The fast-growing Rinaldi Group has been building in New York City and Florida since 2003.
By the Editors of Construction Today
Ranked No. 891 in Inc. magazine’s 2015 top-5,000 companies, The Rinaldi Group (TRG) LLC has established itself as one of the New York City region’s most innovative and fastest-growing companies. The Rinaldi Group has proven its versatility and skill on a long list of completed projects including high-rise hotels, multiunit residential developments, educational structures for K-12 schools, colleges and universities, hospitals, healthcare facilities, libraries, performing arts centers and religious structures.
It is this kind of work that has kept The Rinaldi Group growing for the past three years at a rate of 505 percent. Revenue reported in 2014 was $137.2 million. The Rinaldi Group is a full-service general contractor and construction management firm. “Its reputation for performance and execution, practicality with ingenuity, timing and efficiency, quality, professionalism and safety has grown the firm financially strong and healthy with unlimited capabilities in an industry today more competitive than it has ever been before,” The Rinaldi Group says.
Other projects that The Rinaldi Group has built include single-family homes, retail centers, restaurants, athletic and training facilities, municipal structures and specialty projects such as financial data hubs, entertainment complexes and a two-story masonry and steel electrical substation at the Brooklyn Navy yard. Built adjacent to an East River bulkhead, the $13.5 million project required foundation redesign during its pile-driving phase because of unforeseen subgrade conditions.
Value-engineering came to the rescue of this 19,300-square-foot project. By replacing the original steel frame roof design with an engineered steel-truss system, the project was put back on schedule despite its having been delayed for redesign and construction of the required pile and foundation.
By building this seismic masonry building with its own labor and equipment, Rinaldi was able to control not only the quality of the masonry work but the schedule as well. By doing so, the project was completed on time and is used today as a measure and standard for the quality of workmanship expected by this owner, The Rinaldi Group says.
The company’s diversity includes all branches of construction, from design/build and core-and-shell to interior fit-out, renovation and rehabilitation. The Rinaldi Group has the ability to perform much of a project’s work with its own in-house labor and equipment. This team is led by degreed civil and mechanical engineers, certified and licensed cost engineers and estimators, OSHA-certified and New York City-licensed site safety managers, architects, project managers and superintendents.
“TRG not only has complete control of any project and owner’s critical schedules but also ensures the quality and integrity of a project through tight adherence to architect and engineer drawings and specification requirements,” the company says.
From field superintendents, project managers, engineers and executives to bookkeepers, estimators and accountants, The Rinaldi Group applies tight controls when it comes to cost management. Cost control begins at the construction estimate, which follows CSI divisional cost-coding for all AIA trade classifications. TRG builds and purchases each construction item and activity directly from this well-detailed document.
The baseline estimates are done using computer software and are integrated with accounting also through special software. Every material purchase, equipment rental and subcontract buy is cost-coded and recorded immediately, creating a single cost-coded system and control tool for every job.
As each project develops, the actual costs are continually maintained and tracked by the project manager. The project manager then interfaces regularly with the accounting department so that costs are monitored and audited. This ensures that they align with the original baseline estimate and the project budget.
“With a successful cost control system such as this, TRG keeps a watchful eye on the future, as well, developing an effective cost/trend analysis method,” the company says. As projects move forward, industry trends and market changes are immediately realized, analyzed, documented and managed. “TRG considers not just the current project, but hence remains steadfast and consistent as a responsive and highly responsible bidder, general contractor and construction management group,” the company says.
Quality Control and Assurance
There are two lines of defense employed by The Rinaldi Group when it comes to quality control: project management over shop drawing and submittal procurement, and field management and supervision over actual installation and workmanship. “TRG ensures these two vanguards are performed with the utmost degree of diligence and assurance,” the company says. “Combined staff technical expertise and field experience, cultivated construction management tools and exacting standards contribute to the quality control success.”
The company reviews plans and specifications, shop drawings and details. Its employees scrutinize submittals by a project’s architect, engineer and owner. Before each shop drawing and submittal reaches the eyes of the architect/engineer (A/E) for review and approval, it has been inspected by The Rinaldi Group’s own staff of engineers and construction professionals.
“Together, TRG’s highly trained and experienced team provides the A/E and owner with complete assurance of our meticulous quality control abilities and techniques,” the company says. “Perhaps it is best expressed in the CEO’s own words: ‘We, too, put our name on each and every structure we build.’”
TRG utilizes state-of-the-art tools and monitoring techniques for project progress and development. Microsoft Projects and Primavera Suretrack, two computer software applications, are used to perform these functions. Whether using CPM logic and scheduling techniques or Gantt/bar-chart methods and analysis, actual project performance is continually measured and monitored against that originally planned. By constantly analyzing this information, The Rinaldi Group says it maintains the ability to proactively address scheduling fluctuations if and when they occur.
The level of The Rinaldi Group’s commitment to a project’s construction schedule begins early. The scheduling of a project is discussed in great detail with the entire staff, including subcontractors and vendors. The company says potential subcontractors and vendors are evaluated not only for their pricing, but also whether they are qualified to perform it, based upon their ability and commitment to perform the project within the constraints and planned milestones of the project. Biweekly coordination meetings occur throughout the term of a project, thereby enabling a true teamwork as the focus and the feeling, the company says.
