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Brothers in Metal

By Mark Robins, Posted 02/28/2017

On-time project completion, safety, IMPs and communication

Eighty percent of what Plymouth, N.H.- based Riess Construction erects is metal buildings. Much of their success and work comes via installing insulated metal panels (IMPs) on them. Riess Construction coowners and brothers Mike and Rob Riess utilize IMPs' ability to offer materials savings, along with time and labor costs. The brothers use IMPs in new and retrofit applications for walls, ceilings and roofing for all types of architectural, commercial and industrial applications.

The Riess brothers say IMPs' foamed-in-place technology offers betters thermal efficiency than other panel types, and that this accounts for its growing usage in the buildings they erect. "As energy codes change, we are seeing more IMPs being used in both wall and roof applications due to the in-place R-value," says Mike Riess. "On a conventional metal building, you would put fiberglass insulation on it with a facing. When you go over the top of a purlin, bar joist or girt, when the siding and roofing attaches to it, it compresses the insulation. An IMP has 2-, 3-, 4- or 5-inches of foam, depending on what the owner wants. You are not compressing that foam, so you are getting a true R-value of the whole wall."

To install IMPs and other building components, Riess Construction owns its own fleet of equipment, something the Riess brothers say gives their company the advantage of having what they need when they need it. Owning eliminates the need to schedule crane rentals from other retailers. "Controlling our own schedule, we can ensure that the equipment will be in place when the crews need it," Rob Riess says. "We have the ability to remove it from the job site as soon as it is no longer needed. Also, employees find it is beneficial that they are trained on the actual piece of equipment that they are using in the field. We have seen an increase in safety and efficiency running [our own equipment] on more job sites."

Adding a 2000 TMS 540, 40-ton hydraulic truck crane with a boom length up to 152 feet to its fleet has been a big help to Riess Construction projects, which it uses depending on the building size. Using a Clad Boy and a Rota Boy (both metal panel-lifting devices from Crown Point, Ind.-based AutoMak Assembly Inc.) with their crane has sped up efficiency and aids safe operation. "Using a Clad Boy on the Littleton, N.H.-based Littleton Public Works garage roof, we were able to increase production and ensure the roof met new energy code changes," Rob says. "And, the Rota Boy's ability to set IMPs is awesome. This vacuum-cup machine will lift a panel off a pile and rotate it 180 degrees. Because the manufacturers deliver the panels one on top of each other, one [of them] needs to be flipped upside down. These panels can be up to 40 feet long and you just can't have enough manpower to movethem safely [manually]."

 

Riess Relationship

Fleet ownership is one way the Riess brothers overcome the biggest challenge they deal with on every project they work on: scheduling. This involves, "Balancing the schedule to transition from job site to job site on time," Mike says."Transitioning our fleet of equipment as needed to busy job sites and accommodating employee's ever-changing schedules; then throw in the unique, unpredictable, New Hampshire weather.

Constant communication between the brothers helps overcome difficult scheduling and other problems that arise at their company. It has been that way since working together at their parents' restaurant in Plymouth as teenagers. Having worked together for25 years, "One hand just knows what the other hand is doing," Mike says. "We have a unique relationship and we tag team things together." There was another Riess brother, Pat, who retired in 2013 and who helped start the company with Mike and Rob.

"Mike and Rob each oversee different aspects of the company," says Lori Cooper, office manager at Riess Construction. "They brought me on in the second year and they are incredible to work for. They each have their role and they don't sway from that role, so they don't step on each other's toes. Rob takes care of the steel sales, erection portion and the fleet. Mike takes care of the wood-framing, insulated metal panel and the foam paneling side. They strive to stay within those guidelines. They will also back each other up when there is a big bid to do."

 

Plymouth Roots

Being long-time Plymouth residents has not only given the company a solid territorial hometown base, but the company has also earned a reputation throughout New England for its outstanding service and quality. Ninety percent of its business is return clients and customers.

"It is impressive, the amount of people they know," says Cooper. "To work and live in a small town and have so many people respect them and return to Riess Construction project after project, year after year, is remarkable. I am always running across people who will say, 'Oh! I know the brothers,' and they will begin telling me stories of them when they were younger or a job they may have done for them in the past. To have the respect of the community after all these years ⎯I find that incredible⎯and that is one of the many reasons I enjoy working for them!"

Being a family-oriented business, the brothers know and appreciate that people like doing business with family-owned businesses. "[Customers] know they can talk to an owner who can make decisions, which my brother and I can do," says Rob. "We take great pride in shaking our customers' hands when we start a project and shaking their hand when we complete the project. We believe this philosophy is what has built the working relationships we have that continue to bring customers back to us job after job." Looking to the future, Riess Construction plans on continuing to update its fleet and bringing on new talent to work with its experienced crews to take on future endeavors.

 

Sidebar: Company Profile

Year Founded: 1998
Location: Plymouth, N.H.
Geographic Areas of Service: New Hampshire

Revenue:
2013 Total revenue: $1.7 million
2014 Total revenue: $1.9 million
2015 Total revenue: $1.9 million
2016 Total revenue: $2.9 million

Number of employees: 14

Management team:
Michael Riess, owner/member
Robert Riess, owner/member
Lori Cooper, office manager

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