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Build-A-Box Aluminum Trench Shield Aids Energy Co.

Mon December 24, 2012 - Midwest Edition
James McRay

Consumers Energy, a Michigan gas and electrical provider, recently completed a regulation station upgrade near the intersection of 11-Mile and Stevenson Roads in Madison Heights.

During the three week project, two gas shut-off valves were brought above grade; one valve on an existing 6 in. (15.2 cm) steel high pressure (SHP) line, and the other on a 8 in. (20.3 cm) steel medium pressure (SMP) line.

Consumers decided to bring the valves out of the ground because the existing valve basin vault was continuously accumulating water, making the valves difficult to maintain.

The regulation station is located closely between two buildings and the sidewalk along 11-Mile, which made excavating and removing the existing concrete vault difficult. The Consumer’s crew had on site a Case 580 backhoe with standard bucket, and a 850 Ditch Witch for moving the dirt in tight quarters and also breaking cement.

Removing the valve vault without greatly disturbing the surround area was only the first challenge. Consumer’s also needed a trench protection system that when installed, would not create greater disruption to the immediate vicinity.

“There is a building within 10 feet of the excavation on the west side, 11-Mile Road directly to the south, and a paved driveway bordering the east side of the excavation; so we knew we were going to need a trench box rather than be able to slope the pit,” said Greg McClure, Consumers’ gas operations field leader.

“And we needed the shoring box almost immediately in order to stay on schedule.”

For assistance with his shoring problem, McClure called Efficiency Production in Mason, Mich.

“Efficiency delivered a Build-A-Box [aluminum trench shield] the very next day, and Greg [Ross, Efficiency’s special operations shoring division director,] came out to help us install it,” McClure said.

Build-A-Box is a modular aluminum trench shielding system that is designed to easily assemble into two, three, or four-sided configurations. For the Consumers project, Efficiency delivered a 12 by 16 ft. (3.7 by 4.9 cm) system and helped assemble a three-sided, 6 ft. (1.8 cm) tall shield with panels closing off the shield directly against the south side sidewalk.

The flexibility of Build-A-Box was evident as the stacked, 2 ft. (.6 cm) tall panels on the third side were pinned into the corner posts a foot above grade, allowing the gas lines to run directly underneath.

Build-A-Box is engineered and designed specifically for this type of trouble-shooting application.

“The support we received from Efficiency was outstanding and exceeded my expectations,” said McClure. “The equipment was delivered on time to the construction site, and then [Efficiency Shoring specialist] Mike Ross came by a few days later to see how the box was working and to ask if we had any more questions.”

Consumers Energy is one of the nation’s largest combination utilities, providing electric and natural gas service to nearly 6.5 million of Michigan’s 10 million residents in all 68 Lower Peninsula counties.

Efficiency Production Inc., “America’s Trench Box Builder,” provides a wide selection of standard and custom trench shielding and shoring systems.

Efficiency’s products are designed specifically for safe and cost effective installation of utility systems and infrastructure improvements. All products are P.E. certified to meet OSHA and MIOSHA requirements.

For more information, visit

James McRay is the Director of Marketing and Media for Efficiency Production Inc. He can be reached at 800/552-8800; [email protected].

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