Energy Northwest is a major public energy provider for the Northwest U.S., and its Hanford Reservation, in Richland, Wash., also hosts a commercial nuclear power plant. “Prior to the barrier the security at the facility was roving security versus a permanent barrier,” says Pete Reed of Wm. Winkler Co., Newman Lake, Wash., the concrete contractor that eventually got the job of helping to improve security. The project included the construction of a security barrier needed to improve security and comply with new Homeland Security laws.

The concrete contractor was responsible for constructing and positioning 703 security blocks made using self-consolidating concrete (SCC). The proposal included a technical submittal and, after qualification, pricing and a schedule was submitted. While this project was solicited as a precast project, Wm. Winkler Co. offered a viable alternative that provided both scheduling and cost advantages.

Ultimately, Wm. Winkler Co. was awarded the project. The concrete contractor placed casting slabs in the yard of nearby ready-mix supplier, American Rock Products, Richland, Wash., approximately 14 miles from the site. “We opted to use SCC, recognizing the value of a fast track application which allowed timely recycling of forms and minimum additional patching/sacking prior to shipment,” says Reed. The SCC offered significant time savings in providing early strength for picking and hauling to the project and minimal form time required before stripping the forms and re-setting on adjacent casting slabs.

Using 4560 cubic yards of SCC for the security blocks, and 80 cubic yards of conventional concrete for the casting slabs, production of the blocks exceeded the shipment schedule. “Instead of the requested 10 blocks/day, we were delivering 20 blocks/day to the facility,” says Brian Winkler, president of Wm. Winkler Co. The concrete contractor beat the 3-month schedule by 30% (finishing in 2 months). This work was performed during winter months with no delays.

“No doubt the SCC escalated our schedule and minimized our placing labor costs,” says Winkler. “Our pour crews were small as we did not need vibrating, patching, and sacking labor. Minimal preparation was necessary after stripping and the client was very pleased with the product.”