C.T. Taylor Company Aims to Exceed Industry Standards
On with the show: C.T. Taylor completed its work on Cleveland’s Agora Theatre on a fast-track schedule.
When construction manager C.T. Taylor Company finished its work on the Agora Theatre in Cleveland in 2018, the industry soon realized this was no standard reconstruction project. The structure dates back to 1913, so original decorative plaster and architectural elements were restored in the lobby, while electrical and plumbing was moved and upgraded to be up to code. All of the work — including resurfacing the stage, remodeling dressing rooms, installing 564 new balcony seats and putting in a new, reflective roof — had to be completed on a fast-track schedule of two months.
The project’s architect, LDA architects, had worked with C.T. Taylor on past projects, and could self-perform much of the required work, such as making all of the new railings inside the Agora. The quality of the Agora project not only pleased the client, AEG Presents, but brought recognition to C.T. Taylor from Associated Builders and Contractors and the Cleveland Restoration Society.
“Industry standards can be minimally met or exceeded, and we always want to exceed them,” President John Hitchcock says. “We have an impressive number of awards from state, local and national groups for the quality of our work, and that is a testament to the dedication of our workers. It also says a lot about our goals and aspirations — we turn out work that we are proud of.”
Based in Hudson, Ohio, C.T. Taylor has grown steadily since its inception in 1977, gaining experience in concrete work, structural steel erection, carpentry, refrigerated warehousing and pre-engineered buildings. The company is confident in the quality it delivers, and will provide its own manpower for any sub trade or bid an entire project as a general contractor.
“The procurement model nowadays is based on the best-value system,” Hitchcock explains. “Reputation is everything now because it’s not a low-bidder environment. Your reputation for providing quality workmanship has a direct impact on your ability to get future work.”
‘Better Subs Make Better Buildings’
Hitchcock sees the labor shortage as the company’s biggest challenge. “Good people are hard to find nowadays because everyone is busy,” he notes.
But C.T. Taylor plans to continue with slow and steady growth while adding people while it can. The company is somewhat unique in its area, Hitchcock says, because it is an open-shop firm, while most contractors in the region are union. Noting that “just like better ingredients make better pizza, better subs make better buildings,” C.T. Taylor hires subs – union or not – based on their ability to perform up to its standards.
“We are very selective in inviting subs to bid because we’re only as good as the subs who work for us,” Hitchcock says. “This is a small enough area that we know most of the people we will work with, but we always want subs who will meet the schedule, do quality work, work economically and get along with people. That goes a long way in making our work better.”
The advantage of open shop, Hitchcock explains, is that C.T. Taylor can develop its workforce. Conversely, with union jobs, companies can lay people off when the job is over.
C.T. Taylor treats its employees like family and catches up on maintenance in the winter when work is slow, doing all it can to provide full-time employment. “We are competitive because of our employees’ skills and our ability to self-perform major components of the projects,” Hitchcock says. “This allows us to control the pace of the work and there is no excuses from anyone. We have been at this for over 40 years, so we’ve learned a thing or two about successful projects.”