AMS Equipment Spotlight: Rollers
What is it?
A roller is a heavy piece of construction equipment used to compact soil, base rock, and for asphalt installation and is essential to the construction of roads, parking lots, and subgrades. There are several types of rollers, the main 4 being pneumatic, vibratory, oscillatory, and static. Most rollers contain both front and rear drums to provide compaction, although some (pneumatic rollers) use staggered rubber tires in lieu of drums, and some (like the tamping a.k.a. “sheepsfoot” roller) have a drum with large protrusions (called “feet”) for compacting fine-grained soil like clay and loam (a mixture of clay, sand, and silt) and for concrete stabilization. Different rollers have different functions. Our larger rollers weigh from 8 to 12 tons and are used for subgrade and base installation.
How does it work?
Tamping or “sheepsfoot” rollers are great for grading native surfaces as the feet produce more of a tilling effect on softer soil. They use the weight and feet to provide greater compaction and are ideal for preparing the subgrade before asphalt paving.
Pneumatic rollers generally have 4 rubber tires on one end and 3 on the other. They are set in a staggered pattern to provide both vertical and lateral compaction. Having the ability to apply more pressure than the other types of rollers, these are great for soils that need maximum compaction, subgrade, rock base, and some asphalt.
Vibratory rollers work by having the front drum roller filled with steel and as the drum turns, the steel collides with the drum walls to produce vibration. A combination of the vibration and weight is what compacts the asphalt.
Oscillatory rollers operate by creating an oscillating motion with dual weights in the drum. The weights move in sync and create a massaging motion that produces solid compaction and is excellent for work in tight spaces.
Static rollers consist of two smooth drums (one on the front and one in the rear) that use sheer weight to provide compaction.
How do we use them?
While paving machines have a vibratory screed that provides about 80% compaction on its own, we utilize various rollers to create a much tighter compaction to make the asphalt smoother, stronger, and more solid so it lasts longer and is safer to drive on. We use a combination of vibratory and static rollers, using the bigger ones for large compaction work, and the smaller ones for the final touches and smoothing out any seams. A skilled roller operator knows exactly how much pressure to apply, how slow to drive, and when to turn the vibration on and off for the best compaction.
The roller follows behind the paving machines to compact the asphalt while it is still hot and pliable. The operators are careful to apply the right amount of pressure so the asphalt is compacted correctly, and they turn the vibration on and off to achieve more or less compaction and to not jostle any nearby concrete work (curbs, trenches, manhole surrounds, concrete slabs, etc.) as concrete is easy to crack.
Asphalt Repair and Maintenance: Scheduling
You’ve already learned how to create a scope of work for your asphalt project, and you’ve chosen your paving contractor, but what comes next? It’s just as important to be informed about scheduling your project as it is to know what work you need to have done. Different components of your asphalt repair and maintenance projects take specific amounts of time and must be performed in a specific order.
Repairs come first before anything else is addressed. Depending on what you’re having done, extensive and deep cracking will need to be sealed, potholes will need to be repaired, and any compromised or failed asphalt will need to be removed.
Asphalt installation is the next step and takes approximately 30-45 days to fully cure before seal coat can be applied to protect it. Fortunately, asphalt can be installed in less-than-ideal weather conditions (cold, light rain, etc.) so it is a little less finicky than applying seal coat.
Seal coat takes place after the fresh asphalt has cured, or every 3-5 years over older asphalt as needed depending on factors such as usage, damage from UV rays, and exposure to the elements. Seal coat, unlike asphalt, needs much more ideal weather conditions to be able to dry and be useable. It’s generally best to schedule seal coat jobs in the late Spring to early Fall when the weather is the most cooperative. When getting into the Winter months, rain, cold, diminished sunlight, and increased shadows all slow the seal coat drying process.
