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R.E. Harris Makes the Grade at Elementary Project

Wed December 21, 2005 - Southeast Edition
Construction Equipment Guide

Over the past few years, the crew at R.E. Harris Construction has become educated in the art of building schools.

A 30-member crew is currently building a $12-million elementary school in Lake Mary, FL, for the Seminole County School Board.

Work began in July and should be completed in July 2006.

The crew may be experiencing deja vu at this 18-acre site.

“We have built this school four times already,” said President Robert Harris. “Although each project is different because of changes they make in the building and the site itself.”

The 18-acre Lake Mary site had a retention pond in it, which crews had to deal with in the site preparation process.

“We are having to dig a new retention pond and use the 18,000 yards of fill to fill in part of an old retention pond already on the site. It is a very short haul because the new pond attaches to the old pond,” he said.

Crews excavated a maximum of 14 ft. for the new pond. The old pond was filled in to make a place for the school bus entrance.

“We are using a JCB 220 excavator to dig the pond and material is being hauled by a Volvo truck. We’ve had the JCB 220 for about a year and a half and it has been bullet proof. We use it daily and we haven’t had any problems with it,” Harris said.

Other equipment at the site include a JCB 214 loader backhoe, a Terex extended boom forklift and a John Deere 650 loader.

He said the equipment his company uses is one of the reasons R.E. Harris is known for its reliability.

“The JCBs and the other equipment we have are part of the reason we have a reputation of bringing in projects on-time and under budget,” he said.

Overall, approximately 16,000 cu. yds. of fill was brought to the site to use as material for the pad and the roads.

Like most of the other projects R.E. Harris takes on, subcontractors are almost non-existent.

“We do the site work, put in the utilities, pour the concrete, erect the masonry walls, put in the metal studs and do the drywall. We sub out the structural steel, electrical, plumbing, mechanical, flooring and painting,” he said.

At the Lake Mary School, Industrial Steel Inc. of Mims, FL, is providing the structural steel. Florida Atlantic Ironworks is erecting the steel.

“Because we self-perform more work than the average general contractor, we hire professional people and we can work out schedules instead of waiting for a sub to show up. We take pride in keeping good people, giving them good equipment to work with and having clean and safe job sites,” he said.

Approximately 30 crewmembers work at this site from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. five days a week.

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