RL Construction is truly unique to Whidbey Island because unlike many local loggers we possess purpose built log loaders and skidders, as well as an in house logging truck. Because of this we can more efficiently process timber, and haul logs when others cannot.
On sites that will be developed, we can log, clear, and build road simultaneously, saving both time and money. This is especially useful when installing, or widening driveways, where space is limited. Specialized logging or excavation contractors cannot do this as they do not possess both types of equipment needed to complete the task. Most of them will just push trees over with an excavator and process each tree as it falls, but this has several drawbacks. First off, pushing a tree over stump and all is not a precise way of falling timber. The direction of the tree can vary greatly which is especially dangerous when working near existing structures. Second, when pushing trees over, debris is often mixed into the soil and the ground is heavily stirred during the first process on-site, potentially leaving debris in the ground and creating mud that must be worked in for the rest of the project, potentially clear through construction. We prefer to remove all logs and debris before removing any stumps, keeping the site cleaner.
Another thing that RL Construction does that many others don't, is selectively market timber. While many of our competitors only sell timber to one mill only, RL Construction markets the timber we produce to many mills depending on size, species, distance, and of course the buying price. The result of selective timber marketing is a higher return on cost for the customer, and a higher return per unit of wood marketed.
On projects where temporary road building is required to haul out timber, we commonly use an inexpensive eco-ballast to build a temporary logging road. It's essentially small sticks and rocks rejected from dirt screening, which create a mat layer that can be driven on. Eco-ballast is useful for temporary roads because the wood matter will decompose in time, unlike rock ballast, which is permanent.
RL Construction possesses a land clearing technique that differs from any of our competitors. For starters, we rake the site with an excavator, using a custom brush rake, to remove all of the brushy material before removing any stumps. Doing so keeps the brushy debris from being mixed into the dirt when the stumps are extracted. Next, instead of digging out stumps, which greatly disturbs the ground, as a moat has to be dug around the stump to remove it, we instead use an excavator mounted stump splitter, which breaks each stump into pieces before being extracted. This allows the stumps to be extracted out of the ground instead of being dug out. The stumps are then collected along with any remaining roots and added to the debris pile. At this point, the site is finish raked with a special rake on a bulldozer to pick up any roots that may have been missed. Once land clearing is complete, our subcontracted tub grinder comes in to reduce the mixed debris into course wood grindings known as hog fuel. Depending on the setup with the landowner prior to the start of the project, the wood grindings will either be left on site, hauled back to our yard, or a combination of the two.
Tub Grinding vs. Burning
While most of our competitors choose to burn their debris, we here at RL Construction embrace the "Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle mentality." By tub grinding, not only do you keep the harmful pollutants out of the air, but you end up with a useful product that can be used on the very ground it came from.
Many of our competitors argue that grinding is more expensive than burning, and is a bigger hassle, because grinding is slow, and even when complete, the byproduct must be disposed of anyway. First off, it is true that tub grinding is potentially more expensive than burning. However, if you consider that tub grinding doesn't require a permit, whereas burning does and the fact that burning may be stopped multiple times due to weather conditions, or complaining neighbors, plus the air pollution that comes along with burning, we feel that the cost of grinding is more than offset. Not to mention that burning doesn't provide any recycled product to be reused on sight, which further helps to offset the cost of grinding. It's also important to note grinding being slower than burning is a misnomer, in fact, in most cases, it's much faster. We exclusively contract with Mailliards Landing Nursery to do our tub grinding. Mailliards Landing specializes in tub grinding, which adds to the efficiency of the process because they take care of the grinding, leaving our crew free to continue on other facets of the project. Additionally, tub grinding is not affected nearly as much by the weather, when compared to burning.
There are, however, some instances where burning is a better method of disposing of debris. Burning is ideal when cost is a big issue, and when no recycled wood grindings are desired. Burning is also more viable in the winter, and in areas where neighbors are far away. This makes burning ideal for removing slash to replant a clear cut, or for clearing for a spec house, or a project with a small budget.
In addition to logging and land clearing, another one of our specialties is excavation. Excavation work has been at the core of RL Construction from the very beginning and continues to be so to this very day. We possess a large fleet of excavation equipment giving us the ability to take on jobs ranging from small driveway widenings to utility ditching, to road building, to large custom home dig outs. If you can dream it, we can find a way to make it happen.
