When it comes to business, sometimes clients really do know best. For Lithko Contracting LLC of West Chester, OH, and Ductilcrete Technologies LLC of Naples, FL, such was the case, when an owner of a proposed grocery distribution center suggested the two companies collaborate during development talks in 2013.
“One of our customers just asked us to consider using Ductilcrete on their project, so I looked into it,” recalls Jeff Blasi, a Lithko regional business analyst based in Columbus, OH. “I did the research and was impressed enough by what I found that I brought it to several members of our team. As a group, we decided to go forward with it, and we haven’t looked back.”
Today, some 20 projects later, Lithko and Ductilcrete are embarking on what is so far their largest collaboration, a concrete floor for a 2.6-million-sq-ft (msf) distribution center in Alabama. Work started in April and is on pace to finish in the spring of 2018. On this job — and many others — Lithko suggested using Ductilcrete, based on best fit, for the client’s project.
“Distribution centers and warehouse projects are a large part of our business and we have found the Ductilcrete System to offer the best value at a reasonable price,” explains Blasi. “Their floors have much less shrinkage and curling, which allows for far fewer control joints, meaning less joint filler and minimized end-user maintenance. In many cases, the Ductilcrete System can reduce or eliminate some of the traditional reinforcing elements of a floor slab, which can lead to savings in materials and manpower and can often expedite the project schedule.”
Indeed, the classic industry term “less is more” fits seamlessly here.
“Ductilcrete is a proven, proprietary, concrete system utilized to create extraordinarily, durable floors and pavements that remain flat and level, and our slabs have increased load capacities with reduced profiles at cost competitive pricing,” says Cheryl Cappelli, Ductilcrete’s Chicago-based VP of business development. “Our special admixture uses a proprietary blend of fibers to assist with early shrinkage cracking and a liquid admixture that retains the moisture in the slab, creating a closed, internally curing slab system.”
According to Cappelli, Ductilcrete’s slabs have double the load capacity of conventional concrete slabs. Conventional slabs are typically saw cut in 15-foot squares, but Ductilcrete’s are much larger — over 50-foot squares. “By extending the joints to the column lines, Ductilcrete typically eliminates 75 percent of the joints, which translates to less joint maintenance for the end users,” she says.
Formally founded in 2012, the oldest Ductilcrete slab is already 10 years old. The company uses standard concrete ready mix, but its components are added on site only by trained, licensed installers. Its proprietary blend does not require steel reinforcement for strength.
“Ductilcrete engineers provide stamped construction drawings, and the company offers a five-year warranty that guarantees the floors will still be within 90 percent of the overall specified allowances for floor flatness and levelness with minimal cracking and curling,” notes Cappelli. “To date, we now have 117 msf in place around the country, from the Carolinas to California. Last year, we doubled the amount we placed (35 msf) over the year before (17.5 msf), and we’re hoping to have 40 msf placed by the end of this year.”
Lithko will certainly be doing its part to increase that number. In fact, the 25-year-old concrete contractor sees a natural connection to the Ductilcrete ethos of simpler solutions that last longer and require less maintenance. That’s a big reason why Lithko is now one of 30 licensed Ductilcrete Alliance Members across the U.S. and Canada. Although the group includes more than two dozen concrete contracting competitors, they all concur that it’s one concrete system that’s worth promoting.
This article was sponsored by Lithko Contracting. For more on Lithko, click here.