A Passion For Precast

STABIL Concrete Products

Going from $20 million to $30 million in revenue in just three years, STABIL Concrete Products, LLC has set the American architecture and construction sectors alight with its skill in casting next-generation materials and bringing unusual concepts to life. The company has a hand in high-profile work from Hollywood’s Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino to Tampa’s Water Street project.

STABIL Concrete Products, with its headquarters in St. Petersburg, Florida, is a favorite of architects across the Southeastern United States. The company has made its mark on the American landscape with installation and casting techniques of which other contractors can usually only dream. It specializes in casting glass fiber reinforced concrete (GFRC) and its proprietary architectural precast concrete, both of which are custom manufactured at its facilities in Florida.

But this sculptor of modern-day architecture provides more than casting and specialist materials. As well as handling the logistics of delivering its concrete to clients’ job sites, it offers professional engineering services, project management, and expert installation. To top that off, its clients benefit from its experience in rendering architectural precast concrete.

STABIL’s architectural precast concrete range includes an extensive choice of design elements such as architectural wall panels, curtain walls, precast building systems, beams, columns, and stairs. By adding specialist sands, aggregates, pigments, and a choice of finishes, the company makes it possible for architects to bring their visions to life.

The company’s secret is in its use of modern materials. Durable and adaptable GFRC is lightweight, yet tremendously strong and needs much less support compared to traditional concrete. STABIL took great pains to get to know and understand the possibilities of the product. Then it developed its mixture and the molding and installation methods. The hard work paid off, and today, it does the most incredible formwork, cladding, interior sinks, cabinets, fireplace surrounds, and much more.

With materials that lend themselves to versatility and intricacy of design, STABIL is regularly called on to do what other contractors deem either too tough or impossible. Like the twenty-story office tower it is currently working on at 1001 Water Street, Tampa, in the city’s new downtown waterfront lifestyle complex. The building, known as Block G, is praised by developers as the city’s first new office tower in twenty-five years.

The Water Street 101 building will have 380,000 square feet of floor space, and construction is set to be completed in 2021. “It is unique. [Rendering great] architectural precast is an art form. We’re not just making concrete panels. We’re producing pieces of art,” says Gerry Flach, Vice President.

Another very exciting project was completed for the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida in 2019. The company worked with the client’s architects and designers to come up with a solution that offered the look they were trying to create at the building’s entrance, while adhering to stringent safety codes for hurricane protection throughout the structure.

Last year also saw STABIL complete work on the world-renowned Jackson Memorial Hospital for paralysis rehabilitation. Here, the company came up with a casting method that allowed the architect to achieve three different looks with the same concrete formula, making this an achievement in terms of cost and design. The result is a modern façade that is set to stand the test of time.

One of its most prestigious projects ever came around when the company was approached to collaborate on the 1000 Museum building in Miami, Florida. The high-rise condominium complex was designed by award-winning architect Zaha Hadid and the GFRC elements were manufactured in Dubai and shipped to the U.S. The installation was one of STABIL’s most technically demanding and rewarding projects to date.

“We had to make a lot of adjustments to the attachment connections. Probably a good fifty percent of the connections had to be redesigned and manufactured as we were installing,” says Flach.

The most fascinating feature of this building is the ‘exoskeleton’ that landed it the nickname of scorpion tower. This structure was created from the imported GFRC elements and is partially load-bearing, demanding fewer support columns throughout the interior. The level of architectural engineering has put this high-profile project onto Impossible Builds, a program by The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).

The company’s list of recent projects continues to grow, with Tampa’s Moffitt Cancer Center, the University of Central Florida in Orlando, the Gulf Coast Medical Facility in Fort Myers, and the C-Vista office building in Riverview having been created.

The next big project stirring much excitement is the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.’s headquarters in Miami, Florida. “It is quite a unique project,” says Flach. Again, because of its lightweight nature and versatility, it will all be done in GFRC. While the planning process is still underway, this project will undoubtedly be another success.

It all began in 2006 when a precast manufacturer called A-Z Precast was bought out and became STABIL Concrete Products, LLC. The new managing director was Graeme Malloch, who pioneered the company’s entry into the architectural precast market. Its success quickly soared, and in 2007, it won a multi-million dollar project at Fort Benning, Georgia, where the team completed a project of thirty-three units. From there, the company has only gained speed.

Part of the company’s success can be ascribed to the fact that STABIL is known for keeping costs down as much as possible without letting quality suffer. Flach notes that its ability to work within clients’ budgets is due to the company’s experience in the field. “We are very adaptable and flexible,” he says. This, together with its skill and quality products has driven the company’s reputation.

STABIL’s growth has also been impressive, going from around twenty-eight employees in 2010 to just over 130 in 2020. And the trend is set to continue as the company is about to open a larger plant for its GFRC projects. This latest facility is the third of its kind in the company’s collection and will serve its largest projects.

Education is crucial for the growth of its labor force and the company sends selected employees to school to improve their career possibilities and, of course, the company’s capabilities. Part of its strategy ensures that the utmost quality is delivered throughout every project. To achieve and maintain this, it has a strict quality control program for which it also provides training.

Interestingly, Flach notes a shortage of quality carpentry. “The key behind any molded product, whether structural, precast, or GFRC, the moldwork is the key to the finished product,” he says. STABIL’s quality mold making is what elevates its work above what is commonly available in the construction industry today.

Here, safety comes first. And, like all companies who take the work seriously, STABIL is affiliated with the concrete industry and certified by the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) and the Florida Prestressed Concrete Institute for its work with both glass fiber reinforced concrete and its proprietary concrete formulas.

As it operates throughout Miami-Dade County, the company is also certified to ensure that its work there can safely withstand hurricane-force winds. This involves its materials passing extensive, independent laboratory testing before receiving what is known as a Notice of Acceptance.

All its work and dedication has landed the company several awards for innovation and design. One of these was the PCI Custom Solutions Award it received at the fifty-first annual PCI design awards ceremony in 2013. The Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute honored the company for its contribution to the Bell Tower project for the New College of Florida’s Jane Bancroft Cook Library in Sarasota, Florida.

However, STABIL Concrete Products, LLC is not just known for its achievements but is also well known for its charitable giving and for supporting society’s most vulnerable people. One of the causes closest to its heart is the St. Petersburg Rehabilitation Program, a collaboration with the county’s correctional system. The company contributes to this project by teaching skills to people in recovery and by supporting them in joining society again.

STABIL’s passion for growth and quality is obvious when speaking with Flach, but his own drive, alongside that of the company President H. Del Hight, became even clearer closer to the end of our conversation. When asked about what the future holds for STABIL, he alluded to retirement but admits to absolutely loving what he does and said that he might give it another five years or so. While the choice is his, there is something very powerful about such commitment.

Moving ahead, its industry is set to expand significantly. Flach forecasts that GFRC will fast become more popular internationally. While the product fell into relative obscurity since trials on the material started in the late fifties, experimentation did not stop. Today, its formulation is stronger and more reliable than other popular alternatives.

Thanks to the durability, sustainability, and the vast possibilities that its materials bring to architectural design and sculpture, STABIL Concrete Products, LLC will keep growing. And, with its passion and drive, this company will transform architectural projects in the American Southeast for decades to come.

From Here to There

Throughout history, humans have been limited by simple logistics – how to get from here to there? For thousands of years, venturing out of one’s village required braving wild and rugged terrain. Travel was inherently dangerous. Roads were rough and rudimentary, if there were any at all.

October 1, 2020, 11:52 AM EDT