Permasteelisa North America

Permasteelisa North America is not a company that tries to offer as many services as it possibly can. Instead, it specializes in one aspect of construction, providing an expertise that it believes is unmatched in the industry.

A subsidiary of Italy’s Permasteelisa Group, Permasteelisa North America has several branches with its headquarters in Windsor, Conn. “Our ability to design custom curtainwall systems, our ability to fabricate and assemble them ourselves, and provide installation ourselves is what separates us,” Senior Vice President Mike Kneeland states.

He notes that the company has a very good reputation for its architectural envelope work, and brings experience and know-how to its spec­ialty. In addition, Permasteelisa designs, pro­­duces and installs internal wall/partitions, as well as internal furnishings for stores and offices.

Permasteelisa aims to guarantee and consistently improve the quality of its products, and does so with research and development of new design and construction systems and technologies. The company also strives to use innovative materials to ensure the best performance of its products for projects.

“Technology for us is the core of our engin­eering,” Kneeland says. “We want to stay ahead of new design concepts for architects. When they find something that is new, we’re right there with them to create something different.”

Quality and Efficiency

Permasteelisa established itself in the United States in 1997 as a specialist in the turnkey interior fit-out of retail stores and commercial spaces. It began to perform in the building envelopes market in 1998 as Permasteelisa Cladding Technologies Ltd. Permasteelisa Group consolidated its U.S. subsidies to form Permasteelisa North America in March 2008.

In addition to Windsor, Permasteelisa has offices in New York City; Corona, Calif.; Miami; and Mendota Heights, Minn., which is the office where Kneeland is headquartered.

The company has an objective of establishing solid and lasting partnerships with its suppliers. When it comes to what it looks for in supp­liers, Kneeland says the company expects “the same commitment to quality as Permasteelisa.”

Strong supplier relationships help Permasteelisa add value to its technology be­cause it knows right away what it needs to adopt for its projects. One example is the company’s application of eco-compatible technology to architecture, which it says has resulted in energy savings that help the environment and improve the living conditions inside the buildings.

“We want to be able to adapt to the change in designs that architects are looking for with sustainable building,” Kneeland explains. “We want to create more efficient design.”

Kneeland notes that Permasteelisa employs quality control teams throughout the fabrication and assembly of a curtainwall in its plants, as well as in the field during installation. And another key to quality delivery for a project is getting involved early. This gives Permasteelisa the proper focus and knowledge as to what is needed for a given project, allowing the company to get involved with the architect’s design so there are no hiccups during fabrication.

Also, when Permasteelisa begins a project during preconstruction, it is capable of building a stronger relationship with those in­vol­ved. “By starting out early on projects during the preconstruction phase, we develop relationships on the project,” Kneeland says. “We want to do more than one job with these architects, developers, contractors, etc.”

Creative Expertise

In 2001, Permasteelisa acquired the Gartner Group of Germany, one of the largest international builders of curtainwalls. Kneeland notes that much of Permasteelisa’s high standards and quality control stem from Gartner.

Because of its reputation as a deliverer of quality, Permasteelisa has work­ed on several high-profile projects. Kneeland notes that it recently completed the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago. Permasteelisa delivered a stainless steel curtainwall for the 96-floor skyscraper.

Kneeland also points out the 76-floor Beek­man Tower in down­town Manhattan that was designed by Frank Gehry. Permasteelisa built a flat, stainless steel, unitized curtain wall with a back-ventilated rain-screen cladding attached to its front to match the building’s design.

The strategy for the future at Permasteelisa is to continue to be creative with wall systems. “That’s the key,” Kneeland says. “You look at the Beekman and how it’s interactive, and the accomp­lishments we have done all the way back – we try to stay ahead of the curve as far as design. We like to be as creative as possible.

“People come to us be­cause of our design expertise, our ability to be involved in preconst­ruc­tion, and ability to adapt to what the architect and developer want, at a price the owner likes.”

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