An ambitious hauling project was big news in Tennessee in August.  Barnhart was involved in transporting a mammoth absorption column, 14 feet in diameter and 140 feet long, from Knoxville to the U.S. Nitrogen plant site in Greenville, Tenn.

The project started in 2012 in Lake Charles, La. where the 330,000 lb. column was loaded to a barge and transported to a terminal in Knoxville.  There, Barnhart did a roll-off using a THP trailer configuration.   The column was offloaded with gantries.

Then the column sat in the terminal for a year, while the necessary plans were made to safely transport it to the plant site. Continue reading

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Marble wall at the Flight 93 Memorial. Photo: The Patriot News

Today marks the 12th anniversary of the September 11 attacks on the United States that took 3,000 innocent lives. While the impact of that horrific event has lessened over the years, the images and accounts are unforgettable.

Of the many stories to emerge from that day, none was so heart-rending as the plight of United Airlines Flight 93. Scheduled to depart from Newark at 8:00 a.m, the plane was delayed a crucial 41 minutes. This allowed the 40 highjacked crew and passengers to learn of the attacks underway, to band together, and make the decision to intervene. Due to their heroic efforts, the plane crashed in a field near Shanksville, Pa. instead of its presumed target, the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

In 2002, George W. Bush signed the Flight 93 Memorial Act into law, creating a new national park on the site to commemorate the crew and passengers on the flight. But an undertaking of this scale required a massive fundraising effort.

Over the years, as fundraising benchmarks were reached, makeshift memorials on the site made way for permanent monuments, including a $62 million marble wall of honor, consisting of 40 separate panels 10 feet in height, each inscribed with a single name. Since 9/11, some 2 million people have made pilgrimage to this sacred site.

This week, 11 years after the law, the National Parks Foundation announced that it had reached its $40 million fundraising goal to complete the memorial.  The final phase of construction will create a visitor center and a 93-foot “Tower of Voices” containing 40 wind chimes, each representing a person lost in the crash.  More than 110,000 individuals, foundations and corporations contributed to the fund.

On this day, Barnhart honors the spirit of those 40 crew and passengers, and the goodwill of those who, through their philanthropy, banded together to make sure they were not forgotten.

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A recent article on thoughtcatalog.com, describes the “23 Things Everyone Believes that Have Been Disproven by MythBusters.” Here are just a few goodies.

Dropping a penny off the side of the Empire State Building could kill someone. No, it couldn’t. A penny is not big enough or dense enough to do this, even factoring in the distance it would fall.

You could pick up radio stations and phone calls on an old tooth filling.  No, a tooth filling will not act as an antenna.

Quicksand sucks you underground until you die. This is an invention of the movies and our imaginations, fortunately. Real quicksand would be even more buoyant than sand.

You could destroy someone’s car by putting sugar in the gas tank.   Continue reading

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Barnhart, based in Memphis, was awarded an 11-year Payment-in-Lieu-of-Tax (PILOT) tax incentive in June that will add 20 new jobs and expand the company’s presence in that city. The PILOT was awarded by the Economic Development Growth Engine for Memphis and Shelby County, known as EDGE.

Barnhart will invest $5.2 million in real and personal property at several locations around Memphis.  This is already underway as the company recently purchased an industrial property at 2085 W.E. Freeman Drive for $2.6 million with plans to add an additional  60,000-square-foot storage warehouse. Continue reading

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Accident Investigation Training Course Announced from ITI

New course designed to offer students the opportunity to investigate multiple accident scenes

Industrial Training International (iti.com), a world leader in crane and rigging training, is proud to unveil the world’s first in-depth crane and rigging accident investigation training course.  Officially titled, Accident Investigation for Cranes, Rigging and Material Handling Operations, the course will feature three accident scenes to be analyzed by participants.  Scenes include a mobile crane, rigging, and forklift accident.

The ultimate goal of those who practice lifting activities is to complete lifts while staying accident free; unfortunately, lifting accidents occur worldwide on an almost daily basis.  ITI’s Accident Investigation Course is the first step an organization can take to prepare for proper response to a load handling incident.

“Our Field Services team has conducted accident investigations for nearly 30 years. We wanted to bring what we’ve learned to organizational management teams, so that they would have the knowledge and skills to conduct internal investigations and help prevent future incidents,” commented Mike Parnell, President/CEO of ITI.

