, such as reservoir pavement services. “We do a lot of reservoir work high in the hills, and have also been kept busy with water and sewer pump station work for water departments and other public agencies,” says Woodside. “This is extremely intricate and detailed work that quite frankly other paving companies tend to shy away from. Personally, I love this type of work and we are very good at it.” As Black Star Paving grew and matured, they began to bid and work on much larger projects for well-known and respected companies like Costco. “Our most challenging job to date would have to be the work we are currently doing at the Costco distribution center in


Mira Loma,” says Woodside. “This is a good-sized remove and replace project that was originally constructed on a former dairy farm and we knew that we would be dealing with wet soil conditions and compaction issues,” says Woodside. “We recently completed an extensive removal down to 3 or 4 feet deep and replaced it with Class II base. The project is being done in five phases with around 8,500 tons of asphalt going down in a 200,000 square foot area.” According to Woodside, Black Star Paving is also removing and replacing around 1,500 square feet of concrete. “We will be removing concrete pavement in specific areas like the loading dock area where it was originally under engineered,” says Woodside. “In these areas, we will be installing 6 inches of base and 9 inches of concrete reinforced with Number 4 rebar, 18 inches on center.”

2017 Compact Equipment ISSUE CALCONTRACTOR

Black Star Paving just recently finished another remove and replace Costco job in Alhambra. “This was a smaller job, where we removed 8 inches of asphalt in a 6,000 square foot area,” says Woodside. “We put back down 4 inches of base and then installed 4 inches of new asphalt in two separate lifts.” Woodside points out that Black Star Paving performs a great deal of work for Costco and for general contractors like W. L. Butler Construction who is also a regular vendor for the wholesale membership warehouse. “We primarily work for private and commercial clients, as well as underground utility contractors where we do the asphalt patch work,” says Woodside. “We have built some great relationships since our inception a few years back and I am very proud of the reputation we have built in such a short amount of time.”

Above: Black Star Paving, Inc. paving 2-inches of asphalt over a previously paved 2-inch asphalt base for Costco store in Alhambra.

When it comes to paving, Black Star Paving has rented from operated rental companies in the past and has even partnered up with companies like All American Asphalt on some of the larger projects. “We recently purchased a new Cat CB24B compactor/roller from Quinn Company which is great for finishing edges or work on projects with tight access, or for small patch and overlay projects,” says Woodside. “Our workload is constantly increasing and we are looking at purchasing a new paving machine from Cat and Quinn Company that will allow us to take on more work with our own crews.” Black Star Paving currently has several other construction machines in their fleet, like skip loaders and a few 3 to 5-ton rollers, a growing list of trucks, trailers and other support equipment. Woodside points out that the time has come for his

company to begin adding more machines and he is excited about the possibilities this will bring his young company. “I feel like Cat is a superior brand and after talking to several of my friends in the business, it appears that they also provide the best service,” says Woodside. “Dennis Madden is our sales representative and he did a great job on our first purchase of the Cat compactor. Even though it wasn’t a huge purchase, he was there for us the entire way and we look forward to working with both he and Quinn in the future.” Woodside points out that it is his company’s workmanship that sets them apart from the long list of other asphalt paving contractors. “If I sell a job, I run that job. I guess you could say that I am the face of the company and that the buck truly stops with me,” says Woodside. “Quality and workmanship is everything to me and my company. I learned this from

the best and that knowledge and experience is now being passed down proudly to every customer we work for, large or small.” Black Star Paving currently has six laborers/ operators out in the field and Woodside’s wife, Jennifer, is the company accountant and takes care of most all of the inside administrative duties. “We will do around $3 million this year and we are very happy with our current size and growth,” says Woodside. “Our plan is to continue to grow at around 20 percent each year. We are not looking for investors or to eventually be a giant asphalt contractor. We are very happy to be where we are at right now and look forward to a fun and rewarding future.” For more information on Black Star Paving, Inc. please call their Yorba Linda headquarters at (714) 485-2733. Cc

2017 Compact Equipment Issue CALCONTRACTOR


Skid Steer Loader or Compact Track Loader How to Choose

Above: The stability of track loaders offers better lifting and breakout force, even on uneven, muddy, or sandy terrain.

