Case Studies

Eckman Construction Company Inc.

Unique Project Management Services in New England
  • Written by: Jeanee Dudley
  • Produced by: Eckman Construction Company Inc.
  • Estimated reading time: 5 mins

Eckman Construction Company Inc. (ECCI) has been serving public and private clients across the Northeast since 1974. In the nearly 40 years since the business began, ECCI has grown, offering expertise and services to customers in its home state, New Hampshire, as well as Massachusetts, Maine and Vermont.

Preston Hunter, director of business development and client relations at ECCI, is highly involved with day-to-day operations and preconstruction services. Additionally, Mark Walsh and John Deloia, president and vice president of ECCI, respectfully, are proud to lead the team.

“We are one of the larger construction managers in the greater New Hampshire area,” Hunter explains. “We focus on institutional construction, which includes higher education, kindergarten through grade-12 schools, educational facilities, health care work, as well as local, state and federal government projects. We are pretty diverse in that we also specialize in large, multifamily housing. We have done a lot of affordable housing here in New Hampshire. We do some private work, as well.”

ECCI is not a big-box contractor. Focused on more complex structures, Hunter notes that his team steers away from retail and strip mall developments. Offering diverse in-house services, the professional crew often works on additions and renovations.

“We often find ourselves in occupied environments,” he explains. “What sets us apart from other contractors in this field is that we have the kind of people you would want to have in your building for a period of time. When you are doing an addition or renovation, there is always a short marriage between the contractor, staff and building occupants. We have a team that approaches these kinds of situations from the standpoint that we are guests in that facility. Consequently, we do a really great job at building relationships with those clients. We have a contract right now where the president of the college doesn’t want to let go of our site superintendent even though the project is done.”

A Range of Scope

The team has performed contracts ranging in size and value from less than $1 million all the way up to an impressive $45 million. “We have a great range of talent that allows us to really match the experience of our team with the complexity and sophistication of each individual project,” explains Hunter. “You have to be diverse in our market; New Hampshire is not Boston or New York. There is a wide range of construction projects going on. We also do work in bordering states, but you have to be able to do a lot of things well and cost effectively in this market.”

In the public and institutional sector, ECCI has a number of unique projects that are either recently completed or ongoing. Earlier in 2013, the crew finished up a student center addition to the Manchester Community College, while simultaneously working on another student center addition and renovation at Colby Sawyer College. Other recent projects include a number of critical response facilities for police, fire and ambulance services.

“The largest project we are doing right now is the New Hampshire Job Corps Center campus,” Hunter recounts. “This is a $32 million contract, a federal job through the Department of Labor. Essentially, we are building an entire college campus. There will be seven buildings going in on a completely undeveloped site. We are currently finishing blasting right now, which took almost three months. When the project is complete, there will be an entire training center for federal jobs such as homeland security. That is in Manchester, as well, and we are scheduled for completion January 2015.”

Hunter is proud to note that this project is very high profile. “We were very happy to beat out contractors from all across the country who were bidding against us,” he continues. “There were nine general contractors from as far away as Alaska. For some contractors, that’s all they do. They bid federal projects. Most have a small home office and set up satellite offices for the job. On the other hand, we have a lot of relationships with the local subcontractor community, which was probably an advantage that helped us win.”

Relationships Built to Last

The company’s relationships with subcontractors have helped ECCI land contracts and most important of all, complete them. The team is well-connected at home around Bedford, N.H., and utilizes a unique networking system to find local subs in other areas.

“In preconstruction, we always try to match our invited subs list and their qualifications to requirements for the particular job,” Hunter elaborates. “With some of these additions and renovations, our crew will have a lot of interaction with people in the building. That may rule out some of the lower tier subs that we might not be as comfortable putting in that kind of situation as we would with a freestanding, new construction building.”

Hunter goes on to explain that ECCI bids out all of the major trades. “Before going out for bidding, we generate a list of recommended subs,” he elaborates. “We always include the owner in that process, because they may have relationships with some of those contractors. At the Manchester Country Club where we recently performed extensive additions and renovations, there were a number of members that were subcontractors. The club wanted to include them in the process. In school or municipal projects that are funded by town tax dollars, we will have local subcontractor job fairs. If we don’t know subs in a particular community, we advertise a time and place for local tradespeople to come meet with us.”

With a strong leadership and project management team that includes four project managers, two assistant project managers, an executive project manager and eight superintendents, ECCI has time and again proven to be a capable construction management group. Especially with educational projects, ECCI sees a lot of repeat business. The crew recently broke ground on the latest of 17 projects with St. Anselm College. The team is also working on their fourth project at Pinkerton Academy.

“Maintaining and retaining repeat clients is really important for us,” Hunter explains. “Our approach has always been that we are interested in building relationships for life. We put a real emphasis on positive project outcomes. Most of our work is negotiated and completed in a construction manager delivery, which allows us to get involved early in the design process and provide very valuable cost information throughout the preconstruction process. If our design diverges from their budget, that can be addressed before investing time and money into a complete set of bid documents.”

While many companies in New England offer construction management, ECCI’s vertical integration and strong rapport places the business far ahead of competitors. As the economy steadily recovers, Hunter and the rest of the team are pursuing opportunities to show new clients what ECCI is capable of. The team continues to deliver value-engineered projects with safe and efficient delivery, making Eckman Construction Company Inc. a popular choice for public and private customers in New Hampshire and neighboring states.

For more information about Eckman Construction Company Inc., please visit:

Published on: November 20, 2013

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