Ritz-Craft Lunchroom and Breakroom
- Project: Ritz-Craft Lunchroom and Breakroom
Taking A Break From The Typical Breakroom
While the COVID-19 outbreak ushered many unexpected changes into our lives, some seemed to fade from the conversation – and our daily realities – relatively quickly. Others, however, appear to be making a permanent imprint on the way we live. A big part of how we live, of course, is how and where we work – an area that’s seen some of the most significant of those changes.
It’s no longer news to hear there is a labor shortage and that companies across nearly every industry are pressed to find and retain employees. It’s become just another new normal in a nearly two-year stretch of “new normals”. So when recent reports, such as the report recently conducted by architecture and design firm Steelcase, confirm that there is a strong correlation between workplace satisfaction and high employee engagement, what’s a business to do?
Rethinking the Typical Workplace
If you’re Ritz-Craft, the largest family-owned, off-site modular home manufacturer in the United States, you get to work rethinking workplace design to put employee comforts front and center. Leadership at the Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania-based company wanted to create a new lunchroom facility, complete with men’s and ladies’ locker rooms, a quiet loft space, and – in a departure from traditional breakroom amenities – not just a vending machine here and there but an entire vending café. And while the company was open to all types of creative input on the new additions to their metal building facilities, one decision that didn’t need any deliberation was who would be lead contractor. Ritz-Craft has a nearly 50-year relationship with T-Ross Brothers Construction, Inc., in nearby Milton, PA., and management at Ritz-Craft knew they were the perfect fit for the project. T-Ross Brothers Construction, in turn, has a three-decades-long relationship with Metallic Building Systems – whose products would be integral to turning their design ideas into reality.
Stone and Steel: The Perfect Match
“The lunchroom was a new addition and it’s a pre-engineered metal building with a standing seam roof”, said Delvin Warner, T-Ross Brothers Construction vice president of business development, “it also has PBU wall panels from Metallic, which are a little unusual for a typical metal building, and Ply Gem® synthetic stone, which we used to dress up the exterior.” Ply Gem, another brand part of the Cornerstone Building Brands family, is a leading developer of exterior home building products and its hand-crafted stone veneer, molded from real stone, added the perfect finishing accent to the metal construction of the building. The project overall was relatively small in terms of square feet, but according to Warner, Ritz-Craft wanted to build something with a lot of curb appeal that was furnished with the types of amenities that could help them entice new employees as well as take great care of existing ones. “In the lounge upstairs, employees can take breaks and plug in their phones or have some quiet time,” said Warner, “or they can go downstairs where there are upscale vending machines and opportunities to socialize.”
Great Partnerships for the Win
For everyone involved in the project, it was a reminder of the value of trusted partnerships and long histories of working together with successful outcomes. “This was a somewhat smaller job, but there was quite a bit of detail in it. It was a job that a lot of other manufacturers would probably shy away from”; said Warner, “but I know the people at Metallic that I felt confident could make it happen. I knew they had the expertise. And that’s why I continue to work with them. It’s their flexibility and their willingness to go the additional mile.” Evans agrees: “It’s a real bonus having Delvin (Warner) as our partner. He understands our system and he knows how to take our traditional building practices and make something untraditional. He’s just a good partner.”
In the end, Ritz-Craft got the addition they envisioned – which has been well received by employees and even garnered an Award of Merit in Metallic Building Systems’ 2020 Design Build Awards.
Great partnerships are by far the most valuable thing we offer at Metallic. Knowing our products help our customers fulfill their goals and see their visions come to life is of course a great source of satisfaction for all of us. But actually knowing the people, and building relationships with them over many years and many projects … that’s just something on which you can’t put a price.