Case Studies

LaValley-Middleton Building Supply

Combining experience, quality and expertise in building supplies, manufacturing and off-site home construction

For more than 53 years, LaValley-Middleton Building Supply (LMBS) has strived to be the pre-eminent low-cost provider of building materials and services for New England. Headquartered in Newport, New Hampshire, LMBS maintains 10 stores, with eight in New Hampshire and two in Vermont, and remains the largest independently owned building materials supplier in both states. Servicing both wholesale and retail sectors, LMBS remains committed and competitive through its ownership of factories where it manufactures building products in three of its New Hampshire locations.

LMBS was founded in 1962 by Harold and Geraldine LaValley. The company’s first location was in Newport, New Hampshire, where the company manufactures roof trusses, wall panels, door units, kitchen countertops and operates a custom planing mill. As the company increased its geographical footprint with builder-contractor and home-center locations, LMBS was able to establish multiple manufacturing divisions of the company, including Diprizio Pine and Preferred Building Systems/ New England Homes (PBS/NEH).

A one-stop shop

When it comes to selection, LMBS provides a one-stop shop. The company provides building materials, such as lumber, trim, roofing, masonry and seasonal products, among others. In addition to material supply, LMBS also maintains specialty areas such as building design and estimating services. The company’s designers offer services such as load calculations and assistance meeting building code requirements.
With a fleet of delivery trucks that includes pickups, flatbeds, 1-tons, vans, booms, cable cranes and Moffett trucks, LMBS is able to provide free delivery service, utilizing the right equipment for the job at hand.

LMBS also maintains product showrooms at each location that serve as a marketing tool not only for the company, but also for local builders. “We showcase our other specialty areas such as windows and doors, kitchens, baths, countertops, and floor coverings,” says Larry Huot, president of LMBS. “These showrooms help to inspire ideas in clients as to what they might like to create in their own home.” Having an idea where a customer is looking to go with an idea allows LMBS to provide advisory and consulting services as well.

LMBS is a member of the Lumbermen’s Merchandising Corporation, (LMC), which operates as a collective buying group for independent lumber and building material dealers in the United States. As a member of the LMC, LMBS is able to combine its purchasing power with more than 370 stockholders of independent lumber yards and home centers with over $3 billion of purchasing power.

Distinct divisions

At its Middleton, New Hampshire, location, the manufacturing division of DiPrizio Pine operates one of New England’s largest Eastern White Pine state-of-the-art saw mills. With a commitment to responsible stewardship and the installation of a 600,000 Btu Bio-Mass energy plant that energizes dry kilns, planing and resaw operations, producing 100 percent Eastern White Pine boards, flooring, paneling, siding and timbers, shipping all across the U.S.

For the past five years, LMBS committed to implementation of the German-built saw called a Hundegger to provide precision-cut floor systems. “All of our saws are calibrated through computer-aided design (CAD) by our highly skilled design group and the software programs and services from Weyerhaeuser/Trus-Joist and Mitek,” says Huot. “Computers and our IT department reliably transfer the information to our cut shops where this highly sophisticated machinery precision-cuts it to within one-sixteenth of an inch.”  Setup and production times of the equipment through design and information processes significantly improve productivity, reduce waste and entire projects become much more efficient with the results of keeping costs of construction and safety low.

By utilizing systems and methods from the off-site construction, combined with the company’s prefabricated components, LMBS’s PBS/NEH division is able to build custom homes within the company’s factories. With numerous catalog options and custom design for clients and builders, PBS/NEH is able to build to exact specifications and keep costs for buyers low.

“We have a hybrid method where we are able to prebuild houses off-site, which cuts the construction time on-site in half,” says Huot. “It’s custom building in a controlled environment.” At the company’s Claremont, New Hampshire, plant, all design, engineering, selection of materials and preconstruction planning guide project managers and timelines to deliver on schedule. With 13 different stations at the location, all aspects of the home are assembled under third-party control for quality. In an assembly line fashion, each system continuously moves along to each station where aspects such as electrical, plumbing, roofing and insulation are installed, all the way up through kitchen cabinets and siding. “When the final product comes out, it is weathertight, wrapped and placed on a trailer for transportation,” says Huot. LMBS’ PBS division is able to perform this service for builders all over New England.

Once the PBS/NEH packaged home is delivered, the on-site construction time is reduced by 50 percent. “This means you need less expertise on the site and less site coordination and the result is greater consistency in successful projects.” says Huot. “Ultimately, the prefabrication aspect is a good method and process for all involved because it’s done in a controlled environment, which creates reduced risk and a proven approach.”

With over $3 billion in combined purchasing power as a member of the LMC, LaValley-Middleton Building Supply is able to provide its customers with top-quality merchandise, lumber building systems and project solutions with more experience at lower prices than the big national chains. 

Published on: December 14, 2015

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