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We often discuss the role of technology in the construction industry and how we can integrate it into our own work program. Today the options are plentiful, as we have evolved from drafting tables and drawings produced from the hands of designers to laser scanning, 3D modeling, and BIM. We have advanced from estimating with paper copies of drawings and pads of paper to on-screen takeoff software that populates our estimating programs. We must also consider how technology can improve our productivity and efficiency while working to plan and execute our projects.

We recently entered our third year utilizing Procore Construction OS as the software platform to plan, manage, and execute our projects. Procore is a cloud-based solution that we utilize for financial controls, risk management, safety, and quality management across our entire project portfolio. Procore allows real time collaboration among the entire project team from contract execution until the project delivery to the customer.

As we continue to grow, Procore helps us communicate project related information more efficiently and effectively across the country. Interface with the software is web or app based meaning that you can access it from any workstation with an internet connection or via Procore’s mobile app. Today we are using leading indicators to actively report, monitor, and eliminate unsafe acts and behaviors using a hand held device. Our field users can identify an issue, document it so we can see trends across projects, and proactively influence the behaviors and outcomes on our project sites.

Our field leadership, subcontract partners, and clients have real time access to RFIs, submittals, specifications, and drawings the moment they are created and approved. As the status of these items changes, they can be updated instantly. Field leaders can document and communicate project information immediately via photographs, the daily log, inspections, observations, and punch list tools while identifying any event that may affect the schedule or financial position of the project.

Our customers have also seen many benefits from the switch to Procore as well. Access to project information provides increased transparency to our customers and improves the communication timeline and approval process. Customers have real time access to project drawings, documents, and photos created during the project lifecycle. This ensures alignment with the project objectives even from remote locations.

Change is a common topic of conversation within Robinson Construction. Many people balk at change, but when change improves your communication process, risk management practices, and efficiency, you are improving the daily experience of your entire project team, which in turn improves the sustainability of the company. Sustainability - our employees having jobs with Robinson long into the future - is our main goal. This shift in technology has had a positive direct impact on our business, allowing us to continue to deliver quality projects for our customers and retain our talented staff of project management professionals while also attracting new talent to Robinson Construction.

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Arising from the Ashes
Atlas Rebuilds after "Largest Fire on Record" for Local Fire Department

Atlas EPS, a specialist in the development and manufacturing of expanded polystyrene (EPS) insulation, recently selected Robinson Construction to perform as the design-build general contractor on a site restoration and rebuild project at their location in Perryville, Missouri.


On the evening of Thursday, December 8, 2016, a fire broke out at the Atlas EPS facility in Perryville, Missouri. There were three (3) employees inside the building at the time the fire began, but thankfully, they all made it out safely. It is believed the fire started in the breakroom and spread from one building to another, consuming a total of six (6) buildings on the Atlas campus and taking nearly 21 hours to extinguish, making this the largest fire on record in the Perryville Fire Department’s history. An estimated 20 different fire departments from the surrounding counties responded throughout the night.

Cleanup efforts began almost immediately and on January 24, 2017, the company announced their intention to rebuild the facility in Perryville. The fire caused in excess of $10 million dollars’ worth of damage; insurance will help cover nearly 90 percent of the total reconstruction costs. In a February 2017 press release by the company, Ken Farrish, President of Atlas Roofing Corporation, stated “If there is a silver lining, it is that most importantly no one was harmed in the event, and from the ashes will arise what promises to be the most efficient EPS facility in the U.S.” A ground-breaking ceremony was held on April 12, 2017 to kick off the rebuild portion of the project.


The fire destroyed all but three (3) buildings; one sustained partial damage and two were left untouched. To keep the plant operational during the rebuild process, Robinson began fire damage demolition and site restoration work within one (1) week following the fire. Atlas was able to resume 50 percent production in the partially damaged building within one (1) month of beginning cleanup efforts and 100 percent production within 45 days. This portion of the work included:

  • 10,000 sq ft of smoke and soot cleanup and eradication
  • Existing fiberglass blanket insulation removal from the walls and ceiling and installation of new vinyl backed fiberglass blanket insulation
  • New metal liner panel on the walls and ceiling
  • Saw dust fired steam boiler repair and commissioning
  • Wet fire sprinkler system repairs and commissioning
  • Extensive electrical service restoration and repairs to the building, existing manufacturing equipment, and machinery
  • Building structural frame repairs
  • New overhead doors and man doors
  • Sidewall and end wall metal panel replacement
  • 10,000 sq ft of existing roof removal and new metal roof panel roof-over system installation
  • 80,000 sq ft of burned building debris loaded and hauled to landfill
  • 289,000 lbs of scrap recovery and recycling
  • Removal of approximately 80,000 sq ft of concrete building slabs and foundations
  • Regrading of approximately three (3) acres of disturbed surface area

Kevin Thole with SERVPRO, an emergency restoration services contractor, complimented Robinson’s work on the site saying, “We work with major contractors all over the U.S. and this was one of the easiest set-ups we have had. All the lighting and electricity was done and we had virtually zero obstructions for our lifts.”

