Demar Plumbing Corp.

A longstanding New York City plumbing and mechanical contractor is expanding its already extensive slate of services. Demar Plumbing Corp. in January added an HVAC division to a list of capabilities that includes installation, repair and maintenance of residential and commercial plumbing and boiler services. Demar also offers fire system and sprinkler inspection, backflow prevention device installation and testing, and sewer repair services. 

The new division – which includes a dozen new staff members and a design engineer – is part of the company’s overall growth strategy as well as a way for it to address the demands of many of its new construction and building rehabilitation projects. “This seemed like a natural progression, since HVAC is so closely related to what we’re doing, whether it’s new buildings or rehabs,” Principal Chris Darlak says.

A History of Growth

The HVAC division continues the growth of the company established by Nick Demarinis in 1972. He founded it as a small plumbing and sprinkler service operation based in the heart of lower Manhattan in Little Italy on Mulberry Street. Demarinis turned the business over to his son Alex in the mid-1980s. 

Within 10 years of taking the company’s helm, Alex Demarinis expanded it into a contract plumbing company with $15 million in annual sales. Alex Demarinis remains actively involved with the company as a principal and is in charge of Demar’s service operation.

“The service portion of Demar is where his roots come from, and it’s what he’s most proud of,” Director of Operations Ross Baldassarra says. “He enjoys being able to conquer emergencies, and to do something beneficial for people and taking care of plumbing emergencies.”

While service and repair remain at the heart of Demar, the company is always looking to further expand its capabilities and meet new challenges. “We haven’t exhausted our growth potential,” Director of Human Resources Bert Baldassarra adds. “We’re looking to become a more professional organization on every level and improve our customer service, but these days more and more our priority seems to be keeping our plumbers busy in this economy.”

Major Projects

The new division is not the first major expansion of the company’s traditional plumbing and mechanical system service business. In 2000, the company transformed long-standing relationships with building owners into a large-scale new construction business, Darlak says.

The company’s first construction projects came about as a result of long-time service clients asking if Demar could help them with their larger projects. Today, the company is working as a subcontractor on large condominium projects in addition to service work.

Major current projects include installing the mechanical systems, sheet metal, piping and air conditioning for a luxury condominium development at 205 Water Street in Brooklyn. Demar is working with the publically traded nationwide new home developer and general contractor Toll Brothers of Pennsylvania on the 67-unit development, Darlak adds.

Demar is also serving as the plumber and sprinkler contractor on the renovation of a former industrial building at 53 Hope Street in Brooklyn into a 117-unit apartment building. Triton Construction Co. of New York is the general contractor on the project.

An Engaged Staff

Demar strives to hold its own in a highly competitive market through a focus on service and quality. A trained staff is critical to these efforts. “The old idea from the 1980s and before of a plumber just being someone who puts pipes together is fading,” Darlak says. “Today, the systems themselves are much more complicated and you need technical expertise to do the job.”

An in-house engineering department of three designers is the core of that expertise. The engineering department provides field employees with precise documentation and mechanical drawings.

Demar takes many steps toward hiring highly qualified mechanics and other personnel. These employees constantly receive ongoing trade training, as well as mandatory OSHA safety instruction, Ross Baldassarra says.

 Training is only part of Demar’s approach to having a successful staff, however. The privately owned company also seeks to provide a friendly, engaging work environment for its employees, it says.

Spirit of Teamwork

The company’s spirit of teamwork also extends to the relationships it has established with its various clients, general contractors, vendors and subcontractors.

“Maintaining prosperous relationships and excellent communication is very important,” Ross Baldassarra says. “Being competent, reliable and on-time for projects is great, but you need to be able to communicate. Miscommunication, or a total lack of communication, often seems to be at the root of problems we encounter. Trust is earned, not given.

“The other trades we work with are people we can talk to, relate to and work out problems with,” he adds. “One can only imagine the confusion and stress that construction projects create. This is why inter-company communication is critically important.” 

Important Vendors

Bert Baldassarra adds the company’s relationships with vendors and subcontractors are critical to its success. “If it wasn’t for our vendors and suppliers we wouldn’t have a business,” he says. “Their knowledge and expertise helps us in so many ways, and the importance of this can be easily overlooked. We do appreciate all of their cooperation and assistance tremendously.”  Its key partners include Quimby Equipment Co. Inc., Bay Supply Corp. and World Wide Plumbing Supply Inc.

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