Success Stories


Modeling a Miami Tower

CMC (Commercial Metals Company) leverages aSa ProRebar to develop reinforcing and to collaborate with other project stakeholders.

On the 28th floor of a skyscraper in Miami, a three-story belt truss encircles the building like a snake. In fact, the diagonal pattern of the concrete even looks like a serpent’s markings. Inside that truss is an intricate conglomeration of structural steel surrounded by reinforced concrete. Beams converge on columns from various angles, and it is all reinforced with grade 100 size 18 (2.25”) reinforcing bar connected with grade 100 couplers.

“It’s the most complicated thing I have ever detailed,” says H.V. Nawlin, who has been detailing rebar since 1980. H.V., Senior Detailer for Commercial Metals Company (CMC), worked on the project’s beam and truss reinforcing. He explains how aSa ProRebar was a huge asset to the project. “With 3D, you can see everything,” says H.V. He continues, “With 2D detailing, (bar entry) is mostly entering numbers. With a 3D model, you physically change the length of the bar and instantly see the results.” ProRebar is a detailing package that combines Bentley ProConcrete, a powerful 3D modeling engine, with special aSa tools designed for rebar fabricators and placing firms. 

830 Brickell, as the project is known, is a 57-story mixed-use commercial building in the heart of downtown Miami. CMC won the reinforcing contract in January of 2020, and detailing began later that year. The structural phase of the project is scheduled to finish in summer 2022. 

H.V. says the project is truly a collaboration. For example, he was able to reference the structural steel model into his working ProRebar model. This allowed him to visualize the placement of rebar in relation to the massive structural components. 

“At one point, I used the model to show the engineer that changes needed to be made because the material physically would not fit otherwise,” says H.V. For four months during the belt truss phase of the project, H.V. and CMC Project Manager Horacio Salazar met with the engineer, structural steel supplier, and contractor every week to collaborate. The meetings consisted primarily of reviewing 3D models together, H.V. notes.

In addition to being complex, the detailing also had to be very accurate. Bars could not be cut in the field, and all connections were made with mechanical couplers; therefore, every bar length had to be detailed and fabricated with precision. 
“With grade 100 size 18 and 11 bar and couplers, material supply was also a challenge,” says Jed Swanson, CMC Rebar’s Florida Area Detailing Manager. Horacio worked with the detailing and production teams, as well as vendors supplying mechanical couplers, to ensure that stock material and couplers were released months ahead to be available in time to fabricate and install. Extra planning and coordination were required to ensure that delays to the project were avoided.

Jed notes that most of the steel for 830 Brickell is being supplied by CMC’s Fort Lauderdale plant, but some material has also shipped from CMC Rebar in Fort Myers and in Tampa based on other projects’ requirements and scheduling demands. To date, CMC has supplied steel for the first 35 of the building’s 57 levels. In all, Jed expects CMC will provide 15,000 to 16,000 tons of rebar.

Despite the building’s complexity and congestion, CMC’s detailers and aSa ProRebar are meeting the challenge. With concrete poured for over half the building, H.V. is proud to note that not a single detailing error has been reported. 

Utah fabricator keeps the big picture in focus


Western States recently supplied — and Rocky Mountain installed — reinforcing for a 5,000-ton wastewater treatment plant in Salt Lake City.

It only makes sense that Western States Rebar invests in its employees. After all, the employees are also the owners. According to company President, Micah Bodily, Western States takes pride in being an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) company.

In fact, the company’s dedication to employee success goes beyond stock ownership. “Any employee who works on a project — from the project manager, to detailers, shop workers, and placers – gets a piece of that job’s profits,” explains Micah. This project-specific compensation is over and above each employee’s regular pay, and in many cases, especially with key employees, makes up a substantial portion of their compensation, he adds.

Another unique quality of Western States, according to Micah, is the company’s focus on improving the reinforcing industry as a whole. For example, Detailing Manager Kelly Foster works with local trade schools and was instrumental in Davis Technical College (Layton, UT) adding rebar detailing to its CAD curriculum. Additionally, Western States’ employees serve on several CRSI committees and sponsor a scholarship for students interested in the rebar field.

Western States owns its own placing business, Rocky Mountain Rebar. Detailing Manager Kelly Foster talks about the importance of integration, saying, “I have spent my entire career arguing that a successful rebar operation needs to be integrated — not contractually separated by fabricator-only companies; installers or placing companies; and overseas or contract detailing companies. While I realize that not all owners have the ability or desire to be fabricator-installers under one roof, the fact remains that integration is the key to a successful operation.”

Kelly continues, “Shops have to be willing to adjust fabrication occasionally to improve on the cost or effectiveness of installation, and the field has to be willing to adjust their installation process to increase the shop’s fabrication. aSa software allows us to do this.” In 2019, Western States installed aSa reinforcing and Rebar Financials modules. Micah explains the decision to implement aSa. “We grew to the point where it was too disjointed to manage operations with spreadsheets. It was time to move to something different, and we knew that aSa was an integrated system,” he says, adding, “We have been very pleased.”

Kelly says Rocky Mountain Rebar is excited to be an early test site for ADDA software, an AutoCAD-based 3D BIM solution represented by aSa in North America (see story on page 11). “(ADDA) adds yet another option into the modeling atmosphere. It addresses the needs of the thousands of AutoCAD users, and students being trained in AutoCAD as well.  Additionally, ADDA is fully integrated into the other aSa modules and systems,” Kelly notes.

