"The system allows us to do layout work with one less person," he says. "It gives us accuracy, speed and sets us one step ahead of our competition." Purinton says it took only 18 months for him to start seeing returns on this $35,000 investment.
Another techy gadget Purinton recently purchased was an AccuGrade GPS grade control system for his Caterpillar 315 excavator. He believes once engineers embrace GPS grade control it will become widespread in the residential market and lead to stakeless technology in the industry. "The GPS grade control system is a technology that's coming to the residential market. It's being required on larger commercial jobs; it just hasn't made its way down the system yet. The change in technology will happen, and we made sure we had that capability to expand when it arrives," he says.
Recently, Purinton has been working with his ready-mix supplier to use another new technology introduced to him by the CFA. It's a system that allows him to test the in-place strength of concrete as opposed to relying solely on test cylinders. The Con-Cure on-site concrete maturity testing system uses sensors that are embedded in a poured wall and is connected by wires to a reusable external meter that tracks the heat signature concrete gives off during the curing process. The data collected by the system can be downloaded to a computer and analyzed. The system has helped Purinton and his ready-mix supplier better examine the curing process of some of the newer mixes that replace a portion of the Portland cement with fly ash or blast furnace slag. This has allowed Purinton to see exactly what's going on with a mix and allows his ready-mix supplier to adjust a mix to achieve better results.
"This system is going to change the industry," Purinton says. "And what's going to drive that is construction scheduling. Today, no one wants to hear how long it takes to dig and place a foundation. With limited time frames, my customers want to start completing jobs as quickly as possible. This system can better predict when a wall has met a certain strength so you know exactly when you can continue with a project or go on to the next floor."
A quickly growing trend Purinton sees in the industry is the demand for more energy-efficient structures and "green" buildings. Purinton has recently gotten involved with insulated concrete basement walls and the concrete home market. He offers an insulated wall option with Mar-Flex's Shockwave, a drainage system that works in conjunction with the company's waterproofing options and offers insulating R-value to the walls. Purinton also offers customers insulation options with the THERMOMASS poured-in-place insulation system, which sandwiches a piece of Styrofoam between two layers of concrete, and the Comfort Wall System from Western Forms, which allows a contractor to integrate a piece of foam on the inside, outside or both sides of the poured-in-place concrete walls. Purinton says he offers multiple options because the homeowners' desired use of the finished space determines where the wall should be insulated.
Purinton says one of the factors driving this trend toward "lower-level living" is homeowners' wish to better utilize the square footage of their new homes, making basements comfortable living spaces or a place for a home office as the number of people working from home rises.
It's been a slow start for Purinton's builder customers to jump on the insulated walls without consumer demand, so Purinton decided to promote poured-in-place insulated wall systems at a local home show earlier this year. His booth, which was constructed of aluminum forms showcasing the different insulation systems, brought in heavy traffic throughout the two and a half days of the show. "There was a tremendous amount of interest in concrete homes and insulated basements," he says. "I think consumer demand is going to drive the concrete industry toward green technology, and at some point it will be government mandated."