The Size of a Small Town - Contractors Put Conveyors to the Test at Del Webb's Huge Midwest Retirement Development August 1999
Putzmeister Telebelt proves its versatility at a 2,000-acre residential development
Contractors take pride in working on prestigious projects, where they can put their reputation on the line. Builders Concrete, a veteran residential concrete firm, is no exception – and Del Webb Corporation's newest residential development is that kind of project.
Del Webb is the country's largest developer of active-adult retirement communities in the United States. Unlike the company's other active-adult developments, all based in the South and Southwest, Sun City at Huntley is located in a northwestern suburb of Chicago. This first Midwest location is the company's test for an active-adult development in a cold climate and major metropolitan area. The response to Sun City at Huntley will help the company determine future four-season developments.
The scope of the Huntley development is enormous. With plans for more than 5,000 homes and 9,000 residents, when completed, it will be the size of a small city. The 2,000-acre (8 km2) project consists of an 18-hole championship golf course, the 94,000-square-foot (8733 m2) Prairie Lodge exercise recreation and entertainment complex, as well as walking trails, a stocked fishing pond and a full-service restaurant.
Exceptional customer interest Construction on the project began in the fall of 1998. Near record sales of the development's single-family homes, priced at $158,000 to more than $300,000, has kept the construction moving at a steady clip. In fact, some of the community's first residents have already taken occupancy. However, completion of the entire 5,000-home development won't take place for several years.
According to Bernie Pallardy, construction operations manager at Sun City at Huntley, the job-site activity centers around the first four of 17 neighborhoods. The development offers 11 floorplans, ranging in size from 1,100 to almost 2,700 square feet (102 - 250 m2), with either single- or lower-level foundations.
Bernie Pallardy, Del Webb's construction operations manager at Sun City at Huntley, said the Putzmeister conveyor has been a real asset at the job site. "They're less work, man-hours and machine time," he said. "The stone isn't touched by someone until it hits its final placement."
To help meet the deadlines for the first phase of construction, Del Webb teamed up with Builders Concrete. In turn, Builders Concrete contracted Original Concrete Pumping Service to assist. Both concrete companies have relied on Putzmeister telescoping conveyors to meet the concrete footings, walls and slabs, and stone placement challenges.
"Each of us [concrete contractors] has been assigned an area of Sun City – one of the neighborhoods in the development," explained Angelo Cogliannese, operator of the Putzmeister Telebelt® TB 105 for Original Concrete Pumping. "We start at one end of a block and work our way down. The beauty of the belt is that we can pour walls, then cover basement drain tile with stone, then pour the foundation all in one shot without changing or even moving equipment."
Versatile equipment The decision to go with the TB 105 was based on one factor, versatility, said Tim Knoebel, vice president of Builders Concrete. "Today you need a tool that does more than one job," said Knoebel. "We use our four belts for everything from landscaping to pouring two-story-tall caissons."
At Sun City, the company's using its Telebelts to place both gravel and concrete. But equally important, he said it handles any consistency of concrete – including low, 4-inch (102 mm) slump concrete that's tough on pumps.
Pallardy has 13 years of construction experience and has used concrete conveyors for years, too. "Conveyors definitely improve accessibility and placement of concrete," said Pallardy. "The unit is an asset at Huntley – less work, less man-hours, less machine time. We're direct dumping from the trucks so that the stone isn't handled by someone until it hits its final placement." He added, "The unit also comes in handy when we need to pour concrete and don't want to cross curbs."
Cogliannese explained that he runs a conveyor eight or more hours a day on the Huntley site. A typical day calls for placing 12 to 15 semi-truck loads of stone and roughly 150 cubic yards (115 m3) of concrete. He said, "We're able to complete each home site without moving the machine." In fact, with the conveyor's 105-foot (32 m) reach, the unit often isn't repositioned to handle the concrete and stone work for two neighboring homes.
He added, "We operate the equipment all day long, and it puts us on top of the productivity scale." Depending on the home design, they are finishing one or two homes a day – making many homeowners' dreams come true.