METAL CONSTRUCTION NEWS;  May 2001; By Johnna Young (Full Article)

Recording 41,657 tons of steel pur­chased for 2000, Span Construction and Engineering, Madera, CA, has surpassed its own record of 36,504 tons for 1999. Once again, the suc­cessful company was named Metal Construction News’ Top Builder for 2000, making it the 11th consecutive time Span has claimed this honor.

King Husein, president of Span, and his qualified employees work together as a team to achieve higher standards year after year. Span pays special attention to each project down to the fine details insuring safety, timeliness and customer satisfaction.

“I am pleased to see that our man­agement team is able to handle the high volume of business without com­promising the values that have made us successful,” Husein said.

“We are flexible enough to make the necessary changes in products and procedures to stay on the leading edge of the industry.” Walking through an individual pro­ject that the design/build company has completed demonstrates the integrity, professionalism and commitment Span has in each of its projects. An example of what makes this company so prosperous can be seen by look­ing at the Western Foam Packaging Products project in Union City, CA.

Manny Cam­pana, president of U.S. operations at Western Foam Packaging Products, visited one of the protective foam packaging company’s major suppliers, he was impressed by. the size and complexity of Sealed Air Corp.’s 220,000 sq. ft. facility com­pleted in September 1998.

Looking to uproot Western Foam’s manufacturing facility from its undersized leased building in Hayward, CA, to a few miles down Highway 880 to Union City, the company’s top executive was curious as to who designed and built this supplier’s new building in Madera, CA. When Campana found out that Span Construction and Engineering Inc. completed this massive project, he contacted the general contractor right away.

“I want a building like Sealed Air, but about half the size,” Campana instructed.

Soon after, Campana purchased a triangle-shaped six-acre parcel in Union City. This initiated Phase I of the building’s construction.

“Developing and building on a tri­angular parcel surrounded by rail­ways, power lines and a creek channel was no easy task,” Scott Clausen, pro­ject architect for Span, said. “We had a big challenge in front of us.”

But, Span was ready for that task. The Madera, CA-based general con­tractor began the Western Foam pro­ject in September 1999, and even through the wettest February in a decade completed the 100,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art facility in April 2000.

“I think there is a good parallel between our companies. Loyalty, honesty and integrity, you know, the principles from the old school, that’s what makes the difference,” Campana stated.

“Some of our people have worked with me over 12 years, some almost 15, that’s rare now. I see these same good qualities with the Span team.”

Designing Western Foam’s State-Of-The-Art Facility

Working closely with Western Foam, Span used the design/build method to develop a site and facility plan for the project. By early April of 1999, the final design was complete. Development review was in process at the city and the financial package had been submitted.

Greg Potter, engineering manager for Span, took the lead with hands-on dealings with the city. Union City had committed full support and assis­tance in the approval of the new pro­ject.

However, the existing drainage capacity in the industrial area was limited and state and federal submit­tals were required for a new outfall structure into the adjacent Dry Creek channel.

Span’s Techniques In Building This Facility

Earthwork for the 100,000 sq. ft. building began in early September 1999. The new Western Foam build­ing consists of a steel building designed and fabricated by VP Buildings utilizing continuous beam framing. Span used 279 tons of steel for this structure. Concrete tilt-up panels are also part of the facility’s design.

In addition, metal tops the facili­ty’s roof. A VP standing seam roof­formed from 24-gauge steel-was selected. The 100,000 sq. ft. of roof panels have a Galvalume finish. The roof also features fiberglass insula­tion and a Skyweb II safety net.

Aesthetic accents were provided at the front of the building through an offset office in the corner with con­trasting fluted panels and texture coat finish along the top band. Storefront glass also enhances the industrial building’s architectural appeal. Square footage of the office space includes 4,500 sq. ft. in the front and 1,500 sq. ft. in the back portion. A total of 14 dock doors and three truck doors were also installed in the build­ing.

Safety Precautions Implemented During Construction

Numerous obstacles during the project had to be addressed, not only from a construction standpoint, but also from a safety perspective. For example, an active railroad spur, overhead power lines and a heavily used industrial side street leading onto the site all had to be considered when planning the facility’s construc­tion.

“In weekly safety meetings held with subcontractors, these issues were continually discussed. As on all our construction sites, mandatory use of hardhats, safety glasses and proper clothing was monitored daily by our superintendent,” Tim Pendley, Span’s safety director, established.

“Our building erection crew partic­ipated weekly with random drug and alcohol testing. Also a safety net was installed to meet Span’s 100% fall protection policy.”

Campana agreed that safety played a significant role in the project. “People here always used safety hats. Project superintendent Roger Motsenbocker would even make me wear one every time I came on site,” Campana noted. “Certain areas were protected, the site was always kept clean.”

During 2000, Span elevated its safety program by adding two assis­tant safety directors. This allows the company to make continual jobsite inspections on every job. Addition­ally, Pendley and his assistants have recently completed a 40-hour OSHA training course.

