Binghamton Company Expands Its Use of GPS Technology

Wed May 21, 2014 - Northeast Edition
CEG


Natural gas is a high-opportunity industry and GPS-controlled machines have allowed Gorick Construction to be very competitive in this market segment.
Natural gas is a high-opportunity industry and GPS-controlled machines have allowed Gorick Construction to be very competitive in this market segment.
Natural gas is a high-opportunity industry and GPS-controlled machines have allowed Gorick Construction to be very competitive in this market segment. For Gorick Construction, GPS capability means maximized efficiency for clearing, grubbing and silt fence installation, even in simple procedures such as this parking expansion project. At the Tioga Down Raceway in Nichols, N.Y., Trimble automation eliminated the need for preliminary on site surveying, allowing the excavation work to start immediately. GPS was used to maintain high tolerances in this box culvert installation. On jobs like this substation roadway installation, Gorick benefits in many ways from not needing grade stakes. By utilizing GPS on all the equipment at a job site, every machine works off a common platform, maximizing efficiency and reducing errors. Eliminating the need to rely on certified surveyors through the use of digital modeling and automation is one of the factors that helps to reduce Gorick’s job costs. Utilizing Trimble Business Center, Gorick Construction’s Project Superintendent/Estimator Aron Youngs handles most of the company’s modeling in-house. Gorick Construction’s President Alfred Gorick Jr. (L) and General Manager Trevor Moyer.

A forward-thinking heavy highway and demolition contractor, Gorick Construction Co., has been in business for more than 65 years. The company currently employs approximately 40 employees and operates 80 pieces of equipment. Its motto says it clearly — "Whatever it takes" — and its customers know it’s not just a nice saying; Gorick has always been ready to explore better ways of doing things. Right upfront, its Web site also states another differentiator — the fact that Gorick provides estimates based on computerized take-offs and site modeling.

As early as 2001, Gorick Construction had started taking advantage of technology with its construction projects.

"We had a Spectra Physics laser product on one of our graders, and it allowed us to go stakeless," explained president Al Gorick Jr.

In the following years, it decided to look more closely at GPS.

"We continued using stakes as a backup, but our level of confidence with the technology in general was increasing," said Gorick General Manager Trevor Moyer.

Soon the marketplace became aware of Gorick’s capabilities; in 2009, the company was awarded a bid on an 800,000 sq. ft. distribution center for CVS because of its unique expertise with GPS technology.

"At that point we had a handheld and we were also using GPS on dozers as well as with one of our graders," said Gorick, who remembers how they were getting pretty creative and using GPS in their own ways, for example, to determine volume of on site materials.

"And by then we had moved completely away from stakes," said Moyer.

Approximately two years ago, Gorick management felt comfortable enough with the technology and decided it was time to explore options. They spoke with SITECH Northeast, the region’s Trimble dealer, and tested a Trimble System on a Wegmans job site.

"Right away, we liked the ability it gave us to do things such as sidewalk and curb layout," said Gorick, explaining that Trimble’s ability with radii was superior. Gorick Construction liked the complete package that SITECH offered and decided to move its equipment over to Trimble. The ability to get additional Trimble products for rental from SITECH Northeast and rent turnkey Trimble-equipped machines has provided the company versatility when approaching different projects.

Gorick soon found out that with Trimble also came important additional benefits — one of them is the Trimble Business Center, which allows you to model, and then revise your model and e-mail any changes in the plans directly to the data collectors and rovers in the field.

"You only are going to get paid to move dirt one time," so anything that empowers the crew in the field to do it right the first time is embraced with gusto by Gorick Construction’s efficiency-focused management.

Another important resource is the SITECH Northeast team of experts. Moyer mentioned Dennis Westfall, who has a surveying background, and Evan Motschman, who is from the machine side and is strong in the machine/technology integration area.

"We call those guys all the time with questions," he said.

In addition, SITECH has connected Gorick with TriPoint Construction Layout of Rensselaer, N.Y., and Moyer sees that as a benefit — "Having someone do the models who knows construction and understands the way a machine works based on the data has been a huge advantage."

Nevertheless, Gorick Construction has begun doing more and more modeling in-house. Aron Youngs, a Gorick project superintendent with an engineering background and a knack for software has been teaching himself to build models with the business center application and is making steady progress with assistance from SITECH Northeast. Youngs said that another plus of having this capability in-house is that "We can find mistakes in the surveying and in the layout before we get to the site, saving time, money and anguish."

How does SITECH Northeast fit in with Gorick’s broader plans for the company? He is convinced that "In today’s super-competitive construction world you have to be able to do more things and do them better than anyone else.

"We need to be able to work in a number of niche markets; technology helps us uncover opportunities that we normally would not have been looking for, or been able to take on. It has also made us more independent and that reduces costs and production time; those things add up quickly."

Gorick also feels his relationship with SITECH Northeast matters to the end-customer. It makes a difference in a number of ways. To begin with, we are seen as progressive and as an integral part of our customer’s construction team, but beyond that the customer also understands how there are more assurances built into the job and more benefits in terms of time and cost.

"Believe it or not, the fact that the sites are much less cluttered without grade stakes seems to have a very positive impact."

"We show them the modeled job on the screen and what we are doing suddenly makes it clearer to them," said Moyer.