Heavy Equipment Guide Logo

This ad will close in 15 seconds

Best practices for commercial and residential paving

A step-by-step process to make your crew and machines more efficient and, as a result, give you a better finished product and a more satisfied customer

Best practices for commercial and residential paving

Smaller, commercial jobs are demanding in their own ways, whether they are the parking lot of a new superstore, a new subdivision, or a small driveway on a county road. Gone are the days of “Make it black and don’t look back.” Today’s contractor must be aware of changing grade conditions, irregular mix designs and machines that have changed through the years as well.

Preparation

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Okay, we’ve all heard that, but it rings true in the paving industry.

First of all, do you have the right equipment for the job? In speaking with Colin Rempel at Farm Boy Asphalting in Oakville, Manitoba, he emphasizes the importance of the right size machine. “With proper equipment planning, maintenance and arrival times of asphalt mix, [the correct size commercial] paver operated at the steady walking pace, nonstop, will provide any client with a beautiful, uniform, seamless finish without delays. In, out, invoice.”

Secondly, is your equipment in job ready condition? How do you know? The professionals will always have both a maintenance schedule as well as a daily walk around of all their machines, from the paver to the blower, repairing any issues that might stop the job with truckloads of asphalt on the way.

Ben Eagle of Enduraquip in Brampton, Ontario, tells us “Maintenance never seems to be as important as the job to be started. Could it be less stressful to look at the job from the point-of-view of ‘can this job be completed on schedule with the equipment available’?”

Next, how about your jobsite? Make sure the area is clear of any obstacles or anything that would impede a good finished product, down to leaves and excess dirt on the paving surface.

Now let’s mark off our paving lanes. Who is in charge of laying out the jobsite? The paver operator, because he is the one steering the team. You can’t have the person in charge of the paving direction wondering where the next pull will be made.

How about tack coating? Tack, or asphalt emulsion, is the glue that holds the new asphalt to the old asphalt. Don’t get cheap here by just sprinkling a little to get by in case anyone is watching. Best practices say that 95 percent of the surface must be covered to achieve desired results. Less will cause the new asphalt to ravel and excessive amounts will cause “bleeding” which not only looks bad, but reduces the friction on the surface coat.

Now that our site is prepared, time to get the asphalt coming. To prevent surprises, always communicate with the plant on the day before your job to make sure their production meets your needs. Order the material on the morning of the job, but make sure you only order enough to take you through about half of the job for the day. That way you can assure that nothing unforeseen like weather or equipment malfunctions will halt your production. Remember, once you order the asphalt, you own it!

Information

One of the most overlooked parts of the job is the team meeting. Every day before the job starts, I challenge you to get your players together to discuss not only today’s job but also the successes and challenges of yesterday’s job and how to build on those. Here jobs are assigned and goals for time, yield and specifications are set. This way everybody can take ownership of the job and take pride in its success. Can you imagine how a football team would perform if there were no huddle? Also, make it a point to give your employees ownership. By that I mean talk to them about how the job was bid, the profit involved, how important it is to control that product and the hard work involved in getting the job. Finally, don’t forget safety. Impress on each worker the importance of proper dress, staying attentive and, most importantly, proper operation of the machinery.

Delegation

Have you ever visited a jobsite and it seems that nobody knows what their job is? The reason is that they really don’t! During your pre-job meeting, assign tasks. This way all the members of your team know what their job is, and more importantly, isn’t. For example, I was on a job where the contractor was paving a large parking lot. All was going well but when the asphalt arrived, the paver operator was 300 yards away painting lines. Remember we talked about how the operator’s job was to lay out the job – that doesn’t mean he has to paint the lines. He has more important things to do in getting the paver ready. During the delegation process, never forget about safety on the jobsite. Make sure that if the job requires, that flagmen are present and communicate with each other, cones are laid out and everyone knows the traffic pattern. Lastly, don’t forget the new guy. Your company invests a lot in hiring good people and if you get “too busy” to show him the ropes, he’s going to get frustrated and eventually move on. Take the time to show the new team member how it’s done and how he can succeed.

