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Contractor Utilizes High Reach Excavator to Complete Complex Demo Project

March 7, 2023

Tom Groninger started G&G Hauling and Excavating in his family home in 1966 near Warsaw, Indiana.  He instilled hard work, integrity, and a commitment to quality from day one, which created many loyal customers over the decades.  Now under the control of Tom’s sons, Cary and Rich, G&G has over 50 employees and serves multiple industries, including excavation, hauling, aggregate production, and demolition.

G&G recently started its first demolition project that required a high reach excavator for Culver Academy, a private boarding school in Culver, Indiana.  The school provides college preparation courses and experiences to roughly 800 students on its 1800-acre campus.  The job involves demolishing the Main, North, and East barracks, which have housed students for nearly 100 years.  Funds from a recent $65 million donation will go toward the demolition and construction of the new barracks.

The new barracks will include modern updates while maintaining the previous buildings’ Collegiate Gothic architecture.  According to the school, each barrack is expected to house between 80 to 175 students. The barracks are expected to be move in ready within the next three to five years.

Project Preparation

The first step of the project was identifying the location of several utility systems, including live steam and power lines. Some of these utilities ran into the basement of the Main Barrack, so bracing was installed to help avoid damage to the area during the demolition process. G&G also meticulously disposed of the nonrecyclable materials inside the building to make the post-demolition cleanup and crushing and screening process easier.

After completing the preparation, G&G evaluated their machine options. Randy Shilling, G&G’s maintenance and aggregate manager, determined a high reach excavator was the best choice for a precise, productive teardown of the four-story, 48-fott tall Main Barrack. He contacted Company Wrench, who has more than 20 years of experience renting, selling, and servicing demolition equipment across the country.

Doyle Burgess, Company Wrench’s sales territory manager, recommended a Kobelco SK350 with a 60-foot Kocurek high reach arm and a LaBounty MDP20. This rental package was ideal for G&G’s job because it provided a small footprint, the necessary working ranges, and the ability to precisely cut material from the building. 

Once the machine was delivered, Burgess gave Shilling detailed instructions on proper operation techniques and working ranges. Shilling was impressed with the high reach excavator’s easy of use, stability, and attachment weight capacity.

“For us, it was about being able to control the building demo,” Shilling said.  “There are sidewalks within 50 to 60 feet of where we’re demoing.  The precision of this machine means every building around the barracks can still operate as usual.  Controlling the teardown so students and faculty could feel safe while using the campus was the biggest factor in our decision to rent the high reach excavator.”

Strategic Teardown and Cleanup

G&G started the demolition in the Main Barrack’s end wall.  This allowed Shilling to familiarize himself with the high reach excavator before demolishing the area directly above the basement.  As they worked from the end wall across the building, they used material cut from the building as a ramp.  Shilling drove the high reach excavator up the ramp to create better working angles.  He also received visual guidance from a coworker operating an 80-foot boom lift.  The combination of the high reach excavator and boom lift allowed G&G to assess the structural integrity of the Main Barrack from both ground level and above the building simultaneously during the teardown.  Being able to see multiple key angles at the same time increased site safety and productivity. Click here to see a video of the project.

Once the Main Barrack was demolished, G&G recycled the concrete and brick with its crushing and screening system in Warsaw, Indiana.  This material will be processed into various sized aggregate, which can be used in the construction of driveways, parking lots, and roads.

Valuable Experience

G&G considered the demolition of the Main Barrack a success because they met their deadline without disrupting Culver Academy’s campus.  Shilling and his team were impressed with the reliability of the high reach excavator and the guidance they received during the Main Barrack demolition.

“When you rent a machine, you never really know what you’re going to get in terms of quality,” Shilling said.  “The machine’s smooth operation and the support from Doyle and Company Wrench allowed for a great rental experience.”

The Culver Academy demolition project gives G&G valuable experience operating a high reach excavator.  It also proves G&G’s willingness to adapt based on its customers’ needs.  For more information about G&G and the services it offers, visit gandghauling.com