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Issue 6

2020

MAGAZINE

AMG DEMOLITION & ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICE, INC. Successfully Completes Another Challenging Project by Safely and Strategically Bringing Down 450 B Street in San Diego


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Demolition &

CONTENTS

Recycling Issue

Feature Articles 06

AMG DEMOLITION & ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICE, INC.

Successfully Completes Another Challenging Project by Safely and Strategically Bringing Down 450 B Street in San Diego

12

SILVERADO CONTRACTORS, INC.

18

ACE HAULING JUNK REMOVAL & DEMOLITION

12

Takes Down UC Berkeley Tolman Hall

18

Continues Their Focus on Unapparelled Customer Service with Addition of Volvo ECR145E Excavator

24

PAUL HANSEN EQUIPMENT, INC.

Civil General Engineering in a COVID-19 Era at Paul Hansen Equipment, Inc.

24

CalContractor Magazine / www.calcontractor.com PUBLISHER: Kerry Hoover khoover@calcontractor.com

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Brian Hoover, CMS, LLC Ian Hoover, CalContractor Magazine

GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Aldo Myftari

CalContractor is published twelve times each year by Construction Marketing Services, LLC. Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. P.O. Box 892977, Temecula, CA 92589 / Phone: 909-772-3121

FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION: Please call: (909) 772-3121


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Inset: Side profile of the existing tiered office building structure. Above: Picture of existing 45’ tall tiered office building structure to be demolished.

By Brian Hoover, Senior Editor

M

ike Gafa Sr. started AMG Demolition & Environmental Service, Inc. (AMG) with his wife Annette in 2002. As a WomenOwned Business Enterprise (WBE), AMG offers turn-key demolition services. They provide structural, interior and selective demolition, asbestos and lead remediation, along with general contracting, earthwork and mass excavation services. They have completed 6

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hundreds of projects throughout the Greater San Diego area and at a national level. Their work encompasses everything from the demolition of single-family homes, to the complete dismantling of massive structures like the San Ysidro International Border Crossing. AMG was contracted by prime contractor, Hensel Phelps Construction Company, in 2009, to make room for new construction

at the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry (SYLPOE). Phase 1b consisted of the demolition of more than 100,000 square feet of existing buildings and the handling of approximately 80,000 cubic yards of earth. This massive undertaking included the complete deconstruction of the Port’s 45,000 square foot main building of operations. AMG’s primary challenge was to dismantle this 50-foot high structural steel C A LCO N T R AC TO R .CO M


AMG DEMOLITION & ENVIRONMENTAL SERVICE, INC. Successfully Completes Another Challenging Project by Safely and Strategically Bringing Down 450 B Street in San Diego

building while 50,000 vehicles passed daily from Mexico into the United States directly underneath. Mike and team began with the abatement of asbestos and lead, followed by salvage operations. AMG also erected a tower crane to dismantle the steel roof section, which they completed within an impressive six-week period. The entire demolition project was performed between 2009 and 2012. SYLPOE is the busiest land port in the world, and AMG safely and successfully completed all of its demolition and remediation duties while avoiding disruption of the Port’s 24/7 operations. Mike Gafa Jr. is one of the owners at AMG, along with his mother, father and brother. He and his brother, Justin, grew up working for their parent’s company through high school and eventually joined the family operation full time. “My father has been in the construction business for around 45 years, and was a home builder for 20 of those years back in the 80s and 90s,” says Gafa. “He started AMG in 2002, after working for other demolition companies, with a view toward taking on the more challenging projects that other firms often choose to ignore. This certainly includes the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry project, as well as the 450 B Street project we are currently on in downtown San Diego.” Gafa points out that his brother Justin is the Operations Manager for the company and joined the family business at its inception in 2002. Mike Gafa Sr. is the CALCON TRAC TOR .CO M

