History Meets Modern Pumping Methods

Story courtesy of Schwing. | September 28, 2010

The Fontainebleau is coming to Las Vegas.

The legendary hotel first opened its doors in Miami Beach in 1954. Designed by famed architect Morris Lapidus, it reigned as the top resort in one of the nation's most popular destinations for more than half a century.

In 2005, Turnberry Associates, headquartered in Aventura, FL, purchased the famous Miami landmark. The company is renovating the original hotel while building Fontainebleau Las Vegas using the latest concrete pumping methods to revitalize the name as a global brand. Fontainebleau Las V

Two Schwing 39-meter separate placing booms pour simultaneously during a 28,840-square-foot deck pour on the Fontainebleau tower, which will grow to 63 floors.

egas will be a 63-story luxury casino hotel built on a 25-acre site on the north end of the Las Vegas Strip, at Riviera Drive, within walking distance of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

The project, expected to open in late 2009, is being pumped by Colasanti Specialty Services, a division of the 50-year-old company that is one of the leaders in self-performing concrete work. Headquartered in Detroit, Colasanti assigned a core group of professionals to supervise the placement and finishing of more than 6 million square feet for the 68-story tower, casino and parking structure.

Cross Enterprises, a Melvindale, MI, Schwing dealer and longtime supplier of concrete pumping equipment to Colasanti, consulted with the company regarding the massive amounts of concrete to be placed and the schedule for completion. Owner Charles Cross, recent winner of the Thomas Anderson Lifetime Achievement Award for contributions to the concrete pumping industry, has provided Colasanti with pumping equipment for some of the highest visibility projects that the fourth-generation company has built.

This project is the first structure Colasanti has undertaken in Las Vegas. Schwing's factory branch in nearby Mira Loma, CA, provides the immediate support for the Colasanti operation at Fontainebleau if needed.

Colasanti brought two Schwing boom pumps to the site to execute foundation pours and placement of nine elevator core towers. Both machines — an S 47 SX and S 61 SX — employ Super X outriggers that allow the machines to get closer to the pour because the front outriggers don't extend in front of the truck cab.

"On this unimproved site the front outriggers of these pumps are handy because they telescope out and around obstacles with their curved shape," said William Bock, Colasanti co-superintendent on the project. "These machines set up fast, get the pour done and shuttle to another area of the project constantly."

Harsh Mixes

The other Colasanti superintendent, Paul Eberhard, discussed differences in the Las Vegas area versus Detroit: "The mix here is very harsh and abrasive with crushed granite that is about as tough as it gets. The slabs are 5,000 psi and the verticals 10,500 psi poured at a fairly high slump, and the pumps are cranking it out with no problem."

Both Schwings are equipped with 10-inch material cylinders and B Rock valves, critical for harsh mixes. The B Rocks allow the material cylinders to be filled more efficiently. And the design of the B Rock allows for production with minimal wear, ultimately leading to a lower operating cost per cubic yard. Output is nearly 200 cubic yards per hour at maximum.

After pouring 72 pile caps and an 8,000-cubic-yard foundation mat, the boom pumps began placing the decks and verticals on the U-shaped tower. Both pumps utilize an Overhead Roll and Fold boom design that allows the 180-degree articulating main section to be tilted away from the pour area and the other three-sections to be inserted where necessary, eliminating the need for extra system. This allowed the 61-meter to reach the full 70-foot depth into the structure to place decks and walls as far as 100 feet up.

At the eighth level, Colasanti installed four of the latest octagonal masts from Schwing. These offer 6-meter section lengths and bolt-together convenience. The pre-engineered openings were located in corridors per the engineer's request and placed strategically so all of the deck area could be reached by 39-meter separate placing booms with 114 feet of horizontal reach.

