Concrete. Admittedly a subject that I had given little thought to before I began writing this story – save for the fact that we have a stone and concrete wall around our front lawn that is in need of repair and we have been dragging our heels on getting it done because it’s not a cheap fix…
It’s a building material that has been in use for literally thousands of years – since the Romans built the Colosseum – but for those of us who are not in the business, or in the process of building a structure of some sort, we take for granted that it is just a building material that ensures our homes, offices or retail structures will stand. I would even venture to guess that for those working in the construction industry – if they are not working directly with the material – they may not give it much thought at all.
But there are hundreds of North American businesses who make their living through the manufacture and use of concrete, and these businesses are ensuring that modern architecture has a place in history.
American Concrete Construction Inc. (ACCI), which operates out of Trinity, North Carolina, is one such business.
Founded in 2000 by president and owner, Scott Niemitalo, the company has spent the last 18 years honing its craft and as a result has become known as a specialist in designing and constructing industrial concrete floors, footings and foundations, and in tilt-up construction (a building system whereby large concrete walls are cast on the building slab or elsewhere and then tilted into position).
Delivering a quality product has been of utmost importance to Niemitalo while building his business over the years. ACCI has placed more than 100 million square feet of industrial concrete floors and tilt-up wall panels, and that legacy can be attributed in part to the fact that the firm uses the Somero Laser Screed technology, that it constantly undergoes mix design reviews, and that it consistently looks for ways to do things safer, faster and with the highest quality product it can provide. This has also helped the company to build strong relationships with contractors and builders in the state.
ACCI has been recognized in the industry with two Golden Trowel® Awards – the most prestigious and sought after award in the concrete flooring industry. Presented by The Face Companies, Golden Trowels recognize the flattest and most level floor slabs placed in the world in the previous contest year.
The company’s most recent award came in 2016, after ACCI placed the world’s flattest dragstrip in Benson, North Carolina for GALOT Motorsports, with all four tire lanes exceeding FF 100. For those not in the concrete business, the degree of a slab’s flatness is expressed by two Face Floor profile numbers, which reflect the “flatness (FF) and levelness (FL) on a scale of 10 to 150, with most slabs ranging from 15 to 100. An FF 100 is superflat.
ACCI has also received recognition for completing a 450,000 square foot project for a Walmart in North Carolina, and a complex tilt-up project in North Carolina for US Cold Storage.
By using the laser screed technology, the ACCI team has also been able to soften the impact of the challenge in obtaining skilled labor (a trend that has affected the entire construction industry), because this technology enables floors to be laid in a shorter amount of time, with fewer people, and with more accurate and level results.
The concrete construction industry has historically been a conservative one. The strict regulations on formulas make modifications to materials and the adoption of new technologies happen at a slow pace, but with a changing environment comes the need to be more adaptable and innovative. For example, there are numerous new formulas that are being used that better reflect the climate and the building circumstances. Concrete mixtures such as smog eating concrete, green cements, and the use of recycled tire rubber are a small sampling of these formulas. In addition, drones are now being used to map building structures and sites using their camera technologies.
To be sure, being conservative is not what ACCI is about. The company has been willing to push itself to always do better, build flatter, and remain on the cutting edge of concrete. With that approach, ACCI will continue to leave a building legacy in North Carolina.