More than 2,000 craft workers are buzzing like bees inside a new 1,600-MW powerplant under construction near Franklin, Texas. Supplying the trades with forklifts, grinders, welding machines, safety glasses—even ice for water coolers—normally would be a logistical nightmare for all the contractors involved in the $2-billion project. But AMECO, the chief supplier on the job, has been handling these services for over 60 years. At Luminant’s Oak Grove Steam Electric Station, due to supply power to about one million homes by mid-2010, AMECO is supplying $1.4 million in small tools along with more than 580 other larger items, like pickup
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.