Case Studies

Associated Fire Protection Inc.

Providing fire sprinkler systems to the Triangle region

Associated Fire Protection Inc. (AFP) has been a strong leader in the industry of fire sprinkler systems since 1973. Servicing North Carolina and surrounding states, AFP performs the design, fabrication, installation and service of fire sprinkler systems. In 2012 Jason Hicks, Matt Joyner, and Michael Houston took ownership of the company. “All of our backgrounds are in engineering and construction,” Hicks says. The three partners attribute their company’s success to the integrity and work ethic of their employees.

Quality relationships

Every company gauges success by different variables. For some it is the bottom line, for others it may be customer satisfaction and for many it is the quality of the final product or service that becomes a key performance indicator.  The three feel strongly that AFP has found the right formula for combining all these winning traits. “It’s plain and simple, if you’re providing a good quality product at a competitive price, then you’re going to get repeat business,” says Hicks.

The AFP management team takes great pride in its employees. They find that a measure of success for the company often comes in the form of praise from a satisfied customer.  “When I get emails from the people we work for, saying that the foreman on the project did a really great job, that’s the most rewarding thing,” boasts Hicks.

As a company that performs a majority of work with general contractors, the partners note that one of their favorite aspects of going to work each day is the collaboration and teamwork that unites different people from different trades.  “The best thing is when you’ve got a project that you’re working on together with your peers and other companies and you’re all striving to deliver a good, quality product,” Hicks explains.

In-house performance

With a full in-house design department, AFP employees have a wide range of tools at their disposal such as computer aided design (CAD) and full 3-D modeling. Once the project is designed and approved, the project then moves into the fabrication stage at AFP’s on-site fabrication warehouse. “We bring in the raw materials and fabricate the pipe here,” says Houston. “We fabricate 90 percent of our installations in our warehouse. We just find that quality and scheduling are a lot better if we ship it out from here.”

While the majority of the company’s contracts are in the commercial sector, there is a percentage of the business that consists of residential contracts. These jobs are typically apartments or senior living centers; the smallest of which is a senior living home for retired veterans in Raleigh. Along with design, fabrication and installation, AFP also has the ability to service any sprinkler system. “For the most part we’re turn-key,” notes Houston. “From the front to the back door, we do it all here.”

As a partnership, the three owners take pride in the fact that their company is among the few fire protection sprinkler companies in the Triangle region that has three level-4 NICET certified technicians on staff. The state of North Carolina requires level-3 certification, but AFP has chosen to go the extra mile. “We decided that because they offer the level-4, we should get it,” Hicks explains.

A growing portfolio

Currently, AFP is involved in a relatively large project with a downtown Raleigh high-rise. While most of the high-rise buildings in this location are residential, this project, known as Charter Square, is one of the largest commercial office projects under construction in Raleigh. With 11stories of office space, Joyner says the timeline for a job this size is about 18 months.

Of the many projects AFP performs, Joyner notes a few that are particularly memorable. “One really cool project that we’re doing is North Carolina State University’s indoor practice facility,” he explains. “This construction project will have a barrel vault roof with a height of 70 feet. It’s not often we do projects that high off the ground so that’s a pretty neat project.”  The team also worked on the recently completed Elon Global Neighborhood, a residential complex at Elon University in North Carolina, which was completed in 2014. The complex contains an amenities center, surrounded by five residence halls, where AFP installed custom fire sprinkler systems as well as a diesel fire pump. “We completed the two-year project in partnership with a local general contractor here in our area,” Joyner explains. “Lately, those are some of the most exciting projects we’ve been involved with.”

Looking forward

With the future looking bright for AFP, the company plans to maintain its status as an industry leader. “We plan to stay up-to-date with the latest technology in our industry and keep doing what we’re doing.” states Hicks. While continuing to provide the same quality customer service is the primary objective, all three partners agree that Associated Fire Protection Inc. is looking forward to building relationships with new clients and will continue to offer a great place to work and grow careers for the entire AFP team.

Published on: July 8, 2015

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