Concrete footings create a challenge

Until someone discovers a practical replacement for the concrete foundation there will be challenges for remote construction footings. One such concrete challenge is playing out on the edge of Lake Chelan in Washington State. A custom vacation house is being constructed deep in the bottom of a canyon.

The project will require over 120 cubic yards of concrete in the foundation and retaining walls. The challenge is that it is impossible for a regular concrete delivery truck to get to the site.
Matt Blue of Northwest Precision Concrete explains the challenges: “The only access to the job site is down a narrow gravel road with dozens of tight switch backs and massive wash-boarding. It is basically 2-miles down the side of the lake canyon”.

The Portable Batch Plant Advantage

This type of remote concrete challenge is not new for the Northwest Precision, a father and son team. This is the second home on this same canyon road for the company. Both of these homes have a foundation poured by Matt and his dad. “We get all of these tough jobs because we have the tools to do the job”, continued Matt. “We have excavators and the secret weapon of portable concrete batching”.

Portable concrete mixer for remote batchingThe secret construction tool that Matt is referring to is the Concrete CUBE by Cart-Away. Northwest has owned a CUBE portable concrete batching system for several years. Matt estimates that it has produced over 650 cubic yards of concrete so far.  “The CUBE gives us a competitive advantage and helps us to build our reputation as problem solvers for the toughest jobs imaginable”.

On this project they have set the CUBE next to the concrete pump so that they can mix and dump concrete into the pumps hopper. They use a skid steer loader to introduce the sand and gravel onto the CUBE conveyor, and then break the cement sacks directly into the material loading funnel.

Material Delivery Nightmare

As you can imagine, it is a logistical nightmare to get raw materials down to the site. “We can only get short wheel-base delivery trucks down here, and then we pull them back up the steep roads with the tractor”, explained Matt. “We tell them to make sure they have good brakes and not to carry too much weight on each load”.

Even with those challenges, there are pallets of 94# bags of cement powder and piles of sand and gravel on the site ready for each days production. This foundation is being poured by a 5-man crew who use on 4X4 to move between the parking area up at the end of the road and  down to the building site.

Cart-Away made a visit to the job site and produced a short video of the CUBE working on this remote building site. The CUBE has the size and capabilities to make an impossible-looking foundation project a real possibility.