Concrete Boom Pump to the Rescue
Concrete Boom Pump to the RescueNation’s oldest functioning fire station relies on modern-day concrete pumping technology to assist with $2.1 million renovation
STURTEVANT, WI (May 26, 2009) – Recognized as the nation’s oldest functioning fire house, Central Fire Station in Taunton, Massachusetts, underwent a major transformation as the 140-year-old building relied on the latest concrete pumping technology during its $2.1 million renovation.
Built in 1869, the historic structure benefited from the special technological features of a modern Putzmeister 20Z-Meter truck-mounted concrete boom pump, which came to the fire station’s rescue during the facility’s overhaul. The boom pump’s compact size, horizontal reach and versatile Z-Fold boom placed concrete within extremely difficult-to-reach areas, handling an otherwise difficult and ambitious concrete placing project with ease and efficiency.
No Longer Need for Alarm
Central Fire Station was added to the National Historic Register in 1984, identifying it as the oldest continuously occupied fire house in the country. To keep the facility operational, a two-phase renovation of the Italianate architectural building commenced in 2008. The project’s first phase was undertaken due to growing concern that the old floor was becoming so unreliable that it would not withstand the weight of fire apparatus much longer. Therefore, the basement was reconstructed and a new main floor installed above it, with fire personnel occupying the building’s second level during the construction process.
The intricate project was under the direction of general contractor Northern Contracting Corporation (Northern) of Canton, Massachusetts who sourced the concrete pumping services of the L. Guerini Group (Guerini) of Boston, Massachusetts – a third-generation, family-owned construction business since 1917. By employing the pumping company’s vast experience and state-of-the-art capabilities of its 20Z-Meter boom pump, the project realized extraordinary time and labor savings when placing concrete.
As the fire station was built in the late 1800s with 10-foot wide (3.05m) and 12-foot (3.66m) high doorways, these tight confines offered the only entrance for construction equipment to access the building. This made the boom pump’s compact size a critical factor during setup.
“The doorway was so small that we measured twice before committing the 20Z-Meter to the job,” says Andy Guerini Jr., co-owner at Guerini. “The boom pump just squeaked through the door’s narrow width and underneath its low height. Literally, there was only a half-inch (12mm) to spare as an overhead structural support made the useable doorway space even shorter.”
To safely enter the building, the unit was first set up in an unusual configuration, which allowed it to drive through the tight doorway. Inching its way slowly through the snug opening, it stopped at the edge of the excavation inside, leaving the unit partially outdoors. Its front outriggers were deployed at a compact 11-foot two-inch (3.40m) width within the cramped job site. The rear outriggers extended downward, only two inches (50mm) beyond each side of the machine’s width.
The boom was then fully extended under the low ceiling height. With its 53-foot 11-inch (16.43m) horizontal reach, it had just enough boom length to access the farthest corners of the building. This avoided adding extra delivery line and achieved a faster completion.
When describing the work site inside the fire station, Guerini co-owner Bob Magliozzi says, ”There was always something in the way so we needed the versatility of the unit’s Z-Fold boom to maneuver up and then over obstacles while also operating under a very low ceiling. This Z-boom configuration made it possible to reach precisely where the concrete needed placement.”
“This was by far the tightest spot we’ve ever put this unit in before,” adds Magliozzi. “It was as if the model was made just for this job, and its unique features made a huge difference in quickly accomplishing some unusually awkward pours.”
“No other boom pump model would have been able to drive inside this fire station and still place concrete without additional delivery line,” says Guerini Jr. “That’s why the 20Z fills an important niche in our fleet. It handles challenging concrete placing jobs for residential and commercial contractors who would otherwise be forced to use more labor-intensive alternatives.”
The Right Choice
The 20Z was chosen from a large and diverse lineup of products from Guerini’s fleet of 20- to 43-Meter truck-mounted concrete boom pumps, truck-mounted Telebelt®conveyors and trailer-mounted concrete pumps. And although a trailer pump was an alternative, Magliozzi notes, “When it came to the 12-foot (3.66m) tall columns, it would have meant man-handling a heavy hose, which would have been a nightmare.”
“It was a lot easier to place concrete with the truck-mounted boom pump, especially for the columns because the boom could extend above them and place concrete exactly where we needed it,” concurs Phil Salvucci, Project Manager/Superintendent at Northern. “Everything worked like a charm, and Guerini did a great job.”
On the boom pump’s first visit to the fire station, 25 cubic yards (19m³) of concrete was pumped for the perimeter footings, three columns and part of a structural slab. The 20Z returned two more times to place concrete for formed walls and more of the structural slab. This added to the project’s grand total of 80 cubic yards (60m³) of concrete. The concrete was supplied by McCabe Sand & Gravel Company, Inc., of Taunton, Massachusetts.
Upon completion of the first phase in October 2008, the new floor was ready to accept fire vehicles, which were parked outside during construction.
The second phase should be complete by the end of March 2009. It will meet state requirements that structures undergoing major renovations be fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As a result, when the new floor was installed, it became necessary to also add new bathrooms, showers, a second egress as well as alarm and sprinkler systems.
Replacing the old fire station with a new one at a different site would have cost taxpayers upwards of $10 million. Therefore, the less costly renovation was favored, which should ultimately keep the historic facility functional for years to come.