Building Ascent: Chapter 2
As the construction pace picked up in November, job site supervisor Thom Palm said, “We’re finally getting to the point now where the snowball is starting to really pick up speed down the hill.” Mornings were chilly, but temperatures warmed up in the afternoon, prompting him to add, “We could use another four to six more weeks of this weather.”
A ten-man concrete crew took advantage of the mild afternoons to form and pour pile caps, with the work being divided between building forms and rebar. While the concrete guys were doing their job, Site Work Specialists, Inc.—the excavation contractor responsible for utility work—installed water lines and a future fire hydrant. Meanwhile, FMG Engineering, the soils testing and engineering consultant, were there on a regular basis to provide construction observation and testing, starting with inspection and testing of the driven pile. As construction progressed, their focus shifted to testing the concrete pile caps and fill placement. Pile caps are interesting from an engineering standpoint because they have to transfer the load from the building to the piles in a way that carries the load correctly.
“You only have one chance,” explained Alex Fisher with FMG Engineering. “When you’re dealing with large masses of concrete and deep foundation systems, you really get one chance to do it. Once that’s done we’re ready for the building, but there’s a lot of work that goes into making sure it’s done correctly.”
Alex had no doubt this phase of the project would go off without a hitch. “We’ve got a great team working on the project,” he said. “The FMG team has a lot of experience. The nice thing on this project is, we’ve also got two partners in terms of Scull Construction and Site Work Specialists; both companies have been around for many, many years, so this is nothing new to any members of the team here.” As crews prepared for Thanksgiving, he reflected, “My confidence with making this a successful project is very high.”
525 University Loop
Rapid City, SD 57701