Slipform Contractors who are successful follow a simple but thorough plan for each job. After the bid has been won and the contract signed, the field personnel take over. They are responsible for fitting the job into their schedule, getting the materials needed, and doing the work as planned in the allotted time.
To start the process, the job plans must be re-examined. Identify what molds are needed and verify that the molds are already in stock or new molds need to be ordered. If the contractor has the molds, make sure they are in good condition, especially if they are used quite often. Check to make sure the drive way cutout works, the back of curb height is correct, rebar feeders are not plugged (if needed), has scab-on capability (if needed), and all hydraulic powered accessories work.
The plans should be checked for joint designs and spacing, reinforcement requirements, handicap ramp specs., and surface finish. Although most municipalities use state specs., this isn’t always the case. On highway jobs, roadway specs are different than bridge specifications, and when working in different states, you can be sure requirements will change.
A visit to the job site is a must primarily to avoid having the crew arrive ready to go and find that something hasn’t been completed, whether it is the grading, layout, or utilities. The best starting point needs to be figured out, considering smooth work flow, truck access, wash out locations, and local traffic management. For remove and replace jobs, a plan must be devised to get the local residents in and out of their driveways, before, during, and after each days’ pour.
If using string line, the job size will dictate when the line must be set, whether it is the day of the pour or before. This is a good second check on the job being ready. The subgrade can be checked as the string is set. Also, layout for driveways, inlets, or any reverse pitch gutter (wet/dry) should be clearly marked.
The machine should be on site early enough to allow time to get the mold attached and the position of the vibrators set. A quick system check including checking all fluid levels, greasing all bearings and bushings, plus making sure everything is working properly on the machine is required.
The machine should be put on the string line and walked ahead a short distance. The pitch of the gutter needs to be set as well as the offset for grade and steering. After any adjustments are made, walk the machine forward to allow the machine to react to the adjustments (especially any steer corrections). Operate the vibrators, driveway cutout, hydraulic side skirts, hydraulic wet/dry gutter, and all functions of the machine. This verifies that all systems are working and allows the hydraulic oil to warm. Back the machine up to the starting point and make any adjustments needed to match the header or existing structure.
Before the concrete arrives, have a brief meeting with the crew to discuss each members’ responsibility and job site plan. The job site plan should include safety, traffic control, expected daily volume, weather outlook (rain protection), and discuss any concerns of the crew.
After the pour, clean up the machine and molds so they are ready for the next pour. Make sure cones or barricades are placed appropriately to protect the fresh concrete. Re-open or close any access points on the job as required for non-working hours.
Planning and knowing what to expect rather than reacting to problems is the goal. When the crew runs like a “fine oiled machine” calmly and efficiently doing their job, quality and profitable work will be the result.