– By Corinna Petry
“Strength and versatility harmonize as one firm ties together proven prefab steel technologies to produce stunning results”
Many people might hear the words “prefab steel construction” and lapse into a brief nap or perhaps they picture boxy, uninspiring structures like parking garages with metal garage doors, colorless warehouses or, at best, a Farm and Fleet store. But a 12-year-old company has exploded the myth of ugly when it comes to prefabricated steel structures. Founded in 2004, Ecosteel has made a name for itself by partnering with high-end architects and developers to complete commercial and residential projects—each one with an original look and feel and built to survive fires, floods, hurricanes and earthquakes. This summer, wildfires in the West, especially across California and Nevada, charred scores of homes and businesses.
President Joss Hudson explains that Ecosteel simply used existing steel building technologies—structural erection, framing, roofing, insulated panels, cladding, trims, finishes and more—and developed an efficient system that packages them together in new and interesting ways. “We take what was used for industrial construction for decades and make it beautiful.” Lead times from steel fabrication shops are significantly shorter than material delivery typically experienced with competing building methods. Erectors assemble and finish projects in weeks, not months.
Ecosteel didn’t need to reinvent the wheel, says Hudson. The Newport Beach, California-based firm works with numerous North American contractors and subcontractors (fabricators and erectors) that are already certified and licensed in steel construction. “We aren’t building a new thing; we just have a more refined way to install it.” As for the materials and methods, “We are taking proven industrial and commercial-grade components in aircraft and commercial refrigeration [among other applications] and bringing them into the architectural realm and to custom home-building.”