Production

OK, let’s pave. Sounds easy right? We talked about the huddle, so let’s refer to our crew as a football team. The operator is our quarterback. He is responsible for keeping everyone moving in a positive direction. Since he has laid out the job, he knows where to go, so now his job is to control the pace of paving. This is more important today than it ever has been. Stop and go paving has always been a bad practice as it gives the asphalt time to cool in the paver, your head of material in front of the screed drops and your team loses focus. Even more so with the advent of today’s Tier 4 engines, idling is a thing of the past. The operator needs to control his speed so that as one truck empties, another truck arrives.

Next on our lineup is our backfield, or our screed operator. He is in control of our yield, or the amount of asphalt that hits the ground. Too thin and you are cheating the customer and too thick and you are cheating your boss. The screed operator must understand what happens each time he touches the depth screw. Have you ever seen a “Windmill Johnny”? That is the screed operator who makes changes to his depth without any rhyme or reason. The rule of thumb when changing depth is it take five tow-arm lengths to realize a change in depth; 65 percent in the first length and 35 percent over the remaining four. Also, it is important to know that unless something changes in the grade, speed of the paver or components (auger or conveyor), or mix design, then depth should not change. It’s the screed operator that controls the yield, therefore making the most money for his company while giving the customer exactly what they paid for.

Now, how about our linemen, the guys in the trenches, the shovel and lute men. The guys that have everybody’s backs. These are the last people to touch the mat before the roller and must fix any imperfections. Don’t sell these guys short, they are artists. They have to be able to look at an asphalt mat and see high and low spots on the fly. Working together, this team is like a well-tuned instrument.

Conversation

An asphalt paving job is a wonderful thing to watch, especially if you are the one paying for the work to be done. Whether it’s the developer of a shopping mall or subdivision, or a homeowner, they have questions. “What are you going to do about those obstacles?”, “Where are you going to park your trucks?”, “What if you run over my petunias?” Many times a contractor gets into a tough spot when a customer insists that something was promised that was not delivered. This is easily avoided if you appoint one senior crew member to speak with the customer, not only when they have concerns, but before the job to ensure all his questions are answered and after the job to make sure all his expectations are met.

Evaluation

OK, job’s done. Time to pack up and walk away, right? Not so fast. Now is the time to walk the jobsite, making sure that all the specifications and promises have been met. It’s always a good practice to run water across the job to make sure that it flows properly and no “bird baths” are left behind.

Ben Eagle says, “Know your subgrade condition and stability. Remember, asphalt pavement is the icing of your job and will reflect what is underneath very soon.” Make a punch list to show the customer that you still have some minor items to knock out. Chances are, if you show him the list first, he will be less likely to make his own. Finally, ride the job as if you are a customer of the site. Do you approve? If you do, it’s likely your customer will as well. As we all know, a happy customer is a fast paying customer!

Paving is not easy. If it was, everyone would be lining up in 90-degree heat to shovel 300-degree asphalt, right? But a job done right and with passion is something to be proud of. Remember, your livelihood relies on referrals and word of mouth, and a quality job ensures both of these.

More from Roadbuilding

Efficient fleet management with WITOS FleetView from Wirtgen Group

"A penny saved is a penny earned." WITOS FleetView is a must-have for anyone who takes this old proverb to heart, because with the fleet and service management solution from the WIRTGEN GROUP, users and machine operators have diverse advantages that are worth their weight in gold. An example from the field confirms it: GSI-Asphalt, a medium-sized enterprise in Eging am See, near Passau, Germany, has been using WITOS FleetView for years in conjunction with the SmartService service agreement. While SmartService provides for regular inspections in accordance with the instruction manual, the telematics solution WITOS FleetView additionally supports proactive maintenance planning and a rapid response in the event of faults. Both services guarantee maximum machine availability - enhancing the cost-efficiency and value retention of the machinery.

