For many parts of the U.S. that time of year has come again. As teachers prep their curriculums and classrooms and students eventually file into the halls of their learning institutions, that fresh back to school feeling is infectious. As construction professionals, this time of year is a reminder that these houses of education were made possible by many hours of design, planning and building.
Higher education construction is a flourishing and vital segment of the building industry. In fact, in 2017 construction spending in education grew by 2.5%. For institutions, investing in builds and renovations of their facilities is about more than the physical space. It’s about attracting and investing in a new generation of students–and the competition for new minds is as fierce as ever. Due to the competitive nature of the sector, construction companies with experience in efficient and quality builds for higher education institutions will come out ahead of their peers.
To celebrate back to school, we’ve compiled a list of ten of the top companies building for colleges and universities. Our list is composed of both established construction giants and up-and-comers. However, all our picks have had experience in highly visible and important university construction projects. Enjoy learning about the companies and some of their more notable collegiate projects in the SlideShare below:
10 of the Top Companies Building for Higher Education
- Turner Construction Co.
- Whiting-Turner Contracting Co.
- Bartlett Cocke
- Skanska USA
- Messer Construction
- DPR Construction
- Balfour Beatty Construction
- Sundt Construction
- Brasfield & Gorrie
- Suffolk Construction
Challenges for Higher Education Construction
New college and university projects–whether it’s a refreshed stadium, new learning center or additional dormatorie–is incredibly exciting for faculty and students alike. Nonetheless, these projects are not immune to the unique challenges in the higher education sector.
Preparing for the Classrooms of Today–and Tomorrow
When building new facilities for universities and colleges, owners and project executives need to be mindful of not only what the facility needs immediately but they also need to think about what future of the building will entail. As technology and advancements are constantly being made in education, universities with the latest and greatest in curriculum and facilities will be the ones able to compete for the best and brightest students.
Therefore, construction teams need to adopt flexible construction methods. That means building and designing with the intent to reconfigure space down the road. More and more, universities desire flexible spaces that can serve multiple uses throughout its lifetime. Construction teams need to figure out how to make this a reality while still maintaining the buildings original design intent.
Efficient Builds with Minimal Disruptions
Construction projects are hardly inconspicuous. Large, loud and messy, projects can be a severe eye (and ear) sight for any diligent student who’s investing serious money just to attend the institution.
While a new project is incredibly exciting for an entire campus–it’s only really of value once it’s complete. Universities can’t afford for unhappy students and staff fed up with the disruptions of on-campus construction. Oftentimes, builds need to be concentrated during “off-times” like weekends and summer holidays. Therefore, building teams for higher education construction projects need to adopt the most productive strategies and tools to execute when they have the time. This includes using construction software and technology designed to streamline workflows and communications so there is less room for mistakes and delays.
Keeping Maintenance Costs Under Control
When a facility is handed off, if maintenance teams don’t have a full understanding of what and how the project was built, they can’t effectively manage the building. Even with an experienced facilities manager, your building is at risk if you experience any staff turnover.
Construction teams documentation and data collected during a build are directly correlated to the facility team’s success, and in turn, an institution’s ability to keep maintenance costs under control. Construction companies that prioritize data collection and use technology to provide accurate and detailed turnover packages, will ensure collegiate facilities can be maintained for longer and at a lower cost.
How Higher Education Construction Companies Can Invest in Their Own Future
Unknowingly to many, construction companies for colleges and universities play a big role in the lives of students and the future workforce. But to keep meeting the demands of the growing sector, construction companies in higher education will need to invest in their own future by adopting cutting-edge strategies and technology.