Broadway Mechanical-Contractors Inc.
- Written by: Ivy Carter
- Produced by: Ian Nichols
- Estimated reading time: 7 mins
Broadway Mechanical-Contractors Inc. (BMC) has seen companies come and go. After all, its owners, the Nurisso family, have been in the industry for 100 years, 60 of those spent running BMC. Now in the hands of the fourth generation of family ownership, BMC continues to serve San Francisco and the Greater Bay area with expertise, dedication and precision, delivering full design, construction, fabrication and service/maintenance for complex plumbing, piping and HVAC systems.
BMC founder Charles (Noury) Nurisso came to San Francisco to help rebuild the city after the devastation of the great earthquake of 1906. He became a plumber with Scott Co. doing fieldwork, moved up to shop foreman and then chief estimator, and in 1949 left the company to help his son, Norman, found Broadway Plumbing. Norman’s new company began as a plumbing specialist located in the Bayview district of San Francisco and evolved to offer full-service mechanical offerings.
The company was set for a change in the ’60s, when Norman’s youngest son Robert, who became a plumbing apprentice in 1965, joined the company. Robert became controller after only three years, and then CEO after three more. Eventually incorporated in 1971 and renamed in 1975, BMC grew substantially in the early ’80s, quadrupling revenue and merging with Scott Co. in 1986. In 1989 Robert bought back the rights to the name “Broadway Mechanical-Contractors Inc.” and in 2003 set out along with his son, Fred, to re-establish the company’s family-owned structure and reinforce its regional presence. Robert, known as “Broadway Bob” to many in the industry, is still active in management, though ownership is now under Robert’s four children: Fred, Ken, Angela and Karen, who make decisions progressively and aggressively. Today the company is split into three wings – plumbing, HVAC and service/maintenance – and headquartered on five acres in Oakland with three satellite offices in San Francisco.
Today BMC operates on a philosophy of applying innovative engineering, advanced technology, quality craftsmanship, maximum efficiency, minimum waste, on-time scheduling and excellent customer service from beginning to end, and this comprehensive, collaborative approach is why the company is a trusted strategic partner to some of the Bay Area’s most reputable building owners, managers, architects, engineers and general contractors. To date, BMC has performed a substantial number of the retrofit and new construction projects in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, including Market Square, the recipient of the 2012 San Francisco Business Times Real Estate Deals of the Year Award for Best Community Impact. This is just one of the many safety, preservation and innovation accolades that have been awarded to BMC over the years.
All Systems Go
Fred Nurisso has served as the company’s CEO since 2003 and was joined in 2011 by younger brother Ken, who came with over 10 years of financial experience at Ernst & Young and now serves as BMC’s president. Fred says he’s “happy to be able to continue running the family business.”
The Nurisso family has been in the industry, and committed to the area, for over a century, and now BMC’s 250-plus employees (affiliated with eight unions) hold down a huge chunk of San Francisco’s mechanical industry market, according to Ken. “Business Times compiled a list of the top 25 construction projects in San Francisco, and we’re doing 30 percent of the top 20,” he says.
The company continues to grow and diversify, because the Bay Area market is ripe and ready for it, says Fred, who explains, “San Francisco is at the forefront of the national sector for building. Technology companies are driving a need for more space, and there is a big push to develop apartments and larger office buildings to meet demand.”
BMC has been substantially reinforcing its capabilities since 2006, when the company moved into a new facility over in East Oakland. “We try to get people unfamiliar with us to come and visit the facility, because they’ll walk away impressed,” says Matt Johndrow, director of business development.
“What we’ve developed over the past few years is really advanced,” continues Johndrow. “The space and the equipment that we have allow us to fabricate much more than our competitors, saving time and money; in turn, we pass these savings onto the general contractors and developers that we are working with.” BMC’s new five-acre campus includes a 63,000-square foot state-of-the-art manufacturing facility (split into plumbing, piping and sheet metal divisions) with cutting-edge equipment, 40,000 square feet of warehouse storage and a 5,000-square foot engineering department (with computer-aided design [CAD] and drafting technology).
“We were the first plumbing contractor to do a large-scale 3D CAD project,” adds Ken. “Any big project requires this now, [but] we already had the experience.” BMC has led the way in the industry by utilizing the extension of this technology, building information modeling (BIM), to manage data and coordinate virtual models with partners during preconstruction, thereby avoiding any problems before they can arise on the jobsite. This minimizes headaches, as well as cost and time overruns.
