At first glance, many utility installation companies more or less look the same. They offer similar services and often using common technologies applied for the installation being specified.
The industry is competitive on price and quality. It’s not enough to be in business and able to perform the job. A company’s reputation, history and experience are critical in this industry.
New technologies and practices can separate some contractors from others. Often it is tried and true, proven practices with experienced employees that make the biggest difference in a contractor’s performance whether as a prime contractor or as a subcontractor you’re entrusting your company’s reputation to.
At the end of the day, perfecting fundamental, reliable services will distinguish a good company from a great one.
To find out if a utility installation business is truly great, it should offer proven expertise in the following areas:
While auger boring is by no means a new practice, it’s a tried and true technology. As you probably know, it remains after all these years an affordable method of for gas, water and drainage installations. Auger boring allows for installations of steel casings up to 60” in diameter to be installed to a length of up to 450 feet.
Experienced boring contractors often have years of experience in the boring industry with practices of proper dewatering techniques as well as deep excavation expertise. Boring contractors focus on precision vs. production for their bores and installations focused on proper planning and machine and pit set up before boring. Proper planning, including pit set up, comes from experienced on-site operators who ensure bores are on grade for sewer installations.
Another mark of a great company is its site restoration practices. Whether it’s the safe and proper use of machinery or the professional and productive behavior of technicians, legitimate auger boring contractors take extra special care to maintain the integrity and safety of their job site at all times. A good auger boring installation and satisfied customers come from leaving the project landscapes and surface structures in conditions as good as or better than found prior to the installation
Getting the bore in the right place
Auger boring contractors are facing more and more pressure to install long, accurate bores due to the mass acceptance of HDD and accuracy of the bores. Auger boring for sewer installations adds another degree of difficulty: in addition to being accurate, having the correct grade throughout the bore length of sewer installations is crucial to the success of the job.
The McLaughlin ON Target steering system allows 360 degree steering control for auger boring contractors throughout the bore by using hydraulics to actuate flaps on the lead steering heads. This method allows contractors to control line and grade of bores and help perform longer and more accurate auger bores.
Best practices should also include the careful and appropriate treatment of different ground conditions, casing diameters and bore lengths. Experienced companies will know how to pair the right equipment with the corresponding conditions of the soil.
Proper support equipment
In addition to having the right experience and maintaining best practices on site, a great boring company should own and use proper support equipment for all jobs. This includes vehicles and gear such as shore boxes, excavation and dewatering equipment, as well as enough dump trucks and reinstatement plans. But its commitment should also extend past the major components to the perhaps less obvious equipment as well. For example, great companies should have experience with a variety of pipe diameters and bore lengths and soil conditions.
Essentially, if the companies have a proven track record, a long history of successful bores, are equipped with experienced field staff and have a good set of technologies for a variety of projects they may be a good fit for future boring projects.