Once you’ve established when the work will take place, you’ll need to set a plan for notifying tenants and residents about which areas will be unusable and for how long. We recommend 2 weeks’ notice as it allows for ample time for your tenants or residents to plan around the work but not enough time for them to forget it is coming up. (Note: If you choose to contract with AMS Paving for your work, our Proposals include customized notification signage and door hangers, by request, at no additional charge.) We do also highly recommend having a tow truck ready the morning your project starts so that any vehicles remaining in the areas being serviced do not impede the work and cause delays which will inevitably incur additional costs.
Now that you have a better grasp on the proposal and production components of the asphalt installation, repair, and maintenance process, you’ll know what to expect when picking up the phone to give us a call (or email) to get the process started. Whether you still have questions or you’re looking to get started, we’re here and ready to create your customized plan that we guarantee will satisfy.
Asphalt Repair & Maintenance: Creating a Scope of Work
When managing an association, shopping center, commercial or industrial property, big picture items and small details are essential to the aesthetic and utility of your property. You generally consider the more noticeable things like landscaping, paint, and overall cleanliness, but your asphalt surface is no exception. In fact, unlike some maintenance issues that are simply cosmetic, asphalt maintenance and repair are important factors in keeping your property safe and useable.
In general, most paving companies recommend a seal coat every 3 to 5 years and a full replacement around every 20-25 years considering certain usage, exposure, and environmental factors. Depending on what’s going on with your asphalt’s surface, your repair or maintenance plan could include patches, overlays, seal coat, or a full removal and replacement.
Whether you’re presenting proposals to an HOA, Board of Directors, or a scrupulous building owner, it’s important to gather a few proposals to compare so a common scope of work and cost expectation can be established. But how do you make sure that you’re comparing the same thing from proposal to proposal? Different Estimators may have different measurements, opinions on what is recommended, and interpretations of a customer’s needs; how do you reduce these discrepancies and get the same apples-to-apples proposals?
Solving the issue of varying proposals is easier than you would think, although it seems counterintuitive — bring the Estimators out at the same time to walk the property together! Yes, they’re competing for the same job (and only one can win) but having everyone meet together to learn about your needs, pain points, and the current and ideal state of the property ensures that they all receive the same information and can discuss (and agree on) measurements and what the issues are and how to best address them. Will this be a simple seal coat? What square footage? Is a patch needed? Is it too damaged to patch and requires an overlay? Should it be a removal and replacement instead? Are there drainage issues? Can the cracks be sealed? How many parking spaces are needed? Do manhole covers or concrete trenches need to be addressed?
The number of variables on any project increase the odds of receiving different scopes of work for the same property and only adds to confusion. Having the Estimators arrive at one common course of action can save you many headaches in the long run and prevent important maintenance or repair issues from being overlooked. Once you receive the proposals from all the Estimators, you can really compare the cost now that you know the scope of work is the same, and any discrepancies will stand out since the measurements and scope should be consistent across the board.
Below, we’ll outline some of the questions you should be asking while you have all the Estimators on site; and next month, we’ll walk you through the scheduling process now that you know how to get the scope of work you need.
- Are all companies licensed, bonded, and insured to perform the work outlined in their proposals?
- Are the measurements (square footage of areas, lineal footage of cracks, etc.) the same? Are the number of areas being addressed the same?
- Is grinding included with a proposed overlay, and would it be a full grind or edge grind? For what areas?
- Are the thicknesses of asphalt overlays the same?
- Are valves and manholes being addressed? Raised? How high?
- How many phases are expected in the proposal?
- Are dumping fees addressed for any removed Petromat or asphalt?
- What seal coat manufacturer will be used? How many coats?
- Are striping and pavement markings included?
- Does the proposal include homeowner/business notification requirements, traffic control, or permits?
When to Make a Call for Help
Taking on an asphalt project in any form can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t need to be. If you’re thinking that you might be needing some repair or maintenance done on your asphalt surface, you probably do. Oftentimes the problems that are clearly visible to the untrained eye (i.e., those who aren’t trained in asphalt inspection) indicate much bigger issues that need to be addressed. Don’t let this scare you because we’re here to help!
