Construction in the Fall

The temperatures have dropped as we transition from summer to fall. Fewer construction crews are seen on the road as we await the upcoming frigid winter. Building in the fall may seem counterproductive because of the colder weather, but it is actually a great time to start your building projects. Costs may be lower and the weather is mild.

 

Weather

The mild weather in the fall is ideal for working outside. The temperatures are not scorching nor are they too cold just yet. Unlike other seasons where the threat of thunderstorms or other severe weather patterns loom large, there typically won’t be full days lost while waiting for the weather to clear in the fall months.

 

Ground Projects

Fall is the ideal time for foundation and excavation projects because the soil is dry. This allows contractors to easily remove roots and weeds that could be problematic in your foundation down the road if not removed.

 

Increased Productivity

The cooler temperatures are also much easier to work in. There may be fewer daylight hours, but the hot summer sun can be both exhausting and daunting. Crews can typically work more efficiently during the fall because of this.

 

Cheaper Materials

Demand isn’t nearly as high in the fall. Because of this, building materials may be cheaper. You can really take advantage of this if you are working on multiple building projects.

 

Quick Permits

You will find that obtaining permits for fall building projects is typically faster. Local government agencies that provide permits are not as busy as they are during the summer months, so you’ll likely receive the go ahead to proceed with your project quicker than you would in the summer months.

 

 

We are happy to work on all your fall building projects.

History of Cranes

Did you know that Landwehr Construction has been in business for 125 years? We began providing Minnesota and the surrounding areas with crane service beginning in the 1950s. In the last seven decades, cranes and their capabilities have certainly changed. Let’s learn a little more about their origins.

 

Origins

The idea for cranes dates back to 1500 BC when the ancient Mesopotamians used compound pulley systems. These pulley systems were used to lift equipment as large as an entire warship. The systems relied on manpower or donkeys, which could be considered a pitfall in itself, as the process was slow and stationary. Eventually, capstans and winches were used. As the use of gears increased, there was a natural move toward crane development. The ancient Greeks are credited with inventing cranes in 515 BC, but research shows that some of the crane types being used by the ancient Romans were more effective.

 

Early Cranes

Treadwheel cranes were introduced in 1225. Harbor cranes were used as early as 1244. Windlasses powered the cranes, where they were predominantly used in harbors and at mining and building sites.

 

Hydraulic Cranes

Not until the 15th century was hydraulic technology considered for crane use. Prior to that, cranes were hand-powered, despite the fact that hydraulic technology was being used in other areas (water wheels, irrigation systems).  Cranes were made with iron in the 19th century and quickly started utilizing steam power instead of hand-power. The hydraulic cranes of today are much more sophisticated than those in the 19th century. Specifications and materials have improved and cranes can take on larger capacities.

 

Modern Cranes

The cranes today are highly specialized, including railway road cranes, mobile cranes, telescopic cranes, tower cranes, rough terrain cranes, crawler cranes, and truck mounted cranes. Load capacities are high and booms extend up to hundreds of feet.

 

While Landwehr Construction may have started with just a few small truck cranes, we’ve certainly grown exponentially in the years since. We are happy to offer our clients a fleet of over thirty cranes, including rough terrain and all terrain cranes, and the powerhouse AC 350. Learn more about what we have to offer!

 

Assessing Soil Quality

So you’re ready to start a new project? It’s time to start digging and planting, right? Wrong! There are a few steps you have to take before you can start your project, and one of those things is assessing soil quality.

 

Soil assessment and soil correction—what are they?

Soil assessment is the acting of matching the quality of the soil and its properties to the specific use of the soil. This is most often practiced for agricultural land that will be used to grow crops, but there are other industries where soil assessment is required too.

 

Soil correction is the process of cleaning, clearing, removing, and/or remediating soil that is not suitable for the property or industry that is being developed. If, after a soil assessment, the soil properties do not meet the requirements of what the land will be used for, it will need to be corrected.

 

How is it measured?

It is difficult to specifically measure the quality of the soil, so indicators of soil health are used. Experts measure how well the soil is performing using chemical, biological, and physical indicators. Both qualitative or quantitative measures can be used. Measurements are taken at different times and observed for patterns. One soil health is determined, the process of correcting the soil can begin.

 

How is it corrected?

