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The Grand Pour


The February 2014 mat pour for Los Angeles’ Wilshire Grand project qualified as the largest continuous concrete pour in history and officially claimed a Guinness World Record. Credit Gary Leonard.

A fleet of 16 Putzmeister pumps were required for the record-breaking, 21,200-cubic-yard (19,400m3) mat pour. Credit Gary Leonard.

To minimize the impact on businesses and residents, the crew began the pour on a Saturday evening and concluded around noon the next day, working throughout the night. Credit Gary Leonard.

Six pumps at street level fed six pumps, including two Putzmeister MX 34/38Z Placing Boom Towers, two 32Z- and a 36Z-Meter Truck-Mounted Boom Pump, located deep in the excavation. Credit Gary Leonard.

During the massive pour, 12 Putzmeister truck-mounted concrete boom pumps ranging from 32Z-47Z Meters, two Putzmeister placing boom towers, and two Putzmeister trailer-mounted concrete pumps were strategically placed both inside and above the excavation. Credit Gary Leonard.

Pumps from above the excavation placed concrete into the 18-foot-deep pit, which was lined with seven million pounds of reinforcing steel. Credit Gary Leonard.

University of Southern California’s marching band kicked off the massive pour, which was attended by many spectators. Credit Gary Leonard.

The pour included 227 ready mix trucks making more than 2,100 trips and pouring 82 million pounds of concrete during an 18 ½-hour period. Credit Gary Leonard.

The Grand Pour

GUINNESS WORLD RECORDS for largest continuous concrete pour kicks off construction of tallest structure west of the Mississippi

At 73 stories and 1,100 feet (335m) in height, the new Wilshire Grand project in downtown Los Angeles will be the tallest structure west of the Mississippi when its doors open in 2017. Following deconstruction of the existing Wilshire Grand Hotel in 2013, construction of the new mixed-use building, designed by AC Martin Partners, Inc., commenced in February 2014 with the world’s largest continuous concrete pour. The project’s general contractor, Turner Construction Company (Turner), worked with The Conco Construction Companies (Conco), one of the largest pumping and belt companies in the U.S., to coordinate the fleet of pumps, including 16 Putzmeister America, Inc. (Putzmeister) units, required for the record-breaking, 21,200-cubic-yard (19,400m3) mat pour.

Economic Impact
When Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd. (Korean Air) purchased the Wilshire Grand in 1989, the company recognized the need for world-class accommodations in Los Angeles, and planned to eventually create that true luxury flagship hotel in the internationally traveled city. As the largest Asian provider of air service to Los Angeles, Korean Air has had a significant impact on the region’s economy for decades. The Wilshire Grand project will continue that support by infusing more than $1 billion into the local economy. It will create more than 11,500 construction jobs and generate more than $80 million in tax revenue through the construction phase alone.

Comprised of 900 four-star hotel rooms, world-class restaurants, retail space, and 400,000 square feet (1,219m2) of new Class ‘A’ office space, once complete, the new Wilshire Grand will support nearly 2,000 new permanent jobs and contribute $16 million in annual local tax revenue. The project will play a critical role in the city’s commitment to add 5,000 new hotel rooms citywide—contributing to 20 percent of that goal.

Record-Setting Pour
To lay the foundation for the massive Wilshire Grand project, Turner and Conco devised a plan for the continuous 21,200-cubic-yard mat pour, which was located 80-95 feet (24-29m) below street level. For the past several months, crews have prepared the site by digging an 18-foot-deep pit and lining it with seven million pounds of reinforcing steel.

During the massive pour, 12 Putzmeister truck-mounted concrete boom pumps ranging from 32Z-47Z Meters, two Putzmeister placing boom towers, and two Putzmeister trailer-mounted concrete pumps were strategically placed both inside and above the excavation.

A total of 19 pumps were utilized for the pour. Six pumps at street level fed six pumps, including two Putzmeister MX 34/38Z Placing Boom Towers, two 32Z- and a 36Z-Meter Truck-Mounted Boom Pump, located deep in the excavation. Two Putzmeister BSA 14000 Trailer Pumps at ground level also relayed concrete into the pumps located inside the excavation.

“We utilized Putzmeister equipment due to its durability and reliability,” said Michael Marchesano, Turner’s general superintendent. “With a continuous pour of this magnitude, you need to be able to count on your equipment to keep doing its job, even under demanding conditions.”

