Komatsu’s equipment offers advanced features, dependability, and durability
When Leroy Breinholt founded Breinholt Contracting Company in 1972, his main focus was installing underground utilities with some occasional bridge and demolition work mixed in. But as time went by, he transitioned the business into doing more of the latter until it became the major aspect of the business.
Although he’d worked with his dad some in the early years, Devin Breinholt joined the business full time about the time of the transition. He’s since bought the company from Leroy and is sole Owner and President of Breinholt Contracting. The company works the entire state of Arizona and part of New Mexico from its base of operations in Phoenix.
“We demolish anything from houses and apartment complexes to bridges and industrial buildings,” said Devin. “Just about anything that needs to be dismantled, demolished, leveled or cleared, we’re willing to tackle. We’ve built up to a point where we can handle everything on the site without subcontractors, except for hazardous materials such as asbestos.”
As a complement to its demolition operations, Breinholt Contracting also runs an 80-acre, inert, solid-waste landfill on a former aggregate mine site in southwest Phoenix. Breinholt takes in construction and demolition debris both from his own projects and other contractors. While some of it’s used to fill in the old mine holes, a large portion is also crushed to make road-base materials.
“Crushing has increasingly become a bigger part of our business,” explained Devin, who pointed out that Breinholt Contracting also does some general site work. “We do some crushing at the landfill, but the bulk is done on the demolition site. The resulting materials are often used right back in the construction of a new building pad or parking lot that’s going to be built on the site.
“We also segregate other materials, such as iron, and send that to scrap yards,” he added. “Our aim is to recycle as much as possible to save landfill space. It’s also a good practice because it saves in disposal and material costs on both ends of a project.”
Equipment for just about any size job
Breinholt and his staff of about 30 have done some of the largest and most complicated projects in the state of Arizona, including demolition of a 175-foot-tall air-traffic control tower at Phoenix’s Sky Harbor Airport. Devin described the job as “touchy.”
“It was close to another building, so we couldn’t just go in and knock it down,” he recalled. “The only approach to take was dismantling it piece-by-piece using a 650-ton crane until we got down to about 40 feet. Once we got it to that point, we could use regular demolition methods. It took about four months to complete.”
Breinholt Contracting’s regular demolition methods include using several Komatsu excavators ranging in size from tight-tail-swing PC128 and PC228s to standard PC400LC-7s. They’re plumbed for a variety of attachments, including breakers, hammers and shears.
“We have machines for just about any size job, and all the Komatsus have good power in our applications. The tight-tail-swing compact models are especially good for working in tight quarters,” said Devin. “We’ve had situations where we’re near an obstruction or where we’ve had to work next to an open traffic lane in removing a bridge deck. PC128 and 228s allow us to do that without worrying about the counterweight hitting something, so they have a distinct advantage.”
Breinholt bought his first Komatsu excavator, a PC300, about 10 years ago when he needed a machine to run a shear. It worked so well, he began adding not only Komatsu excavators, but dozers (he currently has a D155) and a wheel loader (WA450). Breinholt Contracting purchased them with the help of Road Machinery Account Manager Dan Kaercher.
“One of the things that stands out for us with Komatsu is that the machines don’t overheat when the temperatures get up above 110 degrees, which has been a problem with competitive models we’ve used,” said Devin. “That makes a huge difference when we’re working on a project where uptime is critical. Road Machinery helps keep our downtime to a minimum too. They take care of any warranty work, and have been great about getting to us quickly when we call.”
Breinholt Contracting also offers good service, not only in its demolition and site contracting services, but in heavy hauling as well. The company can haul equipment up to 130,000 pounds anywhere in the western United States using its fleet of trucks.
“That includes oversized and overweight equipment,” said Devin. “I believe the more we can offer the better. Demolition will certainly remain our bread-and-butter work, but we’ll always look at ways we can fit other services into the mix, if they make sense.”