Sealcoating contractors are often involved in projects that require a multi-day schedule and constant communication with the client, but the job Paradise Asphalt Maintenance, Kansas City, MO, tackled for nearby Adesa Auto Auction, took that complexity to a whole other level.
To start with the job was big – 400,000 sq. yds. that required milling, patching, paving, cracksealing, sealcoating and striping. Factor in that no work could be done on Tuesdays or Thursdays when Adesa auctioned 1,000 cars each day, that each parking space was actually an inventory stall requiring stenciled numbers, that each car was matched to a number, and that cars had to be moved (and numbers had to be changed each time the car was moved) so the contractor could work, and you have the components of a complex job with a lot of built-in risk.
“It was one of those jobs where you could lose your shirt if you don’t bid, plan, schedule, and produce the right way,” says Rob Paskiewicz, Paradise Asphalt operations manager. “So I measured it, double checked it again with the wheel, and double checked it again on Google Earth because on that big a job you have to be accurate. The potential to lose a lot of money was there but we worked closely with the client – and they worked with us – and it turned out great.”
Paskiewicz says the work was scheduled to accommodate both the needs of Adesa and Paradise Asphalt Maintenance. The contractor didn’t want to ignore its other shopping center and apartment complex customers or tie its crews to only one job, and Adesa needed to stay open for business.
“We had to come up with a plan that would enable them to stay open, that would enable people to still drop off cars to be auctioned, where they could still hold their auction and still move cars as we needed and keep track of them,” he says. “It required quite a bit of coordination.”
So well in advance of the job Paskiewicz and John Acton, project manager, presented Adesa with a phasing plan. “We tweaked it with their input with what works best for them but that wouldn’t hurt our production,” Paskiewicz says.
They then created a color-coded map of the parking lot outlining work and the schedule. “As the job progressed the schedule changed, but that’s because some unexpected issues came up and we both adapted to the changes we needed to make,” Paskiewicz says.
One change was a parking lot Adesa used for dealerships bringing in cars. “One day they learned they were going to get 300 cars in so we changed the schedule on the fly to get that dealer lot done before they got all those cars in.”
Paradise Asphalt Maintenance, through Acton who was on the job throughout and the primary contact with Adesa, let Adesa know well in advance which areas needed to be cleared of cars. Complicating the shuffling of cars is that each car is parked in a specific location and there’s a “tag number” on each car keyed to its parking space. Each time a car was moved its tag number changed. Paskiewicz says cars were moved out of an area (one tag change) so crews could pave, then back into that area (second change) once paving was completed so another could be paved. The same process was followed for sealcoating (two more tag changes), and striping (two more tag changes).
“When they said they would clear an area for us, they did,” Paskiewicz says. “It was a huge help from the client, especially Kim Cook, who signed off all work and Craig Waldroup, who managed all the moving of cars to keep us on our schedule and their schedule.”
400,000 sq. yds. of Sealcoating
The complexity and duration of the job – crews worked 12 days over three weeks from start to finish – called for a staging area, which Paradise Asphalt set up in a lower parking lot outside the secure Adesa property. The area contained drop tanks for sealer and storage for cones, barriers and some equipment. Because it was outside Adesa’s secured property Paradise Asphalt Maintenance had access to it throughout the project.
The Adesa job involved 400,000 sq. yds. of sealcoating using a refined tar sealer, and Paradise Asphalt started in the 100,000-sq.-yd. auction area, sealcoating 50,000 sq. yd. a day. “That’s where they wanted us to start, just to get it out of the way,” Paskiewicz says.
To clean an area for sealcoating, two prep crews walked the pavement blowing debris and two workers on skid steers swept it all up. Two three-person sealcoating crews then squeegee-applied the first coat then sprayed the second coat. Using two Ditch Runner ride-on units, Paradise Asphalt crews would start early in the morning putting down the first coat by squeegee while other crews were out doing other jobs. When those crews were done with those jobs, usually by 3:00 p.m., they’d come to Adesa. By that time the sealer was dry and crews would apply the second coat by spray.
Striping and stall number stenciling by subcontractor Morgan Contractors, Lee’s Summit, MO, followed soon after.
Overall Paradise Asphalt Maintenance applied roughly 100,000 gal. of premixed sealer, supplied on site by Vance Brothers in 25 tanks of 4,000 gal. each. Vance Brothers dropped two tankers most days and as many as five on the weekends “because we were at it nonstop on the weekends.” Crews went through up to three tanks a day depending on the size of that day’s job.
“We don’t mix our own material,” Paskiewicz says. “We want our product to always be correct and every time Vance Brothers make a batch they send it to a chemist to get it tested. With that size job we wanted to make sure we could guarantee the product consistency from the start of the job to the finish of the job and premixed sealer gives us that guarantee.
“We have a great reputation here in town and there’s no sense risking that trying to save a penny, if you will, by buying sealer concentrate where we have to mix it ourselves.”
Flexibility Aids Productivity
Paskiewicz says one key to the success of the job was maintaining the level of productivity, and he says Adesa was helpful with that when changes prevented Paradise Asphalt from working in a scheduled area. He says Adesa recognized that work had to proceed along the Paradise plan and schedule to make the job worthwhile for the contractor.
“So when a change in plans was required they helped us find smaller areas we could still work and still be productive and that was a big key to our success on the job,” Paskiewicz says.
He says there were a number of open areas such as drive lanes on the property so Paradise Asphalt always had something crews could work on while they were waiting for an area to dry or while Adesa was moving cars.
“We did change on the fly as need be for their business, but we had factored those kinds of things into our plan and bid. As long as we were working we were fine and Adesa did a great job of finding us places to work so we could be productive when we had to accommodate a change for them. We just worked with their schedule and they were very accommodating working with us,” Paskiewicz says.
He says Paradise Asphalt planned a flexible job so the contractor would be successful and profitable as long as they were able to keep working.
“It was a team effort all the way down to the crew,” Paskiewicz says. “The crew knew the importance of the job – it was a big job and a high-profile job – and when we started a section they knew we had to commit to it and get it done. It can’t be done in a profitable and quality way if everyone isn’t committed to taking care of the customer.”
Paradise Asphalt crews followed four days of milling with paving, then crews cleaned and cracksealed areas a day in advance to ready them for sealcoating. Striping was generally started the day after sealcoating an area, and as soon as it was halfway done and dried Adesa began moving cars back into the newly sealed and striped area.
“They moved the cars out, we’d crackseal and sealcoat it, and the next day start striping a big chunk of stalls to get them ready. Adesa moved cars back once an area was completed, and we’d start right away on another area that they’d emptied of cars,” Paskiewicz says.
Once the job was complete Paradise Asphalt Maintenance cooked lunch as a “thank you” for all the Adesa employees. “They worked really hard to make sure we could do the work on the schedule we planned,” Paskiewicz says. “That was important for us to be profitable and it was important to them so we didn’t disrupt their business any more than necessary. We wanted to let them know we cared and that we appreciated their help.”
Paskiewicz says the job was planned and executed so Paradise Asphalt could do other jobs for other clients during the entire Adesa job.
The job required quite a bit of planning and scheduling and even last-minute juggling because the place is just full of cars.
Sealcoat and striping were staggered and it took an entire day to get the striping done because each stall was numbered (each car is assigned a stall number and when cars moved from one stall to another that car’s number changes).