Soil can be corrected using a variety of methods. Oftentimes, the soil pH (the soil’s acidity or alkalinity) needs to be adjusted. Professionals may lime the soil to neutralize its acidity and make it suitable for the use of the land. On the end of the spectrum, the acidity of the soil may need to be raised to suit the crops being grown. Is soil has been contaminated, it may need to be removed entirely.

 

Why?

The process of determining a soil’s health and then correcting it is an important process because crops will not grow if the soil is not suitable. Depending on how acidic or alkaline the soil is, plants may not be able to absorb the nutrients they need.

 

 

At Landwehr Construction based in St. Cloud, Minnesota, we are happy to work on your soil assessment and soil correction projects.

Repairing Site Foundations

Foundation

What happens when your building or home has a faulty foundation? There are a few common signs that will let you know that there are problems with your foundation. You may see cracks or other types of fractures, there could be settling, sinking, or even upheaval with sagging and uneven floors. You may notice doors don’t open and close like they should, and there may even be gaps around the doors or windows. At Landwehr Construction, we are happy to fix your foundation or build a new foundation for your project.

 

Foundation repair depends largely upon what type of building you are in and the land it sits on. Foundation repair used to consist of simply using concrete, but the last few decades have welcomed several new options for foundation repair that have revolutionized the process. Newer options include:

 

  • Steel piers
  • Helical piers
  • Concrete piers
  • Segmented piers
  • Spot piers
  • High-density polyurethane foam

 

Each of these options offers different advantages and price ranges. The installation of steel piers is technical and data-driven, but it does not disturb the environment around it too much and can be completed more quickly than other methods. Helical piers are great because they can be used for new construction or for repairing foundations; they are very versatile. Concrete piers can also be used for new builds or for foundation repairs. High-density polyurethane foam is a great option if you are looking for a quick, affordable repair. Spot piers are great for smaller builds, like porches.

 

At Landwehr Construction, we can provide installation, engineering, and design-build options for your foundation repairs and new construction projects. We utilize helical anchors and piers, soil screws, and tiebacks for soil stabilization projects and deep foundation systems. We can even implement these methods on temporary structural stability projects. We use state-of-the-art equipment that helps us get the job done safely and efficiently.

 

We take on projects of all sizes. Contact us to learn more.

 

Operating Your Crane in Extreme Temperatures and Weather

Whether it’s extremely cold out or hot out, it’s important to take special care with your crane. Cranes are incredibly powerful, which means that if something goes wrong with them due to extreme temperatures, they can do some serious damage. You need to be aware of extreme weather conditions all year round—whether it’s snow, hail, wind, rain, or extreme temperatures—so you can keep your employees safe and your crane in good working order.

 

Rain and Lightning

Now that we’re in the middle of summer, you can expect plenty of heavy rain and thunderstorms. Lightning poses a major risk, as cranes that are high up in the air have an increased risk of being struck. Once you hear thunder, you can expect that lightning isn’t far behind, and you should turn off all electrical power and lower the boom. Everyone should get to safety for the duration of the storm. When the lightning ends, that doesn’t mean you can go back to work immediately. Check for damage to the crane first. If the crane was struck by lightning, the high temperature can cause the rope to melt, so it will need to be fixed prior to resuming work. You must also consider that heavy rain can infiltrate different parts of the crane and cause a whole slew of other problems, especially if water gets into the clutch or the brakes. It’s best to take cover and shelter the crane during heavy rain, if possible. Lost time can be lost money, but safety should take precedence.

 

Wind

Extreme winds can be just another symptom of a thunderstorm, but they can also sneak up on you when the skies are clear. Wind is possibly the most damaging element for a crane to withstand. It can make the crane’s load swing. Not only does this put extra strain on the crane, the load can be dropped. Depending on where the wind hits the crane, it can cause problems with backward or forward stability. Every crane has a wind rating, but a good rule of thumb is to avoid operating your crane if the wind speed is at 20 miles per hour or higher.

 

Hot Temperatures

Heat may not be as dangerous for your crane as say, wind, but it can cause issues with your crane’s seals. If a seal breaks, parts can break. Dust is common when it’s hotter out, and dust can infiltrate your filters. To combat this, clean and lubricate your crane’s parts regularly. If possible, try to keep your crane out of direct sunlight on scorching hot days.

 

Cold Temperatures

Cold temperatures can be a major problem for crane operators, even causing the crane to fail entirely. The overhead hydraulic system can have problems depending on the weight of the load. You will need to take extra precautions in extreme cold. Consider adding cold weather finish, using conductor bars, and purchasing a cold-weather motor. You will also want to be wary of ice and snow.

