Design-Building in a Tight Labor Market: J. Lawrence Hall
As a leading design-build contracting firm, Jewett Construction chooses to work with like-minded subcontractors—a synergy that aids in streamlining projects with the added benefit of helping to moderate the current construction labor shortage.
One such company is J. Lawrence Hall Co., Inc., a Nashua, NH-based, design-build mechanical contracting firm designing and installing quality HVAC products for commercial and industrial clients all over New England. We spoke with Dave Dussault, Sales Engineer at J. Lawrence Hall, about his take on the skilled labor shortage, the design-build process, and the interaction between the two.
“Our company designs, installs, and services heating, air conditioning, plumbing, and refrigeration equipment for several hundred commercial customers,” Dave told us, “so labor concerns can be a serious issue. Like everyone else in the industry, we’re feeling the effects of the current shortage, but manage to keep up by working longer crew days and some Saturdays, and by bringing in a limited amount of temporary labor.
“Interestingly enough, we find that the design-build model, something that allows us direct contact with the end user, also helps mitigate any potential labor problem. It comes down to value engineering. When we’re able to have a realistic discussion with the customer, we can design HVAC systems, chilled and/or hot water piping systems, etcetera, that meet their needs without added fluff, as opposed to over specifying a job. In addition, the design-build model shortens the submittal process so we can focus on getting the job done. It’s about implementing the system versus the paper process. All of this reduces both cost and labor requirements. It’s a win-win.
“We have other ways of getting around the labor problem, as well. On larger, more complicated design-build projects, we’re able to prefabricate some assemblies in house—which helps if they’re not ready for us on a jobsite. This helps reduce any subcontracting bottlenecks and again helps with the labor issue.
“As a subcontractor, we work with all kinds of general contractors, and really appreciate companies like Jewett Construction. They organize their jobs well and communicate clearly with their subs, which helps us work more efficiently. When you build a quality team, you get a nice job and save money all around.”
Jewett Construction, an official Butler Builder, is a Raymond, NH-based design-build firm specializing in commercial and industrial projects throughout the Northeast. Our commitment to the Design-Build model and forward-thinking sub-contractors like J. Lawrence Hall goes a long way in mitigating the existing labor shortage as pertains to working on our clients’ jobs.