6-Inch Error in Laying Concrete Puts Alltel Arena Project Behind Schedule

by David Smith  on Monday, Mar. 31, 2014 12:00 am  

Senior project manager Art Hunkele: “We’re going to look back and recall that there was a problem, but we solved it.”

Nabholz Building & Management Corp. of Greenbrier (not affiliated with Nabholz Construction Corp. of Conway) poured a row of concrete pillars and concrete connecting incline beams that is as much as 6 inches out of alignment in some places.

The entire perimeter of the oval-shaped arena is made up of a row of the concrete pillars and beams. Perhaps 30 feet inside that is another oval row of concrete, and another 30 feet to the interior is a third row. The incline beams will support the seating in the arena.

The row on the perimeter of the arena and the row farthest inside the arena are correctly placed. The row in between is off by 6 inches or less. Hunkele says 40 percent of the steel embeds in that row are out of whack. As the oval row continues around the arena, the margin of error decreases until finally it’s back into proper position.

The problem was discovered around July 4 when AFCO Steel Inc. came to the job site to prepare to put up its prefabricated steel beams that connect to the concrete beams all the way around the arena. The mistake means that 40 percent of AFCO’s 160 steel beams are either too long or too short to connect to the concrete.

Transposed Dimensions

Erecting the steel could have begun in May, sources say, but nothing has been installed yet because of the mistakes.

“Part of the problem is a misinterpretation of geometry,” Hunkele says. “It happened to have been right in a corner. As dimensions came together, they actually were transposed and shifted. Certainly a square building is easier to lay out than an oval-shaped arena. Other [mistakes] were because of a unique forming system and the workers were going through a learning curve.”

Hunkele says Nabholz Building & Management had little experience working with an oval design. “Very few of the local contractors in the area have used this kind of system,” he says.

Nabholz Building & Management and many other state contractors were used on the project because the Alltel Arena Board, which oversees the project, wanted to award much of the work to in-state firms.

Ray Nabholz, who owns NBMC and who is related to the Nabholz family that owns the large Conway general contracting company, did not return several telephone calls to discuss the problems.

But Hunkele describes Nabholz as “a pillar of the community, everyone’s neighbor and a good guy.” Another source called Nabholz a gentleman and also spoke well of Nabholz’s reputation and past work.

Hunkele, a stocky man with thinning, salt-and-pepper hair and a moustache, seemed genuinely understanding about Nabholz’s predicament. Often rubbing his forehead, he chose his words carefully as he spoke.



Please read our comments policy before commenting.