Silvi Concrete, headquartered in Fairless Hills, Pa., is in the midst of doing what many in the concrete business claimed couldn’t be done: Deliver premium concrete pavement parking lots at an initial installation cost comparable to asphalt.
The track record over the past six months is turning heads and Silvi Concrete is leading the way. Concrete parking lots should be a top priority for all ready-mix producers throughout the country in 2014. The ready-mix business tends to be reactionary in nature. We wait for someone to call our company when he needs concrete. This needs to change. The parking lot market is an untapped resource for ready-mix producers nationwide.
What is Silvi Concrete doing differently? Bridging the concrete pavement knowledge and automation gap, job by job and for each owner, general contractor, engineer, and concrete contractor. It doesn’t stop there, though. Silvi stays involved during the entire process from initial discussions to final installation.
The first conversion
Here is how it worked on a recent project: Silvi approached the owner of Campbell Freight who was in the middle of building an 80,000-square-foot facility in South Brunswick along the busy corridor of the New Jersey Turnpike. Silvi asked if it could submit a bid package for a concrete parking lot to compete with the asphalt lot Campbell Freight had specified. The building was design/build, so it allowed for value engineering as the project progressed. Campbell Freight wanted the best product it could get for its money—they wanted concrete but thought it wasn’t financially feasible.
It was Silvi’s job to show that they were wrong. Silvi reviewed the drawings, and made the apples-to-apples conversion to do the job in concrete. The initial specification called for 4 inches of dense grade aggregate (DGA), a 2.5-inch asphalt base course, and a 1.5-inch asphalt surface course. The concrete conversion was 4 inches of DGA and 4 inches of concrete.
A portion of the project required a heavier-duty pavement. The initial design in asphalt called for 6 inches of DGA, a 3.5-inch base course, and a 1.5-inch asphalt surface course. The concrete conversion was 5 inches of DGA and 6 inches of concrete. Even with these numbers, the concrete package was overdesigned compared to asphalt. This was an easy concept for the owner, general contractor, and engineer to understand and sign off on. The proposed mix design was 4000-psi air-entrained concrete with a midrange water-reducer and a 467-stone blend.
During the process, I absorbed myself with all things concrete paving. I used NRMCA’s Design Assistance Program (DAP), took NRMCA’s concrete pavement online classes, and studied ACI 330R-08, Guide for Design and Construction of Concrete Parking Lots, and ACI 330.1-03, Specification for Unreinforced Concrete Parking Lots. All of this made me the go-to person on converting parking lots to concrete. With this guidance, the concrete contractor submitted a bid and was awarded the job.
The concrete parking lot had many construction advantages along with the strengths of the final product. During installation, the contractor used 3D grading for the fine grade. The fine grade and concrete pavement construction relied on computers for pinpoint accuracy. The 3D profiler/laser screed automates the very labor-intensive process of installation. It also allows for the concrete parking lot to have 3D contours for drainage. Silvi Concrete placed between 500 and 800 cubic yards of concrete per pour at up to 120 feet wide.
To dramatically reduce labor costs, the concrete contractor aimed to “touch” the concrete as little as possible. Once the 3-D laser screed placed the concrete to the desired elevation, it was followed by bull floating, and then a broom texture finish was applied via a kite method.
In the end, the Campbell Freight parking lot added more than 6000 cubic yards of concrete—the 2000-cubic-yard job became 8000 cubic yards.
It’s catching on
The general contractor on this project then on its own offered this value-added service to a client on its next project. The result was over 725,000 square feet of concrete pavement, which translated into 14,000 cubic yards of concrete. Even though that project was outside Silvi’s service area, it generated value for our fellow ready-mix producers that otherwise would not have been there, and it continued to build the case for concrete parking lots.
During the summer of 2013, Silvi Concrete was in the middle of a 2.3 million-square-foot Amazon warehouse in Robbinsville, N.J. Using the same techniques and bolstered with the success at Campbell Freight, Silvi convinced the owner and GC to change over 600,000 square feet of asphalt pavement to concrete. Again, the depth of the subgrade and pavement did not change to accommodate the concrete. That general contractor is now also going to use more than 1 million square feet of concrete pavement on its next 2014 project.
In less than six months, Silvi Concrete has converted and delivered more than 20,000 cubic yards and 1 million square feet of concrete pavement. That success indirectly helped add an additional 32,000 cubic yards and 1.7 million square feet of concrete pavement into the ready-mix industry outside of Silvi’s service area. Several other targets have been identified and are in the conversion process for 2014.
Zach Rich is Silvi Concrete’s New Jersey regional sales manager. Silvi Concrete is a member of the Silvi Group. Founded in 1946, the Silvi Group employs over 200 people and consists of ready-mixed concrete, mining, cement, and real estate. For more information, visit www.silvi.com.