How the Big Beaver became one company’s standby for repairing foundations
Eddie Zansler, owner of North Dallas Foundation Repair, has been in the business for more than 25 years. He knows how important it is to have a hardworking crew and perhaps even harder-working machinery on a jobsite. When it comes to installing concrete piers, Zansler swears by the Big Beaver earth drill from Little Beaver.
A Method to the Madness
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to repairing foundations. There are upwards of 10 methods of foundation repair, and they often go by multiple names. In the most common method, contractors use a steel or concrete pier support to minimize stress on foundations. Concrete piers can be the more effective option, as they can withstand higher load capacity and are often less expensive.
“Concrete piers are an economical solution for a lot of customers,” Zanler said. “They’re also sometimes the only choice, as steel piers aren’t usable in all locations or soil conditions.”
Zansler installs concrete piers by pushing 6-inch round concrete sections directly into the ground. This is done with a hydraulic ram that is secured to the slab of the structure that needs to be lifted, and then it is lifted until a certain resistance pressure is established.
There are obviously many ways to remove dirt to prepare for foundation repair. A manual process — hand-digging holes — results in little landscape interruption but is much harder on the workers. Large equipment options like a mini excavator are less labor-intensive but can result in a torn-up yard and increased project costs.
Larger equipment is seldom the best choice for residential foundation repair, which makes up the majority of Zansler’s projects. These projects often involve tight spaces and finished landscaping, which can present challenges. For these cases, Zansler and his crew turn to the Big Beaver drill. The auger drill rig is a reliable machine for environmental test wells, soil sampling and foundation repair.
“The confined spaces and the landscaping make it hard to use an excavator or oversized equipment,” Zansler said. “The Big Beaver is ideal for those situations.”
Minimizing Labor in a Labor-Intensive Industry
The Big Beaver requires less manpower than alternate methods, and less worker fatigue means fewer safety issues and overall happier employees. Zansler explained, “With smaller handheld augers, you have to lift up on the auger head itself, which really strains my men. With the Big Beaver, all of the lifting is done by the machine.”
Because the Big Beaver is hydraulically driven, the up-and-down movement of the auger is controlled by simply pushing and pulling a lever. The rotation of the auger for forward and reverse is done with a separate lever. The continuous flight augers bring all the soil cuttings to the surface where they can easily be removed with a shovel.
In an industry where physical labor plays a huge role, making the work easier for employees makes all the difference. Zansler says they’ve added motorized wheelbarrows and dump trailers, among other equipment, to help ease the physical strain on workers. Keeping workers safe and uninjured is key to avoiding the dreaded employee turnover. Providing easy-to-use equipment like the Big Beaver is key, according to Zansler.
If It Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It
The Big Beaver has been Zansler’s No. 1 piece of equipment for more than 12 years. With the combination of safety and high-quality work they can provide with it, he says they will continue using it.
“With the Big Beaver, we’re able to reach the maximum depth possible, and penetrate rock if we hit it,” Zansler said. “It’s so powerful when drilling the holes, which results in a much higher-quality pier.”
He estimates that he’s used the Big Beaver to drill thousands of holes for foundation repair around the north Dallas area. With increased power and speed, Zansler and his team are able to complete more projects per week than they would be able to with an alternate method.
Better Results with the Big Beaver
Overall, Zansler credits the Big Beaver to saving him hours or even days on a project. Without it, he’d have exhausted employees, more time into projects and lower-quality results. Just like a house needs a strong foundation, a contractor needs strong equipment, and the Big Beaver works to support both.