ITI Innovation Leads to Accident Investigation Course

Over the past quarter-century, ITI has become recognized by clients and competitors alike as having an innovative and pioneering attitude toward training, and for having raised the current levels of instruction for cranes, rigging, and lifting activities.

Since its inception as Wire Rope & Rigging Consultants in 1986, ITI has consistently added to its curriculum which currently contains over 30 courses.  ITI’s newest course proves the company is willing to push industry boundaries by exposing students to the most realistic accident training sites in the world.

Major Investments in the Course

To do the new course justice, and the “ITI way”, a substantial investment was made in both human capital and physical assets.  After hundreds of man-hours were spent in planning and course development, ITI Instructors systematically tipped over a Grove TM-180 (18-ton truck-mounted crane) at the ITI Training Center in Woodland, Washington.  A “dropped load” rigging accident was also setup as well as a forklift, which was turned onto its side.

For more information and a video: http://iti.com/news/bid/93620/Accident-Investigation-Training-Course-Announced-from-ITI-Video#sthash.j6ly0DDu.dpuf

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Barnhart’s new team in the Ohio Valley is in the middle of a major project for a chemical plant in Calvert City, Kentucky.  The team was hired to offload, move and set three chemical columns weighing up to 200,000 lbs. each with a height of up to 170 feet tall.  The timeframe for the project was tight, so planning and preparation were key to the project’s success.

The vessels were trucked into the site on special over-the-road trucking trailers horizontally.  Barnhart’s engineers used gantries and Goldhofers to offload the columns and move them it into the plant reducing the need for large crawler cranes. The team used two legs of gantry to tail one of the vessels and set them on stands so the plant could insulate the columns before Barnhart placed them in a vertical position.

Continue reading

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A mammoth project is underway in Seattle to replace the Alaska Way Viaduct with a new State Route 99.   To dig the tunnel that goes beneath the city, the contractor brought in the world’s largest Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) ever built, nicknamed “Bertha”, and enlisted Barnhart for what has become one of their largest lifts ever.

In early April, Bertha, named after a former Seattle mayor, arrived at the Port of Seattle after a two-week, 5,000 mile journey from the Hitachi Zosen manufacturing plant in Osaka, Japan. The $80 million machine had been taken apart into 41 pieces for transport, the largest weighing about 850 tons.

Bertha was met at the port by Barnhart and the 41 pieces, along with hundreds of other smaller tools and equipment, were offloaded onto Goldhofer trailers in a 24-line quad wide configuration.

Click photo to see week one of the project.

From there, Barnhart transported the major components through the TTI terminal about 500 yards to the launch pit site over nine days with teams working round-the-clock. In addition to the cumbersome nature of moving the large pieces, the team had to work around regular port activities.

Once at the site, each of the large TBM components was staged on site on pipe stands and staging beams.  The challenge – each item had to be staged in the correct sequence so they’d be in the right order when they were lowered into the launch pit for reassembly, 80 feet below the surface.  When reassembled, Bertha will be five-stories tall and 57’ in diameter. Continue reading

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When the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis started a major renovation in November 2012, they were looking for a company that had experience moving sculptures and fragile and delicate items.

They turned to Barnhart because we not only successfully moved several 3,000 lb. Fernando Botero sculptures at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, we were also located in their own back yard.

The items we were asked to relocate were not necessarily delicate, but they were invaluable in terms of their significance in civil rights history. One was a 12,000 pound 60’s era garbage truck representing the sanitation workers strike in Memphis in 1968.  This was a pivotal event that drew Martin Luther King to the city in support of the strike where he was assassinated.

This video shows the Barnhart team repositioning the truck inside the museum and relocating it to its final resting place on the mezzanine.  We welded a steel frame to support the truck and used a 22,000 lb. capacity forklift with fork extensions to lift it to the second level.

The other items Barnhart moved were two buses, one of which was made famous by Rosa Parks when she refused to give up her seat.  Renovations to the National Civil Rights Museum will be completed in early 2014.

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For the first half of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Monday night, it appeared an upset was in the making.  Michigan, the underdog, was outplaying the much-hyped Louisville, the team widely predicted to win.  Leading the charge for the Wolverines was a little-known, back-up freshman guard.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Spike Albrecht was not mentioned in any scouting report.  After all, he was a player who averaged only 1.5 points and 7.4 minutes per game during the regular season.  A player who spent the season in the shadow of starter guard and star Trey Burke.  But this back-up freshman came off the bench to score 17 points in the space of 11 minutes in the opening half, helping Michigan build a lead against Louisville that at one point was 12 points.

