Page 16 - Contractors World - International Vol 3 No 7

Page 16
Contractors World - International Vol 3 No 7
for a small winery that was to be called ‘Villa
Amorosa’,” explains Obe Elliott, pumping
manager for Castle Concrete Pumping located
miles from the site in Santa Rosa. Started
by Rich Castle in 1984 as a side business,
the then ready-mix driver began with a ball-
valve trailer pump. “Who would think that
my last name and the project would be so
closely related,” Rich says, “But the project
turned out to be influential in the growth of
our company.” By 1994, Castle had a 28 m
Schwing to go along with a few line pumps.
More than 900 linear feet (274 m)
of caves were constructed over the first
few years. As Sattui’s vision grew from a
villa to a castle, plans were redrawn and
underground construction expanded to four
levels and 80,000 ft² (7,432 m²) with 80
rooms. Forming and pumping of walls and
pillars was accomplished over 10 years sometimes working six
days a week. Sattui’s obsession with authentic construction
techniques meant that European contractors with experience
in the old world methods of building castles were brought
over to supervise construction.
Ready-mix producer Harold Smith and Son, Inc. in
Saint Helena, six miles from the site, delivered all of the
concrete. “Because of the language barrier with one Italian
construction manager, we planned on a 300 yd³ (230 m³) pour
and ended up with a 700 yd³ (535 m³) pour which really taxed
our ability to supply materials,” explains Bob Abbot, general
manager for the ready-mix firm.
As the project grew, so did Castle Concrete Pumping. “ In order to service the project, both longer and smaller booms
were required, “ explains Elliott, “We grew to having a large fleet with over a dozen different sizes of Schwing concrete
pumps available, ranging from 17 to 58 meter boom lengths and several Schwing line pumps, including a SP 500, SP 750,
SP 1000, and chassis-mount city pumps. And we used them all at one time or another on this project.” Castle pumps
were constantly on call for the project. Elliott adds, “We chose to preview almost every pour because of the constantly
changing nature of the project. Sometimes we would need pump-to-pump placement because the site began to get
crowded as the project grew.” A water tower located one-quarter mile from the site required specialized placement from
their smallest boom.
The physical dimensions of the site are 250 ft (76 m) by 600 ft (183 m), a large area that became more cramped
as the project outgrew the original plans. “Small boom pumps played a big role in the pumping,“ explains Elliott, “Our
17, 24,
and 25 meter pumps were used extensively
for tight access and low clearance pours, but as
the project design grew and elevations increased,
the longer Schwing booms were needed for deep
footings, mat slabs, and tall walls, where the small
footprint provided by their X-style and Super X
outriggers paid off.”
Paul Tingle, one of the contractors imported
from Italy by Sattui was involved in the day-
to-day operations during much of the castle’s
construction. “It was an interesting project
because the owner ’s wishes changed as the
project evolved, so it was back to the engineers to
redesign or expand a portion.” He also oversaw the
hundreds of pours performed. “Rich, Obe and their
operators work very hard to earn and keep the
Paolo Ardito and Dario Sattui review Castello di Amorosa
building plans in December of 2010. (Photo: Jim Sullivan)