L. Harbert International was the main contractor and project manager for the new US Embassy campus in Bluff Hill completed earlier this year. Their client for the project was the U.S. Department of State through the Bureau of Overseas Building Operations. Their partners were AECOM – the Design Architects – with Page being the Architects of Record. B. L. Harbert International, LLC, is a construction company based in Birmingham, Alabama, with an additional offices in Atlanta, Greenville, Houston, Huntsville, Nashville, Washington D.C., London, U.K., and Dubai, U.A.E.
The original Harbert Construction Company was founded in 1949 by brothers John and Bill Harbert, along with Ed Dixon. Since the beginning the company has prided itself on its decentralised decision-making and management operating philosophy. This has led to the formation of two distinct operating groups, the U.S. Group and the International Group. The U.S. Group has four separate sectors, Industrial, Federal, Commercial and Healthcare.
Focusing on these markets has enabled the company to develop specific skill sets to serve the needs of their clients. The company is the 23rd ranked green contractor in the U.S. according to Engineering News Record (ENR) and is ranked the top contractor for green government office buildings. They have over 45 LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Accredited Professionals and have completed over US$4 billion in green construction.
The U.S. division undertakes the preconstruction, general construction, construction management, and designbuild services of office buildings, apartment buildings, institutional buildings, healthcare facilities, churches, industrial facilities, and water and wastewater treatment plants. The international arm of B. L. Harbert began operations in 2000 under the leadership of Billy L. Harbert. The company was founded as the Harbert International division of Harbert Corporation.
The company’s in depth and diversified experience in all sectors of the building industry means that they are able to provide top quality, sustainable and highly professional projects across the globe, including in some of the most remote corners of the world. The company prides itself on their efforts to immerse themselves in local cultures and contribute to the welfare of local communities wherever they are undertaking new projects.
They hire workers from the local workforce and by training them and refining their abilities provide them with life skills that they will be able to use long after the project is completed and the company has moved on. One of their stated goals is to leave behind not only a world-class structure but also a local population that has a positive view of the United States. The company states that, ”At B. L. Harbert International, we build much more than structures. We build safe environments and eco-friendly solutions in the communities in which we work.
Most importantly, we build strong relationships that allow us to build anything, anywhere. We are a design-build and construction firm serving clients throughout the U.S. and around the world. No matter the job, we go beyond building.” Since 2000 their portfolio has included projects in more than 40 different countries. Throughout the world, B. L. Harbert employs over 7,000 people and typically has over 40 projects underway at all times. All of their work is built to the most stringent U.S. specifications and standards regarding safety and sustainability.
During the construction of the NEC (New Embassy Campus) employment was created for over 1,700 local Zimbabweans contractors, artisans and labourers many of whom were equipped with new skills and expertise and trained in improved working methods. There were many other downstream employment opportunities created in areas like transportation, catering and accommodation for visiting expat specialists and advisers. B. L. Harbert has both the personnel and the resources to perform most types of general construction work, including site work, concrete forming and placement, mechanical/electrical/plumbing (MEP) systems, and architectural and interior finishes. In addition they have mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineering professionals who can manage the entire process from in-house estimating, engineering and procurement, to staffing, managing, and supervising labour.
All their construction projects begin with thorough planning and close communication between the key parties during the Pre-construction phase. During this stage B. L. Harbert can provide Project Budget Estimating, Value Analysis, Project Bid Package Development, Bid Analysis and Scheduling. text by Michael Nott B. L. Harbert International …providing the design-build services for the new U. S. Embassy in Harare 9 B. L. Harbert has also over the years developed a strong, global network of architects, engineers and suppliers to collaborate on projects anywhere in the world.
They also have a great deal of experience and know-how in the areas of materials procurement and logistics. They have their own in house logistics centre that controls and regulates the delivery of materials and equipment ensuring that whatever is needed is available when and where it’s required to ensure that all their projects run smoothly and efficiently. In the interests of the welfare of their work force BL Harbert International places great emphasis on safety and adhere to stringent American safety regulations on all their projects.
The company has stated, “Planning for safety, being sensitive to our environment, properly training, equipping and empowering our workforce, and holding each other accountable for safety is essential to our overall success.” Among their many accolades, in 2017, 2015, 2013 and 2012 the company won the Platinum STEP Award for Associated Builders and Contractors and in 2014 they won the National Safety Excellence Award. These are just a few of the awards they have garnered over the years. The new embassy complex shows several aspects of B.L. Harbert’s commit to sustainable, green building practices which include integrating energy- and water-efficient systems.
The campus includes a 240 kVA solar power array which meets most of the campus’ needs. Where possible natural ventilation has been designed to reduce reliance on air conditioning and good use is made of natural ambient lighting. The campus has a sophisticated water recycling plan whereby grey water is re-used for irrigation and they have incorporated a system of drainage and retaining ponds to harvest storm water runoff.
While some construction companies are hesitant to adopt green building designs and practices B. L. Harbert has embraced the move towards more environmentally friendly construction. B. L. Harbert won the bid for the project and started construction on the NEC in August 2015 and the project was completed in December 2018 with the Embassy staff taking occupancy in January this year. The company will maintain a Zimbabwean presence for around another year to deal with any snags that may arise and to fulfil their warrantee.
B.L. Harbert International From Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia B.L. Harbert International, LLC Type: Private Industry: Construction Founded 2000 as BL Harbert International Headquarters: Birmingham Alabama, USA Key people: Billy L. Harbert, President and Chief Executive Officer R. Alan Hall, Chief Financial Officer Revenue: $1.25 Billion USD (2017) Number of employees: 7,000 (2017) Website: www.blharbert.com BL Harbert is an Equal Opportunity Employer: Minorities / Females / Veterans / Disabilities