“The bigger the stage, the better he plays” his father Chuck said. Continue reading

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Quality and Safety on Wind Projects: How to plan for safety and quality to maximize budget, schedule and wind power production

by Julian Bell, Signal Energy Constructors

Everyone pays a lot of attention to the four major construction issues: safety, quality, schedule and budget.  Of these, safety and quality are typically the least discussed during the project award process.  “Good” quality and safety on wind projects is closely related to “good” cost and schedule, and deserve far more attention. A safe job is completed in less overall time since there is less inefficiency caused by injuries.  Similarly, a quality job is completed in less time since it requires less rework.  It also has less warranty calls and more overall wind power production over time.

In its simplest form, safety is insuring that no one gets injured on the job.  OSHA establishes workplace rules and limits, but they are minimum standards and do not maximize safety in the workplace.  Additionally, the construction industry tracks safety statistics (e.g. as the number of recordable injuries, the Experience Modification Ratio (EMR), the Total Recordable Injury Rate (TRIR), and the Days Away, Restricted, or Transferred (DART) rate) that can help assess a contractor’s safety record compared to other contractors and the industry as a whole.

Safety statistics are important to track, but they are only a part of the evaluation of the effectiveness of a wind contractor’s safety program.  To understand a renewable energy contractor’s safety program you need to understand the philosophy of the program.  On wind projects, where there are numerous dangerous and life-threatening hazards (trenching, electrical work, crane and other heavy equipment work, etc.), it is helpful to look at the following factors of a safety program:

  • Upper level management totally supports the safety program:  Safety truly comes first, and profits later.
  • All employees have “stop work” authority for safety issues.
  • Hazards are identified up front through job hazard analyses and  adequate training is provided.
  • Safety is evaluated through constant “near miss” and incident investigating and analyses, using actual job data as a leading indicator of areas where additional focus may be needed.
  • Safety is an integral part of the job plan (through inspections, safety planning, work permitting process, etc.):  A work permit system authorizes work on a daily basis after potential hazards are identified and discussed.

A good quality program is also essential to a project’s budget and schedule compliance.  Most wind project  designs require adherence to a wide range of engineering standards : IEEE, ANSI, UL,  ASTM, ASCE, to name just a few.  All of these standards are incorporated into the wind project design, and a good team will review these at the outset and determine what should be applied to the project in conjunction with the owner and engineer.

A quality wind project begins with the first request for proposals, long before the actual work starts.  Quality is then carried to final completion and warranty with checks and audits throughout construction to ensure compliance.  A good program treats quality like safety, and empowers all employees with “stop work” authority for quality issues.  In addition, a good wind project quality program will have these attributes:

  • Procedures for document and record control:  Drawings and designs are properly tracked and controlled.
  • Procedures for control of material/equipment purchasing, receiving and inspection:  Material and equipment is inspected and documented.
  • Extensive and specific procedures and guidelines for the performance and inspection of each aspect of the work, with specific substantive quality standards (checklists, etc.) that insure that work has been performed in accordance with the design:  The heart of the quality program are the specific measuring guidelines used to make sure work is completed according to the plans and within engineering standards.

This last item is particularly important.  There is no uniform standard for “quality” in the wind construction industry.  Good contractors have developed these standards on their own for each aspect of their work (road standards, concrete placement and rebar standards, trenching standards, electrical cable placement and termination standards, etc.) and can verify and document their quality on all projects.

Signal Energy’s quality program contains QA/QC (Quality Assurance/Quality Control) “travelers” for each aspect of the work.  These travelers require verification that hundreds of specific work tasks have been properly completed and measurements obtained.  They are an integral part of a comprehensive quality management system that insures that the work is completed according to the design.

In addition to the checks, hold points and audits, a good quality program for a wind construction project should allow the contractor to learn from its experience.  Having a good feedback loop ensures that mistakes are not repeated and the overall operations get better as work continues.

Quality and safety are crucial in adhering to a wind project’s schedule and budget.  Spending time upfront planning for these issues pays off in the end.

Julian Bell is the Director of preconstruction for Signal Energy Constructors. For more information visit: www.signalenergy.com

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