Step 1: Noticing the Problem
Some issues (like potholes or large cracks) make their existence known pretty easily; other issues might take a little detective work on your part. It’s a good idea to walk your property every so often to check for problem spots, taking pictures of the same spot, from the same angle, as you do your monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly inspections as your schedule permits. Through the photos, you can track things like the amount of raveling (when the asphalt breaks down and leaves gritty gravel-like chunks), the length/width/depth of cracks, the fading of any striping or painted numbers/symbols, the appearance of any reflective cracking, the growth of potholes, and any other notable changes. The quantity and severity of the issues, and the amount of space affected will determine what kind of repair or maintenance is needed.
Step 2: Understanding the Greater Impact
Unfortunately, asphalt surface defects or problems aren’t always the only issues. Cracks allow water to seep in and wash away the subgrade, creating a prime environment for potholes to form. Raveling exposes the subgrade to the elements and will continue to deteriorate. By catching these issues early on, you can help prevent more serious damage by doing things like sealing cracks and applying seal coat to protect the asphalt. By stepping in early to nip these little issues in the bud, you may be able to prevent or prolong the need for major repairs.
Step 3: Deciding When to Call
After you’ve discovered your asphalt issues and have decided to address them, you’ll want to speak with a professional who can help you come up with a personalized solution. Depending on the size and nature of the issues, the fixes could be as simple as a patch, overlay, or crack seal, or as complex as a full removal and replacement. No matter what the problems or solutions, we can make the planning and execution headache-free for you.
Step 4: What to Expect
When you call or email us your request for a Proposal, we’ll gather the basic information about what your concerns are regarding your asphalt and where you’re located. We will then assign you to one of our experienced Project Managers who will communicate with you to learn what’s important to you (e.g., areas of concern, timeline, budget, access requirements, etc.). They will walk through the property with you to look at your problem areas and may even point out things that you haven’t noticed. We’ll provide a detailed scope of work and ensure our Proposals are apples-to-apples with our competitors’ so you can make the best decision for your project.
Step 5: Choosing Your Contractor
We understand that oftentimes you will need to gather multiple quotes to appease a Board of Directors, a scrupulous building owner, or the HOA. When choosing your paving contractor, you’ll want to make sure that they are licensed, insured, and bonded (like we are) to protect yourself and your investment. You’ll want to make sure they own their own equipment (like we do) to ensure that you won’t have to wait on—and pay for—expensive equipment rentals. You’ll want to make sure they’re financially stable (like we are) and can afford the carrying cost of premium petroleum products. You’ll want a company with dedicated crews (like we do) to make sure your work is done correctly and quickly. And you’ll want someone who has been in business long enough (like we have) to understand the industry and the best way to care for their customers throughout the years.
While we can’t choose your contractor for you or tell you when it’s time to make a decision, we can (and will!) be here for you when you’re ready to make that step.
AMS Equipment Spotlight: 2- and 3-Axle Move Trailers
What is it?
A move trailer is an essential piece of equipment used to transport our heavy paving machinery from our yard to your job site. Bumper-to-bumper, the 2-axle is approximately 67’ long and can haul around 40 tons (80,000lbs) of equipment; and the 3-axle, which sits closer to the cab of the truck, measures about 65’ long and can haul 50 tons (100,000lbs) of equipment or more (with additional permits as required by CA state law). As a general rule, each axle on these trailers can safely support 10 tons (20,000lbs) since they’re comprised of 6-8 wheels that extend below the trailer itself versus the standard 2-4 typically housed in the wheel well. Each rear axle can also be moved independently to disperse the weight of the load for safety and ease of transport.
How does it work?
Our 2- and 3-axle move trucks are the heavy-lifting, unsung heroes of the company fleet. While they’re not the flashiest or most technical of the equipment we use, they’re probably the most essential to day-to-day operation. Without these trailers, we wouldn’t be able to transport our pavers, grinders, rollers, skid steers, skip loaders, etc. to and from job sites.
