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Fast-Track Schedule, One of Many Challenges   




Technology helps contractor remain in control

The $5 million Ste. Genevieve County Memorial Hospital's new Bloomsdale Women's Health and Primary Care Center in Bloomsdale, Missouri, has been a dramatic addition to women's diagnostic and health care services for the region. It is state-of-the-art care.

St. Louis-based McGrath & Associates was the general contractor responsible for juggling the efforts of approximately 30 subcontractors, including CE Contracting, Inc., Ste. Genevieve, Missouri.

CE Contracting was responsible for site prep on the three-acre site, as well as utility and concrete work. The small site was formerly open-field farmland and is located on the east side of Interstate 55 at Highway Y-just off the I-55 exit.

"In October 2011, we started the site work, which included excavation, cut and fill, and compaction," states Ben Weiler, PE and vice president, CE Contracting. "We were also responsible for utilities, which were water lines, sanitary sewer lines, storm sewer lines, and catch basins, and pipe to the ditch area. Plus, we had 20,000 square yards of concrete paving, which includes an offsite street of about 1,000 feet long coming into the site, and then the concrete paving around the building footprint."

The new health care facility was on a fast-track schedule, with the ribbon cutting set for November 2012. CE Contracting knew would have to be efficient to complete everything in 11 months.

"We had to complete the site prep quickly and accurately since so many contractors were waiting for us," says Derek Drury, president of CE Contracting. "We knew from the start that we'd be using Trimble for machine control, site positioning needs, and for creating a 3D site plan."

Although the Bloomsdale Women's Health and Primary Care Center site was small compared to most of CE Contracting's projects, there were challenges.

The Bloomsdale site sits on a natural hillside, with the structure and parking lot sitting below the street entrance. This created a challenge. The entry drive is narrow and splits two adjoining pieces of property. The elevation drop that the road needed to descend to the parking had to be finessed in a way that respected the adjacent property.

"It would have been significantly more time consuming to create the entrance and grade the descent without the benefit of Trimble machine control," states Weiler. "I wouldn't want to consider doing it without the technology."

Another challenge CE Contracting faced was the soil condition. There was approximately 1,000 cubic yards of high plastic clay that needed to be remediated for the structural site.

"We were able to obtain low plastic replacement soil from a nearby property and supplement the quantity shortfall with crushed stone from a local quarry," Weiler says. "Local sourcing helped us stay on deadline."

To create the 3D digital site plan, CE Contracting used Business Center - HCE data preparation and takeoff software from Trimble. "I like Business Center - HCE because it's geared to the construction contractor and can import various file formats we receive from owners and engineers," Weiler says. "With the support of our local Trimble dealer, it's been user friendly, easy to learn, and seamlessly communicates with our machine control systems at the Bloomsdale site."

CE Contracting used a Trimble® GCS900 Grade Control System with dual GNSS antennas on its John Deere 750K Crawler Dozer to grade the site.

"This particular project serves as a great example of how Trimble GPS technologies can be beneficial on even the smallest of job sites-especially a building site," Drury states. "With a 21,000 square foot building centering the job site, it can get cumbersome to use a total station due to the lack of line of sight. With GPS, we were able to establish real time 3D grade with virtually zero downtime and eliminating time-consuming repeated instrument setups. We were able to put the site very close to target grade with the GCS900 system on our 750 dozer. Then, with the versatility of the handheld Trimble controller we were able to quickly adapt to the Trimble Robotic Total Station in order to place curb stakes and tweak the final grade."

CE Contracting hooked into the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) VRS (Virtual Reference Station) Network for much of the project. The MoDOT VRS Network provided high-accuracy, real-time kinematic (RTK) GNSS positioning for the wider area and eliminated the need to set up a base station. The MoDOT VRS Network serves the entire state of Missouri.

Drury estimates that the Trimble technology has yielded tangible benefits on this project in terms of "20 percent cost savings and 20 percent time savings." Both of these benefits were considered crucial by Drury "in light of the tight timetable we faced."

For the company there was a lot riding on doing a good job. The Bloomsdale Women's Health and Primary Care Center site is literally a few miles away from CE Contracting's headquarters.

"Both Ben and I live in Bloomsdale so there's a sense of community pride in making sure our job is done right," Drury states. "Plus, I've got family history in the city. My dad worked for my grandfather who founded a construction company in 1946. So, growing up when driving around Bloomsdale my father would point out various landmarks and say, 'you know, I put in that sewer, or we graded that site for that building,' and there's a lot of pride in being a part of that. So yeah, I'm looking forward to driving past that site and being able to say to my kids, 'CE Contracting did all that grading for that Health Center. We poured that concrete.' There's a lot of pride there in being able to do that in your hometown."



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