School Construction Stigma
I recently had a conversation with an architect I had just met regarding the types of project Nolan-Thomas and I have been involved in. When I mentioned that we had done several School Construction projects his reaction was unexpected to say the least. “So your one of those change order contractors”
Why is it that Public Works and/or School Construction has such a bad connotation to it. I believe its in large part to a very few General Contractors involved in this portion of our industry. Unfortunately, these are usually the ones you hear the most about. Their approach seems to be one of constant conflict, whether it involves a continuous stream of minor, and usually frivolous change order requests or the constant threat of litigation. These contractors have tainted the name of the remainder of good general contractors who work on millions of dollars of school construction projects yearly.
Granted Public Works “hard bid” projects are inherently difficult. With their highly technical specifications, a high level of quality expected and demanded, combined with a usually short time frame for construction and you can see why these projects are extremely challenging. And of course I didn’t mention the fact that you have to be the low bidder.
In the past 20 years of doing these types of projects, I have found that they are actually a great training ground for all types of construction projects. Because of their difficulty, they teach our managers and field personnel to become extremely efficient and cost effective in performing the work while maintaining a high degree of quality. This also means treating the Owners and Architects as part of the team, and not as adversaries.
So before you pass judgment, there are those of us who do public works school and a wide variety of other construction projects without the stereotypical “Public Works Mind Set”.