New building technology being developed by contractors constructing a border wall system between the U.S. and Mexico championed by President Donald Trump could influence other similar construction industry projects in the future, according to The Architect's Newspaper.
Contractor Fisher Sand & Gravel, which built a privately funded segment of steel bollard fencing on private land at the border in New Mexico in about four days, has a patent for a cast-in-place concrete forming system through its subsidiary General Steel & Supply Co. Fisher has also reportedly developed a bollard fence hanging system that has a patent pending. The Architect's Newspaper found no application made to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) by Fisher for the latter but did find one made by Neusch Innovations for a similar system.
In 2018, there were three USPTO patent applications for construction systems and project delivery methods related to border wall construction. The designs included a border wall built using shipping containers, one that generates power and a multifunctional wall that uses solar power.
Fisher reportedly used both of its new building technologies on the wall segment it built in New Mexico and used the cast-in-place system on the prototype wall it built for Customs and Border Protection back in 2017.
The concrete system uses modified construction equipment to quickly form and cure cast-in-place concrete panels, which are then put in place by special excavators. The excavators are able to work both sides of the fence line and are designed to quickly position and adjust steel formwork via three axes and navigate the imposing terrain that is sometimes found along the U.S. southern border.
The bollard installation system uses excavators equipped with 56-foot-long trussed hangers to drop, align and fix steel fence sections into poured concrete. Working from one side would allow crews to remain on the U.S. side of the border during construction.
Fisher has been making its case to the press and federal officials that it can build 234 miles of border wall for just $1.4 billion — $4.3 billion if they are required to include paved roads, border technology and a warranty as part of the contract.
Some have criticized the Trump administration for building only 50 miles of new barriers since the president took office, all of it either replacement or supplemental. The pace of border wall projects could accelerate, however, since the Supreme Court last week lifted a restriction on the administration's use military funds for border wall construction under the president's national emergency declaration.