A Monument to Sustainability
When it came time for the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso (HACEP) to replace more than half a million square feet of roofing, city officials wanted more than a quality roof system: they wanted to demonstrate their commitment to a healthy environment.
They found the perfect partner in Texas-based Monument Roofing Systems, which prides itself on being on the leading edge when it comes to green technology. Monument was chosen to install 575,000 square feet of Duro-Last Cool Zone® roofing system on apartment units owned by HACEP. HACEP selected the white PVC membrane roofing material because it meets high level energy efficiency and sustainability standards.
The modernization of seven residential apartment complexes owned and maintained by HACEP at 5300 E. Paisano Drive was funded by federal stimulus money received through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act 2009 and administered through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Monument started work on the project on May 4, 2010, and just recently completed it.
“The HACEP project took more than a year to complete,” said Charles Smith Jr., president and founder of Monument Constructors, Inc. “With over half a million square feet to install, it took the patience and perseverance of everyone involved — HACEP, Monument, and local subcontractors — to provide a roofing system that will bring energy savings and comfort for HACEP and its residents for many years to come.”
History Behind the Company
Monument Roofing Systems is a division of Monument Constructors, Inc. and was originally established as a residential developer and custom home builder. In 1988, Monument Constructors became committed to commercial and industrial construction. The company soon began working in the oil refining and petrochemical manufacturing facilities of Southeast Texas, focusing on the construction of metal buildings, rough and finished build-out of new buildings, and renovations to older buildings.
Monument is a third-generation family-owned roofing/construction organization. Charles Smith Jr. founded Monument as Custom Construction in the early 80s. Smith’s son, Slade Smith, serves as chief operating officer for the company, and he has 17 years of experience in construction, sales management and roofing. His daughter, Lacey Smith Liner, serves as vice president and marketing director, and she has 15 years of experience in public relations and marketing.
In 2005, the company altered its business focus following the devastation of the Gulf Coast following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Charles Smith Jr. was one of the first businessmen allowed back into the area; he was at work before power was completely restored. Local government officials relied on Monument’s expertise to get surrounding businesses and governmental entities up and running.
“As contractors, we saw the destruction firsthand and were able to assist the damaged areas in the restoration of their government facilities, homes and businesses,” said Liner. “In the midst of this ‘rebirth,’ Monument recognized a critical component in the rebuilding process — the roof. Only after a sustainable, energy efficient, stable roof is present can the structure below and all of its contents be adequately protected. As a result, Monument Constructors Inc., in 2005, created a new division dedicated to roofing.”
According to Liner, the roofing division shares the company’s focus on environmentally friendly products and systems. “The U.S. Gulf Coast experiences a severe climate, which causes rapid rust and corrosion to most building materials. Monument Constructors saw the need for more durable and energy-efficient building and roofing products long before green building became a household word,” she said. “After years of testing and research, Monument narrowed their search to three of the most energy efficient, best-in-class, green roofing systems available. Over 85 percent of our installed systems utilize our premium product, the Duro-Last Roofing System.”
Besides the HACEP project, Monument has completed other similar projects including a $1.2 million installation at the Jefferson County Correctional Facility in Beaumont, Texas, and a $1.7 million installation for Schwan Foods Inc. in Pasadena and Deer Park, Texas. Other projects completed include Port Neches Groves ISD, a $1.2 million project in Port Neches, Texas, and West Orange Cove ISD, an $800,000 project in Orange, Texas.
The $3 million HACEP project in El Paso involved 183 buildings in seven housing complexes. Liner noted Monument typically had three jobs running at a time with a large crew on each project. Each crew would generally move from one apartment to the next every three days. Due to the scope of the project, one of their biggest challenges was keeping each crew properly supplied with all of the necessary components in advance to minimize downtime.
“Generally the organization of the project and basic mechanics of the tear-off and Duro-Last install went very well,” Liner said. “With the help of HACEP we were able to give hundreds of tenants previous notice of the roofing project as it progressed. This helped keep vehicle and foot traffic to a minimum.”
Another benefit to the project was the number of jobs it supported. Monument employed more than 30 men in the field, 14 of which were newly hired people for labor support. They also kept two local sheet metal shops busy, and hired a sheet metal shop in Arizona as well. One of the local sheet metal shops hired two new men to keep up with the metal needs. They also had a local lumberyard and plumbing supply house that supported the needs of many components of the roof.
Safety Is Key
Throughout the project, Monument made sure that safety remained a focal point. The work done at all the sites in El Paso had to follow the Monument’s safety program and OSHA requirements. Every Monday morning with each crew Monument safety and superintendent staff would conduct safety meetings at each jobsite. Some were conducted in Spanish as well as English in order to make sure every worker understood the importance of working in a safe manner. Specific information about the roofs being worked on and questions and concerns from crew members were addressed.
“Our safety director made regular visits to all jobsites for safety evaluations and adjustments as needed,” noted Liner. “Fall protection had to be within OSHA requirements and Monument safety guidelines. All forklift operators had to have proper certification. Hand tools, electric hand held power tools, extension cords, ladders, as well as all PPE were inspected daily for safe use practices. With so many children in the area, we also had to use flagmen any time our forklift moved or a semi came in for a delivery.”
Liner added, “Our motto was and remains, ‘Arrive Safe, Work Safe, and Leave Safe.’”
Throughout the entire process, the Monument team was able to complete the HACEP project by staying true to their values and the goals incorporated within their mission statement: To provide the best roof, most comprehensive warranty, and highest level of service/satisfaction in the industry.
“Being a good corporate neighbor is fundamental to Monument’s business strategy,” said Charles Smith Jr. “We are a proud third-generation family-owned Texas company. When we install roofs, we respect the fact that we are putting roofs over people, our neighbors. We all share this planet and Monument will continue preserving our environment one building and roof at a time.”