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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Officials hear second tower presentation

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

City officials are gathering as much knowledge about water towers as they can.

On Monday, representatives from Phoenix Fabricators and Erectors, Inc., Sebree, Ky., made a presentation about the company and the styles of water towers they construct, with the Composite Elevated Water Storage Tank as the main focus.

"We are a full-service tank company," Phoenix Sales Contracting Officer Jeremy R. Dixon, CPA, said during the presentation before Mayor Ann Bradshaw, along with representatives from the Brazil Water Department, Planning Office, Hannum, Wagle and Cline Engineering, Terre Haute, and Common Council of the City of Brazil member Pat Heffner. "We want to provide as much information as we can and show what we can do."

Dixon and Regional Sales Manager Casey Cornett from Phoenix's Avon, Ind., office outlined the company's construction and fabrication techniques, as well as an analysis of the current market.

While Phoenix employs similar construction strategies as other companies, such as building 7-foot tall sections on the tower's shaft, Dixon said his company utilizes some different techniques.

"We create a test panel as a quality control measure that remains for the duration of the project," he said. "However, we also use a pump truck to do our concrete pouring so there is a continuous pour on each segment as a way of limiting discoloration."

Dixon explained each 7-foot ring is split into three or four sections, depending on the diameter of the shaft, and each section is large enough for one truck of concrete.

"Also, unlike other companies, we prefer not to sandblast the concrete after the project is finished," Dixon said. "However, we will do it if it is included in the specifications."

To create a symmetrical presentation on the shaft, Dixon said Phoenix uses lasers to line up the panels vertically rather than measure across the diameter of the shaft.

However, one strategy Phoenix uses along with competing companies is in the construction of the tank itself.

"We do all the welding and painting of the tank before using a number of 25-ton hydraulic jacks to lift it," Dixon said. "It is much safer for the workers to be on the ground or 30 feet in the air on the top of the tank than doing the welding and painting 150 or 200 feet up."

Worker safety was a key point of emphasis during the presentation.

"Every employee receives Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) certification before stepping foot on any work site," Dixon said. "Our priorities are safety first, then quality control, then after that is when we think about money. Our goal is to provide the best service as possible."

Cornett said the company does fabrication of elevated water storage tank parts at both the Avon and Sebree, Ky., locations.

Dixon added while multi-leg tanks still control about 50 percent of the market, popularity of the composite tank is growing.

Although the City of Brazil is leaning toward constructing a composite tank in the northwest corner of Craig Park, Bradshaw expressed some curiosity about its longevity.

"With the composite tank only being around for the past 20-25 years, I want to make sure that it will last," she said.

Dixon said there are conservative life cycle estimates of 45-60 years, but added the composite tank could last longer with the concrete shaft, as long as the tank itself is repainted every 15 years.

"Composite tanks tend to cost a little more up front, but without the need to paint the concrete shaft, there could be a potential maintenance savings of up to $400,000 over the life of the tank," he said.

Cornett also explained bids may come in at the same cost as other tank styles depending on a company's workload.

"Someone may bid lower on a project to make sure they get work coming to them," Cornett said. "Right now, it is the cheapest, most opportune time to build a composite, or any style tank for that matter."

Dixon said the interest in building a tank has slowed down as communities are holding back, waiting for potential state or federal funding.

However, he did say there is no wrong choice among the four big players in the elevated water tank market, which include Phoenix, Landmark, Caldwell Tanks and Chicago Bridge and Iron.

"We all build great tanks," Dixon said.

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