How the Pipe Trades Giants happens.

The information that Plumbing & Mechanical uses to rank the Pipe Trades Giants 100 is the most accurate we can gather. We use several different methods, but by far the most effective is the questionnaire we send to every company in our 300+firm database.

There were some companies who opted not to supply some or all of the information we requested for fiscal year 2003. So we have estimated sales volume and percentage breakdowns for those companies, indicated with an asterisk. For some public companies, we used information from annual reports or SEC filings. The only way to present a meaningful report on the state of the industry is to include every company that is a significant player, even if it has had a bad year or is in turmoil for some other reason.

One company in turmoil was Scott Co. of California (No. 15 on last year's list) - it went out of business. Another is American Plumbing & Mechanical, No. 4 in 2003, which filed for bankruptcy last fall. It is No. 3 this year. (2003's No. 3, Encompass Services, emerged from bankruptcy as Residential Services Group, which is No. 31 on the 2004 list.)

On the utility front, 2003's No. 9, PSEG Energy Technologies, a subsidiary of the PSEG utility, sold most of its mechanical contracting firms. The few that remain have dropped PSEG 78 points to No. 87 this year. Exelon also is selling off its contracting companies in its Exelon Services group (No. 10). And Blue Dot's utility parent, NorthWestern, filed for bankruptcy last year and is selling off its Blue Dot companies (No. 66 this year). FirstEnergy Facilities Services Group fell from No. 21 last year to No. 44 in 2004. KeySpan Business Solutions held steady at No. 5.

HVAC manufacturer Lennox also is selling off a majority of its Service Expert units in poor-performing areas, keeping a core 47 companies in major metropolitan areas. It's at No. 59 this year.

With Encompass gone, and both PSEG and Harder Mechanical bumped lower in the ranking, there are newcomers to the Top Ten - Southland Industries (No. 4), John E. Green Co. (No. 9), and Exelon.

The biggest rise in the ranking was Snelson Cos., which went from No. 82 in 2003 to No. 52 this year.

Large declines in the ranking went to RK Mechanical (dropped 34 points to No. 90), Lee Co. (dropped 36 points to No. 72) and W.G. Tomko (dropped 51 points to No. 91).

Newcomers to the Pipe Trades Giants are: Durr Mechanical Construction (No. 41), DECCO (No. 50), East Coast Fire Protection (No. 61), Wayne Automatic Fire Sprinklers (No. 71), Gem Plumbing & Heating (No. 76), Ivey Mechanical (No. 78), Campito Plumbing & Heating (No. 83), R.T. Moore Co. (No. 93) and FitzGerald Contractors (No. 99).

Returning to the list are Nashville Machine (No. 79) and CCI Mechanical (No. 85).

The Pipe Trades Giants are ranked by plumbing/ piping volume, not total revenue.

2004 Pipe Trades Giants List (35.8k)

Alphabetical 2004 Pipe Trades Giants (23.9k)

2004 Pipe Trades Giants Top Ten List (51.9k)

Editor's Note: A calculation error improperly placed TDIndustries in the Top 10 in our August issue of PM’s Pipe Trades Giants list; TDIndustries correctly comes in at No. 16. Exelon Services moves up to No. 10, and John E. Green will be No. 9. Rankings from 7 to 16 are affected, but corrected ranking is now online.

TD Industries is not included in the Hydronics Top 10 at all; Warwick plumbing comes in at No. 10 with $19.51 million. All corrected lists are now online.