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Despite Challenging Restrictions, JDC Demolition Deftly Razes Athletic Center

Thu April 08, 2021 - Northeast Edition #8

JDC’s Komatsu PC1250 excavator makes light work of these massive concrete slabs with an assist from a NYE grapple.
JDC’s Komatsu PC1250 excavator makes light work of these massive concrete slabs with an assist from a NYE grapple.
JDC’s Komatsu PC1250 excavator makes light work of these massive concrete slabs with an assist from a NYE grapple. Colby College’s old athletic center was torn down without any cutting required. With jaws that open to a spread of 12 ft., the NYE grapple can hold an impressive amount of material in a single load. Connecting a 14,000-lb. attachment to a 270,000-lb. excavator does not fall in the category of a one-man job.

JDC Demolition was contracted to perform the environmental remediation and demolition of the former Alfond Athletic Center at the Colby College, a private Liberal Arts college in Waterville, Maine. Founded in 1813, the campus, located on a beautiful, historic 714-acre site, is among the most selective liberal arts institutions in the country and is considered a "Little Ivy."

Together with sister company New Roads Environmental, JDC Demolition completed the abatement and removal of the 200,000-sq.-ft. facility in March 2021. The athletic facility included a hockey rink, basketball arena, aquatics facility, field house, team locker rooms and offices for the Colby College athletic department. During the course of the project, more than 22,000 tons of demolition debris was removed for appropriate recycling and disposal.

The demolition of the athletic center was a three-month project held while school was in session (January through March), which added to restrictive circumstances and challenges for the project.

Safety was the first consideration, which has its own set of challenges when every load of material is being removed from the site (located off campus). Dust, noise and vibration limitations were very restrictive on the project. A minimum amount of cutting and hammering was required, and, whenever possible, concrete slabs needed to be pulled up and above ground structures pulled down without cutting or hammering.

Many demolition contractors would find these restrictions challenging. Not so for JDC Demolition, which has the tool perfectly suited for this type of challenge — an enormous Komatsu PC1250 with an operating weight in excess of 270,000 lbs. The PC1250 is equipped with one of the largest demolition grapples ever made, which is supplied by NYE Manufacturing and the people at National Attachments.

The Komatsu was purchased through Gerry Carney of CN Wood in Boston.

According to Chris Berardi, president of JDC Demolition, "An excavator of this size is not something that you would typically see in a demolition contractor's fleet, but it has proven to be a great investment for our company. In our business, much like any other, time is money and in demolition the bigger the machine the quicker the project is completed.

"Obviously, an excavator of this size with this amount of reach can pull down a lot of material in a very short time. That's not the only area the savings come into play; the Colby College project called for the removal of significant amounts of concrete slabs. Traditionally, this would be addressed with an excavator and hammer. Not only is hammering concrete abusive to your machines, it creates a lot of noise, vibration and dust, all of which were restricted on this site.

"This Komatsu tears up concrete slabs faster and with much less effort than we have ever been able to address in the past. When it comes down to pulling down existing structure it has twice the strength and reach of anything else in our fleet. The time and money savings are dramatic. The need for cutting is virtually eliminated.

"We have been big fans of Komatsu equipment for a long time. We have a long history with CN Wood. They always come through for us and this machine has been no exception."

Nearly as impressive as the monster excavator is the gigantic demolition grapple that it uses to execute its work. The NYE grapple weighs 14,000 lbs., it's 70 in. wide on the three-tyne side and 41 in. wide on the two-tyne side. The grapple opens to a width of 12 ft. and stands 9 ft. in height.

According to Berardi, "Nearly all of our attachment inventory is made up of NYE product purchased from National Attachments. I believe that NYE manufactures the best mechanical excavator demolition attachments out there. They use superior quality steel. I know this because of the durability of their attachments. They last longer than anything else we have used.

"NYE's engineers truly understand what we do for a living. Their grapples and concrete crushers have advanced designs that exactly suit our needs. They are by no means inexpensive, but I believe you get what you pay for. Gabe Guimond has been our representative with National Attachments from the start of our relationship and he has been great. He understands what we do and does a great job of matching up the right NYE attachment for our needs." CEG

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