Big Dog Demolition Brings Down Anchor Stores at Atlanta-Area Mall

Tue April 11, 2006 - Southeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

A Georgia developer is calling in the big dogs to tear down a mall.

Big Dog Demolition based in Marietta, GA, is tearing down Cumberland Mall in the northern suburbs of Atlanta store by store.

The company completed the demolition of the Macy’s store in spring 2005. The project, which required a temporary wall for separation from the rest of the mall, included approximately 120,000 sq. ft. of building to demolish and about 1,000 ft. of separation. It took approximately three months to complete.

Big Dog recycled approximately 80 percent of the material on-site, some of which ended up as road base. The crew recycled all of the ferrous and non-ferrous materials and all of the concrete.

Big Dog Demolition was at it again this spring at Cumberland Mall. This time, the target was JC Penney, working under general contractor Winter Construction, based in Atlanta, GA — is a different GC than the Macy’s project.

“We were lucky enough to get this job as well,” said Big Dog Owner Jay Anderson.

The crew started the job at the end of December 2005 and made quick work on it. At the same time, Big Dog workers began the interior demolition and renovation of the remaining portion of the mall.

“One thing that makes us different from our competitors is that were not only a wrecking company, we’re also an interior demolition company. We’re doing the renovation of the interior of the mall, taking all the ceilings out, all the finishes on the floor during after hours in the mall. We specialize in turnkey demolition service. While others in the business concentrate on one select mode of demolition, Big Dog provides all facets of demolition including wrecking, selective demo, implosions, interior, structural and hand demolition,” Anderson said.

The JC Penney covered approximately 190,000 sq. ft. of usable space and had been closed for almost a year.

Instead of explosives, Big Dog workers used a similar two-step process as they used for the Macy’s demolition.

The first step was to separate the structure to be demolished from the existing mall, which required building a temporary wall and the hand demo of all of the structural members and to create a “pocket” between the two structures so they could bring in equipment to wreck the building, without hindering the day-to-day operation of the mall.

Big Dog had to determine which walls were existing walls and which were common walls. Once they made that determination, they had to saw cut certain areas, hand demo some of the walls and shore up others. It was the combination of all these things that made for a successful project.

The demolition of the structure took approximately 10 weeks — one week ahead of schedule. The project required speed and exceptional operators to accomplish the quick turnaround time. Now that the structure is down, Big Dog is crushing rock on site that has been blasted and removed for utility installation.

The machines used on this project were Case equipment from Briggs, equipped with various attachments such as shears, grapples and thumbs. The main machine-attachment combination that had the most impact on the job was a Case 460 equipped with a Genesis 550XP shear that was mounted as a third member.

“It was instrumental on getting this structure on the ground safely,” Anderson said.

Installed as a third member at the end of the stick allowed for a 45-ft. reach and allowed the machine to easily reach the top of the structure, separate it and bring it down in a controlled manner. With the shear weighing in at approximately 10,000 lbs., an additional 15,000 lbs. of counterweight was installed on the back of the machine for complete stability.

Recycling the material from the building reached the 90 percent range.

“We’re crushing all concrete on-site and the contractor building the next structure [Winter Construction] to be erected here will use this material on-site when they lay the asphalt,” Anderson said.

All the masonry and concrete will be reused on-site.

“We’ve been very fortunate to have the project go as smoothly as it did — not a lot of surprises on this one that we weren’t prepared for.” Anderson said.

In addition to the hard working crew, Anderson credited Briggs’ service department for helping complete the job early.

“The service on the Case machines from Briggs Equipment has been better than what we have experienced in the past. We’re not a huge company with regards to the number of machines that we now have. We had a need for a machine and the other guys couldn’t seem to get one to us immediately like Briggs. Working with Briggs now and ten excavators later, I’m sure those other guys are shaking their heads.”

Big Dog has some machines with more than 3,000 hours.

“If those machines go down or need service, we’re able to quickly get loaner machines and they can supply us what we need because they know we’re always on a tight schedule,” Anderson said. “ The Case guys even came out and recalculated through the computer the hydraulic flow needed for each attachment we’re using. Each time we change attachments, Briggs is able to come out and make the adjustments we need, when we need them.”

The on-site crushing/screening equipment is leased from Powerscreen Inc. in Florida and includes a 3500 Powertrac and Chieftain 1400 screen.

“The machines are working great and production is up,” Anderson said. CEG Staff

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