The backbone for identifying value-engineering opportunities is The Rinaldi Group’s experience with and knowledge of construction estimating and cost-engineering. Through a constantly updated and maintained Timberline database, cost substitutions can be generated and analyzed easily, the company says. By substituting one construction assembly for another, the overall cost of a particular trade, activity or project as a whole can be measured and evaluated for viability.
Moreover, there are times when a cursory analysis of one assembly substitution for another does not yield directly measurable or readily-apparent savings due to differential costs in the labor, materials and equipment utilized by each application.
For example, the immediate result of substituting one construction assembly for another may not prove, on the surface, a cost savings. However, and actually quite often, such substitutions end up yielding even more valuable savings in time and schedule, the company says. The Rinaldi Group employs involved expertise, and it painstakingly measures such detail for each and every costing analysis. “This difference always affords TRG projects prime benefits and savings,” the company says.
Safety and Risk Management
From TRG’s President, Anthony Rinaldi, who is certified and licensed by the New York City Department of Buildings as a site safety manager, to all field engineers, project superintendents and managers, jobsite safety is a top priority. TRG’s health and safety program consistently strives to reduce or eliminate all hazards and risks associated with construction, which in turn helps to further prevent property damage and provide for greater public safety, health and welfare.
Within The Rinaldi Group’s health and safety program are additional risk management plans, which include an accident prevention program, a hazard communication program, a respiratory protection program, a hearing conservation program and a fall protection program. The health and safety program also includes a confined space program, a lock-out/tag-out program, a lead-in construction program, a record-keeping program, a medical monitoring program and an emergency action/fire prevention program.
All personnel own their own copy of the entire health and safety program and are required to learn all of its requirements, guidelines and practices. In addition, through an established educational allowance and an ongoing curriculum, each construction professional is formally OSHA-trained and certified, the company says.
A recent high-rise project of The Rinaldi Group is the $106 million 641-room Riu Hotel on the corner of 8th Avenue and West 46th Street in Manhattan. The 31-story structure will include a full-service luxury hotel featuring a restaurant, a bar, a café with take-away service and an exercise room.
Additionally, five stories will have eight townhouse units and seven stories will house 12 housing preservation and development (HPD) units. The building is approximately 334,800 square feet. The architect is Berg and Flynn Architecture, and the structural engineer is DeSimone Consulting Engineers.
This high-profile project is the first non-union construction project in New York City that is valued at more than $100 million, TRG says. Riu has strong purchasing power for furniture, fixtures and equipment. This has helped reduce the project’s overall contract value. The overall hard cost of construction for the Riu Hotel is estimated to be approximately $115 million.
The hotel will be part of the international five-star Riu Hotels and Resorts chain, which was founded in 1953 by the Riu family of Spain and is now in its third generation. The company was started with a small holiday hotel more than 60 years ago. Today, Riu specializes in sun-and-sand holiday resorts and enjoys its current ranking as the 30th-largest hotel chain in the world, according to Hotels Magazine. The company has more than 100 hotels in 16 countries. Its 25,000 employees welcome more than 3.2 million guests annually.
Riu’s first urban hotel was opened in 2010. Since then, the company has widened its range of hotels with a new urban hotel line called Riu Plaza. Its first urban hotel in the United States was a resort on Miami’s South Beach. The second was the Riu Plaza Times Square in Manhattan, which The Rinaldi Group also built and was TRG’s biggest and most spectacular project to that date.
The $106 million hotel is located at the corner of West 46th Street – known as Restaurant Row – and Eighth Avenue. It is 31 stories tall, features 641 guest rooms and totals 335,000 square feet.
The Riu Plaza Times Square required four separate temporary certificates of occupancy because it consisted of four distinct building structures and addresses. These included a five-story townhouse building that was used to house Riu staff and personnel and a seven-story rental building. Both of these structures were attached to the hotel’s tower. Construction of the hotel remained on schedule despite the loss of 38 workdays to inclement winter weather during below-grade construction.
More High-Rise Projects
The Hilton Garden Inn on 33rd Street between Madison and Park Avenues in Manhattan is another high-rise hotel built by The Rinaldi Group. This 24-story, 118,000-square-foot hotel required two stories of below-grade rock excavation and breaking that was located next to some of the most prestigious real estate in the world. The 232-room boutique hotel features a second-floor outdoor lounge and a full-service bar/restaurant and kitchen.
A recent project for the Rinaldi Group is the 20-story CitizenM hotel located at 185 Bowery in New York City. The nearly $50 million structure will have 300 rooms averaging 250 square feet in size from floors two through 17 with 20 rooms per floor. Guest amenities will include a gym, basement bar and rooftop lounge/terrace on the 19th floor.
The Rinaldi Group also is building the $33.7 million Hyatt House Hotel on West 28th Street in New York. Designed by Nobutaka Ashihara Architect (NAA), the 90,952-square-foot building will include 150 guestrooms and apartment-style suites. The 33-story building is approximately 300 feet tall and features 1,700 square feet of retail.
Planned for the ground floor are a 24-hour market offering snacks, gourmet groceries, fresh salads and sandwiches. A business center and a bar are planned for the second floor. Communal washers and dryers will be available for guest use. The rooftop will feature a gym and an outdoor recreational area.