New England Region’s Specialty Firms Remain Busy Despite Revenue Dip
Though revenue numbers in ENR New England’s third annual survey of specialty construction firms were down slightly from the previous year’s survey, construction activity remains strong across most New England sectors. The 17 participating firms in this year’s Top Specialty Contractors survey reported $1.6 billion in revenue, compared with $2.1 billion for the 17 firms on last year’s ranking. The first annual survey in 2017 saw 17 firms with a total of $1.6 billion in revenue.
Based on 2018 revenue numbers, this year’s survey represented work performed in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont. The top five firms recorded a combined $1 billion in 2018 revenue, down from $1.3 billion the previous year.
Len Monfredo, executive vice president at No. 2-ranked E.M. Duggan with $212 million in regional revenue, says business continues to be strong for the sixth straight year with developers “investing and creating an all-encompassing living experience, which includes: luxury apartments, office space, high-end restaurants and access to boutique shops and retail.”
Monfredo, whose mechanical contracting firm ranked fifth last year with $185 million in revenue, adds that “the residential and condo market will start to slow down soon, but the lab, hospital and educational market will pick up.”
Wayne J. Griffin Electric Inc. ranked No. 1 on the survey with $264.8 million in revenue, up from $234.9 million last year when the firm ranked third. Wayne Griffin, president, said owners and contractors rely on the firm’s “depth of design assist capabilities” to help “offset the escalation of material and labor costs through greater efficiencies in prefab assemblies.”
EMCOR Group Inc.—which ranked first on the last two rankings, including last year’s survey with $377.3 million in revenue—declined to participate this year. No. 3-ranked Manafort Brothers Inc. had $192.40 million in revenue. The firm did not respond to last year’s survey.
No. 8-ranked Select Demo’s backlog for the next two years is the largest it’s been since the company started in 2004, says Ryan Denver, the firm’s president. He notes that the firm experienced a 48% revenue increase from 2014 to 2018.
Select Demo is currently working on Logan International Airport’s $67-million Terminal C upgrade. The firm’s scope is phased selective demolition of non-airside airport areas, including canopy demolition, pre-cast panel and grade beam removal in the Central and West garage lots.
“This project proved to be very challenging by simply working at an active airport as busy as Logan International Airport,” Denver says of the work scheduled to be completed in December 2020. “Working around an extremely active airport with full labor crews and large pieces of heavy equipment is challenging to say the least.”
While Denver says Select Demo recently started a heavy civil division to handle increased infrastructure work, historically low interest rates “as well as pent-up demand” are contributing to the construction of apartments, hospitals, university projects and elderly housing, according to Larry Thibodeau, president at No. 14-ranked Hampshire Fire Protection. Thibodeau expects “a strong construction market through 2020.” However, he says it’s “too early to tell” how big a forthcoming correction will be, “but we can assume there will be one.”