Clayton is responsible for building a good part of New Jersey, a state with existing, complex infrastructure, sustained growth and school construction that require versatile building materials complementary to innovative architectural plans. As one of the largest concrete suppliers on the East Coast and the leading block supplier in New Jersey, the 53-year-old company stands at the forefront of producing applicable masonry and architectural units designed to accommodate the ever-evolving needs of a thriving state and the surrounding area. The firm has successfully worked with architects and building contractors to design and manufacture custom block for specific projects, and also has furnished crucial technical support and individualized customer services.
Clayton Block offers its customers a full line of innovative architectural concrete masonry units, including split faced, ground faced, polished and glazed architectural block, for which it has won numerous industry awards over the years. More recently, Clayton has assisted architects in achieving LEED(tm) (Leadership in Energy and Environment) credits toward LEED(tm) Green Building Certification, the official acknowledgement of an architect’s ability to incorporate environmentally compatible materials with traditional, non-recycled products in the creation of sustainable building designs.
The Abbott Ruling
In May of 1977, then-New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman signed an order that formed the School Construction Corpora-tion, which mandated that urban school districts implement school construction and rehabilitation programs. This followed the Abbott Ruling, a court case involving a lawsuit over education conditions in a particular district. The edict held that urban school children throughout the state were receiving an inadequate education, both in academics and in the inferior condition of school facilities. In subsequent rulings, 32 urban school systems were identified as Abbott Districts, with the city of Newark, alone, having more than 100 schools over 100 years old and in deteriorating condition.
As Kathy Roe, Director of Marketing for Clayton Block Co., Inc., points out, “About $12 billion worth of work has already been done to address the health, safety and cultural elements in the Abbott districts, with an additional $1 billion being released this year.”
As schools are built or receive their much-needed facelifts, the trend has been to use traditional brick and/or masonry concrete block, thus utilizing architectural masonry. “One of our recent focuses has been the school market in New Jersey,” Roe says, adding, “Architectural masonry has numerous benefits including excellent fire rating and mold and mildew resistance.”
Taking The LEED(tm)
A few years ago, a little-known group called the U.S. Green Building Council was promoting the use of sustainable building materials. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED(tm)) Green Building System was developed in an effort to provide a national standard for what constitutes an environmentally sensitive “green building.” The system is used as a design guideline and certification tool for architects and designers.
Having the foresight to recognize the impact this system would have on the architectural community, Clayton studied all of its materials and identified those that would contribute to LEED(tm) certification credits. As a result, the company developed a product known as GlasStone(tm), a concrete masonry unit incorporating recycled glass. “The glass gives the block a unique and visually appealing effect,” notes Roe. The LEED(tm) movement gained substantial momentum with the state of New Jersey after current Governor James E. McGreevey mandated in December, 2003, that new school construction should strive to incorporate materials offering LEED(tm) credits. The masonry products offered by Clayton enable architects to design with materials that can help attain LEED(tm) credits.
In addition to its continued involvement with LEED(tm) compliant products, Clayton also plays an important industry role in providing insight to the architectural community, with its acclaimed Edu-Tech program. This bi-annual event updates attendees on cutting-edge building materials and their applications through a series of comprehensive seminars conducted by leading industry experts, together with a trade show and allows New Jersey registered architects and engineers to earn mandated annual learning unit credits.
Clayton has become an environmental steward as well. In response to intensified demands for disposal of old concrete and masonry products in a safer yet commercially viable fashion, Clayton has built recycling plants that produce an end product, which satisfies the requirements of multiple government agencies. One example is a crushing operation, whereby concrete, brick and other waste products are reduced to a stabilized base-type material suitable for roads, parking areas and other sites where clean, solid fill is necessary.
Building The Shore
Clayton’s role in supporting the architectural industry was nurtured during the 1950’s population explosion. The company is based in Lakewood, Ocean County, N.J., which, in 1951, was an area best known for its proximity to oceanfront resort areas like Point Pleasant Beach and Seaside Heights. Lakewood itself had become a year-round destination, with an inland location hosting several thriving businesses and a growing private college. During this time, with the completion of the Garden State Parkway which helped those from North Jersey more easily reach the shore region, Ocean County’s population burgeoned, as people from the state’s northern industrialized areas began their southerly migration.
Company founder William Clayton couldn’t have dreamed of a better environment in which to grow a construction-supply business. Recognizing the need for a concrete supplier, he began the expansion of his company into the multi-faceted organization it has become today: a widely recognized leader in the building materials industry. The Clayton Companies expanded into a network of plants and mining sites that service all of New Jersey, as well as parts of New York, Pennsylvania and Delaware. Its architectural and specialty concrete block products have been selected for some of the region’s most architecturally significant projects. “Foresight, hard work and the capabilities to consistently answer the call for new products were the principles upon which the company was founded,” explains Roe, “and those values today remain as strong as ever.”
In addition to Clayton Block Co., Inc., which manufactures architectural and specialty concrete block products, the group of companies includes Ralph Clayton and Sons, provider of ready-mix concrete and building materials for roads, bridges, and residential and commercial developments, and Clayton Sand, a leading supplier of sand to Clayton plants and customers.
A Spectrum Of Expertise
Other products of note in the Clayton portfolio include SpectraGlaze II(r), an architectural block that provides resistance to soiling, chemicals, marking, impact, abrasion and acid rain. The product is fire-safe and non-toxic and provides durability, insulation, sound control and other preferred advantages. “Spectra Glaze II(r) has been around for a while, but its versatility and aesthetic qualities have created a recent resurgence in demand,” Roe explains. Clayton’s unique manufacturing system creates a lightweight, modular concrete block with a permanent glazed facing, allowing numerous design opportunities and a wide selection of color, texture, scale and pattern variances. For hardscaping, Clayton produces the Allan Block Retaining Wall system, which is used to enhance landscaping for both the residential and commercial markets.
With 25 locations and a selection of more than 10,000 masonry related products, plus innovative programs that help enhance the architectural community, Clayton maintains a position of clear dominance and high respect within the building materials industry. And while its products have gained wide acceptance as sustainable building materials, Roe cites the company’s ongoing commitment to excellence for its long-heralded success. “We’re at the forefront of the industry because of how we put the best of our experience, knowledge and technological capabilities to work for our customers,” she says. “Our focus remains on the development of new and better products for a constantly changing building industry.”