company’s President, Mike Gafa Jr. is the Vice President, while Annette Gafa performs the controller, accounting and finance duties. Mike Gafa Jr. joined the company in 2005, and both he and his brother have worked as laborers, heavy equipment operators, and job superintendents. Mike now primarily manages the estimating and project management end of the business. “We are not much for titles here at AMG. We are an extremely family-oriented, handson business, and we all wear many hats,” says Gafa “Each of us are committed to doing whatever it takes to get the job done safely and properly, and always to our customer’s 100% satisfaction.” 450 B STREET DEMOLITION PROJECT AMG is currently involved in another challenging project in downtown San Diego known as the 450 B Street Project. The prime contractor on the job is C.W. Driver Companies, out of Pasadena, CA. The overall project encompasses the design, demolition, remodel, and construction of a new coreshell, 88,278 square foot, six-story office building. The demolition and structural foundation work being done on the existing structure requires shoring, along with maintaining access to the parking garage for the adjacent tower during construction. “We have been tracking this project for five years and maintained close contact with C.W. Driver,” says Gafa. “We are always

Top 3 Pictures: Precision sawcutting and demolishing of 3 levels of existing parking garage structure for the installation of the Tower Crane for new construction. Bottom Picture: Excavation of Mat foundation 10’ deep at the bottom level of the existing parking garage. 3,000 CY of soil was trucked out from the bottom to street level.


Above: Wide shot of demolition operations showing the existing deck slab being demolished.

Left: Brokk 300 and operator demolishing 8” slabs and 3’x3’ grade beams on the tiered portion of building. Right: 45’ tall tiered section of the building being demolished in a “top-down” method with Brokks.

the first ones in, and we work hard to preserve our relationships and get budgets out to our clients early.” AMG was selected for the abatement, remediation, and demolition portion of the 450 B project and began their work in Jan. 2020. The 450 B jobsite is a 30,000 sq. ft. footprint that includes a three-story underground parking garage. At the street grade, there is a one-story portion up to 15-feet high at 30,000 sq. ft. and then another 12,000 sq. ft. footprint that is tiered up to 45 feet in height. “Our scope of the work was to take that entire 30,000 square foot structure down from street grade, in addition to the 45-foot tiered portion,” continues Gafa. “We are performing all of this demolition and remediation work while the underground parking structure remains live and open to the public.” 8

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Gafa explains that the tiered section at 450 B Street was around four stories high, while the ground level structure reached about 15 feet in height or around a story and a half. “We always begin with the asbestos removal and general abatement process. When that is cleared by the third-party consultant, we begin the interior demolition,” says Gafa. “This particular structure is all concrete, and we have gutted all the soft materials like drywall, conduit, and HVAC before we could begin the hard demo process.” AMG began attacking the structural demolition in the underground parking garage at the same time they were doing the selective demolition for the tower crane that was being installed right through the middle of the existing structure that AMG was demolishing. “We were asked { Continued on page 10}


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Above Left & Right: Komatsu PC138US LC-8 hydraulic excavator sorting and loading out construction debris. Orange spray paint line delineates the underground parking garage below.

{ Continued from page 8 }

to sawcut a 20’ x 30’ opening on all three levels for a tower crane that was being installed for construction of the new six-story high-rise building,” continues Gafa. “We were also contracted to dig the Mat foundation at the bottom level. This was 10 feet in-depth and required us to export around 3,000 cubic yards of dirt to the surface with forklifts equipped with custom buckets. It took an hour and a half to load just one truck load.” Gafa says that point load or weight issues contributed to the long list of challenges on the 450 B Street project. “The maximum weight we could place on these decks is around eight to 10,000 pounds,” says Gafa. “Due to location and weight constraints, we couldn’t just bring in 100,000 lb. excavators and start ripping the building down. We demoed using the a top-down methodology and went with the Brokk 300 remotecontrolled demolition robots that weigh in at around 8,000 pounds.” The Brokk 300 is gaining in popularity with many demolition contractors who like them for their impressive power, reach and stability. “I have really come to love these Brokk 300 machines. For years, I have known about them and finally fell into the right circumstances to use them over 10

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the last year or two. They hit very hard and are the best machines for point load issues. We currently own four units and will most likely be adding more in the near future.” According to Gafa, AMG began breaking concrete from the highest tier, which was around 45 feet off grade. “We broke the slabs and fell the debris to the slabs below that were protected with tires, plywood and steel plates,” says Gafa. “While this was going on, we had skid steer loaders and mini excavators picking out debris and sizing the material. This included separating the rebar and processing the concrete, steel and other materials. We repeated this same process on the next three levels.” Gafa points out that AMG also used Komatsu 33,000 lb. excavators wherever they could. “Our entire laydown area was only around 12 feet wide and 100 feet long from street corner to street corner. We have a large fleet of Komatsu machines and we used our PC138’s, along with skid steer loaders to load the containers,” continues Gafa. “We have been going with Komatsu for more than seven years now and feel that they are the perfect machines for general demolition.” According to Gafa, the 450 B Street project has been another challenging project for AMG.