A statement on Western States’ website provides a clear summary of the company’s values: “We love what we do and feel it shows in our product and work.”





aSa solutions help Florida fabricator with inventory and more

“We can now take inventory in hours rather than days. Because it’s just a matter of scanning tags, all of our employees can help with inventory,” says R&R Rebar's CFO Mike Davis. The R&R shop is pictured above.  

R&R Rebar had humble origins. The company’s precursor, Quality Precast, began at the dining room table of husband and wife Vance and Sara Phelps in 1969, the same year that aSa was founded. And, like aSa, R&R is still a family-owned company dedicated to customer service. “We have the ability to meet our customers’ requirements, no matter how big or how small,” says Mike Davis, the company’s Chief Financial Officer. He adds, “We’ll ship anything from 1 ton to 1,000 tons,” he adds. R&R encourages a sense of ownership among employees by assigning a single detailer to follow a project through its entire life cycle.

R&R Rebar, the organization’s rebar division, was started by the founders’ sons, Robbie and Rick Phelps, in 1997. Additionally, the company has a third division, Quality Block and Supply.

While the company’s focus is its home state of Florida, R&R also ships reinforcing all over the country for certain customers. Recent projects include distribution warehouses, hospitals, apartment complexes, big box retailers, and more.  When Mike started working with R&R as a consultant in 2004, the company was using DOS aSa software to automate rebar operations, but its inventory and financial records were all on paper. After helping the company implement a software-based ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system, Mike was hired as a permanent employee in 2006.

In addition to managing financial records, he also oversees the company’s electronic data and software systems.

Over the years, Mike has worked with many aSa consultants on implementation and training projects. “We’ve been happy with the service,” says Mike. “We don’t have to call a lot, which speaks to the quality of aSa’s product. But when we do need help, aSa consultants have been really knowledgeable and helpful. They always get back to us quickly and get us working again,” he notes.

R&R is licensed for a variety of aSa modules, including Estimating, CAD/Detailing, Bar List, Scheduling, Production, Bundle Inventory, Material Tracking, and Load Tracking. Additionally, R&R employees use aSa Rebar Financials to manage project tracking tasks, and they upload data to their ERP system for back-end accounting.

aSa tracking modules were the company’s most recent addition (in 2019), and, according to Mike, among the most helpful. “Traceability is a big advantage. For example, we know when a truckload is complete and ready for shipment, so it doesn’t show up at the jobsite with a missing bundle. (aSa data) helps us solve customer disputes,” Mike says.

The ability to take physical inventory via barcode scans is another benefit, according to Mike. He points out, “We can now take inventory in hours rather than days. Because it’s just a matter of scanning tags, all of our employees can help with inventory.”

“Inventory counts are extremely accurate (with aSa Bundle Inventory). And if there’s a problem or discrepancy, we know exactly where to look,” he adds.


Managing multiple shops

aSa helps Farwest Steel general manager oversee enterprise level production.

A recent project of Farwest Steel, Rainier Tower is Seattle’s second tallest building at 850 feet.

Managing reinforcing production at five fabricating plants and servicing customers in 13 states, two countries, and the Pacific Rim can be a challenge. Fortunately for Jeff Estep, aSa is there to help. Jeff is General Manager for Farwest Steel and Western Coating, one of the largest independent steel suppliers in the western United States. He oversees all the divisions within the company that work with rebar. This includes fabricating, coating, and post-tensioning facilities, as well as a reinforcing installation group.

“I use aSa Scheduling to see what’s happening at each facility,” says Jeff. “It’s nice to have that visibility,” he adds. aSa Scheduling is a calendar-based planning tool. The system lets enterprise-level managers like Jeff see a breakdown of fabrication and delivery plans for each location within the larger company. As schedules and customer requirements change, the Scheduling screen updates in real-time.

Jeff says he also relies on aSa reports, particularly the Inventory Valuation report and the Sales by Product report, both from Rebar Financials. “I customize report options so I can see sales by product for each customer,” Jeff points out.

While Jeff’s focus is on Scheduling and Rebar Financials, other Farwest and Western Coating employees rely on nearly the full suite of aSa products to automate detailing, fabrication, tracking, and accounting tasks.

Jeff was first introduced to aSa 23 years ago. At the time, he worked for Western Coating, which was purchased by Farwest, an aSa customer since 1982. 

Although the company as whole, which includes structural and specialty steel product divisions, uses Oracle as its ERP system, Jeff and his colleagues realized years ago that Oracle wasn’t a great fit for the unique needs of reinforcing. Consequently, Farwest added Rebar Financials in 2008. “We were already using aSa at our warehouses, so it just made sense to implement Rebar Financials. The whole package ties together nicely,” Jeff says, adding “And we can still use Oracle for our company-wide GL accounting reports.”

“We have a great relationship,” says Jeff regarding Farwest and aSa. He notes that he, personally, serves on several Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute (CRSI) committees with members of aSa staff. “aSa is a good steward for the reinforcing steel industry. That’s something you don’t get with most associate vendors,” says Jeff.

Farwest was founded in 1956 by Dale Fisher. The company’s headquarters is in Eugene, Oregon, and Jeff works at the Vancouver, Washington, facility. Currently, Farwest has about 750 employees, with 200 in the reinforcing divisions. Jeff explains, “We have the resources of a large company, but we’re small enough to react to our customers’ needs.”