METAL CONSTRUCTION NEWS;  May 2004; By Racheal Tafelski (Full Article)

The totals are in and the results have been tallied. Span Construction & Engineering Inc. of Madera, CA, has once again, for the  14th year in a row, been named Metal Construction News’ Top Metal Builder of 2003. This year, Span purchased 21,654 tons of steel for metal buildings and its construction volume was $90 mil­lion from 95 projects.

This distinguished member of the metal construction industry has had many successes in its 23 years of service designing and construct­ing commercial, industrial and agricultural projects using VP Buildings. However, Span is not immune to challenges that faced many contractors in recent months.

King Husein, president of Span, commented, “The recent steel shortage and price increases are consuming all our time and energy. It is very difficult to manage our business under these circumstances. Last year was a very chalenging year for Span and, I believe, for many companies in our industry. We were optimistic at the start of 2004 that our business was improving because we were experiencing steady bookings. However, the crisis created by the steel shortage and price increases have the potential of turning 2004 into another challenging year.”

Span may overcome this year’s challenges by using the same principles that have kept it the #1 builder for the last 14 years. Husein explained why Span has maintained its #1 sta­tus, “By providing dedicated service to key clients such as Costco Wholesale and Buzz Oates Companies and Enterprises, forming alliances with reputable architects such as MulvannyG2, and by continuing to practice the basic principles that were instilled at the inception of the company i.e., honesty, com­mitment, quality, service and fair value on every project.”

Relationships are a large part of Span’s business. Husein stated, “Span’s core business is built on repeat clients. They know what to expect from Span based on the history and strength of our relationship and they continue to challenge Span to increase efficiency and provide greater value.”

In addition, repeat clients allow Span other benefits. Husein continued, “Repeat clients allow Span to establish dedicated teams, give us the incentive to be innovative in products and programs to meet their needs, form alliances with suppliers and commit resources on a long term basis.”

Approximately 80% of Span’s business is from repeat clients and many customers are referred. To find out why, Metal Construction News asked some of Span’s clients.

K. Fred Skousen, vice president of Brigham Young University, was drawn to Span because of the leadership of Husein. Skousen said, “Span has a reputation of high-quality construction, on-time delivery and cost efficiency.

These qualities were exactly what Span employed during the construction of a recent project for Husein’s alma mater, Brigham Young University. In partnership with Okland Construction Co., Span built two buildings on budget and on time. Skousen commented, “Our schedule was very tight. It was a fast track project, never before attempted by our organization. We saved 6-12 months with Span.”

Span also helped the university with budg­et concerns. Skousen explained, “Span helped us significantly with the design and selection of materials. An early change in design saved us lots of money. Span also took direct interest in our project budget and worked with subs and all of us to make sure we came in under budget. Our total savings exceeded $250,000.”

The university has only done one project with Span, though Skousen said, “We would be delighted to use Span again. They per­formed outstandingly. Every person at Span, beginning at the top with King Husein and continuing with the field and office personnel, was great to work with. They were sincerely interested in our project. They worked very hard to ensure we got exactly what we wanted, within our budget, and met an extremely demanding time schedule. I am a professor and used to grading performance. Span gets a perfect A grade in my book!”

Doug Barkdull, principal of Buzz Oates Enterprises Arizona, also appreciates Span’s good performance. “Span has always per­formed well for us and has shown great expertise and responsiveness,” he commented.

Buzz Oates is a developer and builder of large warehouse distribution buildings. The company builds in a variety of markets and has relied on metal construction products prior to using Span. “We benefit from Span’s nation­wide capability. We used to install our own roofs, but after in-depth analysis we chose to switch to Span. The standing seam insulated metal roof from Varco Pruden is the right type of roof for our product and Span is the largest contractor in the field,” commented Barkdull.

Quality is important in distribution build­ing’s roofs and floors. The developer and builder returns to Span because Span is honest and does quality work. Barkdull concluded, “Span has always made our construction schedules and will go to great lengths to meet any priority situation we might have to satisfy our clients. It has also offered consistent pric­ing, consistent performance and has enabled us to concentrate on other aspects of our busi­ness. We will continue to use Span because they offer value to our projects and they are honest and dependable.”

Buzz Oates, managing partner of Buzz Oates Co. in Sacramento, CA, initially chose Span due to a reference. Value and safety is important to the Buzz Oates Co. “Span saves us momentous cost on large buildings. It always does the utmost to create safety on its jobs.

“I continue to use Span due to its good service, good value, as well as its honesty and conscientiousness. Span’s good product pro­duces a good reputation for the company. It has done everything and more than expected on our tight schedules.”

