Custom-Bilt Metals, Chino, Calif., is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2004, a year that has brought much change and forward movement.

Custom-Bilt Metals, Chino, Calif., is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2004, a year that has brought much change and forward movement. In April, the company moved from South El Monte, Calif., to new headquarters in Chino, about 40 miles east of Los Angeles. In June of this year, Custom-Bilt relocated its Southern California branch to Chino as well, moving into a new 50,000-square-foot facility.

"It seems very fitting that we are celebrating our 30th anniversary by expanding into bigger and better facilities to serve our metal roofing and rain gutter customers," says Tony Chiovare, Custom-Bilt's founder and president.

He notes that this is only one of several major initiatives in recent months, including the opening of a 75,000-square-foot processing service center in Kent, Wash. The Washington expansion was related to the company's recent agreement with Vail Metals Systems to manufacture, market and sell Vail metal roofing products. Custom-Bilt now offers Vail's custom, solid copper panels as Vail Majestic Copper, and sells its Kynar-coated galvalume metal panels under the brand name Vail Titan Select.

"We now manufacture both product lines as well as hundreds of accessory items in our Kent facility," says Chiovare. Both products are based on the high-performance design that Vail initially introduced in Colorado resort markets. The design features a concealed-fastener interlocking shingle panel system.

Custom-Bilt Metals was incorporated in 1974 with the goal of distributing products to the seamless gutter industry in Southern California. Within a few years the company began expanding, and today covers every market in the western United States including Alaska and Hawaii, as well as a major portion of the Midwest. The company also has significant international sales.

In addition to geographic growth, Custom-Bilt has expanded its product offering. As the company matured, it first added standing seam roofing to its product line, employing the same on-site roll-forming concept it has used successfully in the gutter industry. In 1990, Custom-Bilt also began distributing metal shingles and shake products in multiple profiles. Today the company's product line includes more than 2,000 individual products, all of which are backed by a lifetime warranty.

Besides the array of products, Custom-Bilt Metals offers specialized service and installation systems, including portable on-site roll-forming gutter machines, roof machines and other equipment. All contractors are offered "on-call" service to ensure job-site efficiency and satisfactory operation, a commitment the company backs with factory-trained, certified machine technicians. "Custom-Bilt offers both sales and installation training," Chiovare says. "In fact, we were one of the first companies to certify our customers' installation qualifications. We supply thousands of leads to our customers, along with sales tools, samples and literature for all of our products."

High Profile

One example of Custom-Bilt working closely with one of its contractors to ensure success is found on the new Semper Fit Fieldhouse at the U.S. Marine Corps base at Camp Pendleton, Calif. With an unusual curved radius design, intricate seam configurations and panel lengths of up to 160 feet, the job posed an array of challenges to Keystone Roofing Inc., Oceanside, Calif. The company was hired to fabricate and install a standing seam metal roof on the 65,000-square-foot field house, which will be the largest Marine Corps fitness facility. Despite the daunting size and design challenges, Keystone successfully completed the assignment over the course of a seven-month installation.

"We worked with the architect, planners and builder to create a soffit and fascia configuration, which to our knowledge, was one-of-a-kind," says Mark Katona, a second-generation roofing contractor specializing in custom metal roofing. "This enabled us to install metal to the perimeter of the building cost effectively, and with the highest standards of quality in our industry."

Katona credits the project's success to a combination of factors, including the skills and craftsmanship of his crews, coupled with the right roofing product. "Custom-Bilt was selected for the metal package because of their superior product in the new ULTRA-Cool™ coating system," Katona says.

Custom-Bilt worked with Keystone Roofing to develop ways to fabricate some of the panels, which are upwards of 160 feet in length. "We welcomed the opportunity to be involved in this important project, and to work with the dedicated roofing professionals we encountered at Keystone Roofing," says Joe Chiovare of Custom-Bilt Metals. "The quality of their work is obvious to everyone." Chiovare addsd that he heard one representative of the general contractor, Harper Construction, remark that the fascia metal is "so smooth you could shave in front of it."

Designed by Sillman Wright Architects of San Diego, the expansive new indoor fitness center features a barrel roof design over the main gymnasium area, flanked by adjacent curved radius wings. The striking architecture is enhanced by 650 squares of Custom-Bilt's CB-150 T-panel standing seam roofing in a rich Colonial Red color that is consistent with other buildings on the base.

"This project is the crown jewel of the Marine base and in my opinion is the best in the nation in both look and design," says Katona. "The building has great character and curb appeal, with a strong yet elegant look the red roof produces." That's not just Katona's opinion. His assessment is backed up by others, including the general contractor-Katona says he used a single word to describe the roof and metal fascia installation: "flawless."

"We are immensely proud of both the striking appearance and the many services the new Semper Fit Fieldhouse will provide to Marines and their families here at the nation's busiest military base," says Bill Shatzer, Camp Pendleton's project engineer. He noted that the new facility will house two gymnasiums, four racquetball courts, a multipurpose room, an aerobics room, a huge weight training and cardiovascular area, locker rooms, plus a wellness room and classroom.

The massive building's roof features 22-gauge decking and GAF Storm Shield ice and water shield. The standing seam CB-150 panels are coated with Custom-Bilt's new premium ULTRA-Cool coating, a new technology developed by BASF Corp.'s Industrial Coatings Division, which greatly reduces heat absorption, thereby saving energy, reducing cooling costs, and increasing the life expectancy of the roof.

"Custom-Bilt has shown integrity and diligence through a very complicated and demanding job," Katona adds. "There were many needs and demands put on us, and each time we needed immediate response, we called upon Custom-Bilt and they were unwavering. We feel they're an awesome team of professionals."

Chiovare added that project's ultimate success was also due to the exceptional skill and craftsmanship of the Keystone Roofing crews, which also installed 16-gauge galvanized box fascia and soffit material to the entire perimeter of the building, in addition to the custom-extruded standing seam roof panels. "Their performance under adverse conditions was truly world-class," Chiovare says.

"Our crews were able to install material under some of the most difficult circumstances an installer can face-they were virtually rappelling on some areas of the gymnasium roof," adds Katona. "Plus, we have developed a way to nearly eliminate oil-canning of installed sheet metal panes up to 3 feet wide. This method is a closely guarded company practice that made it possible for the finished installation to be so flawless in its appearance."

Looking Ahead

From his perspective, Tony Chiovare sees continual growth for the metal roofing business, both in the residential and commercial segments. "We have never seen the demand as strong," he adds. "The balance of 2004 seems to be the same trend." He admits that there is a concern with price increases, noting, "There appears to be no ceiling in sight yet." However, "Price hasn't yet affected the decision makers specifying metal."

With that in mind, Custom Bilt is planning on its 30th anniversary to be the springboard for another 30 years of success. "With the combined experience of over 400 years in the construction industry, I believe that Custom-Bilt Metals is well positioned with products and experts to take advantage of the growth that metal roofing will experience in both the near and distant future," says Chiovare. "It is our intent to expand our product line to include new profiles of standing seam, shingles and tile products." He believes that Custom-Bilt's success is a result of understanding the contracting industry and being able to respond quickly to its customers' needs. "We never compromise quality for price and always deliver ‘knock-out' service."