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I spoke with Taylor Pearson, Estimator at with Glacier Construction, who has leveled up much of rural Colorado with his unique skill set towards project management. Taylor has done an incredible job delivering water and wastewater projects across Colorado in a timely and professional manner. Taylor shared some incredible insights into their company’s success, approach to working with rural and disadvantaged communities, and recent accomplishments. In this blog post, we will highlight the top three things we learned from Taylor during the show. 

Lesson #1 Glacier Construction’s Secret Niche: 

Taylor from Glacier Construction revealed their company’s secret niche: focusing on rural and disadvantaged communities that often get overlooked by larger general contractors. Taylor explained that these communities need clean and distributed water just like everyone else, but they often lack the attention and resources of major metropolitan areas. 

Glacier Construction takes pride in working with small towns and rural communities, such as Cheraw and Eckley, where they have been involved in projects like filter skid replacement and water tower construction. This focus on rural areas sets them apart from other general contractors who prioritize larger, more high-profile projects. 

One of the most rewarding experiences Taylor shared was their involvement in a CMAR (Construction Manager at Risk) project in the town of Eckley. During a town hall meeting, Taylor and their team presented the project details and pricing to the community members. Seeing the residents’ excitement and gratitude for having someone invest in their community’s infrastructure was a heartwarming and fulfilling experience for Taylor and the entire Glacier Construction team. 

Lesson #2 Embracing Transparency and Trust as Core Values

We discussed the core values of Glacier Construction, with a particular focus on transparency. Taylor explains that transparency is their number one belief, which helps build and maintain strong partnerships with engineers and owners they work with. 

While some contractors may avoid sharing detailed cost breakdowns to prevent clients from scrutinizing each line item, Glacier Construction takes a different approach. By adopting an open book policy and providing complete cost information, they build trust with their clients. Taylor believes this fosters long-term relationships and repeat business, which is crucial in their industry. 

This is a clear display of the importance of transparency in building trust and how it can work in a company’s favor, leading to clients becoming their biggest cheerleaders. Taylor emphasizes the significance of maintaining a good reputation in a small market, as a negative mark can have long-lasting consequences. 

Lesson #3 Understanding CMAR Projects and their Benefits 

We chat about CMAR (Construction Manager At Risk) projects and their benefits. Taylor explains that unlike traditional design-bid-build projects where the lowest bidder is usually awarded the project, CMAR projects involve a best value selection process. This includes considering factors such as the project team, approach, references, and preconstruction services fees. 

The CMAR process involves the contractor being selected at around 30-60% of the design stage, and they collaborate with the owner and engineer on design workshops and project kickoff meetings. Contractors can then provide more accurate cost estimates and contingencies, based on their expertise in actual construction costs. 

As the design progresses, the contractor submits open-book pricing with contingencies. This transparent process allows all parties to see where costs are coming from. Upon approval, preconstruction services are completed, and the project moves into the construction phase. 

One of the main advantages of CMAR projects is the ability to accelerate value engineering input and incorporate cost-saving measures during the design phase. Contractors can also suggest pre-procurement tactics for long lead items, potentially speeding up the project timeline compared to traditional design-bid-build projects. 

In summary, CMAR projects offer a more collaborative and transparent approach to project delivery, allowing contractors to provide valuable cost-saving insights and potentially accelerating the project timeline.  

About Engineers for Communities 

We are here to allow smaller disadvantaged communities in Colorado, Texas, and other states connect on topics such as water, wastewater, city project planning, government funding, and everything in between. 

​​On the LIVE Engineers for Communities show, you’ll learn the hard-fought lessons from the front lines earned by various community leaders who have already had their teeth bashed in and lived to talk about it. We’ll share the tips, tricks, mindsets, and frameworks that allow great communities to preserve. Register to attend the live show, ask questions, and level up. It’s every Thursday starting at 12:00PM MT.