Three D Service Company Inc.
Ask any male, of any age, if he would enjoy a job that occasionally uses dynamite to set off controlled explosions, and I guarantee that you’ll get a yes. For this reason, among others, Chuck Clark has been happily employed for a little over 43 years now at Pomona, Calif.-based Three D Service Company Inc., the demolition services company he founded. Because the firm is so well established at this point, Clark points out some advantages the company has over its competition:
“We work primarily in the [western United States]. Because we’ve been in business for almost 45 years now, we own all of our own equipment. We also self-perform everything except for asbestos and lead removal. That gives us an advantage when bidding on projects. I’ve always been looking for new ideas to expand the biz over the years. Because of the recent push toward green companies, we invested in a recycling facility last year. We can now recycle concrete and demolition debris from our job sites.”
There’s a Lot of Build-Up to Taking Things Down
Demolition is as much taking apart as breaking apart a structure, and it requires an expertly coordinated workforce, which Three D maintains. For Three D, the majority of work is at commercial and industrial facilities, where the company utilizes manpower and equipment to exactingly demolish structures and clean up sites.
These type of jobs require nerves of steel, and Three D has those to spare. Clark gives a recent example: “We’re taking down some stacks at a TIMET plant in Henderson, Nev. The nerves come into play because the stacks are 130 feet high, and so you’re on a lift. We also have to jack-hammer them down by hand, because we’re working directly over the top of liquid chlorine lines.”
At the heart of some demolitions are the implosions, which take extraordinarily careful planning to execute correctly. Explosives must be loaded at varying points and levels of a building and discharged in a specifically choreographed fashion so that the structure collapses in on itself, leaving only a pile of rubble for the cleanup crews.
To facilitate a proper implosion, blasters map out the building’s element pre-explosion, examining any architectural blueprints and touring the building floor-by-floor to determine the structure’s support system. Collecting this raw data, the team determines the appropriate explosives type, amount, location and timing to control the building’s fall. Aided by computer-generated 3-D models, the blasters set out to chop down the building, so to speak, notching away at the sides so they will topple in a controlled direction. Additionally, cabling is set up to direct the crumbling. The key to success throughout it all is something Three D understands well: teamwork.
From this point Three D works with the rubble to determine what to dispose of and what to salvage through appropriate means. This is when the company’s recycling facility, Haven Diversion, provides its invaluable services. Through informed decisions Three D can reduce waste and promote valuable, creative reuse throughout its industry.
Working Around Challenges
Beyond the tough jobs that Three D routinely tackles, the company has also had to deal with the difficult economy, as has everyone in the industry. One of the biggest challenges facing the firm right now has taken on the form of a one-two punch. “We’ve been in this economic downturn for two years now, and in that same time fuel has doubled in price,” Clark reveals, “We own 80 pieces of equipment, so that’s one of my biggest expenses. Normally we do a lot of private residential work, but we really haven’t done any private work in almost two years. Luckily, we’ve been getting a lot of public work, and we’re staying viable.”
Clark is happy, however, because he feels that the end of the recession is in sight. “In my opinion, we’re all looking at spring of next year for a full recovery. People are talking about projects, though no one wants to spend money until then,” he notes.
In spite of the economic downturn, Clark and his business have still managed to shine. Clark was recently recognized for his almost 45 years as an industry leader. The National Demolition Association, of which Clark is a founding member, gave him a Lifetime Achievement Award. Due to the experience, business know-how and high-quality, trustworthy work of Clark and his team, it’s a safe bet that Three D Service Company Inc. will be building up its ability to break down sites for years to come.
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