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Sunday, March 24 2019 @ 05:06 PM UTC

Pilotec and Cemex Execute 1,150 m3 Concrete Pour at the Ice Tower

Real Estate By DON WINNER for - This morning Pilotec and Cemex are doing a huge 1,150 cubic meter single-slab pour for the main foundation of the "building formerly known as the Ice Tower." (BFKATIT) Why, you might ask, would anyone be pouring this much concrete into the foundation of a building that is not going to be built. I mean, if you're not building the Ice Tower, what are you building? The common sense answer came from one of the Pilotec engineers who have been sub-contracted to build the foundations for the BFKATIT, who explained that they had already completed much of the earth removal and ground preparations for the foundation, as well as placed much of the supporting steel reinforcement, when the decision was made to cancel the Ice Tower project. "It makes a whole lot more sense to complete this pour than to leave it as an empty hole. The steel would have been exposed to the elements which would have caused degradation. In addition, we are building the foundation as specified for the Ice Tower, with 7,000 psi concrete and a massive base which can be used to build any other structure in the future." (more)
Concrete Trucks and Pumps Blocking Streets

Why On A Sunday? According to Ing. Jose Murillo, the person responsible for coordinating the pouring of the massive foundation for Cemex, "we're doing the pour on a Sunday morning because a job of this size requires a lot of machines, equipment, and manpower. By doing the job on a Sunday morning we can still meet our obligations to our other customers with smaller projects during the rest of the week. And, a pour of this size has to be done all in one shot, so it's best to set aside a day to take care of it. Also, as you can see we have to partially block some of the streets so there's less of an impact if we do it on a Sunday."

Keeping A Steady Pour to Feed the Pumps

165 Trucks, 7 Cubic Meters At A Time: A steady stream of concrete trucks were pulling up on two sides of the building foundation to feed the four massive concrete pumping booms. The total pour will be about 1,150 cubic meters of 7,000 psi cement, which will require at least 165 trucks. They empty their loads and return to the plant to refill. It's a job that requires a lot of timing and coordination to keep a constant stream of concrete coming through the nozzles of all four pumps. And 7,000 psi concrete is strong stuff. That rating means a sample will withstand a crushing force of at least 7,000 pounds per square inch in a hydraulic press before failing (breaking apart.) The normal standard for suspended slabs (floors in buildings) is 4,000 psi, and building columns and foundations are usually built using 6,000 psi concrete. The foundation of the BFKATIT was originally designed with the exceptionally strong 7,000 psi concrete as a base to support the total weight of the very tall building. So, this pour goes to the original design.

Steel Covered In Cement Doesn't Rust

What's This Cost? "I really can't speak to that issue," said Ing. Murillo. He was more concerned with making sure he had all the right people and equipment in place to do the job - writing the bill (or paying it) is someone else's responsibility. But imagine what a single truckload of concrete delivered to a job site costs, multiply by 165, then add about 150 people in the hole and on the equipment to make it happen, and pay them all Sunday rates. No one (and I mean no one) is going to piss away that much money if they don't have plans for the BFKATIT location. Something is going to go on top of this huge base.

Quality Control - Samples Are Taken At Regular Intervals

Warm-Up for the Canal Expansion: Somewhere in the back of my head a vision of the job site for the expansion of the Panama Canal came to life as I watched this pour taking place. What seems like a big pour for Panama standards is probably not that big in the rest of the world, and I imagine that Cemex and Pilotec will end up playing some kind of a role in the construction of the canal. In any case, that much activity means money being spent, which was good to see.

Lot's of Heavy Equipment Coming to Panama from the US in Response to the Construction Boom

Copyright 2007, text and photos by Don Winner for As usual, go ahead and use whatever you want as long as you credit the source, especially on the BFKATIT thing because I kinda like that. Salud.

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