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.
Now that we’ve looked at the leading sources of renewable energy, let’s explore sensible approaches to green energy use.
In increasing our use of renewable energy, it’s important to keep energy costs as low as possible. This benefits all citizens, especially those who have low income. Low electrical costs also attract industry, which creates jobs. A prime example is the Pacific Northwest, where low cost hydro-electrical power attracted aluminum smelters.
This blog continues my examination of “green” power sources.
Nuclear power today is reliable, but because it is somewhat expensive when compared to hydroelectric, coal and natural gas, it is used mainly for base load needs.
The environmental issues are a mixed bag. On one hand, nuclear power creates zero air pollution and zero green house gases. However – as illustrated by the recent tragedy in Japan, as well as previous incidents in Chernobyl and Three Mile Island – natural disasters, accidents, and terrorism are real risks.
I am neither an electrical engineer nor an electrical subcontractor. So where did I learn about electricity? As a general contractor on high energy-demand buildings; as a building owner; and as a power generation systems student of an electrical utility senior power engineer.
At 11, I toured my first hydroelectric power plant. At 12, I toured one of the only geo-thermal electric power plants in the United States. At 18, I toured a nuclear power plant. How was that possible?
Houses are too big! People don’t need homes this large. Why do they keep getting bigger and bigger? Big homes on small lots look odd. More importantly, big houses use a lot more energy than small homes. How did we get in this situation?
Years ago, a good friend’s brother moved to Albuquerque from New Hampshire. He was a homebuilder, and was able to purchase one of the last home lots in Nob Hill. Prior to closing, he met with a banker to discuss financing. The banker told him that the cost of the lot could not be more than 25% of the sales price of the lot and house combined.
State construction RFP’s evaluate many qualities of the firms bidding for the work. Obviously, price is a primary criterion. But the state’s evaluation of the pricing component is not straightforward. Let me explain by use of an example.
Pricing is stated as being worth 450 of 1,000 total bid points. The current policy is to divide the low bidder’s price by 450 points. This yields a point-per-dollar bid. This amount is then prorated for the higher bidders.
Almost all requests for proposals require general contractors to provide information on their safety record. The information requested is the general contractor’s Workman’s Compensation Experience Rating Modifier, its OSHA 300A log, and its safety plan. This information is important, but provides a limited picture of the general contractor’s safety record and safety program.
A more thorough understanding of each bidding contractor’s safety record would be gained by requiring the following information:
o Workman’s Compensation Experience Rating Modifier for five years
New Mexico has laws that give preference to New Mexico companies in the construction of government buildings. Local builders contribute to the well being of state residents in a number of ways, beginning with employment. Because of that contribution, New Mexico builders are awarded a five percent preference over out-of-state companies.
This blog begins a new series on “Best Value Construction.” I’m addressing this topic because it’s a prime example of well-intentioned legislation gone wrong. I’ll start with an overview, then delve into a few areas in depth.
Under the banner of “Best Value Construction,” we have submitted close to 50 technical proposals in response to RFPs. This experience has given us a few ideas of how to improve the process for contractors submitting bids.
1. Utilize a standard format for all technical proposals, specifically regarding past project history.
Inflation has been so low for so long, it’s hard to imagine it returning. Potential building owners may think that day is far off. At a recent luncheon, national and local economists predicted low inflation for the near future.
But at the end of the meeting, as I discussed the inflation forecast with a colleague in the construction industry, he mentioned that at another meeting he’d attended, inflation was predicted to climb to 6.5% in the next three years. So much for agreement among economists.
Some potential building owners may think, “There are so many people unemployed. Construction workers are so desperate, they’re almost willing to work for food. Besides, construction companies hire illegal’s, and they work for next to nothing, too. When I build my building, I don’t need to worry about labor costs.”
It is hard to imagine that in today’s economy, there can be labor shortages. On TV, we see people standing in long lines to collect unemployment benefits and to apply for a small number of jobs.