subscribe to ENR magazine subscribe
contact us
careers industry jobs
events events
Dodge Data & Analytics
ENR Logo
Web access will be provided
as part of your subscription.

Schuff Makes Major Moves To Expand Steel Work in Panama

Text size: A A
[ Page 1 of 2 ]
Photo Courtesy of Schuff International, Inc.
Concrete is the primary building material in all of Latin America, including Panama, but builders are starting to take advantage of steel on some projects, such as Torre V, a high-rise office building.
----- Advertising -----

When the largest steel fabrication and erection company in the U.S. began looking for opportunities for growth, it expanded its horizons beyond the border.

"We could sense a slowdown in the U.S., so we started looking overseas," says Jay Allen, executive vice president of sales and engineering at Schuff International. "Panama made sense since it is a gateway to all of Latin America."

Five years ago, Phoenix-based Schuff completed the first high-rise steel structure in Panama, the Torre V, located in the Costa del Este section of Panama City.

Schuff's entrance into the Panamanian market coincides with the Central American country's dramatic building boom. While the demand for high-rise residential buildings has peaked, interest in tall commercial structures continues to be strong.

Schuff has built several more steel high-rise structures in Panama and also is involved in other high-profile jobs, such as Caterpillar's Panama City training facility and the ongoing retrofit of the Bridge of the Americas, which spans the Panama Canal's Pacific entrance.

Strategic Partnerships

Schuff galvanized its commitment to Panama in 2011, when it formed Schuff Hopsa Engineering Inc., a joint venture with the Panamanian firm Empresas Hopsa S.A., to provide steel fabrication services throughout Central America.

Today, Hopsa retains a 51% stake and controls the management of the new company, while Schuff oversees the operations side. The move gave Schuff the use of the largest steel fabrication plant in Panama, a 52,000-sq-ft facility that opened in 2009 in Chilibre, just outside Panama City.

The plant provides a savings on steel fabrication costs for Schuff's regional projects, but there are limits to the capacity, Allen says. As a result, Schuff continues to produce a portion of the steel for the firm's Panama projects at one of the firm's 10 U.S. fabrication facilities.

While it is unlikely steel will soon supplant concrete—the primary building material in all of Latin America, including Panama—the metal offers advantages to builders on specific types of projects, such as large commercial structures. As the building boom in Panama continues, the interest in steel is likely to grow, materials experts say.


[ Page 1 of 2 ]
----- Advertising -----
  Blogs: ENR Staff   Blogs: Other Voices  
Critical Path: ENR's editors and bloggers deliver their insights, opinions, cool-headed analysis and hot-headed rantings
Project Leads/Pulse

Gives readers a glimpse of who is planning and constructing some of the largest projects throughout the U.S. Much information for pulse is derived from McGraw-Hill Construction Dodge.

For more information on a project in Pulse that has a DR#, or for general information on Dodge products and services, please visit our Website at

Information is provided on construction projects in following stages in each issue of ENR: Planning, Contracts/Bids/Proposals and Bid/Proposal Dates.

View all Project Leads/Pulse »

 Reader Comments:

Sign in to Comment

To write a comment about this story, please sign in. If this is your first time commenting on this site, you will be required to fill out a brief registration form. Your public username will be the beginning of the email address that you enter into the form (everything before the @ symbol). Other than that, none of the information that you enter will be publically displayed.

We welcome comments from all points of view. Off-topic or abusive comments, however, will be removed at the editors’ discretion.