August 2015

Across North America: Project. Safety. Success.

Precision Precast Erectors and Local 14 Create Value through Safety Solutions

Precision Precast Erectors, LLC, headquartered in Worley, Idaho, and Local 14 (Spokane, Wash.) have a long history of labor/management cooperation and safety successes. The recently completed Davenport Grand Hotel in downtown Spokane proved to be no exception. The ironworkers of Local 14 successfully completed over 30,000 man-hours installing the precast concrete tower without any recordable injuries or lost-time incidents. Precision Precast and Local 14 safely installed over 16.1 million tons of concrete in a downtown environment while averaging an incredible 27 pieces per day! Overall the project is a huge credit to the Local 14 ironworkers, Precision Precast Erectors, LLC and the successful collaboration between business and government.

The city of Spokane was looking for a way to draw more convention business to their city, and had an opportunity to leverage federal funds to expand the current convention center. There was only one catch, a new hotel had to be developed within walking distance of the expanded convention center. Walt Worthy, the hotel owner, is a believer in Precision Precast and the Iron Workers. He convinced the city officials his ambitious plan had merit to downtown Spokane. The proposal was to take an entire city block and redevelop it for new retail space, a 5-story post-tensioned parking garage, and a 17-story, 700-room luxury convention hotel that would change the skyline of downtown Spokane. Lou and Denny LaVe, owners of Precision Precast Erectors, LLC, were contracted to erect over 4,600 structural precast members and were intimately involved in the planning and scheduling. The project broke ground in November of 2013 and all the deep underground and cast in place shear walls were completed by February 2014. A Linkbelt 278 300-ton crawler was mobilized to the site along with a crew of Local 14’s best and brightest ironworkers, led by general foreman Shad McDaniel and foremen Brice Ingwaldson and Zack Neal. 

With the initial phase of construction, the project quickly started to take shape involving an intricate build-out of the ballroom and meeting spaces. Three-story columns with minimal tolerance were set, followed by precast beams and hollow core planks. After the hotel elevator shafts were completed to the fourth floor, the crew in-filled the ballroom bays with columns, beams, load bearing spandrels, hollow core planks and a double-tee roof. Lou LaVe worked hand-in-hand with the design team and ironworkers to create the site safety plan and procedure for walking the crane out of the hole. The Iron Worker crew had to terrace the ramp to allow the 105-foot, 135,000-pound beams to be placed inside the safe working radius of the crane. Erection of the lower portion of the building was completed in June 2014 without any safety incidents.

After completing the lower portion of the building, the crane was reconfigured to have 220 feet of main boom and 200 feet of Luffing jib. Once assembled, the crane mats were placed and the crane moved into position to attack the tower. Cory Dawson, Local 14 raising gang foreman, quickly took charge of the connectors and bracing crew. Caleb Wohletz, Local 14 qualified rigger, was responsible for the staging of loads and rigging precast members on the ground. The crew quickly went up to 15 ironworkers total and Precision Precast supplied the ironworkers to install all the precast and miscellaneous iron. The entire erection crew was made up of IRONWORKERS! No carpenters, operating engineers or surveyors were needed during the erection phase of the building. All of the controls, layout and instrumentation were performed by IRONWORKERS. It remains a testimony to the skill and professionalism of Precision Precast and the ironworkers of Local 14.

Several key tasks were added to the installation procedure to increase safety. Lift loops on floors were painted orange and were designated for anchorage points for fall arrest systems. The general contractor fabricated temporary handrails, and the ironworkers installed them on the ground on all perimeter floor pieces. The goal of the site-specific safety plan was to identify potential fall hazards and work locations where the ironworkers would need to be protected. Precision Precast substantially completed the project in October 2014. Production went as high as 51 pieces installed in a single day. Shad McDaniel worked hard with Cory Dawson and Zack Neal to get their Iron Worker crews synchronized and highly efficient during the erection of all structural precast members. The teamwork completing 30,000 man-hours of precast concrete erection without any recordable injuries or lost-time incidents was an outstanding safety result. Congratulation to Precision Precast Erectors, LLC and Local 14 members for demonstrating that all phases of precast concrete erection can be safely and solely erected by union ironworkers!

Local 14 ironworkers who erected this complex precast concrete structure without any incidents are pictured below. Front: Devin Barnett, apprentice; Dave Roragan, journeyman wire welder; Mark Johnson, journeyman wire welder, Johnny Morris, BA, Local 14; Lou LaVe’, owner, PPE; Doug Burkhousin, journeyman wire welder; Zack Neil, journeyman miscellaneous foreman; and Karson Neil, apprentice. Back: Brice Ingwaldson, journeyman foreman; Bill Mayer, office manager; Ben Smalle, crane operator; Shad McDaniels, journeyman general foreman; Dave Stommes, journeyman welding foreman; Rick Poor, journeyman miscellaneous foreman; and Elijah Boxley, assistant office manager.



