Drones in Construction

Today, drones are delivering packages and spraying pesticides in agricultural fields. Drones also continue to play an ever increasing role in the construction and real estate industries. Having direct access to aerial photography is proving to be a valuable asset to contractors and developers. In the past, an actual fly over from an aerial photo company was required which was costly. Now companies can invest in a drone for the price of a few manned fly overs.

Bradford bought its first drone in 2013 as a trial run. The unit was a styrofoam body with four small propellers. Camera footage was less than ideal and the unit was difficult to operate, especially in windy conditions.  That trial run met an unfortunate ending with an HVAC unit on a shopping center roof…

Since then we have invested in the DJI Phantom series of drones. (http://www.dji.com/phantom-4-pro). The latest Phantom 4 features 28 minutes of flight time, speeds up to 45mph, and max [unobstructed] transmission range of 4 miles. The 20megapixel camera produces amazing footage. The 5-direction obstacle sensor system and GPS “return to home” features make piloting the drone all that easier and safer. The technology and capability of drones continues to advance rapidly.

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We have used our drones both for aerials and inspection purposes. Developers can provide tenants with photos of potential properties, construction progress, as well as intersection and traffic views. Roofs can be scanned and upper windows inspected. Flying a drone to the third floor to get a closer look at an exterior wall is much easier than getting a man lift onsite. The drone footage also makes an excellent marketing tool for completed developments.

Bradford is always looking for ways to improve and use technology to our benefit, and ultimately the benefit of our clients. Who knows…one day we may deliver materials via drone.

Building Better Newsletter

Building quality commercial buildings is what we do. Building quality relationships is of equal importance. Our newsletter will keep you informed of new and ongoing projects, company happenings & other information we want to share with you. Subscribe to our newsletter to the right & for more access, follow our social media links at the bottom of the page.

Thank you for your time & enjoy!

CLIENT HIGHLIGHT

Completed Shopko’s in Texas

Bradford has recently completed 4 Shopko Hometown stores in Clifton, Jacksboro, Seymour, and Tulia, Texas. These stores are 26,000sf of pre-engineered metal building construction, housing a market and pharmacy. Click below to see a time lapse video of one of these stores from start to finish.

COMPANY NEWS

The Georgetown at Rosemary Beach, FL

Bradford was awarded The Georgetown, a condo & retail project in Rosemary Beach, FL. The design is a concrete frame structure consisting of 4 floors, with retail space at the ground level and 3 floors of residential above. There are 9 residential units ranging in size from 2,400sf to 3,000sf and 5,000sf of retail space among 3 tenant spaces. Tucked in among existing buildings in Barrett Square, the project will be a highly challenging logistical feat with literally no storage areas onsite. Auger cast piling and testing have begun as well as site utilities.

TEAM HIGHLIGHTS

Lamar Cobb - Senior Superintendent

1. How long have you been with the company?
17 years. Started in June 1999.

2. What was your first project?
St. Thomas Episcopal Church in Birmingham, AL

3. What was your favorite project and why?
Dollar General in Tyler, TX. It was built in a valley, we had to reroute a creek, build retaining walls up to 25ft, use swamp mats, hauled in 18,000cy of dirt, and built the building in 6-1/2 weeks in the middle of winter. I liked the challenge.

4. What do you enjoy most about your job?
The challenge of the job, challenging myself, and a pleased owner.

5. What makes Bradford different from other companies?
Everybody works together. It’s a family atmosphere, not corporate, and everyone is approachable.

6. What’s your funniest jobsite story?
We took over the concrete on a job in Kansas City, MO pouring footings and stem walls in the snow and ice in March. Charlie Swain, Tim McClanahan, and Jonathan Hollabaugh went with me to help. They were working in miserable conditions so I told them one day I’d cook anything they wanted for dinner back at the hotel. They convened and came back with..…fried bologna sandwiches. And they were serious!

On the same trip, Tim told me “Lamar, the only reason I’m here is because of you”. I said, “No the only reason you aren’t leaving is you’re afraid to fly and my truck isn’t going anywhere."

7. What are your hobbies?
Go-cart racing at 135mph.

8. What advice would you give to a young superintendent just starting his career?

Go into this profession with an open mind and a whole heart and do all you can do to the best of your knowledge and ability and it will come full circle later in life.

9. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Listen to other people and let them tell you how they would do things and then make your own decision. Treat others the way you would want to be treated. Give respect and get respect.

COMPLETED PROJECTS

Walmart Neighborhood Market (Huntsville, AL)

Walmart Neighborhood Market (Huntsville, AL)

Hobby Lobby (Enterprise, AL)

Hobby Lobby (Enterprise, AL)

Mattress Firm (Jasper, AL)

Mattress Firm (Jasper, AL)

6 Family Dollars (AR, MI, IL, WV & MO)

6 Family Dollars (AR, MI, IL, WV & MO)

6 Dollar Generals (OH, AL & IL)

6 Dollar Generals (OH, AL & IL)

Mens Wearhouse (Hoover, AL)

Mens Wearhouse (Hoover, AL)

We salute and thank our veterans for their past & current service!