The placing booms chosen for this project offer the lightest weight-to-reach ratio in the industry at 12,890 pounds. This light weight is achieved, in part, because the hydraulic power packs necessary to operate the four section booms are separate assemblies. This allows the boom to be picked by the tower crane independent of the power source and hydraulic reservoir. Four pins and nine quick-connect hydraulic lines allow a boom to be flown between pedestals.

"We mark the weights on the sides of the booms so the crane operators can anticipate the lift," Eberhard said. "We can jump a boom and powerpack in as little as 25 minutes depending on the skills of the crane operator."

Laid Out in Quadrants

"The building is laid out in quadrants, and the masts are labeled A, B, C and D," Bock explained, "and we move sequentially along the deck. In this way one boom is always in use."

When one of the booms is finished pouring the "A" quadrant, the next boom takes over on "B." As "B" is being poured, the other boom is flown to "C."

"Occasionally we will have the booms placing simultaneously in the B and C positions," Bock added.

The masts employ self-climbing mechanisms that allow them to be raised using the force from their hydraulic power packs to reposition for the next deck pour. Because the masts can be raised in 2-foot increments with the self-climbing system, the height of the mast above the deck can be set to extract the maximum reach of the boom and is not dependent on floor spacing — a major benefit over lattice tower-mounted booms.

Colasanti and Cross chose Schwing BP 8800 concrete pumps to feed the separate placing booms. The centrally located pumps use twin cylinder all-hydraulic systems to pump the concrete out to the placing booms. Each unit has a 590-horsepower diesel engine to drive the hydraulic pumps, which deliver up to 2,920 psi on the concrete.

The units can be switched to high pressure depending on the job requirements. Like all large Schwing pumps, the BP 8800s have the company's exclusive Rock Valves, which are supplied in high pressure configurations with dual shifting cylinders on these units. To reach the furthest masts from the centrally located pumps, horizontal pipeline up to 150 feet long is laid out inside the structure. Each pump feeds two masts with a diversion valve downstream from the pump outlet.

Moving Skyward

When this story was written, the project was at the 20th floor but moved rapidly skyward at a rate of five days per floor. Each floor covers 51,500 square feet.

Daily pumping starts at 1 a.m. when deck pours commence. These pours vary from 400 to 900 cubic yards depending on the quadrant area, which can be as large as 16,995 square feet. By 9 a.m. another crew comes on to pour the verticals, and the cycle continues five days a week.

The pumps average 60 cubic yards per hour, which keeps the output on pace with the finishing crews. Colasanti brought four operators from Detroit for the tower pours.

"They are all trained on both pump and separate placing boom operation," explained Rick Maudrie, pumping foreman. What the Michigan natives did not anticipate was the fast setting times of concrete in 122-degree temperatures that occurred last summer.

"We know now to keep the concrete moving in high heat or there could be trouble," he said.

As progress continues on the tower, Colasanti's boom pumps are pouring the concrete on a structural steel parking deck located on the site. Using the 197-foot 2-inch reach of the S 61 SX coupled with as much as 213-cubic-yard output, the pumping crew hooks into a system laid out on the decks. The 12-level parking structure will consume more than 41,000 yards of concrete to complete more than 1.4-million square feet of parking.

After one year on the job, the Colasanti crew has the project humming. But the massive requirements of nearly 300,000 cubic yards of total concrete spread out over 6 million square feet mean the Detroit-based crew will be homesick for at least another year.


Key Project Participants

Owner: Fontainebleau Resorts, LLC, Aventura, FL

Architects: Bergman Walls and Associates LTD, Las Vegas, NV

General Contractor: Turnberry West Construction, Las Vegas, NV

Concrete Contractor: Colasanti Specialty Services, Detroit, MI

Pumping Contractor: CCK Construction Services Inc. — part of the Colasanti Group, Detroit, MI

Equipment: Schwing S 47 SX truck-mounted concrete pump with placing boom, Schwing S 61 SX truck-mounted concrete pump with placing boom, two BP 8800 stationary concrete pumps.