Utility Contractor

JUL-AUG 2018

As the official magazine of NUCA, Utility Contractor presents the latest information affecting every aspect of the utility construction industry, including technological advancements, safety issues, legislative developments and instructional advice.

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28 Utility Contractor | July/August 2018 A s the third generation in his family's construction business, Metts Construction of Chapin, South Carolina, Corey Metts grew up on the seat of a dozer. It's the only thing he has ever known. Yet like many contractors, Metts is faced with the reality of trying to get more done in tighter windows — and while his jobsites don't look like the expansive and complicated earthmoving operations advertised with most machine control systems, his operation has benefited from the implementation of a dual GPS system matched with a mid-sized dozer from NUCA Bronze National partner Case Construction to essentially eliminate the need for a second dozer. "In the business we're in, we have to be as efficient as possible," says Metts. "We do not employ a lot of cheap labor. We prefer to invest in better operators, [and with that] we have begun to invest in machine control." Simpler is Better About a year and a half ago, Metts Construction replaced its CASE 1850K (194 hp) and 850K (97 hp) crawler dozers with a new CASE 1150M (127 hp) equipped with Leica iGD4SP- 3D machine control. "[It now takes] one operator to do what those two machines could do," says Metts. "We've been substantially more efficient with all of our grading activities and been able to take on more projects just by cutting down time that we invested in grading." Each dozer in his previous fleet outlay had a specific role, which the 1150M has replaced due to the power and performance of a newer model matched with the efficiencies achieved by machine control. One of the company's most recent projects involved grading, installing storm drains and paving the parking lot for a two-acre pediatric clinic outside Chapin. "Typically, on a project like this, the 1850 would spend probably two weeks pushing dirt, getting everything rough graded, and then we have our 850 to do the finish work," says Metts. "Now with just one machine we can have one operator do it all in half the time. On a site like this – you've got half the labor, half of the cost in getting the equipment to the site and away. It's much safer just having one machine as opposed to two." So much of a machine's long-term value is determined by its utilization and its ability to perform work in an efficient manner (greater billability/lower operating costs). Metts is seeing that achieved with his current setup. "Once we come in and do the clearing, we immediately put the dozer to work, stripping the top soil, building the retention pond. It's used as much, if not more, than any other machine on the site just because of the capabilities and not having to stake anything. We use it for curb grade and we don't have a surveyor come in until after everything is graded. We're able to cut out a lot of time. No more pulling strings in the parking lot. It's cutting the cost of our dirt moving to a point to where we can afford to take a little extra time with a smaller machine if necessary."

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