Developing Safer, More Efficient Methods of Construction Using Prefabrication

Locke Solutions
Written by Jen Hocken

Locke Solutions designs and manufactures precast concrete structures used in underground utilities for commercial and industrial projects, and it also provides metal fabrication services. By designing and manufacturing concrete precast structures in its facility, the company can offer the construction world a more efficient way to complete a project. The precast method also creates a safer work environment for the workers on the construction site.
Locke Solutions has now moved into its new ultramodern facility in Houston with large manufacturing spaces to build precast structures. The new facility is located on seventeen acres of land and has a total of 57,856 square feet of space with 35,750 square feet of that specifically used for manufacturing. The building has a three overhead OMi Crane System that allows the company to produce enormous pieces of concrete inside the building, as the biggest crane can hold up to 100,000 pounds of concrete.

The facility also features a Mixers Systems mixer that can produce a batch of concrete of one and a half cubic yards every four minutes if necessary. All of this expansion has doubled the company’s capacity.

The expansion to a larger facility became necessary for Locke Solutions when the workspaces at the previous site were too cramped. The extra space has allowed the company to take full advantage of efficiency in its processes. “We have more storage area, which means we can keep more stock. The facility itself allows for a quicker turnaround, and I think that’s a big part of the reason it helps with customer satisfaction. Quicker turnaround, more storage, and more stock,” says Michael Luck, vice president of Locke Solutions.

Settling into a brand new location can be a challenge, and the staff has had to familiarize itself with the change of having much more space. The workflow has been completely reorganized to be efficient, and it is now running smoothly. “This building really allows us to maximize workflow, whereas at the old business, we were so cramped in there, and everybody was standing on top of each other. Here, we have so much room. We can spread out,” says Michael.

Locke Solutions works in the commercial and industrial construction markets. It has the necessary technical and manufacturing capabilities to focus on a variety of sectors and the flexibility to shift between them during fluctuations in market trends. Its specialties include power, communication, electrical, foundations, stormwater catch basins, stormwater quality filtration systems, manholes, sanitary sewer manholes, water lines, trench drains, and much more. The company aims to develop safer, more efficient and more valuable methods of construction using its prefabrication process.

The company is on a steady growth path and is expecting to grow more in the future with the labor shortage in the United States. The use of precast concrete structures drastically reduces both the required installation time on a project and the number of workers that are needed to carry it out. “We’ve seen a lot more growth in our industry. There’s a tighter labor market now, and according to ADP and Moody’s Analytics, one of the biggest things coming up is labor shortages, so using precast concrete or prefabrication materials helps with our customers’ labor issues,” says Michael.

Locke Solutions employs forty-nine people in the Houston area and is known for treating its staff members exceptionally well. It focuses heavily on helping its employees to improve their daily lives, achieve new goals, and build a great career. The company strongly believes in promoting from within and training employees to develop the leadership skills necessary to enable them to move up the ladder. This philosophy is a valuable asset for any employee who is looking to grow with the company and establish a stable career.

Another advantage is that all employees receive annual bonuses based on the company’s overall performance, which is a great strategy to ensure that the entire team is working towards the success of the company and its customers. It also increases morale and leads to a positive working environment when all employees feel appreciated for their hard work.

Locke Solutions has a rigorous internal safety program to ensure that proper safety precautions are taken every day, and it regularly updates the program to include any new potential problem areas. The safety manager and assistant safety manager conduct weekly safety seminars to remind all employees of the importance of safety and returning home at the end of the day unscathed.

The company is aware that its employees are extremely valuable, not only to the company but also to their families back at home. The safety managers provide extensive safety training at each of the operations for both new employees and existing employees who are transitioning between departments. Employees are encouraged to pursue different positions within the company, and keeping them fulfilled and engaged in the operation improves work quality.

The company received recognition for its safety efforts in 2017 by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) which gave the company its Safety Training Evaluation Process (STEP) Award. The award is given to companies that demonstrate a regular commitment to training and improving job site safety. Another achievement was the sustainability award from the National Precast Concrete Association (NPCA) in 2017.

Five Corners Management District – named after the Five Corners area of Houston in which Locke Solutions is based – presented the company with a beautification award as well as a business recognition award. The business recognition award was given to the company for its efforts in making the community cleaner, greener, and safer.

“Our purpose is to create a profitable and thriving business built on our core values, allowing us to make a positive impact for our families and communities while providing rewarding and challenging careers to our team,” says Michael. These core values are integrity, service, quality, and, finally, employee development, because the people who make up the company are the biggest advantage in leading it to success. These values represent the foundation of the company and are encouraged and lived every day.

Locke Solutions is a customer-focused company and is heavily invested in the development of the careers and lives of its employees. It achieves the highest quality of products and service, and it is leading the precast structure industry in the region since it is difficult for other companies to compete. The relatively young company will continue to develop new designs and incorporate new technology to create continually safer and more efficient methods of building.



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