“This job is located in a downtown San Diego setting and is also partially open to the public. That would make many demolition contractors think twice before bidding. Protecting the public and our employees is always our first and biggest concern,” says Gafa. “We have done a ton of work in downtown San Diego for decades where height is always an issue. Combine this with the logistics of moving machinery and materials in and out, along with getting all of the material down safely and you can see why there are only a few select companies, like AMG, willing to take it on.” By jobs end, AMG will remove around 8,000 tons of concrete, 300 tons of metal and another 1,000 tons of various other construction debris with an approximately 85% recycle rate. AMG has a healthy backlog of jobs coming up, including the demolition of a 60-foot high, 40,000 square United States post office. They also have several select interior demolition jobs scheduled and recently completed the Horton Plaza Mall demolition. AMG spent an entire year clearing more than 100,000 square feet of space on this mall project. They will also be on a multi-year plan for McCarthy, where they will be removing two towers, among C A LCO N T R AC TO R .CO M


Above: Komatsu excavators ranging from 33,000 lbs. to 165,000 lbs. demolishing Building #12 that stood 136’ tall at the Manchester Pacific Gateway Project. Over 50,000 CY of concrete was processed and recycled.

other structures at the Sharp Mary Birch Hospital in San Diego. One of AMG’s largest and most highprofile contracts was to demolish two existing structures at the existing Navy Broadway Complex. The demolition was necessary to kick off the $1.3 billion Manchester Pacific Gateway project in San Diego’s downtown waterfront. Building #12 represented the larger of the two structures and was built as a Navy storage facility during World War II. The 60,000 sq. ft. footprint stood 136 feet tall and included 10” thick concrete slab floors and 3 ½ feet interconnecting shear walls. AMG implemented a floor by floor demolition method where they craned in small to mid-sized equipment. They also removed (150) 10’x10’, 5-foot thick pile caps with more than 1,500 CALCON TRAC TOR .CO M

piles removed by job completion. All of the construction debris was sorted, segregated, and recycled to produce an overall recycling rating of 99.2%. AMG currently remains on the site where they are moving more than 800,000 cubic yards of dirt for Turner Construction. AMG has developed longstanding relationships with some of the most reputable contractors in the nation. They are also proud to provide services to several government bases, including MCAS Miramar, MCRD, Camp Pendleton, Naval Amphibious Base Seal Base, North Island Coronado, Submarine Base Point Loma, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Kirkland AFB in New Mexico and many more. The company has grown from humble beginnings in 2002 when they had around

20 employees to scaling over 130 dedicated team members. “One of the main reasons for our success is the people that work here at AMG. We have the best in San Diego. From laborers and foremen to our amazingly skilled operators, we handpick each one and do our best to keep them here throughout their career,” concludes Gafa. “Doing what we say and getting it all done safely and without excuses is what we are all about, and this is what will carry us into the next 20 years of success.” For more information on AMG Demolition and Environmental Service, Inc., please visit their website at www.amgdemolition.com or call their San Diego headquarters at (619) 501-7427. Cc

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Tolman Hall readied for structural demolition after hazardous materials abatement and soft demolition are complete.

