Building Zone Industries
- Written by: Emma Gregg
- Produced by: Victor Martins
- Estimated reading time: 3 mins
When big box stores, like Walmart or Menards, build a new location, erecting the steel framework is one of the most dangerous and time-consuming parts of the process. Entire construction crews have to work dozens of feet in the air, welding panels and structural steel.
Even though this is how the industry has operated for decades, Building Zone Industries saw a need for safer and faster processes, and was in a position to make changes.
Based in Kanarraville, Utah, Building Zone Industries specializes in commercial steel erection for big box stores, distribution centers, airports and industrial facilities nationwide.
In 2013, it partnered with Innovatech, a U.S. based supplier of automation and engineering products, to invent a “panelization table system” that would allow crews to assemble steel structures on the ground, which could then be lifted into place by a crane.
Director of Public Relations Camille Haight says the system not only cuts erection time in half, but also means a safer work environment.
“We only need to have two guys on the roof at a time to place the panels, which means fewer employees working from dangerous heights,” she says. “It’s about risk management. Less exposure equals an exponentially safer work place.”
Recently, Building Zone Industries used the panelization table system to build steel structures for a postal distribution center in Oregon, as well a distribution warehouse in Lacey, Washington.
“We have a unique company culture that is focused on developing teams that thrive, and sharing our successes throughout the organization. We have the ideas and the energy to continually exceed our customers’ expectations.” Haight says. “If there’s a safer, more productive way to do the job, we’ll develop it.”
Blending efficiency with safety
Haight says Building Zone Industries has innovated since the beginning.
Founded in 2006, the company was originally known as BZI Construction and specialized in pre-fabricated buildings in southwest Utah. Over the years, the company began focusing on new construction projects for big box stores, and eventually made a name building distribution centers for large retail and wholesale companies.
“We have a unique company culture that is focused on developing teams that thrive, and sharing our successes throughout the organization. We have the ideas and the energy to continually exceed our customers’ expectations.” Haight says.
“We are also working closely with general contractors and fabrication companies to develop safer ways to get these buildings erected and to do it more efficiently,” Haight says.
This was why the company began working with Innovatech on the panelization table system. Building Zone Industries already had a relationship with the automation company and knew Innovatech’s engineers would help materialize the company’s ideas.
After success with the panelization table system, the two companies came together again to develop customized Roof Terrain Vehicles (RTV). RTVs keep crews safe as they complete joist connections, because instead of being tethered to the structure, the employee completes the work from inside the vehicle.
“It’s been fun for us to see these new ideas take shape,” Haight says. “At the end of the day, safety is our greatest value.”
Along with safety innovations, Building Zone Industries invests in extensive employee safety training. For instance, although the industry standard requires a 10-hour OSHA training, all Building Zone Industries’ employees complete the 30 hour OSHA course.
In addition to personalized training, Building Zone Industries does daily activity planning for safety, as well as weekly site specific safety reviews.
“Building Zone Industries places a great deal of emphasis on the happiness, as well as the safety, of employees,” Haight says.
When Building Zone Industries sends crews out of state, instead of constantly putting them up in low rate hotels, the company rents out vacation homes and apartments. It also provides home-cooked meals, delivered to the job site every day, which Haight says helps the crew bond.
“When you’re a thousand miles from home, it’s nice to have a home-cooked meal waiting for you,” Haight says. “Project managers are always invited, so there’s a casual environment to communicate and bring solutions to the project. It really makes you feel like you’re a part of something.”
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