Span has built numerous projects for Costco Wholesale, over 35,364,444 sq. ft. The 510 various projects include warehouses, remodels, depots and gas stations. In 2003, Costco Wholesale in Boise, ID, and Costco Depot in Dallas, TX, won the VP Buildings Hall of Fame Awards. Tom Walker, executive vice president of construction and distribution of Costco, said, “We are extremely pleased with Span’s performance. All of our projects were completed in a timely manner and we are pleased with the quality of workmanship.”

Costco is satisfied with VP Buildings’ products. Walker continued, “We are ve,y sat­isfied with the VP pre-engineering system and standing seam roofing. The benefits of our relationship are important to both of us because volume reduces our costs. It is a pleasure to work with professional companies like Span. We are looking for­ward to a continued successful relationship.

“In 1990 and 1991,” Walker continued, “we were looking for a competitor to stick frame construction and had a desire to test pre-engineered buildings. Span has been a partner with Costco since 1991 and has always been a low cost provider as well as on sched­ule.”  Construction is a people business and Span has quality people willing to excel and improve productivity and lower cost,” Walker added.

Personalized team service and a team approach to architecture and construction are qualities that make Span a good fit for MulvannyG2 Architecture, according to Jerry Lee, chief executive officer of the firm.

Lee commented, “Span’s expertise and insight has given our firm a competitive advantage over other firms. It’s people are very professional and have great expertise.” Lee said Span’s safety programs were a good selling point and he appreciates Span’s ‘can do’ attitude. The architectural firm will continue to use Span in the future. Lee noted, “Span has a great system. We have had no call­backs or complaints after installation. Span has consistently maintained our construction schedule and has good competitive pricing, both Jong term and short term.”

Dave Berry has a spe­cial relationship with Span Construction. He helped establish it in 1980 by pro­viding Husein with the necessary capital, insur­ance coverage, bonding capacity, staff, office space, and his knowledge and experience. Berry and Husein have continued their friendship even though Berry is no longer a partner at Span.

Berry Construction initially chose Span because of Husein’s assurance to meet or sur­pass all requirements. Berry said, “We have never been disappointed. Span always keeps their commitments and provides professional services in all areas. Their design-build capa­bilities are an asset to our business. Projects are completed in a timely manner, even if they are on a tight time frame, and always within or below budget.

“Span’s professionalism, commitment to quality, safety programs and schedule have had a very positive effect on our business. Span always has its clients’ best interest in mind and views budgets and costs as if they were their own. They are very competitive in their business. In addition, Span has always provided the very highest quality workman­ship and materials and that is reflected in our projects.”

Span has several safety programs in place. Berry noted, “Safety is always a top priority with Span and Berry Construction. Providing a safe work environment is mandatory. A good safety history is an asset for any business. Span’s commitment to safety is evident on every project.”

It is not just Husein that Berry enjoys working with. Berry commented, “We have always enjoyed a very good working relation always performed in more than a satisfactory manner. Span continues to make it easy to do business with them.”

Leland McPherrin, plant engineer at Escalon Premier Brands, originally planned to build with metal. Escalon has a history with Span but continues to choose Span because of its ability to fulfill challenging project require­ments. McPherrin said, “Span helps my busi­ness by getting things done on time. Our com­pany is always on a tight schedule and Span always meets it.”

Escalon also appreciates Span’s safety pro­grams. “Span’s programs are a comfort thought. If it cares about its people, it will care for ours.” For these reasons and others, the company would use Span again. McPherrin commented, “Escalon will continue to use Span due to its great customer service. It can pull projects together from sketchy details and that is what we need. In addition, its pricing is right and it has great people with real expertise.”

Span’s integrity and pride in its work are two qualities that keep Britz Inc. involved with Span, according to Joey Sagariballa, construction manager for Britz. He said, “Span can take a cus­tomer’s building needs and take it from design to cer­tificate of occupancy basi­cally all in-house which is a real plus in our opinion.

Span has also helped our business by complet­ing projects on schedule, which helps us max­imize our efforts in the market place.”

Budgeting can be a hard task, but Sagariballa stated, “Span has helped with all of our construction budgets from forecasting to value engineering. I have been able to com­plete our projects within the proposed budget.”

Sargariballa is quick to recognize the efforts of the Span staff. He commented, “Span has assembled a team of construction professionals and administrative staff that make doing business with them a real pleas­ure. Span’s safety people have good communi­cation with our safety director and have had no accidents in the past.

“Span will continue to be our contractor of choice in future. Everything you expect from a full service contractor you get with Span. Quality is a Span trademark and really shows in its buildings.” Sagariballa concluded.

Clearly, relationships with customers are a great asset to Span. Husein offered some advice to other contractors who are tying to build a customer base. He said, “Always provide the client with best quality, unprecedented service, aggressive schedules and price competitive­ness; regardless of the circumstances, which will build confidence and trust in the client.”