It’s the most popular piece of equipment on construction jobsites. It’s consistently the highest-selling machine in the construction industry. And it has been around for nearly 60 years. The skid steer loader is a must-have in virtually every construction fleet, from general builders to landscapers, and even those offering snow and ice management services. As this small yet mighty machine proved to offer numerous benefits on various jobsites, manufacturers didn’t “rest on their laurels” so to speak, and instead began looking at ways to improve this industry power player. One of the most significant advancements to come out of the skid steer evolution: the compact track loader.


The compact track loader is designed to tackle tasks similar to that of a skid steer. Hallmarked by a tracked design instead of tires, it offers different operational abilities compared to its sister machine. While it seems the only difference between a skid steer and compact track loader is tires versus tracks, there’s much more to it – especially when it comes to deciding which one you need on the jobsite. Because both the skid steer and compact track loader are jobsite proven as dependable, efficient machines, here are the key ways to determine which is the best fit for your company and needs.

2017 Compact Equipment ISSUE CALCONTRACTOR

Back to Basics The first step in deciding if a skid steer or compact track loader is the right machine for a company is to understand the basic features and traits of each, and how those translate into unique advantages. Both machines are known for exceptional maneuverability. Able to turn on a dime, skid steers and compact track loaders can operate in tight or awkward spaces where turning radius isn’t generous. Skid steers are lighter than track loaders, making them easier to transport, often with less time and cost. They also have a solid reputation in the construction world, thanks to manufacturers like John Deere that have built quality machines throughout the years. Track loaders have the edge over skid steers in terms of operator comfort. The smooth operation of track loaders is a bit more forgiving than the rougher ride of a skid steer. Tracks also cause less disruption to the ground, reducing site clean-up time compared to a skid steer. Once the basics are understood, it’s time to dive deeper into what separates the skid steer and the compact track loader. Most often, the decision really hinges on where the machine is going to be used. Location, Location, Location Not just true in the real estate world, location comes into play as a deciding factor between a skid steer and compact track

loader. The location where the machine is being used is crucial because each machine is designed to perform its best in certain conditions. Skid steers are great on harder surfaces like concrete and asphalt, especially with hard tires. While track loaders are able to operate fine on these surfaces, the harsher ground is tougher on tracks and can cause accelerated wear. Rocky conditions are also much tougher on track loaders, with the possibility of a track being damaged or cut by sharp objects – although skid steer operators too must take caution on this terrain to avoid puncturing tires. Conversely, track loaders can operate in places skid steers would struggle including uneven, muddy, sandy, and snowy terrain. Tracks navigate well on these surfaces and the added stability makes a track loader more productive and capable of better lifting and breakout force. While location is perhaps the most important factor in choosing a skid steer or compact track loader, good old dollars and cents may pull rank. Because, like any business decision, a machine has to make sense on the bottom line. Cost Considerations Operating and ownership costs vary between skid steers and compact track loaders. In terms of time investment, skid steers and track loaders require virtually the same commitment to preventative maintenance. The only differentiating part is tires vs. tracks, and both of those should be checked on a regular basis – tire pressure on skid steers, track tension and adjustment on track loaders.

Looking at upfront and short term costs, the skid steer comes out as the more economical choice. The price tag of a track loader is higher than a comparablysized skid steer. And the biggest wear item of a track loader, the tracks, is Above: Skid steers work well on harder much more surfaces, like concrete and asphalt, and can handle rougher terrain better than expensive than track loaders. skid steer tires. Evaluating long-term costs, compact track cost. Conversely, a contractor loaders have a bit of an edge. whose jobsite characteristics Tracks last several hundred predominantly include uneven hours longer than skid steer or sandy terrain, or those who tires, in comparable operating do a good amount of work in situations. A mid-quality track rainy and snowy weather may typically lasts three to four find the track loader is worth the times longer than conventional upfront cost and the investment tires. With proper use and care, will pay off in the long run. the track loader can be a sound When the machines’ financial choice in the long run. basic features, location Another factor to consider is considerations, and overall downtime cost. If clean ground costs are looked at with each conditions become sloppy, a company’s unique needs, the skid steer may not be able to right decision of skid steer or work. A track loader, however, compact track loader can be is designed to perform in made. adverse ground conditions, and ______________________________ the day’s productivity won’t be halted due to weather or other About The Author unforeseen circumstances. Jason Riley is an Account Choosing Wisely Manager with RDO Reviewing these three key Equipment Co. considerations, it’s easy to see just how individualized For more information on skid the choice is for a skid steer or steers, track loaders, and all compact track loader. compact worksite products A company that sees the from John Deere, go to majority of time spent on or asphalt or concrete surfaces is visit your local RDO Equipment going to get results with a skid Co. store. Cc steer and pay a lower initial

