Fireguard invests $1.5m in new manufacturing plant

Expansion increases efficiencies
Wednesday, June 2, 2010

GLEN BURNIE, Md.—The Fireguard Corporation announced May 25 that its $1.5 million upgrade, expansion and relocation of its fabrication facility is complete.

Manufacturing your own sprinkler equipment “helps with quality control,” said Michael Bonanni, Fireguard VP. “We’re one of the few in the market that maintains a fabrication facility. The alternative is to sub out that piece and from our perspective that means you lose an element of control.”

“We also purchase materials in bulk which brings operational savings,” he said. And because sprinkler installation is a construction-based business, “schedules are subject to change, and having that critical piece in-house allows us to react more quickly, and make changes to systems as project changes dictate.”

Bonanni said the location here enables quick delivery and efficient routing to its customers in Maryland and elsewhere in the Mid Atlantic region, including Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, Virginia, Delaware and West Virginia.

In business since 1973, Fireguard is a private company with 100 employees. Fireguard works closely with many large general contractors including Clark, Donohoe, James G. Davis and Whiting-Turner.

Its business is divided into two divisions. The construction side encompasses all of its sprinkler construction and installation business and makes up about 70 percent of the company’s revenues. The service division makes up the rest, Bonanni said.

The construction division is strictly sprinklers, but Fireguard’s service division does testing and inspection for sprinklers, fire alarms and fire extinguishers.

Like others in the fire business, Fireguard has made an effort in recent years to increase its service business. This effort began about five or six years ago. “And it’s become an incrementally larger percentage of the overall operation,” Bonnani said. Service represented only five- to 10 percent of the business in 2005.

The added service revenue comes in handy during the current decline in construction, but Fireguard’s emphasis on service and decision to invest in its fabrication facility are forward-looking decisions, he said.

“Construction is beginning to pick up and when it does, this investment will help us continue to be more efficient and productive.”