Officials of Royal Concrete Concepts Inc. closed March 28 on a 175-acre parcel near Okeechobee, Fla., where they plan a gargantuan expansion to include the addition of 1,300 employees during the next three years.
The West Palm Beach, Fla.-based maker of hurricane-resistant wall, floor and ceiling modules made of pre-cast concrete, polystyrene and steel has been growing at breakneck speeds. The combination of recent active hurricane seasons and the need for new buildings for overcrowded Florida schools has driven demand for the 9-year-old company's products to new heights.
Royal Concrete officials said they expect to sell about $80 million worth of their patented Concretables this year.
The $25 million expansion project is slated for groundbreaking in about two weeks, said Wally Sanger, president and chief executive officer.
Royal Concrete constructs houses and buildings. Permanent structures, company officials said, are put together like modular homes.
The homes and buildings can withstand sustained winds of 186 mph, they claim.
School buildings are really driving sales right now, Sanger said.
``About 90 percent of our work is in education right now,'' he said. ``We're half the cost of a typical school.''
Another factor in Concretables' strength is the development and use of PVC studs rather than pressure-treated-lumber studs. Sanger said the PVC studs are relatively new. The studs are being extruded by a U.S. company that Sanger would not identify.
``They're performing excellent,'' he said.
The PS in the walls and ceilings also makes the houses more energy efficient than homes built from traditional materials, Sanger said.
The homes range from about 1,000 square feet to upward of 3,000 square feet. Homes cost $70-$90 per square foot to build, said John Albert, vice president of sales and marketing.
At capacity, the expansion will allow the company to build 18 homes a day and inventory 650 homes on site at any given time, Sanger said.
Albert said there also will be a joint venture with a concrete company on site to include a wet-batch and dry-batch plant. Also, Indian River Community College is working with Royal Concrete to train new employees and eventually will serve as a place for additional on-the-job training.
For now, the Sunshine State is the company's primary market.