SILVERADO CONTRACTORS, INC. TAKES DOWN UC BERKELEY TOLMAN HALL By Ian Hoover, Editor

S

ilverado Contractors, Inc. (Silverado) is an industryleading union contractor providing a full spectrum of demolition and excavation services to private developers, general contractors, industrial and public works clients throughout the West Coast. Silverado has successfully completed more than 1,100 projects since its inception in 2000. They have performed many large-scale, complex demolition projects, including Candlestick Park, the implosion of Warren Hall, the iconic 6th Street Bridge in Los Angeles and demolition of the San Francisco Oakland Bay Bridge from Yerba Buena Island to Oakland. Other notable jobs include the demolition of the BART Lake Merritt Administration Building, Carquinez Bridge Approach Ramps, CALCON TRAC TOR .CO M

both Oakland and San Francisco International Airport’s Control Towers, demolition of the 240’ tall Bank America Clock Tower Building and multiple projects for the Port of Oakland. Silverado recently completed the demolition of Tolman Hall on the UC Berkeley campus as part of a 1997 initiative to make the campus safe in case of a significant earthquake. UC Regents approved the removal of the building that was deemed a deficient and obsolete building system incapable of renovation. The plan called for a new replacement structure to be built before the demolition of Tolman Hall. Construction of Berkeley Way West, an 8-story, 320,000 sq. ft. structure, began in Dec. 2015. The $150 million new build replaced Tolman Hall, which

was built in 1962. Construction is now complete, and the new building houses the campus’ Graduate School of Education, School of Public Health and the Department of Psychology. Berkeley Way West opened for the fall 2017 semester, and Silverado began demolition of Tolman Hall in Nov. 2018. EARLY ATTENTION TO PLANNING, COORDINATION AND SAFETY PAY OFF - STEVE BICKNELL, CONSTRUCTION MANAGER, SILVERADO CONTRACTORS, INC. Steve Bicknell is a construction manager for Silverado and oversees much of the safety and preliminary implementation plans on all sorts of demolition and remediation projects. When Silverado is working DE M O & R EC YC L I N G / 2 0 2 0

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Right: Hitachi EX1200-6 high reach excavator with pulverizer attachment reducing concrete structure to grade in systematic and controlled manner. Below: Silverado’s material segregation process generated 32,000 tons of recycled concrete, rebar, steel, aluminum, copper, wood and green waste.

as the general contractor, Bicknell is often the advanced party or first in on a job with a focus on permits, subcontractors and working with the owners and various stakeholders. “I was on-site every day during the first few months of the Tolman Hall project,” says Bicknell. “One of the initial tasks was to work with the City of Berkeley and UC Berkeley to establish a trucking route and determine how, when and where we were to enter and exit the project.” Bicknell says that he procured a trucking route permit from the City and put together an agreement with the Department of Public Works on what roads and streets they would utilize. He also worked with the city’s engineering division to move a traffic signal in advance of demolition. “All of this was done far in advance with the knowledge and assistance of the Berkeley city inspector. It is important that I recognize, Jim Wert and Veronica Wong, who are project managers at UC Berkeley,” continues Bicknell. “They were extremely proactive and let us know where we may or may not have an issue and what to watch out for in and around the campus.” 14

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According to Bicknell, one of the issues dealt with the proximity of existing and active buildings. “We had UC Berkeley’s Chancellor’s home to the north of Tolman Hall and another building just 20 feet away from where important research was being done by students and faculty,” says Bicknell. “To reduce disruptions to a minimum, we erected scaffolding with sound blankets and screens to protect from falling material and diminish noise. We did everything we could to work around their schedule, including working weekends when many were not on campus. Keeping everyone safe is always job one, as we maintained spotters all-around the building. We also ceased the demolition process whenever anyone was walking by, and monitored the building after hours to keep the curious out of harm’s way.” Silverado also had a large flag crew on-site to direct both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. “We were working around thousands of students, and there was a walkway that passed underneath Tolman Hall,” continues Bicknell. “That was the first thing we closed off, as we utilized signage and ground crews to assist students in navigating their way around the demolition site.”

The $5,275,000 demolition project was initially scheduled to be completed Dec. 13 2019, but was wrapped up early Oct. 16 2019. Silverado performed all of the demolition on the 263,000 sq. ft., 5-story poured-in-place concrete structure that also had a partial basement. They were also responsible for all of the abatement and final site grading duties. The removal of hazardous materials always come first and Silverado hired subcontractor, Sterling Environmental Corporation, out of Oakland to handle those duties. “This was not a big abatement job, but we did discover asbestos mastic under the slabs and in the flooring, as well as in the pipe wrap. There was something on every floor, and Sterling had to strip the roof of all asbestos coatings,” says Bicknell. THE DEMOLITION PROCESS – MARK ABUTAIR, PROJECT MANAGER, SILVERADO CONTRACTORS, INC. The top-down hard demolition methodology proceeded directly after the abatement, stripping and salvaging process was complete. Silverado went on to gut the entire shell of all soft demolition material { Continued on page 16 } C A LCO N T R AC TO R .CO M


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Silverado’s crew professionally performed its contract while maintaining a safe environment for UC Berkeley’s active college campus filled with thousands of students, faculty and staff.

