Parallelogram Foundation: Pumping Concrete

On a Maine island, a crew of carpenters hustles to pour an unusual out-of-square concrete foundation.

All Aboard

At the Casco Bay Lines terminal in Portland, Maine, the pump truck and concrete ready-mix truck roll down the ramp to board the ferry Machigonne II, en route to the job on Peaks Island.


The pump truck eases up the ramp onto Peaks Island.


The ready-mix truck heads up the ramp onto the island.

Ready to Rock

All formed up and braced, the Thompson Johnson Woodworking crew waits for the pump truck to set up.

Setting Up the Pump Truck

Concrete pumping contractor Allen Moore sets up the stabilizing outriggers for his pump truck.

Hooking Up the Hose

Moore attaches a reducer extension to his pump truck.

Superstition Works!

Moore begins by priming his pump with water — "and a scoop of island sand for good luck."

Clearing a Clog

After detecting a clog during priming, Moore had to disassemble the joints on his pump boom to remove some obstructions.

Last Touches

Carpenter Ed Muennich takes advantage of the delay to make some fine adjustments to the foam forms.

Loosened Up

After clearing the clog, Moore runs a thin slurry through the pump to verify that the flow is good.


Moore reattaches the elbow connections for the pump boom pipe.


Concrete flowing from the chute into the pump truck hopper.

Sticky Spot

The crew started the pour at a basement door opening. Here, Ed Muennich vibrates the forms to help the concrete move into place. On the advice of pump truck operator Allen Moore, Mark Pollard drills an observation hole into the form to visually confirm that the concrete had filled the form.

Filling In

As Moore operates the pump by remote control, Pollard rods the concrete through the observation hole to consolidate the mass of concrete under the door sill.

Filling the Wall

Chris Byron fills the forms as Dale Cunningham rods the concrete.

The Corner

Dale Cunningham directs concrete into the open-angled wall corner.

The Corner

Chris Byron directs concrete into the reinforced corner of the wall form.

Topping Off

As Allen Moore controls the pump, Chris Byron consolidates the concrete at the corner and Mark Pollard continues to top off the wall.

Trowel Work

Ed Muennich and Chris Byron trowel the concrete flush with the form as Mark Pollard controls the hose.

Rounding the Corner

Mark Pollard places concrete at the corner of the wall.

Trowel Work

Dale Cunningham trowels the top of the wall.

Pier Formwork

Column forms built with plywood and 2x4 lumber sit waiting for concrete.


The second part of the pour begins badly, as a parallelogram-shaped corner pier blows out at the bottom. The crew will have to reinforce the pier forms.

We Need More Screws

After suffering an early blowout, the crew hustles to add more screws to their formwork before continuing the pour.

Reinforcing the Pier Forms

The crew adds reinforcing screws to the pier formwork.

Repairing the Breach

Cunningham and Pollard brace and reinforce the pier form that blew out.

Patching the Form

Pollard and Cunningham apply a plywood patch to the damaged form to prevent collapse.

Adding Screws

The crew adds more screws to the formwork.

Back in Business

After toughening up the forms, the crew continued with the pour.

Filling Forms

Mark Pollard directs concrete into the newly patched and reinforced column form.

Messy Business

With the pump truck boom at full reach, the concrete flowed fast and splattered.

In Your Face

Cunningham wrangles the pump truck hose as the concrete splatters.

Rocking and Rolling

"In the future, we'll have flavored concrete," promises concrete pumping contractor Allen Moore.


As the rest of the crew manages the controlled chaos of the column pour, Ed Muennich quietly trowels the perimeter wall sill.

Topping Off

After filling a column form, Mark Pollard trowels the top to the line.


Dale Cunningham taps the form with a hammer to consolidate the concrete, and checks that the form is filled to the line.

Hosing Off

The crew cleans up after a successful pour. As Dale Cunningham sprays concrete off his boots, Allen Moore comments: "This is when we tell the kids, 'Stay in school!'"

Washing the Hopper

Allen Moore cleans up his pump truck hopper after a successful concrete placement.

Cleaning Up

Mark Pollard wipes the splatters of concrete off his face after the job.

Lessons Learned

"Next time, we'll put more screws in the forms," says Pollard. The blowout at the beginning of the column pour set the job back about 20 minutes.

Attitude Counts

"You don't want to rush concrete, ever," remarks Pollard.

Headed Home

Back on the mainland, Allen Moore drives his pump truck up the ferry dock ramp.

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