While loading these trailers properly takes skill and experience, the technology in the trailers themselves make it a little easier. On the 2-axle trailer, there are 2 moveable axles in the rear that can be slid forward to allow the back to lower. On the 3-axle trailer, there are 3 moveable axles in the rear that operate the same as the 2-axle but can carry a heavier load due to the extra support from the additional wheels. With the back end lowered, our crew can drive the equipment up the newly-formed ramp and onto the trailer. Once the load has been secured on the platform, the axles can be shifted backwards into place to raise the back end and support the weight evenly, making for a much safer trip.
Fun Fact: The rear axles can be moved forward during transport if a tighter turn radius is needed around a sharp corner and then shifted back into place to resume safe and balanced travel once the turn has been completed successfully
What should you do if you see one on the road?
Aside from marveling at the hauling power of these beauties and informing all of your passengers that the rear axles are motorized and can move independently, you should give them space! And if you think you’ve given them enough space, give them more. These big haulers (especially when fully loaded) cannot stop on a dime and have blind spots that can completely conceal your vehicle. Playing dangerous games on the road with large and heavy trucks rarely ends in the favor of the smaller vehicle. You should always practice safe driving, but it’s especially important around big trucks.
What You Can’t See, Can Hurt You
By Liz Williams
The asphalt in a homeowners association is something often overlooked or ignored until it’s too late. The streets are almost always the largest asset and almost always the most expensive to replace. However, the streets are your welcome mat and their condition makes a statement.
Asphalt is a strong durable product that can last 25 to 30 years if properly maintained. There are many natural elements that will shorten the life of your asphalt.
• Improper irrigation or ponding water. Water washes away the oils that hold together the components that are combined to make asphalt. When water penetrates the asphalt, the base material gets wet and tends to shift and break up.
• The temperatures in the desert have such drastic swings between hot and cold, asphalt does not have elasticity and cannot expand and contract to that extreme. As concrete has expansion joints to allow for those shifts, asphalt does not and forms its own “expansion joint” by cracking.
• California’s San Andreas Fault runs directly through the Coachella Valley. When the earth moves, the asphalt moves with it. Again, creating its own breaking point.
Just by virtue of where we live, we face challenges that other regions of the state do not.
It is important to mention that most reserve studies calculate the life span of the asphalt to be 20 to 30 years and they are based on the assumption that proper maintenance will be completed until that time.
The importance of proper maintenance cannot be stressed enough. The Asphalt Institute recognizes the application of a seal coat as the best form of preventative maintenance. By applying one to two coats of seal, depending on the condition of the asphalt, every few years will help prolong the life of your pavement for many, many years. Seal puts the oils and the fine aggregates back into the dry eroded asphalt and restores and rejuvenates it into a smooth, deep black finish.
When asphalt does fail, many types of repairs can be done. You can skin patch minor damage, remove and replace certain areas and even install an asphalt overlay before you have to make the decision to completely remove and replace the asphalt in your community. HOAs have begun to use phasing plans to establish an annual budget to allow for a gradual replacement of the existing streets and parking lots.
When working with a contractor there are questions to ask:
- How many years have they been in business?
- Do they specialize in the type of work being specified?
- Are they properly licensed to do the work?
- Do they have experience working in the Coachella Valley?
- Can they provide you with local references, so you and the board can look at completed projects?
- Do they have Worker’s Compensation and General Liability insurance?
You can also check out any California contractor by logging in to the California State License Board (CSLB) website. The selection of the paving company to use is one of the most vital decisions that you will make.
