It’s hot. No, it’s Africa hot. Members of the South Central Wall and Ceiling Plaster Association are working with Walls & Ceilings’ staff to corral fellow association colleague Keith Frazier for a photo op. We’re in New Orleans before noon and the sun—mixed with the humidity—makes for an unpleasant weather cocktail. Regardless, Frazier is a trooper and acts stoic as we wait for the right photo opportunity. What seems like quite a while lasts minutes and the team is able to get this done quickly from the Canal St. location where the shot is taken.
Attendees at the annual SCWCPA event know Frazier as a regular. He serves as COO at Southwest Lath & Plaster, of Garland, Texas. The company, ran by Roger (CEO) and Susan (President) Burke, specializes in commercial design/build construction projects showcasing its expertise in traditional and Venetian plasters, stone and thin brick. Southwest Lath & Plaster also prides itself on having in-house AWCI-certified “EIFS Smart” applicators. The company was founded in 1985 and currently employs 40.
Frazier has responsibility for all company operations, including estimating and project management. A 30-year veteran, he began working for a friend’s dad that was involved in the trades. He started off as a scaffold builder and lather, moving to job supervision and project management. He is equally experienced, and has managed small to high dollar projects including commercial, government and medical. Frazier is also an “EIFS Smart” certified applicator, as well as “Green Advantage Certified” and has managed LEED projects.
Like other contractors, both in Texas and the rest of the country, Southwest Lath & Plaster experienced the recession and today Frazier describes business as average.
“We are far better than a great many states out there,” Frazier says. “We look for work in many places that others don’t go. We can get projects that are more profitable.”
The company is willing to travel as far as 200 miles away to work on a project. Southwest Lath & Plaster are true plasterers, which Frazier considers the company’s niche. The subcontractor’s outlook for the rest of the year is great, he says.
Although he doesn’t particularly enjoy estimates, Frazier does say the most rewarding aspect of the job for him is, “Taking a piece of paper and turning it into a building.”
Southwest Lath & Plaster’s goal is, in Frazier’s words, to make $5 million annually and to keep its crew working consistently.
While at the show, the SCWCPA named Southwest Lath & Plaster’s work on the Harmony School of Business as “Best Exterior Commercial EIFS” project. The company was subcontracted to do the EIFS and scaffolding (which was 1,680 frames erected by staff). The Harmony School of Business will be a four-building campus that will be constructed in two phases. Phase 1 will consist of three 15,700 square feet of classroom buildings. Phase 2 will consist of a 14,400-square-foot building that will house the gym and cafeteria. The three classroom buildings will be two-story buildings and connected with enclosed walkways.
For the EIFS, Southwest Lath & Plaster applied Parex’s Teifs Weathertight VNT system. The system provides water-resistive barrier and means of drainage.
“This system is superior in that the water-resistive barrier is liquid applied, which means less chance of rips and tears,” says Ed Hiller, CSI, CDT, regional manager of South Central with Parex USA. “This liquid-applied WRB also acts as an air barrier allowing for climate control systems to operate more efficiently. Means of drainage is achieved through vertical ribbons of adhesive providing a larger drainage plane for incidental moisture.”
Southwest Lath & Plaster applied 65,000 square feet of EIFS for the Harmony Schools project.
“On all projects, the foreman on-site makes or breaks a job,” says Frazier. “We happen to have an incredible foreman that made the finish product come alive.”
Project: Harmony School of Business, Houston
Owner: Cosmos Foundation Houston
Architect/Designer: Heights Venture Architects Houston
Applicator: Southwest Lath & Plaster, Garland, Texas
Manufacturer: Parex USA
Product: Teifs Weathertight VNT system
Square Footage Installed of EIFS: 63,612 square feet of walls and 5,353 linear feet of architectural shapes