Since 1982, Ramtech Building Systems has been providing modular buildings to public institutions and private companies throughout Texas and the Southwest. The company’s track record of successful building projects has afforded the company a broad skill set, and enabled the team to meet a diverse range of commercial modular building requirements.
Based near Fort Worth, Texas, Ramtech Building Systems’ design-build modular construction approach is well suited to providing clients with temporary or permanent modular buildings when they need them.
Company President Linc Moss and Marketing Director Steve Sickman spoke with Business in Focus about Ramtech Building Systems, its many projects over the years, and how its Accelerated Building System (ABS) distinguishes the company in the market.
“What sets Ramtech Building Systems apart is our technical expertise,” Moss believes. “We have the ability to take on modular projects that competitors cannot because we’re a design-build contractor. We own a manufacturing plant, so we have the ability to tackle more sophisticated buildings than other modular builders.”
“There are three types of players in the modular building industry,” Sickman further explains. “There are leasing companies who don’t manufacture the products, which they buy through wholesale [which is the second type], and integrated, design-build construction companies like ours.”
As a vertically integrated company, Ramtech offers a comprehensive range of services that includes full in-house design, manufacturer direct products, complete construction services, full-site development and concurrent multi-site capability. These services have been added and built upon throughout Ramtech’s three-decade history. Originally starting as a leasing company for modular buildings, owner Mike Slataper found himself with projects that were billable to him yet exceeded the expertise of the builders he was purchasing from at the time. Seeing that developing his own manufacturing solutions could be the way forward, Slataper purchased land and built a factory for Ramtech Building Systems in 1986.
Initially, the company specialized in delivery and installation of buildings and later on began tackling infrastructure projects related to installation such – putting in roads, parking lots, sidewalks, and utilities. With the full gamut of a general contractor’s expertise, Ramtech went on to develop design capabilities for buildings and has evolved to the point where the company has a licensed architect and engineer in-house.
Today, the company’s manufacturing facility now spans more than 80,000 square feet on 20 acres in Mansfield, Texas, a suburb in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. The factory maintains a consistent workforce of production employees and supervisory personnel with many years of experience, many of whom have been with the team for over 20 years. This experience, along with the firm’s unique manufacturing approach, gives Ramtech Building Systems greater control over labor and material costs and quality standards.
Sickman says that the Ramtech Building Systems’ approach toward working with its customers is the key behind its success and growth over the years. Modular buildings already present a cost-savings advantage compared to other building methods, and Ramtech is willing to work with clients on pricing. “We have a value-engineered approach,” he explains. “We find out the customer’s budget parameters and we design and build facilities that meet their needs. If they cannot afford certain services, we are able to scale back and show where they can save money.”
Clients can also save money because Ramtech provides everything from space planning design services to manufacturing, site construction, and the installation and fit-out of new buildings. This allows the company to control costs and quality at every step of the building process, saving clients time and money while providing an exceptional value.
The region’s labor costs also provide an advantage. “We are blessed being in the Southwest because field construction costs and average wages are not that far apart,” shares Moss. “In other regions of the country, there is a gulf between field costs and wages; in Texas and surrounding states, the spread is not that great. Because of that, we can leverage a project by applying scopes of work to the field that allow us to maximize output of our factory.”
Notably, the company has built a number of projects using its Accelerated Building System process. This system combines the best of onsite and offsite construction methods by combining the speed and efficiency of prefabricated modular buildings with the quality and appearance of site applied interior and exterior finishes. “We achieve this by employing simultaneous construction tracks. While a site-specific, engineered reinforced concrete slab-on-grade foundation is constructed on the building site, the fabrication of the permanent modular buildings is taking place in its manufacturing plant. When complete, building sections are shipped to the project location, crane set onto the concrete slab, then quickly weathered-in and finished out on site.” This form of design-build modular construction results in a superior facility with lower overall design and construction costs and an accelerated project time frame. “The final product is not much different than a typical site-built environment,” says Sickman.
“If we can take an abbreviated scope of work in our factory and generate 30 percent more square footage and finish out in field, that is one of the easiest ways to grow our company and leverage our field work more than what we had in the past,” agrees Moss.
Recently completing its 3500th contract, Moss is particularly proud of the company’s dedication and commitment to safety. “Out of those contracts, we have never once been called in for non-performance or litigation on construction related contract,” he says. “We are proud of that fact, never once having seen the inside of a courtroom or bonding company.”
To be sure, Ramtech is continually seeking skilled labor for its construction projects. “Finding tradesmen and craftsmen in both the factory and field is always a challenge in construction industry overall,” shares Moss. “With the recovery of the economy and industry, it’s still difficult to find skilled labor; we continue to work to seek out qualified subcontractors.”
Ramtech Building Systems serves a number of markets and caters their products based on clients’ diverse needs. For the educational sector, Ramtech builds modular school buildings and portable classrooms for colleges and universities, as well as public, private and charter schools.
In the medical and health care arena, Ramtech has built facilities such as administrative offices, health clinics for both rural and urban areas, pharmacies and labs, physical therapy and rehabilitation centers, single-practitioner modular medical clinics, and other specialized medical buildings. These structures are designed with patient flow, building codes, and environmental regulations in mind.
For the oil and gas sector, Ramtech has developed housing facilities for workers at energy exploration sites. Ramtech’s oil field housing structures are built to withstand the rigors of use at worksites while still delivering the comfortable features and amenities required to compete in a tight labor market. Such buildings can be provided in either a skid-mounted or wheeled chassis design, ready for single-point connections to public or temporary utility sources. Ramtech’s buildings can also be completely outfitted with appliances, furniture, utensils and linens direct from the factory and ready for immediate deployment to the field.
For government buildings, Ramtech provides a wide range of temporary and permanent modular buildings to help meet the facility space needs of federal, regional, state, and local agencies. From medical labs and administrative offices to military barracks and correctional facilities, Ramtech’s experience in responding to government procurement requirements has helped the team build an unparalleled reputation for quality and dependability in the public sector. One notable project, to which the company was able to apply its Accelerated Building Systems technology, was a series of military bases throughout the Southwest. The Ramtech team was responsible for the opening of the US Army’s Company Operation Facility at Fort Bliss, Texas, involving the manufacture and installation of eight 18,000 square foot two-storey buildings and six 10,000 square foot one-storey buildings.
“No one would recognize that as a prefab structure,” Sickman says. “The term ‘modular’ conjures up an image of a trailer and we are working hard to show that permanent modular construction has the same quality standards and usability as a site-built structure.”
At Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Ramtech built a 116,000 square foot Advanced Individual Training (AIT) Barracks at the base. 152 individual modular sections were used to produce the 272-room, four-storey building. The building achieved LEED Silver.
Other notable projects include the construction of a 9,400 square foot modular school classroom building at a middle school in Melissa, Texas as well as the construction of a high school for the Randolph Field Independent School District near San Antonio.
For more than 30 years, Ramtech Building Systems has constructed high quality modular buildings for a variety of markets and clients. As the company continues to grow, it will stay committed to its mission of providing value-based engineering to its clients. “We are a leading design-build firm in the Southwest,” Sickman says. “Ramtech has the capability to do broad spectrum work, whether it’s long term or short term. We are a full service contractor that can construct what our customers want.”