2017 Compact Equipment Issue CALCONTRACTOR



Above: Team Rubicon, an organization that unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams for disaster relief, shown here teaming up with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for heavy equipment operator training and improvement project at at San Diego National Wildlife Refuge.

CASE, Sonsray Machinery, Team Rubicon and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service join forces for skills training and wildlife refuge improvement. CASE Construction Equipment, Sonsray Machinery, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Team Rubicon teamed up for a heavy equipment operator training and improvement project at the San Diego National Wildlife Refuge. Sonsray Machinery provided four machines – two CX80C excavators and two SR210 skid steer loaders – and Team Rubicon brought in four instructors and nine volunteers from across the U.S. for the event, which involved classroom instruction as well as practical hands-on training in safety and machine operation.


Located on the southern rim of San Diego Bay, the Refuge is an important stopover for migratory birds, and supports a diverse array of natural habitats for a variety of wildlife including rare birds, butterflies and other wildlife that are critical to the area’s ecosystem. In addition to training nine new heavy equipment operators, Team Rubicon also made improvements to an access road, and removed over 50 tons of concrete from an old dairy complex within the Refuge. For Team Rubicon – an organization that unites the skills and experiences of military veterans with first responders to rapidly deploy emergency response teams for disaster relief – the training preps their volunteers for operating heavy

2017 Compact Equipment ISSUE CALCONTRACTOR

equipment during disaster response deployments, and also makes them eligible to assist the National Wildlife Refuge System on future projects. Team Rubicon has partnered with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to create opportunities to provide heavy equipment training. A key component is Team Rubicon’s partnership with CASE, which provides both training and heavy equipment through its dealer network. For more information on Team Rubicon, visit For more information on the partnership between CASE and Team Rubicon, visit For more information on Sonsray Machinery, visit Cc


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2017 Compact Equipment Issue CALCONTRACTOR


2017 Compact Equipment Issue CALCONTRACTOR


THE FIRST. THE BEST. THE MOST - VOLVO CELEBRATES 75,000TH HAULER With half of all the articulated haulers ever made bearing the Volvo brand, the company has just passed another landmark – the production of its 75,000th hauler. More than half a century after they invented the concept, Volvo Construction Equipment recently celebrated the production of the 75,000th articulated hauler. Having produced more than half of the articulated haulers ever made, a staggering 50,000 Volvo haulers are still in regular use around the world. The 75,000th machine – one of the new generation A45G full

suspension models – rolled off the production line in late June at the factory where the first machine – the DDR631 or ‘Gravel Charlie’ – was made, in Braås, Sweden. And although Volvo articulated haulers can be found all over the world, the 75,000th machine is staying relatively local, going to Norwegian customer Leonhard Nilsen & Sønner AS. In typically Swedish style, the landmark 75,000 articulated hauler was marked modestly – with factory workers celebrating the achievement with ice creams. Then it was back to work, to

Above:Volvo recenly rolled off thier 75,000th articulated hauler from their production line in Sweden.

meet the demand that is seeing Volvo take a bigger lick of the articulated hauler market. It’s no surprise to see why Volvo CE has made more articulated haulers than all other competitors put together. Cc

