Mick Rich Contractors | Solving Complexity With Creativity
An Albuquerque, New Mexico general contractor, Mick Rich Construction specializes in medium scale commercial building projects in all phases of construction: new construction, building renovations, special unique construction, tilt-up construction, and design-build. To serve our clients' needs, we also have a service department for repairs and alterations.
During the recession, New Mexico’s contractors have compressed, while out-of-state firms have expanded into the Land of Enchantment looking for projects. Mick Rich, however, has gone against the grain.
The renovation of my home is coming to a close. (My friends and family deny that my home will ever be finished.) One of the last items to replace is the heating and cooling controls. So while watching TV, I have begun researching thermostats.
Why are so many plumbers driving around Albuquerque? And why are there so many advertisements for plumbing contractors? Can there be that much work for their services?
Most people have the confidence to take on simple home repairs and remodels, such as repainting a wall or re-caulking a window. But when it comes to plumbing, they are not just hesitant, but fearful. Is the fear unwarranted? Water can cause great damage in a hurry.
On Friday, Pete Williams of Mountain States Cranes called me to ask about opportunities on the neighborhood Walmart store construction that we recently started. He asked me who is the steel erector. I told him, and we talked about "swinging" the mechanical units on the roof. He asked who the mechanical contractor is, and I did not know the answer.
I ended the conversation with, “You should stop by the project and meet with the project manager to discuss who is doing what.”
Pete asked, "Who is the PM?"
I responded, “Jim Rich.”
We recently completed a project for Casa Angelica. The budget was tight (which is normal), and their need was great. Casa Angelica cares for young residents who are severely physically handicapped, developmentally disabled, and visually impaired. Some residents live at Casa Angelica full time, and some spend only their days there. Our project was to create a small campus setting by upgrading three old portable classrooms.
This week I attended a Walmart contractor conference. It was interesting to peek inside a huge company and learn a bit about how it got to where it is today. I also learned how we can work better within Walmart’s system, and how our company can improve. It was well worth the time and expense to travel to Bentonville, Arkansas.
The conference opened with a Vice President sharing a few thoughts. This one stuck with me: “All jobs are temporary. No one stays forever.” The key word was “temporary.”
A job is not everything.
A job does not define us.
As part of being a contractor and loving my work, our family talks a lot about construction. My wife is a pharmacist, one daughter is a physician’s assistant, and the other daughter is a physical therapist, so we also have long discussions about medicine. (I consider myself a tough guy, but toughness stops shy of looking at cadavers and surgeries.) I can better understand medical discussions when I relate the human body to building systems. This analogy extends to the quality of medical care / medical malpractice related to quality of construction / latent construction defects.
Quality is no mistake. To achieve quality, it must be a more than a priority; it must be a core value – showing up in everything you do, every decision you make.
But for some companies, poor quality is no mistake, either. Quality is consciously and intentionally ignored or overridden by other considerations, usually greed or laziness.
This week I traveled New Mexico, which gave me plenty of time in the truck to ponder poor construction.
We are rebuilding a school wing that was damaged in a fire. During the installation of the new metal framing, after a portion of the damage material was removed, our superintendent noticed that the existing structural steel frame was installed incorrectly. How could he tell? Because the steel connections did not come together, the bolts were missing and had been replaced with welding. Also, the steel beams were not supported by columns but by non-load bearing walls.
Maintaining common use areas can be challenging. No none person is responsible for maintaining those areas, so no one takes responsibility. What to do?