Case Studies

The Buckingham Routh Co.

Supporting its Region's Infrastructure for Over 150 Years

The Buckingham Routh Co., a mechanical contractor in New Haven, Conn., embodies the history of the industry. The company was founded in 1854, incorporated in 1896, and “we are the oldest mechanical contractor in continuous operation in the United States,” says Tim Taylor, Buckingham Routh’s current president.

Buckingham Routh is known throughout its local area for its high-quality work and experienced employees. The company can be credited with assisting the rise and development of New Haven over the last 150 years. Under Taylor’s guidance, the company will continue building on its long reputation of customer satisfaction. “I’ve been in the industry for 30 years. My family was involved in the company prior to me. My great uncle was the owner of the company and he brought me in to the business,” he says.

Strength in Reputation

The Taylor family has spent much of their lives in Buckingham Routh’s office in New Haven, as well as working primarily in the surrounding area. “We don’t travel a lot,” Taylor explains. However, working in this specific target area has never held the company back.

Buckingham Routh’s excellent history of customer satisfaction and its reputation for consistency attract customers as well as industry professionals. “We’re a union-based contractor. We have a group of people we try to hold onto that are the cream of the crop,” Taylor explains. This group is relatively unchanging, although the company’s number of employees “depends on the economy. Right now we’re at about 25 people.”

Like many companies in similar situations, “the economy is the biggest thing we’re trying to overcome right now,” Taylor admits. “But we’ve got our head above water.”

Maintaining the Legacy

The vital company component that is helping keep Buckingham Routh afloat is its great relationships with local subcontractors. While the company keeps plumbers and steam fitters in-house, it subcontracts “sheet metal work, temperature control and pipe and duct insulation. [Because of this,] sometimes we can be a general contractor,” Taylor notes. “We have a few subcontractors we count on, but we always seek competitive bidding.”

Many of these subcontractors have been with Buckingham Routh for a myriad of projects, including its many years of work at Yale University in New Haven. “We have done a lot of work at Yale University and its School of Medicine, mostly for their utility distribution work. We also do a lot of lab work for the school,” Taylor shares.

Even with work at Yale underway, Taylor admits there is not as much project backlog as in previous years, due to the current economic climate. “I don’t see things getting any better for at least another year,” Taylor says. “People are playing catch up.”

While the recession has had a major affect on Buckingham Routh’s business, it has not threatened the company’s existence. Taylor expects to spend the next one to two years trying “to keep our head above water and get through another example of a situation we’ve seen before,” he states. “Right now I don’t want to say I have any plans for future growth; we’re in survival mode, but we’ve been through times like these before and we will go through them again.”

Taylor’s attitude is built on years of watching the country’s economic status peak and plummet. But, just as the other company presidents before him, Taylor will lead Buckingham Routh to persevere. As it regains its previous strength in the market, The Buckingham Routh Co. will maintain a long, lasting legacy as one of the top-notch mechanical contractors in Connecticut’s construction industry.

Published on: June 7, 2011

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