20 Years of Building Success May 24, 2016
High-Profile had the opportunity to interview Marty Barnes for insight on his company, Barnes Buildings & Management Group, Inc., during its 20th year celebration.
High-Profile: What circumstances led to the formation of Barnes Buildings?
Marty Barnes: In the early and mid 1990s, I could see two main factors playing out. No. 1: Engineered building systems were becoming a major player in the low-rise commercial marketplace due to their expanded design capabilities and flexibility, product selection, and, of course, they made economic sense. No. 2: Having worked previously in the manufacturing sector of the steel building business in the 1970s, and then as a general contractor in the 80s providing design-build services utilizing engineered steel building systems, I saw a necessity for a contracting source to provide the proper materials and erect the systems correctly as a contract package. This business had inherently been for a general contractor to purchase a cheap building and hire a low-cost erector, and it generally ended up a mess! The erector and the building company would blame each other for the debacle, and the contractor and owner ended up with unfulfilled expectations.
HP: Did the 2007 recession have an effect your business plan?
MB: 2008 through 2011 were very difficult times where we had to cut back substantially on everything, including making corporate investments. We did our best to hold onto our most valuable resource – our loyal, hardworking people, many of whom have been here since our early years! There were no real margins to be made, and we tightened the lines on our ship and rode it out.
HP: Who is your customer? That is, what are the owner needs that make a good match for your services?
MB: Most of our clientele is now repeat business, whether it be general contractors, developers, or business owners. These customers are often trying to determine the most cost-effective method to achieve the end result they desire, and we will work with them right from the early design stages to make it a reality! They also require their buying process to include excellent quality and fair value for their investment, and they know they can count on our commitment to honor that.
HP: In what sectors and territory has Barnes Buildings expanded?
MB: We, of course, originated from the pre-engineered buildings market and have expanded into what would be considered higher-end engineered buildings and also the insulated metal wall and roof panel products. One of our better investments was construction of our steel fabrication shop in Hanover, Mass., over eight years ago, which has enabled us to offer complete steel packages. We fabricate structural steel and miscellaneous iron at this facility, and my son Tony Barnes has done an excellent job of bringing that market along for us. We can offer and fulfill as a single source nearly all of our customers’ structural framing and envelope building requirements.
HP: Will you share with HP examples of projects you currently working?
MB: Edesia, Canton Ice Rink, Xaverian Brother’s High School Athletic facility.
HP: Are there architects or vendors that you work with fairly regularly?
MB: Our main building supplier is Metallic Building Company of Houston, Texas, our partner since the beginning, as well as Metlspan Corporation for our panel systems. We have a tremendous relationship with both of these companies, and we utilize that relationship factor when needed to meet customer demands with complex and fast-track projects. We have worked with a number of excellent architects and engineers throughout the years. Most recently, RKB Architects of Braintree, Mass., for Edesia; Pando Associates of Canton for Canton Ice; and Beacon Architectural of Boston for Xaverian.
HP: What do you see as the direction of Barnes Buildings in the near future and 20 years ahead?
MB: In the near term, we look forward to opening our new corporate office this summer, which will lead to some exciting company changes as we re-evaluate and expand our management team. As for the future, I envision our time-honored Barnes team driving our core mission forward with excellent customer service and continued success for all.
...Aside from your team’s steel erection abilities and pace, I also note that they are always safe, polite and respectable...Shawn R. Malloy