Case Studies

The Benchmark Project — Phaze Concrete Inc.

Collaboration saves project dollars and shaves days off the timeline in tilt-up concrete commercial construction

In construction, winning a competitive job often comes down to price, but Phaze Concrete Inc. is showing customers and general contractor partners why a headache-free experience is more important. The team of highly skilled concrete specialists at Phaze works to abide by a no-friction policy by collaborating with other trades, performing value engineering wherever possible and always acting in a professional manner. The result is mutual project success.

In 2003, father and son duo John and Paul Beagley established Phaze. Over the last 13 years, the company has emerged as a leader in quality concrete construction in the commercial space. Any project — whether it is 10,000 square feet or 900,000 square feet or more — is well within the Phaze wheelhouse.

The Benchmark Project — Phaze Concrete Inc.

Wide ranging experience

The company has wide-ranging experience in concrete placement, flat work, tilt-up construction, parking and multilevel structures. Phaze started out with flat work projects, working its way up while building a portfolio. Today, Phaze operates all over the western United States and into Ohio with a team of 200-plus employees.

Phaze has completed the full concrete scope for many new and remodel jobs, including big-box office stores, warehouses and distribution centers, parking garages, hotels, airports, post offices, hospitals, schools, colleges and even custom homes. “We have built a niche doing just about every type of commercial concrete work,” explains Paul Beagley, president of Phaze. “We do tilt-wall, post-tension slabs, you name it. We do a lot of parking structures and we offer better quality flat work than the competition.”

A recent showpiece of the Phaze skillset is the Benchmark Project, located in Hildale, southern Utah. This new $2.8 million construction project consists of a footprint of roughly 14,000 square feet of new tilt-up construction for a two-story manufacturing facility. The owner is Benchmark Technologies, a business that produces labels and stickers.

“This is really a showpiece project,” says Rob Allred, CEO of Phaze. “In a lot of cases we typically serve as a specialty subcontractor but on this job we were in a general contracting position. We saw the job through from start to finish, managed the other trades on the job and worked hand in hand with the owner; it was really a fun tilt-wall project with all of the finishes.”

The new Benchmark Technologies building includes 17 office rooms, three large areas for cubicles, two conference rooms, a state-of-the-art front entryway with a circular stairway, a top-of-the-line Otis elevator and acoustical ceiling grids in all office space areas to minimize room noise. Finishes and painted areas in the shop also create a bright, lighter space and overall nicer working environment.

Value engineering for now and the long-term

Phaze broke ground on the Benchmark facility in July 2015 and finalized all construction in March 2016. “We completed the job on time and we were able to save the owner money on the concrete budget and overall energy life span costs, all while delivering a higher quality product than other construction alternatives,” notes Allred.

The cost savings can be attributed to the use of the latest technology in tilt-up concrete sandwich panel walls. “The sandwich panels increased the insulation R rating and will save the owner heat and energy costs down the road,” explains Allred. “We were very aggressive in our pricing approach. We said, ‘Here is what we can save, comparing hard foam insulation panels to solid concrete,’ and we gave the owner the choice, which in the long run will save him money.”

Going with a concrete system also saved Benchmark Technologies $80,000-plus in a fire-sprinkler system. “They could have gone with a wood frame, which is cheaper to erect, but then the costs in engineering and installing a fire-sprinkler system would have come into play,” adds Allred.

Key collaboration

Allred says Phaze kept the lines of communication open with Benchmark Technologies in order to push for value engineering wherever possible. “We pulled our team together with ingenuity and put all ideas on the table, always asking ‘How can we do this faster, make it higher quality and save the owner some money?’” he explains.

Collaboration was the biggest key to success says Allred. “If there’s one thing that I could say really stood out, it’s our team’s ability to collaborate — with other trades and the owner,” he says. “Most of the time when you’re on a job and there’s a design change request the answer is an explanation on why it’s not going to work. Instead, our project team asked, ‘How can we make this work?’ That’s the key.”

Now that Phaze has gotten its feet wet in a general contractor role, Allred says the company is preparing to approach new markets and do more turnkey tilt-up construction, including large warehouses, parking garages and structural work.

The first phase is making sure the company’s team is poised for growth. “Our most valuable asset is our team,” says Allred. “As we expand, our investments are going to be in training and professional development. We just launched an apprenticeship and GED program last year and we have more than 50 employees signed up.”

Allred says this investment is well worth the expense, because there’s nothing more valuable than highly qualified people. “Construction is a value-driven market, and while a lot of it is about price, it’s not only about price. It’s about what value you’re bringing to the table. Price is a factor, but if you can reduce risk with more talented, qualified people, then your customers are going to be willing to pay a little more,” he says.

As Phaze Concrete Inc. looks to make the next step in its expansion, the company continues to drive higher quality products through excellent service, project acceleration and cost-saving collaboration bolstered by creative thinking.

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