Okland Construction Co.'s Tempe, Ariz., office notched a stunning 98% increase in revenue in the Southwest region during fiscal-year 2011 at a time when many of its competitors saw plunging bottom lines. Okland was able to bring in $185.8 million in the region between October 2010 and September 2011.

But it was the firm's commitments to client service and sustainability that cinched its selection as ENR Southwest's 2012 Contractor of the Year.

"For sure, 2009 and 2010 were lean years for us, as with many companies," says Bill Okland, president of the company his great-grandfather founded in 1918 in Salt Lake City. "It was just a question of getting back to the level of performance we knew we were capable of."

Okland attributes his company's success to its personnel and the relationships they form with developers, architects, owners and trades. "In addition, we try to keep our fees for services competitive, but we do not compromise our ability to deliver the level of service we look to achieve," he says. "Our hope was that there were still owners that valued the partnering approach we strive for during preconstruction and carry forward into construction."

One long-standing client, the San Juan Regional Medical Center in Farmington, N.M., has completed 16 projects with Okland during the last decade. "Okland always puts the right team on the ground with us, backs their work and performs with distinction," says Larry Smith, director of SJRMC Support Services.

Using construction manager at-risk delivery and building information modeling for almost all projects ensures relationship building and cost containment, Okland says. "By meeting early and often with all of the team members, checking all costs and completing constructability reviews, we have been able to deliver on or ahead of schedule and work through small technical details inexpensively in conference rather than expensively on site."

Partnering helped deliver the $11.8-million, 68,000-sq-ft East Valley Institute of Technology Health Services Building Expansion in Mesa, Ariz., ahead of schedule and on budget. "Bringing subs in early and taking advantage of their insights is underappreciated in preconstruction," Okland says.

In nearby Gilbert, Ariz., the Gilbert Temple, for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, also required complex preconstruction planning. Scheduled for delivery in fall 2013, the 85,000-sq-ft, three-story (plus basement) project utilizes BIM modeling and Vela Systems on site for punch-list input and quality control. Careful planning also helped the team safely reroute miles of high-voltage lines at the site.

Okland began construction on the fast-track, design-build temple in July 2011 while the plans were just 25% complete, says Gregory B. Lambright, principal architect for Tempe-based Architekton. "Almost every aspect of the project has been evaluated to determine the best methods to move the project forward. Okland's construction insight and experience add a significant perspective in this process."