Quality Foundations from Flatwork to Finish
AMT Concrete pours with precision
AMT Concrete (AMT) Owner Nick Morris is an electrician by training. He started AMT in 2010 to diversify and expand his two other construction-related businesses, providing electrical services and concrete demolition. “We sometimes experienced challenges in performing electrical and demolition projects when working with concrete contractors due to delays and quality issues,” he says. “So, I decided to open my own concrete company. The three construction companies complement each other.”
AMT Concrete specializes in foundations, flatwork and tilt walls for commercial properties in Central Texas. They also do stained and stamped concrete. The business is located in Taylor, Texas.
AMT provides concrete services for projects all over Central and Southeast Texas, including San Antonio, Waco and College Station, or as Field Superintendent Richard Tucker says, “100 miles in any direction from Austin!”
AMT works primarily for general contractors. “Large contractors call us when they have a challenging concrete job. We welcome obstacles. And the contractors know that the work we do for them will always be of the highest quality,” Nick says.
A recent project for an auditorium at the University of Texas at Austin is a case in point. “The GC needed an accelerated pour completed in two weeks. Typically, it would have taken six weeks, but we found a way to do it in 10 days,” Nick says. Richard concurs: “We like to say that AMT will pour everything from a bag of mix to 1,000 yards of concrete.”
Richard joined AMT four years ago after meeting Nick on a job site. Nick’s companies were performing electrical work, saw-cutting and pouring concrete. Richard was a project manager for a plumbing company at the time. “I was impressed with the quality of the work and Nick’s honesty and integrity,” Richard says. “Now I’m a licensed plumber who pours concrete,” he quips.
“I’ve never had anyone work for me that cared about my business as much as Richard does,” Nick comments.
Both men take great pride in the company’s track record for successfully completing projects on time while overcoming challenges beyond their control, like tricky terrain and bad weather.
Safe Solutions near Terrain, Traffic
The challenges the firm enjoys are those that take thought and planning. Such was the case when AMT built a cement detention pond for Republic Spine & Pain, a medical office in Austin adjacent to U.S. Route 183. “The pond’s location was only about six feet away from the road,” Nick recalls. “We took extreme safety precautions to ensure our crews were not put in harm’s way. It’s a very busy roadway. We worked our traffic control program and schedule around city of Austin traffic, including putting barriers in place.”
Another difficult project was a tilt wall for a new retail center, CSW Star Ranch in Hutto. The strip center was built on a hillside. “The project required building a 13-foot-tall tilt wall on the back of the building with no support,” Nick says. Concrete panels for the project were 30 to 40 feet long. “The project engineer had specified backfilling the trench, but it was very difficult to do that along the back wall of the structure because of limited space. We could not put a worker that far down and keep him safe. We came up with an effective solution to fill the trench using flowable fill. This approach minimized excavation and safety risks.”
In the Middle of 40 Acres and 50,000 Students
Currently, AMT is the cement contractor for the gutting and remodeling of the historic Welch Hall at the University of Texas at Austin, a job site that’s at the center of a busy campus with a seemingly endless stream of students on foot, bike and scooter.
AMT works closely with the general contractor to coordinate and execute the project. “We have constraints on when our crews are able to access the site. We plan around the logistics of working in an existing building, getting concrete delivered to the job site, pumping it and then getting it into the building,” Nick says. AMT has been on the job for about 18 months, with the project expected to continue for another year.
Weather, or Not
Weather is always a challenge in the concrete business. Temperature and precipitation are two factors that have great influence over schedules and quality. Richard recalls the company’s challenge in pouring foundation for a new BioLife Plasma Services facility in Kyle, Texas, that required 209 30-foot piers. “The work coincided with a very wet season,” Richard says. AMT held almost daily meetings with the general contractor to determine what could be accomplished each day.
During the project, an out-of-state contractor canceled all work for a day because of a forecast of a 60% chance of rain. “I told him, ‘Buddy, this is Texas! There’s always a 60% chance of rain. You have to see what the weather will actually do.’ ” It didn’t rain that day, and the AMT crew continued working. “All of the rain during that project was challenging, but we persevered,” he adds.
While rain delays can create issues for scheduling and completing concrete pours, the AMT employees are always working. Nick says that one great benefit of having three companies is that people can be assigned to other jobs not impacted by weather. “We make sure there’s a place to work and that our teams get in their 40 hours each week,” he says.
Innovation Doesn’t Stay in Vegas: Concrete Engraving
Nick and Richard recently attended the World of Concrete (WOC) conference in Las Vegas, the industry’s largest event for concrete and masonry professionals. “It was very educational,” Richard says. “In particular, there are new inroads in concrete design and placement tools. We brought back new ideas as well as new equipment.”
“Engraved concrete will be a game changer for those of us in the concrete industry,” Nick says. For example, a business name or logo can be engraved in a concrete floor or wall then inlayed with epoxy or stain in a wide variety of colors and treatments. This technique results in a smooth, flat surface, especially suitable for floors. “It is attractive and durable,” Nick says. “If a client can imagine it, we can put it in concrete.” The company ordered the state-of-the-art equipment right at WOC.
Engraved concrete can also provide businesses with a safety benefit. “Engraved safety markings on a warehouse floor, provided in any color you want, will last 20 years,” Richard says. “Painted warning signs and the yellow caution tape typically seen on concrete floors in industrial settings wear out quickly and have to be replaced regularly.”
Quality, First and Last
“We often get compliments on the finish on our product,” Nick says. AMT places and finishes all of their projects, refusing to sub work, even when they are very busy. “The quality level just isn’t the same,” Nick says. “If we can’t own it and place it ourselves, we won’t take the job,”
“We make sure the finish is exactly what the client wants,” adds Richard.
That commitment to quality, even if it means walking away from work, means a lot to clients. “We do have clients who come to us over and over,” Nick says. “Out-of-state clients that we’ve worked with provide letters of recommendation stating if they come back to Texas, they’ll use us again. One client from Michigan told Nick: ‘We will forever use you when we come back to Texas.’ ”
A Foundation Cemented in People
“We’re all hands on,” Nick adds. “If I need to throw on rubber boots and move some mud myself, I will.”
The company’s turnover is low, and the 40-person team is growing, recently adding a fifth crew to meet customer demand in this booming construction market. “Our people make us special,” Richard says. “They really care about the quality of their work. They are not just here for a paycheck; they are loyal and dedicated. And we are loyal to them.”