Building on its roots in plumbing, BMC has the experience and capability to design, fabricate and install the most complex systems. On the HVAC side, BMC specializes in sophisticated mechanical piping installations and high-efficiency central heating and cooling systems. In all its work, BMC believes the key is to couple innovative design with a cost-effective approach. Ever focused on efficiency, the company developed its own barcode system to manage the coordination of purchasing, scheduling, production, delivery and installation of completed assemblies. This proactive solutions-based approach has allowed BMC to become the leading choice of mechanical contractors in the Bay Area, and the company has the portfolio to prove it.
Big Time Bay Area Projects
Currently, BMC is working on the UCSF Medical Center at Mission Bay (a complex including children’s, women’s and cancer units). “It’s a 300-room hospital that will be one of the largest, most technically advanced hospitals on the West Coast when it’s done,” says Johndrow. Completion is slated for late 2013 or early 2014. “It’s the cornerstone of a huge Mission Bay [neighborhood] redevelopment effort that has been happening over the last few years and will continue to happen probably through 2016-2017.”
“That area of town was dilapidated, old rail yards,” continues Johndrow. “It’s become a laboratory, biotech, health center subculture … they’re really creating a new neighborhood down there and we’re really happy to be a part of that.”
Another big multiphase project BMC has worked on is the aforementioned SF 2012 Business Times Real Estate Deals of the Year award for Best Community Impact: Market Square. Last summer, BMC installed the plumbing systems for the building (which includes Twitter’s new headquarters) in the Mid-Market neighborhood, which has led to quick redevelopment of the area.
“When Twitter committed to leasing the space [in Market Square] it kicked off this really aggressive redevelopment of what was a rundown area of San Francisco,” says Johndrow. “It’s creating a brand new mixed-use, residential and office space area off Market Street, which is really fantastic.”
As a result of the Twitter-fueled redevelopment of the (newly minted) Mid-Market area of San Francisco, BMC has also been working on a 754-unit residential complex right across the street. “When it’s done it’ll be the largest residential building in San Francisco,” reveals Johndrow, who says the development will offer convenient, and more affordable, housing for employees in the tech industry. With limited existing housing options and booming industry … developers are racing to get new apartments in the market,” reflects Johndrow.
Large-scale residential work is not new for BMC; in 2006 BMC installed the plumbing systems for the St. Regis Towers (a 40-story luxury hotel and condo) and Millennium Towers, which were two of “the largest condo projects west of Chicago,” says Fred.
From large multifamily residential complexes to small offices, BMC has no requirements when it comes to project size in the commercial sector and has completed work on ground-up hospitals, airport terminals, parking structures, and even piers.
“We’re developing the terminal for the America’s Cup, down at Pier 27,” says Johndrow. “It’ll be the main village for the competition and, after the race leaves San Francisco, it’ll be converted to a cruise ship terminal.” The conversion will require some complex under-pier plumbing, which is a specialty of BMC’s thanks to its work on the new Exploratorium at Piers 15 & 17, a job which led to BMC’s working on a majority of the development projects down on San Francisco’s aging piers.
BMC’s work doesn’t end when the project’s keys are handed over, however. After a project – any project – is complete, BMC offers maintenance services, recognizing that a well-maintained mechanical system “ensures continuous system operations, maximizes operational efficiency, and helps to reduce costs associated with equipment repair or replacement.” Maintenance services include preventative maintenance, emergency service/repair, start-up/commissioning, and equipment replacement.
What’s Next for BMC
BMC prides itself on its commitment to sustainable construction practices, employing green building techniques and engineering LEED-worthy designs to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint, and reduce utility costs through energy-efficient systems. These are just some of the ongoing initiatives that BMC is using to strengthen and expand its market offerings.
“We want to expand our horizons and work with some of those companies that we haven’t worked with before, and value engineer some cost savings into their jobs in the future,” says Johndrow. “We’ve added energy services and audits as part of our offerings as well.”
Assembling an experienced crew for every project, the BMC management team (which holds well over 100 years combined experience) is able to take on more complex projects and guarantee the same level of quality that it has delivered for the last six decades. There are a number of lifelong professionals who work for BMC; several project managers and foremen have worked alongside the Nurisso family for over a decade, many others for over 20 years, and some for over 35 years. BMC provides its employees with ongoing professional training and continuing education, generous benefits, and a healthy work-life balance. The company attributes its ability to manage a diverse range of projects in many markets to having the right team.
General contractors, property owners, and management companies continue to put their trust in BMC to design, fabricate, install and service their plumbing, piping, and HVAC systems. Active for over six decades in San Francisco and the Greater Bay Area, but still as energetic as a startup, Broadway Mechanical-Contractors Inc. has proven itself to have the resources and integrity necessary to create mechanical systems that last for generations, just like the company.
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