Parksville, located on the eastern shores of Vancouver Island, awarded a contract for 439 meters of boardwalk along the ocean front of its community park to SupErb Construction Ltd. of Nanaimo, BC.
SupErb Construction, founded in 1981 by Chris Erb of Nanaimo BC, constructs residential, commercial and civil projects.
Chris has been involved in environmental construction long before it became fashionable, being an EnviroHome Canada Builder, R-2000 Builder and a BuiltGreen BC Builder. SupErb Construction is the island's biggest user of Fastfoot®, the environmental concrete form. "I continually point out the advantages of Fastfoot® to other contractors, but they won't change", said Chris. "I don't understand their reluctance to try something new, less expensive and better for the environment."
The wooden boardwalk requires pairs of concrete support piers spaced 4.9 meters apart in width and 3 meters on centre in length. Each steel reinforced support pier was 30" in diameter and 21" in height. A galvanized steel saddle embedded in the concrete supports an 8" x 8" wooden beam between each pair of piers, and 4" x 10" beams 24" on centre run between each cross beam to support 3" x 8" cedar decking.
Chris knew the competition for the contract would be tight. All contractors would price out 30" diameter cardboard tubes from the same suppliers. And the concrete, steel reinforcing, and lumber would also be competitively priced. To win, Chris had to come up with an innovative solution that would save time, money and meet the City's environmental values.
Chris contacted Fab-Form to see if a fabric form was available for the 30" diameter by 21" high columns.
Fab-Form suggested a new product 'Fast-Tube™ Staked' where four stakes would be pre-installed on the outside of the fabric tube with a special folding template to accurately position each stake.
"We looked at the samples and knew this was an excellent solution", said Chris. "Doug Bennett, our site supervisor, set up the samples on sand, with install time under a minute. We had a real winner. With cardboard, we would have to fabricate the stakes and screw them to the tube, all this taking time."
"With Fast-Tube Staked™ we get a column and stakes that minimizes site labour. Furthermore, this time of year we get plenty of rain, so the logistics of protecting cardboard is a huge issue with 325 columns to pour. Finally we knew this would meet the environmental values of the City as the waste using fabric is 1/10 that of cardboard."
SupErb used a Bobcat® with a backhoe attachment to dig out a 4' wide and 21" deep trench. A stringline was used to locate rebar pins 3 meters on centre. "Installation was so fast, the Bobcat® couldn't keep up", said Doug. Rebar cages were set in the centre of each Fast-Tube™.
"Concrete placement was perfect", said Chris. "We vibrated each column without problem as the safety factor on the fabric was over 400%. Initially we checked the concrete height with a laser, but elevations were perfect with no movement in stakes nor fabric." After 30 minutes, Doug installed the galvanized saddles on top of each column. "Stripping took seconds", confirmed Doug, with the 1x2 stakes being saved for future projects.
All parties won: the City got a lower cost environmental boardwalk for it's citizens. SupErb increased its profit margins with a faster install, lower material, labour and disposal costs.