Olson Steel and Local 377 Erect Complex Project with Zero Recordable Incidents

Olson Steel is a union steel fabricator and steel erection company headquartered in San Leandro, California, servicing the construction industry for over 60 years. Ironworkers from Local 377 (San Francisco), Local 378 (Oakland, Calif.) and Local 790 (San Francisco), specialize in fabricating and erecting complex structures, such as the new station for the Milpitas Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) system. The project worked 19,460 union ironworker hours with zero ironworker recordable incidents. The vision of Dave Olson and Dylan Olson for Olson Steel is to be recognized by employees, clients and the ironworking industry as the premier provider of safe, quality, value-added fabrication, steel erection and specialty service in Northern California.



Rebar International, Inc. Ironworkers: Local 377 & Local 378 Achieve 2 Million Man-Hours without a Lost-Time Incident

Rebar International, Inc., based in Seattle, under the leadership of President Jodie Yount, California’s General Manager Chris Lloyd, Operations Manager Greg Slavit, Superintendent Steve Sandy and Safety Director Dave Otey has completed another milestone of outstanding work and safety performance at the Skanska, Shimmick, Herzog JV, BART Silicon Valley Extension project. Rebar International’s Northern California’s Iron Worker Foremen Martin Batres, Ernesto Rodriguez, Jason Jobe, Jesus Ramos, Joe Merritt, Mario Enriquez, Adam Youree and Cruz Gonzalez and their crews, have worked with zero recordable injuries and surpassed over 2 million man-hours without a lost-time accident. Within the construction industry, reaching 2 milliion man-hours without a lost time accident over 1,226 crew days is very rare! General Manager Mike Cadle, Superintendent Kevin Stillman, Estimating/Sales Manager Adam Swenson, Foremen Jamie Gibbs, Shawn Christensen, Steve Daffer, Vance Safely, Charles Guy, Mason Powers, Pat Strong and Jason Maddox have completed two years without a lost-time accident and only one recordable. Rebar International’s commitment to excellence is apparent within all of the company’s aspects of business, starting with the owners Jodie Yount, Jamie Odren and Jennifer Yount. Being on time, on budget and committed to operating a safe environment and workforce is very important. Coming along side your team, through thick or thin, is what makes the difference and impacts those who put their boots on the ground every day, day in and day out! Team Rebar International believes, “Without labor there is no need for management; the most important person on this chain, is those who get up every day, put their boots on and make it happen, safer, better and on time!

Meet the California/Pacific Northwest Rebar International Inc. Team:
• President Jodie Yount, Local 86 (Seattle)
• General Manager Chris Lloyd, Local 86 (Seattle)
• California Operations Manager Greg Slavit, Local 378 (Oakland, Calif.) 
• California Superintendent Steve Sandy, Local 378 (Oakland, Calif.)
• California Sales Manager Chris Carvajal, Local 378 (Oakland, Calif.)
• California Project Manager Justyn Scholze
• Safety Director Dave Otey, Local 229 (San Diego)
• Pacific Northwest General Manager Mike Cadle, Local 86 (Seattle)
• Pacific Northwest Superintendent Kevin Stillman, Local 86 (Seattle)
• Pacific Northwest Estimating/Sales Manager Adam Swenson



Armtec and Local 805 Team-Up for Safety Advancements

Armtec is one of Canada’s largest manufacturers, producing an array of architectural and structural precast, pre-stressed concrete products from highly engineered structural components for bridges, building envelopes and parking structures. Armtec management, Local 805 (Calgary, Alberta) representatives and the Iron Workers International met recently to review and discuss safety and health issues relating to the working environment at the Armtec facility at 4300-50th Avenue in Calgary, Alberta. Working together in partnership and increasing communication between the members and management creates positive relationships. The practice of See Something! Say Something! provides opportunity for feedback from the ironworker to management in the effort to improve equipment operation, safe work practices and procedures, and increased training for safer, more productive work tasks and activities.

Recently, safety improvements were made to a reinforcing bending machine critical to production at Armtec as a result of direct feedback from machine operators and maintenance staff. In order to provide an extra measure of safety while fabricating from longer stock lengths, maintenance installed additional shut-off devices and remote foot pedals to increase safe working distance from bending table for operator.



