Customers in Action

DT Specialized Services, Inc.


October 14, 2015

Komatsu prices and financing make the big difference

Demolition Technologies (DT) Specialized Services, Inc. was founded in 2002, but its roots spread back to the 1950s, when J.C. McAfee started an auto dismantling business. A large part of his business model was salvaging parts and selling them for future use. Three decades later, his grandson David McAfee is doing something similar, but on a much larger scale.

“I like to look at DT Specialized Services as a first-generation demolition company, founded and run by second- and third-generation recyclers,” said McAfee, President of the company he started with his father, Terry. “Over the past few years, the amount of material we salvage and recycle has continually climbed. On most projects, it’s 90 percent or greater. Metals are taken to salvage yards and mechanical systems, electrical and plumbing components are stored and made available to the public for reuse.”

DT Specialized Services recycles 100 percent of concrete, masonry and asphalt waste, taking as much of it as possible to its ReRock Materials facility on the edge of Tulsa. There, concrete and asphalt are processed into erosion-control base, aggregate base or crushed asphalt that can be used either as road bedding or as part of a mix for new asphalt surfaces. Masonry, including bricks, is cleaned, stored and sold.

“We cover a 300-mile radius that hits every surrounding state, so it’s not feasible to bring everything back to our ReRock yard,” pointed out McAfee. “In those instances, we work with site owners and developers to crush and leave the resulting materials on site for them to use. It’s a great way to lower import and export costs, as well as reduce the use of virgin materials.”

Wide range of work

The amount of material generated from a DT Specialized Services project can vary greatly. That’s due to the company performing such a wide range of work.

“We do everything from complete teardowns of apartment buildings and commercial properties, to selective interior demolitions that could be as simple as removing floor tiles and cabinets in preparation for a remodeling project,” said McAfee. “We have a contract with the City of Tulsa to tear down 60 to 70 houses a year, as well as other city-owned properties. Wrecking houses and small commercial buildings was our initial focus, and we maintain the same ‘no job is too small’ mentality we had at the beginning.

“We approach each job with careful planning to ensure it’s done safely – including identifying and abating hazardous materials through professional subcontractors. We do this cost-effectively and to our customers’ satisfaction,” added McAfee. “That’s helped gain a fair number of repeat customers, and they have helped us grow by urging us to do larger and more complex work.”

That’s an apt description for several of DT Specialized Services’ recent projects, including removal of a nine-story apartment building in Ardmore, Oklahoma. Three sides sat just 20 feet from roadways, and there was an active radio station in close proximity. More than 6,000 tons of material was generated, nearly all of which was recycled in some manner.

In Tulsa, the company is working on the city’s A Gathering Place project along the Arkansas River. It is in Phase II now, which involves removing small items such as sidewalks within the 100-acre site. Phase I was a massive undertaking that required the removal of 42 apartment buildings over a one-month period earlier this year.

“A Gathering Place was a quick-turnaround project, but we don’t sweat those types of challenges,” said McAfee. “We meet them head-on. One reason we can do that is because we have expanded our staff with additional skilled and knowledgeable people. Another is more resources, including the proper equipment to get the job done effectively.”

Komatsu, Kirby-Smith prove reliable

DT Specialized Services’ main production machines are Komatsu excavators equipped to run a variety of attachments, including a PC300LL with an 80-foot boom that gives the company high reach when taking down large structures. The heavy-duty machine has a log loader base and upper structure with a tilting cab.

“The PC300LL lets us do some projects that would probably have been impossible without it,” said McAfee. “For instance, we wrecked a 125-foot grain elevator in Mineola, Kansas, that was only 20 feet from an active railway. We were able to get close to the structure, and with the tilting cab, the operator had great views even at maximum reach.”

DT Specialized Services has seven Komatsu excavators of varying size, including PC360LC-10, PC220, PC270 and PC170 models, along with the original PC300-6 it purchased used about a decade ago. Many are set up to run NPK processing tools as well as buckets and thumbs. DT Specialized Services also uses Komatsu WA320 wheel loaders to move material on jobsites and at its ReRock facility.

“The PC300-6 had several hundred hours on it when we bought it, and still performed great,” said McAfee. “That convinced us that Komatsu made top-notch machines, so we’ve been adding them ever since. Demolition is a tough application for equipment, but our Komatsu machinery has always given us great reliability and production.”

McAfee added that keeping up with maintenance plays a role in continued reliability. DT Specialized Services handles that with parts purchased from Kirby-Smith Machinery, Inc.’s Tulsa branch.

“We’ve worked with our Territory Manager Mike Green from the beginning, and he has done a fantastic job of helping us get the proper equipment for our needs,” said McAfee. “We also appreciate the support Kirby-Smith and Komatsu provide. Kirby-Smith has parts on hand when we need them, and its service department does a great job of answering any questions we may have. If we need anything, Kirby-Smith service techs respond right away. Thanks to KOMTRAX, they know and alert us in short order if a code pops up so it can be addressed quickly. All of these things play a part in why we continue to buy Komatsu.”

Larger territory, same philosophy

DT Specialized Services has expanded its territory the last 13 years. Part of the reason is market-driven.

“Demolition is a small section of the overall construction market. To do more demolition work, you have to travel,” McAfee noted. “So, it’s likely that our territory will get even bigger. Of course, if more local work is put out for bid and available, that changes the dynamic.”

McAfee added that growth will not change the company’s philosophies or approach to doing a job.

“Demolition is our niche, and I don’t see us venturing outside of that to any great extent. We built our reputation and the business on providing a high level of professionalism, safety and value. That will continue to remain the case no matter who the customers are or where their projects are located.”