Five Terex Trucks TA300 articulated haulers are rebalancing almost 500,000 yd3 of material in heavy rain to prepare the ground for two major new high school construction projects in Houston, Texas.
It’s back to school for Franco Builders as the family-owned contractor takes on two major new high school projects in the Houston area – Alvin ISD (Independent School District) High School 4 and Fort Bend ISD High School 12. The 550,000 ft² Alvin ISD High School 4 will accommodate around 2,500 students, while the 485,000 ft² Fort Bend ISD High School 12 will provide space for 2,800. Both ISDs are experiencing unprecedented enrolment growth with at least 1,000 new students joining each year since 2014. The new schools will alleviate the overcrowding on existing campuses and help future-proof the districts as rapid residential development continues. They will incorporate academic, athletic and fine arts areas and are planned to open in time for the 2022-2023 school year.
Houston-based earthworks and underground utility specialist Franco Builders won the tender to prepare the building pads, as well as rebalance the soil across the entire campuses. “We have over a million truck yards of material to rebalance over each jobsite – it’s a massive undertaking,” says Jose Zuniga, who founded Franco Builders along with Manuel Franco in 2002. Helping Jose, Manuel and their team to complete the work is a fleet of five Terex Trucks TA300 articulated haulers, leased since March 2020 through local dealer Easton Sales and Rentals.
“We’ve rented TA300s from Easton for quite a few years now – we just fell in love with them,” Jose explains. “We even rented some for the first few months on the Alvin job but we still have over a year of work to do on the site, so it made sense to switch to a lease agreement.”
“Terex Trucks has a terrific lease program,” says Vic Palermo, Sales Representative at Easton Sales & Rentals. “Each hauler has guaranteed service and full warranty on everything so it’s a good business decision. It can save a lot of money for the contractor and can help them be more competitive in the bidding process.”
“We really liked the overall package of service, warranty and financing,” Jose adds. “Repairs on any piece of capital equipment have the potential to be expensive and there was a good service program offered for the first few years. It’s great that we can work the haulers without having to worry about maintenance or breakdown. That’s all taken care of.”
Masters of mud
The Terex Trucks leasing program makes a compelling offer, but it was the TA300’s sheer reliability that first made Franco Builders fall in love with the truck. Terex Trucks articulated haulers are renowned for their robustness and are designed to go where others can’t follow. The heavy-duty axles are capable of bearing large loads, while the effective drivetrain gear reduction and differential locks help achieve market-leading traction in poor working conditions. With all three axles in permanent (6x6) all-wheel drive, the TA300 maintains maximum traction will reducing driveline abuse and wheel spin for lower tyre wear and fuel consumption.
“We get a lot of rain the in the Houston area and the off-road trucks have to fight through some pretty nasty terrain at times,” explains Jose. “The TA300 is a steady machine with good traction. It doesn’t struggle to get in and out of the slope areas so there’s no risk of it getting stuck in a hole.”
From left: Manuel Franco, Owner of Franco Builders, Vic Palermo, Sales Representative at Easton Sales & Rentals, and Jose Zuninga, Owner of Franco Builders.
Perfect attendance record
“The trucks have very little downtime and if they ever do have an issue, they are quick and easy to fix,” says Jose.
As well as being strong and flexible enough to handle the pressures of tough environments, the TA300 has built-in mechanisms to make service interventions quick and safe to maximise uptime. All test points are located at ground level, with the fully tilting cab and electronically raised hood ensuring easy access.
The three-stage aspiration air filtration provides increased engine protection to lengthen maintenance intervals, while the hydraulic systems with magnetic suction filters guard against contamination and unscheduled maintenance. In addition, the long transmission oil change interval of 4,000 hours helps keep the machine up and running longer.
Schedule for success
“Easton helps us track maintenance intervals and notifies us when it’s required,” says Jose. “They’ve been really good at making a schedule to avoid downtime and keep the project going. It’s extremely important that our fleets are updated, and we try to minimise unscheduled downtime on all projects because time is money. It’s all about working efficiently.”
Easton aims to give every customer the special treatment, which has allowed them to develop longstanding relationships, such as with Franco Builders. “We work together really well,” says Vic. “If they need machines, I make sure we have the best ones for the job – and if they have a problem, our service manager will have a crew of technicians out there right away, or if not, the very next morning.”
“Everyone at the office and service department is really knowledgeable about the trucks,” Jose adds. “They can pinpoint any warning signs of potential problems that can come up. They’re always just a phone call away.”
Terex Trucks articulated haulers are renowned for their robustness and reliability.
Only the best will do
“Of course, me and Manuel have known Vic for more than 20 years,” concludes Jose. “He’s incredibly knowledgeable – not only about Terex Trucks. He’ll tell you straight what’s good and what’s reliable and what’s junk. He’s not going to sell you trash.”
It’s clear that the Terex Trucks TA300’s incredible traction on tough terrain, robustness and ease of maintenance made it the very best articulated hauler for the job. And thanks to a proactive and efficient service from Easton Sales & Rentals, Franco Builders can rest assured of completing the projects within budget – and getting the kids to school on time.
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