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BJ Excavating Provides Cleanup After Hurricane Ian

Thu March 30, 2023 - Southeast Edition #7
Linder


BJ Excavating Enterprises Inc. provides emergency cleanup in Florida. “After the hurricane, we’ve focused on high-rise dewatering, demolition, excavating, foundation backfilling, beach cleanup and erosion control,” said President Mark Austin. “Our crews are spread out from Sanibel Island to Marco Island.”
(Linder Link Magazine photo)
BJ Excavating Enterprises Inc. provides emergency cleanup in Florida. “After the hurricane, we’ve focused on high-rise dewatering, demolition, excavating, foundation backfilling, beach cleanup and erosion control,” said President Mark Austin. “Our crews are spread out from Sanibel Island to Marco Island.” (Linder Link Magazine photo)
BJ Excavating Enterprises Inc. provides emergency cleanup in Florida. “After the hurricane, we’ve focused on high-rise dewatering, demolition, excavating, foundation backfilling, beach cleanup and erosion control,” said President Mark Austin. “Our crews are spread out from Sanibel Island to Marco Island.”
(Linder Link Magazine photo) With a Komatsu PC210LC-11 excavator, an operator picks up C&D from a beachfront home along Bonita Beach, Fla.
(Linder Link Magazine photo) Hurricane Ian made landfall near Fort Myers, Fla., as a Category 4 hurricane on Sept. 28, 2022, and the approximately 12-ft. storm surge and 150-mi.-per-hour sustained wind speeds severely damaged properties and wiped out the first floors of many homes in the community.
(Linder Link Magazine photo) Hurricane Ian made landfall near Fort Myers, Fla., as a Category 4 hurricane on Sept. 28, 2022, and the approximately 12-ft. storm surge and 150-mi.-per-hour sustained wind speeds severely damaged properties and wiped out the first floors of many homes in the community.
(Linder Link Magazine photo) After Hurricane Ian, BJ Excavating uses a Komatsu PC210LC-11 excavator to demolish buildings and sort material along Bonita Beach, Fla.
(Linder Link Magazine photo) BJ Excavating uses a Komatsu PC210LC-11 excavator to move material for a new home in Florida. “We’re excited to continue working together and building this community back stronger than before,” said President Mark Austin.
(Linder Link Magazine photo) An operator removes material along a Florida beachfront property with a Komatsu PC210LC-11 excavator. “We prefer Komatsu equipment because it’s sturdy, safe and reliable,” said President Mark Austin.
(Linder Link Magazine photo) Mark Austin, president/owner
(Linder Link Magazine photo)

When Hurricane Ian made landfall near Fort Myers, Fla., as a Category 4 hurricane on Sept. 28, 2022, the approximately 12-ft. storm surge and 150-mi.-per-hour sustained wind speeds left two million people without power.

Within hours of the storm surge receding, strategically placed equipment was deployed to assess damage and begin cleanup. One of the companies called upon was BJ Excavating Enterprises Inc., a Naples, Fla., first responder for hurricane damage cleanup.

"Our forte is general civil sitework," noted President Mark Austin. "After the hurricane, we've focused on high-rise dewatering, demolition, excavating, foundation backfilling, beach cleanup and erosion control. Our crews are spread out from Sanibel Island to Marco Island."

Residents mostly returned to unrecognizable properties. Blowout walls on modern properties left first floors exposed to the elements, while older homes that were built before Hurricane Andrew transformed Florida's building codes suffered more severe structural damage.

"We're slated for 103 demos so far, and that number continues to grow," stated Austin. "The demolition process starts with tearing down the house, separating the C&D [construction and demolition waste], removing the concrete, then reaching into the ground and pulling out the foundation, footing and piling. We'll likely be here for two or three years."

At one of the communities along Bonita Beach, BJ Excavating was on-site within 24 hours of the storm subsiding.

"The community is roughly 15,000 acres and was coated in a 3-foot sheet of sand," explained Austin. "Our first item was providing access for the homeowners. We removed sand from the roads, homes and gardens, and we stockpiled it to be power screened and replaced along the beach. Early on, one of the major challenges was the general debris mixed in with the sand and seaweed. After clearing the roads, we separated debris and removed sand to locate transformers. Then, we backfilled the area, so FPL [Florida Power & Light] could access the site and restore power."

Austin also noted that turtles quickly reclaimed their nests once his company removed the sand, and employees have been careful not to disturb them.

Linder Support

BJ Excavating was not spared from the damage brought on by Hurricane Ian. The unprecedented storm surge damaged a significant portion of the company's fleet, resulting in a total loss of more than 10 excavators. To replace the equipment, BJ Excavating worked closely with Linder Industrial Machinery Company and Ray Henry, a Linder sales representative.

"Linder and Komatsu were the only equipment distributors that didn't give us a long lead time to replace the machines," stated Austin. "They went the extra mile to work within their dealer network and find what we needed. Within five weeks, we replaced every machine we lost."

The Komatsu equipment BJ Excavating replaced included multiple PC55MR-5, PC78US-11, PC138USLC-11 and PC210LC-11 excavators.

"We prefer Komatsu equipment because it's sturdy, safe and reliable," explained Austin. "The service behind the machines is dynamite, so we're happy. Whenever we call, either Ray or somebody at their shop answers the phone. They ask questions, and you can tell they care about us."

Moving Forward

"Hurricane Ian had a significant impact on the community, but we're ready to tear things down, so we can rebuild and get people back to their homes," said Austin. "The community has been very appreciative of our work. They see our crews working long hours and bring them food and water throughout the day. There's full community involvement and support."

Austin added, "A lot of these properties were people's dream homes, and we want to help them through this difficult process. Komatsu is as big a part of helping these people as we are. We're excited to continue working together and building this community back stronger than before."

(Reprinted with permission from Construction Publications Inc. (CPI)-Linder Link Magazine.)




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