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Furnish and Erect with Quality and Integrity

Providing furnish and erect services, design-build services, and construction expertise with quality and integrity

Harrell Apr18 1

Jason Harrell, vice president for Jacksonville, Fla.-based Harrell Construction Co. Inc., says his company has succeeded in business for over 40 years as a furnish-and-erect, pre-engineered metal building (PEMB) provider by adhering to his company’s motto: “Built with Quality and Integrity.”

Acting as a single point of contact to provide furnish-and-erect PEMB solutions to owners and general contractors in retail, commercial, institutional and industrial segments, Harrell Construction aims to sell the project much more than pricing via its high level of service and diverse experience. “We strive to understand the owner’s/contractor’s vision for the project, couple that with their needs and cater our solution to meet or exceed the project goals,” Harrell says. “This allows us to be regarded as a resource and not a commodity.”

Diversified Success

Harrell Construction has been an authorized Varco Pruden (VP) Buildings, Memphis, Tenn., provider since 1991. Harrell says working as a furnish-and-erect metal building systems provider, and having specialties both as a general contractor and a design-build general contractor, gives his company a better long-term look at a building and where the pitfalls are going to be. “We think of almost every job as a design-build job,” he says. “We are such a small company for the standpoint of a general contractor, but as a furnish-and-erect contractor, we’ve done far bigger and more complex projects than we could have a general contractor. We complete on average about 15 to 20 projects a year for other general contractors. We have a broad view of the market and it allows us to adjust. If the aviation market is busy, then we can do airplane hangars. If retail is booming, we’ll do more retail. When a customer walks in with a project, we’ve built that before!”

As a general contractor, Harrell Construction builds all types of projects, something that proves to be a learning experience for it and its employees to better bring a more complete furnish-and-erect PEMB package to its customers. “We see a variety of conditions within a project and how those conditions relate to our metal buildings and fine tune best practices for our customers, in this case being other general contractors and owners,” Harrell says. “We can see some of the things that work really well. We will incorporate them into our own design-build projects.”

By providing upfront preliminary design and value engineering via its PEMB estimating and preliminary design in-house, Harrell Construction can bypass some of the traditional lead time issues faced by its competitors. “This is critical to our success in some of the fast-track, design-build clients we service,” Harrell says.

High-Tech Harrell

Also, by using what Harrell calls, “the most advanced computer system in the industry: VP Command,” Harrell Construction can reduce design and estimating time, accurately detail the building structure, and efficiently process the material through manufacturing. “In most cases a projects pricing, approval, permit drawings and clarification are done in-house by the same highly trained person,” he explains. “This approach offers an  unmatched understanding of a project when the time comes to erect the structure.”

Always looking to innovate, Harrell admits in a fast-paced technology world it can be hard for a construction company to keep up. Harrell Construction has started using several new apps for its supervisors allowing them to see when materials leave the manufacturing plant and what truck they are on, where the materials are located on the job site and even a quick reference lookup that highlights the part on an isometric of the building when the part ID sticker is scanned.

Also, “As with a lot of construction companies, we have moved significantly in the last few years to a more paperless job site, keeping as many safety and production reporting forms as practical digital and emailable,” Harrell says. “In our product line we are offering prismatic skylights in lieu of the old fiberglass skylights, these allow for greater light transition and a longer life cycle.”

Most projects the company works on have some level of building information modeling (BIM) involvement. “We are producing BIM models now in the sales and marketing stages of a project whereas before the model might be available when the building delivered,” Harrell says. “Many of our projects use BIM for simple architectural design upfront before a 30 percent design is complete. We can provide a model at the time of budget pricing that is very close to the final design in most cases and simplifies the architects drafting time because the building and most of its components are ready to go.”

Future Furnishing

Harrell Construction is currently transitioning ownership from founder Glenis L. Harrell to his son Jason Harrell. Jason has been working full time in the family business since 1996. He helped establish the company as a regional player, and has managed the furnish-and-erect division since 2002.

Additionally, “We are working at expanding our offerings into the conventional steel design and installation market,” Harrell says. “[This will be] part of the furnish-and-erect package as will combine concrete design and installation to provide a more complete shell package to our larger general contracting customers—focusing on design-build projects.”