USS Cal Builders Inc.
- Written by: Molly Shaw
- Produced by: Jack Porter
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
Since 1984, USS Cal Builders Inc. (USS Cal) has been a leader in the southern California construction market, known for expertly managed public projects, but more recently, the company has expanded into the heavy civil sector. “We’ve diversified our portfolio and are able to meet the needs of both our public and private clients throughout the United States and abroad,” reveals Rani El-Djoundi, DBIA, director of business development at USS Cal. “In the last several years, USS Cal has successfully completed a variety of projects, including roadways, bridges and grade separation by means of general contracting, construction management and design-build.”
Founded in 1984, and incorporated in 1992, USS Cal has grown to employ upward of 300 expert principals, architects, engineers and contractors who continually deliver exceptional projects from new construction, modernization, design-build, infrastructure, seismic retrofits and construction management projects. Since its inception, USS Cal has successfully completed more than $1 billion worth of publicly funded and privately-owned projects.
Tackling new sectors and the Bay Area
Today, the company remains based in Orange County with offices in Stanton, Calif. USS Cal also has satellite offices in San Diego and San Francisco, where the firm has landed multiple school projects and is establishing a presence throughout the Bay Area. “We’ve built a reputation for constructing facilities that strengthen our nation’s infrastructure,” El-Djoundi continues. “More specifically, we’re in the midst of a multi-year, $100 million modernization effort to address the critical needs of the South San Francisco School District. The project includes several schools, administration facilities, libraries and science laboratories.”
Operating as a design build general contractor, El-Djoundi says USS Cal maintains better communication than other firms. “The design-build process requires experienced professionals, great communication, full-team integration and a commitment to work together – just a few of the team-based best practices that set USS Cal apart from its competitors,” he says. “We pride ourselves on maximizing design value. By using pre-manufactured building components, we’re able to expedite construction schedules and facilitate seamless projects.”
While USS Cal is well-known throughout the Bay Area and beyond for its public projects, the company is steadily growing in the civil sector and bridge and road improvement, as well as fire and police stations and schools. El-Djoundi has been an influential player in USS Cal’s movement into new markets. “The company was established on education development projects and although we have diversified our scope, these projects will remain the bread-and-butter of our company,” says El-Djoundi. “We’re expected to continue growing in both sectors; on the heavy civil side and on the vertical construction side.”
Shaping up on the civil side
In Fullerton, Calif., USS Cal has stepped in to deliver a sizable $40 million grade separation project, which crews began working in May 2014. The grade separation project will eliminate delays due to train crossings – cumulative delay in 2035 is estimated to be four hours per day.
“It will also eliminate train and vehicle collision, eliminate train horn and will also improve emergency response,” he continues, “And very importantly, it will eliminate traffic backing up on all the surrounding streets. The project is part of an effort to alleviate serious traffic congestion in Orange County.”
USS Cal is also performing grade separation at the crossing of Tustin Avenue and Rose Drive for the Orange County Transportation Authority. “Also, in regards to design-build, we’re excited about the SCRRA – Train Control & Operations Support Facility [TCOSF] for Metrolink,” shares El-Djoundi.
The design-build advantage
USS Cal first started gravitating toward design-build service in the 1980s, taking note of the adversarial relationship created when separate architecture firms and general contractors complete a project. The owner, wanting the best price, trusts the architect to keep plans within budget. However, when the plans are turned over to the contractor thousands of dollars later, there are missing items and issues left unaddressed. This results in costly change orders and can really break a budget.
“Successful design-build delivery ensures that our client’s vision is executed seamlessly,” says El-Djoundi. “Whether the project involves building schools or roadways, our professionals drive the design-build process and add value from planning to completion.”
USS Cal’s foresight sets the company apart from other general contractors in southern California. “What sets us apart from our competitors is we like to foresee the issues on the projects before they become problems,” says Allen Othman, president of USS Cal. “We like to be proactive and work as one team toward the same goal.”
“We have a great team here, with diverse employees that cater to diverse clients,” continues Othman. “No project is the same and no client has the same needs. Our team has the capabilities to meet the needs and requirements of our clients with care, attention and understanding. This is why we have repeat customers.”
With an improving southern California building industry and experience in new sectors under its belt, there seems to be no stopping USS Cal’s growth. “We know the regulations and have a genuine interest in seeing the area grow beautifully,” assures El-Djoundi.
USS Cal Builders Inc. is building on a 30-year track record of expertly lead public and private projects and entering new markets with ease.
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