Firm's co-founder discusses Carlynton's district projects
Since co-founding the construction management firm of Thomas and Williamson in 1998, company president Jon Thomas has seen the role of his business grow into all phases of a given project.
From start to finish, he's there.
“It used to be a client would get an idea of what their building needs were, and then they'd call us,” Thomas said. “Now, I'm seeing a new market, where a lot of clients are calling us and saying, ‘We don't really know what we need.'”
Carlynton, which recently hired the firm to guide its facility renovations project, isn't starting from scratch as it enters the pre-design process. But when Thomas reviews the wide-ranging scope of work document that contains suggestions from past feasibility studies and school officials, he won't be shy with a red pen.
“If I came in with a list with exactly what they needed without talking to them, I'd have to change my company from construction management to a fortune teller,” he said.
“I can see some items that will probably leave the list. I've already made notes on the list where some items aren't really the best way to do it.”
Thomas and Williamson, based in Ross Township, has worked with school districts, including large ones, such as North Allegheny, and Carlynton-sized areas, such as Deer Lakes.
When it comes to comparing his firm's new project with any of the previous jobs, Thomas said the company has experience in restoring and updating older buildings — Carlynton's Crafton Elementary is more than a century old. Importantly, though, the firm grasps the largest issue facing most districts.
“They all have some similarities these days because everyone is being very careful with how anybody is spending any money at all,” Thomas said. “All my clients have those financial restraints on them now.”
Carlynton, while still minding its finances, is geared for the anticipated multi-million dollar, multi-year project after a heated debate last year on whether to remodel its two elementary schools or merge them.
What comes next is determining just what work will be done — and when.
“The first challenge I see is really just having the best communication we can have with everyone, getting everyone on the same page,” Thomas said.
“That's why I want to have this program review process, so we can go through and evaluate each line item, determine its priority, the cost of each.”
Certain issues are already a priority, with the board expressing interest to provide the elementary schools with some form of air conditioning by the time warm weather returns.
But, as Thomas has learned in his years of experience there are hidden or unexpected costs to most projects.
“You have to point out, ‘Yeah we can put the air conditioning in, but we don't have the power,'” he said. “In Crafton, for example, the electrical board isn't big enough to support it, and there's no room for another electrical room, so we'd have to build an addition.
“That's something where I could really see them relying on me, to see where those residual impacts are coming from.”
Dan Stefano is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at email@example.com or 412-388-5816.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Reagan shooter Hinckley closer to permanent freedom
- Fights reported, shots fired outside Monroeville Mall restaurant
- Crosby’s 2 goals lift Penguins past Rangers, even series
- Crosby says Edmonton would be good spot for prospective top pick McDavid
- Sutter steps up for Penguins in series-tying victory
- Steelers won’t be backed into a corner at NFL Draft
- Rangers’ Miller matures into productive player
- Starkey: Taylor’s type fading away
- Use of multiple contractors could leave oil, gas operators open to hackers
- Penguins’ Martin a marked man in series with Rangers
- Penguins notebook: Johnston says Perron needs to shoot