By Jeff Eriks, Cambridge Companies
I hear it all the time:
I will get an architect to design my transfer station, and then it will be easy to find anyone to build it.
I’m here to tell you it’s not that simple. Some people think these facilities are just concrete and steel—they can’t be that difficult to build. Right? Well, there are myriad factors that come into play during construction where the intent of the design just can’t be made clear enough. During these times, experienced and knowledgeable professionals must take the lead.
The Tipping Floor
While many people think the tipping floor is just a concrete floor with rebar, much more goes into the design and the makeup of the concrete itself. I would venture to say 99 percent of the architect and engineering firms out there don’t know how to design a tipping floor to withstand the abuse it takes daily. Typically, 99 percent of contractors don’t understand how to pour the concrete or place the rebar. Using a general contracting firm to design or build transfer stations, a tipping floor installed by inexperienced contractors will likely wear down too fast (sometimes within three to seven years) and cost a lot of money in inefficiencies and repairs over the life of the facility. By contrast, a proper concrete mix design can keep tipping floors intact for over 15 years without the need for repairs.
In terms of pouring the floor, the contractor must have experience with the right mix to do it correctly. Contractors must understand the following:
- How many control joints should get placed and where
- Why the floor should slope a certain way
- How the rebar needs to get placed
- Why testing is required, and how many tests are necessary for the mix during placement.
- How to cure the floor to limit stress cracks
- And various other considerations.
With all these job-specific requirements, relying on a building team that specializes in transfer station construction or other similar types of jobs is critical.