Drilling Contractor Shaves $200,000 Off Project Costs

Subsurface Constructors Inc., St. Louis, was selected to install the drilled shafts for Pinnacle Entertainment’s $430 million downtown St. Louis casino, luxury hotel and parking garage. As part of its value-engineering proposal, Subsurface performed an Osterberg Load Cell Test in an attempt to decrease the design diameters and rock socket lengths of the drilled shafts. As a result of the test, shaft diameters were decreased from 6 feet to 5 feet, and rock sockets were significantly shortened, saving the project roughly $200,000. Subsurface used six drill rigs to install 340 drilled shafts in a three-month to four-month period. Final rock sockets for the drilled shafts ranged from 5 feet to 12 feet.

In addition to the foundation work, Subsurface performed the design and construction of 24,000 square feet of temporary shoring to allow for a 20-foot excavation in the structure footprint.

Titan Installation School in Colo.

In their quest to bring continuing education to their customers, ADSC associate members TEI Rock Drills and Con-Tech Systems Ltd. presented the fourth annual Titan Installation School June 4-5 at the TEI plant in Montrose, Colo. TEI holds various schools and an open house every year in an effort to help contractors train their personnel and learn more about our industry.

There were 25 attendees at the school, with easily more than that turned away from registration.  To accommodate more students next year, the plan is to have two sets of students that switch between classroom and field work. All of TEI’s schools have been sold out for the last three years.

The purpose of the school is to educate the participants in all phases of installation of the Titan bars manufactured by Ischebeck Germany. These are the popular IBO or hollow bars that are grouted in place while drilling. The ADSC currently is sponsoring a study with the Federal Highway Administration to determine if this type of product can be used for permanent tieback situations. If this study proves that the use of the IBO is permanent, then TEI and Con-Tech Systems probably will have to hold three to four schools per year.

The event starts with a Wednesday night reception, giving everyone a chance to get acquainted and pick up their course materials. At 7:30 Thursday morning, everyone is taken to the TEI plant and given a tour showing how the drill rigs, drifters and all the other components are manufactured, stocked and shipped. Then there is training on the operation and safety using the equipment. After that, the drilling starts.

This year, there were three drills for everyone to try out along with a grout plant from Obermann. There was lots of grout and dust flying everywhere with all attendees trying out the equipment. At 11:30, there was a lunch break, and then participants returned to the hotel for classroom work. Subjects included grout mixtures and proper mixing techniques, hydraulic troubleshooting and maintenance, load calculations for Titan anchors, and various job references. New this year was a demonstration of new software available from Ischebek to help engineers using Titan anchors and micropiles design walls and foundations. Alex Junker flew all the way from Germany to make this presentation; a trial copy is available on the Con-Tech Systems Web site www.contechsystems.com). That night, there was a BBQ at the TEI warehouse.

Then, the vans departed for a local job site. There the attendees were allowed to install micropiles on a working job site. Students took turns on the drill and also running the grout plant – it was a great learning opportunity for everyone.  After lunch, the proper testing procedure for Titan bars was demonstrated and repeated for each student to try. During the testing, a TEI technician demonstrated the assembly of a percussion drill in the warehouse, and then the testing procedure for hammers before they ship. This day was mostly all hands-on training for the attendees.

These schools have been deemed a smashing success for contractors and manufacturers alike. The contractor gets more and better work done, and the manufacturer has a satisfied customer who better understands the equipment, and has fewer maintenance calls and less down time.

Instructors for the school were Glenn Patterson of TEI Rock Drills, Eberhard Heinzemann of Con-Tech Systems, and Alex Junker of Ischebek GbH, along with Joe Patterson, George Novotny, Kevin Craven, Mike Gleghorn and most of the other TEI technicians.

Every year, TEI holds the Titan installation school in June, an open house in October, and a hydraulics class in February.  There is consideration being given to reviving the geothermal school for 2009; if you have interest in this industry, call TEI (800-777-3745) and let them know.

New Con-Tech Warehouse

Con-Tech Systems Ltd., has opened a new warehouse in Shafter, Calif.

The warehouse is equipped with two-strand production lines, and boasts an inventory of all strand accessories, and selected sizes of TITAN BAR. The facility’s address is 800 E. Ash Ave., Shafter, Calif., 93263; the telephone number is 619-659-9931.

Headquartered in Delta, British Columbia, Con-Tech supplies geosupport, seismic retrofit, retaining and form tie systems and instrumentation.

Industry Icon Osterberg Passes

LOADTEST’s Jorj Osterberg died peacefully in his sleep June 1. Osterberg is best known as the inventor of the O-Cell.

One of the true pioneers of geotechnical engineering, he is recognized for his innovations in soil sampling and testing (including his invention of the Osterberg Sampler). Following a long and distinguished career as a teacher and consultant, Osterberg is professor Emeritus of Civil Engineering, Northwestern University. Other honors and associations: Honorary Member – American Society of Civil Engineers, Member – National Academy of Engineering, 1985 Terzaghi Lecturer, 1988 Distinguished Service Award – Deep Foundations Institute, and recipient of the Royal Swedish Medal.

In 1983, the International Association of Foundation Drilling concluded, “One of the most needed advances in the drilled shaft industry was the development of a relatively low-cost, mobile, fairly simple-to-evaluate load-test system.” Osterberg responded to this challenge, and developed the deep foundation load-testing system that would meet the construction industry’s needs. Osterberg’s invention, the Osterberg Cell, or O-Cell, has radically changed the way deep foundation load tests are designed, performed and interpreted. In recognition or this achievement, he won the NOVA, which has been referred to as the “Nobel Prize” for construction.

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