“We are also focusing on proper training of new hires. We have assembled a mock-up building roof framing system that allows us to demonstrate proper installation of a safety net, roof sheeting, and various trim and multi-gutter conditions,” Pendley explained.

The General Contractor’s Relationship With The Subcontrators

Several subcontractors were need­ed to complete this job. Many of the companies who were selected have an established working relationship with the Span Construction team.

“As a subcontractor that works pri­marily with the owner, it is unusual for my firm to deal with general con­tractors, and for the most part we do not,” George W. Bruno, president, CE O of Automated Controls & Electrical Services, said.

“However, due to the honest approach that Span Construction takes on all projects, I take great pride that they include me as part of their design team. The projects we work on are always well managed and flow smoothly so that all trades concerned can function in a capacity to get the job done on time, with the best quality craftsmanship.”

Automated Controls & Electrical Services, Madera, was the electrical subcontractor for the Western Foam project. Bruno added this particular job is a good example of Span’s capabilities.

Larry Kumpe, vice president of Fresno Plumbing & Heating Inc., Fresno, CA, said Span also has the ability to make all the subcontractors feel like part of the team. This com­pany, who has worked on design/ build projects for Span for the past eight years, did the plumbing work for this particular project.

“They are always open to cost sav­ings suggestions. They have the capa­bility of scheduling jobs to meet final dates without overcrowding the sub­contractors, which makes our employees very pleased,” Kumpe noted.

Span’s key employees’ organiza­tional skills also helped this project run smoothly, Mike Nelson, president of Mike Nelson Co. Inc., Fresno, said. Nelson’s company helped install the metal studs, drywall and acousti­cal ceilings.

“They (Span’s team) take schedul­ing and safety of all phases of the project very seriously. When you, as a subcontractor, are fortunate enough to work with a general contractor such as Span, you can rest assured that the project will be safe, and will produce a top quality product,” Nelson stated.

Western Foam posed a few unique problems, Mark Carmicheal, vice president of Clovis Madera Equipment Inc., a Fresno-based grading and paving contractor, said. “The site was irregular in shape, and practically the entire site was to be developed either with buildings, truck docks or asphalt paving,” he added.

“This left no place for the subs to store equipment or materials. Add to that the rainy season hit. But with quick action from the project man­agement and the site superintendent, they were able to implement a plan to have the water pumped off and build access roads, and the project was able to proceed as close to the original schedule as possible. Without the proper scheduling of subcontractors, deliveries, etc., this project would not have been possible or profitable.”

Bob Jones of Madera-based Bob Jones Painting was also pleased with the Western Foam project. As a paint­ing subcontractor, the company has been working with Span since 1986.

“As I was figuring out what made them special, I realized that all the key people we dealt with in 1986 are still there in 2001,” Jones said. “As expected the project was well orga­nized. They were ready for us as promised which allowed us to com­plete our work efficiently.”

Recommending Span Construction

The Western Foam project started out as a referral project and now Campana and his company are a repeat customer. Phase II, totaling an additional 18,000 sq. ft., is now in the works.

“Would I recommend Span?” asked Campana. “I don’t have one complaint. We are working with Span on an 18,000 sq. ft. expansion. I’ve recommended Span to my friends and associates.”

He added, “I’ve built three houses in my life, each time it has been a nightmare. I know what it is like to build and be disappointed. This time it was different. Although we had some challenges, I was never upset. Span has always treated the schedule with utmost importance.”

Mark Reynolds, who manages pro­ject development and oversees design/build services, was in contact with Campana almost on a daily basis.

“Manny reminded me several times that his whole future was in my hands. That’s why our construction management system is so important,” Reynolds related.

“By closely monitoring critical paths and pre-planning with our sub­contractors, Span is able to maintain quality construction along with meet­ing schedule. This team was proac­tive and that made the differences. Manny was in his new facility in April.”

Other Significant Span Accomplishments In 2000

Ranging in size from 2,100 sq. ft. to 1 million sq. ft., Span completed a total of 117 projects last year. Many of these were projects for the compa­ny’s ongoing client-Costco Wholesale.

Serving this customer for over 11 years, last year Span successfully completed 30 Costco warehouses, 40 gas stations, eight warehouse addi­tions and seven depots/distribution centers, amounting for 7.8 million sq ft. and over 80 buildings.

“Span definitely ‘raised the bar’ when it comes to performance, com­pleting all of the projects on or ahead of schedule and with no injuries,” Rod Horton, corporate accounts man­ager for VP Buildings, said.

“Each project is challenging with tight time schedules, hundreds of roof penetrations and constant coor­dination and communication with the general contractor, architect and owner, sometimes on a daily basis.”

Span, who is in its 21st year of business, also received four VP Buildings’ Hall of Fame awards for outstanding projects. Projects award­ed this honor included: Pacific Coast Producers, Lodi, CA; Costco Wholesale, Mission Valley, CA; Costco Wholesale, Tolleson, AZ; and Buzz Oates Enterprises-Tandy Corp., Woodland, CA.