Pres-T-Con Ltd.

Pres-T-Con Ltd. has spread its services around the Caribbean. Whether for large buildings, deep foundations, bridges or marinas, Pres-T-Con has been designing, manufacturing and installing precast/pre-stressed concrete products throughout the Caribbean since 1966. In addition to the Caribbean, the company works as far south as northeastern South America and as far north as the Bahamas and the Virgin Islands.

“In the Caribbean, we are one of the largest pre-stressed concrete manufacturers and piling contractors,” CEO Jan Landreth-Smith says. “We manufacture precast/pre-stressed concrete products – piles, beams, hollow core slabs, girders, solid slabs, pile cap tubs, etc. – for buildings, bridges, marinas, jetties and docks. We also do deep-pile – pre-stressed concrete, steel and continuous flight auger piles – foundations for large structures like petrochemical plants and heavy industries.

“I believe our experience, solution-oriented team, and ability to design, manufacture and install our products gives us an edge over competitors,” Landreth-Smith continues. “Most of the other pre-stressed concrete manufacturers normally only manufacture and they have other people deal with the installation. I think that idea of a one-stop shop is a big selling point for us.

“I think the idea of a client coming to one person to do all of the major structural precast/pre-stressed concrete components is quite an advantage and a good selling point for us,” he continues.

Pres-T-Con operates out of two facilities. Its manufacturing facility, which sits on 20 acres, has the capacity to manufacture 4,000 cubic yards of precast/pre-stressed concrete per month. It also maintains a marine docking facility, which includes an equipment yard that holds all of Pres-T-Con’s construction equipment, such as piling rigs, piling hammers and cranes. From the dock, the company also exports its products to various job sites in the region.

The company also maintains its own transportation fleet and line of 20 cranes for land and marine projects. It also has 12 piling rigs ranging from 30 to 165 tons to install deep foundation piles.

Utilizing this equipment and its capabilities, Pres-T-Con has been recognized as one of the leaders in marina facilities. Landreth-Smith says the company has been involved in most of the large marinas in the Caribbean, including marinas for mega-yachts. Some of the company’s recently completed marina projects are Falmouth Harbour Marina, Catamaran Club Marina, Antigua Yacht Club Marina, Yacht Haven Marina and Rodney Bay Marina.

Challenges at Sea

Because Pres-T-Con has vast capabilities and equipment, its services are in demand in its region. But because water dominates the area, Landreth-Smith says a major challenge for the company is logistics. “Many times – compared to smaller islands – Trinidad and Tobago is quite a developed island in the Caribbean, due to the construction, oil, gas and petrochemical industries,” he notes. “Therefore, the experience of our personnel, plants and equipment is comparable to major developed countries.

“Development of products for projects on the smaller islands may be constrained due to their existing smaller facilities, plants and equipment coupled with the experience level of their personnel to undertake some projects,” Landreth-Smith continues. “So we either have to install our products ourselves or give them assistance instead of just getting our products there.”

Another challenge – the economy – is spurring Pres-T-Con to take a look at its operations to identify areas where it can be more economical. The company has made adjustments to reduce cost and become more efficient and productive.

“It is our view that this global economic crisis has been a lot deeper and longer than most people expected,” Landreth-Smith notes. “As a result, it was necessary for us to make adjustments, including taking downsizing and cost reduction measures to keep our competitive edge.

“Like all other crises in our time, this will come to an end. And when it does, we’re making sure we’re in gear and ready to turn around so we’re not flat-footed. Even in these times of cost reduction measures, it’s imperative for us to maintain our critical personnel and professional staff.”

Scrutinizing its operations will allow Pres-T-Con to take advantage of new developments and types of projects when the economy rebounds. “When you are busy, you tend not to be as productive as you should be, so we’re presently looking at our procedures, practices and systems to see how we can make them more efficient,” Landreth-Smith remarks. “When you slow down like this, it gives you that opportunity to stand back and look at your processes, procedures and systems to see how we can best retool them and make them better.”

International Spotlight

In 2007, Pres-T-Con completed work on the large International Waterfront Centre project in Trinidad and Tobago’s capital city, Port of Spain. Pres-T-Con was contracted by Bouygues Batiment for just more than $7 million. The project was part of the government’s goal of making the island a developed country by 2020.

Pres-T-Con designed, manufactured and installed 180,000 linear feet of pre-stressed concrete piles and for two 27-story office towers, a 22-story hotel and ballroom, and a parking garage, which called for 252,000 square feet of pre-stressed concrete hollow core slabs. “One of the reasons we were best for the project is that we were able to design, manufacture and install our products, and our clients appreciated that concept,” Landreth-Smith says.

But working on the waterfront in the capital city provided challenges, which Pres-T-Con was able to mitigate. “Logistically, we had 2,500 piles that were between 70 and 85 feet long, and transporting them on the road was challenging,” Landreth-Smith explains. “We had to transport them from our facility to the downtown area, so logistics were a problem, as far as the transportation. The site was a very congested site, so we had four piling rigs piling simultaneously, and we were constantly making sure the project was safe and productive.”

Landreth-Smith was proud to complete such a large project with no incidents. The project’s scope included:

  • Two office towers, totaling approximately 885,000 square feet;
  • Hyatt Regency hotel and ballroom tower with 409,000 square feet; and
  • The largest conference center in the English-speaking Caribbean, totaling 55,000 square feet.

Despite working on such a large development, Pres-T-Con emerged unscathed. “We successfully completed the project with no major incidents or injuries, which is very important to us,” Landreth-Smith says. “We’re very focused on safety, quality control and productivity.” The new center is a milestone project for Trinidad and Tobago.

“The Port of Spain International Waterfront Centre is testament to the burgeoning development of our twin-island nation,” its Urban Development Corporation states. “With only two new major developments constructed in Port of Spain in the past 10 years, the International Waterfront Centre [is] the brand-new hallmark of an ever-evolving Port of Spain – a city already established as a significant regional centre for trade, commerce and industry.”

Trinidad Tradition

Pres-T-Con was founded in 1966 by John and Ann Wood to manufacture pre-stressed concrete for the construction industry. In 2006, the company was purchased by Neal and Massy Holdings Ltd. In Neal and Massy’s 80 years, it says it has developed a reputation for integrity and fair play.

That mentality meshes well with Landreth-Smith’s way of operating and the advice he passes on to the next generation of leaders in the industry. “It’s critical to keep your core values of integrity, professionalism and pride,” he states.

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