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Winding Walls

The modest foundation had to be completed in multiple stages.

The flexibility of the Putzmeister Telebelt TB 80 helped with the serpentine walls.

More than 170 cubic yards of concrete were poured in the walls and footings.

Putzmeister’s Telebelt TB 80 allowed for precise concrete placement in the tight spaces.

Winding Walls

With the help of Hottmann Construction Company Inc. (Hottmann) and a Putzmeister Telebelt® TB 80, a Madison-Wis. home was awarded the coveted 2014 CFA Grand Project of the Year award for its garden-like site that successfully integrated the landscape and the residential property. The project, located in a well-established 100-year-old neighborhood in downtown Madison, was inspired by the rolling masonry landscape walls found in the U.S. and Europe.

The architects, Thomas Phifer and Partners, visited the site during the summer months and were inspired by the lush landscape. That in mind, the team aimed to incorporate the landscape with the overall project. However, while innovative, the foundation would prove to be more challenging than anticipated.

The first major complexity of the project was the tight space – the modest foundation measured less than 3,000 square feet (270m2) and the garage doors were the longest walls at 15 feet (4.5m). The small space required the foundation to be completed in stages.

The excavator used dirt from digging the next section of the house to back fill the area of the house that had recently been poured. And although necessary, these extra steps required the project to take longer and complicated the supporting sections of the foundation.

Hottmann relied on Putzmeister equipment to access the tight space. The team used the smallest Telebelt available from Putzmeister, the TB 80, which offers 80 feet (24m) of horizontal reach from a unique three-section telescoping boom.

“The versatility and ability to move various materials quickly and simply made the process more efficient,” said Ken Kurszewski, president of Hottmann, the company that oversaw the project.

Kurszewski added, “Hottmann owns two TB 80s and we use them on every job site. We also use Putzmeister for every foundation, since it continues to perform to our standards.”

The size wasn’t the only obstacle. The brick-lined walls were curved with challenging dimensions and therefore prevented the use of a traditional blocking system. And unlike most curved wall projects, this home had more than 50 radii.

Since Hottmann hadn’t worked with such an irregular wall before, there was no previously used strategy. The team needed to find a machine that could achieve a precise pour without risking form pressure failure. For these tough locations, the TB 80, like all Telebelts in the product line, offered 360 degrees of boom rotation and minimal setup time from the truck-mounted design, which was required for this unique shape.

To begin the foundation, the workers dug out dirt and then used it for the backfill. Since the forming system wasn’t traditional, the team poured in lifts of one to two inches at a time. The brick ledge around everything only allowed four or five inches of space to pour into, so the TB 80 was required to maintain accurate pours in these odd spaces and steady flowing curves in the foundation.

“The curved walls were intimidating at first, but with a strategic approach and top notch equipment it was a success,” said Kurszewski.

The ready mix was provided by LYCON INC., a leading provider of quality concrete and aggregate products. With Lycon supplying, the pour schedule was around six weeks and consisted of 10 different pours of two to three hours per week.

In the end, more than 170 cubic yards of concrete was poured in the walls and footings, combined with nearly five tons of steel.

“We knew the project would be a challenge, but Putzmeister’s Telebelt TB 80 provided an effective pour strategy and flexibility no other machine could provide,” said Kurszewski.

The project is one of four projects winning the coveted CFA Projects of the Year for 2014.