{ Continued from page 14 }

like drywall, doors, partitions, all the way down to the basic structure. They began at the penthouse and machine room levels. They maintained a crane on-site that hoisted mini excavators and skid steer loaders to the various levels to knock the material down systematically, level by level. Silverado also made use of their Hitachi EX1200-6 high reach excavator, along with other medium-sized excavators, to bring down and process the building on-site. Silverado worked from east to west, continuing the demolition process while separating the concrete from the rebar and crushing the concrete on-site. Mark AbuTair was one of the primary project managers on-site overseeing operations. “We were originally contracted to import fill material to balance the grading and excavating operations,” says AbuTair. “Instead, we value-engineered the project to separate, process and utilize the crushed concrete as fill material. We processed and reused all 20,000 cubic yards of concrete, saving the owner hundreds of thousands in import and export costs.” AbuTair points out that rebar, copper and other metals 16

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were recycled, along with the concrete, and points to other natural resources protected and preserved during construction. “There was a Melaleuca Styphelioides, better known as the prickly paperbark plant tree, in the general work zone that is native to eastern Australia. This particular tree is said to be the largest in all of California, and we protected that specimen from harm on this job site, along with several old oak trees,” says AbuTair. “We also protected the electrical network that was tied to Tolman Hall and needed to remain active. This required a lot of coordination on the utility side, as we protected the power transformer that was feeding the adjacent buildings with a steel plate structure.” After everything was brought down safely and processed, the building footprint area was graded and left as an open space for a future university building project. “It was the tremendous coordination between the City of Berkeley, UC Berkeley, and all of the Silverado and other contractor team members on-site that made this all possible,” says AbuTair. “I also want to recognize Gordon Howe, senior project

manager, and Mike Turner and Miguel Sandoval, who were the superintendents on-site during the entire project. It was their leadership and the conservative effort from every operator, laborer and the entire support staff that made this job safe and successful. The project was completed before the scheduled deadline, with all production and safety goals met or exceeded. We are all proud of another job well done by Silverado Contractors, Inc. and its subcontractors.” Silverado Contractors, Inc. is a general engineering contractor based in Oakland with offices in San Jose and Chino. Their scope of expertise includes building demolition, selective demolition, industrial, marine, transportation and bridge removal, as well as full remediation and hazardous removal capabilities. They also offer complete site decommissioning, plant closure, asset recovery, recycling, excavation and site preparation services. For more information, please visit their website at  www.silveradocontractors.com or call their Oakland headquarters at (510) 658-9960. Cc C A LCO N T R AC TO R .CO M


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HAULING

Continues Their Focus on Unapparelled Customer Service with Addition of Volvo ECR145E Excavator Right: Nick Marchand, Ace Junk Removal and Demolition.

By Brian Hoover, Senior Editor

N

ick Marchand grew up in Encinitas, where he worked for his father, hauling junk for a few years before starting his own business in 1999. At 21 years of age, Nick knew that the most important thing was to maintain repeat business. He has never been concerned with being the biggest, but only the best. Nick and his wife, Sou, have built their business over these past 20-plus years by going over and beyond to meet their customer’s expectations on every job, large or small. Now, in 2020, you can’t miss their signature purple dump trucks, dumpsters, roll-off 18

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containers, and equipment fleet that you are sure to see going up and down the freeways and highways in the greater San Diego area. What began as a startup junk removal company, quickly developed into a full-service demolition and hauling company that today serves both the commercial and residential industries. Ace Junk Removal and Demolition (ACE) has a long list of loyal customers that call on them to do anything from removing a mattress to bringing down an entire commercial building. “We run a tight ship and operate on extremely high

standards. Our employees are just like family members, and we only add additional team members and equipment under the most stringent conditions,” says Marchand. “Our demolition began with the removal of driveways, and that progressed into bringing down houses and then on to entire industrial complexes. We have been moving further into demolition since the day I acquired my C21 license, and we are very good at what we do.” According to Marchand, ACE began working on demolition projects in earnest in 2002, with the bigger jobs making their debut in 2007. “Things picked C A LCO N T R AC TO R .CO M


