August 10, 2009

SMART Client Expanding With Military Projects

One of SMART Safety Group’s clients, Straub Construction, was featured on the front page of the San Diego Business Journal. SMART Safety Group provides Straub with objective third-party safety auditing on many of Straub’s military projects. The benefits of third-party auditing include:

  • Enhanced record-keeping
  • Greater compliance
  • A second set of eyes

Please read the article below…

August 10-16, 2009

August 10-16, 2009

Builder Expanding With Military Projects
By BRAD GRAVES – 8/10/2009
San Diego Business Journal

It’s news that seems to have come out of another decade: A construction company adds middle managers to better handle a growing volume of work.

But it’s happening today in Fallbrook at Straub Construction.

Privately held Straub has put down roots in one of the few growth markets in construction: military base work. It’s been growing its business in anticipation of increased government building programs. The firm has doubled in size over five years to 75 employees. In the same period it has doubled revenue to $120 million.

The firm recently moved from Bonsall to Fallbrook to accommodate its growth.

Before the month is over Straub and joint venture partner, Las Vegas-based Martin-Harris Construction, will submit bids to build two “packages” of barracks at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. Bachelor Enlisted Quarters Package 5 has four barracks complexes sleeping 1,800 Marines. Package 6, with three groups of buildings, will sleep 1,100.

There is $5 billion of construction scheduled on local military bases in the near future, according to the National University System Institute for Policy Research.

That $5 billion applies to San Diego County, but Straub is willing to travel to get work. It does business in Nevada and Arizona in addition to California.

The joint venture with Martin-Harris is in the early stages of a $101 million project at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms. They are building three sets of four-story barracks, sleeping 1,150 Marines, plus garage. Pierce Goodwin Alexander & Linville of Alexandria, Va., is the architect.

The team got the deal, known in Navy building circles as Package 9, on May 1.

Closer to home, Straub has several projects in progress at Camp Pendleton, including a $50 million, multiple-building force intelligence operations complex, a $9.6 million infantry training center and an $8.5 million communications/electronics maintenance shop.

Coffee And Steel

Ask about a noteworthy recent project, however, and CEO Richard Straub will talk about a town library in Santa Barbara County.

The city of Santa Maria opened its $19 million, 60,000-square-foot library one year ago. Giving the community a centerpiece building (which includes a full-sized tree sculpture in the children’s reading area) did not come without challenges for Straub.

The library went up in the center of town, next door to city buildings that still had to function. Straub had to work in a confined space and find suitable places to stage materials.

The Straub crew was able to borrow some space from a nearby coffee shop. They returned the favor with a paving job.

Then there was the matter of the steel for the building’s skeleton. The supplier was hit with a labor dispute, so Straub had to scramble. The company parceled out the work to shops in San Diego.

Nevertheless, the library went up on time, and on budget. Larry Lavagnino, Santa Maria’s mayor, lauded Straub’s ability to anticipate obstacles and prevent delays that would have added to the price tag. Jack Buchanan, the city’s librarian, added that Rick Straub was easy to work with.

Straub sees more opportunities in government work — particularly in military construction — in the next four years.

It’s built its organization to anticipate the work. For example, the number of employees in Straub’s preconstruction department has grown 300 percent.

The company also reports seeing an influx of competitors, which is a product of the recession.

“We are seeing some very low bids from companies that don’t have any experience, or very limited experience, in military construction,” Straub said. “… The question is, can these firms perform to the expectations of the government, and are they pricing themselves out of business?”

Straub Construction
CEO: Richard Straub.
2008 revenue: $120 million.
Backlog: $180 million.
Number of employees: 75.

Company description: General contractor specializing in government and public works projects.
San Diego Business Journal, Copyright © 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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