DIG. LIFT. CARRY. UPDATES TO JOHN DEERE L-SERIES BACKHOES SIMPLIFY OPERATION Updates to the John Deere L-Series backhoe lineup enhance the productivity and uptime for professionals looking to lift more and multitask on the job site. The key backhoe updates include the introduction of precision mode, enhanced pilot controllers, two new rear quick coupler offerings and a redesigned hydraulic thumb. As a new standard feature on the 310SL/HL, 410L and 710L, precision mode allows reducedspeed hydraulic functions while operating the backhoe end of the machine — all with the push of a button on the Sealed Switch Module (SSM). The mode allows accurate, detailed work to be performed easily in tight areas, around utilities or while craning, and it helps new operators


become comfortable with the backhoe as they master their operating skills. John Deere also improved the pilot controller — increasing the metering range by 16 percent — which enhances operator feel at the control helm. Additionally, engineers enhanced consistency between functions (acceleration and deceleration) for smoother operation and reduced system oscillation. The new rear hydraulic coupler was designed with an integrated control that is incorporated into the SSM for reliable operation and clean installation. A spring-type rear coupler is also new and offers increased productivity and uptime by only requiring the

2017 Compact Equipment ISSUE CALCONTRACTOR

Above: John Deere L-Series Backhoe with enhanced productivity and uptime.

operator to leave the cab once during the process of changing buckets. The only tool required is the provided control rod, which is sized to fit in the standard toolbox. By only leaving the cab to release the current attachment, the operator is able to get back to work faster and easier than with traditional manual couplers. Cc

LX1 PROTOTYPE HYBRID WHEEL LOADER DELIVERS AROUND 50% FUEL EFFICIENCY IMPROVEMENT DURING CUSTOMER TESTING Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) presented field test results for its LX1 prototype electric hybrid wheel loader at a press event in California, US, on July 12th. The company organized the event alongside its customer Waste Management, which carried out the field tests, CALSTART, which conducted emission tests on the machine, and the California Energy Commission, which helped fund the LX1 project. Since the end of last year, the LX1 has performed hundreds of hours of real work in two applications at Waste Management facilities in California. Testing began at the Redwood Landfill and Recycling Center, a green waste composting site in the northern part of the state. Both fuel efficiency and greenhouse gas emission tests were conducted at the facility and, although the data is still being analyzed, the results so far show an average improvement of 50% in fuel efficiency, equating to a reduction of 35% in fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. The second test site was the Moreno Valley Transfer Station, a waste transfer site in southern California. Here, the LX1 achieved an average fuel efficiency improvement of around 45%. Both sets of results exceed the 35% fuel efficiency improvement target set for the project.

Above: Volvo Construction Equipment’s LX1 prototype electric hybrid wheel loader has excelled during hundreds of hours of real-world testing, achieving around a 50% improvement in fuel efficiency compared to its conventional counterparts.

Waste Management is the largest environmental services and recycling company in North America, it operates one of the largest fleets of Volvo CE equipment in the world. Prior to testing the LX1, the company ran a conventional machine at both sites to gather baseline data. Three experienced operators from Waste Management, who were trained and supported by Volvo CE engineers, carried out their daily work with the LX1 and provided then provided Volvo with valuable feedback. Their responses were positive, as they liked the dramatic reduction in noise, improved visibility over the rear of the machine, ease of operation and powerful hydraulics. But they also gave constructive feedback on areas where Volvo can refine, such as improving functions like traction control and gear shifting, actions that will enhance operability. Now that the field tests are concluded, the machine will be shipped back to Sweden for updates and tuning based on what we’ve learnt over the last six months. At this stage, the

LX1 is still part of a development project and it is not commercially available. The California Energy Commission provided over $1.8 million of funding for the LX1 project through its Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. The program invests up to $100 million per year to support advancements in alternative, renewable fuels and the vehicles powered by them in California. Volvo CE has long-term plans to develop products and services for electromobility, including electric hybrids and electric sites. Before they launch a machine like the LX1,customers can expect to see elements of this design incorporated into other products. This supports short and mid-term developments and requirements, while the market continues to accept hybrid technology. Cc

2017 Compact Equipment Issue CALCONTRACTOR



Above: Drones are having a big impact on jobsites across the country for things like: pre-construction inspection and estimating, measuring and montoring and even for inspection and certification purposes.

