Excavators and trenchers are hard at work at Reliant Construction’s job site.
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and equipment aficionados could certainly call Reliant Construction’s projects a sight to behold.
Reliant’s underground utilities installation project for Freeman Decorating (just to the east of the intersection of Rainbow Boulevard and Sunset Road) features three Caterpillar excavators, two Cat backhoe loaders, a 938 wheel loader, two large water trucks, and an 1175XHD Tesmec chainsaw. The noisy, active job site is a beautiful sight, indicative of a busy company.
All this activity is the product of three years hard work and positive energy generated by Larry Elliot, Rob Boit, and Mike Zetz. This hard-working trio came together in 2006 and combined their desire to call their own shots, mixed it with 85 years of cumulative experience, and created the successful southern Nevada wet/dry underground utilities and site preparation company called Reliant Construction LLC.
Launching a new business during a booming construction period in Vegas, Reliant has spent the past three years laying underground utilities like sewer pipes, storm drains and water mains of all sizes. From modest jobs like Raising Cane’s fast-food restaurants and Famous Dave’s barbeque to expansive jobs for Southwest Gas and Cox Cable, Reliant is weathering the economic downturn with relative ease and predicts it will have more than enough work to keep its fleet busy. Running eight to ten projects at once keeps this company with 25 employees on a rigid schedule, with little room for unreliable machines.
Quality, dependable equipment has been a major reason behind Reliant’s unabated enthusiasm for Caterpillar products from Cashman Equipment.
“Cashman’s a one-stop shop for us,” stated Boit. “Whether we are renting or buying, they’ve got it.”
Reliant purchased a core group of machines (backhoe loaders, water trucks, and attachments) from Cashman and supplements each individual job with the appropriate rental equipment. While the work site requirements change, the presence of a certain distinctive logo rarely does.
“If [a machine] is on our site and it’s not Caterpillar, it means Cat doesn’t make one,” Zetz jokingly said.
While Zetz made light of the amount of yellow iron on their job sites, Elliot was more serious about explaining why they’ve spent three years purchasing and renting mostly Caterpillar equipment.
“It’s not about the name on the side of the machine for me,” Elliot said. “It’s the fact that everything works exactly the way it should, and things get done.”
That productivity has been extremely important on one of the company’s largest projects, new corporate office/warehouse for Freeman Decorating. The underground work for Freeman, a tradeshow staging company, began in January 2009 and progressed steadily toward the October 2009 completion date, despite the challenge of working in white caliche.
White caliche, generally bemoaned as Nevada’s hardest ground to excavate, is prevalent on the Freeman job site. Fortunately for the Reliant crew, the 1175XHD Tesmec trencher came equipped with a 14-ft. (4.2 m) chainsaw with a staggered pattern of 3 and 2.5 in. (7.6 and 6.3 cm) steel carbide teeth. The alternating teeth height gave the chainsaw greater impact force, so more caliche could be fractured, pulled into the trencher, and deposited off to the side. Putting in water lines 5 ft. (1.5 m) deep and sewer pipes 14 ft. deep was relatively easy using this machine, with operators cutting approximately 500-ft. (152 m) trench sections each day. However, the 54-in. (137 cm) wide concrete storm drain was a different story.
“There isn’t a chainsaw wide enough to make a 54-in. cut to the depth needed,” explained Seth Hendrickson, Cashman Equipment rental representative. “They have to make more than one pass to get the width required.”
To be specific, Reliant made two passes with the 1175XHD and then used a Cat 330C excavator with a bucket attachment to scoop out the remaining material. After another excavator lowers the pipe in place, a water truck saturates the bottom of the trench, a backhoe fills in the trench with dirt, and finally an excavator with a compaction wheel attachment compacts the area.
Every piece of equipment has a significant role to play in the installation of underground utilities. And that leads to a busy jobsite that is beautifully productive.