Reid & Associates Design Builders

Albuquerque, N.M.-based Reid & Associates Design Builders has served the New Mexico construction market with design/build services for more than 20 years. Founded on principles of quality and innovation, Reid & Associates was the first general contractor in the state to take the design/build approach for the delivery of commercial and industrial properties, Executive Vice President Bill Smith says.

“All of us here have the philosophy that we can deliver a better building at a better value to the client using the design/build approach rather than the traditional design/bid/build approach,” Smith says. “We like to pull in a team of our best subcontractors early in the process to help us with the design/build approach. By doing so, we not only get a better-quality design and a better value for the client, but we’re able to achieve fast-track construction with fewer mistakes.”

Because Reid & Associates does not self-perform any of its work, it depends on talented and dependable subcontractors to help maintain its reputation in the marketplace. The company has developed long-term relationships with some of the best subcontractors in New Mexico, Smith asserts. “We only use top-quality subcontractors who have been doing business with us for between 10 and 20 years,” he says. “They are extremely loyal to us and support us with our schedules.

“We know our subcontractors give us preferential pricing because we pay on time and don’t play games with their money,” Smith continues. “We don’t try to buy out a project by competing six or eight subs against each other and driving their profit level down. When we price a project, we price it from a conceptual level. When we sell a job, we sell it with our subcontractors’ input and design it with their input. That is how we provide the client the best value and not overdesigning. We can get to that guaranteed maximum price earlier in the process than any other general contractor. I think that sets us apart.”

Not self-performing the work also enables its superintendents to do what they do best: manage. “By not self-performing the work, we can focus on management of a project to make sure it’s delivered on time and under budget,” Smith explains. “We can also run a pretty large volume of business with a pretty small group of people.”

The Real Deal

Many general contractors call themselves design/builders, but they are actually more “design/assisters,” Smith notes. “Because we hire all of the architectural and engineering staff, and they work under us, we are a single point of contact for the client. That really gives them a much lower level of risk in the project. Because we control the design, we don’t have change orders unless the client changes the scope of project. The client goes into the venture with very little risk, and that is something that is unusual in our industry.”

Although it has design professionals on staff, Reid & Associates does not offer in-house design because it wants to ensure it can match the right team with the right project. “There are many architects and engineering firms that we do business with that are various sizes and have various talents,” Smith says. “When a project comes our way, we want to pick the right team to deliver that particular project. If we deliver a factory, we want the right architect to design the right building envelope, as well as the right engineering team to handle the different systems that go into the factory.”

Business from Referrals

Reid & Associates’ design/build expertise encompasses a wide realm of project types. The company is capable of delivering industrial, manufacturing, telecommunications and cleanroom facilities, as well as retail, office and hospitality buildings. It recently ventured into residential multifamily buildings and senior care facilities. “The only thing we don’t do is public work,” Smith says. “We don’t participate in the hard bid world. We partner with major developers in the area and get our business primarily from referrals. We are very familiar with delivering an economical building that will translate to a competitive lease rate.”

The company is nearing completion on a 100,000-square-foot facility for the US Forest Service, as well as a 45,000-square-foot office building for an accounting firm, both in Albuquerque. The projects are seeking LEED certification. Although Reid & Associates has used green building for years, Smith says, most of its clients weren’t interested in the elaborate process of applying for LEED until recently.

Looking ahead, Reid & Associates intends to expand to the southern part of New Mexico and into Texas. “We see very good opportunity for growth and increased diversity,” Smith says. “We want to expand into other project types. We are constantly looking at new and better ways to build buildings. I think that keeps us on top of our industry. We’ve never been about volume; we’ve always been about quality of projects and quality of clients. It’s not about being the biggest – it’s about being the best.”

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