Volume 11 | Issue 2 | Year 2008

Solid as a rock, Olympia Steel Building Systems has more than 30 years of metal building design experience and was founded by an individual with a 48-year background in the steel industry. Its products can withstand the worst that nature throws its way.
“Our products are placed in hurricane zones, earthquake zones and regions with heavy snow loads,” says Arnold Davis, company founder, president and chief executive officer. “We sell throughout the entire country, so we have to meet code requirements in every single town or municipality.”

The McKees Rock, Pa.-based company is a leading designer and manufacturer of pre-engineered metal and steel building systems. “Pre-engineered means that it arrives at the customer’s site ready for assembly,” explains Davis.

Known for exceeding industry quality and reliability standards, Olympia’s products are characterized by optimal engineering, flexible designs and incomparable warranty protection. The company manufactures these systems in a state-of-the-art facility and specializes in metal steel buildings for commercial, agricultural, industrial, and residential building use.

“Customers range in size from small- to medium-sized businesses to large companies and huge conglomerates. We handle them all, from the smallest to the biggest,” says Davis.

Appropriately, the company provides building sizes from the smallest structures to those that stand as high as four stories. “We can accommodate anything from a small backyard shop to a huge manufacturing plant or an expansive facility,” says Davis.

Specifically, Olympia’s customizable products are ideal for warehousing, manufacturing, commercial buildings, truck terminals, farm buildings, riding arenas, sport arenas, gymnasiums, horse barns, garages, industrial buildings, agricultural buildings, ministorage buildings, public service buildings and small shops.

Olympia’s steel frame buildings’ usability and durability derives from a design that includes a rigid-frame construction (consisting of a structural I beam), galvanized girts and purlins, extended weather tight PBR roof panels, and a unique truss-less design that provides as much clear, open space as possible for the largest applications.

THREE-POINTED MISSION
Olympia’s mission is governed by three main goals: product quality, competitive pricing and optimal service. “Those are the most important elements anyone looks for in a product,” says Davis.

As far as product quality, Olympia ensures that its buildings can withstand the elements and meet the required codes related to things such as seismic zones, wind loads, snow loads and collateral loads. “As the United States becomes more urbanized, codes become much more stringent,” informs Davis. “Naturally, we have to comply with all of those codes.”

The company’s I-beam construction ensures stability, strength, and durability, and is resistant to weather and rust. In addition, Olympia differentiates itself from its competitors by using better materials. All of its products are constructed of the highest-grade commercial U.S. steel.

Product quality also involves aesthetics, an increasingly important element, Davis points out. “We can do many things to enhance the outside beauty of a building, depending on how it will be used,” he says. “We offer alternatives with our systems such as stucco
panels, brick, cement, block or glass. So, we’re not only meeting the ever-changing code requirements, but we meet customer’s aesthetic needs.”

As far as financial advantages for customers, the company indicates that steel building construction can cost up to 50-percent less than conventional building construction, which entails high costs related to labor and usage of heavy steel beams. “Also, we offer better warranties than most companies,” Davis adds. Indeed, all of Olympia’s buildings are backed up by a 25-year steel mill backed perforation warranty on roofs.

Also, Olympia reduces costs with efficient scheduling, delivery and share loading. This ties in with its strong customer-service focus, which is characterized by a personalized approach. All of its products are sold directly to customers, and its engineering staff quickly responds to inquiries and can price a building to customer specifications within 24 hours. Olympia tends to offer better customer service than its larger competitors because it seeks repeat business. “Within five years, the average customer that has bought a building will be either constructing a new building or will be putting on an addition to the existing building. We want them to come back to us,” says Davis.

ADVANCED FACILITY
Olympia manufactures its products in a completely automated, state-of-the-art facility. Staffed by highly experienced engineers and designers, and located in Ambridge, Pa., the plant is one of the most sophisticated in the steel building industry. Capabilities include drafting and detailing accomplished by engineering and drafting teams that use advanced CAD-CAM software created exclusively for the industry.

Also, the facility deploys CNC technology to create one of the market’s highest quality building system steel framing. According to the company, CNC machines use streams of digital information from CAD-CAM outputs to move motors and other positioning systems to cut, roll form and pre-punch boltholes in steel components. Moreover, Olympia produces these components in less time than it takes competitors, in turn increasing its economic value to its customers.

Olympia’s girt and purlin production includes a unique rust prevention technique standard in all of its buildings. Each girt and purlin produced is galvanized with a zinc coating that seals the surface, at no extra cost to customers.

The facility also includes welding and trim departments. The welding section is equipped with the most advanced gas metal arc welding technology. The twin-arc submerged welding system can manufacture structural steel components up to 72 inches deep, allowing for the production of column-free building interiors up to 200 feet wide. The trim department uses 10 specialized roll-forming machines and CNC folding press breaks to bend and form building eaves and trim.

The plant is also completely integrated, informs Davis. “That is, we engineer and manufacture the entire system. We not only make the frames, we make the sheeting, the secondary framing and the components. Conversely, many companies just make the frames and buy the rest of the components. Other companies just make the components and do not supply the frames. But we do it all.”

GROWTH AND EXPANSION
Staffed with 250 employees, the manufacturing plant is comprised of 95,000 square feet, but Olympia, which has increased about seven-fold in the past decade, according to Davis, has outgrown the facility. “We’re in the process of moving into a new, 200,000-square-foot facility,” says Davis. “The exact location has yet to be determined, because we are still negotiating with two states, but by the time the new plant is completed, we will have more than doubled our size and capacities.”

Davis adds that Olympia hopes to break ground for this new location in April 2008. The company is also looking toward western expansion. “We’re currently a mid-sized player with a regional plant, but as we sell nationally, we’re planning on putting a plant in California,” reports Davis. “This will provide us with both East and West Coast operations. We expect to have the California facility ready in the next 12 to 15 months.”

INDEPENDENT AND AGILE
Meanwhile, the company remains something of an anomaly in its industry. “We’re one of the few independents still left,” says Davis. “The industry has witnessed rapid consolidation, and many companies have been gobbled up by the large corporations. It’s very typical to the steel industry, and that is what has been happening in the metal building industry.”

But Olympia stands apart, in terms of both its independence and it capabilities. Despite its size – it’s comparatively much smaller than most of its competition – it has a huge capacity for accomplishment, and it can move much faster than the lumbering giants it goes up against.

Fleet of foot, like mythological Hermes, the speedy messenger of the Olympian gods, Olympia Steel Building Systems can adapt more quickly and readily to market changes. Most importantly, Olympia offers more quality per cost than the outsized competition.
Olympia may seem a mere mortal among titans, but its success is enormous.