World premiere of Bell Equipment's B45E 4x4

With the launch of the new Bell B45E 4x4 at bauma, Bell Equipment will add a new model to its range of articulated 4x4 two-axle ADTs. Similar to the sixty-tonner B60E and the smaller Bell B30E 4x4, the new truck is configured to provide a highly efficient and cost-effective transport solution for niche applications in the mining and construction industry.

free-paper-airplane

Get our newsletter

Learn more

Bridgestone brings portfolio of OTR tire solutions to AGG1

Bridgestone Americas, Inc. will exhibit its integrated portfolio of off-the-road (OTR) products, technologies and services at the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association Aggregates Academy and Expo (AGG1) and World of Asphalt 2019 Show and Conference, Feb. 12-14 in Indianapolis, Indiana. Located at booth 31089, Bridgestone will showcase the benefits of using products backed by integrated technologies to drive increased productivity for customers.

Komatsu America and Bomag distribution partnership paves way to new market opportunities

Bomag Americas, Inc. and Komatsu America Corp. are pleased to announce that Komatsu's six company owned dealerships (Edward Ehrbar, Komatsu Equipment Company, Komatsu Northeast, Komatsu Southwest, Midlantic Machinery and Pine Bush Equipment) have entered into an arrangement for the sale and support of Bomag compaction, milling, paving and reclaiming/stabilizing equipment for roadbuilding and other construction markets. 

Bomag's new paving training programs help operators and companies get the most from their equipment

For asphalt contractors to be successful in today's competitive paving market, paver and roller operators must acquire a deep knowledge of the equipment's features and put this knowledge into practice at the jobsite. With long-time equipment operators retiring at a high rate, the next generation of operators must receive extensive in-depth training on the equipment in order to meet project specifications without costly rework so companies can maximize equipment return on investment.

Asphalt Drum Mixers offers crane-set and self-erect asphalt storage silos

Asphalt Drum Mixers, Inc. offers crane-set and self-erect asphalt storage silos, which are compatible with both the company's own and similar competitive models of asphalt plants. ADM silos are available in many configurations from single self-erecting silo to multiple crane-set silos and several drive-through configurations. Capacities are available between 30 and 300 tons. Custom designs and capacities are also available to accommodate any producer.

Road Dryer RD-1200 safely dries pavement in one pass for paving, surface treatments

The RD-1200XT pavement-drying unit from Greenville, South Carolina-based Road Dryer, LLC, quickly dries asphalt and concrete pavement, allowing crews to pave or apply surface treatments or striping after just one pass. The unit, which blows heated air up to 300° F directly downward through multiple nozzles, eliminates the risk of "flying objects," and allows traffic to flow in nearby lanes — reducing congestion caused by traffic restrictions. Available as a simple-to-operate trailer- or truck-mounted unit, the RD-1200XT can be adjusted for 8-ft to 12-ft (2.4m to 3.7m) drying widths. Because it dries pavement on demand, it provides flexibility for contractors and government agencies to meet timetables by minimizing delays from weather- and project-related wet conditions.

free-magazine-subscription

Get Our Magazine

Paper or Digital delivered monthly to you

Subscribe or Renew Learn more

In-depth report: asphalt pavers

Trends in asphalt paving centre around making it easier and faster to lay down the highest quality pavement. In our latest in-depth report, our panel of experts from five manufacturers take a look at advances and technologies that are available in asphalt pavers, their current level of adoption, the advantages they offer, plus considerations when looking at the purchase of a new machine. 

