Brasfield and Gorrie Florida operations
Brasfield and Gorrie General Contractors will enter 2011 with a healthy backlog of projects underway in the Sunshine State. The Birmingham, Ala.-based general contractor’s busy Florida operations consist of an Orlando office opened in 1984 and a Jacksonville office established in 2005, says Tim Dwyer, regional president overseeing both offices.
Both offices cover projects throughout the state with the exception of the Panhandle, served by the company’s Alabama operations. The company operates in a number of sectors including healthcare, government, industrial, office, institutional, retail and education.
Although the entire state has been greatly affected by the national recession, Brasfield and Gorrie reports only a 10 percent decrease in revenue since 2008. This is due in part to a major change in the company’s operations in recent years that saw it shift to hard-bid projects, as opposed to negotiated contracts. The region’s current workload is evenly divided between the two types of projects, while negotiated projects were the vast majority of the company’s work in 2007, Dwyer says.
“With the delivery method in the industry changing to a hard-bid mentality, it’s been important for us to understand our costs, which makes us more competitive and more successful,” he adds.
VA Center Project
A physical sign of the company’s success in winning projects despite the economic downturn was visible earlier this year in Orlando, when the company had 10 large tower cranes in the air working on projects, Dwyer says.
One of the company’s largest projects in Orlando is the $350 million Orlando VA Medical Center near Lake Nona. Work on the 1.25-million-square-foot, six-story facility started in fall 2009 and will conclude in October 2012. Brasfield Gorrie is nearing completion on parking garages on the site, with construction on the hospital superstructure expected to be complete at the end of 2010. The hospital is being designed to meet LEED Silver specifications.
The hospital’s exterior will be constructed of a pre-cast curtain wall and metal panels, with 100,000 yards of concrete structure poured on site, Vice President and Federal Division Manager George Paulson says.
The thickness of the building’s exterior glass is rated for hurricane resistance and is also designed to keep exterior sound from the building, he adds.
One of the building’s distinctive features is an interstitial level located between each one of the building’s proper six stories. These levels are designed to house 850,000-square-feet of mechanical systems, Paulson says.
Site amenities include 8,000 feet of fencing surrounding the campus and outdoor recreation features including a basketball court, jogging track, physical training course and fountains. The entrance of the facility will feature a large reflecting pond that residents and visitors will cross by a bridge to enter the building.
Brasfield and Gorrie is on track to complete a 150,000-square-foot headquarters for Adventist Health Systems in Altamonte Springs, Fla., in September 2011. Work on the five-story building started in June.
The building’s design is meant to serve as an extension to the faith-based health care provider’s mission. Exterior materials include a terra cotta panel system, glass and curtain wall. A key interior design element is the staircase Corporate headquarters buildings such as the Adventist Health project have become more rare in the state in light of the economy. “To have a headquarters building going in this market is somewhat unique; you don’t see a lot of office buildings in this market right now, and we have three going in Orlando counting this one,” he adds.
Keys to Success
Dwyer credits a number of factors for the company’s success in Florida, including its ability to self-perform projects and the close relationships it maintains with clients and subcontractors. He credits these relationships to one simple philosophy.
“We operate our company by the Golden Rule; that is truly how we treat the subcontractors, clients and consultants we work with,” Dwyer says.
The biggest part of the company’s success is an experienced staff. “We don’t have a lot of turnover,” Dwyer adds. ”The same face our clients saw 10 years ago is the same face they’ll see today, which is very comforting to the client.”
The company has an active training and development program, which includes peer-nominated awards and employee and client satisfaction surveys. In addition, the company actively seeks to identify and create future leaders, Dwyer says.