Region’s Specialty Firms Stay Busy During Building Boom
Specialty contractors across the MidAtlantic region remain in demand. The 26 firms participating in this year’s ENR MidAtlantic Top Specialty Contractor survey reported a combined $4.2 billion in regional revenue in 2018. That represents a 13.5% increase from last year, when 25 companies reported total revenue of $3.7 billion.
The top 10 firms on the list generated $3.6 billion in revenue from work in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. That’s a 13.5% gain compared with the total for last year’s 10 largest revenue generators.
At the top of this year’s list is MasTec Inc., the Coral Gables, Fla.-based infrastructure construction firm, which posted nearly $7 billion in revenue worldwide. Ranked either No. 2 or No. 3 on every ENR MidAtlantic list since 2014, the firm finally took top billing with more than $2 billion in regional revenue this year. That’s a 138% leap from last year’s $856 million.
MasTec reported $1.8 billion in regional utility work on this year’s survey. Of that, $1.3 billion came from work in West Virginia alone.
EMCOR Group Inc. was first in the last three annual surveys, including last year with $957.70 million in revenue. But the company declined to participate in this year’s survey across all ENR regions.
Comfort Systems U.S.A. finished second this year with $367.92 in regional revenue, up 4.4% from $352.54 million last year. Hatzel & Buehler Inc., ENR MidAtlantic’s 2017 Specialty Contractor of the Year, climbed two spots this year to No. 3. It logged $202.50 million in revenue, compared with last year’s $142 million.
Hatzel & Buehler also tops the list of 11 firms combining for nearly $1 billion in regional electrical work. The firm reported $202.50 million in the sector. That put it ahead of Rosendin Electric ($190.13 million) and Power Design ($168.95). On the overall list, Rosendin finished No. 4, with $190.13 million, while Power Design was No. 5 with $168.95.
Brian Brobst, Rosendin director of preconstruction in the Eastern region, says the overall diversity of MidAtlantic markets helps produce a “strong” and “steady” outlook. But he says the firm is cautious about the future “due to the overall economics and political concerns.”
Lauren Permuy, vice president of business development at Power Design, says her firm sees high demand for apartments in neighborhoods in the District of Columbia, including the District’s Navy Yard, Union Market and NOMA; in Virginia’s National Landing, Tysons and Rosslyn; and in Maryland’s Bethesda and North Bethesda. Permuy says, “Our primary product type is mixed-use apartments, condos, hotels and office, and we are not seeing a slowdown.” She notes that Power Design has 67 active projects and has been awarded $205 million in new contracts in 2019.
Permuy points to the Amazon HQ 2 plan at the National Landing development in Virginia, which is expected to create more than 13 million sq ft of development during the next five years. She says the MidAtlantic market “will continue to be strong through 2023” and adds that the Metrorail expansion to Dulles airport will create opportunities to build “town center-type” developments. “We believe the market will continue to excel outside the District of Columbia over the coming years,” Permuy says.
C3M Power Systems, this year’s Specialty Contractor of the Year (see p. MA15), ranks seventh in electrical work, with $37.18 million. That figure also puts C3M Power Systems 18th on the overall specialty contractor survey. Last year, the firm reported $30.2 million.
Atlantic Constructors Inc., ENR MidAtlantic’s 2016 Specialty Contractor of the Year, was ranked No. 8 overall this year, with $130 million in revenue. Evan Shriver, the firm’s executive vice president for construction operations, says the regional market remains strong thanks to “population growth feeding construction growth in sectors such as health care, higher education, food and beverage, warehouse and distribution, big data and commercial office.”
The firm is currently performing HVAC, plumbing and pipework on the $93-million, 133,000-sq-ft Virginia Commonwealth University Engineering Research Building, which is expected to be completed in December 2020. Shriver says the steady workflow should spill into 2021 too. “Currently we don’t see any signs of slowing in the next couple years,” he says. “The design engineers seem to still be extremely busy, which means there is still plenty of work coming up.”