Construction Today - November 2017 - 131
to $40,000. "We had our engineers look at it and we did the work
for $4,000," Allgaier says. "The other company over-engineered
everything because they over-engineered everything and it wasn't
necessary. That's an area we can grow our service to our customers.
We know the buildings and know what they can do."
Fabcon has focused on eliminating
waste and continuous improvements
such as upgrades to its plant assets.
ago it would have created a lot of buzz in the company. Now they have
almost become routine."
With all the changes in building sizes, Fabcon has also adjusted
to compressed planning stages. "The construction cycle is shorter.
Everything needs to be right now," Allgaier says. "It used to be that
a project was in planning stages for a year or two. Now it seems
like 30 days after it becomes public they want to break ground. It's
moving quickly and people are more protective of what they are
building in terms of divulging information. We face non-disclosure agreements regularly."
New developments are often referred to as "Project Tango" or
"Project Goliath" to protect the client's information. Data centers are
very secretive, for example, because companies do not want their
competitors to find out where they are building or how large their
center will be.
"We built a one-million-square-foot distribution center nearby
with 56-foot-tall panels and now we are competing with them for
employees, for example," Houtman says. "We have full-time personnel here whose job it is to find employees at all levels. It's an ongoing
issue in the industry."
Because Fabcon has been in the industry for nearly five decades,
buildings it originally constructed are being modified as ownership and needs change. Houtman and Allgaier identified a gap in
service to its customers with older buildings and are developing an
extended customer care program to address the need. "If a customer thinks it's one of our buildings, we can go back and check our
archives," Allgaier says. "There is a gap there on service as obsolescence has shortened and owners make changes."
For example, Fabcon constructed a building in the early 1980s
and the current owner of the building went to an engineer to design
a steel frame section around a wall that was going to cost $35,000
At the end of October, Fabcon was featured on Fox Business Network's television show, Office Spaces, which focuses on innovative
construction products for the commercial market. "There is a real
demand out there for our product and increased clear heights, energy efficiency, speed of construction and production capacity aren't
going away any time soon," Houtman says.
Over the next five to 10 years, Fabcon predicts more data centers
will be coming online that require building products that allow
them to be more efficient, sustainable and secure. "For data centers,
energy efficiency is really important, but for a slightly different
reason," Houtman explains. "Getting the heat out and controlling
humidity is key.
"We built a data center in Shakopee, Minn., and it doesn't have
a furnace because in the middle of January when it's -20 F the
equipment heat byproduct generated is enough to maintain the
required temperature throughout the facility," he continues "We
move that much heat out while controlling the building climate
and environment because you don't want static and moisture."
Moving forward, Fabcon will continue to explore expansion opportunities throughout the United States and Canada while enhancing its
precast product and service offerings to the construction industry.
"Everything we try to do is centered on being the only logical
choice for precast products - adding product lines, geographic coverage and capacity," Houtman says. "We have the best mousetrap in
the industry. It's a great time to be in business."
NOVEMBER 2017 CONSTRUCTION-TODAY.COM