One of the hottest topics right now in the construction industry – or at least the one that sparks the most imagination – is the use of drones on jobsites. While the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) may inspire some big thinking for future use, the practical uses of the technology today are already having an impact on the construction industry. Here are three ways that drones are impacting jobsites today, along with a word on certification/legality. 1. Pre-construction inspection/estimating Drones give large earthmoving contractors a perspective that they never had before without paying for aerial photography from a plane or helicopter. Drones give contractors a photographic perspective of large commercial and industrial sites, which can sit on hundreds of acres, to give them a better understanding of the geographic challenges/ realities of the site. It also allows for examination of adjoining properties to help get a better understanding of drainage and how water will flow from site-to-site. Pipeline and utility companies can use drones to inspect right of ways to make


any number of inferences on upcoming/maintenance construction projects. Drones can also be used to take land measurements (see point 2 below) that assist in the bidding/ estimating process. As an example: a large industrial plant is going to be built on a 100-acre site. In the middle of that 100-acre site is a sizeable hill. The rough size of that hill can be determined quickly via a drone to help determine the rough quantity of material that will need to be extracted from the site. 2. Taking measurements and monitoring progress Drones are being used in a number of ways to help determine the quantities of materials on site – from stockpiles in aggregates operations to rough cuts in mass excavation applications. The current precision of these measurement techniques is not as high as more traditional earthbound methods, but it is considerably faster and more efficient (one airborne view that can be repeated effortlessly throughout the day/ week/month vs. numerous set-ups on the ground). This is accomplished through the science of photogrammetry. Put simply: points with real-world positions are included in each photograph,

2017 Compact Equipment ISSUE CALCONTRACTOR

and then the person processing the photo can apply a scale via those points to determine the size of select objects. Some largescale earthmoving operations will fly a drone multiple times throughout the course of a day or week to gauge progress and measure quantities. This is a good measurement of progress, and is also useful in helping determine if there is an excess of material on site that will have to be removed, or if additional material will have to be trucked in. Current Lidar technology, which provides even more precise measurements, is generally too large to affix to drones used in construction applications – but keep an eye out as that technology advances and becomes more compact and capable of being mounted to drones. A groundbased lidar system is limited to surveying only the pieces of the site it can see, and requires movement and setup around the site to get a comprehensive picture. A drone-mounted lidar system provides that comprehensive view in a single flight. Similarly, airplane-based thermal imaging technologies – which could help in determining soil types, etc., could work its way down to construction drones.

3. Building/Infrastructure Inspection Nothing replaces the accuracy of inspecting something while standing right in front of it – but in times of urgency, or in perilous locations where inspections potentially put someone at risk, a drone can quickly move into position to capture imagery that shows the condition/integrity of a structure. Bridges, buildings, pipelines, etc. – all of these remote inspection points can now be reached almost effortlessly with a drone. 4. Certification/Legality Anyone can walk down to their closest big-box electronics retailer and buy a drone today. They’re also pretty simple to operate – some can even be

powered through a cell phone or tablet. While access and ability make drones attractive to the casual user, it’s important for the business user to understand and follow the regulations put forth by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Operators must pass an FAA-proctored airman aeronautical knowledge exam (commonly referred to as the FAA Part 107 test) and then apply for a remote pilot airman certificate from the FAA. Once obtained, operators are free to use their drones for commercial use within the scope of FAA Part 107, which dictates safe operational practices based on airspace, location and a good deal of common sense. Having the certification also protects

each company from possible fines and liabilities, etc. if caught using one without it. The test requires a bit of studying, but is inexpensive to take and worth the investment in the business. Where telematics and machine control have dominated the technology discussion for the last few years, drone-mounted evolutions in these technologies appear ready to dominate headlines for the next few years. Get prepped and certified now to take full advantage of the technology. Cc

2017 Compact Equipment Issue CALCONTRACTOR


ADVERTISER INDEX CalAPA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24

Quinn CAT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Clairemont Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30

RDO Equipment Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

Coastline Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Savala Equipment Rentals . . . . . . . . . . 17

Coastline Equipment Crane Div. . . . . . 23

Scott Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23

FMG, Grinding & CIR / Graniterock . . . 25

Sonsray Machinery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31

Hawthorne CAT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2

Trench Shoring Company . . . . . . . . . . . 25

Heavy Equipment Rentals . . . . . . . . . . . 11

UB Equipment Corp. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7

LaBounty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29

Volvo Construction Equip. & Svcs. . . . 29

Nixon-Egli Equipment Co . . . back Cover


2017 Compact Equipment ISSUE CALCONTRACTOR

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