Kenpat Companies was founded in South Africa in 1978 and has impressively completed more than 10,000 projects to-date. “Kenpat Companies came to the U.S. when I moved to Apopka, Fla., in 2003 and partnered with Phil Klote to establish Kenpat USA,” says co-founder Paul Wolmarans.
Kenpat USA got its start by acquiring the assets and contracts of E&K of Orlando, an icon in the central Florida marketplace since the 1970s. Now a specialty contractor serving the Florida construction industry, Kenpat USA completes commercial drywall, interior and exterior wall systems, ceilings and spray fireproofing, exterior and rain screen cladding, as well as architectural specialties.
The company, which employs anywhere between 80 and 200 people depending on workload, continues to be increasingly profitable today. “We are ready to expand operation, as well as our geographic footprint,” Klote says.
Specifics of its Services
Kenpat USA currently works in central Florida, serving clients from Daytona on the East Coast down to Sarasota on the West Coast. Combining diligence, consistency, coordination and safety, Kenpat USA maintains an exceptional office and field management team. The company prides itself on being an award-winning leader in the framing, drywall, ceiling and exterior cladding industries.
Projects range from tenant build-outs to new education institutions, medical facilities, large commercial office buildings, sports facilities and retail stores. Kenpat USA has the capabilities to complete most all of its work in-house, which includes: exterior wall systems (light gauge framing, sheathing, insulation metal trusses), interior wall systems (metal framing, drywall, insulation), ceiling systems (drywall, acoustical, specialty), spray fireproofing (fire resistive materials, K13 and Pyrok insulation), specialty items (acoustical treatments, GFRG/GRC, architectural specialties, acoustical wall panels, metal wall panels) and exterior cladding (terracotta, aluminum, ACM cladding).
Exteriors – such as terracotta cladding – are quickly becoming a niche for Kenpat USA. “In the coming years, we will be expanding our cladding operations,” Wolmarans details. It seems as though there is not much the team at Kenpat USA can’t tackle.
One for the Ages
Exterior and interior finishes for Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando (Lake Nona) recently garnered Kenpat USA an ABC 2013 Excellence in Construction Eagle Award. The exterior, however, was an extremely challenging assignment. The 600,000-square-foot project with a value around $400 million required an adjustable aluminum substructure system and included 35,000 square feet of terracotta panels installed over precast concrete panels in 15 separate facades.
There were 1,000 differently sized tiles – both smooth and grooved – and a grand total of more than 10,000 tiles, all sourced from the south of Germany. The installation required mast climbers, scaffolding, swing stages and boom lifts to complete.
“It is a world-class facility that was built,” says Wolmarans, “And what they do for the children is important. We were proud to be a part of this extensive project, which is Nemours’ second facility in the U.S.” Kenpat USA completed the exterior rear-ventilated terracotta façade, as well as interior acoustical and specialty ceilings.
The end-result of the building, designed by Stanley, Beaman & Sears from Atlanta, was declared a Project of the Year in Central Florida and was awarded the Best of the Best Award (best overall across 11 categories) by The International Design Association (IIDA) for 2012.
Another Eye-catching Design
Another award-winning and much talked about project for Kenpat USA was the Exploration Tower at Port Canaveral. The new $23-million, 22,000-square-foot, seven-story welcome center with panoramic views over the bay is a Kenpat USA success story. “It wasn’t a huge project, but it was very unique,” says Wolmarans. “The parabolic design is one of a kind. It’s something completely different.”
Kenpat USA completed the exterior metal cladding, panelized exterior wall systems and stud framing, sheathing, insulation, interior metal stud framing, drywall, as well as modular art panels on the dynamic building designed by GWWO Architects.
“There were many firsts attained on this job,” continues Wolmarans. “It included the inaugural use of a new color shifting exterior paint system for the complex curve south façade. Kenpat USA and its vendors integrated an extensive amount of 3-D modeling into the design to allow the manufacturing of cladding elements to commence before the exterior walls were built.” Open as of November 2013, the buzz in Port Canaveral is well-deserved.
Additionally, Kenpat USA has completed several large projects, including NBA team Orlando Magic’s new arena, as well as The University of Central Florida’s football stadium, medical school and several other faculty buildings. The company recently completed The University of Florida’s Eagle award-winning research facilities.
In 2008, Kenpat USA tackled the exterior finishes on the Brighthouse Networks Stadium at The University of Central Florida in Orlando, earning the company an ABC National Excellence in Construction Pyramid Award. There is no project too big or too difficult for Kenpat USA; the trickier the assignment the more fulfilling it can be.
Cutting-edge technology enables the company to execute its projects with precision and coordination between other contractors; this technology includes digital on-screen takeoff and estimating software, in-house CAD capabilities and web-based project management applications that allow for collaboration between field and office.
High and Dry on Solid Ground
No matter what the job – big or small – Kenpat USA takes safety seriously. The team considers safety a management duty and requires its employees to undergo extensive training – in fall protection, scaffold training and OSHA regulations – and asserts that preventing injuries is not only good business, but a moral responsibility. Keeping employees and jobsites safe has helped Kenpat USA to retain both loyal employees and repeat customers. “That’s how we work,” says Wolmarans. “We have a tremendous amount of repeat business.”
Another source of pride for Wolmarans is that despite the downturn, no key employees lost their jobs. Today, the company continues to carefully manage its many projects in diverse markets. “We keep conscious of who we are, what we are and where we are,” explains Wolmarans.
This constant self-awareness has been important for Kenpat USA as it navigates the central Florida construction industry and looks to increase its geographical footprint. Kenpat USA is currently working on Orlando’s new Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center, an opera house and junior arts center. The team is also completing a new technology center for defense/air and space company Harris Corporation, as well as a new façade for Shands Children’s hospital in Gainesville, which will be completed in early 2014.
Although the economy in the last five years has been a challenge for Kenpat USA, the company is well-positioned now and ready to grow. “There’s no magic bullet,” laughs Wolmarans, “But we retain good old-fashioned principles. We work a little harder and a little bit smarter.” Wolmarans’ mentality to drive forward will serve Kenpat USA management well for the years to come.
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