3 Useful Tools for Compacting Soil

Creating a solid foundation is an essential process before starting a wide range of projects. This type of work is achieved using one of the many compaction tools. They are very effective at removing air voids from the soil, which leaves the ground more dense and able to accept the higher load. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common tools to compact soil:

Tamping rammer

One of the most used tools is the tamping rammer. They can operate with a gas or electric engine. It is a walk-behind tool that is very useful for the many types of cohesive soils, such as silt or clay. The tamping rammer is a versatile tool that makes it very easy to use close to a wall or in tight corners. The bottom plate for compacting is typically in the region of 11 x 13 inches. However, there are also smaller models to fit in the tight spaces. The weight of the tool is a further thing that needs to be considered. Any tool with the ability to deliver about 3,250 pounds of force per square foot is usually enough to reach the desired level of compaction. The gas-powered unit is the most versatile and useful in the remote locations. The tools with an electric motor will need a nearby electrical outlet or a generator to operate.

Plate compactor

The plate compactor is a great option for someone planning to work on granular soil, such as dirt, sand or gravel with plenty of aggregate material mixed in. It is a very effective tool at removing air pockets to leave the ground surface extremely compact. The standard plate compactor will operate in a single direction. If the soil isn’t compact enough after the first pass, it will be necessary to fully turn the tool to make a repeat pass. For greater flexibility, there are the plate compactor units with a reversible design which is a lot easier to maneuver and change direction. Also, the plate compactor can include extra features such as a water tank to stop the ground surface sticking to the plate.

Walk-behind roller

A walk-behind roller is the next option and slighter larger than the plate compactor. This type of tool relies on multiple vibrating drums to help compact a wide range of materials, including asphalt and soil. It is a very useful option for working on road building or similar projects.

Selecting the Right Supplier for Bridge Steel

Types of Steel

Various types of bridge still are used in the construction of a bridge. What you need will depend heavily on the design of the bridge as well as the amount of traffic that will be going over the bridge. For example, if you are creating a residential walking bridge versus a commercial traffic bridge, the type of steel you need is going to vary.

Additionally, you might need different types of steel in order to complete the bridge project. A supplier needs to be able to provide you with all of the different types of steel that you need. If you have to work with multiple suppliers, it is going to become an overwhelming process to order what you need. It might also take longer to get the supplies and cost you more money.


It is important to look at the deadlines you have in place for your project. The supplier you choose may or may not have the inventory that you require for your project. As such, it may require them ordering additional inventory in stock. If this takes several weeks, he can throw off your entire deadline.

You should contact several suppliers to find out what their inventory is and the timeframe it would take in order to deliver the quantity of steel you are looking at purchasing. If it will take too long, it might be worth spending a little bit more to go with a supplier who has a larger inventory of steel on-hand.


The reputation of a bridge steel supplier is vital. You don’t want to run into a situation where you going to business with a company that is unreliable. Although you will sign contracts with all of your suppliers, you want to make sure that they offer competitive pricing and deliver materials when they say they are going to deliver them.

If their reputation is not well known within the area, you will want to rely on online reviews to tell you everything that you need to know. You should also plan on calling a supplier to ask questions.


Finally, you need to talk about pricing with a supplier. You should focus on getting quotes from at least two or three suppliers so that you can make comparisons. Otherwise, you could end up spending more on bridge steel than what is necessary. If you are purchasing a large amount of steel or plan on placing several orders throughout the year, negotiate.

It’s worth taking a little bit of extra time to explore the different aspects of a supplier. It will ensure you know exactly what you are getting into so that there are no surprises later on.

Ranger Steel has always strived to form personal relationships with customers in a wide variety of industries. The industries we serve are as follows: ship building, oil and gas, mining, light and heavy commercial and industrial construction; service centers; as well as fabricators for heavy plate, vessel and heat exchangers, storage tanks, bridges, electrical transmission, and railcars.

Construction Bonding

To provide an expert’s view on construction payment and performance surety bonds, I sat down with Ellen Neylan, the owner of Surety Bond Associates, a WBE surety bond agency and consulting firm that provides specialty surety services to small, minority women and veteran owned contractors.