Waiward Steel Fabricators Ltd. Celebrates Achieving 1 Million Hours Without a Lost-Time Incident

Reaching the significant milestone of 1 million man-hours without a lost-time incident (LTI) is the result of Waiward’s employee led approach to hazard prevention, and reflects the company’s commitment to setting higher safety standards. Terry Degner, president, recognized Waiward’s company-wide efforts to improve safety practices, saying, “In recent years, we’ve introduced several new policies and procedures to ensure safety is firmly embedded with our culture. Our aim was to take safety beyond checking boxes and into the hearts and minds of our employees – and I’d like to thank each and every one of you for stepping up to help us achieve this.”

Waiward has focused on implementing robust safety policies and procedures to protect its employees. This includes the introduction of its competency-based program, which provides a benchmark for measuring performance among trades people and helps to keep employees safe. In addition, Waiward’s employees are offered every opportunity to participate in the decisions affecting their safety, which in turn empowers employees at all levels to shape the company’s approach to safety. The Iron Workers are proud to have members of Local 805 (Calgary, Alberta) and Local 720 (Edmonton, Alberta) working at the Edmonton facility and for being part of the milestone achievement.

Bill Mercer, business manager, Local 805 states, “Waiward Steel employs our members to perform shop fabrication and to be regarded as the “best in class” professionals in the steel fabrication industry. To meet the market place demands, working safely is inclusive of production and quality performance.”



Harnessing Energy at the Muskrat Falls Hydroelectric Generating Facility in Newfoundland & Labrador, Canada

Constructing an 824-megawatt (MW) hydroelectric dam on the lower Churchill River in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada requires careful and extensive planning. The facility consists of two dams, a spillway and a powerhouse, and will be the second-largest hydroelectric facility in the province when complete.

Consistent with industry best practice, Nalcor Energy used a front-end loading approach in the project’s planning and early design stages. Through early engineering and site preparation work, Nalcor’s project team increased the quality and accuracy of the development plans for Muskrat Falls. The process also addressed and mitigated many risks that could arise during construction.

Working with Nalcor was three of North America’s largest turbine generator engineering firms to design, model and test the four turbines for the facility. According to these companies, the turbine efficiency at Muskrat Falls will be the highest ever obtained in North America. 

AGF Steel NL obtained a contract from Astaldi Canada, for the engineering, detailing and placing on this major project requiring 27,000 metric tons of reinforcing steel. Ironworker workforce projections will be approximately 250 plus at peak demand. Nicolas Stein is at the helm of the jobsite and manages the construction for AGF Steel NL. He is assisted by Michel Claveau, general superintendent who coordinates field operations and Jean-Guy Loubert, chief detailer, who coordinates drawing production and steel deliveries to the site. 

The remote location, harsh winter conditions, hiring of local labour, prevention requirements, technical complexity and anticipated peak periods are all challenges requiring the support of every service in the group, especially health and safety and human resources. Local 764 (St. John’s, Newfoundland) has risen to the challenge of training additional local Innu people to supplement its member and travel card workforce.

A face-to-face interaction with Iron Worker members proved to be a fantastic approach to dialog about the pride of being involved with the project along with the challenges day to day.

Following their shifts, members gathered into the camp facilities’ 60-seat theatre as Jeff Norris led a number of safety presentations entitled, “There IS a Better Way.” Topics included self-motivation, promotion of the See Something! Say Something! program, hazard identification, risk tolerance and engaging conversation regarding topics around safety and health on the project. Patrick Farley, project manager with AGF Group supports this project with the company’s adage, “Accident prevention is the cornerstone of our safety program. AGF Group and all its divisions encourage the promotion of safe behavior and the elimination of dangers at the source. Management and workers should work with an eye to cooperation and consultation.”

Special thanks to Desmond Tranquilla of the project management team and Dave Hollett, labour relations representative for accommodating a site visitation by Jacques Dubois, president of the Eastern District Council, Fred Woodford, Local 764 representative and Jeff Norris, Canadian safety coordinator.



Breathe Easy at the Iron Workers Local 764 Training Center in Mt. Pearl, Newfoundland

The Iron Workers Local 764 (St. John’s, Newfoundland) training center opened in October 2014. Incorporated in its design is a state-of-the-art air filtration system inside the welder test facility. The system was custom fabricated by Diversitech Industries and is designed to capture over 99 percent of airborne particulate in the shop environment and recirculate the cleaned air within the facility, helping keep energy costs lower. The facility incorporates the use of three portable air filtration units to be used when cutting and when welding operations are being performed around the two additional shop areas. The use of both systems maintains a clear and healthy work environment for all the employees and members.