One of the most ambitious building projects currently underway in the United States is construction of the Gaylord Pacific Resort and Convention Center in Chula Vista, California. The project, a partnership between RIDA Development Corporation, Marriott International, and Ares Management, aims to create a world-class destination in the South Bay area of the greater San Diego region.
Based in Santa Ana, California, Fleming & Sons Concrete Pumping, Inc., has been contracted to pump all the concrete needed to construct this massive new facility.
Tim Gottenbos, Fleming’s Equipment Manager, shed light on their involvement in this large-scale endeavor. Fleming provides the widest range of concrete pumping and conveying equipment available in the concrete industry, Gottenbos said, and its staff is fully ACPA-trained and certified to ensure service and safety on customers’ job sites.
In addition to their technical expertise, Gottenbos emphasized Fleming’s commitment to quality and customer satisfaction, saying, "We are extremely professional and take pride in all our services. I always say we provide outstanding services for projects of any magnitude.”
With a comprehensive range of concrete pump services to offer, Gottenbos says Fleming is well-equipped to meet the needs of such a significant project. "We have a wide range of sizes and builds of pumps, from 28 meters all the way to 70 meters," he said, adding that this impressive variety of options allows them to tackle projects of various scales efficiently and effectively.
Planning and Implementation
To undertake such a monumental project, partnerships were essential, and multiple companies came together to execute the project. Gottenbos said Fleming was invited to partner on the Gaylord Pacific project because of an existing relationship with McCarthy Building Companies, a national construction solutions provider and a trusted collaborator with Fleming for over a decade.
The construction process for the Gaylord Pacific Resort began in July of 2022. “Put simply, we’re pouring concrete to create parking for the hotel,” Gottenbos said.
But even beginning the project was anything but simple. "The first thing we needed to do,” Gottenbos said, “was start digging the foundations." However, constructing a building's foundation below sea level presented unique challenges. The team had to overcome several obstacles to ensure a sturdy and watertight structure.
One challenge in building underwater is the increased water pressure at deeper depths, meaning robust engineering solutions need to be implemented to prevent structural failure. Additionally, advanced waterproofing measures had to be taken to safeguard against leaks and corrosion caused by the constant presence of water. Managing underwater conditions requires specialized equipment and techniques, adding complexity to the excavation and construction processes.
Environmental impact is taken into consideration, with efforts made to minimize disturbances to marine ecosystems. Furthermore, with such a project, rising sea levels and the potential for extreme weather events necessitate proactive planning and adaptation strategies. Gottenbos emphasized the importance of meticulous planning, technical expertise, and strict adherence to safety standards in overcoming these challenges.
Collaboration was also important. “Concrete pumping has a pivotal role to play in the construction of the Gaylord Pacific,” Gottenbos said. “But it’s only one piece of the puzzle.” He noted a primary challenge for a project of this scale is the need for extensive coordination among various vendor companies operating around the clock.
Gottenbos said Fleming recognizes the importance of efficient operations. More than that, they contribute to and drive that efficiency.
"It’s a very complex project,” he said, “but we operate very efficiently. We accomplish that by keeping it simple. We show up, we plug in, and deliver the concrete." Gottenbos said this streamlined approach ensures that the concrete pumping process proceeds smoothly, keeping pace with the project's demanding timeline.
The Role of Concrete
The scope of Fleming’s involvement extends beyond the foundation, with concrete pumping required for floors, columns, blade walls, core walls for elevators, and more, Gottenbos said.
The process follows a strategic sequence. Gottenbos explained, "One day we'll plug in to the placing boom and pour for the columns and blade walls, then we come again later and pour the floors." This careful sequencing, he said, ensures efficient construction, optimizing the alignment of walls and floors.
Gottenbos elaborated on the specific details of Fleming’s work on the project, saying, "We'll be using three SCHWING placing booms in the hotel so we can hit all the different sections and lay their concrete."
Gottenbos said an ability to seamlessly integrate with the larger construction process is key to the success of this enormous project. He likened it to a well-oiled machine, saying, "If you look at the project as a machine, we try to fit into that machine perfectly." The Fleming team collaborates closely with the other companies, assisting with setup, pumping the concrete, and efficiently moving in and out as each level progresses.
As the construction progresses, Gottenbos said, the concrete component of the project is slated to be completed by June of 2024, and the new resort will open in the summer of 2025. This timeline alone showcases the magnitude and complexity of bringing the Gaylord Pacific Resort to life.
Simplicity and Efficiency: Fleming and SCHWING
For the Gaylord Pacific construction, Fleming relies on a range of concrete pumps, with a notable presence of one brand of machines.
"For this project, we’re using machines including 28-meter, 39-meter, 58-meter, and 65-meter boom pumps,” Gottenbos said. “All these machines are SCHWINGs.”
Gottenbos's brand loyalty began early in his career. "I started in 2005 with [Fleming Vice President] Marc Zarbis, who had SCHWING ROCK Valve pumps,” he said. Gottenbos's familiarity with SCHWING pumps led to his continued preference for the brand. “They’re the machines I started with, so I’m very comfortable with them," he said.
While his role as Equipment Manager primarily involves supervision at the Gaylord Pacific site, focusing on customer satisfaction and ease of operations, Gottenbos himself goes above and beyond, even stepping in to pump concrete during lunch breaks to expedite the process. “Speed and efficiency are so important to meet project deadlines,” he explained, “and we like to keep ahead of schedule whenever possible.”
On this project, Gottenbos took charge of operating various machines. He acknowledged the vital role played by the machines in maintaining efficiency and reducing downtime. "Everyone's happy when the machines are working, the job's going quickly, and there's not much downtime," he said.
“Our preferred brand is SCHWING because they’re easier to operate and clean out,” he said, “and we like that they have fewer electronic components and unnecessary frills and fuss.” The simplicity and efficiency resonate with Gottenbos and his team.
The durability of SCHWING's concrete pumps also stands out as a critical factor in their preference for the brand, Gottenbos said. He highlighted the importance of durability in concrete pumping, emphasizing that it ensures efficient and reliable operation while minimizing downtime and maintenance costs.
“SCHWING uses high-grade materials,” he said. “Their pumps are built to withstand the demanding conditions of concrete pumping, offering long-lasting performance.”
Gottenbos also emphasized the need for industry knowledge, organization, and commitment to effective communication for a project of this magnitude. He said, "The SCHWING company is very knowledgeable and organized. And they consider themselves a driver of the process. They always get back right away when there's any communication from us." This level of responsiveness and support ensures a smooth project for Fleming when they are onsite, he said.
Gottenbos also mentioned the excitement surrounding newly launched SCHWING Z-boom pumps, saying Fleming has already placed orders for these advanced machines.
The construction of the Gaylord Pacific Resort and Convention Center in Chula Vista is a monumental effort, and Fleming is playing a vital role in its success. The resort is on track to become a world-class destination in the summer of 2025, showcasing the remarkable progress achieved through collaboration and determination.
“Efficient operations, planning, and seamless integration with any large construction process depends on the timely and precise delivery of concrete,” said Gottenbos. A dedication to coordination, speed, and flexibility is contributing to the overall success of this monumental project. As construction continues, the collaboration between Fleming and their partners promises to bring the Gaylord Pacific Resort and Convention Center one step closer to becoming a remarkable destination in Chula Vista.