NC Equipment purchases DYNAPAC’S NEWEST MOBILE Feeder in North America

Segregation - the separation of asphalt mats that can cause headaches for road maintenance crews - is a hot topic in the paving industry as more contracts include clauses regarding this challenging condition. 
As a long-time dealer and rental house serving northern Alberta's asphalt contractors, NC Equipment keeps track of the trends in the industry. As a full-time Dynapac dealer since 2017, it has taken the lead for its customers by bringing in a North American first to help reduce segregation problems on roadbuilding jobs.

​A-1 Sandrock paves the way with recycled asphalt shingles and Terex equipment

With 12 million tons of tear-off roofing material being generated each year in the United States, and increased regulations, the industry demands efficient recyclers. Efficiency is second nature to A-1 Sandrock. The company has rose to the challenge over the last few years, growing their shingle disposal program into a massive operation that's convenient for roofers, communities, North Carolina, and the surrounding states.

free-paper-airplane

Get our newsletter

Learn more

Cat pneumatic compactor in nine- and eleven-wheel models is ideal for all types of asphalt mix

Designed for use on granular materials and all types of asphalt-mix designs, the new Cat CW16 pneumatic (rubber-tire) roller is available as a standard nine-wheel model with a 69-inch (1,754-mm) compaction width or as an optional 11-wheel model with an 84-inch (2,132-mm) compaction width. The CW16 is designed for efficient performance on highways, city streets, county roads, lane additions, industrial sites, overlays, or other mid-size jobs.

Asphalt road preservation package from Neal Manufacturing offers efficiency and quality results

Neal Manufacturing, a Division of Blastcrete Equipment LLC, and a leader in asphalt pavement preservation equipment, offers its Asphalt Road Preservation Package for optimal efficiency and high-quality results on both detail and high-volume sealcoating applications. The package includes Neal Manufacturing's drivable DA 350 dual applicator for quick prep work and sealcoating around curbs and gutters, and its High-Volume Road Maintenance Vehicle that delivers high material output for efficiency on large projects. 

New lightweight Bomag single-direction plate compactor designed to avoid asphalt material pushing, shoving and scuffing

An indispensable tool for repair, maintenance and paving applications, the new Bomag BVP 12/50 A single-direction vibratory plate compactor is specifically designed and equipped for asphalt compaction, expanding the machine's use beyond traditional soil compaction. This asphalt specialist features a base plate specifically designed to avoid asphalt material pushing, shoving and scuffing to deliver a superior finish. The highly wear-resistant cast iron base plate delivers exceptional service life.

Wirtgen Group technologies impress at Intermat

The Wirtgen Group showed of a number of its latest innovations at Intermat this year, all 5 brands were strongly represented: Wirtgen, Vögele, Hamm, Kleemann and Benninghoven.  Visitors had the chance to talk with experienced applications experts from the Group and got up to speed on the latest technologies for the entire road construction cycle while learning more about the Wirtgen Group's extensive range of service offerings. Here is an overview of some of the highlights: 

W 150 CFi with 1800-mm milling drum assembly leads the Wirtgen line-up.

Rubble Master acquires compact screen and crusher manufacturer Maximus

Rubble Master (RM) has acquired Northern Ireland-based screen manufacturer Maximus. Founded in 2004 and employing 120 people, Maximus will complement Rubble Master's existing range of products, helping to satisfy customers and support future growth. According to Rubble Master, for customers and dealers, this acquisition means a full line of crushing, recycling and screening products are now available with the same reliable, lifetime support and complete parts and service support customers have come to expect from their company.

Asphalt Drum Mixers portable and stationary recycle systems boost asphalt plants' cost efficiency

Asphalt Drum Mixers offers four models of portable and stationary recycle systems to enhance asphalt plants' cost efficiency. Recycle systems allow plants to use milled material in hot mix asphalt (HMA). Since recycled asphalt pavement (RAP) is much cheaper than virgin aggregate, the result is a less expensive finished product that maintains the high quality of a pure virgin aggregate mix.

free-magazine-subscription

Get Our Magazine

Paper or Digital delivered monthly to you

Subscribe or Renew Learn more