To be ready to go on Saturday morning Atlantic had to call the job on Wednesday so UPS and the airport had enough time to prepare for the shutdown and so the contractor had enough time to organize the work, alert the crew, and make sure the equipment was available and ready to go.
Atlantic had bid the job using both waterblasting and shot (bead) blasting to remove the markings. Hatfield says that depending on the surface and paint thickness, crews using shot blasters can remove 7,000 square feet to 12,000 square feet of markings in 14-hour day.
"Bead blasters have a dry vacuum system and you can't use them at all if there's any moisture. It gums up the works," he says. "If it rained we wouldn't be able to use the bead blasters at all."
So as a hedge against wet weather the contractor rented an additional piece of water blasting equipment, a 40,000-psi JetStream Ultra-High pressure washer, so regardless of the weather it would have at least two pieces of marking removal equipment on the job.
Next Atlantic considered jobsite logistics. Work on airports is understandably restrictive, so Atlantic had to almost choreograph how to get the work done most efficiently and within the narrow time frame and restricted space they had to work in.
The approach they decided on was to break the job down into three different jobs, each with its own crew, and each operating independently and simultaneously. Two of the "jobs" were marking removal "because it was the largest part of the work" and the third "job" was painting.
"All three jobs were being done at the same time, but because of the way we organized it no one was in anyone else's way," Hatfield says. "The bead blasting wasn't near the waterblasting crew and the waterblasting crew was never around where the painting was being done. Everyone worked in a different area of the runway and it worked great."
Hatfield says once the plan was in shape they visited the runway site with the two foremen who would be running the job.
"We showed them what's expected at what time, the order things were going to have to happen in, and areas where they couldn't overlap with other crews," Hatfield says. "So no one had to run around and say 'What do I do next?' We made it clear to them that everything had to fit together as we'd planned it for the work to be finished on time. Everyone knew their own job and they knew how their job fit in with the whole project."
Next to consider was every contractor's nemesis: equipment failure. Hatfield says that once the job was planned and scheduled they knew they could get the markings removed in time to paint, and painted in time to meet the deadline — provided the equipment didn't break down.
"We couldn't do much about the rain, but we could protect ourselves from breakdowns," he says.
So Hatfield researched the equipment the company would be using, particularly the NLB Ultra 36 Ultraclean water blaster since it would be called on to do the lion's share of removal, especially if it rained.
"I went back through everything that ever broke down on us and identified all of the parts we might need," he says.
If there is a breakdown on a normal job Atlantic would simply call NLB, who would send the parts to the contractor via overnight delivery.
"But that option was not available to us on the weekend, so our only real concern was how do we handle it if we break down on Saturday and Sunday?"
Hatfield called NLB, explained the problem, and eventually ordered $5,000 worth of all the parts they might need just to have them on hand. NLB agreed to accept returns on any unused parts but Atlantic would have to pay a restocking fee.
Getting the job done
The job was initially targeted for the first Saturday in March, but the forecast called for rain on Saturday and a chance of rain on Sunday.
"So I called it off," Hatfield says. "Of course, the weather was beautiful both days and the temperature reached 68 degrees."
The second weekend the forecast was for snow on Friday.
"The airport still wanted us to call the job because of the good weather the week before," he says. "We weren't worried about the weather affecting the removal but we were worried about the painting. The temperature has to be 40° F and higher to apply the paint and we obviously can't paint if it's wet out."