Additionally, we possess a septic installers license furthering our goal to be a one-stop shop for your site development needs. Having our own license helps to increase efficiency, and reduce wear and tear on the job site. This is because many times septic systems are placed where they cannot be easily accessed once building is complete. Therefore, the system either has to be installed before the building is done, or the building has to be worked around, which is where the sight disturbance takes place and is in some cases not even possible. By having our own license, your septic system can be installed at the most opportune time during the building process. Otherwise, another contractor would have to be hired and we would move out so that they could move in do their work, and then we would come back in to complete our portion of the work. This extra step often costs time and money which are both precious resources when building a home.
Many times on a site development project the landowner may decide that he/she has more wood chips then they can use, in which case they are loaded into trucks and hauled back to our yard to compost. Other times the development site may be too small to fit the grinder, or in other cases, the landowner may not desire to keep any chips. In these cases, we haul the debris directly to our yard by means of a dump truck and perform the grinding process ourselves. We then allow the chips to breakdown and cook for multiple months before we screen them and sort them into two piles. We then allow the finer sort to cook for two to three additional months before selling. This screened wood compost takes on a beautiful dark color, and is excellent for landscaping, while also adding nutrients to the existing soil.
The larger, fibrous, sort can be sold immediately after screening for landscape use, especially where weed suppression is required, or as an eco-friendly, temporary construction road. It's common to use this product to build temporary roads for home building because once construction is complete the material can be removed, or repurposed on site without leaving a trace. This differs from rocky ballast which doesn't decompose and can contaminate landscape for years to come. In fact, this product has become so popular that some of our competitors purchase it from us.
The third product we produce is known as "Screened Sandy Loam" and has become very popular for hardscape, landscape, and soil rehabilitation. SSL is a mixture of our screened wood compost product and screened loamy dirt that has been removed from sights before excavation, as it is not structural soil. These two make a beautiful, rich, top soil-like product that has only two simple ingredients. It's surprisingly simple and works surprisingly well for landscape as it's a breeze to grow grass and other greenery in. It's also important to note that this product contains no yard waste; therefore, no chemicals nor noxious weeds will be introduced to your site by means of this product or any other of our compost products.
Because of the variety of equipment and vast experience we possess here at RL Construction, we are able to perform a wide variety of services that don't fit into standard definitions, and even take on projects we have never done before. Additional services we provide include demolition of buildings, building custom ecology block walls, screening materials on site with our custom screen bucket for one of our excavators, installing custom irrigation water retention systems, gravel road and driveway maintenance including graveling, grading, ditch cleaning, and water drainage systems, pond building, and just about anything else that involves dirt. If you have any questions about whether we can do what you want or not please give us a call!
A little about us and our story up to this point
RL Construction was founded by Robert Long and wife Ronni in February of 1993. Robert took out a small loan and bought his first excavator, which he used to dig ponds, clear lots and whatever else was requested. He soon traded his excavator in on a larger one as his needs increased. In the coming years, Robert enlarged his fleet to include trucks, bulldozers, a log skidder and more.
By the turn of the century, the demand for logging and land clearing on the Island lessened and small site development and custom home installation seemed to be the way of the future. Eventually, he procured a license to install septic systems, which gave him an edge over the competition, by furthering his goal to be a one-stop shop for site development.
Around 2013, logging and land clearing began to pick up again, and with it came the need to dispose of the logging slash and the clearing debris. Around this time the local county government began to make it increasingly difficult and expensive to obtain burning permits. Due to the huge amounts of smoke, smell, and fear of forest fire, burning no longer seemed to be a viable option to dispose of the debris. It was at this time that Robert began to learn of the virtues of tub grinding. Tub grinding seemed to be the answer to the burning dilemma; it was safer, environmentally friendly, and was less bothersome to the community.
But tub grinding created another dilemma, what was to be done with the woody by-product? This was when RL Construction got into the business of biomass recycling or repurposing this wood product into something useful. The wood product, also known as "hog fuel," would be hauled to our yard composted, screened, and then either sold direct or mixed with waste loamy dirt to make a rich sandy loam product, akin to topsoil.
This brings us to current day where, where Robert, and now his sons, continue to think of ways to innovate and streamline processes to increase efficiency and create a more pleasant customer experience.
If you have any questions, or you're just ready to get your project underway, please give us a call!
3418 Ewing Rd.
Clinton, WA 98236