Thursday, June 23, 2011

90 day update- Flexamat with SFWMD

Here is the Flexamat installed on the South Florida Water Management District's test canal.  Take it from someone who has literally grown up in the business of erosion control,  this Flexamat stuff is the real deal!  Not only is there vegetation starting on the slope, there is underwater vegetation.

Flexamat stands up to boat traffic and wave action with no problems!

Check out the under water vegetation!  Many fish calling Flexamat home these days!!

My favorite Flexamat shot that I will be taking again once fully vegetated!

This is a great solution for hard armor erosion control!  Why would anyone choose rip rap when they could save time, money now, and money in the future with Flexamat.  Flexamat is and investment that will give you returns!  No more twisting ankles picking trash, end weed abatement, keep those littorals alive, it is endless!!  In fact, a recent project was designed with rip rap in which our contractor wanted to replace with Flexamat.  Since installing the rip rap called for the removal of 9 truckloads, or 15" of fill, the contractor was able to save the owner over $5000 just in the labor and the trucking to remove this dirt!  With Flexamat they were able to simply come in, do a light level excavation removing zero fill.  As seen by the videos at , installation is a fast 1 to 2 person job at most!  Like I said earlier, why would anyone want those big 8 to 10 inch rocks when they could have vegetation.  The one thing not mentioned above was if you take 9 truckloads out you are going to probably have more than 9 truckloads of rocks coming back.  That is a savings of 18+ dump trucks entering and leaving a site!  As a resident in an ever growing area, I would not mind to see 1 or 2 less dump trucks racing up and down our street!!  You can get about 4500 sf of Flexamat on a truckload so imagine the freight savings you could possible achieve.

Join the Flexamat movement today and help end the design of rip rap!!

Make sure to join our FaceBook fan page to get "at the moment" updates of all of our cool innovations being deployed around the world!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Flexamat in Fort Myers Florida Vegetating!

Check out the Flexamat that was installed at the Fort Myers High School 2.5 months ago.  Even with sparse rain in the southeast, Flexamat fully allows vegetation to flourish!  The next time you go out for a drive count how many places you see rock rip rap. If you are unfamiliar with the term "rip rap", it is the big rocks you often see lining ditches or canals, and around culvert pipe.   You will notice that trash and other debris often get caught within the large stones of this type of erosion control method.  Also most municipalities will require some sort of weed abatement program on this rip rap within their districts.  Since walking on rip rap is so unstable, any of this type of work can and should be considered dangerous.  Flexamat is the full solution to all of the problems with rip rap.  Trash does not collect within the stable blocks of Flexamat, and since it has such a low profile, it can be mowed!  Flexamat is the "go green" solution for job sites needing a hard armor solution to battle erosion!  Check out the pictures, enjoy!

To learn about about Flexamat go to our website!  Join the green movement and replace that rip rap with Flexamat!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Educational Seminar! 2/11/11

Sitting in one of many educational seminars hosted by Midwest Construction Products. These seminars are organized to educate, support and network the industry.
John Roberson from Propex, Inc. provides information on Geotextiles, Erosion Control products, etc. Presentations from Greg Sterchi for Cultec Drainage Systems and Matt Motz from Flexamat to follow....
If you couldn't make this seminar, please stay tuned for more to come.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Gabions and Adaptability, a non-biased report

More and more jobs today are specifying gabion baskets, gabions, or some sort of wire mesh wall.  Today’s use of wire mesh will range from large scale earth retaining to interior architectural walls.  These types of products have even made it to the main stream, ending up on popular shows like HGTV’s Dream Home, Yard Crashers, and recently ABC’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition.    As the industry goes towards green design and sustainability, the gabion and wire mesh wall products have adapted well.
Today’s gabion/wire wall market is comprised mainly around 3 different types of mesh with subcategories falling under these main types.  The 3 common types are welded wire, twisted wire, and L-units.  While L-units are essentially welded wire they do fall under their own category.  Welded wire gabions and L-units typically have a more structural aesthetic while twisted wire gabions conform mostly how and what they are filled with.  Since twisted wire gabions and gabion baskets are more of a “chain link” style mesh, they are much more likely to not have that straight line look.  My personal take on this is that many jobs don’t have to have a structural look at all.  We recently supplied gabions that went to an Air Force base that ended up being buried along a runway.  The application on these gabions was a big storm wave break.  Sacrificial earth is placed between the gabions and the beach so when large waves start eroding the earth the gabions act as a final protection for the runway.  With all of that said, these gabions could have been twisted wire.  This particular project specified stainless steel, since stainless steel is much easier to get in welded form, we supplied welded mesh.
Another question we all need to ask ourselves in the design and engineering phase of these projects is; do we need redundant panels and do redundant panels provide any extra strength to the particular design?  A redundant panel or redundant wire is the wire mesh that touches each other when building a wall with gabion baskets that are preassembled.  This wire, one could say, contributes to millions of dollars over the past decade to tax payers.  Many gabions are used on road projects which are funded by tax revenue, either through gas tax or some other questionable means.  There are few specifications out there that require only assembled baskets.  If a job can be done using roll mesh and panels, more than 10% of total wire can be eliminated due to redundant panels!  This saves the owner money, and potentially saves tax payers money.  I am putting this out to the engineering community to see if anyone has run in to this dilemma while designing a gabion wall or some sort of wire mesh retaining wall.
Gabions, gabion baskets, and wire mesh can be very adaptable to job design, property limitations, and any other potential issue found commonly on many jobsites today.  There is no question which of the 3 types of gabions is the most adaptable, its Welded wire.  Can twisted wire pre-assembled baskets be cut in the field?  In fact, when you cut the edge wire on a twisted wire basket doesn’t it lose its structural stability?  I have seen many projects using both welded wire gabions and L-units where the wire has been cut without losing stability of the design to form fit a specific situation.  Creating curved walls, unique shapes, trimming capabilities, and of course the reduction of redundant panels is all prominent features which make welded wire gabions much more adaptable!
Lastly, when choosing one of the 3 types, what size, color, and type of material are you looking for?  Welded mesh is used in many different industries so availabilities are endless.  Do you need purple coated galvanized aluminum?  Do you need copper mesh?  Is your fill limited to 1.5” stone?  Twisted mesh is limited to a couple of different standards when it comes to material types, size of wire, and color.
Whether you are designing with welded wire gabions or twisted wire gabions, know that both products work very well.  The concept of gabions date back as far as Leonardo da Vinci’s design he called “The Corbeille Leonard”, as the foundation of the San Marco Castle in Milan.  We as designers, engineers, and innovators need to know what the availability and capability is of the wire mesh we are using in our designs.  If we do this, we not only broaden everyone’s horizons on what is out there for design, but we can also help decrease wasteful spending on un-needed redundant wire.  Check us out at,, and our resource center   Be sure to join our group Ipafes here on LinkedIn to see when the next closest PDH credited class is in your neighborhood.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

