By Tom Whitaker, RT3.
KPOST Roofing & Waterproofing is one of the most successful contractors in the U.S. But even they have had problems finding workers. So, when they were awarded the contract to build the 8000 square-foot roof for Facebook’s new data center in Fort Worth, Texas they were excited and concerned at the same time. If the project didn’t keep to the bid schedule, how would they allocate the workers the job required without a negative effect on their other projects?
Technology to the rescue.
Steve Little, a KPOST founder who calls himself “Head Coach” and his staff began discussions with manufactures of modified bitumen for tools that could reduce the labor required on the rooftop. They found a tool that was primarily being used in Europe and Canada that can apply roofing membrane in a way similar to how a paver applies asphalt to a road. The machine is called a Mini-Macaden® and it’s manufactured by SOPREMA®.
The type of system being applied at Facebook’s data center would ordinarily take a crew of ten people. The Mini-Macaden that KPOST would employ reduced that number to six people. That’s a 40% labor savings!!!
Additionally, this new technology reduced the amount of material waste, propane used, and increased the safety on the site because there were fewer open flames.
With less workers on the job, it wouldn’t be crazy to assume that the job might take longer. But that’s not the case. The Mini-Macaden used by KPOST was actually able to apply the roof system faster so the job is currently ahead of the roofing production schedule.
Doing more with less.
According to SOPREMA’s website, with traditional welding techniques, a crew can average between 5 to 9 rolls per hour. SOPREMA predicted that a four-member team using the Mini Macaden, could be expected to install over 20 rolls per hour. KPost is getting more like 16-17 on this Facebook project in the side open areas. Still an amazing improvement.
“Completing our projects much faster allows KPOST to move our crews to the next job quicker, maximizing our revenue potential during the construction season,” says Little.
With a huge segment of the workforce nearing retirement and fewer younger workers entering the construction trades, technology can be the silver bullet. Companies like KPOST have realized this and it’s given them an advantage. Will your company follow or fall behind?
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