Letter from Todd

First, we had some interesting and challenging jobs, all while showcasing the diversity of our work. We didn’t only drill piles or build earth retention systems, but we completed a wide range of jobs such as tangient walls, earth anchors, shotcrete, augercast piles, building a bridge, micropiles, and compaction grouting. Even more rewarding is many of the jobs we completed this summer were for repeat customers—which says so much about the quality and care each of you take in your work.

We also welcomed a number of new team members to Hardman Construction, many of whom are new apprentices. Thank you for welcoming each new employee to the team and taking the time to teach and train. It isn’t always easy explaining things that have become second nature, but watching it in action has been encouraging and it doesn’t go unnoticed.

As the days become shorter and colder, please remember to stay safe while you travel to and from work, on the jobsites, and even on your days off. Hardman Construction has always been great and will continue to do great things because of its team members.

It's hard to believe the holidays are just around the corner and I hope you and your families have a happy holiday season!
Todd Schrader
Summer at the University of Michigan
Well, maybe for the students at the University of Michigan, but anyone who visited the university this summer would have surely passed by a number of our work sites. While some jobs utilized similar techniques, each ended up being somewhat unique. Some highlights included:

  • Tangient wall with earth anchors at Murchie Science Building: The Murchie Science Building is being built on the U of M Flint campus. Our portion of work provided engineering support to open the space for the new building and ensured the road running alongside the new build wouldn’t collapse into the newly formed hole. The project ran as planned with the exception of an unknown existing utility. However, the crew found the line and bridged over it without any disruption to the utility.

Installing anchors at Murchie
  • Augercast piles and tangient wall with earth anchors at Central Power Plant (CPP): CPP is located right in the middle of the main U of M campus in Ann Arbor and is a main power generating plant for the campus. Our work included two phases, one for the augercast piles and another for an earth retention system. The site for the project proved to have a couple of challenging aspects. First, this portion of campus is quite congested. The crew had to mobilize on a street that splits the CPP site and a large parking garage. Also, the space to drill the piles was very tight and there wasn't much for extra room anywhere on site, meaning the crew had to be very deliberate in their planning. As for the earth retention portion of the job, it was discovered there was a 2-foot thick concrete mat 18-feet below grade. Because the earth retention system had to reach a depth of 30-feet, the crew drilled through the concrete mat in order to successfully complete the job. However, one of the most rewarding parts of the job was the ability of our team to work with SME to redesign the earth retention system and save U of M close to $450,000.
Drilling augercast piles at Central Power Plant
  • Low mobility grouting at the School of Dentistry: The School of Dentistry found itself in a tough spot…its foundation was settling and compromising the building. Years ago, when the building was constructed, vermiculite was placed under the foundation. Vermiculite is a mineral that can be heated and used in a number of applications, including insulation. One of the downfalls of vermiculite is it will naturally decompose—which ended up happening in this case, leaving voids under the foundation. This past summer we completed the first phase of our work on the project that included filling the voids under the foundation of a 20’x20’ room. It was expected we would use around 15 yards of grout total; however, the final grout count ended up being 86 yards. That’s enough grout to completely fill Jami’s office! By grouting the voids, the building is no longer settling and has actually lifted it. We are looking forward to heading back next year.
Grouting at School of Dentistry
  • Tangient wall with earth anchors at Detroit Observatory: The Detroit Observatory is a historical building on the main campus. It was the first observatory built in Michigan and the second-oldest building still standing on U of M’s main campus. Because of the historical importance the building holds for not only U of M, but also the state of Michigan, maintaining the integrity of the building during its upcoming renovations was of utmost importance. The tangient wall and earth anchors we installed will provide support to the building and ensure it remains as is.
Testing anchors at Detroit Observatory
Our first job at the University of Michigan took place in 1987. Since then we’ve been fortunate to work on many jobs at the university and continue a great working relationship with the school and the contractors we’ve able to work for throughout the years. Seeing the foot print we’ve left on the campus has been very rewarding and it wouldn’t be possible without our entire team.
Many thanks!

Last quarter Hardman was called out to a sheeting job on the Lake Michigan shore in St. Joseph. Like most everywhere this year, property lines on the lake were vanishing due to the high water levels. The job included installation of permanent sheet piling to protect the property from further erosion.

Through the wind and some challenging conditions the crew completed the work and exceeded expectations of our customer. As the owner put it one extremely windy day:

"Unbelievable timing. The wall finished yesterday and is doing its job today. All that ground is safe from disappearing. You guys are lifesavers. Thank you."

We've known for years our employees are pretty fantastic, but it never gets old when others share the same sentiment!
While our team was all over the Midwest this summer, one of our MDOT jobs ended up being just south of our home office. The project was located close to the Lake Michigan shoreline in Shelby and not only included demolishing and reconstructing the current bridge, but also required a good deal of road work and installing storm structures. In total the new bridge spans 100 feet, there is over 950 feet of new road, and 6 new storm structures.
Throughout the years Hardman Construction team members have constructed and worked on hundreds of bridges, and while some tasks that happen on every bridge project can seem somewhat routine, there are others that never get old—like setting beams. This particular bridge included six beams that were 97 feet, 4 inches long and weighed over 40,000 lbs each. With a crane on each side of the bridge the beams were rolled across the span using a launching girder, and tandem-picked before they were set in place. The entire process involves a lot of planning, coordination, and skill from all the team members on the job in order to run seamlessly. 
Additionally, the bridge deck was formed out of wood. While it isn’t always the case, in recent years most bridges have been constructed using metal decking. Wood decks tend to take longer to construct and usually require more skill or experience to form than metal decks. However, a wood deck can be inspected from the underside of the bridge more easily to ensure the integrity of the concrete hasn’t been compromised at any time during life of the bridge, which is one of the reasons the deck was constructed this way.
The team fought through some challenges, including one day that brought over three inches of rain that washed out a good portion of the road. There was also an artisian water issue at the base of one of the piers. While it’s always easier to complete any job without any challenges, working through them as a team enables everyone to grow and learn for the future. One of the most rewarding parts of this job was introducing a number of new employees to Hardman Construction and bridge building. Over the course of the project there were a number of our apprentices and a few new employees who experienced bridge building for the first time and learned valuable skills.
Thanks to everyone who came together to complete the project!
Check it Out!
Last month Dave DeClerck was selected to discuss the portion of work HCI completed at the Hudson site to colleagues at the Deep Foundation Institute's annual conference. The presentation was informative and showcased the unique work we performed on site.

Great job Dave!

As Rachel patiently await for the arrival of her twin daughters, a familiar face has decided to temporarily come out of retirement. Cathy Iteen will be covering for Rachel during her maternity leave. If you are in the office, feel to to stop in to say hi.

Thanks for the help Cathy!
Have an idea or something to share?
We want to hear your stories and help celebrate your milestones!
Contact Jami at [email protected] or (231) 845-1236.
#hardmantough #teamhardman