At a Glance
Franklin Lakes, NJ
Office-building interior renovation
Too often, construction-management companies get lost in the nuts, bolts, and blueprints of a project and lose sight of the relationship they’re developing with their client. At Haas Construction Management (HCM), Andy Haas and his team take every pain possible to ensure that their attention to detail helps build lasting trust with clients rather than distracting from them. “We’re not driven by a contract,” Haas says. “We’re driven by the relationship we want to maintain with a client.”
HCM, based out of New Jersey, specializes in construction and office renovation. Haas founded the firm in September 2003 after having worked at a handful of other larger firms. Although he learned from the quality work these firms did, he launched HCM with the goal of never becoming so large that the firm would lose a “hands-on experience with clients.”
Today, more than half of the firm’s 100–150 projects per year are repeat clients. To keep the company-client relationship a close one, HCM has a high-quality staff with expertise in all aspects of a construction—from drywall contracting to on-site manpower—meaning clients can rest assured that HCM has complete control over each one of its projects.
“A lot of construction-management companies do strictly management and have no control over what happens in the field,” HCM’s project manager Ryan Barber says. “We have a crew of laborers and skilled workers and can substitute our guys in seamlessly if a subcontractor falls down and fails to execute what they were contracted for.” In addition, HCM services its buildings and offices after the project is complete, so it’s able to maintain indefinitely a working relationship with its clients.
One such relationship is with Ikaria. Ikaria is a pharmaceutical firm specializing in respiratory gas used for critical-care patients. HCM’s relationship with the company began when Haas worked at a different firm, on the construction of Ikaria’s (then known as INO Therapeutic) first headquarters. Ten years later, when Ikaria wanted to expand, it asked Haas and HCM to do the job—an $11 million project.
“Based on their level of trust, they said, ‘Why don’t you do this project for us on a cost-plus basis?’” Haas says. “It’s an open-book project, so basically we build with them trusting that we’ll get it within a budget. We don’t even have a cap on the project because they know we’ll work cooperatively for a price they’re willing to pay.”
In fact, the project took a swift turn when the building Ikaria had originally wanted to place its offices in was unavailable. Suddenly, in January, HCM had until June to have the project complete. Putting its full trust into HCM, Ikaria told the builders to start the design and fieldwork and figure it out as they went. When the project was finished, it was a 101,000-square-foot space that took up the entire third floor of an office building.
Even though the recent Ikaria project is HCM’s largest on record, the company doesn’t have its sights set on rapid expansion. It would disrupt the hands-on experience the firm’s clients have come to know. “I wouldn’t be comfortable taking on Ikaria or any other good clients and completely losing touch with that project,” Haas says. “At much larger companies, that happens. You get passed on to the B-team. We only want our clients to ever have the A-team.” ABQ