Above and Below: Ace Junk Removal and Demolition uses their new Volvo ECR145E excavator to demolish a burned-out home in Ramona.

up for us in demolition when the fires ravaged this region in 2007. We were on several of these fire cleanup projects that tore through Rancho Bernardo, Poway, San Marcos and Valley Center,” says Marchand. “Our largest job to date would be when we removed seven massive commercial buildings to make room for residential development in San Marcos. We created a mountain of rubble when we brought down these tilt-up style buildings and demoed everything, including the parking lots. We recycled the large beams to Mexico and scrapped the metal on this several monthlong project in 2015.” CALCON TRAC TOR .CO M

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Right: Scott Nadell, Volvo Construction Equipment & Services and Nick Marchand, Ace Junk Removal and Demolition.

ACE receives a lot of calls for house remodel demolition, where they take down as much as 75 percent of a home structure while leaving a few loadbearing walls in place for reconstruction. “We stay busy with consistent residential work, and a great deal of tenant improvements on the commercial side,” continues Marchand. “We are up against some pretty big outfits on these larger commercial jobs, but we keep our costs under control and are saving on equipment rental costs through responsible, calculated ownership decisions.” ACE recently added a new machine to its fleet, a Volvo ECR145E excavator that offers tremendous power, an enhanced hydraulic system, and a short swing radius for operating in confined spaces. “We looked at most of the top brands, and after research and careful consideration, we decided to 20

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go with Volvo,” says Marchand. “There were just so many variables that moved us into this Volvo excavator, including what we considered to be the easiest and most convenient to maintain. I am the primary operator for this new Volvo excavator, so I have a great appreciation for the comfortable and spacious cab, along with features like a camera system that allows for a 360-degree view. This Volvo has the look and feel of an indestructible machine, and that is what we need on these rough and challenging demolition projects.” ACE Junk Removal and Demolition (ACE) currently has a variety of sizes of dumpsters and roll-off containers in their fleet, along with dump trucks, 2-axle trucks and Super 10 rolloff trucks. They also own and operate several skid steer loaders along with a mini excavator. “We

just took delivery of our new Volvo ECR145E excavator a few weeks ago, and it has already proven its worth on several projects. We needed a larger excavator with a longer reach to get through these demolition projects faster. The other unit was taking four times as long, resulting in greater labor costs. Our new Volvo excavator also makes our job sites safer as we can work from greater distances,” continues Marchand. “Our Volvo representative is Scott Nadell, and he has been great to work with during the entire sale process and beyond.” ACE has utilized its new Volvo ECR145E 36,000 lb. excavator on a variety of projects thus far. This includes bringing down a large horse barn, a two-story burnedout home and a garage, along with the clearing and grubbing on a brush removal project. { Continued on page 22 } C A LCO N T R AC TO R .CO M


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Left & Above: Ace Junk Removal and Demolition’s Volvo ECR145E has enabled them to work safer and faster on their projects.

{ Continued from page 20 }

“I wouldn’t even attempt to do these jobs without our new Volvo machine, says Marchand. “The extra reach, speed, and power are helping us to load trucks faster, making the decision to purchase a real no brainer.” 22

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ACE is extremely busy as it continues to add more demolition clients from homeowners to local developers. The currently serve all of San Diego County, occasionally making it up into Temecula and even the San Clemente and Newport Beach area. “The vast majority of our demolition work is primarily south of North County. We work for several developers and are among the first on-site, doing clearing and grubbing down to the dirt.,”

concludes Marchand. “We are extremely fortunate to have such great people working here at ACE. This includes my wife, Sou, who is the owner and President of our Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE). She runs the office and takes care of all of the scheduling, billing and backend of the business. We are content with where we are now as we remain focused on unparalleled customer service that will keep our customers coming back to us for years to come.” For more information on ACE Junk Removal and Demolition, please visit their website at www.acehauling. com or call their Carlsbad office at (760) 434-5740. Cc C A LCO N T R AC TO R .CO M


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Civil General Engineering in a COVID-19 Era at Paul Hansen Equipment, Inc. Insight from Paul Hansen Equipment, Inc. on the Challenges Facing Civil Engineering amid COVID-19 Â By Jason Mrozek, Vice President, Business Unit Leader at Paul Hansen Equipment, Inc.

