Client Spotlight: W. O. Grubb Crane Rental

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Recently Wayne Witmer and Brian Mininger had the opportunity to return to Grubb Crane Rental in Winchester to take a look at the finished facility that Harman built a few years ago for this growing company.  It was a great oppourtunity to learn more about the work of Grubb Crane Rental and find out just what had drawn them to Harman Construction when they were deciding to build their new facility.

Before taking a tour of the facility Wayne and Brian sat down with Scott McDougle – Vice President of Sales – Business Development – and talked about the history of Grubb, it’s ongoing values and priorities and their experience working with Harman in their most recent build.

Here is a transcript of that conversation.

Tell us about the history of Grubb Crane Rental?

WO Grubb Crane Rental was started in 1962 by Willy Grubb.  The company grew over a long period of time through the perseverance and dedication of the Grubb family.  In 1984, Willy’s son Bill purchased the business from his father with a dream and vision to grow the company even bigger than it’s than 15 cranes.  That vision has become a reality with the company growing from 1 branch, with 15 cranes, to now running 8 branches with 200 cranes.

What values are important to Grubb Crane Rental?

People are the heartbeat of our business.  Everyone from our team members to our clients are important.  Safety is also a high priority here at Grubb.  We want to create a safe culture for our employees and our clients.  By valuing people and valuing safety we feel our team members are invested in Grubb Crane Rental because they know we care.

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What was happening in business that you decided to expand to Winchester, Virginia?

Our goal is to get into areas that can use our services and be impacted in a greater way by them.  With the expansion of the power companies, expanding to Winchester would allow us to be available to the power companies and the wind farms going up in the area.  We were also able to hire good people with great talent to help get this branch off the ground and up and running successfully. Honestly, it always comes back to the people and we have some great ones working for us.

Top Priorities for Grubb when looking for a contractor?

Without a shadow of a doubt, Communication was the #1 priority to us.  We needed a company that would, and could, communicate well from beginning to end.  We saw that quality in Harman, which helped in our decision making process.  In fact, Harman went above and beyond in communicating with us, which adds incredible value to the ongoing relationship.

Why Harman?

Besides communication, relationship is really important to us too.  We already had a good relationship with Harman from the past and we appreciated the fact that relationship is also important to Harman.  Harman really takes a partnership approach, displays a great level of professionalism and gives great attention to detail.

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What was your experience with the Design/Build Process?

The design/build process was important to us because it allowed us to sit down and really see the project from start to finish, from the layout to the aesthetics, before we even broke ground.  We could see the process laid out in front of us through the 3D renderings and make changes without having to bring in an expensive architect.  Because of the design/build process we only had a few areas that needed tweaking, which allowed the project to move forward without getting hung up over and over again.

Why is the look of the building so important to Grubb?

Image is important and it helps convey who we are.  We are proud of what this company has become and we feel it’s important to present ourselves well to our clients.   We also feel it instills a sense that we value our customers.  If we take such great care with our facility and our equipment it sends the message to our customers that we value them and we will give the same attention to detail and care that we give to our own staff and facility.

Our motto has always been “We always want to be invited back.”  Taking time to care about the details, about our customers and their projects, hopefully conveys that message.  Honestly, we want to be the best in class.

To see photos of the project check out the Grubb album Here.


So You Want To Build A Building. Now What?

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So you want to build a building! That’s great news and we would love to build it for you.

First, however, you will need to decide which project delivery method you would like to use. It is a very important first step and could set the tone for your entire construction project. In this blog post I will discuss the pros and cons of the two most common delivery methods for small to mid-size construction projects.

  • The traditional bid-build model
  • The design-build model

Each has distinct advantages and disadvantages that owners need to be aware of.

In the traditional model, also known as lump sum bid, the owner selects a design team and completes the building design prior to selecting a contractor. Once the design is complete the owner solicits competitive bids from multiple general contractors. In most cases, price is the deciding factor in contractor selection.

Lump sum bid is typically the most cost effective model because it utilizes competitive pricing across the board. Suppliers competitively bid material to subcontractors, subcontractors competitively bid to general contractors, and general contractors competitively bid to the owner. Everyone is providing their best number.

While having the lowest possible initial contract price appears ideal on the surface, there are some distinct disadvantages to be aware of that can ultimately affect the overall success of the project.

  • Did the contractor miss anything in his bid?
  • Can he complete the building within your timing constraints?
  • Are the subcontractors capable of performing their scope of work?
  • Did the design team provide sufficient detail in the bid documents to allow bidders to include all the desired building elements?
  • Does the constructability of the design allow the contractor to be most efficient in his construction operations in order to minimize cost and time?

It is impossible to know the answer to any of these questions when a contract is awarded. However, finding out the answer is no, during construction, can result in delays and additional costs to the project.

The design-build model attempts to mitigate the concerns listed above by involving the contractor at the beginning of the process.  

Instead of splitting the design and construction responsibilities, the design-build contractor is responsible for both. Because the contractor is involved at the onset of the project he can provide valuable insight to ensure scope is complete, contractors are qualified, the design is constructable and he can meet the schedule requirements for the project.

Instead of having design and construction independent of each other, and sometimes at odds with each serving his best interests, the design-build model creates a collaborative team atmosphere where the success of the project is the foremost concern.  

There are certain considerations for an owner to be aware of, however.

In the design-build model the owner does not have the expertise of an architect at his disposal. This creates less control over design and quality of construction. An owner is completely reliant on his contractor.

For that reason, it is imperative that an owner selects a design-build contractor who is trustworthy and has extensive experience in design-build contract work.

To learn more about how we can help you meet your project goals through the design-build process you can contact us here.

– Seth Lind

Harman Senior Project Manager