Orlando's JMHC Inc. Preparing Local Site for Massive New FedEx Facility

Tue February 16, 2016 - Southeast Edition
Eric Olson

In north Polk County, at the intersection of Interstate 4 and U.S. Highway 27, land is being cleared for a new massive FedEx distribution center.
In north Polk County, at the intersection of Interstate 4 and U.S. Highway 27, land is being cleared for a new massive FedEx distribution center.

In north Polk County, at the intersection of Interstate 4 and U.S. Highway 27, land is being cleared for a new massive FedEx distribution center.

Jim Cooper Construction Company Inc., a general contractor out of Birmingham, Ala., has selected a central Florida site construction firm to do the job.

JMHC Inc., located in the Orlando suburb of Longwood, has been contracted to perform all of the earthmoving, utilities, drainage, paving and curb work and currently has an array of equipment working at the site of the new $28.5 million 300,000-sq. ft. (27,870 sq m) distribution center.

According to FedEx, the site was chosen because of its obvious ease of access to major highways, as well as its close proximity to its customers' distribution centers and Orlando's strong local workforce. More than 600 temporary and permanent jobs are expected to be created with this hub's opening.

According to Glen Anderson, JMHC president, his company expects to complete the facility's site development this fall, and local media has reported that the center will be finished in May 2016.

JMHC Counts

on Nortrax

Anderson's company is able to do this work due, in part, to the outstanding working relationship JMHC has with Nortrax Inc., a well-respected Orlando heavy equipment dealership. The construction firm primarily purchases its John Deere equipment from Nortrax, including a 644K and 724J wheel loader, which are both working at the Davenport site.

“They have really been great to work with,” Anderson said. “I've been dealing with them for 28 years and they are always very good at providing product support.”

In addition, various other machines can be found on the FedEx job, he said. Among the larger pieces are two Hitachi ZX350 excavators, which JMHC is using to put in drain lines in tandem with another Hitachi ZX600 excavator.

Precision Work Required

Anderson said that his crews are moving several hundred thousand yards of earth at the site and, in order to do it precisely, they have been employing Topcon's 3D-MC2 global positioning systems on their dozers and graders.

“By using Topcon's systems, we can do all of our earthwork without any grade stakes or surveying,” he said. “The operator can put all the dirt on grade from inside the cab using the screen on the dashboard. It shows us the elevation that everything needs to be on the job.”

He also said JMHC is cutting the building pads to within an inch because the concrete contractor must put in the footers and piling prior to grading the pad. The warehouse structure itself is about 1,000 ft. long by 600 ft. (304 by 182 m) wide.

In addition to the work on the large facility, four retention ponds are being dug by JMHC at the site — each more than an acre in size, Anderson said. The company's workmen have already started laying drainage pipe connecting to the ponds. First to be installed is the 54-in. (137 cm) diameter reinforced-concrete pipe, followed by successively smaller diameter drainage lines, culminating with a 24-in. (60.9 cm) diameter pipe. In all, about 6,000 ft. (1,828 m) of pipe is being installed on the project.

“We set everything, including the precast concrete structures, with a laser in order to ensure that we have everything right on both vertically and horizontally,” Anderson said. “The A-LOK rubber gasket (which connects the pipe to the structure) has to be absolutely perfect. When we shove it home, we only have one chance to get it right.”

Despite the precision required on install, Anderson said that the A-LOK systems are incredibly reliable and their performance is not something he worries about.

“We have set thousands of them over the years and we have never had a leak,” he said. “Over 100 precast structures are being used, all with A-LOK gaskets, with the exception of the structures close to the surface where there is four inches or less of concrete above the pipe. If possible, we will change the plan drawings to use the A-LOK system by lowering the structures.”

Veteran Leadership

Anderson is part of a veteran management team at JMHC headed by Steve Blomeley, who serves as CEO and company owner; and Candice Blomeley, who is vice president. Together, they have led JMHC since 1985 and, under their stewardship have built JMHC into one of the leaders in Central Florida's site construction industry.