Putzmeister Concrete Pumps Make the Difference in Montana Hotel

Sept. 28, 2010

The hotel name "C'mon Inn" sounds inviting to guests seeking a warm and friendly resort atmosphere. However, spacious accommodations have one meaning for guests and another for concrete pumps, especially during construction of the hotel chain's new Bozeman, Mont., property.

The hotel name "C'mon Inn" sounds inviting to guests seeking a warm and friendly resort atmosphere. However, spacious accommodations have one meaning for guests and another for concrete pumps, especially during construction of the hotel chain's new Bozeman, Mont., property.

Construction progressing inside the 125-unit hotel required working under low overhead beams within an uncommon three-story building configuration. To access several difficult-to-reach areas in pumping concrete over an eight-month period, Lea Concrete Pumping, of Bozeman, relied on a variety of models and sizes from its growing fleet of Putzmeister truck-mounted concrete boom and line pumps.

"For placing concrete for the footings, walls and decks, our boom pumps were great," said owner Jason Lea of the concrete pumping company he started in 1998. "For placing concrete almost everywhere else in the interior, we sent our line pump."

Initially, the Putzmeister 40Z-Meter was deployed for the vast majority of the pumping. Offering a 128-foot vertical and 115-foot horizontal reach, it provided the boom lengths required to handle the footings, walls and two upper level decks. Plus, its Multi-Z boom maneuverability made it easier to access the decks.

"We centered the unit on the job so it provided plenty of reach from just one setup location," noted Lea, who purchased the BSF 40Z-Meter model just over a year ago. "The unit is ideal when we need a combination of both the added reach and the versatility of a Z-boom."

Like a Yardstick

Although the 40Z-Meter did the lion's share of the pumping, a special courtyard situated under low overhead beams required the Multi-Z boom reach of the smaller 32-Meter Enterprise boom pump. For access, the 32 ES-170 was driven inside the structure, and the operator weaved the versatile Multi-Z boom up and down under low beams like an unfolding yardstick. This approach was used for four slabs within the courtyard, each requiring a 4-inch concrete thickness.

"The Z-boom was the one and only choice for this application, as a 32-meter model that merely rolled out section by section could not have zigzagged its four-section boom under the low 26-foot height beams spaced about 25 feet apart," Lea said. "Plus, as we had just inches to spare in unfolding, anything other than a Z-boom would have required using extra delivery line."

The general contractor, Innes Construction Co. Inc. of Grand Forks, N.D., benefited from a faster completion along with reduced labor costs. Because dragging hose was unnecessary, the 40-cubic-yard slab pours for the courtyard were all accomplished in about half the time. In addition, the hose man could easily guide the boom's end hose with its smooth concrete flow to the precise point of placement.

Also employed on the project was a Putzmeister Thom-Katt TK 70 truck-mounted concrete line pump, responsible for pumping the pools, steps, balconies, and hallways. Mounted on a GMC truck for added mobility, the unit could be quickly driven on-site, its delivery system unloaded from two spacious decks and pumping started in short order.

The line pump was particularly invaluable during work on the upper two levels of the hotel for unusual walkways, which stretched around the inside building perimeter and its open courtyard below. Due to the restrictive setup conditions, the truck was positioned outside the building while its delivery line snaked up stairs and around bends to reach tight areas and awkward locations for placing a lightweight concrete mix.

Although capable of outputs up to 74 cubic yards an hour, the unit only needed about half that volume while pumping through 2-inch delivery line. However, its high pressures proved essential, as a combination of horizontal and vertical delivery line extended over a distance of 300 feet. The unit's performance enabled the crew to place approximately 30 yards of concrete to complete the walkway of each level in under 2-1/2 hours.

A Special Niche

Carving out a unique market in Montana, Lea Concrete Pumping claims to have the only truck-mounted line pump in the state.

"We want to accommodate our customers' needs as much as possible," noted Lea, "so the unit makes sense in handling jobs that a boom pump can't do as effectively, especially when 2-inch delivery line is needed."

A strong proponent of truck-mounted line pumps, Lea reasons that the "truck offers greater mobility in transit, plenty of space for hauling supplies, and a hydraulically driven water tank for more convenient cleanup." Plus, since the unit doesn't require a CDL license, the pumping company also uses it as a training tool to educate new operators.

"We've been extremely successful with the unit, as it is booked solid almost every single day," Lea added. "It certainly was the most cost-effective alternative in handling specialty concrete placing work for the new C'mon Inn."

Although a valued model, the line pump wasn't the first in Lea's fleet. Having started a wall foundation business in 1990, Lea purchased a 28-Meter Putzmeister pump eight years later to handle his own work. The unit, however, was kept busy pumping for others within southwestern Montana. Consequently, the fleet grew to seven units. Today, with the company's recent addition of a larger 47Z-Meter, plans are to further expand business throughout the entire state.

As of this summer, the new hotel has consumed over 2,400 cubic yards of concrete. All concrete is being dispatched by JTL Group-Belgrade, a company within the Knife River Corp., who in turn, is an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of the MDU Resources Group, Inc. of Bismarck, N.D. Meanwhile, the flatwork is being expertly handled by MKM Flatwork of Billings, Mont.

At its projected fall 2006 grand opening, the new hotel was set to unveil its many amenities, including two pools, five hot tubs, private balconies, meeting facilities, and a business center. With the recent addition of the Bozeman facility, the number of C'mon Inns jumps to eight hotel properties.

Story and photos Courtesy of Putzmeister.