Featured in QUORUM February, 2019
Liz Williams is the Vice President of AMS Paving; she works with her Husband, Bill Hawkins, who founded the company in 1981. Liz has been an active member of CAI for over 25 years having a multi-chapter membership. Liz completed the Business Partner Essentials course in 2017 and is proud to be an Educated Business Partner. She can be reached at (760) 327-0800 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To Mill and Fill or Begin Again
A milling machine is used to grind the asphalt, move it up a conveyer belt and then load it directly into a truck to be taken to an asphalt plant to be recycled. The same process is used to either completely remove it or only take off a portion of the top surface.
The process of milling only the top surface is in preparation for applying an asphalt overlay, which is generally 1 ½” thick. In the industry it’s called a “mill and fill”, for obvious reasons. While it looks pretty for a while an overlay is still considered a band aid. Asphalt cracks come from the foundation under the asphalt so covering them up doesn’t change the fact that it’s still failing; it just bides a little time.
When the patches, overlay, creak seal, layers and layers of seal coat won’t hold your asphalt together anymore you must accept the truth and move on; it’s time. Now’s when the fun starts. The milling machine, the trucks, the rollers, the skip loaders, etc. All kinds of big toys. Milling is widely used for pavement recycling today, where the asphalt is removed and ground up to be used as an aggregate in new pavement; reducing the impact on the environment. In many cases some of the excess grindings are used as a base material for the new road surface.
When you do get to do a replacement project you must go watch. It is fascinating to see the process and incredible to see how quickly something you’ve looked at and driven on for years and years becomes brand new. Commit to a proper maintenance program and you’ve made a 25-year investment.
My suggestion, when you contract for these types of projects be certain to use paving contractors that are accustomed to working with HOA’s. We all know that when you’re working in someone else’s home territory it can get tricky. At the end of the day, your Board and the homeowners will be happy, and you’ll be the hero.
Featured in San Diego Community Insider – July 2018
CAI-CV Quorum Platinum Sponsor Introduction
AMS Paving has been a Multiple Chapter Member of CAI for over 20 years and it has been our privilege to serve the homeowners, board members and managers of the Coachella Valley during that time. As we proudly celebrate our 35th year of service, we attribute our success to each of our clients, and to our employees dedication to the pursuit of our guiding values of honesty, integrity and quality in every project we perform.
Our core services include:
- Asphalt Repair & Paving
- Pavement Replacement & New Paving
- Sealcoat & Striping
- ADA Compliance
- Asphalt Education for Managers
AMS Paving, Inc. was founded in 1981 by Bill Hawkins. Prior to that date, he enjoyed success in his first asphalt maintenance venture, Asphalt Sealing Systems. With that experience he recognized the need to offer his customers a wider array of asphalt paving and maintenance services that were not just limited to sealcoat and striping. Bill proceeded to get his C-32 License, in addition to his C-12, making him an Earthwork and Paving Contractor as well. Today, AMS Paving is not only the premier sealcoat applicator in Southern California, but also the forerunner in asphalt paving and maintenance.
The success of any venture starts with the people it serves as well as those it employs. Our clients have responded to our commitment to quality by graciously rewarding us with their loyalty and years of repeat business. In addition, our success has allowed us to be selective in the quality of people we employ. AMS is proud to offer our clients, at every point of contact, the services of the most professional and knowledgeable staff in the industry.
In 2002, Liz Williams, V.P. of Business Development, was added to the AMS team after 20 years of success in the property management industry. Together with her husband, Bill Hawkins, they have been the force behind AMS’s growth and increased capacity to respond to the needs of our clients. Liz has also been a committed and influential leader in CAI where she has served in various capacities from Vice President of the Board of Greater Riverside Inland Empire (GRIE) and has served on multiple committees, for multiple chapters, over many years.
We recognized early on that the Coachella Valley was a unique market opportunity and that success there would require a dedicated and embedded staff. AMS Paving is proud to be affiliated with CAI-CV and is committed to its success in the attainment of its goals to improve the quality of life for the communities it serves. It has proven to be a rewarding relationship whose benefits have included and superseded the growth of our business.
Featured in QUORUM, 2018