Komatsu dozer saves time and money
Cody Weaver started moving dirt at the age of 12 and hasn’t stopped. The Grand Junction contractor helped with his dad’s construction business growing up, learning how to dig, grade and move materials.
“I wore out my first loader by the time I was 15,” recalled Weaver, Owner of Grand Junction-based CW Construction. “It gave me a good background for starting a business, which I did about five years ago. At first, it was just me doing small residential and landscape work such as digging basements and installing retaining walls. I had some jobs where I dug the trench, laid the pipe and backfilled – all on my own. It wasn’t fast, but it got done and done right.”
Weaver’s hard work and penchant for providing quality results earned him several repeat customers who have played a role in the expansion of CW Construction. Many are large developers who now rely on the company to provide full site packages that include everything from clearing and grubbing to finish grading.
“Once we do a job for them, they tend to call us back. They know when we give them a price and schedule that we will deliver on both,” explained Weaver. “Within 18 months after starting out, we were providing grading, utility installation, subgrade preparation and additional services because customers asked us to do more. In many cases now, CW Construction serves as a general contractor for the site work. We handle everything, including taking responsibility for the paving, which is subbed out to companies we have developed strong relationships with and know we can trust.”
While CW Construction maintains its roots in residential subdivisions, the firm has expanded considerably. In addition to full site packages, it breaks out services and does hard-bid work for municipalities, oilfield contractors and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). Weaver also runs a trucking company.
“We have a pit near Grand Junction that supplies pit-run gravel and fill materials, mainly for our own projects,” said Weaver. “Diversification is important. It allows us to react better to the markets. If one goes down, we can ramp up in another area. Fortunately, they have all been good around here for quite some time.”
With a staff of nearly 25 people, CW Construction serves roughly a 250-mile radius of Grand Junction. It typically has five or six jobs going simultaneously.
The company recently completed its largest project to date, a $1.5 million contract for a new subdivision called Highlands in Grand Junction. In approximately one year, crews hauled in and placed about 22,000 yards of fill to build up the site by six and half feet as well as prepared the roadway subgrade for paving. They installed 8,000 feet of water and sewer pipe, some as large as 48 inches in diameter.
Another subdivision site in Grand Junction saw CW Construction bring in 12,000 yards of fill and 7,000 tons of base material. Additionally, it put in 5,000 feet each of water and sewer, 2,500 feet of storm drain and 6,000 feet of irrigation lines.
“Our ability to finish jobs like those, both on time and budget, is due to an outstanding staff,” said Weaver. “They are honest, hard-working, dedicated and experienced. I trust them fully to do right by our customers. One of the key individuals is my brother Chance, who is a Lead Estimator/Project Manager. He’s a great complement to me. I like to operate machinery, and Chance is more of an inside guy.”
Dozer saves time, money
One of Weaver’s favorite machines to run is the new D51EXi he purchased earlier this year from Power Motive’s Grand Junction branch with the help of Territory Sales Manager Adam Korte. CW Construction uses the intelligent Machine Control dozer to prep subgrade for roadways, level pads, cut and move mass amounts of dirt and place sub-base materials, among other tasks.
“I love that it provides automatic dozing from rough cut to finish grade, and that the system is integrated into the machine, so there are no masts or cables to install and remove,” stated Weaver. “The accuracy is impressive. It eliminates overcutting and the need to replace materials with expensive fill. It also virtually eliminates the need for staking and grade checkers. You can just plug in the plans, set the machine and it does the work, making even the newest operators look like they have been running a dozer for years. Our time, material and labor savings are remarkable.”
Weaver says that he’s considering additional intelligent Machine Control equipment, including excavators. For now, he continues to rely on standard Komatsu PC138, PC160, PC200 and PC290 models. CW Construction runs a new GD655 motor grader as well, equipped with an aftermarket Topcon GPS system installed by Power Motive, and a WA270 wheel loader.
“I ran Komatsu excavators when I worked for my dad, who started using them in the mid-1990s,” recalled Weaver. “They are my mainline machines. We use them for a wide range of applications, including digging trenches, ponds and basements; moving mass amounts of materials; loading trucks and demolition. They offer a great combination of production, efficiency and reliability. We know they will perform at a high level, day in and day out, with maximum uptime.”
Routine service intervals on the Tier 4 machines, such as the D51EXi and the PC290, are covered for the first three years or 2,000 hours under the complimentary Komatsu CARE program.
“Power Motive keeps tabs on them with KOMTRAX, which is something we are doing more of as well, so that we can track hours, idle time, working load and fuel consumption better,” said Weaver. “KOMTRAX is a good management tool, and Komatsu CARE is a real value-added benefit. We know the services are done on time by Power Motive’s certified technicians. Sometimes they just show up on site – always at a convenient time to minimize disruptions – and get it done.
“We have come to expect a high level of customer satisfaction from Power Motive,” he added. “Adam has done a great job of helping us add some equipment since he became our sales rep. Power Motive’s service has always been exceptional.”
Expansion, added opportunities
Weaver expects CW Construction to maintain the ability to provide the same high level of service for its customers. He also wants to continue expanding the business, albeit at a slower pace.
“I could probably double in size in a relatively short time, but that may risk the ability to ensure that we can take care of our clients properly,” shared Weaver. “From here forward, we will take a more measured approach.”
At the same time, Weaver is looking for opportunities for additional diversification.
“Getting a more even balance of work is a now focus for us,” said Weaver. “We plan to increase our portfolio of CDOT work, as well as larger infrastructure jobs. I believe we can do about anything, if we set our minds to it.”