Case Studies

George D. Alan Company

A Leading Expert in Building Envelope Technology

For two decades the George D. Alan Company (GDA) has been providing the commercial market with essential air/moisture barrier, waterproofing and fire-stopping services that keep buildings efficiently operating for decades. This is possible because of the depth of experience at the foundation of GDA, which can draw on over 100 years of combined experience across thousands of varying installations and many, many millions of dollars in specialty contracting.

The company was formed in 1992 by Daniel “George” Cain, Steven “D.” Wilson and Steven “Alan” Frank (i.e. “George D. Alan”), three veterans that combined their construction and business experience into a waterproofing company concentrating on providing superior customer service. By embracing objectives and priorities that build relationships between the staff and its customers, GDA’s highly motivated, properly trained team has become established as a preferred partner for those companies that appreciate a job well done.

“Our clients come to us because of our education,” asserts Dan Cain, president and founding member. “We seek our own education so that we may educate others and all of our employees from the top management down to the field staff are the most educated in the industry. I don’t just think they are, I know they are.”

Currently, the firm operates from five locations – a headquarters in Irving, Texas, just near Dallas, and satellite branches in Austin, Texas, Albuquerque, N.M., Oklahoma City, Okla., and Houston, Texas – allowing GDA to serve the entire south-central portion of the country. Branches of the company do business under several brands, including George D. Alan Co., Oklahoma Waterproofing Co., Texas Moisture Protection and Seal-Co, and together the companies’ workforce of over 125 people is able to add to the value of buildings in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Louisiana, Arkansas, Kansas, Arizona and Colorado. GDA continues to build on this success and to expand its geographical footprint.

The company offers a range of services throughout its areas of activity, including sheet, fluid and bentonite waterproofing systems, caulking and sealant application, fire-stopping and restoration, with an emerging emphasis on air barriers. In 2011 the Army Corps of Engineers released its construction standards, complete with standards for air barriers, setting the bar for the construction industry as a whole to follow.

GDA understands that no matter how energy-efficient or sustainable a building is designed to be, no amount of LEED certification can account for a compromised structure, so the company maintains the capabilities to “wrap” all six sides of the building with systems that assure unconditioned air entrance and conditioned air diffusion is controlled, assuring the structure sees no rise in energy costs or in pollutants. GDA also provides invaluable services that include dampproofing, water repellent coatings, vapor barriers, insulation and in-plane wall drainage composites (drainage mats).

With its commitment to excellence in mind, GDA assures its staff is properly trained, confident and comfortable when working with developing techniques that emphasize the importance of appropriate air barrier systems. Ongoing technical training, testing and weekly safety training gives the company’s staff an advantage when it comes to product and installation knowledge. Reinforcing this is the company’s membership in the Air Barrier Association of American (ABAA), as well as its forward-thinking, industry-minded management.

Keeping Employees on the Cutting Edge

A key part of the company’s success in the air barrier and waterproofing market has been its development of an in-house training program. And GDA has been recognized for not only meeting its training program guidelines, but exceeding them. The company’s program is one of only two in the country validated by the Sealant, Waterproofing and Restoration Institute (SWR Institute).

The SWR Institute has a working alliance with OSHA and other industry professionals to minimize workplace hazards through education, communication and interaction programs. “We have worked very hard and are extremely proud of our training program,” says Cain. “On the job training is great and there’s nothing wrong with it, but ours happens in a classroom with a hands-on setting that is evaluated by a third party before the staff even steps on site.” In addition, the company is currently the only Platinum Level SWR Institute validated contractor in the country.

“We do all of our own work in-house, because we are the specialty contractor that general contractors turn to for this kind of work,” explains Cain. “Our work is 99-percent commercial and we work for hospitals, school districts, municipal facilities, stadiums, you name it.”

The comprehensive training program allots an extra half hour than required for the hands-on training portion, ensuring that all trainees have mastered the application of various sealants and waterproofing methods on a variety of surfaces. This emphasis in delivering comprehensive services on time and within budget has resulted in the firm being contracted to helm some impressive, showcase projects. In 2009, for example, GDA worked with Turner Construction on the construction of a new Dallas area landmark.

“We were in charge of the air barrier work for the Winspear Opera House, which has since opened,” says Cain. The new Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House is home to the Dallas opera, as well as the Texas Ballet Theater, and was the most recently completed addition to the AT&T Performance Arts Center campus. The building was designed by Spencer de Grey of Foster and Partners to seat 2,200 at capacity and includes a wrap-around glass façade, an 84-foot-wide portion of which is completely retractable up to 24-foot high. The design allows patrons to dine al fresco at the cafe and also provides a transitional element to the outdoor performance spaces.

Ensuring Longevity

The firm also exhibited its diversity while performing extensive work on the MD Anderson Hospital campus for a new 26-story administrative building. Estimated to have cost $350 million, the firm provided traffic coating, interior sealants, concrete floor sealers, below-grade waterproofing, and membrane flashing services to ensure the longevity of the development.
Projects such as these provide prime examples of GDA’s ability to control the movement of air, moisture and other detrimental environmental elements. Because of its reputation the firm expects a steady market in which to grow its various departments in the coming years.

“I think we will see the air barrier movement become increasingly important,” asserts Cain. “I think we will still need to continue in our efforts to differentiate ourselves from the lowest bidder in the coming years. When we review projects, we never look at the actual job description, we always look at the clients because we are a client driven company. So in that sense, we have shifted our focus to that and we’ll be continuing to look for new clients who are not just interested in price, but who actually own buildings for long periods of time, and are interested in the longevity of a building, whether it’s in healthcare, education or other markets.”

Driven by a knowledgeable, passionate team dedicated to reducing risks by identifying and correcting unsafe conditions, improper materials and substandard installation, and committed to maintaining positive business practices, the George D. Alan Company continues to offer the finest in design, function, application and performance.

Published on: December 22, 2011


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