T

he effects of COVID-19 have impacted nearly all industries, and construction is no exception. Chief Executive, Alasdair Reisner of The Civil Engineering Contractors Association, stated that the industry can play an important role in rebuilding the economy post-pandemic if construction companies are able to continue operations while protecting their workforce and adhering to public health guidelines and procedures. At Paul Hansen Equipment Inc., we are innovating our current strategies and protocols to help create more versatile and efficient ways of managing jobsite restrictions. While the construction industry faces economic uncertainty, we are implementing cutting-edge safety measures to keep workers safe and healthy on today’s essential jobsites. These added safety practices have slowed productivity due to the increase in down time for social distancing measures, cleaning tools, vehicles, equipment, and more. However, with much of our work requiring street access, the reduced traffic flow from vehicles and pedestrians 24

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has improved setup and make-ready times. The primary change we have implemented with our current heavy machinery procedures is matching-up a piece of equipment to one single operator whenever possible, eliminating multiple contacts with the equipment. We are also thoroughly spraying and wiping down each piece of equipment with a CDC recommended cleaning solution at the beginning and end of each day, as well as in between uses if a different operator needs to use the equipment. Most of the machinery utilized by Paul Hansen Equipment Inc. includes single operator cab setups, making it easier to adhere to city and state COVID-19 mandates. The major modification we have made is to have operators in closed cab equipment keep all doors and windows closed so they can remove their face coverings while operating the machine. These changes have also significantly impacted our project management teams as they work to stay educated, implement and inform / train our field teams on the new safety policies and

Jason Mrozek, Vice President, Business Unit Leader at Paul Hansen Equipment, Inc. (PHEI).

procedures. These protocols are new for everyone on our project teams, as no one is used to spraying disinfectant on equipment, has experience with the new levels of cleanliness required to operate heavy machinery amid COVID-19, or maintaining social distancing while still executing the work, so consistent and daily communication with our teams is vital. This need for increased communication in reaction to the pandemic has forced many construction businesses to quickly advance their opinion and adoption of technology for online and virtual C A LCO N T R AC TO R .CO M


Above: A Paul Hansen Equipment, Inc. operator and crew member help maintain public safety by placing trench plates over their active work areas at the end of a shift. The project pictured above is a total replacement and upgrade of a hydronic pipeline loop at the University of California, San Diego. Right: Paul Hansen Equipment, Inc. specializes in civil site utilities and grading work. Such a broad scope of specialties requires expertise in many forms of equipment, such as the skid steer pictured to the right.

ways to connect with employees and customers. As a result, I believe the civil engineering side of construction will take a step back and look at the way we hold meetings, attend conferences, and collaborate internally and externally. We have increased our use and frequency of Zoom and BlueJeans meetings and are utilizing the video feature as much as possible to increase a feeling of connection and help counteract the impact social distancing has created with less field interaction on jobsites. The use of virtual meetings has also helped us to communicate with employees whether in the office or in the field in real time versus waiting for weekly meetings. In a post-COVID-19 world, I believe many of these newly implemented approaches to technology will become part of the “new normal,� which could lead to significant financial savings and CALCON TRAC TOR .CO M

increased productivity from virtual real-time problem solving and less time lost from travel to /from jobsites. These new construction technologies will play an essential role in rebuilding the civil engineering construction industry, despite the setbacks that resulted from COVID-19. Beyond the labor and material aspects being affected, another challenge we are facing is our ability to receive rental equipment in a timely manner and to schedule repairs on owned or rented equipment. Every time equipment is repaired or rented it now needs to be cleaned thoroughly, which is creating a longer turnaround time than normal. Most of the rental and repair companies we utilize have reduced their hours of operation and staffing to adhere to city/state COVID-19 mandates as well, but there has been no decrease in the need for equipment.

