SchirmerChester W. "Chet" Schirmer, 84, who led the engineering firm his father founded to pioneer approaches in sprinkler engineering and fire protection design, died on Feb. 19 in Pinehurst, N.C., of natural causes, says Aon Corp. The insurance giant acquired Schirmer Engineering Corp. in 2001 but maintained its brand for nearly a decade.The firm ranked at No. 289 on ENR's list of the Top 500 Design Firms in 2011. Schirmer was firm president from 1964 to 1991 and chairman until 1995. "His influence on many projects in fire protection include instrumental changes on sprinkler systems and the design of life-safety
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.