“We owe this freedom of choice and action to those men and women in uniform who have served this nation and its interests in time of need. In particular, we are forever indebted to those who have given their lives that we might be free.”
 

President Ronald Reagan

Completed Projects: Walmart Neighborhood Market - Huntsville, AL

Bradford has completed construction of the Walmart Neighborhood Market in Huntsville, AL at the corner of Jordan Ln & Bob Wallace Ave! Walmart crews will begin installing shelving and fixtures after Labor Day with Grand Opening planned for October 5th.

The 42,000 square foot Neighborhood Market features a full service deli, bakery, and pharmacy with drive-thru. The site also includes an onsite fueling station.

Construction began in January of this year with sitework battling a very wet winter and spring. Soil conditions required the use of Tensar’s geogrid system to stabilize the subgrade. Despite the conditions, the schedule was maintained and project completed ahead of schedule.

The Huntsville store is Bradford’s second Neighborhood Market with a third location to start early next year.

Client Highlight: Dollar General

Dollar General was founded in 1939 as J.L. Turner & Son Wholesale in Scottsville, KY. Now headquartered in Goodlettsville, Tennessee, Dollar General operates over 13,000 stores in 43 states with 2015 sales exceeding $20 billion. Approximately 70% of the stores are located in towns of 20,000 people or less, but the company also develops in densely populated urban markets.

The prototypical store averages 9,000sf of pre-engineered metal building construction with a masonry veneer and polished concrete floors. The larger concept, Dollar General Market or Plus stores, offer more grocery related products in a 10,000-12,000sf footprint. 

Since 2008, Bradford has completed 360 Dollar General stores and counting across the country. From rural Alabama to downtown St. Louis, we have built everywhere imaginable. The most recently completed store in Midfield, AL marked the 13,000th opening for Dollar General and involved festivities and grants for the community.

Expanding Into the Upper Midwest

Bradford is once again expanding its territory and moving into markets in the Upper Midwest! We are now licensed in 30 states with 12 projects in some phase of construction in South Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Nebraska.

Each new location presents its own challenges with differing levels of government, labor forces and unions, and material availability. Bradford works to establish relationships with all parties and maintain a good rapport knowing that future developments may be pending.

Our versatility offers clients a plethora of development options with equal performance, whether it be 12 or 1,200 miles from home. Projects are outsourced with both local and traveling subcontractors depending on need and availability, and each location has a dedicated onsite superintendent for the duration of the project. Whether it’s a small town with a population of 900 or a major urban area, we find a way to get it done.

We are pleased to be granted more opportunities and provide our clients with the same level of service no matter the location.

Client Profile: Hobby Lobby

Hobby Lobby is an industry leading retailer offering more than 70,000 arts, crafts, hobbies, home decor, holiday, and seasonal products. The company opened its first store in a 300 square foot retail space in Oklahoma City in 1972. Today, Hobby Lobby operates 700+ stores nationwide while continuing to add locations. The company’s headquarters remains in Oklahoma City at a 3,400,000 square foot facility consisting of manufacturing, distribution, and operations.

Bradford has been fortunate to work with Hobby Lobby the last few years opening new stores across the southeast. The prototypical store consists of 55,000 square feet of concrete tilt-up construction and steel joists and deck. Construction is completed in a mere 110 days from pad turnover and footing excavation.

Bradford recently completed a Greenville, NC location and also broke ground in Enterprise, AL. Construction of another Alabama location is set to start in August at the Eastchase Development in Montgomery.

Hobby Lobby is an exemplary client and we are pleased to be a part of furthering their success.

Poor Soil Conditions & Aggregate Piers

Poor soil conditions are many times the greatest risk and cost for a project. Undercutting (removing unsuitable soil and replacing with suitable soil from offsite) sites can be very costly and dependent upon suitable weather and moisture content.

Aggregate piers provide an economical alternative to address poor soil conditions where required bearing capacities can’t be met using the native soil or uncompacted previous fill. The process is cheaper and faster than total soil replacement, as well as less dependent on weather. The site is prepared to the proposed subgrade elevation and aggregate piers are installed below the foundation elements.

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Some of the more well known systems are Geopier or Vibro Stone columns. There are various types of installation processes, but the main two are drilled or vibrated columns. Drilled systems remove the soil via augering and layers of stone are placed and compacted in lifts until reaching the desired elevation.

Vibrated columns displace the soft soil to form the hole and are either “bottom fed” or “top fed”. Top fed systems are used in cohesive soils where the walls of the holes will hold shape without collapsing. After the holes are formed, stone is dumped in roughly two foot lifts and vibrated to the required compaction.

