Cincinnati- based TWC Concrete Services LLC. is an industrial and commercial concrete contractor that has had a part in creating some of the most impressive industrial facilities and public buildings in the Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana tri-state area.
The construction industry was one of the business sectors most affected by the Great Recession. This worst global recession since the Second World War was over in 2009, but construction companies that survived had much work to do to fight back to previous activity levels.
To survive in the changed construction marketplace, Tru Wall Concrete was restructured and reappeared as the lean, ready-to-fight TWC Concrete Services LLC. The deep reductions in spending affected everything from insurance to wages and benefits.
Although the company now had lowered expenses, it had a renewed emphasis on doing more in terms of quality and construction volume without giving up safety or scheduling. The sacrifices paid off; TWC Concrete Services remained financially viable throughout the economic recovery.
TWC provides a full range of concrete services for both the private and public sector with structures for commercial, warehousing, industrial, institutional and government use. It has also been involved in such infrastructure projects as stormwater retention areas capable of holding millions of gallons of water.
The company prides itself “on being a specialty contractor dedicated to completing all projects on schedule and on budget to the total satisfaction of our customers.” Concrete tilt-up and flatwork are two industry segments in which the company specializes.
Cost-effective tilt-up construction is, in some ways, similar to building with prefabricated panels except that tilt-up panels are cast horizontally on site before being ‘tilted’ into position via crane. Since these do not need to be transported to the building location, they are not limited by size, and some tilt-up walls can exceed 150 tons.
A prime example of this method of construction is TWC Concrete Services’ own building in Cincinnati. This is not only the company headquarters but a showcase of what is possible in design and finishes when working with concrete construction. Exterior fins cast shadows and add visual interest down what would otherwise be a flat wall, while the arc of the semi-circular front wall of the main lobby is echoed by a stunning cast-in-place concrete staircase that curves throughout the space.
Another specialty of the company is what is known as flatwork, the concrete slab surface finishing that appears on floors of buildings, basements or garages as well as in exterior situations like steps, driveways and walkways. Much skill and expertise go into achieving the desired texture and durability.
Surfaces can be dyed, brushed or stamped to achieve different effects or, for interiors, polished to a glossy finish one does not even notice underfoot while walking through a warehouse store or museum.
During the time of the slavery, Cincinnati, Ohio was an important place of sanctuary for escaping slaves. Because of this, a 158,000-square-foot, $110 million museum was built to honour the history of the Underground Railroad and those who fought to abolish slavery. The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center was opened in 2004, following many years of work.
TWC employed several aspects of concrete work in the construction of the museum. A compressed schedule, due to project delays, meant that the building went up in a mere eight months, with much of that being done in winter—which makes concrete curing quite difficult. Concrete walls, mezzanines, floors, columns and staircases were all cast in place in what would be one of the most challenging buildings to construct anywhere in the area. The centre pavilion wall alone is 110 feet tall, curved and supports the grand staircase.
The company feels that the project illustrates “examples of the finest work in the industry,” and visitors seem to agree. “This is one of the most beautiful buildings I have ever had the opportunity to walk through,” said one visitor.
TWC Concrete Services also was part of the team that worked on the Schuster Performing Arts Center in Dayton, Ohio in 2003. The company built the orchestra pit with cantilevered structural slabs and the eighteen-inch thick stage wall that stands 130 feet tall and is 120 feet wide. The project took four thousand cubic yards of concrete and, once again, was completed despite the wintry weather. The company also had to adjust to over two hundred changes that were made during construction.
TWC Concrete Services Vice President Anthony DeCarlo, Jr. sits board of directors of the American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC). This group of seven hundred concrete industry leaders includes manufacturers and suppliers as well as contractors, designers and others.
The industry association acts to give a stronger voice to those in the concrete industry. It also assists members in improving businesses through networking, information and news about technological advancements.
TWC Concrete Services is also a member of the American Concrete Pumping Association (ACPA), and all pumping work is conducted by ACPA-certified operators. The ACPA promotes concrete pumping and educates members about safe pumping procedures. The company uses Putz and Schwing concrete pumps that are capable of moving concrete up to thirty-nine meters.
Other specialized equipment used by the company are laser screeding machines. Screeding is a crucial part of concrete flatwork to smooth and level the surface and the traditional use of a piece of lumber has been replaced by gear capable in incredible accuracy and speed.
Sometimes, even a laser screed is not enough for complex projects, but TWC is highly adaptable to challenges, as seen in one recent piece of work.
Meat and food processing company SugarCreek was looking to expand its facility with an added 330,000-square-foot building as well as renovating its existing 70,000-square-foot structure. For hygiene reasons, facilities that handle food need surfaces that cannot harbor bacteria, so designers wanted as few joints as possible in the floors. The floors would also contain a widespread network of water lines and nearly four hundred drains, and there were concerns about the possibility of the plumbing cracking.
TWC Concrete Services was responsible for all the concrete slabs on this project. A special type of concrete mix was used that would eliminate cracking while not requiring control joints, even on slabs up to 150 feet squared. The drains presented other issues, however. Because the floor needed to slope downward to each drain, a typical laser screed creating a perfectly level floor would not be desirable.
Rather than hand screed each slope, the company invested in a Somero S-840 Laser Screed® machine capable of screeding three-dimensional surfaces. The location of every drain was plotted, and the computerized system precisely tapered the concrete surface to the drain depressions.
Architects and structural engineers know that TWC Concrete Services’ many years of experience and high standards mean that tight schedules and challenging conditions will be met with quality workmanship and a consummate attention to detail. The tri-state area’s concrete company of choice will keep growing as a result.