View a video: Driving an Earthmover
On Friday the 13th, my wife and I had the opportunity to visit Teichert Construction’s @Teichertinc annual “equipment rodeo” in Sacramento County at one of their old mines. It was just like a kid’s sandbox filled with yellow Tonka trucks, but these vehicles were 15’ tall! I had always wanted to see one of the massive Earth Movers (or “wheeled tractor scraper”) up close, perhaps even sit inside the cab. It never occurred to me I would actually DRIVE one! But it happened – see above video of me driving the ultimate “Monster Truck” with 8’ tall wheels! The instructor is tethered to the outside of the cab on a teaching platform. I scooped up dirt, drove around, then dropped the fill in place. Because the scraper is “articulated” it can practically bend itself in half to do a 180 degree turn. It was awesome to be 10’ above the ground controlling this gigantic machine!
As an architect, the experience was invaluable, because it helped me better understand the “constructability” of heavy site work. I often watch these machines prepare our sites as the do “ground remediation” and rough grading before foundations. As infill architects, our sites are often really tight. I have a whole new appreciation of the difficulty to move these monsters with precision. Being up in the driver’s seat helped me better understand the sub-contractor’s perspective as they make our drawings become real buildings and places to live. While I will never be a good grader operator, the experience will help me be a better architect.
Thank you Teichert for the opportunity!