ABC Interiors Unlimited, Inc. saves the day on struggling projects
When construction projects go sideways, ABC Interiors Unlimited, Inc. (ABC Interiors) often gets called in to save the day. The Bronx-based general contractor has developed a reputation for helping contractors get back on the right path with challenging projects.
“For the past 10 years, we’ve found ourselves being asked to take over other people’s work or assist them when they fall behind on the project or they aren’t producing the quality that is expected,” says Paul Diaz, project manager and estimator for ABC Interiors.
According to Paul, ABC Interiors will step in to help advance a project toward completion and work alongside the contractor on the job. “We don’t try to take the work away,” he says. “We let them know that we are there to help them get back on track and regain the client’s confidence. Once we set them back on track and get them up to pace, we step back and assist them as they work on the project.
“We don’t want to take their job; we just help them complete the work for the client,” Paul says. “That is really the last thing we intend to do because I wouldn’t want anyone taking my job. But if we are coming to help, the end result is all that matters. We let them get the glory once the work is done.”
ABC from A to Z
The family-owned and operated general contractor started business in 1996. The firm’s main lines of business include acting as a general contractor, drywall contractor and acoustical contractor. The firm also does building alterations, finishes out interior spaces, and provides carpentry and framing services.
ABC Interiors’ work ranges from construction on 7-Eleven convenience stores and Krispy Kreme doughnut shops to work in churches and many other kinds of projects. There’s no typical day on the job, Paul says.
Recent projects include everything from retrofitting escalators to building wheelchair ramps and updating acoustical roofing. Paul says the firm does a little bit of everything, including plumbing, changing doors, resurfacing and leveling floors and adding new finishes. Its specialties, though, are installing all kinds of acoustical ceilings and framing. The firm spends about 70 percent of its time on rehab projects and about 30 percent on new construction. Often, the team finds itself going from one project for a client to another, as needed.
One of the most memorable projects ABC Interiors has completed was for Regional Aid for Interim Needs, Inc. (R.A.I.N.), a nonprofit organization that provides a full range of social services along the continuum of care for seniors and people with disabilities. R.A.I.N. purchased a former funeral parlor that ABC Interiors converted into corporate offices. “The entire building was gutted,” Paul says. “We raised and reinforced all the flooring and added terrazzo floors. We also excavated a pit and installed an elevator. We installed a variety of acoustical ceilings, soffit and a stepped-up ceiling with skylight in the conference room, which was finished with wood cabinetry, granite countertops and an oval granite conference table.”
The project had additional challenges, including the deterioration of the back of the building, which was starting to collapse, so ABC Interiors had to install helical piles, grade beam and footings to add a new wall and extend the building, Paul says.
A Hard Act to Follow
“We try to go above and beyond on the projects that we do; we want to make sure our clients are happy and will recommend us to others,” Paul says. “We tell everyone that we want to be a hard act to follow. Our clients’ satisfaction is our main priority.”
With a team of five employees, Paul says he has started to look for a bigger facility and plans to increase manpower. As the jobs progress, additional labor is required. Various tradesmen are called in when needed, which is determined by the job requirements and project size, he says.
“We are working toward increasing the workload and staffing to meet the demands as they present themselves to provide quality work and services,” he says.
Leaving a Mark
Paul’s philosophy is passed on to his team: leave your mark. Whenever a charity calls, he does what he can. But bigger than that, he says, is the practice of not “nickeling and diming” the jobs. “We utilize value engineering techniques to keep the projects flowing smoothly and on—or just below—projected budget allowances and estimates.” And, that is something he tries to communicate in the way he manages his team.
“We’re all equal. I treat the guys as if they were my own sons, and they treat me like family,” he says. Every employee is a partner, he adds.
“Every day at work is a good day; it’s not a boring or bad day,” Paul says. “When you show up to work, everyone is waiting to start the day and everyone enjoys working and being together. Our work is different every day.”