As a subcontractor to Walbridge East, LLC,
Thatcher Foundations Inc. installed augercast piles, pipe piles, and drilled
piers at US Steel's Gary Works facility. The finished project will produce a
coke alternative, resulting in a net reduction of airborne pollutants created by
the facility during the coking process.
The pile project presented challenges to
Thatcher, primarily in the form of subsurface obstructions. Drill teeth were
broken, flights were damaged, and hammer cushions had to be replaced as
Thatcher's crews from Local 578 and Local 150 worked to install the piles in the
designated locations. Thatcher worked closely with the general contractor,
notifying them as obstructions were encountered, and proposing solutions. When
the obstruction could be dealt with quickly, Thatcher made repairs to its
equipment on-site and resumed installation. In the cases of larger obstructions,
Thatcher re-located its crew and equipment and began work on another pile while
the obstruction was removed by an excavator. Thatcher also maintained close
communication with its grout supplier, trying to time deliveries as closely as
possible, to avoid grout hardening and being wasted while trying to overcome an
The just-in-time grout deliveries were
made possible by the use of a supplier from Gary. Other construction supplies
came from companies in Hammond, Griffith, and Schererville, and outside trucking
was provided by a Gary, Indiana company. Additionally, Thatcher hired a
subcontractor from Schererville to assist with rebar fabrication.
Dynamic testing was performed on the
installed pipe piles to ensure that they would meet the required capacity. A
third-party company also surveyed the project for alignment.
Thatcher will not attempt a job if it can
not be completed safely, and a Lifting Plan and a Hoisting Plan were both
developed for this project, including diagrams illustrating the correct
techniques for moving loads safely. The owner, US Steel, emphasized its
commitment to the safety of the project, shutting down work when a breaker in a
nearby substation was tripped. US Steel also required that all on-site employees
complete its "Gas Training" course before beginning work on site. Thatcher's
employees completed the project without any safety incidents.