Outstanding fuel efficiency
When a developer hires an earthwork contractor, there are several reasons why. The first time it might be because it submitted a low bid or that another company referred the contractor to the developer. Subsequent hires are more likely because the contractor fulfilled its initial assignment with quality work done on time and on budget.
KK&L has hit all the marks, which has led to a solid reputation and a long list of repeat clients.
“Our customers know that we will always do our best to get their projects done as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Project Manager/Estimator Brian Gardner. “They also trust that when we are finished, it’s to their exact specifications.
KK&L along with its parent company, Black & McDonald Limited, performs civil construction, offering site work that includes mass and fine grading, utility installation and other services. In addition to open-cut trenching and excavation, it handles directional drilling and hydrovac projects.
“We provide customers turnkey earthwork packages,” noted Gardner. “Our jobs usually involve taking a project from raw ground and clearing and shaping it into a finished product ready for building. We do all the cuts and fills, install water lines, sanitary and storm-sewer piping and prep the subgrade for roads. We also break out services and do strictly utility or earthwork, as well as boring and hydrovac.”
In addition to private work with developers, KK&L contracts with Rocky Mountain Power to replace underground conduit lines.
“We replace quite a bit of old line for the power company because in the past most of the electric lines were put directly in the ground,” said Gardner. “They want to take those out and install new line inside of conduit, which helps protect it and allows for easier replacement in the future. Each job is different. Some last a day or two; others may take a few weeks.”
From Salt Lake City, Utah, KK&L covers the entire state. It also operates in Wyoming, Nevada and Idaho. The company usually has four to five active projects going at any time.
Currently, its largest is a residential subdivision in its own backyard, Daybreak Communities in South Jordan, Utah. KK&L is taking care of the first phase, which includes close to 20 acres and 90 housing lots. Crews moved approximately 50,000 yards of dirt
during cut-and-fill operations, as well as installed several thousand feet of utilities. The subdivision is located on an island, so the job presents challenges such as working at depths up to 18 feet to lay utilities.
KK&L also recently completed a large waterline replacement job in Tooele City, Utah. The firm replaced a dozen mainline junctions and installed new water mains. Originally scheduled for completion in four months, the company finished in half that time.
“We are a relatively young business, but we have many years of experience on staff,” said Gardner. “Our employees are the reason we have an excellent track record, and, in turn, such a good reputation. The company takes excellent care of them by providing everything they need to be safe and productive, including all personal-protective gear, as well as items such as sunscreen. They are our greatest asset, so it’s our belief that if we can’t do a job safely, we won’t do it.”
Komatsu machinery, KEC service increase production
For peak efficiency and productivity, KK&L relies on Komatsu machinery rentals from Komatsu Equipment Company (KEC) with the help of Rental Sales Representative Cory Reynolds. In addition to standard equipment, KK&L utilizes intelligent Machine Control products, including a D61i dozer.
“That dozer increased our production ten-fold on the Daybreak job,” stated Gardner. “We easily cut a month and a half off the time it would normally have taken to put everything to grade, including the lots and the road. It was all done with minimal staking. We plugged in the site plans, uploaded them to the machine, calibrated it and got to work.
“I really like that Komatsu integrated the GPS system into the machine, because we don’t spend valuable time putting up masts and hooking up cables, then taking them down at the end of the day,” he added. “That increases production time. There is no worry about those items getting damaged or stolen either, so costs are reduced. And, it’s safer because no one has to climb on and off the blade in slippery conditions.”
KK&L also rented an intelligent Machine Control PC210LCi excavator for a utility job. “Honestly, we didn’t get full use of it because our guys were moving so quickly,” joked Gardner. “It performed well, and we could see the benefits of having a machine that once it reaches grade, won’t let you go any deeper. It’s a cost- and material-saver because you’re not overdigging and replacing the dirt with an expensive product such as rock.”
Other machines rented from KEC include a GD655 motor grader, an HM300 articulated haul truck, a WA380 wheel loader and several excavators ranging in size from a PC35USLC to a PC360LC.
“We need a diverse fleet of machines because we do such a wide variety of jobs,” said Gardner. “The operators really like the Komatsu tight-tail-swing excavators because they can operate in confined areas and still be highly productive. Komatsu’s fuel efficiency on all the machines is outstanding, and it gets better with each new model. For instance, the PC360 burns about half as much fuel in a day as the older PC200-sized excavators under the same conditions and work load. That’s impressive.”
KK&L is sold on KEC as well.
“Cory and everyone we work with at KEC give us the tools we need to get the job done,” said Gardner. “He helps us acquire the right pieces to fit our needs, and they are outstanding from a support standpoint. KEC has parts on-hand, and we can call on them any time and get a quick response to a service need. Cory was a technician, and he’s even come out and worked on a machine when a tech wasn’t immediately available. We also appreciate what our Sales Rep Michael Holloway, Technology Solutions Expert Scott Despain and others do for us.”
Best bang for the buck
During the past year, KK&L has almost doubled in size. The company has a staff of nearly 60, including key individuals such as Foreman Clint Poulsen and Project Manager/ Estimator Chad Walters. Growth is likely to continue, although maybe not at such a brisk pace.
“We want to expand,” shared Gardner. “That could include branching out into other markets, which is one of our goals. Another is increasing our productivity and efficiency. In our minds, this business isn’t necessarily about being the biggest or how many projects we complete. It’s about how well we do the work. KK&L is committed to giving our customers the best bang for their buck. It’s what we’re built upon.”