Casey-Bertram to Demolish Supersized Building

Published: 10/10, 2022

The day after a March fire engulfed a large distribution center, local authorities called Casey-Bertram to provide support to the fire department. The Indianapolis-based demolition contractor traveled to Plainfield, Indiana, to drag semi-truck trailers away from the 1.1-million ft2 (102,200 m2) building.

After the fire was extinguished, Casey-Bertram was tasked with the teardown of several concrete precast panels near key utility systems. Removing the precast panels was challenging for two unique reasons — they were 47 ft (14.3m)) tall and as close as 30 ft (9.1m) to critical utility systems that supported an adjacent distribution center with more 1,000 employees. These utility systems included two 300,000-gal (1.1 million cm) water tanks, a three-story battery recharging station for the centers’ forklifts, and multiple electrical transformers.

It was imperative to remove the precast panels within their footprint to avoid disrupting operations at the nearby distribution center. Casey-Bertram’s co-owner and president Scott Casey knew he needed a high-reach excavator to meet the unique challenges of this job.

Casey contacted Company Wrench, a specialty equipment dealership headquartered in Carroll, Ohio, to inquire about renting a high reach excavator. The company offers a variety of high reach fronts ranging up to 100 ft (30.5m). Doyle Burgess, Company Wrench’s territory sales manager, recommended a Kobelco SK300 50-ft (15.2m) high-reach front with a LaBounty multi-demolition processor, MDP 20R.

Once the high reach excavator was delivered, Casey-Bertram initiated its plan to safely remove precast panels from the building within their footprint. This process required all four machines and metal bracing to ensure the panels would collapse as intended. The high reach used the MDP 20R to crush the top concrete segments of the panel while the bracing held the panels in place. The other three machines used their buckets to support and reposition the bracing as the high reach continued to make cuts with the MDP 20R.

Once debris accumulated on the ground, Casey-Bertram’s excavators used shears, processors and buckets to clear a path to allow the high reach to continue moving forward. The process took about a week, avoided damage to the utility systems, and did not interrupt the operations at the neighboring distribution center.

It was ultimately determined the entire building needed to be demolished due to the damage caused by the fire. The next step is to remove the remaining precast panels, which span approximately one mile (1.6 km) in length.

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