Danny Manley, owner and president of AquaProof Inc., used to spend three days and hundreds of dollars hauling loads of dirt and concrete to the dump every single time he and his crew finished up a job. He realized he needed a better solution. Exploring his options led to a simple machine switch that’s saving Manley and his AquaProof crew thousands of dollars and many hours of tedious labor.
AquaProof Inc. in Cincinnati, Ohio, performs basement waterproofing, drainage work and foundation and structural repair. Founded in 2002, the company has 25 employees and serves both residential and commercial properties. Although the basement waterproofing industry is a competitive business, Manley has positioned AquaProof to provide completely customized services. Instead of prescribing basement waterproofing as a fix-all solution, AquaProof combines interior and exterior waterproofing techniques to repair damaged foundations and water-logged yards.
“Our niche is to customize our services for each project,” Manley said. “That’s why my company doesn’t specialize in just one service. Basement waterproofing is definitely the most common job we perform, but certainly not the only one.”
When a client comes to AquaProof for an estimate, Manley assesses all aspects of the problem from the yard and gutters to foundation cracks and basement flooding.
“Not only does waterproofing basements and fixing damaged foundations allow the homeowner to utilize that space again, but it also increases the home’s resale value,” Manley said.
Basement waterproofing can include interior work, exterior work or a combination of both. The first step for interior waterproofing is to place a protective layer of carpet and an exhaust fan in the basement. Then, AquaProof employees begin the heavy lifting. Using a jackhammer, they remove 12- to 18-in. (30.5 to 45.7 cm) of floor around the perimeter of the wall. Next, a trench is dug along the footing and shaved down 1-in. (2.5 cm) every 10 ft. (3 m) to create a pitch.
All of the dirt and concrete is hauled out of the basement in five-gallon buckets. When the excess material is gone, a soil separator is placed in the trench and covered with a layer of gravel, the floors are cleaned and the concrete is re-poured. Water is diverted out of the basement by pumps or gravity, depending on the specific problem in each home.
For exterior waterproofing, a trench is opened on the exterior walls of a home or building. AquaProof employees inspect the walls for cracks and repair any that are causing problems. Tar is applied to the entire exposed wall and plastic is lined on the bottom of the trench. A drainage mat is secured to the wall to prevent water from coming into contact with it. To finish up, filter fabric is placed in the trench on top of the plastic, perforated tile is laid on top of that and everything is covered by gravel. All of the soil is replaced and tamped down to prevent settling. Laying grass seed and straw are the final steps to completing the exterior waterproofing process.
AquaProof’s expertise extends well beyond just interior and exterior waterproofing.
“We combine the interior and exterior systems in applicable areas,” Manley explained. “Our additional services include sump pumps, grading, French drains, fixing bowed walls, stabilizing foundations, downspout lines and window well repair.”
Although it sounds counterproductive, the AquaProof crew must often create an even bigger mess before solving a homeowner’s original problem. Jackhammering basement floors and digging trenches stirs up a lot of dust and misplaces hundreds of pounds of concrete, gravel and dirt. During the exterior waterproofing process, displaced dirt is simply tamped back down into the hole once the wall cracks are repaired. When it comes to interior waterproofing, however, the process isn’t so easy. All of the excavated material must be hauled out of a basement by hand and transported back to the shop for temporary storage. Clients end up with a clean, leak-free home, while Manley and his employees are faced with mountains of rubble at their shop.
With two to three projects going on at one time, the pile of rubble amasses quickly. Until recently, Manley and his crew used a skid steer to load the excess material into Manley’s pickup trucks to be taken to the dump. Sometimes the process would take up to three days, becoming excessively costly and time consuming. The loaded skid steer had to be driven up a ramp in order to reach the bed of the trucks. When the trucks were filled, they had to be unloaded at the dump and driven back to repeat the process over and over. Manley not only paid for gas and wages for his employees, but also incurred a $35 dumping fee with each load. After three days and 57 loads, Manley had spent thousands of dollars. He needed a better solution.
Manley worked closely with his local JCB dealer, MH Equipment in Cincinnati, Ohio, to explore machinery options. His MH representative asked if Manley would be willing to try a different machine — a JCB 524-50 telescopic handler. Manley demoed the telehandler in his shop and was immediately convinced of the machine’s advantages over a traditional skid steer.
The telehandler streamlines the entire rubble-removal process. Due to his speedy little machine, Manley now has the ability to haul away the excess material in six hours instead of three days. The telehandler’s 5,000-lb. (2,268 kg) load capacity shaves hours off the loading time, while its greater lift height eliminates the need for a ramp and enables the crew to load bigger trucks with taller side rails. These larger trucks can hold three times much debris than the smaller trucks Manley was using before, and the dump charges them a small cost of only $15 per load. This more efficient process helps Manley save $2,500 to $3,000 per day when removing construction debris.
While Manley’s old skid steer was certainly a useful machine, the telescopic handler was simply a better fit for his unique needs. Skid steers are ideal on landscaping and construction sites when smaller loads need to be moved from one location to another. They also can be fitted with several different attachments including a forklift, bucket or snow plow, making them great all-purpose workhorses. However, according to Jim Blower, senior product marketing manager of JCB North America, compact telehandlers like Manley’s new JCB 524-50 can actually handle the same tasks as a skid steer and also are available with many attachments.
“Compact telehandlers can be outfitted with a number of attachments, making them able to perform many of the same tasks as a skid steer loader, for example,” Blower explained. “While skid steers are also highly maneuverable and useful in crowded spaces, compact telehandlers have an extendable boom that provides greater reach if you’ll be lifting any loads across obstacles or up to a higher level. Some compact telehandlers can even be used as a compact loader when outfitted with the appropriate bucket attachment.”
The 524-50 JCB model Manley purchased is an 85 hp (63 kW) machine with a 5,000-lb. load capacity. It’s capable of reaching a height of 17-ft. 4-in. (5.3 m) and, unlike a skid steer, it can travel up to 18.6 mph enabling it to be driven on roads between jobs if necessary. The telehandler’s robust load capacity isn’t inhibited by its small size either — the machine is only 6-ft. 11-in. (2.1 m) tall.
JCB carries a wide-range of other telescopic handlers to meet a variety of needs. The line-up includes telehandlers with 13 to 54-ft. (4 to 16 m) booms that can carry loads of 3,000 to 10,000-lbs. (1,361 to 4,536 kg). The smallest machines have been used by professionals who need the telehandler to fit through as small a space as a home doorway.
Manley said, “I save time by loading materials in the telehandler, because it’s a lot faster than using my skid loader. It saves wear and tear on my vehicles, and I only need one man on the job instead of three.”
Manley also uses the JCB telehandler to load trucks with supplies for the job site. The versatility of the machine is an added bonus. Saving time and money — two valuable resources for business owners — has made the most impact for Manley and AquaProof Inc.
“I think that this is an example of how important it is to always keep your eyes open for a better solution,” Manley said. “The new machine will pay for itself in savings in a little less than three years. If I hadn’t been open to the idea of replacing our skid steer with a telescopic handler, I’d still be paying thousands of dollars to get rid of the debris we generate at our job sites.”