Urban construction is booming. That’s great for our industry, but it’s not without its own unique challenges. Working on tight sites in busy, congested downtown areas is always a construction challenge. Accessing sites with equipment and materials inevitably creates additional traffic congestion with lane closures and frustration for motorists. The issue has leaped to the forefront with Toronto Mayor John Tory’s recent announcement that his city is taking a hardline approach to proposed construction unloading areas that would create lane closures.

With fees for lane closures in Toronto jumping from $5.77 per square meter to as high as $105.41 per square meter, it’s easy to see how the cost of extended lane closures for unloading could have a major impact on overall project costs. Adding to the financial impact, city officials are now more likely to reject a plan altogether that would involve lengthy lane closure regardless of a willingness to pay the increased fees. Roadblocks like these call for innovative solutions.

The answer for many downtown urban construction projects could be the internal loading dock.   This innovative system utilizes a platform/loading dock that is actually situated within the building footprint, not on the street. A portion of the actual ground floor suspended slab, large enough to facilitate all of the construction sites staging/loading requirements, is poured on grade before any below-grade excavation and construction gets underway.  The loading dock is designed to be supported by the perimeter caissons and temporary interior piles that transfer the structural weight to the foundation level.

This platform serves as the staging area for all equipment and materials delivery – off the street and right on site!

The barrier in the past to utilizing the internal loading dock has been the inability to form and pour concrete for the walls and columns under this overhead restriction. This is where shotcrete application technology comes into play. Pneumatically applied concrete – or shotcrete – not only solves this problem by eliminating the need for cast-in-place forming and pouring, but it does so at a greatly accelerated pace that results in significant schedule savings.

Once the loading dock portion of the ground floor slab is supported by the newly shot structure below, the support piles are removed. The platform itself, which is an integral part of the ground level floor, stays in place with no need for removal.

The internal loading dock is exactly the kind of innovative answer to challenging construction issues that the Torrent Group is known for and is sure to become a much-utilized solution in busy downtown urban construction projects. Better yet, Torrent has added its own unique technical innovations to the internal loading dock concept that increase both efficiency and effectiveness.

“We’re pretty proud of the way our innovations have made this great idea even more beneficial to our clients,” says Torrent VP of Business Development, Ross King. “Some of our clients are now even referring to the loading dock as the TORR-DOCK! It’s pretty satisfying when your clients are naming innovations after you.”

For more information on the internal loading dock and how it can become a part of your next project, contact Ross King at the Torrent Shotcrete Group – rking@torrentshotcrete.com

Torrent Shotcrete. More wall. Every day.