Outdoor Services Crew

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Little Tricks

First of all to all who follow this blog I apologize for not posting in a while. As you well know this year has been one of our biggest construction years in a very long time. We have been extremely busy with construction and it has taken all of my focus for many months now. Also with the extremely dry spring and early summer we have been up and running at full speed for many months. But the final push is close, only a few weeks left until fall semester begins and there will be many long days trying to get the place ready for fall semester.

But now that we have gotten things under control I wanted to get back to providing information and writing some posts. Hope you enjoy.

As I have talked about in past posts, construction during the summer is one of our biggest triumphs and challenges. There are only a few months where the campus is relatively quiet and this allows for a whole years worth of work to try and be accomplished in just a few short months. One of the challenges we are consistantly faced with is maintaining the campus landscape while construction is impacting the irrigation system.

Over the years we have come up with many creative ways to continue irrigation operations outside of construction sites while the vital portions of the irrigation system are actually in the construction zone.

There are two main pieces of the irrigation system that, depending on the location of construction, need to be maintained through the construction zone those would be the mainline and the control wires. At the Recreation Center renovation we have a situation where we have had to make drastic accomodations to keep things running. In the pictures above you see a fire hose and control wires.

The fire hose is acting as the mainline through the construction site. What happens is at the beginning of the day the contractor shuts off two new gate valves and un-hooks the fire hose. They then roll it up and move it out of the way. Then at the end of the day they hook the fire hose back up and turn the gate valves back on and re-pressurize the system.
We have used many little tricks like this to keep things going. We have hung mainlines from I-Beam supports before but we have does the "By-Pass" trick many many times. This allows the contractor to remove a risk from their jobsite and insure that they dont have mainline breaks which can slow the whole project down and cost money at time.

The controls wires, on the other hand, are a different story. With the fire hose it is very easy to shut it down and un-hook it becase there is no sequencing or anything, it is basically a simple task that for the most part can't be done wrong. With the control wires though if they were to have to cut them each day and move them out of the way it would be a time consuming task and wires could possibly get mixed up or not hooked up correctly each day. Since each of these wires is associated with a specific sprinkler zone it is crucial to make sure and keep the proper wire sequencing or risk un-intended operation of the sprinkler stations.

This is where we have to sometimes take the wires and re-route them completely around the construction area into a "safe zone" that is away from vehicle and construction traffic. It is a very time consuming task but once it is done it wont need to be adjusted until the new mainlines and irrigation are installed in the later stages of the project.
As you can see with some of the pictures we have taken the control wires up and around the work site and they are very safe at this time. unfortunately it is not the cleanest looking adjustment but as a former boss used to always say to me, "you have to crack some eggs to make and omelette!"

This kind of "work-around" is very common here on campus. We have a very dense campus and there are a lot of utilities. Every contractor has to work very hard with the campus to help make sure the core functions of the campus remain while working to improve the campus as a whole.

The best way to look at situations like this is to have an open mind and think outside of the box! If you focus too hard on "normal" methods you will have a tough time achieving the end goal of the university, which is to provide a great environment to help our student population have the best chance to succeed in higher learning.