Case Studies

A. Crane Construction

Bringing professionalism, integrity and value to Massachusetts general contracting

For nearly 30 years, A. Crane Construction (ACC) has been a household name in the western Massachusetts construction industry. Specializing in residential and light commercial construction, ACC builds custom homes, additions and renovations for homeowners based on a family’s needs and desires. In addition, ACC builds out commercial spaces for young, growing businesses.

Located in Chicopee, Massachusetts, ACC is overseen by Andy and A. J. Crane and has a talented crew of craftsmen. “We’re a very community-based organization,” says A.J. “We maintain a good name and a good reputation and often work with other family businesses in the area.”

A. Crane Construction

ACC was founded by Andrew Crane in 1988 and started out as an exclusive residential contractor, building additions, new construction projects and renovations. Over the past 20 years, the company has morphed into a full-service company, integrating commercial work into its portfolio. ACC has also added a division to the firm that exclusively handles condominium management, as well as an electrical division.

A multitalented team

By adding an electrical division into the mix, ACC is able to self-perform many of the electrical tasks for the numerous projects it undertakes every year, as well as service work. “We do a lot of work for a furniture store in the area,” says A.J. “We build all of their stores, warehouses and showrooms. We are now able to service their facilities as well with in-house electricians, which further strengthens our relationship with them.”

The work that ACC performs has attracted national attention. A custom lake house the company recently built was featured by Olympic Manufacturing Group in its national YouTube series. In February, ACC completed a showroom for Oasis Shower Doors. “Andy, my father, spearheaded a project where we built approximately 15 custom tile showers and backsplashes for the company’s custom glass showcase,” says A.J. “That project was a way for us to combine a residential-style project with a commercial job.”

With A.J.’s background in civil engineering, ACC has been able to venture into heavier commercial work. In March 2016, ACC completed the construction of its first bridge. Although the structure was strictly for property access, the bridge was highway rated.

ACC holds true to its mission of giving back to the community it serves. The company recently volunteered time and labor to coordinate and execute the construction of a new home for an injured Marine who is a native of Granby, Massachusetts. The project was completed in partnership with the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Massachusetts (HBRAMA).

A.J. managed the entire project, which consisted of approximately 60 licensed and qualified contractors and an additional 200 volunteers. The home was presented to the wounded veteran in 2013 at no cost as the project was funded by donations coordinated by Homes for Our Troops, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to housing severely injured veterans. “It was an amazing project and I was very proud to be a part of it,” says A.J. “There was just so much support. I would do another one in a heartbeat.”

Due to the relationships and customer base that ACC has maintained, the company was able to weather the recession without trimming back its workforce. As a company that remains highly diversified, the talent requirements of its crew are relatively high. “We have a very skilled workforce, so we do what we have to in order to keep them on,” shares A.J. “When it got a little slow we would perform some work in house that we would normally sub out in order to keep everybody busy.”

Making a difference through associations

A.J.’s father, Andrew, founded ACC and has been involved with the HBRAMA since 1981. During his tenure, he has held many positions with the association such as chairman and president of both the state and local association. Andrew has been a big advocate for industry education. Much of this push stems from situations where customers have not received the quality contractors they deserve and pay for. “It’s really a way of self-policing the industry,” says Andrew. “Only the best contractors that are loyal to the trade will go out and get the education. Once you need the education to get licensed that will be a start in the right direction.”

Regarding the bill that Massachusetts has passed requiring fire sprinkler systems to be installed in all new-construction residential projects, Andrew believes that homeowners and contractors should maintain the right to choose. “I really feel it’s a rights issue,” he shares. “You have the right to determine how safe you want to be.”

With the law being applied to new construction, Andrew feels that it will only drive up housing market prices. “There are no facts or figures that prove that new housing burns more than old housing,” he says. “Many old houses burn because they have old furnaces and obsolete smoke detectors. Again, if someone moves into a new home and they feel they are safe, they should have the right to choose to install a sprinkler system if they want to.”

ACC continues its dedication to its customers and loyalty to the industry. With such a strong reputation, A.J. hopes to see all contractors working to improve in order to make the industry stronger and more competitive, and create a better market for the buyer. When searching for a contractor in the western Massachusetts area, A. Crane Construction remains a company that presents professionalism, quality and value.

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