Not Run of the Mill
Not Run of the Mill
Located an hour from Toronto, the Elora Mill Hotel & Spa is undergoing a major reconstruction that is not your typical run-of-the-mill job—literally. The 19th century grist mill has been a part of the Elora, Ontario community for more than 175 years, first as an operational mill; and a century later, it was turned into a country inn. Today, the site is being completely revamped into a luxurious hotel and spa with the help of Putzmeister truck- and trailer-mounted pumps to place concrete within the mill's precarious location.
Towering above the thundering falls of the Grand River and Elora Gorge, the Elora Mill & Spa offers amazing views, but its natural surroundings challenge the setup of concrete pumps. To meet the task head on, Premier Concrete Pumping of Orangeville, Ontario, is utilizing concrete placing equipment with the latest technology to efficiently set up and pump concrete to restore the site to its historic old world charm.
In December 2010, the property was acquired by Ancaster, Ontario-based Pearle Hospitality, who orchestrated an extensive revitalization plan. Their intent was to maintain the character-defining heritage of the structures, five in total, while adapting them for new and sustainable uses.
In spring 2017, Premier started pumping concrete for the new spa—a three-story building overlooking the river, complete with a glass solarium on each level. Blending into its historic landscape, the building will offer a state-of-the-art fitness facility, change rooms, relaxation areas and an impressive outdoor infinity pool and hot tub on a viewing deck.
The concrete footing, foundation and walls for each floor of the spa's 7,500-square-foot (697m²) structure were pumped using five different truck-mounted boom pump models. In seven trips to the jobsite, 500 cubic yards (382m³) of concrete was pumped in total. Each boom pump tackled unique setup obstacles, as the spa's rectangular building was built with one side next to the river, one side at the edge of the gorge, and one side next to difficult terrain—leaving only one side accessible.
However, owner Eric Duiker was not concerned about sending different boom pump operators to set up and pump concrete on the difficult site. He said, "All our operators are ACPA certified and highly experienced; some have been with us as long as our company has been around." The concrete pumping company was established in 1989, and today, the company's diverse fleet includes 11 boom pumps, two Telebelts®, four Thom-Katt® trailer pumps, a BSA trailer pump and two separate placing booms.
Although larger boom pumps with longer reaches were utilized as the building rose, special circumstances called for special model features.
When it was necessary to reach under an existing floor to pump a slab on grade for the spa's basement, the five-section 31Z-meter truck-mounted boom pump with its unfolding height of 18'9" (5.72m) was required. Duiker said, "The Putzmeister 31Z had the low unfolding height, plus five instead of four boom sections, and that allowed us to maneuver the boom through a doorway and under low heights to access the entire area. It was perfect for the job."
The 40Z-meter also had a special assignment in a tough-to-access area. The boom pump had to reach up and carefully extend over the corner of the 35-foot-tall (10.67m) building to pump an outdoor patio. A photo tweeted of this unique application generated great interest in the project.
Although the Putzmeister pumps had no problem pumping the 3,625-psi (25 MPa) small stone concrete mixes during spa construction, no records were set for speed. That's because only one ready mix truck at a time could discharge concrete into a pump, as each pump had to setup on a narrow path that led to a dead end.
Room Service, Please
Next came the reconstruction of the existing inn, which will result in 30 large, lavish guest rooms—averaging 500 square feet (46m²) each at the new hotel. These suites will be perched above the gorge for stunning views of the water. As major consideration was given to preserving as much history as possible, the old brick facade of the hotel remains while the inside was fully gutted. Meanwhile, a significant new addition to the hotel will increase the size of each floor by approximately 2,000 square feet (186m²). To handle such an intricate project, various trailer and truck-mounted concrete pump sizes are needed to accomplish numerous specialty concrete placing tasks in restoring structures, compared to starting over and building new.