Often projects presented accompany a bonding requirement – too many times this is seen as an automatic disqualifier to an unbonded GC. Ellen stressed the abundance of options out there, and the importance of differentiating all risk reduction instruments from viable alternatives.

Many GCs are working with their insurance agencies to tackle bondability needs without realizing surety agents are their own specialty that add a different, more precise value. Ellen explained to me the contrast between a surety bond and subcontractor default insurance (SDI), two concepts that can be easily confused. In almost all cases, SDI is very inferior to surety bonding. Surety bonds exist to protect taxpayer dollars and a general contractor’s organizational health, while SDI serves to allow a GC to default subcontractors quickly with no payment protection downstream for anyone. High deductibles are associated with it – and since there is no qualification process to gain this protection, it is much more of a high-risk instrument.

Along with the confusion of bonds and SDI seeming interchangeable, comes a misinterpretation that bonds and insurance in general are comparable. I’ve previously heard the phrase that “Bonds are not insurance-they’re a credit instrument” and Ellen confirmed that in her Bonds 101 workshop, this is an idea that’s represented as fact.

Even though insurance companies can provide bonds, contractors have to qualify for bonding, which makes it quite different than insurance. Anyone can buy insurance if they can afford it, however bonds require an in-depth qualification process that fully vets a firm.

Prior to my conversation with Ellen, I read that many bonding professionals sum up their evaluation of a contractor with the use of “the three c’s: character, capacity, and capital” – and I was interested to hear if this captured her interpretation of the GC review scope. She emphasized that those are definitely the main ideas, however the importance of each area isn’t quite weighted equally in thirds.

The surety typically puts 70% emphasis on financial strength. For the capacity consideration, the contractor’s experience with project management and portfolio of work shape their rating. Some factors that are evaluated include:

– Staff resumes
– Typical project valuation “sweet spot”
– Scope of work
– References with subcontactors, suppliers, and banks

When evaluating the character review, this is a bit more challenging. Ellen rightfully mentioned that you don’t really realize a contractor’s true colors until there’s an issue. Since surety bonds are essentially a partnership between the surety and the contractor, the surety has to feel comfortable that the contractor can help them resolve any problems and deliver on promises. Project success is largely tied to a GC working with the surety so that they don’t have to file a loss.

So once you’ve taken the steps to become bonded – what is required for a firm to take steps to grow that bonding capacity?

Much of growing bonding capacity involves not taking on jobs that are too large for your company’s bandwidth. Preserving as much cash in the company and tightly managing it alongside accurate job cost accounting systems is key. A great CPA is critical to keeping a company in line financially. Surety companies look for detailed financial statements because the accounting needs of construction are very unique from other industries. Building that team of a solid CPA, surety agent, and bank is a powerful trio.

Payment and performance surety bonds can seem confusing, however with a bonding expert’s guidance, contractors are able to realize their full potential and not have to lose out on opportunities from lack of bonding. There are plenty of resources available for organizations looking to become bonded, and a “dead end” is far from how a bonding stipulation should be perceived.

About the Interviewee, Ellen Neylan:
Ellen Neylan is the founder and sole owner of Surety Bond Associates. Ellen is a surety veteran with over twenty-five years’ experience in the surety industry, holding positions with several major surety companies fulfilling a variety of underwriting, management, and operations, business and product development roles. Ellen has lectured diverse audiences on surety principals and underwriting disciplines, and is an active member of the PA and NJ Chapters of the Surety and Fidelity Association of America.

Overview of Writing Documented Procedures

Aadhaar the world’s largest biometric ID system, is an initiative rolled out by Government of India under which a unique number is provided to every I

While planning the design planning process the scope of the design plan should include the scheduling of the work and the responsibilities outlined. Planning should be done in the perspective of product safety, performance, and dependability. The procedures should reflect on the above-mentioned characteristics. All products should be measured and tested and the design plan should include the same in its scope. Documented procedures should reflect on the measurement analysis and the testing. If we have plan ideas that we would like to implement, they should be well documented.

Elements of Design Control
Designing is an interactive process. Once you develop any product, customers will validate it and if changes are suggested they have to be considered as input to the plan. Design review process controls plan input, output, process and final product.

