Customer Spotlight: South Valley Prefab
South Valley Prefab shaves months off building construction schedules with factory-built, quality exterior wall panels, including pre-installed brick using Senergy’s innovative new Insulated Masonry Veneer System
Think of the way that exterior walls are traditionally constructed on a high-rise commercial or residential building: several months of labor-intensive work performed by multiple tradesmen, utilizing hundreds of workers and necessitating complex equipment and procedures such as continuous scaffolding and boom lifts. Meanwhile, the overall quality of the project is often hampered by weather conditions, such as, depending on the season and the location, wind, rain, snow, intense heat, glaring sun, frigid cold, ice and more. On some long running jobs, all of the above!
Now imagine those same wall panels being built in advance under climate-controlled, quality-controlled conditions in a state-of-the-art factory, and meticulously shipped to the jobsite, where they can be attached to the building quickly by a small group of technicians, potentially improving the quality, safety, scheduling and cost of the project.
This reimagination, according to co-owner and CEO Travis Vap, was the vision behind South Valley Prefab, a specialty division of South Valley Drywall, Inc., his family-founded, Littleton, Colorado-based company.
“There’s a real need in our industry for reducing onsite complexity and increasing productivity and speed,” he said. “Our system has been shown to reduce onsite labor costs by upwards of 90%, and get the building envelope up faster, saving literally months on build time. In fact, if an exterior envelope would normally take 100 days, our concept can help contractors do it in 25 days or less. That translates directly to building owner profitability, as well as to a significantly faster building opening.”
Company driven by continuous improvement
According to Vap, not only did South Valley Prefab help create the prefabricated wall market in their region, but they are staying well ahead with ongoing refinement of the concept, with the completeness of the walls they offer, and their innovative introduction of robotics and automation to the prefabrication process, bolstering speed, precision and consistency.
“Our technology is fairly unique to the industry. In fact, we design and create our own machines to perform processes that have never been done by automation before,” he said. “For example, when we apply the finish to our panels it is done nearly 100% by robotics and computers, with little to no manual human intervention.”
Adding brick for even greater customer value
According to South Valley Prefab President Brian Rohnke, as the company’s prefabricated wall concept was becoming well proven and well-accepted in the field, the company was continually looking for ways to provide even greater value to customers as well.
“Denver is very much a brick town—a large number of buildings have brick facades—so we realized that delivering our walls with the brick or stone already expertly attached rather than customers having to hire workers to come out to the jobsite and add it to the installed prefabricated walls would be a huge additional benefit to them,” he explained.
According to Rohnke, the company has deployed over time at least three different methods to add the brick to the prefabricated wall in the factory, and while all were highly successful, South Valley Prefab was constantly searching for the most advanced, state-of-the-art technology available at any given time. The latest innovation they have recently discovered—and eagerly adopted—is the Senergy Insulated Masonry Veneer System by Master Builders Solutions, and they are utilizing it as part of the construction of prominent hospital expansion in the Denver area.
Senergy delivers a state-of-the-art solution
“Master Builders Solutions really pushed the concept of masonry veneer systems forward,” said Rohnke. “We had been on the lookout for a solution that could take the screws out of the equation and make full use of a high strength adhesive instead. That would mean less labor and no need to penetrate the moisture barrier. Master Builders Solutions did it. They invested a lot of capital to perfect that innovation—and that caught our attention. And the attention of our clients as well.”
Perhaps most impressive, noted Rohnke, was Master Builders Solutions’ value-added efforts in testing their new product and providing the data to their customers.
“There’s often a degree of uncertainty around using a brand-new product,” he said. “But when we and our client’s design team looked at the leak testing data, exterior water spray tests, the freeze/thaw performance and other information that Master Builders Solutions provided, our concerns were alleviated and we all had a high degree of confidence in moving forward.”
Additionally, as they looked into the option more, other benefits quickly emerged.
“The Healthcare Industry—like many building operators—is very interested in keeping energy costs down,” explained Rohnke. “When it is frigidly cold in Denver, any steel items that run through the wall systems can pull the cold right into your building and raise your heating costs. With Senergy’s Insulated Masonry Veneer System, all that thermal transfer is eliminated. This is about as energy efficient an exterior envelope system as you’re ever likely to see anywhere.”
South Valley Prefab and Master Builders Solutions—more successful together
Rohnke notes that the value to him of the Master Builders Solutions test data cannot be overstated and is an extremely effective tool for his overall business success.
“Master Builders Solutions clearly understands our business and anticipates what we need to succeed together,” he said. “As a sales guy, this kind of information gives me more ammunition to go talk to building owners and exterior envelope consultants and general contractors and architects—they look and it’s very, very impressive. I don’t think I’ve ever seen this level of testing and proof provided before from any manufacturer.”
From the CEO’s seat, Vap agrees.
“We are very proud of the fact that we at South Valley Prefab are able to deliver an exterior building envelope to our clients with the quality, speed and price that is really unprecedented, and we are passionate about working hard to help them optimize their success on every job,” said Vap. “Master Builders Solutions has become a valuable partner in helping us do that. Everyone I talk to there—sales, technical services, executives—all are 100% focused on understanding our business and identifying how they can help us succeed. Those are the type of people we try to be, and the type of people who we want to work with, so we can serve our customers even better every day.”