The Whole Package
Established in 1985 by Kenny Seng, who, wanting to get into general contracting work, sold some cattle he owned, purchased a dump truck and a backhoe, hired three others and set out to make his mark on the Provo/Salt Lake City area. Today, it is all but “Mission Accomplished,” as KSC boasts a personnel roster more than 200 strong, owns and operates more than 200 pieces of construction equipment and tallies sales in excess of $50 million each year.
According to Travis Price, the company’s chief financial officer, KSC focuses on earthwork and grading, structural and site concrete, and utility installation, which includes sewer, water and storm drain lines. “In addition, we have a gravel pit, at which we offer custom aggregate crushing as well as recycling of concrete and asphalt,” he said. “It is that full-service capability — the resources to do literally everything — that has helped us grow in the way we have and, in fact, probably helped us land the Bingham Creek job.”
Vance Baxter, the company’s field operations manager, agrees. “We have a package that basically takes our customer up to brick — and while we subcontract out the asphalt, we still control it. The alternative is for the customer to hire one company to do earthwork, another to do utilities, another for asphalt, footers, sidewalks, curb and gutter, and so on. With us, they only have to deal with one source, the process is smoother and, more importantly, any ‘finger-pointing’ is eliminated.”
The ambitious undertaking at Bingham Creek — when complete, it will be the largest park in Salt Lake County — will feature multiple playgrounds, a disc golf course, biking and other multi-use trails, a splash pad, tennis courts, pickleball courts, sport fields, bike skills course, volleyball courts, basketball courts, open lawn space, and additional trails.
The first phase of the park project, which is taking place over the course of four months, is aggressive by anyone’s standards. In that time frame, more than 700,000 cubic yards of soil will be moved onsite to literally lay the groundwork for what is to come. Yet, a close look around the site reveals not a single survey stake — testimony to the long-time credence KSC has placed in GNSS technology.
“We’ve been using GPS in one form or another for about 18 years now; I believe we were one of the first in the area to do so,” said Brandon Bunker, a KSC site superintendent. “Since then, we’ve recognized the benefits the technology brings to the job and have a GPS solution on the majority of our heavy equipment, including most of our excavators, scrapers, dozers, motor graders and our curb machines. Our owner is a huge believer in GPS and what it can do.”
It’s interesting to note that, although equipment manufacturers have in recent years, begun offering their own brand of machine control system direct from the factory, KSC has chosen to bypass that option in favor of Topcon solutions. According to Baxter, their decision is based on performance-based benefits.
“We find that, on any machine, the reaction time with the Topcon system is much faster than with the OEM gear,” he said. “The single mast is another advantage; we don’t have to worry about twin masts. Or, on a motor grader for example, we can run a tracker on one side and GPS on the other to improve accuracies even further — a huge plus for us when doing athletic fields which demand super-tight tolerances.”
KSC’s use of GNSS solutions at the Bingham Creek site — roughly 16 machine control systems across the equipment spectrum — is dramatically reducing the need for survey, minimizing crew size and improving accuracies in almost every facet of the job. And that level of efficiency extends all the way to a single digital model, created in-house, that is shared by every GPS-equipped machine working onsite.
“Right now we are grading for both this and future phases,” said Bunker. “We have a fleet of excavators, dozers and scrapers getting everything to subgrade — including creating berms, and prepping for a bike track, bike trails, splash pad, soccer fields and a sledding hill.”
Though it is not currently in play at the Bingham Park site, KSC’s expertise also includes precision curb and gutter paving — performed without the use of the traditional stringline. That approach, said KSC’s concrete operations manager, Tim Olsen, has followed form (no pun intended) in setting them apart from others doing similar work.
“We’ve been using the stringless solution for a couple years now,” he said. “Prior to that we were either hand-setting everything or subbing that portion of the job out to other contractors with their machines. But, the Topcon Millimeter GPS system on our GOMACO GT-3600 paver makes us extremely efficient, affords us a huge time savings and, because it is all self-performed, even if we schedule things far in advance, we know exactly where we will be so the earthwork people can begin to prep things. When we get there, we simply run off a short distance of curb to make sure we are online and on grade and are confident the rest will be on the money.”