When you have more details for plan, it is easy to prepare a design plan effectively. It is common for plans to be produced and as gets underway, problems develop requiring change for the design plan. Thus, the original plan has to be changed. Changes might require the assignment of resources or other additions to stay on target. In this scenario, document control is called on and change procedures are followed.

When you write a portion of the procedure addressing design planning, be sure to include design planning modification and/or changes as part of the procedure. You may decide to develop a formal plan for each of your basic product designs. Use a design planning checklist that identifies the basic planning requirements with the flexibility to add steps, if necessary.

Now check your understanding about design control by filling in the blanks:

  1. Design control is a requirement for companies seeking – – – – –
  2. Effective design control will result in reduced – – – – – – – – – – – – –

The Number One Project Management Skill

So you’re a project manager.

You know the unique hellish experience of having someone breathing down your neck over a deadline, while you in turn need to get on top of other people who are the ones causing the problem.

It’s human nature to just pass on the wrath we’re getting. But it isn’t effective.

Neuroscience studies show that one of the primary motivators for human behavior is the need to feel safe and loved. We all had that one teacher, boss, or mentor we can remember whose care for us motivated us to do things we might have thought were beyond our capabilities. People only fire at 100% capacity when their needs are fulfilled.

As a supervisor, you want to make this a part of the work environment. I’m not suggesting you create a kindergarten environment, and a little fear is good for the workplace. But it’s like salt – just a pinch. Too much ruins the recipe.

You want to show your employees you care. And to do that, you actually need to care about them.

People can see through things. Any tip for showing empathy, when employed cynically, backfires. I will share my tips here, but please, remember this. If you just go through the motions, you not only will not succeed, you’ll wind up alienating people further.

  1. Make sure everyone speaks at your meetings. Pay special attention to introverts. If it means halting somone and asking for someone to comment, do it. People want to feel like their opinion is important! And people need to feel heard.
  2. Give feedback, and ask for it too. People like being recognized, especially for good work. Give it to them! You don’t have to go overboard. A simple “hey, good job with that spreadsheet” really goes a long way in a corporate environment. Asking your team for feedback is a crucial componenet to knowing what works, and what doesn’t. When put together, such as “great job on that spreadsheet. How do you think the project is coming along?” you give the message that you value their work and opinion. That’s a winning mix for motivation.
  3. Hold meetings out of the office whenever possible. Getting out into the sun, or getting a chance to just feel relaxed, are great ways to break up the workday, reduce pressure, and show your appreciation for the team.

Best Project Management Tools

Project management is the application of tools, methods, techniques, skills and knowledge to deliver on standards set for the project and to meet the specific needs of the project while keeping sticking to the predefined budget and envisioned timeframe. The realization of the importance of project management has led to an increase in the number of working professionals equipping themselves with the relevant skills through project management courses online to increase their chance of promotion and to forge ahead in their careers.

Entrepreneurs, even the experienced ones, business managers and senior working professionals, who are often required to handle these responsibilities, find project management very daunting and intimidating. While it will immensely benefit them to take up a project management course online, having the right set of tools and software can make their work a little easier to do. Even project managers will benefit from having the right project management tools to execute their tasks with ease, especially in today’s age where traditional methods like spreadsheets and word processing software are not good enough. We have compiled a list of best project management tools.

Trello is an intuitive, cloud-based, cross-platform solution that enables users to organize their projects, customize and manage workflows, delegate tasks to team members, add to-do-lists, upload files and comment on task cards.

Asana is a solution that helps project managers to track and monitor projects closely. Templates can be used to create workflows, task lists can be created for everyone on the team, teams can comment on the task board and file sharing can be done. Creating to-do-lists, breaking larger tasks into subtasks and converting a task into a project are all made easy. Due dates can be added for team members and reminders are sent for the deadlines.

Podio app is a useful tool for professionals who work simultaneously on multiple projects. Tasks can be created and customized based on the workflow. The most important feature of this app is the in-built instant messaging which allows users to share ideas, get feedback and monitor progress. Due to the integration with third-party services like Google Drive and Dropbox, content sharing is easy and quick.