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Against the Grain

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Britz Wrecking takes on the mammoth demolition of a 58-acre flour mill in Missouri.

CDR Staff March 18, 2013

When it comes to demolishing and processing 900,000 square feet of mammoth concrete structures, a small, family-run company might not seem like the top contender to win the bid. But after years of watching the project develop, Britz Wrecking decided to demonstrate just how competitive a small business could be when it landed the bid to demolish the century-old Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Flour Mill in North Kansas City, Mo.

“Projects of this size don’t come along very often right in your backyard,” says Shawn Britz, co-owner of Britz Wrecking Inc. “But we’ve watched this for four or five years now, we had previous grain elevator experience, and it just seemed right for us.”

The ADM Flour Mill, one of the first buildings to be built in North Kansas City, was somewhat of an historic eyesore taking up valuable space on 58 acres of prime real estate next to I-35 and Highway 210, where more than 130,000 vehicles pass by it every day.

Originally built in 1910, the ADM Flour Mill has seen a number of changes over the years, including increasing the height of the original headhouse and adding the mill and a northern headhouse. Decades ago, a fire in the mill damaged a significant portion of the plant, so the company rebuilt and expanded the building, including the addition of 4-foot-thick “monstrous” concrete floors, Britz says.

When ADM began debating whether to upgrade the mill or to tear it down, the city entered negotiations and purchased the 58-acre chunk of land and began readying it for development.

Though a small company—Britz runs the company with his wife, Christy—Britz Wrecking was determined to land the bid for the project.

Britz met his wife and future business partner about 10 years ago, when Britz was working as a subcontractor for a company where Christy was the office manager. Britz handles on-site operations and is the main equipment operator, while Christy uses her business acumen to scout new potential deals and land bids, including the bid for the ADM Flour Mill project.

“When the city bought out ADM, it was a huge story,” Britz says. “We kept track of it through the news, and when it came time to bid it, we were on the list. We partnered with Mid-America Roofing and Contractor Supply and ultimately won the bid.”

With just a $31,000 difference between the two lowest bids—a tight margin for the million-dollar project—Britz didn’t leave much money on the table. “That’s something I’m proud of,” he adds.


Shopping for the Deal
For a project as massive as this one, Britz had to plan his steps strategically, starting with selecting new equipment. Rob Franklin, territory sales manager for G.W. Van Keppel Co. in Kansas City, says he made initial contact with Britz after seeing fencing go up around the site.

“When a project starts, it’s my responsibility to go and do some fact finding,” he says. “I did a little investigating and found that Britz Wrecking and Mid-America Roofing and Contractor Supply were [the] low bid on the project. When I spoke to Shawn Britz, he was familiar with Van Keppel, and we started talking about his equipment needs,” Franklin says.

At top: Britz Wrecking’s Daniel Banderas Jr. (left) and owners Christy Britz and Shawn Britz. KPI-JCI/AMS equipment from G.W. Van Keppel Co. is used in ADM Flour Mill demo, above.

Franklin worked with John McGimpsey, regional sales manager for KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens, who was instrumental in determining what kinds of equipment were needed in this project. The two consulted with Britz Wrecking; but, as a self-proclaimed “shopper for the deal,” Britz wasn’t about to rent any equipment before conducting thorough research.

“I shopped around a lot,” he says. “I was looking at everything, talking to everyone. I’m a shopper for the deal. I’ve always liked Van Keppel because they’ve been good to me. They have an outstanding service department.”

He adds, “I’ve had lots of rental equipment in my career, and when something breaks down, you need someone out here fixing it. Van Keppel keeps us moving and helps us meet our deadlines.”

Britz also notes that he has experienced very few breakdowns with KPI-JCI crushers, “and I know that if I have a problem, I can call Rob, I can text him, and within 30 minutes to an hour there’s a service truck here on site.”

Britz says he was leaning toward renting a jaw crusher, and fortunately Van Keppel had a unit coming off of rental in Arkansas that could be brought to Missouri for the job. Britz added a 4240 impactor plant, 271K screen and conveyor—all KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens equipment—from G.W. Van Keppel Co. and began planning how he would tackle the demolition project.


Flour Power

The ADM Flour Mill site was massive at 1,200 feet long and 55 feet wide, with every concrete structure more than 100 feet tall—and some 200 feet tall. The company started demolishing the buildings with a wrecking ball and started prepping material within two weeks of starting crane work.

After consulting with Franklin, Britz decided to wait an extra 30 days before crushing the material, because even with half of the silos down, there wasn’t enough product to keep up with the jaw crusher and impactor.

“With the impactor running by itself with the screen, we were running around 200 tons per hour and getting the degradations we needed to meet,” Britz recalls. “The jaw by itself was getting 200 to 300 tons per hour producing 3-inch-minus product. With both machines running, we were getting 400 tons per hour real easy,” he adds.

Once the company had enough buildings knocked down, it started processing rebar and the material with mechanical processors. The amount of rebar in the project made having a magnet on both the jaw crusher and impactor critical, according to Franklin.

Britz emphasized the importance of prepping material to remove as much rebar as possible before crushing and screening the material to make it as clean as possible.

“There’s no use handling material three or four times. That just costs money,” he says. “Every piece of rock going into that machine is a piece of money. It could be a penny or it could be a quarter, but it’s all money.”

The city also was able to save money by requiring Britz to crush the material on site and by having the company leave the crushed rock at the property for future use in roads and other structures on the site. This arrangement also meant Britz would not have to truck material off site to a landfill or bring in virgin material to create the base for the future development at the site.

“By crushing on site and recycling the material, Britz Wrecking was able to keep costs down and at the same time stay environmentally friendly,” says McGimpsey, KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens’ regional sales manager.

Britz estimates 95 percent of the demolition materials generated at the ADM Flour Mill site were either recycled or salvaged for reuse.


Looking Ahead

Now that the ADM Flour Mill project is concluded, Britz says he hopes to continue to work with Mid-America Roofing and Contractor Supply on future jobs, with the KPI-JCI 2650 jaw crusher at his side, as well as a KPI-JCI GT145S three-deck screen.

“I was so impressed that I went ahead and purchased the KPI-JCI jaw crusher and a three-deck mobile screen,” he says. “I’ve had several of my competitors out here, and they are very impressed. For the last 10 years, every project we’ve done, we’ve tried to work with good, quality equipment. We shop, we look around for deals, and, honestly, I think this is the best deal out there. Several of my competitors have been out here, and they agree.”

Britz’s new mobile equipment, combined with the growing popularity of affordable on-site crushing, gives Britz Wrecking an advantage over its competitors, Franklin says.

“Britz is a fast-growing demolition contractor that has the right equipment for projects of all sizes, whether that is tearing down an ADM grain bin facility or setting up in a concrete recycle yard producing several high-quality, salable products,” Franklin says. “His new track equipment enables him to be nimble, moving from project to project, turning old concrete into new sellable product. This equipment gives them the competitive edge over a stationary plant, as the product doesn’t need to be transported, thus saving money.”

“With the economy the way it is, I’d love to stay at this size of project,” Britz says. “There are a lot of companies going in business and a lot of companies going out of business. It’s important to let your business span out and become diversified to make money any way you can to make a better future for your company.”

 

The article was submitted by KPI-JCI and Astec Mobile Screens, Yankton, S.D. More information is available at www.kpijci.com.

 

Watch the video
A video from the Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) Flour Mill demolition can be viewed at www.CDRecycler.com/adm-flour-mill-demo.aspx.

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