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Contractor Uses Cast-in-Place System for Border Wall

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

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In order to expedite border wall construction, Fisher Sand & Gravel, a contractor that previously built a section of the wall in New Mexico, holds a patent for what is known as a “concrete forming system,” which, the contractor claims, would allow the project to be completed in six years and under budget.

According to The Architect’s Newspaper, the patent includes implementing modified construction equipment to create cast-in-place concrete panels.

Cast-in-Place Technology

In the patent, modified excavators, able to traverse mountainous terrain, also feature “quick connect” arm couplers that can set up steel formwork. The implementation of both reportedly cuts the need for ties and bracing that is often found in more traditional concrete construction methods. Potential costs associated with transportation and issues with breakage connected to putting panels in place are also mitigated.

To accommodate for variety in the terrain, the formwork is able to be rotated on three axes, therefore allowing for changes in position and orientation. Operators are also able to control the wall section, which allows for equal-thickness wall designs. Once freestanding sections are completed, each is worked in as formwork for infill panels. The end result is a system that allows for consistent pouring and curing.

Fisher used a similar concept for the construction of a steel-bollard-style fence, which involved a trench, modified excavators equipped with custom trussed hangers, prefabricated sections of bollard hanging from the aforementioned equipment and bollards positioned and placed in a poured concrete foundation. For this method, machines only need to be situated on one side of the fence in contrast with machines being needed on both sides in the cast-in-place method.

Fisher claims that the bollard style is patent-pending, though, according to the Newspaper, no such application has yet been filed by Fisher or any of its subsidiaries, as there is no such document on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office database. Neusch Innovations filed for a similar design in December 2018.

Previously, Fisher claimed that the company could build 234 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border wall for $1.4 billion, a fraction of the funding the president was requesting.


Tagged categories: Infrastructure; NA; North America; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Research and development

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