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i'm probably sure you did all this, but i'll ask anyway.
1. you've "su"ed into root?
2. did you "cd" to where the *.src.rpm is at?
3. when you did specify the directory path, is the directory path using long filenames and did you put quotes around the directory path if it is using long filenames?
4. you've typed the filename correctly?
Here's the easiest way. Install the .src.rpm. If you're using the root account, then it will default to placing the source tarball and any patches in /usr/src/redhat/SOURCES, and the spec file in /usr/src/redhat/SPECS. Now rpm -ba /usr/src/redhat/SPECS/<specfilename>.
Please note you don't need to be root to build rpm's: http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/library/l-rpm2/
That's how I do it (I build a lot of custom rpm's), and it works well.
For an unprivileged user account make a subdir structure similar to /usr/src/redhat, copy over the rpmmacros and rpmrc, grant readonly access to the rpm database and you're set.
Also note marking rpm's executable is unnecessary as they're not executables.