The pour included 227 ready mix trucks making more than 2,100 trips and pouring 82 million pounds of concrete during an 18 ½-hour period.

“Each truck made 10 to 14 concrete drops, traveling through the night between eight different concrete plants within a 20-mile radius,” said Marchesano. “The first batch of concrete poured onto the site came from a plant in Vernon that poured the first concrete in Southern California ever.”

The structural engineering team, Brandow & Johnston, elected a continuous pour to ensure the mat foundation would yield the maximum strengths. To guarantee the entire pour cured at the same rate, a special 6,000 psi, 90-day mix was used. Special admixtures were used to ensure the temperature during the process of hydration didn't exceed the parameters designed for the mix. Without those admixtures the mat slab could have experienced thermal cracking and lower strength, which could impact the structural integrity of the pour. Following the pour, a cure blanket and a thermal control system were put into place for 15 days.

“We were extremely happy with how all of the Putzmeister equipment performed,” said Marchesano. “A pour this size requires extensive planning, precision, and dependable equipment. Everything went more smoothly than we could have imagined.”

The mat pour qualified as the largest continuous concrete pour in history and officially claimed a GUINNESS WORLD RECORD.

High-Traffic, Congested Location
Given that Los Angeles is the second most populous city in the United States, the construction team anticipated logistical challenges when planning the large mat pour at the project’s downtown location. To minimize the impact on businesses and residents, they began the pour on a Saturday evening and concluded around noon the next day.

“Because the concrete must be poured within 90 minutes of being mixed, trucks had to arrive on time,” Marchesano explained. “In case of freeway jams, alternate routes were mapped.”

Not only was outside traffic a concern, but job site congestion also was a challenge. Equipment had to be carefully chosen to accommodate the site’s needs.

“Through its durability and diverse selection of pumps, Putzmeister helped us overcome the challenge of having a large amount of material that needed to be poured continuously in a dense urban area,” said Marchesano. “Each piece of equipment had its role and was orchestrated to help make the pour run as smoothly and efficiently as possible.”

Building Up
Now that the foundation is in place, the crew will begin working on the attached parking structure and 73-story building that will make up the Wilshire Grand project. Both of the existing Putzmeister MX 34/38Z Placing Boom Towers that were used for the mat pour will remain in place while the crew builds up. Two additional Putzmeister placing booms will be constructed to help place concrete for the underground parking structure.

The two Putzmeister trailer pumps used on the mat pour also will be used to pump the concrete to the placing towers. Additionally, a Putzmeister Thom-Katt® TK 50 Trailer Pump will place shotcrete for the vertical concrete in the subterranean levels. The crew will be pumping approximately 80,000 yards of concrete vertically, including lightweight concrete and 8,000 psi mixes.

Putzmeister America, Inc. manufactures a complete line of truck-mounted concrete boom pumps, seperate placing booms, truck-mounted telescopic belt conveyors. ready mix trucks and trailer-mounted concrete pumps as well as mortar, grout, shotcrete, plaster and fireproofing pumps and mixers, industrial pumps, tunneling machinary and pipeline systems. Some of the industry's best known brands, such as Tellebelt, Thom-katt, and Tommy Gun are part of the Putzmeister America family. The company's workforce is dedicated to the hands-on customer support and advancing the industry in design and technical innovation.

Solutions Delivered
SPECS
Owner/Developer: Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd. – Seoul, South Korea
General Contractor: Turner Construction Company – New York, NY
Equipment Owner: The Conco Construction Companies – Concord, CA
Ready Mix Concrete Provider: Catalina Pacific Concrete Company – Glendora, CA
Equipment: (2) Putzmeister 47-Meter Truck-Mounted Boom Pumps; (1) Putzmeister 42-Meter Truck-Mounted Boom Pumps; (2) Putzmeister 38-Meter Truck-Mounted Boom Pumps; (5) Putzmeister 36-Meter Truck-Mounted Boom Pumps; (2) Putzmeister 32-Meter Truck-Mounted Boom Pumps; (2) Putzmeister MX 34/38Z Placing Boom Towers; (1) Putzmeister BSA 14000 Trailer Pump; (1) Putzmeister BSA 14000 E Trailer Pump.