“When I chose Armstrong a lot of it had to do with whether or not the company would contribute to my reputation.”
Government regulations are no match for Armstrong Steel and a veteran with determination
Woman owned and founded by a service-disabled veteran, Josette's construction company in Southern California embodies the kind of entrepreneurial spirit we love to support at Armstrong Steel. “It’s hard to break in to the [construction] business if you’re a woman, harder if you’re a disabled woman,” she says. “I work very hard and I’m very competitive, very detailed, and I had to build a reputation one project at a time.”
For Josette, choosing Armstrong Steel wasn’t just about price or even quality, it had a lot to do with something she considers paramount to her success as a contractor, her reputation. “I rely on word of mouth, [Southern California] is a competitive market, so when I chose Armstrong, a lot of it had to do with whether or not the company would contribute to my reputation. It does.”
When Josette was awarded a contract by the federal government the project was laden with specific and intricate government requirements. “One of the requirements was that the materials used in construction had to be made in America; another was that the company had to be certified. Armstrong could easily qualify for the certification, but sometimes that increases the price of the materials – and it didn’t with Armstrong.”
Josette said she shopped around and called several companies to get quotes and measure their capabilities to further build her reputation, this time with the federal government.
“Sometimes the feds ask for the moon,” she continues. Timelines, deadlines, paperwork and bureaucracy, these all come with any government project. “Armstrong was really good at working with the government’s stipulations. It’s good business [for a contractor] to work with the federal government and Armstrong was probably the most professional of the companies I called.”
Government demands, Armstrong responds
“The government doesn’t wait, they aren’t patient,” she says. “Armstrong was quick to respond to my calls, my concerns, very fast.” The process of building for the government doesn’t stop at the initial award of the bid. “Once the bid is won, there’s a whole new set of requirements they put on [the contractor]. Armstrong was great at fluctuating with the changes.”
There were some challenges, of course. The building had to match the existing buildings on the government property which had been built sometime in the 1960’s. The government had no record of who built these buildings, what materials were used, so it required the discerning eye of Armstrong’s engineers and some educated guesses to meet that requirement.
“We had to make the building look like a building that was built almost 60 years ago but it still had to meet modern seismic codes and really strict energy efficiency standards. It wasn’t a simple undertaking, to say the least,” Josette laments.
But it wasn’t just code and aesthetic challenges that came with the project. Because the building is going to be used for horticulture research in a scientific setting, the interior space had some specific modern stipulations, as well.
“The interior is going to be a very controlled environment with additional energy requirements,” she says, “it would’ve been much harder or even impossible if I hadn’t chosen a company as big as Armstrong.”
Indeed, it’s Armstrong’s suite of services and the size of the company which gives it the ability to navigate through the labyrinth of requirements imposed when someone comes to us with a government job.
One of the biggest deal breakers in the process was the delivery date. “The government just doesn’t wait,” says Josette. “When we detail the schedule to them including the final erection date, there isn’t really any room to change it. They have expectations which we must follow if we intend to get paid.”
Controlling Delivery, Controlling Quality
Putting Finishing Touches on Josette's Steel Building
Armstrong is also a manufacturer. Our state-of-the-art facility give us greater control of not only the quality of the product, but a higher degree of flexibility to meet the occasional firm deadline, as in the case of Josette.
With more control of delivery times and the power to set our own schedule, we were able to get Josette’s building to her jobsite on time; a big deal to the government’s firm timelines.
Because of the code requirements unique to Southern California and the maze of government stipulations, there were minor modifications which had to be made on site. “Those things happen in construction, I’m used to it, every contractor should be used to it, but when I told [Armstrong] about the modifications, [Armstrong] volunteered to pay for them. I was surprised about that, and impressed.”
Our Quality Control Process Means a Quality Building Process
“I've become familiar with the Armstrong process,” Josette continues. “I wasn’t aware of all the [levels of quality control] that happen when I ordered the building. There are drawings, approvals, more drawings with even more approvals. The government wasn’t used to working with this level of quality control, either. At first, it seemed like it slowed everything down, but in the end, because of all those checks and double checks, I’m confident the building was engineered properly and it was manufactured right, and that makes me a lot more comfortable about putting my name on it.”
Josette’s company has been doing business in southern California for nearly a decade. She has more projects on the horizon and thinks a pre-engineered metal building would be a perfect solution for a lot of her customers.
“Now that I know the process more, now that I know about your fabrication plant, now that I know how easy the building is to erect and that you’ll help me if there are problems on site, and I can see the advantage of working with a bigger company that still operates like a small company, yea, I’ll call Armstrong again.”
We’ll be here to answer.