Quality and excellence are two words that definitely describe Span Construction & Engineering Inc. The Madera, CA based company, which was founded in 1980, continues to excel in numerous areas throughout the metal building industry including once again claiming the position as top preengineered metal building contractor in the count1y. Span Construction’s president Firoz “King” Husein, P.E., attributes his company’s continued success to the fact that the basic principles of business are understood and utilized on every project. Honesty, commitment, quality, service and value are key elements the company strives for in every project it works on.
This philosophy has obviouslybenefited the 18-year old company, who has been awarded Top Metal Builder from Metal Construction News for the eighth consecutive year. SPAN was bestowed this award for purchasing 23,279 tons of steel for preengineered metal buildings for 1997. This figure again exceeded the previous year’s tonnage, which was 17,792 tons.
Although this tonnage is an outstanding achievement, King emphasizes employee teamwork, as well as quality and safety as important ingredients in making the company so overwhelmingly successful. Span Construction and Engineering offers both the SPAN Quality Program and SPAN Safety Program to ensure that SPAN delivers the best building to every client.
SPAN’s accomplishments, utilizing systems from VP Buildings, have been discussed in numerous past issues of Metal Construction News (August 1991, August 1992, May 1993, May 1994, May 1995, May 1996, September 1996 and May 1997).
During 1997, SPAN again achieved many awards and distinctions from VP Buildings. SPAN received “Hall of Fame” awards for two projects: the Madera County Family Support facility in Madera, CA, and S&S Produce in Mendota, CA. The SMI joist plant project, located in Fallon, NV, was featured in VP Buildings’ “Project Profile”. SPAN acted as general contractor and steel erector on this 144,000 sq. ft. project which was completed in 90 days from ground breaking to production.
Also in a ceremony recently SPAN received the “$25 Million Club” award, for buying $25 million in steel from VP in 1997. VP also awarded King with the $135 million Cumulative Award for selling $135 million in VP products since he has been a VP authorized builder.
“The success of SPAN is due in large part to King Husein’s pervasive attitude that there are no boundaries which cannot be overcome with determination, enthusiasm and desire,” David Gilchrist, president, VP Buildings, said.
“This attitude has helped make VP Buildings a better company,” Gilchrist continued. “Through King Husein’s leadership, no opportunity is too complicated, too small, or too far away. Whatever the challengeSPAN sets the bar and VP works withSPAN to exceed the challenge. This could not have happened without constant communication and improvement in processes and policies. This in turn helps VP with its other builders by offering them new products, new methods and new ideas which allow us to grow together.
“VP believes that the significant improvement in lead times, quality, flexibility, on time deliveries and new products experienced in the last two years is due to the constant challenge to conventional thinking that SPAN offers everyone at VP.”
Gilchrist added, “Every company needs a partner-customer that shows them how much better they can be. VP Buildings is proud to have King Husein and SPAN as the largest of these partners. Being number one in the industry for eight years is no small accomplishment. Only through constant reinvention and determination can a company succeed with consistency. SPAN’s performance is a benchmark for all to admire.”
Being named as Top Metal Builder for eight consecutive years, SPAN’s story is probably familiar to most readers of Metal Construction News. So, keeping that in mind, the following interview with King Husein focuses on the company’s activities during the past year and the ongoing progress that keepsSPAN among the industry’s best.
MCN: Safety is an essential element in the metal building industry, as well as in your company. SPAN’s Safety Program is well known throughout the industry. Have you implemented any new safety practices in the past year and do you have any plans to further enhance the program for the future? Why do you feel your company’s safety program is so successful?
Husein: Safety monitoring and training is an ongoing process. Driving safety down to all levels of our field operations is a constant challenge. Each field superintendent and foreman are being trained to become safety officers on their project and implement the Span safety program.
Our safety program is being enhanced by improving the fall protection system. Through research and held experience we are now implementing a passive tall protection system that will not only meet all the safety requirements, but also allow the field crews to maintain efficiency during erection.
The success of the SPAN safety program is the result of the commitment at each level of the company to provide a safe working environment regardless of the cost. This includes drug and alcohol testing of every employee prior to hiring, random testing of 10% work force every week on every project. A $1 per hour safe bonus is awarded to every employee on every proJect provided there is no work related lost time accident or a safety violation. The program also provides safety training of the employees at various levels.
MCN: Customers are also an important part of the growth of any business. Your company implements the SPAN Quality program (with its checklists for buildings and roofing). Do you feel that this is a key point in ensuring customer satisfaction and therefore resulting in repeat business? Along the same lines, what percentage of your customer base from 1997 is repeat customers?
Husein: Customers today are a lot more sophisticated. They demand and expect quality. This a given on every project. Our track record for building quality projects is definitely resulting in repeat business. 65% of our 1997 business was from repeat customers.