How many angels can you fit on the head of a pin? No one’s been able to come up with an answer for this one yet, but Thibeault Corporation of NE knows how much equipment can squeeze into a few acres where a new Verizon telecommunications center is taking shape in Hooksett, NH.
On just 5 acres, Thibeault is responsible for site prep, excavation and generally all construction from the slab down for a 34,000-sq.-ft. (3,159 sq m) facility for Verizon. Thibeault also is responsible for all utilities (including banks of utilities that involve up to 10 pipes that must be encased in concrete), landscaping, construction of a retaining wall and a retention pond. The project began in December 2003 and is scheduled for completion this month.
Working in a confined area is just one challenge. The site consists of severe rock and granite, which, at times, requires cuts of up to 35 ft. (10.7 m) in depth. In all, 78,000 yds. (11,323 m) of material are being processed down to a 6-in. (15.2 cm) minus on site. Fortunately for Thibeault, much of this material being produced meets New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) specifications. Consequently, some of the material being produced on site also is being re-used there, while some is being re-sold to contractors and yet more is being used on other Thibeault construction sites in the area.
Thibeault site supervisor of the Verizon project, Greg Detellis, explained that the rock on site is extremely hard granite, containing a lot of seams and water.
“Water flows continuously through the rock and we’re constantly concerned with pumping the water out,” he said. “Space is also a serious challenge. This is a very small site, it has a lot of equipment and a lot of employees involved [on site] at all times … traffic control is quite an issue. We also have to pay a lot of attention to detail on the planning of construction phases. Everyone involved needs to know several days in advance what our plans are going to be so that everything can be coordinated with our sub-contractors, such as Maine Drilling and Blasting who have helped us break up this rock.”
To process this rock, Thibeault purchased a Komatsu BR550 portable tracked crusher. A Komatsu PC400 excavator feeds the BR550 and the materials are stockpiled using a Komatsu WA450 loader. This crushing setup currently processes up to 1,200 yds. of material daily and produces a substantial savings to Thibeault. Instead of paying to have crushed rock hauled off site, Thibeault can use the material profitably on site by generating cash flow through its sale to area contractors and municipalities.
According to Detellis, the BR550’s reliability has been excellent. “We particularly appreciate the convenience of its remote control operations. We can move the crusher and set it back up in 15 to 20 minutes. It has really paid its way around here,” he added.
The other Komatsu iron also has been doing yeoman work for Thibeault. So much so that Detellis, a newcomer to Komatsu, has been impressed with its performance.
“I am relatively new to the Thibeault operation and my previous employer primarily used other brands of equipment. I have become very impressed with the Komatsu excavators — they’re smoother, faster and more fuel efficient than the machines that I have been previously exposed to,” said Detellis. “The Komatsu loaders are also fast and smooth, and around a rough, rocky site like this, we really appreciate the ride control. It takes most of the bounce out of the loader.
“The traction control has been great for our operators. Even a novice does not spin the machine. We have a brand new Komatsu WA320 on site with the hydrostatic operation. We really appreciate this machine’s setup. It’s a much smoother operation and the loader is much easier to control. What is also great is that within minutes we can switch from a bucket to forks, which is very convenient when you are doing utility work,” Detellis said.
What else has been helping Thibeault profitably do this project is the company’s fuel truck, which it recently purchased so that it could refill equipment at its various job sites across New England. And according to Detellis, this has emancipated the company from the costly and time-consuming process of using an outside source for fuel.
“Previously, we were a slave to an outside fuel supplier,” he said. “At the end of the day, we would have to gather up all of our equipment for re-fueling, which would tie up a few employees for a couple of hours. Now the fuel is delivered based on our schedule, not on our fuel supplier’s schedule, and the overall time savings have been significant.”
If equipment breaks down, Thibeault has that covered, too, because it owns and operates a fleet of field maintenance trucks, which are fully equipped with all necessary fluids and filters and with hose reels that allow for easy application. By using these field trucks Thibeault handles all of their own scheduled site services.
Founded in 1983 by Ernie J. Thibeault as a trucking company called E.J.’s Trucking, Thibeault Corp. is now one of New England’s largest construction companies — currently working on 10 other construction sites throughout northern New England.
In addition to doing large site and demolition jobs, the company operates several sand and gravel pits and quarries and is a major supplier of aggregate materials in southern New Hampshire and northern Massachusetts. Thibeault Corporation also is involved in equipment sales and rentals and in real estate development in both commercial and residential areas.
Currently, Thibeault Corporation owns more than 200 pieces of excavating equipment and 45 Western Star dual and tri-axle dump trucks. The company has more than 200 employees and combined with all of its related entities, its annual sales exceed $120 million.