Revising the schedule
Because of the necessary work sequence on the job, Hausz could not work on other aspects of the temple while waiting for the rain to stop or for the waterproofers to finish their work. He was forced to find some unrelated jobs to fill the time and supplement his company's revenue. Other subcontractors, including stone masons and steel workers, could not do their parts of the temple job while waiting for the slabs to be poured. The plumbers and electricians were able to do some work but were also put behind schedule.
Even though a Hausz Concrete superintendent kept the other subcontractors and the general contractor informed about the schedule delays, it was still a difficult situation. "It was tough to keep telling everybody it will be three more days before the slab will be done," Hausz says.
Fortunately for Hausz, no penalties were assessed because of the way the contract had been written. "The contract was pretty lenient," says Hausz. "There were no deadlines for my work. The original contract with the owner had a finish date, but it recognized you can't control acts of God."
By Nov. 28, Hausz Concrete had completed 75 percent of its work on the job. What remained to be done involved sealing the decorative concrete, and doing the acid staining and final finishing of the flatwork. Hausz estimated that, barring further problems, his company would be done with its part of the temple job by the end of 2006.
Special techniques used
Another challenge in placing the slabs was the temple's use of in-floor heating. "We had to be very, very careful while pumping and pouring a 3-in. finished floor over in-floor tubing," Hausz notes. "We needed to be sure not to cut any lines." Because of the special heating system, no saw cut joints were used. "We elected to let the concrete crack naturally because we were acid staining the finish and trying to create a natural look like real stones," he points out. "We were trying to make something unique and cool. Each acid stained floor has its own look. I can never replicate the same floor in another location."
A Copperhead laser screed was used to screed the slabs. "We were pouring on top of Spancrete," Hausz says. "The only way to hold a flat elevation for striking the concrete off was to do it with a laser."
When it was time for finishing with the Whiteman 3-ft. riding power trowel, special composite finishing blades were used.
"They are plastic composite which allows us to finish the concrete smooth, but not burn the surface, to allow for easy acid staining," Hausz explains.
Because these blades are expensive and can only be used once before they wear out, he would only recommend them for jobs that need this type of special treatment. For the final finishes, he is using sealers from Polymer Science Corporation, as he has found they go farther and are more durable.
Decorative concrete work is Hausz Concrete's specialty and that is a large part of the reason why the company was hired for this job. In addition to acid staining the floors, they also built what Hausz describes as "a phenomenal set of steps." The 38 steps are 9 ft. wide and were stamped to look like natural stone.
Dealing with the force of nature and with uncooperative workers who are not under your control are things that can happen to concrete contractors on any construction job. Finding successful ways to work around these problems are the marks of a construction professional.
Other concrete contractors who find themselves in similar situations might take some guidance from Hausz's experience on this job. "You have to keep your head up and keep a positive attitude," he suggests. "You have to keep thinking and pulling things out of your hat to make this stuff work. You have to be ingenious and creative and come up with things, take the risk, try them and make it happen. It's concrete and it's probably one of the hardest trades out there."