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A Growing Green Specialist
Co-owner Gregg Hamann explains that design/build is the perfect approach to implement LEED

By Gabe Perna | Mon Jul 6, 2009 | Construction Digital

Part of Hamann Constructionís green specialty is solar installation Gregg Hamann, co-owner of Hamann Construction, enjoys talking in great length about the inventive and prolific work performed on the Innovative Cold Storage Enterprises (ICE) project as an example of the company's capabilities.

"This (Innovative Cold Storage Enterprises) project was the construction of a 132,000 sf freezer in Otay Mesa, CA. We pushed the envelope of what you can do on a green basis. Compared to the old facility, the new building will store four times as much product while using half the energy. Seventy-three percent of the energy it uses will come from 1.1 MW of solar on the roof and 10 kW of wind generation on the parapet," says Hamann.

ICE, of course, is but one of many such projects Hamann Construction has worked on. Located in Southern California, the company is a premier contractor of commercial and industrial building projects. Hamann specializes in factory building and has done a tremendous number of cold storage for food companies. With a focus in design/build, the company has been able to present itself as a green company.

"Most of our work is design/build. That makes us a much greener company. If you really want to do things green, you have to plan in advance, you can't decide to do things later," explains Hamann.

One of the interesting green aspects of the ICE project is the use of LED light fixtures, which are more suitable to cold weather climates than fluorescent lights. For efficiency, 55-watt LED light fixtures were installed 55 feet above the floor. Besides providing superior lighting, LEDs emit a fraction of the heat produced by a regular fixture and can be operated with motion detectors.

ICE was a notable project for its use of Condors as well. "We utilize cranes called Condors to side load product onto racks up to 50 feet in the air, in very narrow aisles. This 60-foot tall building stores twice as much product as a 30-foot building with the same footprint and with only 10 percent more surface area," says Hamann.

With ICE as a shining example, Hamann will continue to designate itself as green specialists. The company is currently working on a number of other green projects. Hamann has a LEED AP, a green building specialist, on his staff in his daughter, Phoebe. He says this accreditation will only work toward the firm's advantage.

"In our case LEED has been very important. It is one area and capacity that has helped us remain stable in an extremely down market. It makes us stand out. Three out of five of our present projects are LEED. Having LEED experience under our belts was a significant factor in helping us get these jobs," says Hamann.

Another prolific project is the recently completed Stone Brewery in Escondido, CA, which included the construction of offices, manufacturing facilities, a tank farm and the Stone World Bistro Restaurant. As a complement to the company's green push, the brewery also installed a 300 kW solar energy system.

Hamann has in fact made significant contributions in the solar industry, acting as a consultant and general contractor to retrofit existing buildings with solar and to install solar during new building construction.

Working with various local school districts has also been profitable business for Hamann. "For the Cajon Valley School District we designed and constructed multiple buildings on a campus for roughly half the cost of standard bid and build projects. The project consisted of a two-story office building, a bus maintenance center, a central kitchen, and maintenance and warehouse buildings.

Hamann Construction self performs concrete work, with tilt up being a signature component. It also self performs electrical work. Remaining work is contracted out to a core of loyal sub-contractors and partners. Concerning these relationships, Hamann has a philosophy.

"We do have new subs from time to time. But generally they can't compete with good old subs. Those guys know me, they know I'll pay the bills, they know we don't make unreasonable back charges, they know they can submit a bill and they'll have the check. They know if they need help, they'll get the check sooner. A building is for life, it's not something you buy and use for a couple of years. You're stuck with it for life and you want it done right," explains Hamann.

For all work done on site, the company boasts of an impressive safety record. Hamann says the firm is 30 percent safer than the average contractor.

To go along with an impressive safety record, Hamann Construction has an equally remarkable dedication to technology. The company is always evaluating and looking to spend capital on worthwhile technologies. One example of this dedication to technology is its Fortis software. With Fortis, every invoice for the past seven years has been scanned into the computer according to Hamann.

"With Fortis, I just have to know a couple of pieces of information and I can search any bill from the last seven years. As long as I know some tidbit, I can find it. It's very powerful and saves hundreds of hours," says Hamann.

Without a doubt the most important ideal at Hamann Construction is "Team Concept Construction." Under this approach, the architect, engineer, contractor and owner collaborate together to meet the client's needs. Along with the company's stability and its vertical integration, Hamann sees "Team Concept Construction" as its most powerful asset.

"Team Concept Construction is very important. That means giving the client what they want and trying to provide them with best product that fits them in the most cost effective manner possible," concludes Hamann.

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