Author Archives: Ray D'Aguanno

Ground Breaking

Century Concrete will began excavation for the building foundation today.  After excavating and removing the soil, the contractor will then set reinforcing steel in the foundation, which will then become part of the foundation once it is encased in concrete.  The reinforcing steel will be placed on steel “chairs” or 4″ concrete blocks to ensure that the steel is not in direct contact with the bottom of the foundation.  This will allow for concrete to totally encompass the reinforcing steel and will create a better, stronger structure.

The amount of time estimated to complete the foundation work is approximately 60 days.  So those on the Midlothian Campus will notice quite a few changes over the next month.  Once we complete sections of the foundation, another subcontractor will follow closely behind and start setting concrete masonry units (cmu) blocks.

Moving Dirt

So many wonder why we have been digging soil where the new academic building is going to be placed and then filling it with new soil.  There are several factors that go into these decisions.  One thing we have to do before we can start constructing the foundation is remove any material from beneath the building which could impact it long term.  We construct buildings to last forty (40) or fifty (50) years and try to ensure that they can hold up even longer.  Before to the building is designed, a geological analysis is performed by an engineering firm to see what type of material will be under the building and around the building.  After analysis by the engineers and architects, it is determined how much material is required to be removed and which material is “suitable,” meaning that it will support the new structure that is being constructed.

Once we started removing the soil, we had to remove the existing reinforced concrete pipe (RCP) which was placed in the middle of the courtyard area to allow water to flow away from the existing buildings to the wetlands.  Most of the near-surface material in the location of the new Academic Building pad was not suitable; therefore, it had to be removed and replaced with suitable material.  Multiple factors play into determining which material is suitable, including type of material, how moist the material is, and how much rock and organics is in the material.  So the material that has been placed in the new building pad footprint is suitable and the use of a nuclear density guage has given us the results for the compaction of this material.

So we are not doing twice the work, we are doing it the right the first time and building this new Academic Building on a strong foundation, just like John Tyler Community College has been built over many years.

Ahead of Schedule

The volleyball courts have been officiaily relocated to the front of Hamel Hall.  While the surroundings have changed, those that are enrolled in the upcoming semester of Volleyball will be able to show off their skills to the other students at JTCC.  Relocation of these courts has allowed us to move forward with the construction of our new Academic building and Parking Deck.

Digital Camera

 

One Load at a Time

Though it seems the project is not making progress, Liesfeld has made a lot of headway on this project by completing the storm water management basin (SWMB).  The contractor has removed all of the trees and is in the process of removing all the stumps and rootmat.  We still have a long way to go, but a lot of progress has been made.  By the time students return for the Fall 2014 semester, construction of the new academic building foundation should be started.

Below is a load of dirt excavated from the SWMB.

WP_20140716_003

Volleyball Courts

Keep an eye on the volleyball court location, for it will be moving within the next month to a new location.  The current location in the courtyard area of Hamel Hall, Eliades Hall and the Administration building will be moved directly in front of Hamel Hall.  Refer to the photos below to see the location of the new courts.  It will be especially important for those of you who register for the Volleyball classes in Fall 2014!

 

Volleyball Courts near Hamel Hall, Eliades Hall and Administration Building

Volleyball Courts near Hamel Hall, Eliades Hall and Administration Building

Relocated Volleyball Courts

Relocated Volleyball Courts in front of Hamel Hall

Life of an Intern

Let me premise this by stating that this is my observation as a Summer Intern and that I have nearly two decades in the construction industry, therefore results may vary depending on life experiences, company and attitude.

The atmosphere which I have been exposed to at Gilbane has been a welcoming and encouraging to the interns.  Gilbane Building Company has exposed me to many opportunities and allowed me to take on responsibilities and ownership of my work which gives one room for growth.  One can learn quite a bit from college classes, but unless you are willing to jump into the field and learn why and how things actually work, then you are missing out on personal and professional growth.

Though my title may be one of Summer Intern, at no point have I been treated any differently or looked upon as someone without experience or knowledge for the project to which I have been assisgned, JTCC Phase III.  I have looked at this chance with Gilbane Building Company as a point in which to shine and give it my all.  These days and weeks can either make me or break me on how the future may develop, and if given an opportunity to move forward with this great company.  Being given the chance with Gilbane would only add fuel to the fire of my desire for continued growth.

Remember the popular saying: If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.