SR 3481, taxes, etc. still = customer service

Typical...government uses more government to make it look like their doing something productive. They make more laws instead of enforcing the current ones. They raise taxes because they can't control spending. Illinois' plan to raise the corporate tax will negatively effect small businesses.

However, Midwest Construction Products has been here for 25 + years and many, many more to come. Interest rate spikes and declines, economic troubles, housing market declines and surges...none of it changes the way we do business. We will continue to adapt, but always keep the customer's needs first. We will continue to help determine the items needed to make a job compliant at a competitive price.

Please take a moment today to say thanks to those that have helped you.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

SR 3481 passes, What do you think?

SR3481 passes the House and Senate at the end of the lame duck session of congress.  Basically what this means is there will be money that will come from taxes to pay for a government entity to go around and make sure owners, contractors, and everyone else maintain specific regulation outlined in the Clean Air and Water Act.  With the passage of this bill, municipalities can increase their revenue on the collection of storm water pollution fees.  This means they can do more for regulatory compliance and enforcement against these federally funded agencies.  Increasing regulatory ability translates into more business for members who are consultants, storm water plan writers, contractors and BMP installers.
This is all fantastic stuff right?  Let us reflect on what it exactly says and think about just the last five years.  Take the top 10 contractors or builders in the country and combine the amount of fines they have paid in due to non compliance of federal regulations.  During those five years any of the “federal” construction jobs, whether it be a post office or a prison, could disregard what others paid top dollar for.  Now for an added comfort to all taxpaying Americans, we will now be taxed extra so the same officials that have been, rightly in many instances, fining owners for being out of compliance.
I have a question over all of this. Hopefully the rest of the privately owned construction community has a question over all of this as well. Shouldn’t the federal projects be in compliance regardless?  Shouldn’t those who write the law, who regulate the law, be above all and be in compliance?  Why, over just the last 5 years, have there been so many fines given to the private industry and these federal projects are being overlooked?  Don’t be confused by this bill.  While it does add money to an industry that a lot of people are in, including me, it is the wrong approach.  My idea is to choose qualified contractors who have more than just the lowest nickel and dime number.  The idea behind all of this is to protect the planet, right?  Clean air, clean water?  That all sounds important to me!  I would rather pay a dollar up front to have the right plan in place instead of paying $4.99 to go to another program that may or may not work.(numbers are sarcasm not exact)  Fixing this can all be done by educating the uneducated, teaching the people how important something is as simple as throwing your gum wrapper in the trash instead of out your car window.  Storm water runoff is a problem everywhere.  If the right techniques are used to control erosion, the need for controlling sediment is greatly decreased.  So simple but yet now we have another tax. 
While yes, I do think it is great that there is being money pumped into our industry, I believe there are much better ways to accomplish this.  We do not need this to excite the consultants, storm water plan writers, contractors and BMP installers.   We all should be excited to the fact that there are laws in place that have been in place to protect each other, our families, our friends.   We also can be happy that now all the federal jobs that go on in many neighborhoods around America will now have to abide by the same rules that the private citizen has.  What do you think? 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Extreme experience

Being invited by Rocky with Elite Homes to meet with representatives with Extreme Makeover HE was the beginning of an Extreme Experience for us. They were looking at a "rustic" outdoor effect for one of the interior walls. Initial idea of using wire mesh gabions as an interior wall was not practical due to load support. (Gabion baskets when filled are extremely heavy) We contacted Weber Group in Sellersburg IN, problem solved! Weber developed and manufactured light weight composite rocks infill for our wire mesh gabion wall. The total concept of providing a new home to a deserving family,working with Weber Group along with other members of the community and the staff of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, was truly an Extreme Experience for us here at Midwest Construction Products.