Bottom fed systems are used in unstable fine grained soils where hole collapse is a possibility. Stone is dumped into a hopper at the top of the tamp. As the tamp compacts and is raised, stone empties into the bottom of the hole.

Most installers provide the client with a turnkey installation including engineered design, installation, and testing. Bradford has used aggregate piers on multiple projects, saving our clients both cost and time.

Hydra-Power Systems | Pelham, AL

When our friends at ArchitectureWorks approached us about a local office renovation, we were happy to assist. Their client, Hydra-Power Systems out of Portland, was looking to renovate an existing space in Pelham to relocate their southeast operations. Hydra-Power has been a fluid power distributor and manufacturer since 1970, specializing in pneumatic and hydraulic components. They were needing room to grow with their ever expanding team and a place to call home. With salespeople, customer support, manufacturing, and distribution operations all happening under one roof, it was a unique mix of aesthetics and functionality.

The existing space was a hodgepodge of office and warehouse space pieced together over years of additions and renovations. We demolished most of the interior while still salvaging cabinetry, plumbing, lighting, and some wall construction to reduce costs.

The front of house area includes executive offices and an open office area joined together by a unique entryway. This area is filled with “floating” dyed maple paneling and steel panels for an industrial feel.

The back office area contains a conference room with custom lighting controls, audio/visual enhancements, and dry erase wallcovering along with a kitchen, baths, and work areas.

The existing warehouse area was retrofitted with an open shop area for Hydra-Power’s custom power unit and manifold manufacturing.

A new modular retaining wall replaced a failing timber wall and perimeter drainage was installed to eliminate previous flooding issues. Landscaping and a new HPS monument sign gave life to the exterior.

It was a pleasure working alongside ArchitectureWorks again and we are thankful to Hydra-Power for allowing us to serve their needs.

 

BUILDING BETTER Newsletter

Have you joined the quarterly BUILDING BETTER newsletter?

Building quality commercial buildings is what we do. Building quality relationships is of equal importance. Our quarterly newsletter will keep you informed of new and ongoing projects, company happenings & other information we want to share with you. Subscribe using the box to the right of this post. For more access, follow our social media links at the bottom of the page. Thank you for your time & enjoy!

FEATURED PROJECTS

Walmart Neighborhood Market
The first quarter of 2016 included the grand opening of our first Neighborhood Market store in Mobile, AL. The project was a great success for all parties involved including Walmart, the developer, store management and the City of Mobile. This concept boasts a 40,000 square foot retail store along with an onsite fueling station.

We also broke ground on another location in Huntsville, AL in January. Mass site grading is complete, building pad constructed, masonry walls are going up, site utilities are being installed, and work is beginning at the fuel station.

Hobby Lobby
At just 75 days into the schedule, we are painting and starting flooring at the Greenville, NC location.  These stores are pad-ready sites with concrete tilt-up panel exterior walls and a steel deck. An interesting detail of this new store design is the use of form liner concrete panels, taking the shape of, and replacing, conventional masonry veneers.

With a construction schedule of only 110 days, savings of not only cost, but time, are realized. We discuss this more in this newsletter's "Quick Facts" below. With 3 locations completed in 2014-2015, we are looking forward to continuing our relationship with Hobby Lobby.

Shopko
Chicago pharmacist James Ruben moved to Green Bay where he opened the first Shopko store in 1962. He envisioned a larger retail store with health care services combined with retail operations. As a result, Shopko became one of the first chains to offer such services as a pharmacy and an eye care center all under one roof. Shopko Hometown stores are 26,000 square feet of pre-engineered metal building construction. We completed our first Shopko in Prosser, WA last year and currently have 4 stores under construction in Texas.

COMPANY NEWS

Charlie: 19 Years with Bradford
Long-time Bradford employee Charlie Swain retired from the construction industry last month. Charlie has been involved in over 50 projects with Bradford. We celebrated with lunch at Jack Brown's sharing stories like the one below best shared by a fellow superintendent.
"While working at the 1900 Building downtown, Charlie had an interesting experience with the elevator. The original building had an old manually operated traction elevator. One day the elevator operator was sick, so Charlie volunteered. Not knowing that cranking the operating wheel builds momentum before the cab actually moves, Charlie cranked away and found himself flying to the top. To counter, he started cranking the other direction and flew back down to the bottom. When he figured out what was happening, he eased it to the nearest level, walked off the elevator, and kissed the floor. A crowd of laughter welcomed him."

His most valuable pieces of advice for working in the construction industry? 
If you mess something up, try to fix it before asking for help. Don’t make it someone else’s problem. If someone asks if you can do something and you don't know how, be honest or ask questions. Don’t go ahead and make a mistake.

