Subcontractor Troubles Persist

Despite the improved state of some market sectors, an increasing number of specialty contractors are finding it difficult to keep afloat.

"Our sense is that subcontractor failures have increased in frequency during the past nine months," says Davis. He points out that general contractors are often forced to issue advance payments to subcontractors to keep them on the job. Insurers have been somewhat surprised recently by the increased severity of claims from specialty firms, he adds.

The business climate is only getting tougher, Davis continues. Margins are still thin and owners demand more. Specialty contractors "are having to perform faster, safer and cheaper, " he says. "Tougher contractual risk transfer conditions are being pushed by the owner and the general contractors, putting even more pressure on balance sheets."

About the Ranking

ENR Southeast's Top Specialty Contractors ranking reports 2011 revenue from work performed in Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas. The main ranking represents firms' total Southeast revenue, while breakout charts rank firms by state and market sector.