Accelerated Job in Rhode Island

By Joanne Ray | September 28, 2010

The setting is an exclusive neighborhood in a pricey town in southern Rhode Island on an estimated $7-million property that slopes towards a breathtaking ocean view.

Here, Parker Thompson from E. Providence, RI, is at work seven days a week, as the general contractor of a 16,000-square-foot guest area that will include a barn, movie theatre, golfing area, utility storage, elevator, and more.

The owner, who wishes not to be mentioned by name, abuts the property where this $30-million project will be completed in seven months — on an accelerated schedule.

Mid-winter has the job site bustling with key players — R.J. Cawley from Newport, RI, setting the forms for paving, pouring retaining walls and slab work; J.A.M. Construction Company from Middleton, RI, installing underground utilities and water tanks; B. Fortin Electric from Barrington, RI, installing pipe work and electrical; and United Rentals of Shrewsbury supplying equipment and installing the shoring.

In the middle of the property, laborers are in the process of installing two 20,000-gallon irrigation water tanks that will be used to protect the grounds. The tanks are set 27 feet underground. Then laborers will backfill with 200 yards of pea-stone with the stone slinger that will cover 1 foot above the tanks.

"We hauled 14,000 feet of fill out of here and will keep 4,000 on site for backfill," said Jamie Cawley. "The other 10,000 will go to a dump and quarry down the street."

Elsewhere on the site, Parker Thompson is setting the rebar and building forms for 300-plus yards of 4,000-psi mix. The crew will use 230 tons of rebar altogether along with 350 pegs.

At the top of the site, United Rentals Slide Rail Consultant Al MacKenzie installs a slide rail using 16-feet-long slide rail panels. This pit consists of two 16-foot bays of slide rail that are 10 feet wide and approximately 10 feet deep. The hole, which is approximately 32 feet long by 10 feet wide and 10 feet deep, will hold a 6,000-gallon holding tank for fire protection for the main building next door.

Jim DeCosta, site foreman for J.A.M., said the shoring will only stay in the hole for two days because they installed the tank quickly. The crew will pull the shoring out so it can be used on the remaining retaining wall on another part of the site.

Below, on the site heading toward the water, United Rentals is installing the last 160 feet of slide rail system for the remaining retaining wall. The crew is using 16-foot bays that are 8 feet to 16 feet deep.

Linda Plante, shoring consultant/sales for United Rentals, worked with Jaime Cawley of R.J. Cawley to come up with an efficient shoring system for a 300-foot retaining wall. The initial plan was for R.J. Cawley to use 100 linear feet of slide rail and leapfrog it down the entire run. Due to the efficiency of the system and time schedules, an additional 80 feet of slide rail was ordered and installed so the crew can pour the remaining 160 feet at one time.

The retaining wall abuts another property and is formed in concrete. Laborers are custom-cutting the rock by hand for the retaining wall, which will stand against the property line and grade down towards the water.

"They custom-cut the rocks," Al MacKenzie said. "They bring the rock in on pallets and chip away at the rocks and set them in by hand. The stone wall is 300 feet-plus — beginning at almost 16 feet deep."

In order to keep the transition of the wall flowing, United Rentals supplied site support to help out with the installation of the slide rail. It took three laborers to install — an operator, laborer and MacKenzie.

The structure is 10 feet wide by 16 feet deep — 160 feet of slide rail altogether for this last section. The foundation for structure is 28 feet deep. Laborers backfilled the foundation with 3/4-inch stone and trucked in 120 yards with 80 truck loads just to speed up the process.

Also at work is Fortin Electric, which has installed temporary lighting and will eventually install permanent lighting.

"All the conduits have to be measured closely because copper is at a premium," said Electrician, Richard Fortin. "We put up the temporary lighting today, and we are receiving the switch gear to install string lights in the basement and up on top so that laborers can see on a cloudy day."

Fortin was also installing safety tape around the hole equipped with PVC pipe. The tape warns an operator that electrical conduits are nearby.

New England Scaffolding is on top of the site setting up staging so laborers can build the structure inside during the winter months.

"They are going to work there all winter," MacKenzie said.

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