Placing A Custom Concrete Foundation – Custom Concrete – The CFA 2020 Commercial Project of the Year Award

The commercial and residential construction company Custom Concrete is a 50-year-old family business. In April 2019 they celebrated their fifth anniversary. For three generations, the company has mainly focused on residential foundations. A commercial department was added about eight years ago to further diversify the labor supply.

Six years later, it turned out to be an advantageous decision and became a stand-alone company within the Custom Concrete Roof. Including the subcontractors, the company has around 250 employees, around 50-55 of them in the commercial area.

One of the biggest challenges for Custom Concrete was the staff. They found a short-term solution by subcontracting more, but then realized that this is a double-edged sword: the subcontractors are also challenged in terms of personnel.

In addition, COVID. Although the deal could be classified as essential, like many other concrete companies around the country, they found that a number of customers did not. While they saw some stalled projects or some projects did not move forward at all, others stepped up and were able to change their strategy to take advantage of these opportunities when they passed. One tactic was to bid more aggressively – or more robustly. They pursued where they could, the opportunities in the commercial market like warehouses for Amazon and Walmart. The pandemic also provided an opportunity to build a laboratory for diagnostic equipment for COVID testing.

It is this commercial space that earned the company Concrete Foundations Association (CFA) recognition. His commercial project for Lafayette, Ind., Won the CFA Award for Project of the Year 2020 for Commercial Structures. Where they are typically known for foundations, this project got them to place a foundation of a different kind.

As described at

“Projects of the Year is a program that recognizes the combination of innovation, craftsmanship and creativity of the concrete manufacturer and the vision and creativity of the design professional. Projects submitted annually for this program represent the leading work in the breadth of in-situ concrete solutions produced by the association members. They demonstrate the technical challenges facing professional craftsmen across North America and continue to set a new standard for quality and technological performance for the in-situ concrete industry. ”

Additional CFA recognition programs include:

  • The Top Safety Awards: recognition of those who work for a safe job;
  • The Professional Achievement Awards: In recognition of professional achievement and the commitment of individuals, the winners are nominated by colleagues;
  • The Legacy Awards (Robert D. Sawyer Award and Lifetime Achievement Award): A special recognition for individuals who have made significant contributions to the industry;
  • The Contractor of the Year: Recognizing a contractor’s selfless commitment to peers, service, technology, and knowledge;
  • Associate of the Year: Honoring an individual National Associate Member for their commitment to the CFA;
  • Innovative Contractor of the Year: Recognizing a person or a company’s innovative ideas in the fields of construction, management, marketing, etc .;
  • Kickstart Member of the Year: Only awarded to members within the first three years of the CFA; and
  • Most Valuable Player: Recognition of hard work in research, pioneering spirit in poured concrete foundations.

Project submissions for 2021 are now possible with a deadline of April 30th.

Commercial project of the year

After all, Custom Concrete’s 2020 CFA Commercial Project of the Year was an insulation base for a stamping press for a large automobile factory. Imagine a stamp coming down on a raw piece of sheet steel to cut out a part as it requires so much volume and pressure that the foundation had to be isolated so as not to jolt the surrounding foundation every time.

Individual concrete

Here, Custom Concrete had to master its first challenge: All work had to be carried out indoors and during ongoing operations with active employees and processes. High safety standards had to be adhered to without interrupting production, which was a logistical challenge in order to reconcile productivity and safety. In addition to the limited interior space, there were bottlenecks in material and equipment. Everything you need to get in and out through a single access point to the location inside: a sectional door. A 100 by 50 foot. they were given a collaborative space, but even then that space was not always available. They installed a dust curtain with an air washer around the project itself (also about 30 x 50 feet) to contain particulates and emissions in the air.

Fast specifications

  • 1,146 square feet of floor space
  • 157.75 linear ft. Wall, 2.4 ft. Wall height with 12 in. And 16 in. Thicknesses
  • 602.75 cubic meters of concrete
  • 35 tons of steel reinforcement (70,000 lbs.)
  • 6 tons of reinforcing steel # 8 and # 10 and
  • 286 blocks of inertia

Essentially, imagine a swimming pool with a base that has a circumferential joint with foam insulation as a buffer. Contractors dug a 12-ft. Hole in the middle of the existing building next to the existing foundations and placed 300 cubic meters of 5,000 mixed concrete.

Most of the concrete had to be poured at once, but because of its 9 feet. Thickness (roughly) it was important to keep the temperature constant throughout so that it cured properly. The team used three battery operated sensors / thermometers in the concrete to track temperatures to make sure it cured if needed. The device is connected to a phone and synchronized via Wi-Fi to provide readings and the necessary data. They placed one on the lower tier, one in the middle, and one on the top to follow the curing through the entire panel.

A custom foundation depth planThe work required a high level of accuracy and the concreting was done in phases. The bottom pad was 24 inches. thick.Individual concrete

Plans had to be thought from the bottom up. Every step carefully planned. The foam was then poured onto the base to isolate the block from the rest of the facility. With 2x4s on top, the dowels required a certain amount of clearance to support the weight of the concrete – otherwise the plywood would break. Screws from the 2x4s held the dowels in place. After the seams were taped and a visqueen barrier was used to prevent the concrete from sticking to the plywood, the concrete was ready to be poured.

A custom foundation workplaceCustom foundationOne of the special specifications of the order was a vibration-isolating foam called Regufoam, which they had obtained from Unisorb and which itself required a 1.5-inch foam. Air gap. Quickly on their feet, they discovered a very clever solution to mastering this challenge – through the thickness of the form itself. Custom Concrete installs 3/4-inch. Plywood with 3/4-in. smooth dowels. After curing and removing the dowels and plywood, they had the gap space they needed. The experience was a learning curve but representatives from the Regufoam product were available to answer questions about the installation.


A Custom Foundation - Commercial Project of the YearIndividual concreteThe placement must be accurate. It was planned to place heavy machines at the location that had to be level with the rest of the work surface. Custom Concrete needed to cope with the pressure of weight and absorption in the Regufoam. This required exactly 5/8 in. Concrete must be laid higher than the finished floor.

Also, Custom Concrete had to get on its feet to get the heavy equipment down the 12 feet. deep project area (and then back out) as well as removing the smooth dowels themselves. The manufacturing customer allowed them to use an overhead crane.

You ended up hiring a subcontractor for the pump truck and pouring it during Christmas week. First they set up a pump inside, but later pedestrian traffic inside the building limited this efficiency. Outside, a pump truck with a Z-boom was set up and connected to the next pump through the overhead door – piggyback or daisy-chaining pumps – to get the material in place. The Z-Boom design allowed Custom Concrete to use a 30 meter pump that accommodated the small spacing.

A Custom Foundation - Commercial Project of the YearIndividual concreteAside from unique challenges, they actually ran ahead of schedule. In fact, they poured the actual base two weeks before the original plans. The deadline was the end of January and wanted to give the block a full 27-day cure.

Since the customer wanted to place heavy punching machines on it, there was no polishing. The only finish that was applied was a smooth finish and drilling to set the equipment anchors.

Aside from the need to install a foundation for a specific piece of equipment and follow precise specifications to ensure safety and a level floor, best of all, the entire project went without injury.

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