With the significant decline in commercial construction since 2008, large commercial contractors that typically pursue projects over $25 million are now pursuing $1 million projects. In order for mid-sized contractors to compete, they must have excellent experience on design-build contracts and be able to show the owner that they can provide an excellent product quicker, and for less money than the large contractors. Smaller firms must differentiate their experience, their approach to the design-build process, and their teaming members. One significant key that can be highlighted is for the design-build contractor to sell the scopes of work they self perform.
As a mid-size contractor that has worked with schools, healthcare providers, commercial entities, and government agencies for close to 30 years, Ramtech has always pursued a path of differentiation when it comes to design-build projects. Some of the areas that we emphasize include:
- Surety and banking relationships.
- An in-house design team for pursuing projects under $5 million without partnering with an outside A/E firm.
- Emphasizing project speed using concurrent construction like the Accelerated Building System where manufacturing plant fabrication of the building sections are taking place while the site development, utilities, and foundation are being constructed onsite.
With an approach like the Accelerated Building System, the building arrives onsite with rough electrical and HVAC installed, and all of the framing completed. A 20,000 square foot building can usually be installed and made weather proof in just one week, allowing the final interior and exterior finishes to be quickly completed onsite. This approach is faster and less expensive, and provides for a superior quality facility with an emphasis on safety. There are many ways for a contractor to position themselves, but in design-build you must be able to differentiate yourself from the Big Boys.
Gary White is Vice President of Sales & Estimating at Ramtech Building Systems, Inc. He has been in the commercial modular industry for 33 years and is responsible for the management of all sales and estimating efforts across each of Ramtech’s key market segments: Education, Government, Medical, and Commercial.