 

 

If you encounter any of these weather patterns while working, follow these guidelines for safety and any applicable company policies.

 

Working Safely in the Heat

The temperatures have been rising to make it an uncomfortably hot summer. For the people that work outside in the heat—we’re talking to you, construction workers—it can be especially difficult. While many people work safely in their air-conditioned offices or homes, construction workers have to endure the elements. If you don’t follow safe practices, the risk for heat stroke and other heat-related disorders rises quickly. Here are a few tips to stay safe in the heat:

 

Stay Hydrated

This is the most common-sense tip on the list, but staying hydrated is of the utmost importance while working in the heat. Not only should you take a break at least a few times an hour to drink water, you should make sure you drink a glass or two of water before you begin the work day. Make sure you aren’t relying on liquids that can easily dehydrate you, like caffeinated beverages and alcohol.

 

Take Breaks

You should take breaks to drink water, but you also need to take breaks to get out of the sun. If you can’t go into an air-conditioned place, at least get in the shade.

 

Pace Yourself

Your job is naturally very physical, but don’t overwork yourself. Work at a safe pace so you don’t overdo it, get sick, and make a mistake.

 

Wear Protective Clothing

The clothing you wear can have a big impact on how well you do working in the heat. Wear loose, light-colored, clothing that is lightweight. If it is moisture-wicking, that’s a nice bonus. You don’t want to wear anything super dark that will attract the sun. Carry a damp rag with you if you can to place around your neck and wipe your face.

 

Use Sunscreen

This one is a no-brainer. Wear sunscreen and apply it regularly to avoid nasty sunburns and sun damage.

 

Do you have any tips to add to the list? Let us know!

What Crane Do I Need for My Job?

Cranes For Road Construction

When it comes to your project, crane size and type matters. You can’t just choose any old crane to complete your project. There are a variety of different cranes in different sizes, including tower, crawler, all terrain, and boom trucks. The type and size of your project, as well as the condition of your site plays a major role in choosing the right crane for the job.

 

Weight Requirements

Before you can choose the right crane for the job, you should have a clear understanding of how much you’ll need to lift and haul. You can easily narrow down your list of options once you know how much weight you’ll need to lift. Load charts will help you understand all you need to know about the crane, from its capabilities to its structure and dimensions. This includes boom length and weight capacity. You’ll need to determine gross capacity and calculate maximum lift within a given radius. Calculating these numbers will ensure that you choose a crane that has enough capacity and will fit in your job site.

 

Transportation

Next, you need to figure out how the crane is getting to your jobsite. Some cranes are mobile and some may need to be hauled on a trailer. You may overlook this detail, but it’s a critical one. You must consider that there are city and state laws requiring permits to transport cranes and heavy equipment. In order to get the crane to your site, you may have to go through hoops to avoid roads that are insufficient in allowing heavy equipment to pass through. At Landwehr Construction, we offer a crane taxiing service; we will bring the crane to you to make the process easier for you.

 

Jobsite

Before you make your final decision, you need to think about what your construction site looks like. Consider both its condition and terrain. This includes weather and spatial constraints. Is the ground level? Does it rain in the area all the time? Is there minimal space? When you take these factors into consideration, you’ll be able to decide between a rough terrain crane, an all-terrain crane, a mini-crane, or something else entirely.

 

 

At Landwehr Construction, we have a fleet of over 30 cranes, including the powerhouse AC 350 designed for all terrains. We can lift from 30 to 400 tons and our boom/jib lengths reach up to 415 feet. Contact us for more information.

Environmental Remediation

When doing a site assessment, a contractor may notice that there are contaminants within the earth, whether that’s the soil or sediment, or the surface water or groundwater. Part of a contractor’s job is to help protect human health and help to restore the environment—or at the very least, avoid contaminating it further. Environmental remediation consists of removing this pollution to avoid the spread of contaminants to surrounding communities and the threat to public health.

 

Taking care of the environment now is a way to sustain it for future generations. That’s why environmental remediation is so important. And it’s not just important for the environment, but for the people in surrounding communities. If groundwater is contaminated, that can have serious consequences for residents in the area.

