One Size Fits All: Shoring System Suits Three Companies

Mon October 14, 2013 - Southeast Edition
James McRay


Watson Construction installs a tank at the University of Florida’s Institute on Aging.
Watson Construction installs a tank at the University of Florida’s Institute on Aging.
Watson Construction installs a tank at the University of Florida’s Institute on Aging. Crews from Terry R Lee Contracting install the entire Slide Rail System to grade in a little more than five hours. BallCon Inc. and subcontractor HCL Contracting excavate and shore a 20 x 40 x 20 ft. (6 x 12.2 x 6 m) deep excavation in and around the treatment plant’s operational structures.

The old adage “one size fits all,” normally does not apply to important trench safety equipment like trench shields and shoring. However, for three north Florida, South Carolina and Alabama contractors, a more applicable adage would be, “one shoring system fits all sizes.”

Recently, north Florida-based Watson Construction LLC, South Carolina-based Terry R Lee Contracting, and Alabama-based BallCon Inc., completed projects in Gainesville, Fla.; Hardeeville, S.C.; and Mobile, Ala., respectively. All three underground utility installation projects were very different from each other — a gas tank, a lift station, affluent pumps — yet the trio of projects did have one thing in common; they all used an Efficiency Production manufactured Slide Rail Shoring System rented and delivered from Efficiency Shoring & Supply in Jacksonville, Fla.

With Efficiency’s Slide Rail, Watson Construction Earns

LEED Platinum Rating

This past December at the University of Florida’s Institute on Aging in Gainesville, Fla., Watson Construction installed a 36 ft. (11 m) long, 10 ft. (3 m) tall fiberglass collection tank. The project was slated as a LEED Platinum rated facility and the rainwater collection and reuse system was an integral part of achieving the Platinum rating.

The tank was installed at a moderate depth of 15 ft. (4.6 m); however depth wasn’t the primary challenge for Watson. The big challenge was contending with the surrounding structures, as the excavation site was crammed into the main building’s courtyard and had only limited access on three sides of the long pit.

“One of the biggest advantages of Efficiency’s Slide Rail System is the fact it can be installed with very limited access to the worksite,” said Mike Hemenway, Efficiency Shoring & Supply’s Jacksonville, Fla., branch manager. “And the system can usually be installed with a standard sized excavator that many excavation contractors already have in their fleet; another advantage over other shoring system.”

“After careful consideration of the constraints of installing the tank such as the tank’s length and the depth of the pit, plus the limited space, we chose the Slide Rail System by Efficiency Production,” said Steve Miller, Watson’s assistant operations manager.

“It was almost a no brainer considering our past experiences with using the Efficiency system,” Watson said.

Slide Rail is considered “positive shoring.” It is installed by sliding the panels into integrated rails on the posts, and then pushing the panels and posts incrementally down to grade as the pit is dug; a process commonly referred to as a “dig and push” shoring system.

“That’s another advantage of our Slide Rail; there’s no over-excavation,” said Hemenway. “The system keeps constant pressure against the surrounding dirt, which was critical for Watson digging so close to that tall building.”

With the help of Efficiency Shoring’s onsite installation team, Watson installed a 10 ft. (3 m) wide, 41 ft. (12.5 m) long, 16 ft. (4.9 m) deep; two-bay, 4-Sided Multi-Bay configured Slide Rail System. Multi-Bay utilizes Efficiency’s exclusive Parallel Beams that roll up and down the slotted rail on the inside face of the linear posts and have spreader collars — like trench shield sidewalls — which pin standard trench box spreaders.

For the Watson project, tie-back waler I-beams were added at the top of the system, to attach into integrated waler brackets that connect into a slotted rail on the outside face of the linear posts. Paired with a sacrificial member (such as a spreader pipe or timber beam) braced cross-trench against the bottom of the linear posts; the entire parallel beam spreader assembly can be completely removed which provided Watson a full 40 ft. (12.2 m) of open space to install the 36 ft. (11 m) long tank.

“The Slide Rail System proved efficient, effective, and easy to use,” said James Tilley, project foreman of Watson. “I had never used a Slide Rail System before, but with help from the guys at Efficiency Shoring, it was as easy as any conventional trench box I’ve ever used, if not easier in this particular application.”

Terry R Lee Contracting installs

lift Station in Tight Spot With Slide Rail System

About 150 mi. (241.4 km) north of Jacksonville, Fla., in the little town of Hardeeville, S.C., Terry R Lee Contracting was utilizing an Efficiency Slide Rail System on the Old Charleston CDBG sewer upgrade project for the Beaufort Jasper Water & Sewer Authority. However, Lee’s Slide Rail System was configured into a simple 16 x 16 x 20 ft. (4.9 x 4.9 x 6 m) 4-Sided Pit configuration, which shored the excavation for Lee to install a pre-cast 6 ft. (1.8 m) diameter, 20 ft. (6 m) tall round lift station.

Though location and other project factors may change, excavation shoring challenges tend to run in patterns such as dealing with surrounding structures and other environmental issues.

“We were digging in a residential area so we had very little space; really only access on two sides of the pit,” said Bobby Lee, project manager. “We knew Slide Rail would be the best choice for the conditions; we’ve used [another manufacturer’s] system before. However we were convinced to try an Efficiency Production Slide Rail System now that they have a close dealership,” Lee said, referring to Efficiency Shoring & Supply’s Jacksonville, Fla., branch.

To help install the system, Efficiency Production sent Tim Hurst, senior slide rail installer of Special Operations Shoring Division, to assist Lee with the installation. “The Lee guys were great to work with; super hard working,” said Hurst. “They were able to get the entire system installed in a little over five hours which is great time for a system that size.”

BallCon, Inc. and HCL Contracting Use Slide Rail for Pump Install

in Congested WWTP

Mobile, Ala., was the next location featuring a Slide Rail System-shored excavation project. Mobile-based General Contractor BallCon Inc. was the low-bidder to install an effluent pump station at the Wright Smith Jr. Waste Water Treatment Plant; one part of an overall project to upgrade the municipal WWTP.

Staying true to form, BallCon chose Efficiency’s Slide Rail System in part for its ease of installation in a tight, congested spot. The 20 x 40 x 20 ft. (6 x 12.2 x 6m) deep excavation needed to be dug and shored in and around the treatment plant’s operational structures.

There were two other reasons BallCon chose an Efficiency Slide Rail System.

“It was less expensive than sheet piling and every bit as efficient,” said BallCon’s Richard Ball. “We had great communications with [Shoring & Shielding Specialist] Ryan Nalls at Efficiency Shoring. We’d never used Slide Rail before but because of the help from Ryan, we’d use it again,”

Subcontractor HCL Contracting, based in Mobile, Ala., performed the excavation, shoring, and pump installation.

James McRay is the Director of Marketing & Media for Efficiency Production Inc. He can be reached at 800/552-8800; jmcray@efficiencyproduction.com.