Right-Sized Machines Help Fuel New Company’s Success
Doosan excavators help Ontario contractor complete a variety of difficult municipal projects
To dramatically exceed expectations in its first year, Titanium Contracting Inc., a Toronto company, had to pull together all the necessary building blocks to launch a construction company: identify potential jobs, win bids, work efficiently, and have skilled employees and productive equipment. And, as it turns out, taking a different approach to some aspects of the business wasn’t such a bad idea either.
“As a firm that focuses on municipal services work, we like to handle jobs that are a bit outside of the realm of what a lot of other contractors are comfortable doing,” says Stephen Foster, vice president of Titanium Contracting. “Specialization helped us almost triple the first-year goal we set for ourselves.”
Busy first year
Titanium Contracting Inc., a heavy equipment general contractor, completed a variety of projects during its first year in business, including replacing and installing seven culverts for Ontario municipalities.
Two projects included the installation of pre-cast box culverts, one of which was at the outfall to a hydroelectric control dam. Another pair of projects included the installation of bolt-a-plate corrugated steel pipe arches. Two more projects included the installation of large diameter corrugated steel pipe culverts. Finally, one project included rebuilding a pipe arch culvert from the inside out including the installation of new plates and footings, all without excavating or closing down any portion of the roadway at any time.
In addition to culvert repair and replacement work, Titanium Contracting also handles demolition and deconstruction work, including asbestos abatement, landscaping, site remediation and stormwater management.
Titanium Contracting sets itself apart by its ability to work at water-related sites. “It’s the type of project that other firms tend to avoid,” says Foster, who has an affinity for working with water from his training as a hydrogeologist. “On jobs, such as building roads, you can control most variables. You add water, everything changes. There’s more risk. Is it a controllable risk? I like to think so. But maybe others don’t.
“In our short history, we’ve become very good at dealing with situations where construction takes place in and around water. That niche has helped boost our reputation and allowed us to generate additional revenue.”
Choosing the right equipment
As a new company with plans to bid on a variety of jobs – including some that were fairly complicated – Titanium Contracting decided early on to look for reliable and productive equipment. That search took them to Top Lift Enterprises, the Doosan dealer in Stoney Creek, Ontario.
A visit to their Doosan dealer and to the Doosan Real Operation Center helped the company decide to purchase two crawler excavators – a DX420LC-3 and a DX235LCR. Both were productive contributors to Titanium Contracting’s success.
“The DX420LC-3 – even with added accessories such as a mechanical thumb, FOPS and ROPS, quick coupler and auxiliary hydraulics – is the perfect size for floating (moving from site to site),” explains Foster. “Our goal is to avoid paying for overweight permits. As we travel throughout Ontario, we would have had to get five to 10 different permits. It would have been a nightmare. A $3,300 move could turn into a $7,000 move. Alongwith being the right size for floating, the DX420LC-3 has the power and precisecontrols that allow us to lift and place a12-ton culvert, which is one of the mostcommon jobs we do. Overall, it’s a greatmachine.
“The DX235LCR, with its near-zero reduced tail swing, works well in many applications, especially when space is limited. At road construction sites, where traffic congestion is often an issue, the machine enables us to either sit in one lane or on the shoulder without significantly impacting traffic. We no longer have to close two lanes when working. It’s also great for installing noise barrier fences.”
Both excavators rate excellent on fuel efficiency. “I’ve been surprised at the differences between brands,” Foster says. “We closely track fuel usage and, for a fact, the Doosan machines do quite well.”
Foster believes that when purchasing equipment, it’s important to find out what the operators like. “I’ve found that when guys are given a machine that they like, they want to take better care of it. Otherwise it tends to age prematurely. With the popularity of the Doosan excavators among our operators, I expect the machines to age slowly.”
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