Our survey is completed and the footings are staked out, but we just noticed our boardwalk is set to be built directly over a manhole. What should the installers do now?
Which boardwalk should the contractors start with first? Which end would be best for maximizing the efficiency between production and installation?
What’s the ideal way to lift and move the concrete treads and beams?
CAD files, mock-ups, and samples are one thing, but actually physically installing a boardwalk to fulfill the architect or engineer’s original vision requires planning and coordination. That’s why PermaTrak takes its level of partnership a step further than others - providing expert installation and contractor support from start to finish.
Here’s the type of support you can expect when working with PermaTrak on your precast concrete boardwalk project:
Automated preliminary drawings shared as part of the project consultation process.
1. Project consultation and budget estimates:
We know how difficult it can be to be an architect or engineer working a new project. Between navigating the expectations of the municipality or owner, trying to get buy-in at public meetings, and facing the inevitable planning challenges of the actual project site itself, it can feel overwhelming to get the project fully designed, approved, and sent to bid.
PermaTrak’s team of engineers supports you throughout the early stages of the planning process:
- Applications - Have a candid discussion about your project and whether a concrete boardwalk makes sense. Have a question about the geotechnical report or wondering what you should be looking for? We can help.
- Top-down Construction - Building over wetlands or a sensitive area and looking to figure out the pros and cons of top-down construction? We can talk you through the different types of top-down boardwalk construction and help you figure out the best path forward.
- Material Comparison - We’ll help you compare the up front and lifecycle costs of concrete and other materials, such as composite or timber. Need help making a case to an owner about the value of concrete? Let’s talk. Our Commercial Boardwalk Resource Center also has you covered.
- Detailed Budget Estimate - We’ll provide your team with detailed estimates based on your project, including comparisons between different foundations and railing or curbs structures if needed.
- Colors and Textures - We can work to figure out what makes sense for your project, and we can send mock-up samples (concrete bricks with different colors and textures) if needed.
With all the different entities involved in the initial planning and design stages, PermaTrak provides expert consultation in sifting through the noise and helping you develop the best possible design for your project.
2. Free design and engineering drawings:
Based on the project’s unique goals, our engineering team provides preliminary design drawings and then custom schematics for your project. We will then create a full set of P.E. stamped construction drawings for submittal and approval.
In addition to the full set of construction drawings, our engineering team also provides the CAD files for foundation drawings and shares directly with the contractor and installation team. Supplying these drawings makes locating footings much easier in the field. The drawings are discussed with the contractor and installers at the construction kick-off meeting (see below).
3. Construction Kick-off Meeting
Once the construction submittals have been approved, our Regional Operations Manager, Rodney Uhlenhake, initiates the production phase with a construction kick-off meeting.
The kick-off meeting usually includes the contractor’s superintendent, the installer, and PermaTrak’s Operations Manager, facilitating a three-way stream of communication and sharing of knowledge. The meeting agenda includes:
- A Complete Walk Through of our Installation Guide with tips and tricks from our 12+ years of boardwalk installations, including best practices for foundations, product handling, and lifting ideas
- Understanding what is supplied by PermaTrak and what is supplied by the contractor during installation
- Strategic installation support in answering the questions:
- Which end of the boardwalk should we start installing, and how do we coordinate with the precaster to ensure efficiency?
- For projects with multiple boardwalks, which installation order will best set up the contractors for success?
- Are you planning to install top-down or from the side, and do the design drawings reflect this plan? If not, how can PermaTrak’s engineering department run through the machinery so you can feel confident it will work?
- Coordination and strategy for shipments: Based on the installation plan, should the trucks have treads and beams all at once? Or beams first, then treads later? How do we know we have the proper materials at the job site to make installation as efficient as possible?
The construction kick-off meeting is invaluable for launching a successful production and installation phase of the project.
Highlight on Rodney Uhlenhake, Regional Operations Manager
Rodney joined PermaTrak in 2014 to serve as the CAD/Logistics Manager.Rodney has over 15 years of experience with precast concrete products. Prior to coming on board with PermaTrak he spent over 5 years working for HDR, Inc. in the power and rail divisions.
Rodney began his career with CON/SPAN Bridge Systems in Dayton, Ohio and after 6 months was transferred to Charlotte, North Carolina to help start the company’s first remote office. After 13 years in Charlotte, Rodney moved back to Ohio to be closer to family. Rodney is a big sports fan and spends his time rooting for the Browns, Buckeyes, & Reds. Rodney also enjoys movies, camping and golfing with family and friends at his local golf course.
4. Field consultation and on-the-job support:
PermaTrak’s regional operations manager is in consistent frequent contact with the precast facilities, our engineering team, and our Technical Field Support team to ensure a smooth and efficient start to installation.
At the onset, a member of our Technical Field Support team will meet with the installation crew to decide on a final gameplan. When we meet with installing contractors, we’ll review the installation guide, instructions, best practices, equipment, and share PermaTrak's recommended installation techniques.
Rather than just talk and supervise, the technical field consultant studies the drawings and physically helps the installation team get started with the initial treads and beams.
After our expert Technical Field Support consultant leaves the job site, they maintain engagement with the installation team as needed, ensuring a quality finished product. We understand that in any installation, questions or challenges may come up.
For example, what if a pier or foundation is not exactly where it needs to be – what should the team do, how can they resolve the discrepancy? With PermaTrak, your installation team has the expert guidance that they need – so that the finished product meets the designer’s and owner’s expectations.
Project-Site Support: In Action #1
In a recent example, our technical field consultant Jarrett Westfall arrived on scene to begin the boardwalk installation and reviewed the 26 precast footings that had been surveyed and staked. Noticing an issue, he reviewed the approved drawings and saw only 22 that should have been staked. Coordinating with Regional Operations Manager, Rodney Uhenlake, Jarrett discovered that the installation team was using an outdated CAD file. Jarrett and Rodney figured out a plan to start installing on-site, without having to resurvey and waste valuable installation time, and worked to resolve the issues on the ground with the contractors’ team.
Project-Site Support: In Action #2
A similar example to the first case described above, Jarrett arrived on-site to another project and none of the precast piers had been staked out prior to his arrival.
Rather than reschedule with the contracting team and push out installation, Jarrett worked with PermaTrak’s production and engineering team to get dimensions, factor in proper elevation, and pinpoint a starting place for contractors to set up piers, all without a survey file!
Highlight on Jarrett Westfall, Technical Field Support
Jarrett works in construction support throughout the Southeast region. Previously, he worked as an independent general contractor. With an impressive background in the precast concrete industry, he now handles production supervision and quality control efforts at PermaTrak's precast plant in Texas. He also coordinates production details with PermaTrak Production Manager, Rodney Uhlenhake. Jarrett is valuable to PermaTrak in the field, interacting with installing contractors and sharing PermaTrak's recommended installation techniques. Jarrett and his family live in Gustine, Texas.
With the tremendous amount of strategizing and planning that goes into improvement projects, it is important that the finished outcome is an accurate representation of your work. There’s nothing worse than putting in considerable effort at the front end, only to have an ill-supported contractor do a subpar job on installation.
While many precast suppliers often simply ship the product to the job site with little to no field support, at PermaTrak we are keenly focused on providing a higher level of care that leads to a top-notch finished product.