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Metro Demolition Razes Vacant Herndon Homes in LaGrange

Fri August 06, 2010 - Southeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

The Atlanta Housing Authority has contracted Metro Demolition, LaGrange, Ga., to bring down the vacant Herndon Homes public housing project off Gray Street in downtown Atlanta. The project, which began in January with asbestos abatement, involves 31 two- and three-story structures, some with basements.

Metro owner Todd Johnson started this huge task and soon decided that he needed a way to work more efficiently.

“We started this job taking down a couple buildings with buckets. We found out quickly there was just too much metal and rebar and you can’t do it with buckets because you can’t crush the concrete with that kind of metal in it.”

Johnson consulted with David Jenkins at Solesbee’s Equipment & Attachments, Douglasville, Ga., who came to the job site to check things out. Upon Jenkins’ recommendation, Johnson purchased a Solesbee’s SECC-4 concrete crusher-pulverizer for use with his Komatsu PC300LC.

According to Johnson, the Solesbee’s concrete crusher has been “an absolute lifesaver. Without it we would have been in a mess. There’s lots of rebar in each building, probably 12 to 15 tons per building, not including the metal window- and doorframes. This attachment has enabled us to crush concrete and separate it from the metal rebar. This is a 300-class machine and this crusher works great off the bucket cylinder of this sized machine. Per building it takes about two days for this machine-attachment combination to demolish, and that includes separating all the material.

“We take the building down with the tool [crusher] and we get the rebar out by crushing the concrete,” Johnson continued. “Otherwise it’s just a mangled mess. We methodically take the roof down, and get all the wood in a pile, then we separate all the metal and take out as much as we can using the crusher-pulverizer, then we bring in a Cat 345 trackhoe with a bucket to clean things up. We are using Cat 953 and 963 loaders as well. When the Cat machines on site require routine maintenance, the people at Yancey Bros. have all the parts that we might need during this project in stock.”

Because of the rapid pace in which Metro Demolition is taking down the structures, not every piece of rebar can be removed during the initial demolition process.

“We’ll have a pile of trash that will still have a little rebar and we have to hand pick the remaining pieces of rebar. However, it only takes a couple hours to do this. Then the piles of concrete are ready to be crushed on-site or trucked out and crushed elsewhere. Some of the material we are recycling and producing here on site has a combination of brick and concrete in it. So it’s not perfect material, but is ideal for use in inert fill like pipeline fill or parking lot base.

“The foundation base and the concrete walls are our best material and is crushed separately. We pull up the slabs, pull up the foundations and this is our ultimate recycled material that can be used for road base and other quality fill. Being able to recycle as much as we do on this job starts with this machine and attachment. Without this one tool, it would be ridiculously lengthy and very difficult.

“This tool has proven to be more versatile than a regular demo grapple. David [Jenkins] has been great to work with and the overall support we have gotten from Solesbee’s is outstanding. We have other Solesbee’s thumbs and a grapple and what I can say about them is that they provide personalized service. They’re not a huge attachment manufacturer that’s just out there ’pushing attachments.’ David gets involved on all levels of sales. I’m just a small demo company yet the service I’ve gotten from them is like I’m one of the world’s largest. They’re the kind of people I like doing business with,” Johnson stated.

The host machine for the crusher, a Komatsu PC300LC, did not require any changes in order to use the attachment, which runs completely off the bucket hydraulics. No plumbing and no auxiliary hydraulics were required to get the concrete crusher/pulverizer working.

The local Komatsu dealer keeps Metro Demolition well supplied with the parts and technical advice required for this job.

“My parts man, Frank, at Tractor & Equipment Company does a great job of helping us when we need parts for this machine and other Komatsu’s we own,” Johnson added.

Once the demolition of the buildings is complete, Metro will be pulling up and excavating all the storm and sewer lines, utilities, water lines and gas lines on the property, followed by cut and fill and grading.

Johnson is proud to say that 85 percent of the materials from this job are being recycled. The other 15 percent, which is primarily made up of the wood gable roof, will go to a C & D landfill. Even most of the bushes, shrubs, crepe myrtles and holly plantings around the buildings are being saved, which was not part of the original plan, but which Metro decided to take on.

“We’re digging them up and donating them to Habitat for Humanity. We spent more than a day doing this in certain sections of the project and the folks from Habitat for Humanity sent over a trailer and we loaded it up for them to transport.”

Metro Demolition generally has two to five projects going on at once, and Johnson is pleased with how well the Solesbee’s SECC-4 has worked with this job and will work in the future.

“The Solesbee’s concrete crusher is more than paying for itself on this one job. We can recycle almost everything on this job and going forward, we won’t be without one of these Solesbee’s crushers on other demolition jobs,” Johnson concluded. CEG

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