- Written by: Eric Gundberg
- Produced by: Karen Walker
- Estimated reading time: 5 mins
Owners and general managers of construction companies across the United States realize one immutable fact: you are only as good as your last job. Perhaps nowhere is that more true than in Maine. Maine is one of the quirky little states where residents have always carried a strong dose of “us versus the flatlanders,” and a person isn’t really considered a true Mainer until his family has lived in the state for at least five or six generations. Conversely, once a family has established a reputation in Maine that reputation is going to follow multiple generations of the family.
Gary Peachey, owner of Peachey Builders (PCB) in Augusta, Maine, is well aware of that fact and thanks his forbearers for establishing his family’s company’s strong reputation for honesty, integrity, truthfulness and reliability. This is the reputation Peachey upholds with every project PCB delivers on time and on budget, using the most modern, innovative means to expedite a client’s building needs cost effectively and professionally.
Peachey’s grandfather and uncle founded PCB in 1947, shortly after the ending of World War II, and the company initially specialized in the construction of residential properties – primarily log cabins. It was when his father and another uncle joined PCB in the mid-’50s that the company expanded into commercial. In his history PCB has completed wood structures, masonry and renovations, and advances in metal technologies allowed PCB to start offering clients pre-engineered metal buildings in the ’60s. That sector of activity has grown to become a significant portion of the company’s business. PCB is one of the region’s exclusive dealers for Varo-Pruden Steel Buildings (VP Buildings), which can be constructed in considerably less time than that it takes a traditional building.
Pre-engineered Steel Buildings Provide a Crucial Component
Peachey took over the family-owned business in 1995 and has been steadily carrying on the tradition of excellence that PCB clients have come to expect. The company currently employs 28 and typically works on projects in Maine’s large central area.
“It’s a simple business model, really, to run a successful company: Be fair with your customers, subs, treat your employees well, and meet your deadlines if you promise them,” emphasizes Peachey. “If you can adhere to those rules for the long haul, then you will be a success.”
One of the methods PCB utilizes to keep these methods is through offering the design-build delivery method, which provides services that coordinate all phases of a project – architectural/engineering, foundation/site evaluation and work, permitting and general contracting – in perfect harmony. This system also allows PCB to build a strong construction team and provide its clients with well-constructed, energy-efficient, quality buildings that stand the test of time.
Peachey says PCB offers its clients a wide variety of services, but estimates that roughly 90 percent of his business comes from design-build clients. “We really enjoy design-build. It allows us to put together an amazing like-minded team of individuals who are fully committed to getting the project done right, the first time,” explains Peachey. “On a hard-bid project you’re forced to use the lowest sub pricing sometimes, not knowing the contractors’ qualifications or reputation. Hard bid is just about numbers with no ability to select a team of qualified people.”
Building teams of like-minded individuals is important to Peachey. In addition to treating his clients well and following through on his promises, Peachey focuses on building long-term relationships, as the majority of the company’s work comes through repeat and referral clients in the commercial, industrial and institutional markets.
Project Completed Early and Under Budget
As an example of PCB’s ability to deliver as promised, the company recently completed a $7.5 million muscular skeletal facility for Matteson Development. The facility, which is now part of the Maine General system, includes a therapy pool, doctors’ offices and examination rooms. Peachey notes that both his client and the tenant were extremely pleased with the project because PCB not only met the deadline of the accelerated project, but also managed to keep it under budget as well. “That’s a good-sized project for us, and to have it completed early and under budget, well that’s just perfect,” reflects Peachey proudly.
Peachey also outlines the detail on one of his most challenging projects in the last 17 years he has been running the company as follows: “Kirchner Foods, the hot dog manufacturer, had a production facility in Augusta. They decided that they wanted to automate their facility, but didn’t want to shut down production for us to complete the project.
“The machine that they wanted us to install was so large that we had to tear down walls and lift the roof just to get into the facility,” continues Peachey. “The amount of coordination that was required with that project was unbelievable, compounded by the fact that we were creating a construction zone in the middle of a food production facility.
“Rerouting the process piping to the new machine was extremely … interesting,” concludes Peachey. “The ironic thing about that project is that shortly after we had the machine successfully installed, Kirchner decided to close the facility and they hired us again to remove the machine from the building.”
These complex projects, with their unexpected turns, are possible because of PCB’s experienced workforce, which is reinforced through a company-wide commitment to a safe work environment. A two-part safety orientation program is mandatory for all employees, and PCB regularly meets and exceeds expectations of OSHA through its training, and the company uses the Sky-Web II passive restraint system to protect workers and assure no disruption of a project’s schedule, cost or quality.
Any Mainer worth his salt will tell you that a man’s reputation is extremely important in the state. Gary Peachey has a network for older relatives to thank for first establishing his company’s standing in Augusta and the surrounding communities, but it’s his adherence to the time-honored rules of treating your clients fairly, treating your employees with respect and following through on promises that have assured Peachey Builders its unassailable reputation in the industry.
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