Early on, the Thom-Katt® TK 50 trailer-mounted pump was relied upon to pump a lean mix for filling voids in the old inn's basement. Approximately 90 foot (27.43m) of four-inch (100mm) delivery line had to travel down a stairwell to access the area. Duiker notes, "The contractor would have used gravel, but there was no way to get 60 yards down the stairs as well as get it compacted, so they elected to pump a low strength fill to level the floors before pouring the slab on grade."
The trailer pump then showed up a second time to smoothly pump the slab on grade in the same basement with a standard floor mix. This provided a finished product on top of the low strength fill.
Another popular choice to place concrete for the hotel has been the 40Z, with its long 128'3" (39.10m) vertical reach and Multi-Z boom versatility. One of its first tasks was reaching the top of the building, where a solid concrete cap was pumped to which new roof trusses will be attached.
The building design and reconstruction of Elora Mill are putting green initiatives at the forefront. Energy efficient technologies include heat recovery ventilation systems, high efficiency appliances and LED lighting throughout. Plans also include a hydro turbine that will harness the current of the Grand River to create one mega-watt of electricity—enough to power the entire development upon completion. Further assisting with the energy efficiency process, insulated concrete forms (ICF) are being used.
The block forms are stacked, reinforced and then filled with concrete, creating solid monolithic concrete walls. The insulated forms help reduce heating and cooling costs in addition to providing a much needed noise barrier to block out the extremely loud sounds of the rushing river rapids. The forms are being supplied from Fastform Insulated Concrete Forms of Orangeville, who is affiliated with Premier and the Duiker family.
All in the Family
Just as the mill site has a history of change so does the Duiker family business. In 1988, Archie Duiker started a formwork business, installing forms for residential and commercial projects. The business grew quickly, and a truck- and trailer-mounted concrete boom pump were purchased to place concrete for the company's own forms. In 1989, they formed a separate concrete pumping company called Orangeville Concrete Pumping; it was later renamed Premier. In 2014, Archie retired, and his son Eric assumed ownership of both companies, with the formworks business becoming a form distributorship.
With the Duiker family's expertise in insulated forms and concrete placing equipment, they’re is a natural fit as a concrete pumping contractor at Elora Mill. Their operators are extremely knowledgeable about the ICF industry, and all concrete pumps are equipped with three-inch (76mm) reducing hoses as well as air cuffs to help ensure pours go smoothly and safely for the project's general contractor, Reid & DeLeye Contractors Ltd. of Courtland, Ontario.
By the grand opening in spring 2018, a total of five buildings will have been restored or created along with a glass enclosed walkway over the river, which will provide the most optimal views down the gorge.
At an estimated 1,970 cubic yards (1,500m³), the total concrete needed to complete the mill's development is not exorbitant, but the project is big for the community. The mill's mixed-use development not only incorporates a hotel and spa, but it also features grand facilities ideal for weddings and events, along with a restaurant and outdoor activities. Therefore, it should also help rejuvenate neighboring downtown Elora into a bustling tourist destination for every season.
"Elora is one of the nicest spots to visit in Ontario, as the river never freezes," concludes Duiker. "The project itself is what is so incredible, and we're proud to be a part of its history."
Owner: Pearle Hospitality—Ancaster, Ontario
General Contractor: Reid & DeLeye—Courtland, Ontario
Pumping Contractor: Premier Concrete Pumping—Orangeville, Ontario
ICF Formwork Contractor: B-Con Concrete—St. George , Ontario
ICF Formwork Supplier: Fastforms Insulated Concrete Forms—Orangeville, Ontario
Ready Mix Supplier: Greenwood Ready Mix—Elora, Ontario
Concrete Placing Equipment Distributor: CanCrete Equipment Ltd.—Mississauga, Ontario
Equipment: Putzmeister 31Z-meter, 32-meter, 38Z-meter, 40Z-meter and 47Z-meter truck-mounted concrete boom pumps and a Thom-Katt® TK 50 trailer-mounted concrete pump