New England Contractor Sees New Opportunities with Remote-Controlled Demolition
A nation’s buildings stand as a visual representation of its history. In New England, that history is written
in stone and red-brick facades overlooking century-old neighborhoods. Recent trends are bringing people and businesses back to these urban centers, forcing developers and city managers to find ways to reimagine spaces to provide modern conveniences with historic charm. This has given rise to several firms specializing in remediation and historic renovation/rehabilitation. Old buildings are rife with asbestos, lead and other hazardous materials. Additionally, previous construction wasn’t designed to handle the weight of today’s large equipment.
So, modern contractors — like ADEP Group, a rapidly growing minority business enterprise (MBE) — must find ways to keep employees safe while juggling limited floor loads and restricted machine access. These aren’t the founding father’s contractors. Instead, the next generation successfully combines experience, education and cutting-edge technology to tackle remediation and interior demolition. Faced with a full-scale interior demolition on a tight timeline, ADEP partnered with CSDA member Brokk to provide a robotic solution to one of the more challenging aspects. During the renovation of a 120-year-old YMCA facility in Beverly, Massachusetts, ADEP needed to remove a 36-inch-deep concrete pool in the basement of the building. With a Brokk 200, ADEP was able to reduce crew size in the confined space while increasing productivity 50% over alternative methods, allowing them to proceed to subsequent phases quickly for an on-time project delivery.
ADEP Group — short for American Demolition Environmental Professionals — is a demolition and remediation contractor founded less than a decade ago. President/Owner Kelvin Severino, who helms the fast-growing corporation, recognized a need in the local market for a professional, organized and experienced renovation/rehabilitation response. “New England has a rich architectural history — many buildings from the late 1800s and early 1900s are still in use,” Severino said. “They were well-built. But contractors have learned a lot over the years, and some of the materials used aren’t considered safe anymore, like asbestos and lead paint. New England developers like to make use of the rich history and attributes that these historic buildings have, so renovation and restoration have become very popular. Usually this involves a full interior demolition then rebuilding within the shell of the existing structure.”
When the Cabot Street YMCA project came up, ADEP realized it was the perfect opportunity to add a Brokk demolition robot to their fleet. The project was part of a $22 million dollar renovation aimed at creating 67 studio-like apartments for low-income residents and those with developmental disabilities. The interior of the building needed to be completely gutted —including removal of a concrete pool, tucked away in a 1,300-square-foot room in the historic building’s basement.
Access presented the key challenge. A mechanical demolition method capable of tackling the pool’s 36-inch-thick concrete that was also compact enough to fit through a standard door was needed for this job. Additionally, the small room made for cramped working conditions, and they needed to limit crew size to maintain COVID-related social distancing, as well as limit confined-space liabilities.
No matter how ADEP looked at it, traditional methods couldn’t tick all the boxes for safe, efficient demolition of the 4,000 cubic feet (113.3 cubic meters) of concrete within the timeframe. Larger crews with handheld equipment were another option but filling the small room with 10 to 12 employees during a pandemic risked crew safety and jobsite shutdown. Management knew robotic demolition could provide the power and precision they needed.
It was the perfect robotic demo job — confined space, limited access, the need for lots of power in a small package. Severino reached out to Brokk and Bob McCabe, the company’s Northeast Field Applications Specialist and Regional Manager who has more than 45 years of industry experience and has worked daily with Brokk robots for 35 years. Together they assessed the project requirements and concluded a Brokk 200 was the right tool for the current job and a perfect fit with ADEP’s growth goals. The 2.1-ton machine pairs with a 650-pound BHB 305 hydraulic breaker to deliver 450 foot-pounds per blow. Within 48 hours, the robot, McCabe and Matt Lyons, Brokk Training and Application Specialist, were on site to provide hands-on training to the ADEP team.
With their operator trained, ADEP was ready to begin demolition. The Brokk robot and mini excavator were lowered into the basement with a boom truck. Each machine had a dedicated operator as well as six additional crew assigned to the asbestos abatement of flooring throughout the building and selective demolition of the gym. To mitigate dust, ADEP used a combination of fans, water and a negative air machine.
“We knew the Brokk had an excellent power to weight ratio, but when we saw it on the job, it was still incredible,” Severino said. “It cut through the concrete like butter, which was good since the concrete ended up being 36-inches deep instead of the 24-inches from initial reports. Our operator was able to power through while maintaining pinpoint accuracy to work around footings and columns.”
A 7-foot by 11-foot breach in an exterior wall provided easy access for material removal. Once the Brokk broke apart the concrete, the mini excavator passed it through the hole to a Volvo 250 DL excavator positioned outside. The demolition was completed in just eight days with a crew of four — well ahead of schedule and 25% under their original budget. Severino estimates the Brokk saved 456 hours of labor on the job. Additionally, there were no complaints from tenants or neighbors.
“As a company, ADEP is always looking ahead,” Severino said. “Small, strategic crews keep our employees safe, most importantly, but they also reduce labor costs and liabilities so our business can continue to grow. Brokk demolition robots, combined with our experience, professionalism, and drive, give us the edge we need to keep moving forward.” CSDA manufacturer members like Brokk are in a unique position to help many contractors solve any type of problem a job presents!
Contractor: ADEP Group
ADEP Group is a Minority Business Enterprise that offers turnkey solutions in environmental remediation and demolition. ADEP Group consists of hard-working, goal-oriented men and women that come together
to provide the highest quality service to any project. As a team they are honored to have the opportunity to complete each project within budget and on time, while keeping their environment, employees, and the public safe. From beginning to end their team will work with you until the project is 100% complete to your satisfaction.
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