For estimators there were an annoying handful of projects bidding between the holidays this year. None were very exciting but all were for repeat clients who were asking for extraordinary service. For a few firms there were some holiday good tidings in the form of juicy contracts.
Jendoco Construction was chosen as the contractor for CMU’s $60 million plus Nano-Bio-Energy Center, which will start in 2013. Of more immediate concern was the awarding of contracts for Mt. Lebanon’s $88 million High School project. Nello Construction won the general piece at $49.1 million. The other high profile bid before the holidays was the $50 million Squirrel Hill Tunnel rehab. Those came in as follows: Walsh Construction $49.5 million, Lane Construction $$50.99 million, Mosites Construction $51.7 million. The Squirrel Hill project underscores the divergence in competitive conditions between the heavy/highway market and the building side. No market is really fat right now but many building contractors are able to be selective now. The tunnel project will be multi-year and carries some significant risks. There were a total of 6 bids on the job with a better than 20% variance from top to bottom. The 5% gap between first and third tells alot about how tight the infrastructure market is going to be. Read more about that in the Jan/Feb BreakingGround.
The fourth quarter ended with much more bidding and contracting than usual. Given the better macroeconomic climate, it’s a good bet that the region has put recessionary times behind. The first quarter will tell alot about that.