Urban Parking Ramp Expansion – Benefits from Small Boom

Jim Toothaker, owner of Independent Concrete Pumping, Wakefield, MA, is a believer in small pumps. “With so much work in the urban core of Boston, access is a huge challenge,” he says. The company recently added the new Schwing S 20 to their fleet with a 12’ 8” outrigger spread and innovative Double Z, 4-section boom. It has proven to be the perfect tool on a parking structure expansion and multiple jobs in and around city.

The Hotel Commonwealth near Fenway Park, in downtown Boston, is undergoing a 2015 expansion. Part of the addition extends over the hotel’s existing underground parking structure. The hotel is adding three underground levels to the valet parking area to accommodate the anticipated increase in demand for guest parking. J.L. Marshall & Sons, Inc., Pawtucket, Rhode Island is the concrete contractors on the project. “In order to stay on schedule we were required to pump from the street for easy ready-mix access so the narrow outrigger footprint was the key to using a boom pump,” according to Toothaker. Meanwhile, the multi-story hotel construction was on-going above the parking structure pour.

No recent convert to the efficiencies of small booms, Toothaker has employed them for years in his Schwing fleet that includes boom sizes from 17 to 61. “There has always been a huge demand for our Schwing 17-meters,” he adds, “Everywhere a boom pump can’t go… is where our customers need them.” The company has maneuvered boom pumps indoors to construct casino theatres and driven small pumps out on bridge decks where larger booms could not go. “We have a lot of customers who specifically request our small boom pumps, so when I was introduced to the S 20 with the 4-section boom I instantly recognized it as a tool we could use,” Toothaker notes.

The S 20, recently shown at the World of Concrete 2015, utilizes a Double Z boom with 270-degrees of articulation at the second and tip section. According to Independent operator Dave Leptich, with 12 years experience, this is a huge advantage, “The fourth section and the two 270-degree Z fold sections are much easier for me to maneuver. It also helps out the customer if we can eliminate a couple of sections of hardline by getting in closer to the pour.”

“The set-up at the Commonwealth site jammed the pump between a dumpster and a concrete barrier with really no extra space in between,” explains Leptich. The parking structure required 240-cubic yards of 4,000 psi deck mix to be placed in and under the hotel expansion. “This is where the Z folds worked so well,” according to Leptich, “I was able to insert two-sections through a low overhead opening while being set-up very close to the structure.”

Once the end of the boom was placed inside the construction area, 50-feet of five-inch line and 150-feet of 4-inch hose were needed to reach the pour. “The ability to get in and get out of these tight urban situations is the advantage of these small pumps,” according to Toothaker.

Independent’s S 20 is a small boom but the pumpkit puts out 130 cubic yards per hour. “You can overwhelm the finishing crew real easily,” according to Leptich, “I am looking forward to cranking up the volume when we use it as a line pump on a big pour.” The S 20 features a standard 180-degree rotating outlet that allows convenient line pumping from either side of the chassis. Folding sideboards provide 13-feet of storage for pipe sections and clamps which came in handy on the Commonwealth project with so much additional system. With 1161 psi available on the concrete, the distance capabilities of the pump are well suited to medium rise structures or long distance pumping.

On the morning of the weekday pour in late April, machine set-up took only a matter of minutes. “The line system had been assembled prior to the pour date,” according to Leptich, “I had to stick the first two sections into the structure without any practice.” His experience with the company’s Schwing S 31 XT was valuable because it utilizes the same 4-section Double Z boom attached to a telescopic first section. “The 31 XT is a great machine but it has a 20-foot outrigger spread that would have complicated this project.”

System was laid out in the approximately 20,000 square feet of underground parking area with hardline down the center of the three pour areas and flexible line attached at both ends. As the pumping progressed, at an average of 30 yards per hour, the hard line was broken back towards the supply line. Wooden supports kept the hardline off the waterproofing membrane. “We maintained radio control with the pour crew and the pumping stayed pretty steady except for breaks when the line was shortened,” explains Leptich.

With their small boom pumps working on bridge pours with limited set-up, indoor pours in industrial settings and urban remodel projects, Independent’s small booms stay busy. “High utilization of the equipment is the name of the game for concrete pumpers,” explains Toothaker, “The Hotel Commonwealth expansion is a good example of why I own three 17-meter boom pumps and now the S 20.”


Owner: Hotel Commonwealth, Boston, MA
General Contractor: Columbia Construction North Redding, MA and Mortenson Development, Minneapolis, MN
Architect: Group One Partners, Boston, MA
Concrete Contractor: J.L. Marshall & Sons, Inc., Pawtucket, RI
Pumping Contractor: Independent Concrete Pumping, Wakefield, MA
Pumping Equipment: Schwing S 20 2023-3 110/75 MPS concrete pump with placing boom.