Process of Cutting Concrete

By: Nichole Vrsansky
By: Nichole Vrsansky

A local concrete contractor says Thursday’s deadly construction accident should raise a red flag about the dangers of the job.

Fifty-year-old Craig Bicker was killed and 47-year-old Peter Wells was critically injured Thursday after a concrete wall they were repairing collapsed.

Here’s a look at how this type of repair work is normally done.

Sal Tarara has been in the concrete business for about 15 years. In that time he's poured and worked on his fair share of foundations. Cutting into a foundation, he says, may be the most dangerous part of the job.

"When you do that you lose the structural integrity of the wall, without shoring it would obviously come down," says Tarara.

Tarara says cutting into a foundation for repairs isn't very common, but obviously it does happen.

"If a section of wall is coming out it is either do to a mistake in the layout or if a section of wall isn't lined up with a section of the building it would need to be cut out or removed," explains Tarara.

The most important part of this type of job, Tarara says, is making sure the walls are supported. Shoring, he says, must be set up on both sides of the foundation because if a wall does come down it's too hard to tell which way it will fall.

And even though he's working on a commercial building, he says the rules for residential construction should be the same just on a smaller scale.

"You just need to make sure it's big enough to handle the size of the object you're cutting," says Tarara.

But even if all the proper safety precautions are taken, accidents like the one in Loves Park Thursday can still happen.

"This isn't the first time something like this has happened, and unfortunately somebody had to die but hopefully we can learn from this," says Tarara.

Investigators have yet to determine the cause of that accident, but Tarara says it has reminded him never to take the dangers of his job for granted.


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