Safety: Everyone is Responsible

Having worked in the construction industry for nearly two decades, I have seen a lot of great contractors and some that are not so great.  No matter which contractor I was working with on a project, they all had a safety plan which was supposed to be implemented.  In the past, many companies would glance over their safety plan, hand out some paperwork, and let you go about your way.  Something that I have been greatly appreciative of while at Gilbane has been the importance of safety.

The Gilbane way is not just discussing the importance of safety, but the understanding that everyone has something to lose if a coworker is injured or dies from a construction accident.  This does happen, much too often.  Each one of those assigned to a Gilbane project is looked at as a person, and not just a body filling a position.  Before starting work on any project, one must watch a Safety Orientation video, complete a short quiz and sign a safety pledge.  Most companies would stop at this point, but Gilbane does not follow this line.

Every day, safety is reiterated and discussed.  There are Toolbox meetings every week by the subcontractors.  To prevent injuries, in the morning there is a short stretch and flex to loosen up the muscles and joints.  The environment is extremely pleasant and positive on Gilbane projects. Instead of yelling at someone for improper or missing equipment, they are approached and it is discussed to see if it was misplaced or damaged and can be replaced prior to moving on with the task at hand.  This attitude draws more people to wanting to work with and for Gilbane.

No matter one’s title on the project, it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure the safety of those around them.  It is the understanding that we are all part of a great team and by ensuring that our teammates are safe, it allows them to return home the same way they left, all in one piece

While nothing will completely eliminate accidents on construction sites, we all can make sure we are working safely and utilizing the proper equipment and not risking injury or death by attempting a short cut.  While “Gilbane Cares” may be seen as a catch slogan, the measure is seen by the actions of those throughout Gilbane, which shows they do care.

Timber

Timber

Timber

John Tyler Community College Phase 3 officially started on June 24, 2014 when the first trees started to fall for the extension of Tippecanoe Lane.  The clearing of the trees makes way for a new road which will connect Tippecannoe with Woolridge Road, and lead to the future 351 car parking deck.   The next steps will include the installation of erosion and sediment control devices and tree protection throughout the site.

Erosion Control

As we progress through the project, we have started on an all-important phase: erosion and sediment control. We all have seen the videos warning against dumping into the waterways to protect the environment. Contractors are visited by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) throughout the life of the project. DEQ monitors the waterways to ensure that sediment runoff is not occurring on projects, and the proper erosion control measures are in place.

DEQ will visit the project prior to work starting, just after the contractor starts to clear and grub (removing tree stumps and root mat), after major storms and at other times just to monitor the effect of this work. While some contractor cringe at the sight of a DEQ inspector visiting the site, their role is important to ensure that we keep all runoff water clean and not pollute our waterways.

So when you see the silt fence (black fence approximately 2 feet high) or inlet protection (roll of straw in front of inlets for storm sewer), please understand that these items are there for a purpose.  They help keep the project clean and preserve our water for future generations. Use caution when encountering any of these items, for if you damage them then the contractor has to take time and resources to repair or replace this barrier.

 

Silt Fence (Black fence along the edge of the tree line)

Coffee and Donut Runs It’s Not: Intern Responsibilities

When afforded an opportunity to enter into a company as an intern, one should not just look at the experience they will gain from their employment no matter how long or short, but also at what you are going to bring to the table for the employer.  Students often accept these positions believing that they will be sitting around filing paperwork, making coffee, picking up donuts, checking email or performing some small tasks without having to get deep into the project details.  While this may be the case in some industries, it does not apply to one entering the construction industry.

One should never expect that they will not be challenged or believe that the day begins at 8 am and ends by 5 pm.  Before one jumps into the construction industry, they should realize that some days start well before dawn and at times will end well after most of your friends have already been at the pool relaxing for the day.  Sometimes there are chances, when the project has been delayed, that you may have to work all day Saturday or even Sunday.

Construction is not for the faint of heart or those that get weary easily, for each day is a challenge and requires a lot of work.  If you are afraid of sweat, blood, high pressure or being pulled in five directions at every minute of the day, then construction may not be the place for you and your career.  One must realize that construction happens in the field and that buildings, roadways, and structures have to be built in the environment where it is never predictable.

While construction is not an easy profession, for those up to the challenges it is extremely rewarding.   For those who loved building forts, pushing the limits to construct something new or those who would build with Legos just to tear them apart to build something new every few hours, then it would a great field which to venture.