Bill Calla, Atlas EPS Plant Manager, was also pleased with Robinson’s work on the project, “Job well done from start to finish! This is a great group to work with!”


The rebuild portion of the project began in April 2017 and is expected to be complete in December 2017. Robinson’s work includes design and construction of one (1) 93,220 sq ft pre-engineered metal building to replace the six (6) buildings that the fire destroyed. In addition to manufacturing space, this new facility will also house a shipping office, employee breakroom, and maintenance shop. In an effort to bring the entire campus up to current building code, Atlas made the decision to replace the two (2) buildings that were unharmed in the fire, with one (1) new 13,200 sq ft pre-engineered metal building.

In addition to the building work, Robinson was also contracted to install process piping systems and equipment including:

  • Steam and Condensate
  • Compressed Air
  • Soft Water
  • Vacuum Lines
  • Natural Gas
  • Twenty-one (21) different manufacturing equipment systems
Project at a Glance
  • OWNER/CUSTOMER: Atlas EPS, a division of Atlas Roofing Corporation
  • DESIGN-BUILD GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Robinson Construction Company
  • ENGINEERING: Robinson Construction Company, Strickland Engineering (MEP & Process Piping), Quadrant Design (Architectural)
  • MAJOR SUBCONTRACTORS: Reinhold Electric, Ahern Fire Protection, Dutch Enterprises, Fronabarger Concreters, Clifton Excavating


This post first appeared in our quarterly publication, Robinson Report (Volume 15, Issue 4, 2017). View the full issue here.

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As was pointed out in the opening column, change is required for survival. In the construction world, one of those changes is an increase in the use of modularization, which is the design or production of something in separate sections. The use of accurate 3D models, the current shortage of skilled labor and owners’ increasing demands for zero incident jobsites in conjunction with shorter schedules, has changed modularization from a luxury on many large projects to a necessity. There are numerous benefits to modularization for both the contractor and the end user, including:

  • Improved safety
  • Improved quality
  • Shorter overall construction schedule
  • Cost reduction
  • Staffing benefits

Many owners and contractors demand incident free jobsites and expend significant resources to achieve this goal. Modularization can improve safety through the benefits of operating in a more controlled environment. For small modular projects, this could be the confines of a climate controlled fabrication facility. For larger modular projects, it could be an off-site assembly yard, free from hazards posed by other activity on the site. In either case, construction sites are full of potential hazards, and work completed off-site, in a controlled environment, has exposure to fewer hazards – thereby reducing the potential for incidents and injuries.


With today’s typical project lifecycles, projects are usually already behind on the day notice-to-proceed is given. Technology has increased the ability of A/E/C companies to provide shorter project durations, thus increasing the expectations of most owners. Schedule acceleration is another tremendous advantage of modularization. Take a simple pipe rack module for example, which can be fully assembled before the foundation work is ever completed. In this simple example, the project could realize months of savings in the event that soil stabilization or deep foundations are required.


Cost is usually a concern; modularization can be cost effective and actually save money. In some cases, the money saved through productivity increases and potentially lower wages in a given area can more than offset the shipping cost for the modules. In other cases, where the supporting structure is required to be substantially increased, the cost of modularization can be a premium, but the benefit to the schedule makes up for that premium through a reduction in time to market.


Modularization can also alleviate staffing issues, which are currently plaguing nearly all contractors. The benefits of modularization with regard to staffing are twofold. First, the number of workers required is generally less due to the increase in productivity from working in a controlled environment. Second, many areas of the country are faced with more severe labor shortages than other areas. Utilizing modules allows a significant portion of the work to be completed away from the project site.

While modularization was once analogous with a pre-piped pump skid, today it is much more. A little pre-planning and some out-ofthe- box thinking have resulted in gargantuan modules assembled and shipped by Robinson Construction and others. These behemoths, like the ones featured below, no doubt create a sense of awe from even the least mechanically-minded passerby who happens to see one of them being transported.The time-lapse below features construction of a few pipe rack modules and a 650,000 lb process module that measured 56 ft x 54 ft x 45 ft tall. If you have a project that you think might be a good fit for modularization, give us a call! We are happy to answer any questions you may have.



This post first appeared in our quarterly publication, Robinson Report (Volume 15, Issue 4, 2017). View the full issue here.

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