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Award-Winning, Record-Breaking

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The recent construction of the Southwest 85 Distribution Center in Newnan, GA broke records. The award-winning, 1.2-million-square-foot distribution facility is notable for many reasons, but what is most memorable for the workers on the job is that this impressive building was completed in record-breaking time, thanks in part to a record-setting slab-on-grade placement.

Southwest 85 started construction as a 1,076,000-square-foot speculative development that grew to a 1,208,301 square foot build-to-suit before construction was completed. This cross-dock distribution facility featured 7-inch thick unreinforced concrete aprons, 4 drive-in ramps, 10-foot trailer parking dolly strips, and 140,000 square feet of additional concrete truck paving. The building shell was constructed of shallow foundations, a Ductilcrete slab on grade, and load bearing tilt-up panels that were 9.25 inches thick. Many of the panels featured a stone accent form liner that gave the panels the illusion of stacked stone.

The general contractor for Southwest 85, KBD Group, selected Martin Concrete Construction Inc. as the turn-key concrete contractor for this project in the truest sense. This project not only used Martin Concrete for the foundations, slab on grade, tilt-up wall panels, concrete paving, and other typical concrete scope items, but also used them for many of their other resources. MC Ready Mix, a division of Martin Concrete, was the on-site batch-plant ready-mix supplier for this project and produced 43,000 cubic yards of concrete before construction was completed. Martin’s in-house concrete finishers were utilized for flatwork and panel finishing. Full Tilt Crane Services, also a subsidiary of Martin Concrete, erected the large tilt-up panels safely and efficiently.

Any project of this scale comes with obstacles. One of the biggest hurdles the Southwest 85 construction team had to overcome was keeping the targeted occupancy date of mid-2018, despite unprecedented weather delays. A total of 43 documented rain days restricted the project schedule over about four months. This wet season led to what really sets the construction of this project apart. When KBD Group and Martin Concrete were finally given a favorable weather window of several continuous days, they teamed up to produce the world’s largest Ductilcrete slab-on-grade pour to date. Typical Ductilcrete slab pours average around 45,000 square feet and 850 cubic yards. Beginning during the early morning hours on February 15th, 2018, a total of 214,000 square feet of 6-inch Ductilcrete floor slab was placed in a single continuous pour by the Southwest 85 project team. Utilizing multiple shifts, Martin Concrete’s in-house portable batch plant and finishing crews produced and placed more than 4,000 cubic yards of concrete in less than 36 hours.

Robert Jones led the effort for KBD in the field. “Well, we had a window, so we did not stop,” he said.

Oscar Fonseca, Martin Concrete’s superintendent on the job, was reminiscing about the memorable event.

“I felt proud of my team,” he said. “I did not find out we broke the Ductilcrete record until two days after the pour. When we planned the pour, we were trying to take advantage of the good weather we were having. At that time, I felt like I had more control to make such a large pour.”

Despite the onerous weather delays, the building was still delivered to the owners in an impressive 107- day time frame.

For Jones, the main motivation was that the project’s developer, Core5 Industrial Partners, had a tenant occupancy date of mid-2018 for the facility. Challenged with these high expectations, he effectively executed a plan to move the tenant in even before the scheduled date.

Fonseca, on the other hand, felt like he and his team had something to prove. He is the youngest superintendent at Martin Concrete, and he wanted to show that his work and leadership skills could be recognized among the best.

“Our company has many admirable superintendents that I look up to. In order to get their respect, I wanted to prove myself. This job was my largest job and I saw an opportunity to show everyone I can be responsible for a large project, too. I wanted to earn their respect.”

Southwest 85 has recently been presented with awards from the American Concrete Institute and American General Contractors, and holds the Industrial Deal of the Year Award with Atlanta Business Chronicle. It now houses the distribution services for the appliance division of Lowe’s.

The success and accomplishments of this building show that dedication, hard work, communication, and heart can overcome even the biggest obstacles. Fonseca said it best: “You will never celebrate success without overcoming obstacles.”

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