 

There are a variety of methods for cleaning up chemical or toxic spills and oftentimes it’s dependent upon the contaminant and the site itself. There is typically no quick solution. Remediation technologies are categorized into ex-situ and in-situ methods. Ex-situ consists of excavating contaminated soil and removing contaminated water, and then treating the surface. On the other hand, in-situ methods aim to treat the soil or water without removing it. Examples of ex-situ methods include the disposal of affected soil to a landfill and pumping and treating the water. In-situ methods include solidification and stabilization, soil vapor extraction, permeable reactive barriers, monitored natural attenuation, bioremediation-phytoremediation, chemical oxidation, steam-enhanced extraction, and thermal desorption.

 

The solution must a be a safe one that does not cause more harm to the site itself. For instance, one of the methods for environmental remediation involving increased radiation levels consists of evacuation or site isolation. If the site naturally has higher radiation levels, evacuating it may do more harm than good by ruining an ecosystem.

 

Environmental remediation is typically subject to a number of regulatory requirements. At Landwehr Construction, we work closely with the appropriate regulatory agencies to make sure your project is done right and done safely and efficiently.

Beginning Your Next Excavation Project

Are you ready to begin your next excavation project? Perhaps you are building a house or a new building for your business, or you’d like to build a basement or a multi-layered parking lot. There are necessary precautions that need to be accounted for before you start your excavation project.

 

Season

It’s important you time your excavation project properly so that you don’t do it too soon in the season or too late. It all depends on how cold the ground is. Most individuals reserve their excavation projects for summer or late spring at the earliest. During the fall, the ground begins to freeze. Winter is out of the question. It can be a bad idea to complete an excavation project when the ground is cold, because the ground is harder and digging is especially difficult.

 

If your project can’t wait, there are some specific methods you can try, such as hydro-excavation. This process utilizes high pressure water to dig through frozen soil.

 

Check your Surroundings

You can’t simply start excavating; you have to check your surroundings first. You will need to speak directly to utility operators to ensure that your excavation project doesn’t hit or damage utility lines. Before you begin, you’ll want to mark where underground utilities run. You should also pay attention to where your trees, plants, and other shrubs have planted roots. You could be in for quite the project if you hit a tree root that has been growing for decades.

 

Avoid Cave-Ins

There are regulations you must follow depending on how far you dig. You need an exit in case of a cave-in. Cave-ins can happen because of the soil quality and weather conditions. They can also happen if excavation equipment is too close to the edge.

Leave it to the Experts

If you are concerned about taking an excavation project on yourself, it’s best to call in the experts. Landwehr Construction can take care of the entire process from start to finish. We can manage the estimating, budgeting, and project management process entirely in-house. Our employees are certified and highly skilled. We’d love to be your one-stop contractor.

Investing in Renewable Energy

Renewable energy is immensely important, especially with the position our world is in today. Renewable energy comes from abundant, natural resources. These resources replenish themselves over a period of time, and they do not deplete the earth’s resources like non-renewable energy (coal, nuclear, etc). Landwehr Construction is proud to drive clean energy. Renewable energy is not only beneficial for our climate, it is good for our health and our economy.

 

Did you know that electricity is the number source of greenhouse gases? Combine the greenhouse gases produced from driving and flying, and electricity still produces more greenhouse gases. Investing in renewable energy is one of the best ways you can reduce your environmental footprint. Clean energy has countless benefits, including:

 

  • Reduction in smog
  • Reduction in toxic buildups
  • Lowers the impact of coal mining and gas extraction

 

There are countless ways you can lower your carbon footprint. For starters, you should begin by reducing your electricity usage. One of the best ways to do that is by being mindful of how much energy you may be wasting. You should also use energy efficient lighting. The investment in renewable energy is the next step. There are several forms of renewable energy sources. We can garner energy from the sun, wind, and thermal energy within the earth’s core. The best part is that these renewable sources do little, if any, damage to the environment—unlike their nonrenewable counterparts.

 

Landwehr Construction is a member of The Minnesota Solar Energy Industries Association (MnSEIA). Solar energy doesn’t product any pollution and it is one of the most affordable forms of renewable electricity resources. Many households are taking advantage of it because it is affordable and planet-friendly. Not only that, but solar energy is a low-maintenance solution. With no moving points that need to be broken down, you won’t have to worry about maintenance costs.

 

Our team is happy to consult with you about taking advantage of solar energy. We can operate anywhere in the United States to bring solar energy to you and continue the drive toward clean energy for everyone. With a heavier reliance on clean energy, we won’t need to rely on nonrenewable sources that contribute to a deteriorating environment.