Family-owned construction company expands into commercial grading work using Trimble® GSC900 – gets to grade faster, will less rework and zero staking.
Founded in 1975, Silver Spur Construction is a family-owned construction company based in Haskell, Oklahoma. Early on, the company worked primarily with government agencies including the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Today, Silver Spur Construction has expanded its reach to include both government and commercial clients. The company focuses on earthworks; erosion control projects; placing rip rap, gravel, sand and subbase for road building; and more.
Silver Spur Construction was looking to branch out into commercial site work that often involves more complex designs and elevation changes. To meet these goals, the company turned to Trimble and SITECH Texoma for help.
Trimble GCS900 Machine Control system, Trimble SPS855 base station solution and receiver
- 20% increase in grading productivity, higher accuracy
- Cut to 3-to-1 slope in six months − recovered more than one month of time on the project timeline after severe weather delays. Work included excavating 60,000 cubic yards of earth, and laying 3,000 linear feet of footings and 12,000 tons of gravel
- Hit targets the first time, with zero rework − keeping material costs to a minimum; placed six inches of gravel for Kimberly-Clark build
- Cut project costs by 10%, virtually eliminated the need for professional surveying or staking
Silver Spur Construction was founded in 1975 by two brothers from Oklahoma, Roy and Rocky Webb. Today, the construction firm has grown to 15 employees working on projects throughout Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Texas. Over the last five years, Silver Spur Construction has expanded its client list from government agencies to include more commercial work. Waco Webb, son of Roy Webb and project manager and estimator for Silver Spur Construction, explains that the company began looking into GPS and positioning systems to expand into new business opportunities.
“Our work with government clients slowed down about five years ago, so we started thinking about how to expand our customer base,” said Webb. “Our first project was a QuickTrip Travel Center located in Muskogee, OK. We realized early on that we needed grade control to help speed the project along.”
Silver Spur Construction started by adopting and implementing the Trimble GCS900 Grade Control System with dual GPS for its dozer. Webb explains Silver Spur chose Trimble technology because it was the best fit for their business in terms of cost versus performance. He also wanted the extensive training and services provided by SITECH Texoma, the regional Trimble dealer. SITECH Texoma provided guidance and set up the Trimble SPS855 base station/rover solution and receiver.
Trimble GCS900 on the dozer uses dual GPS to give Silver Spur Construction a full 3D machine control system. The grade control system and control box located inside the cab displays the site plan - design surfaces, grades and alignments. The GCS900 uses two GPS receivers and solid state angle sensors to measure the precise 3D position of the cutting edge, providing vertical and horizontal positions. Webb explains that this position information on the control box then compares this information to the design elevation to compute cut or fill to get to grade. His operators like that they can choose to view the guidance information in various ways such as in plan mode, profile, cross-section view, or text.
Since adopting the machine control system, Silver Spur Construction has completed the build for two QuickTrip stores. This project required that the operator follow a complex site grading design and place nine inches of gravel for parking lots with several transition areas and, as a result, frequent grade changes. The Trimble system worked seamlessly to maintain grade and eliminate overruns on material quantities.
“For the QuickTrip stores, it would have been expensive and challenging to grade using traditional methods,” said Webb. “Pulling string lines and having to measure depth thickness was eliminated with Trimble grade control. “It's pretty impressive when you can just go in and get started; the client was blown away that we could get to grade with zero stakes.”
After the QuickTrip stores, the company also won a large commercial project with Kimberly-Clark in Jenks, OK. Silver Spur was hired to construct the building pad and access road to the project site. Webb explains that the access road they put in at the Kimberly-Clark location had a 3-to-1 slope and his team had to import 60,000 cubic yards of earth. Silver Spur used Trimble machine control to lay approximately 3,000 liner feet of footings and 12,000 tons of gravel for the road. He believes the Trimble GCS900 helped to save money on materials because his operator was able to lay the subgrade down without undercuts.
“After just six months we’re about 85% done with the Kimberly-Clark project and we haven’t had to pound a single stake or hire a professional surveyor because we know our grade is 100% right with the dozer,” said Webb. “It also has saved us money on materials because the subgrade is right where it needs to be. We just load the digital plan on our dozer and put down six inches of gravel so the thickness is very consistent. And, we hit our targets the first time without wasting money on expensive material.”
On this same project, the team also used the Trimble rover to design a plan to split an existing sediment pond into two ponds and build a five foot dam. The dam had a 2-to-1 slope on the inside and the backside of the project. The Silver Spur teams hauled in fill material and used the Trimble GCS900 system to put it to grade.
“It would have been very difficult to tackle this project without the Trimble technology,” said Webb. “With all the transitions, a surveyor would constantly have to keep us on grade, and then inevitably stakes get taken out. With machine control, we didn’t use stakes and we got to the correct grade fast. We actually made up more than a month of time on this project, even after the area received a tremendous amount of rain.”
Recently, Silver Spur was also selected by the United States Army Corps of Engineers for an erosion control project on the Canadian River in Harrah, OK. The company was hired to place 25,000 tons of riprap along the half-mile riverbank and to provide the proper slope embankment at 3-to-1. Webb explains that the traditional method for riverbank stabilization involves laying back and armoring the slope with riprap. In a typical river bend, surface water currents move toward the outer bank, concentrating flow and higher velocities along the bank edge, which results in severe bank erosion.
“Using machine control for this Canadian River riprap project is going to be a game changer for us because we’ll have so much precision in hitting our design targets. I believe we’ll be able to speed up work more than 20%,” said Webb. “This is particularly important because right now, the project is behind schedule due to rock testing. With Trimble grade control, we believe the project will be completed on time and on budget.”
With several successful commercial projects, Webb is optimistic that Silver Spur will continue to earn commercial work. The company is currently looking at bidding work with Wal-Mart, Costco and additional QuickTrip stores.
“The future looks bright for Silver Spur,” said Webb. “We’re interested in doing some more commercial work and Trimble is a big part of that; it just makes work fun again. Since we’ve started using grade control technology, we’re constantly moving forward – and that is what it takes to finish a project.”