Therefore, we have learned to be more proactive in scheduling rental and repair requests for equipment to help prevent any impact to the execution of our work. I do not believe any of these newly implemented COVID-19 operational changes will be going away anytime soon. I foresee that face coverings will be needed for quite some time to help reduce the spread of the virus. I think we will need new solutions to adapt to these COVID-19 policies, such as customized PPE that works with our current safety glasses and face covering requirements. Currently our team is having issues with glasses fogging up while wearing face coverings on the jobsite, which presents a safety hazard. I also expect there will be an increase in the utilization of technology in response to COVID-19, such as mapping services to help projects identify existing DE M O & R EC YC L I N G / 2 0 2 0

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Above: Beyond focusing on wet utility work, Paul Hansen Equipment, Inc. is also skilled in executing on the dry utility needs of their clients. Above, an operator and leadman put the finishing touches on a medium voltage loop that will help bring power to the nation’s largest Battery Storage Plant located in Otay Mesa. Having experience across a variety of utility types enables PHEI to provide our clients with a single-sourcing opportunity, removing headaches that can arise with multiple utility contractors trying to work alongside one another in the same area.

underground utilities and existing conditions with the use of advanced technology and equipment, versus traditional potholing that requires a lot of hand digging and workers in close proximity to one another. The use of mapping services will require more upfront planning and cost, but its ability to help reduce field issues during the execution of work, as well its ability to help to adhere to social distancing guidelines, will reduce costs in the long run. Additionally, I believe the industry may need to develop smaller pieces of equipment to supplement work activities that previously required multiple workers, working within 6-ft. of one another, to complete the work as this becomes the “new normal.� My biggest piece of advice to those in civil engineering construction facing similar obstacles in our current construction environment is to not lose focus on the human impact as well. Our industry has done a good job implementing new safety protocols but monitoring the emotional well-being and behaviors of our team members is just as important. Over-communicating with your field teams and partners, seeking feedback, and acknowledging or addressing their concerns is critical. We are all in this together. { Continued on page 28 }

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Above & Right: Paul Hansen Equipment, Inc. became a best-in-class utility company by expanding into technically difficult projects located in the streets of urban San Diego. Pictured above and right, an operator and pipefitter begin their shift by opening up street work trenches surrounded by a bustling University campus. Left Operating equipment requires incredible expertise, executing the work without disturbing or damaging existing infrastructure. To the left, a Paul Hansen Equipment, Inc. operator stays focused on the work out ahead, while also utilizing the proper PPE.

{ Continued from page 26 }

About the Author: Jason Mrozek, Vice President, Business Unit Leader, Paul Hansen Equipment, Inc. (PHEI) has 17 years of construction industry experience and been involved in a wide variety of high-profile construction projects in the community, including the SDCCD Miramar College Police Station & Parking Structure, which earned a LEED Platinum Certification. In his leadership role at PHEI, Jason has robust goals in both sales and scope of services, while growing his team at a safe and stable rate. Jason also donates a significant 28

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amount of time and expertise to serve his community. He has been a Board Member for the San Diego Boys & Girls Clubs for the last 6-years, and previously served as an ACE Mentor at Patrick Henry High School. In prior years, Jason championed the Rady Children’s Hospital Shamu & You Walk and Annual Telethon, helping to raise more than $33,000. About Paul Hansen Equipment, Inc.: Paul Hansen Equipment, Inc. seamlessly executes complex underground utility projects that involve the installation of water, storm drain, sewer, fire systems, backflows, gas and electric pipelines. One of the larger site utility companies in the San Diego

region, Paul Hansen Equipment has been serving Southern California since 1969. From complex jobs requiring a concise sense of detail to large-scale jobs requiring strong time-management skills, Paul Hansen Equipment, Inc. is known for efficiency, completing jobs on time, on budget and with exceptional customer service. Possessing long-standing relationships with many of the top builders and general contractors in the San Diego County region, Paul Hansen Equipment, Inc. continually strives to maximize client outcomes and deliver an exceptional client experience. For more information about Paul Hansen Equipment, Inc. go to www.paulhansenequipment.com. Cc C A LCO N T R AC TO R .CO M


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