Quality Performance, Absolute Reliability
Massachusetts-based Knollmeyer Building Corp brings new life to old structures
When it comes to giving new life to old buildings, Knollmeyer Building Corp (KBC) wants no surprises. “We communicate well from the get-go and keep those lines of communication open throughout the life of a project,” says Shawn Vetere, Director of Marketing and Business Development.
Shawn cites a project for Hebrew SeniorLife, a provider of senior living and lifestyle services, as an example. KBC managed a $14 million renovation project for the nonprofit’s Julian and Carol Feinberg Cohen Residences in Brookline, Massachusetts. Constructed in 1976, the 12-story apartment building provides subsidized, affordable living for senior residents. KBC served as general contractor for the exterior and interior renovation project, which included providing new kitchens and bathrooms and renovating the lobby, gym and other common areas while the building was occupied with all of the tenants.
Chief Estimator Joe Deveau kicked off the project with a detailed—and realistic—project estimate. “Unlike others, we do not like change orders and don’t do them unless absolutely necessary. We seek to be as accurate as possible during the bidding process,” Shawn says.
Once on-site, the project team planned each week’s work with subcontractors, uploading daily progress reports and photos to Procore, the company’s project management software of choice. “With just a few clicks, the client could access everything to do with this project, including a detailed project estimate, subcontractor schedules, meeting minutes and progress reports,” Shawn says.
A superintendent was on-site throughout construction to ensure quality work. “Some companies have their supers swinging hammers. At KBC, our superintendents spend their days looking over the shoulders of subcontractors and evaluating the quality of their work,” Shawn notes. Throughout the project, President Chris Knollmeyer remained available for on-site meetings with the client, superintendent and project managers. “Chris is involved with every single project at KBC,” Shawn explains.
The company worked closely with Davis Square Architects, Inc. to carry out the sophisticated redesign. “We replaced all the windows, removed the brick veneer and installed an ALUCOBOND PLUS rainscreen to the exterior of the building,” Shawn says, adding that the aluminum composite material creates a distinctive, contemporary design while meeting the fire performance requirements of today’s building standards. “The product is made in Kentucky. We made sure it was delivered on time to keep the project moving forward,” he adds. The result of the 15-month renovation is an attractive, updated design that increases functionality for the building’s senior residents and their families.
“At KBC, we care about delivering quality work, and it shows,” Shawn says.
A Deep Understanding of the Industry
Headquartered in Wilmington, Massachusetts, KBC manages projects across New England, including southern New Hampshire, southern Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. The general contractor works with engineers, architects and property managers on interior and exterior renovations and new construction projects, with budgets that range from $500,000 up to $20 million. The company can be found working on a wide array of buildings, including hotels, multi-unit residences, strip malls, churches and synagogues, restaurants, libraries, museums, fitness centers, industrial and storage facilities, office buildings, colleges and universities, and nonprofit facilities.
In addition to providing general construction services, the company also specializes in historic building restoration, including masonry repair and roofing.
“We’ve been in the game for 29 years and understand the industry inside and out,” Shawn says. The KBC team understands the industry and knows who to put on the job. “We have a very strict vetting process for subcontractors, and we know the strengths of each. We know who to call for a $20 million project and who to call for a $1 million project.”
East Boston Community Development Corp. (EBCDC, Inc.) is a nonprofit community development corporation that has developed or co-developed more than 1,000 units of subsidized housing and manages 700 subsidized rental apartments. KBC recently handled a $7 million interior and exterior renovation of various EBCDC, Inc. properties. “We had crews scattered across East Boston,” Shawn says. The company managed kitchen and bath renovations for 135 units, providing electrical, heating and safety upgrades. Additionally, the company installed new roofing and provided masonry, exterior waterproofing, window replacements, asbestos abatement and new concrete ramps and walkways. “We completed this entire project while each of the units was occupied by tenants,” Shawn adds.
While KBC has been in the game since 1991, Chris has been in the industry a lot longer than that. At just 12 years old, Chris began working with a construction company down the street from his home. In college, he earned a civil engineering degree and went on to spend several years with an engineering firm and several more with a construction company before starting his own business.
Chris leads the company with a central philosophy: quality performance with absolute reliability. “In essence, it means that we strive to be the finest in the industry by providing first-class service to each and every client—whether that’s a brand-new elementary school, a renovation project for a community library or masonry repair on a building that’s hundreds of years old,” Shawn says.
When KBC was called on to manage masonry and window repairs at Marriott Vacation Club Pulse at Custom House, the company understood it was being trusted with Boston’s most iconic building. “The U.S. Custom House was completed in 1847, and Boston’s first tower, Custom House Tower, was actually an addition that was added to the building’s rotunda in 1915,” he says. At 495 feet, the Custom House Tower was once the city’s tallest building.
The KBC team repaired windows, repointed brick and repaired masonry on the pyramid and observation deck. Several years later, the team returned to install pavers on the observation deck and Greylock Roofing Company, Inc., KBC’s sister company, replaced the hands of the historic clock. “We were trusted with these very important repairs, and the client loved the quality of our work,” Shawn says.
Caring for Employees
The company not only takes great care with the buildings and projects it’s entrusted with, but also takes great care of its employees. “Our people are very important to us, and we work hard to provide a safe working environment,” Shawn says. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, KBC stepped up, creating a detailed and comprehensive safety plan. “We had to jump all over this to make sure people stayed safe. Today, before anyone steps onto a project site, they have to have their temperature taken. Everyone wears a mask and gloves, and we have disinfectants on-site to spray down high-touch areas. In the office, it’s the same protocol. When I’m in the office, I can shut my door and take off my mask; but before I open my door, that mask goes back on. People who work with us understand that we care,” he says.
Shawn considers KBC’s team of employees the best in the business and the company makes sure people are compensated properly. “Good people don’t come cheap,” Shawn explains. “We pay our people well and provide good benefits. We may not always be the lowest bid on a project, but clients can be assured they’re getting an experienced, dedicated team committed to providing quality work.”