During their 45-year year history, Trench Shoring Company (TSC) has successfully completed many complicated requests, but perhaps none as daunting as the Blois Construction project at LAX.
This multi-phase effort required several crews working day and night. The project was also a joint venture with another general contractor. Additionally, there had been issues with previous shoring suppliers before Blois came on the job and turned to Trench Shoring Company. However, perhaps the biggest challenge was the requirement for a brand new shoring system that was new to Trench Shoring Company’s arsenal. The fact that the various stages of this project were completed on schedule, on budget and per specifications is a testament to Trench Shoring Company’s commitment to go the extra mile for its customers.
In early 2017, Ken Slaughter, Trench Shoring Company Senior Shoring Consultant, who has 23 years at Trench Shoring Company and almost 30 years in the shoring industry, was contacted by Carmen Ramirez of Blois. Ramirez is a superintendent with over 20 years’ experience with the company. Blois had contracted with LAX to handle a large job requiring shoring designs and applications. Ramirez made it clear that the full complement of TSC’s expertise would be required.
This “full complement” included Trench Shoring Company providing any and all needed manpower and equipment support, which would be delivered to meet tight project deadlines. Blois also required a vendor who would partner with them and help think out of the box to arrive at the best solutions for using different types of shoring. After several meetings regarding the depth, size, and extremely close adjacent structures of the dig, Ken recommended the SBH Slide Rail System. The SBH Slide Rail was selected to fit the excavation, both to the depth, and to clear the opening; these specifications were requirements for the building of such structures within the excavation.
For this LAX project, many critical factors were involved, including clearance issues with existing structures. Ken turned to Jasper Calcara, President of DH Charles Engineering, the largest shoring engineer in the industry. Ken knew from years of experience that, with Jasper at the helm, the equipment design would be completed without compromise.
Jasper and Ken collaborated to develop a solution with the use of Trench Shoring Company’s SBH Slide Rail System design to accommodate the exact LAX jobsite situation. Carmen ensured that every applicable note was added to the site-specific design provided by Jasper at DH Charles. The shoring design needed to be detailed, calculated and noted for the acceptance of the reviewing agency. Much of this detail was to ensure safety and satisfy the GC and OSHA requirements for the project. The design and installation of this site-specific SBH Shoring System came off without a hitch.
Following this initial success, Carmen again turned to Ken and Trench Shoring Company for their expertise on several additional applications, including:
- Asecond, 18 foot by 20 foot by 28 foot deep SBH slide rail pit using Trench Shoring Company’s new light duty triple Slide Rail. This pit was excavated adjacent to airport taxi ways and tied in two 48 inch ID intersecting lines within the same 20 foot long panel.
- Trench Shoring Company’s Steel Flex Shield Trench Boxes, Hi-Clearance shores, Manhole Boxes, and SBH Slide Rail Systems were used to install 18 foot deep by 400 foot long trenches to accommodate 24 inch and 16 inch water pipe installations in the same trench.
- Speed Shores MAPS system with high-clearance frames for receiving pits and LADWP vault piping were used for their light weight and high clearances.
- GME’s light weight 4AEX aluminum shields along with Trench Shoring Company’s
- Hi-Clearance aluminum hydraulic shoring for siphon structure piping were used with an 8 foot span able to install 48 inch ductile iron piping.
- Trench Shoring Company’s Trench Boxes, set up with a 25 foot wide high-clearance frame and beam spreader system, allowed a clearance of 10 feet for the boring machine to access a large jack and bore pit 40 feet in length.
The number of equipment requirements and strict deadlines listed above speaks to Trench Shoring Company’s deep inventory and same-day delivery commitment. Nevertheless, Trench Shoring Company could not rest on these early LAX successes. The next challenge was arguably the most daunting shoring request yet. Blois now needed a shoring system that did not currently exist at Trench Shoring Company. Specifically, they requested four bracing systems for their siphon structures: something light weight and capable of being assembled in pieces. The challenge was installing this system inside an existing 30 foot deep pit.
Ken Slaughter turned to Mike Hayet, Trench Shoring Company Operations Manager and 33-year veteran of the shoring industry. Mike knew that this exact system was in development by GME and engineered by Jasper at DH Charles. Mike was able to convey the specific LAX specs to GME to speed up the manufacturing of their 3” manhole brace system to get the job done on time. This brace system uses 8” square steel push-pull hydraulic braces surrounded by wood or steel sheeting. In this particular application, it was determined that 1” steel plates as sheeting would be the best method. This was to accommodate the removal of the shoring after the structure was built.
GME’s 3” Manhole Braces were delivered in time to meet the critical path and potential liquidated damages being threatened by the general contractor. Because this was an inaugural application for the Manhole Brace, there were system challenges in terms of length, width and soil type. Blois and Carmen would have to employ out-of-the-box installation procedures.
Ken Slaughter and Mike Hayet then met with Blois at the project site. They were accompanied by Bob Barret, a new solutions specialist at Trench Shoring Company. Bob had spent the past thirty years putting pipe in the ground as a superintendent for several pipeline contractors. As a team, Carmen, Mike, Ken and Bob came up with an installation technique that involved hand digging below the plate. Hand digging was essential because of the type of sandy soil that existed making moving of the soil unpredictable. There was already a 28 foot deep excavation which needed to be extended 12 feet deeper. The first pit continued to be a challenge until it was discovered that a fitting on the brace system needed to be replaced on every unit to insure the proper push and pull of the hydraulic brace system. Once this adjustment was made, the second, third and fourth pit installation methods were perfected without a hiccup by Blois superintendent, Javi Ramirez, and his crew. Ramirez, like many of his Blois counterparts, has been with the company for more than two decades.
Additional on-site staff involved in the project included Joseph Francisco, Project Manager, Thomas Walls, Project Engineer, and Tom Swanson, Project Engineer.
Carmen Ramirez notes, “Blois Construction turned to Trench Shoring Company to support this LAX project because of their outstanding service. They’re always available to take my call no matter what time, day or night. This was a very complicated project that threw us many curve balls. They were a true partner, helping Blois think through possible solutions. Plus, they even built new equipment for us! That’s a vendor I knew I could count on every time.”
Collaborative vendor relationships; the experienced teams at both Trench Shoring Company and Blois Construction who were determined to experiment and test to find the best solutions; TSC’s absolute commitment to delivering project essential equipment on schedule. All of these elements are hallmarks of what has made Trench Shoring Company the “goto” partner for complicated jobs such as the Blois LAX Construction Job 2945.