Modern and Sustainable Railing Solutions

VIVA Railings

In 2005, Huzefa Tinwala launched VIVA Railings, a business on a corporate mission to provide sustainably produced railings to building owners, architects, designers, and contractors at an affordable price. All of VIVA Railing’s stainless steel products are LEED, HUB, SBE, and MBE certified and are composed of a minimum of 65 percent recycled content. Repurposing something valuable and transforming it into something beautiful is a specialty of the growing business.
~
As a matter of fact, Owner and Founder Huzefa Tinwala points out that the Carrollton, Texas company itself was reborn from a former business. An entrepreneurial urge runs in the Tinwala family, as Mr. Tinwala Sr. owned a business in India in the 1970s. He manufactured decorative cabinet handles, knobs, security door chains, and door stoppers by utilizing the company’s in-house capabilities of casting, machining, powder coating, electroplating, and packaging. Then in the new millennium, the second generation embarked upon a new enterprise of creating modular, aesthetically pleasing, stainless steel railings after Huzefa Tinwala came to the United States to continue his studies. He graduated from Texas A&M University.

“I came here to do my Master’s in Construction Management,” Huzefa Tinwala recounts. “After that, I worked for a few years, about four or five years with various general contractors. Looking at the market, at what was available, I saw a void. I started designing a few initial product lines and took it from there.”

Now, the LEED certified company employs 100 people and has been listed on the Inc. 5000 list of the fastest growing American companies for the last seven consecutive years. Huzefa Tinwala remarks that being fiscally cautious has helped the company in the long term.

“We operate on quite strong financial principles, working as a debt-free company,” he explains. “This allows us to focus on growing organically versus having to infuse the company with artificial growth. With us not having to depend on banks for financing, we are able to invest our profits back into the business to grow the employees and grow the company.”

VIVA Railings’ goal is to be a company of choice for its valued clients, and accordingly offers a variety of products at an affordable price, serving geographically broad areas. It uses a staff of installers to serve clients within the Texas DFW Metroplex, and relies on talented subcontractors for the remainder of the United States.

Following the green revolution of the 2000s, the company decided to specialize in LEED products because doing so helps the architects in achieving their efficiency goals. This is something that is important to VIVA Railings’ customers from both a business and environmental standpoint. “Global warming is of course the driving force behind sustainability,” comments Tinwala.

VIVA Railings is able to meet sustainable specifications by sourcing raw materials from suppliers that use recycled content, including stainless steel (the majority of the material VIVA uses) and even sustainably procured wood. Stainless steel is known for being a best value option because it is widely considered a “green” component, is corrosion resistant, and also adapts well to the strict hygiene requirements of many facilities, such as hospitals or laboratories.

The multi-skilled, industrial focused company provides its clients with total solutions, from design and engineering to fabrication and installation. VIVA Railings is the company architects depend on to take projects from conception to completion, and has participated in a number of noteworthy projects. Last year, it completed all of the North American headquarters for Toyota, a large project that spanned 14 buildings in total, from California to Texas.

The Toyota headquarters in Plano, Texas was completed with general contractor Austin Commercial, and the architect was Corgan Associates. VIVA’s SHOE™ Glass Railing System (a structural glass balustrade system with a patented compression set aluminum base shoe system) was used to complete the stunning, modern, minimalist facilities. As VIVA writes in its project brochure, the SHOE™ Glass Railing is “a great choice for commercial interior or exterior, balcony railing or stair railing applications. This architectural railing solution provides a fall protection barrier without obstruction of view or an unsightly barrier.”

The beautiful balustrade system was installed, in consultation with architects, using SOLO™, an ultra-minimalistic design. This unique system was designed with a cohesive line flow and multi-function parts. It features a single stainless steel “blade” post mounted via custom-designed stand-offs of 1.5-inch diameter. The simple and sustainable railing system proved to be the perfect fit for Toyota, the renowned lean manufacturer.

“This year, we are also working on the American Airlines headquarters. Those two are our recent signature projects,” Tinwala adds.

In 2018, VIVA Railings launched its new ECO line and Structural Laser-cut Panel System. These new product lines will be showcased at the American Institute of Architect conference this June 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Struc Panel™ Railing is an ingeniously engineered structural sheet metal fabrication design. This post-free system is available in a range of pre-configured patterns or a custom design of your choice. The aluminum material can use finishes of powder coating, anodized and stainless steel in #6 satin, or ECM colors. Meanwhile, the ECO line by VIVA Railings is a new range of aluminum railing systems that is economical while still upholding the DNA of VIVA’s high quality and exceptional modern designs – a far cry from the mundane aluminum systems currently offered on the market.

There are two variations of this product: ECO Ellipse and ECO Vista. Both modern designs are perfect for high-end, multi-family residential units. The Ellipse design has a curved, ellipse-shaped post with or without a top rail in oval or rectangular profiles. The infill is clear monolithic or laminated glass with floating horizontal edges. The Vista design has 1” x 2.5” slender posts with a top rail in oval or rectangular profiles. The infill is clear monolithic or laminated glass with floating horizontal edges.

Why aluminum? Although most of VIVA’s products are steel, aluminum is an affordable yet durable option with almost as many finishing options. Moreover, VIVA tells us that the energy to produce one ton of aluminum for fabrication is only five percent that of other materials – an added bonus for LEED projects. All of VIVA’s new product lines can be customized upon request, or clients can work with VIVA on an entirely fresh custom option suited to their needs.

The product lines aren’t the only aspects of the business that are new. The growing and changing company will be moving into a new, 65,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art facility by the end of 2019. Currently, VIVA works from two locations: one that is 14,000 square feet and another 17,000 square-foot facility. By winter, these facilities will be leased, and VIVA will be in a brand new, nearby facility where all of its operations will be consolidated.

Considering VIVA Railings’ founding principles, it comes as no surprise that its new headquarters will be as modern and eco-friendly as its designs. “We are currently in the design process of the building. We are going to be using sustainable products: LED lighting all across the building and high velocity fans that reduce power consumption from heating and air conditioning,” describes Tinwala.

As VIVA keeps growing, VIVA has earned the trust of its clients all across America, and has even participated in international projects. The company may look into opening a couple of regional centers in Texas, or beyond.

In the meantime, Mr. Tinwala strives to increase VIVA’s presence online. “We are always launching an upgraded web portal every couple of years with added enhancements. We are looking into a fourth-generation website, where we are implementing voice capabilities. We will be creating a more engaged and interactive website for architects,” he says.

Hiring and developing people is another natural part of the growing process. “We look for people who are thinkers, people who want to focus on building a career,” says Tinwala.

Being debt-free and constantly reinvesting in itself, VIVA’s most prized asset is its people. It has already begun an internal web portal for training, using videos that the company has created over the last couple of years. “I’ve also talked about hiring someone to lead the process of employee development, or maybe begin a formal apprenticeship or training program,” Tinwala notes of the company’s future goals.

“We pride ourselves on a team comprising the cream of the industry crop. Our engineering, design, manufacturing, estimating, and project management professionals take great pride in supplying our commercial clients with quality products and superb customer service,” VIVA Railings’ corporate website states.

VIVA Railings’ online catalog can be downloaded at www.vivarailings.com.

Tales from the Underground

Toronto, Chicago, and New York City are three of the largest cities in North America. All are famous for their bustle, energy, work opportunities, and tourist attractions. What is less well-known is that all three of these urban centres feature vast areas beneath the street surface where pedestrians can shop, dine, catch a subway, do their banking, or simply avoid inclement weather.

May 23, 2019, 8:21 PM EDT