Case Studies

Gerdau Reinforcing Steel West

A new name that's one in the same in fortifying the West Coast

Formerly Pacific Coast Steel, San Diego-based Gerdau Reinforcing Steel West (Gerdau West), is setting the standard in reinforcing steel and post-tensioning products on the West Coast. While the Engineering News Record recognized specialty contractor is operating under a new name, the company’s commitment to go above and beyond for its customers remains the same.

“In 2006 we entered our partnership with Gerdau, a leading international steel manufacturer,” reveals Bing Drastrup, senior vice president of Gerdau West. “We rebranded in January 2012 to better reflect the partnership.”

Gerdau has an extensive line of steel products, marketed across five continents. The global corporation produces long carbon steel, flat steel, specialty steel and forged and cast parts. Gerdau’s products are extremely important and relevant to the lives of millions, spanning a range of sectors, such as: industrial, metallurgy, farming, livestock, civic construction, petrochemicals, railway and naval applications, in addition to medical, automotive and food areas.

One and done

While Gerdau’s presence reaches far and wide, Gerdau West offers in-house service others under the greater umbrella do not. “Gerdau has steel mills around the world and more than 50 fabrication shops in the U.S. alone, but Gerdau West stands out because we not only fabricate, but we also install products as a subcontractor,” explains Drastrup.

Drastrup goes on to explain that Gerdau West’s specialty is reinforcing steel rebar. “Our niche, of course, is reinforcing for concrete so we do a mixture of project types, including dams, bridges, lots of large engineering projects and major commercial concrete projects,” adds Drastrup. Fabricating and installing tens of thousands of tons of reinforcing bars every month, Gerdau West delivers design-build, high-rise, heavy engineering, civil and public agency works of improvement.

The company formed in 1992 in San Diego, and in 22 years, Gerdau West has emerged as one of the largest reinforcing steel subcontractors on the West Coast with facilities in San Diego, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Salt Lake, Phoenix and Denver. “Today, we employ more than 800 iron workers in the field, up and down the West Coast,” says Drastrup.

Resurgence in the market

While the economic downturn certainly slowed growth, Gerdau West was the largest company of its kind in the U.S. during the peak of the recession in 2008. “Business is still going very well -the market is strong in California,” ensures Drastrup. “The biggest resurgence of work we’ve seen is in the private sector, particularly in high-rise construction throughout California.”

One such job is the 73-story Wilshire Grand tower in Los Angeles. “This is a particularly interesting project, because it beat the record for world’s largest, continuous concrete pour from the Guinness Book of World Records,” reveals Drastrup. “Pouring the 21,000-yard foundation took 20 hours to complete, from Saturday at 5 p.m. to Sunday at 11 a.m., 2,150 concrete trucks and 3,600 tons of rebar.”

In San Diego, Gerdau West has completed an 8,000-ton project for the city’s New Central library. “We’ve done a number of high-rise projects in San Diego and other west coast cities, including 15 to 20 towers that are between 25 to 40 stories tall,” says Drastrup. “We also just completed a large reinforcing steel contract at the new San Francisco 49ers Stadium.”

In addition, the firm has been working on a 36,000-ton project in Washington for the Washington State Department of Transportation. “This project involves the casting of some 30 very large pontoons that will form the base for a floating bridge,” he continues. “It’s a fascinating project. We’re about 80 percent complete now.”

While Drastrup says the most predominate market in the last year has been the private sector, Gerdau West continues to work in the alternative energy arena. “We’ve furnished and/or installed more than 35,000 tons of reinforcing bars for wind farm foundations up and down the coast,” he details. “There’s a whole bunch of them in Oregon and Washington along the Columbia River, and in the California desert – areas where there is an abundance of wind.”

Like a strong foundation, the company’s capabilities are reinforced through industry affiliations and opportunities provided by the Associated General Contractors, Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute, Post Tensioning Institute, Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust, as well as the Structural Engineers Association of Southern California. Furthermore, several of these organizations have acknowledged Gerdau West with awards for safety and professional achievement.

Certain factors, such as the variability in the price of steel and low margins, have presented significant hurdles for the firm. However, combining Gerdau West’s 20 years of experience with Gerdau’s 113, as well as products vital to so many industries, Gerdau Reinforcing Steel West continues to progress as one of the best in the west.

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Spring 2018



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