McDowell Northwest, Inc., an ADSC contractor member, had a daunting task ahead of them. GIS International had approached them with a proposal for a particularly challenging residential project in Bellevue Washington. The team would be operating from the side of a narrow road and would have to find a way to drill 20 piers, the farthest of them being 25 ft away and each one between 24-36 ft deep, into a steep, 45-degree hillside. However, that wasn’t the only obstacle. The project would have to be complete during November, which has historically proven to be, the wettest month of the year in Bellevue. Even for the most experienced of contractors, such an undertaking is still a challenge, to say the least. A challenge that McDowell Northwest, a company with a reputation for taking on such projects, boldly accepted.
As the team began working out the logistics of the task that lie before them, they discussed what type of equipment would be best to use. Initially, they considered having large-scale equipment shipped in, like a crane-mounted drill system, but it wasn’t long before they realized that there were issues with this approach, the first of which, involved shipping and transport. The job site was located at the very end of a thin, winding road and would be difficult for heavy equipment to traverse. Not to mention, the mandatory permit fees they would have to pay before operating it and the 24-hour notice that Bellevue requires for deliveries of such size. At one point, the team attempted using the Acker Drill, only to discover that it was virtually useless when It came to digging more than a few feet through the hill’s dense sandstone. McDowell was in need of a solution and it had become evident that the sophisticated set of challenges posed by the job could only be met by a tool equally unique. Enter Bay Shore System’s TR80.
Together, with the help of Swenson Sau Faget, a structural engineering firm based out of the Seattle-Tacoma area, the team was able to construct a shoring wall from which a rig could safely operate and ultimately, overcome the reach barrier caused by the distance between the road and the piles. When it came to choosing a rig, in the end, the TR80’s stand-out features, e.g. its high rotary torque (80,000 ft-lbs), lengthy reach (12 ft approx.), and its easily maneuverable articulation, made it, in the words of McDowell’s Project Manager Joseph Kensinger “perfect for the job” and “the only piece of equipment that could efficiently drill every pier for the project.” Not only was the team able to remain on schedule over the entire course of the project, but they were also able to do so while saving money. Rather than working with multiple pieces of equipment-the transporting, storing, and setting up, which, costs roughly $10,000 each time it’s moved-they were able to complete the entire project using only one machine.
Altogether, the job took a total of 10 days, even despite the team working under the unfavorable conditions they were forced to contend with, including the heavy November rainfall which arrived as expected. McDowell Northwest Inc. credits much of the project’s success to their use of the TR80. In reference to the partnership, they write, “Moving from one hole to the next was quick and painless with their Bay Shore Systems rig. Accessing even the hardest to reach locations with ease, the TR80’s round, interlocking Kelly Bars, and high torque create a strong and efficient piece of equipment. Instead of changing equipment or using a smaller rig, (sacrificing torque), a Bay Shore Systems rig allows you to stay competitive on projects that others deem unviable.”