Case Studies

Seedorff Masonry Inc.

Building Better with Bricks and More

Charles Seedorff founded Seedorff Masonry Inc. (SMI) in 1957 as a small upstart masonry business in Iowa. The organization grew by picking up contracts in the commercial sector, starting with elementary, junior and senior high school projects in east central and northeast Iowa.

SMI incorporated in 1964 and began to expand geographically throughout the state and eventually into Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, South Dakota and Nebraska. Today, SMI operates out of three regional offices in Omaha, Neb.; Des Moines, Iowa; and corporate headquarters in Strawberry Point, Iowa.

The company continues to operate as a high-performing, financially stable organization under the direction of solid leadership. Bob Marsh, president of SMI, joined the team in 2006. He leads a team that ranges from 250 to 450 individuals during the busy season, providing design-build masonry solutions from conception to commissioning.

“I have been in construction since 1976 and started with Seedorff in the role of vice president of operations,” Marsh says. “The expansion of my role put me in a position to better leverage over 35 years of experience in the industry as a general contractor, developer and owner, which affords our clients a more global perspective than they see with a typical mason.”

In addition to Marsh, every SMI team member is highly capable. From bricklayers and laborers to estimators, project managers and support staff, the team embraces a process to ensure each individual’s ideas become valuable contributions to the company’s constructability brainstorming sessions.

SMI’s preconstruction team works proactively with clients, architects and industry partners in the design stage to identify performance and constructability issues. Constructability studies tap the breadth and depth that SMI has acquired over five decades in the area of masonry construction. When given the opportunity to apply SMI’s working knowledge in the design phase, the opportunity to deliver best value for the owner increases exponentially.

A Team with Experience

SMI has accumulated an extensive resume of experience over 55 years. With a fleet of cranes, rough terrain forklifts, skid steers, mixers, scaffold systems and an array of masonry equipment and accessories, SMI utilizes mobile service trucks and on-staff mechanics.

With materials specified and design details in hand, the team drafts a schedule, develops a budget and creates visual plan utilizing BIM technology to construct a virtual model prior to beginning the work on site. In the appropriate applications, BIM serves to preemptively identify conflicts in the documents through clash detection, thereby saving the owner and construction team time and money.

Clients can expect quality performance from one of the premier workforces in the industry. A typical site is staffed with a job superintendent, bricklayers and laborers; all of these operate with an appropriate level of experience for the work at hand. The job superintendent has specific responsibility as it relates to safety, planning, coordination, quality control and productivity, as well as serving as a primary point of communication and management for SMI.

While masonry offers a virtually maintenance-free cladding, incredible durability and competitive life-cycle costs, SMI also recognizes that age and preventive maintenance can serve to significantly extend the life expectancy of a structure. As a result, SMI offers services through its masonry restoration division, specializing in proactive solutions that not only repair damage, but also prevent further wear on the building.

“Our experience is especially valuable when we tackle major historical or complex restorations,” says Marsh. “This is similar to the work we’ve done at the Iowa State Capitol and World Food Prize restorations.”

A Diverse Portfolio

The organization’s capabilities have expanded to perform everything in house. “We’ll subcontract minor portions of our scope when we feel it’s appropriate for the project,” notes Marsh. “Based on manpower availability, economy, or specific requirements on the part of the owner, we may sub the caulking or the final cleaning for a project, but our preference is to default to our own workforce when possible.”

“There are a limited number of suppliers we use to acquire products,” Marsh says. “It’s a small, but reliable network. We consider our preferred suppliers to be an integral part of our team, and they bring expertise and innovation to the table that benefits our clients in a number of ways.”

The capable SMI team has completed several large projects. “The most innovative project on our resume in recent years was the paneling of a nine-story hospital in Columbia, Mo.,” says Marsh. “We preplanned, modeled and constructed the exterior cladding in Strawberry Point and shipped it to the University of Missouri for their hospital expansion. Our panels consisted of full bed-depth brick, and included the structural frame, air and vapor barrier, and the insulation. To the best of our knowledge, it’s the first time anyone has tackled a project of this size and scope.”

SMI has been recognized several times for its size, success and safety excellence. “In 2012 Engineering News-Record listed us as the second largest mason in the United States,” reports Marsh. “In a cooperative effort to recognize excellence in design and craftsmanship, the Masonry Institute of Iowa and the Iowa AIA created the Golden Trowel Award, of which our team has been recipient multiple times. But one of our greatest accomplishments came in 2008, when we won first place in the Associated General Contractors of America’s 9th Annual Construction Safety Excellence Awards Program.”

While the team felt the impact of the recent economic downturn, a solid business strategy and positive outlook has served the organization well. “We have a clear vision of our future and we know where we’re going, how we expect to get there and who the next generation of leaders will be,” explains Marsh. “The first 50 years of business we executed a strategy of consistent growth, with a financially conservative undertone. The team we’ve assembled moving forward will take us places we’ve never imagined possible.”

SMI is looking forward to continued, sustained growth. The team remains diligent in SMI’s commitment to the vision to “Build Better.” Always ready to adapt for growth, Seedorff Masonry Inc. is ready and able to maintain a leading position in the region.

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Spring 2018



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