At Brooks Construction, it’s all about concrete. Concrete homes, concrete foundations, concrete dyes, concrete sealer, decorative concrete, concrete countertops, poured walls, concrete repair and restoration – the list goes on. If you need concrete work done, chances are that Brooks Construction can handle the job. And they’re constantly improving their skills with innovative concrete technology. Not only that, but they’ll use their expertise to craft the concrete so it’s structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing.
“We make things pretty,” quips Ray Brooks, 61, owner of the full-service Sioux Falls construction company since 1986. “We also have much more experience than everyone else, so that gives us a leg up in the industry.”
From Barracks to Foundations
Brooks Construction launched in 1946. Ray’s dad, Bill, started the company after returning from World War II. Bill had spent time building barracks while in the service. When he came back to South Dakota, he needed a job, so he delved into construction.
“Dad got a business established, and he was the first to do two-sided wall forms in South Dakota. His Air Guard buddies were around when he needed extra hands,” says Ray. “After that, everyone started following what Dad was doing and local construction took off.”
Ray and his friend John Kleinschmit purchased the business from Bill in 1986, but John is now retired, leaving Ray the sole owner. When needed, John emerges from retirement to help with estimating. As a family business, Ray’s daughter, Jeni, is also involved with estimating. “Maybe someday, she’ll take this over,” he says with a chuckle.
Making Concrete Beautiful
Now with 42 full-time employees, Brooks Construction does both residential and commercial concrete construction – including parking lots, retaining walls, and industrial farm jobs.
Ray specializes in decorating, engraving, stamping, and stenciling concrete. In fact, he was the first to stamp in South Dakota after receiving training in California.
Innovative Concrete Technology in Domes
Currently, Brooks Construction is focused on building concrete domes. This division of the company is known as KingDome Builders, and it uses a type of concrete technology that makes these unique structures incredibly useful for multiple reasons.
“We’re building domes for God’s kingdom, which is the meaning behind the name,” explains Ray.
Imagine living in a perfectly round concrete dome, that is weather and tornado-proof, as well as provides protection against rodents and bugs. There are no shingles to worry about and heating and cooling costs are minimal. If they prefer, homeowners are given the option to finish and customize the interior themselves. Cool factor: the man-made rock used to build these domes glows in the dark. This is some truly innovative concrete technology, and Ray sees it as revolutionary for home construction.
“Domes are the homes of the future,” says Ray. “They aren’t for everyone, but they are truly unique. They are also great for schools and churches. If you use them for schools, you can get some FEMA money because they’re such safe structures.”
Walk Through a Dome Home
At Brooks Construction’s headquarters at 27081 Sundowner Ave., there is a 442 square-foot dome on display. “It’s our cute little one-bedroom dome home,” says Ray, “but don’t let its cuteness fool you, its round shape makes it incredibly strong.”
Ray says there are many ways that people can make the domes their own. They can customize the height of the dome by adding more floors; they can customize the windows; and they can customize the concrete by bricking it, stoning it, or painting it.
The model that Brooks Construction is using to build the homes comes from the Monolithic Dome Institute, where you can find more information. Their innovative concrete technology has been used for buildings ranging from massive convention and sports arenas to small single-family homes.
“The domes are found in every country around the world. In Texas, they’ve built hundreds of them. It’d be great to buy acres of land here and develop a dome community with sturdy, affordable housing,” says Ray.
Innovative Concrete Technology Changes Work Stability
During the winter, Ray says that work slows down for his team. However, with domes, once you get the air form up, you can work inside the rest of the time. The dome projects will be instrumental in keeping his team busy during the off-season.
“These are basically like bomb shelters. No one can see in, and no one can break into them,” says Ray. “The Pantheon in Rome is a dome, and it’s one of the longest surviving buildings in the world. They are the structures of the future. You could put them on the moon – that might be my next stop!”
When Ray isn’t conquering his next project, he can be found boating, fishing, golfing, and traveling. He also enjoys spending as much time as possible with his wife, Lisa, and their two daughters and three granddaughters.
“The most important thing that you need is your family,” says Ray. “What I love about these domes is they keep your family secure.”
Click here to schedule a tour of the demo dome or by calling 605-368-5447.