Thank you Charlie for your years of hard work with Bradford Building!

St. Patricks Day Employee Lunch
We celebrated St. Patricks Day with lunch catered by Buck Mulligan's, an authentic Irish pub here in Birmingham, and green beer to close out the work day! Sláinte!

QUICK FACTS

Form Liner Panels
A form liner panel is a patterned sheet of plastic, rubber, or styrofoam placed on the inside of a concrete forming system before the concrete is poured. The liner panel acts as a mold for the concrete to be formed against. The resulting concrete surface is permanently textured with the pattern of the form liner, in this case brick and split-face block. The form liners are attached to forms, concrete is placed against the liner, and the liner pattern is transferred into the wet concrete. After the concrete has cured, the liner is stripped and the unique texture is exposed.

 

LIVE BETTER
Our employees are encouraged to exercise at a local gym and strive for healthy habits with our Corporate Wellness Coordinator, Krissi Williford.

She stresses the importance of our roles in personal health with some helpful reminders.

1. The best way to achieve good health is through diet & exercise. Just 30 minutes a day is all it takes!
2. Busy lifestyles, schedules & kids are not excuses to not actively engage in your health.
3. Physical activity produces endorphins which improves mood & relieves stress. 
4. Food is energy and fuel for your body & mind. Calories matter, just eat the right ones!
5. Eating a diet too low in calories can lead to brain fog which can make you become angry, tired or sad.
6. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. Build great health day by day for long-lasting results!

Visit www.vestaviahillspersonaltraining.com for more info on her
Corporate Wellness Program & Personal Training.

“People don't believe what you tell them.
They rarely believe what you show them.
They often believe what their friends tell them.
They always believe what they tell themselves.” 
- Seth Godin

 

Charlie: 19 Years with Bradford Building

This past Friday, our team spent the afternoon celebrating long-time Bradford employee Charlie Swain as he retires from the construction industry. We took time to share stories and a few good laughs over burgers and brews at Jack Brown’s .

Charlie has been a part of the Bradford team for 19 years and has been involved in over 50 projects.

Charlie Swain

Charlie Swain

We took a few minutes to ask Charlie about his time with Bradford.

When did you start working at Bradford?

In 1997, I’ve been with the company for 19 years.

Favorite project you’ve worked on & why?

Advanced Auto, it was my first project with Bradford as a superintendent and we were able to do more of them.

Do you have any interesting stories from your time at Bradford?

This story is best told by another long-time superintendent, Brad Hobbs. While working at the 1900 Building downtown, Charlie had an interesting experience with the elevator. The original building had an old manually operated traction elevator. One day the elevator operator was sick, so Charlie volunteered. Not knowing that cranking the operating wheel builds momentum before the cab actually moves, Charlie cranked away and found himself flying to the top. To counter, he started cranking the other direction and flew back down to the bottom. When he figured out what was happening, he eased it to the nearest level, walked off the elevator, and kissed the floor. A crowd of laughter welcomed him.

Most valuable lesson to others in construction industry?

If you mess something up, try to fix it before asking for help. Don’t make it someone else’s problem. If someone asks if you can do something and you don't know how, be honest or ask questions. Don’t go ahead and make a mistake.

Why Bradford? What makes Bradford different from other companies?

Bradford is a family atmosphere. Everybody looks out for everyone else. There’s not a lot of companies out there like that. It’s somewhere where you’re not just a number. Supervisors think about their people. They’ve been good to me. The managers and Kevin have plenty to worry about, but they’re always available. The other superintendents are more than co-workers, they’re friends and family.

What do you plan on doing now that you’re retired?

Vacation with my wife, work on my ’55 Chevy and 1962 pickup & spend time with my grandkids.

The Bradford "veterans"

The Bradford "veterans"

Charlie, thank you for your years of hard work, your friendship & helping our company always build better! You will be missed!

The Bradford Team

Client Highlight: Mattress Firm

Mattress Firm opened their doors in 1986 and has since become one of the largest and most successful specialty bedding companies in the world. They boast over 2400 stores across 28 states and are still growing. 

Bradford Building has had the privilege to construct several stores for Mattress Firm including the newest one right here in Birmingham, AL. This site is prime real estate for Mattress Firm as the 280 corridor continues to expand and new homes are being constructed in areas such as Hoover & Chelsea. 

Other stores in progress include Miramar Beach, FL & Fayetteville, GA both set to open this Spring and preparing for other locations in Jasper, AL and Brimfield, OH later this year.

                                                      Mattress Firm, Miramar Beach, FL

                                                      Mattress Firm, Miramar Beach, FL

                                                       Mattress Firm, Fayetteville, GA

                                                       Mattress Firm, Fayetteville, GA

Thank you Mattress Firm and its development partners for choosing Bradford Building!