Case Studies

Lauring Construction Co. Inc.

Integrated commercial general contracting in Worcester County, Massachusetts

Since 1948, Lauring Construction Co. Inc. has been executing quality construction projects throughout Worcester County, Massachusetts. The third-generation family-owned and -operated business began in 1948, when current president John Lauring’s father and grandfather began to build homes in the post-World War II housing boom.

“My grandfather was an Italian immigrant who came to the U.S. around 1916 — right after World War I,” explains John. “He was a mason by trade and worked different jobs on and off. After the Depression, he and my father started doing some jobs, mostly masonry work and eventually houses. When the demand grew after World War II and my father had completed college, they started building full-time.”

John and his two brothers grew up working in the business, which began performing a significant amount of commercial work in the 1960s. Commercial and institutional projects have become the bread and butter of Lauring Construction. The brothers took over the business in 1984 and have since expanded it further.

Quality control

With 32 full-time employees, Lauring Construction operates from a single location in Worcester, Massachusetts and serves a diverse market within Worcester County. With a skilled in-house staff, the business self-performs a significant portion of labor on each project, ranging between 30 and 40 percent.

“We self-perform more work than most general contracting firms today,” explains John. “We still self-perform our own site work, concrete work, carpentry work and finish installations. As we take on larger projects, we tend to sub out more. We have some great partnerships with contractors in the specialty trades.”

Over the last five years, John says the portion of Lauring Construction’s work that is negotiated rather than bid has grown to approximately 70 percent. “That makes it imperative for us to work with subcontractors we feel are best for the job and who we’ve worked with in the past,” he elaborates. “Most of these contractors we have been working with tend to bid low, so we have developed good relationship with them in our bid projects as well.”

In addition to longstanding relationships with subcontractors, Lauring Construction maintains key leadership involvement on every site. “We typically have a Lauring on the job acting as a job superintendent,” John adds. “We like that it gives us more control — we can control the schedule better doing the work upfront. This sets us apart from other contractors.”

Recent work

The company’s portfolio includes a range of distinct commercial construction projects. “We’re doing a nice high-end arts and academic building at St. John’s High School in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts,” says John. “It is an almost $14 million project at the private institution. Our work includes a classroom wing with typical classrooms, a very nice theater with high-end finishes, a band room, a nice lobby, a music room and specialty classrooms.”

St. John’s is a repeat client for Lauring Construction. John and his team have been involved in a number of institutional construction projects for the school and plan to continue this relationship into the future. “Our current work is still underway,” he says. “We wrapped up the classroom wing in time for school to start and the theater will be done early November. This is a very nice looking building on the outside as well — all brick and precast. It looks like a traditional college building.”

St. Johns High School Ryken Center Exterior

St. Johns High School Ryken Center Exterior

At Nichols College, Lauring Construction managed and executed the campus’ student center project. “It was a tough site — a tight squeeze. We had to shore up a building less than 50 feet away. The student center is four stories with a walkout basement and three stories above. There’s a large, nice cafeteria for students as well as classrooms and common spaces. It’s a really nice design.”

The company also took on a unique renovation project for a small carriage house on a private girls’ high school campus. “The carriage house had been sold off as part of the estate, but the school bought it back,” John says. “We were integral in renovating the building for a new language lab. This building is on the historic register, though we didn’t do much on the exterior.”

Growing locally

As the economy and construction market continue on an upward trend across the country, John and his team are seeing the signs of slow but steady recovery. “We are very lucky to have some repeat customers that kept us through the last recession,” he explains.  “A lot of contractors in our area are busy, but repeat business is what keeps us going. We aren’t seeing a lot of new open bid projects, but negotiated repeat work is strong.”

Lauring Construction has been able to maintain a steady stream of work and revenue because of relationships. “We’re small, family organization,” says John. “People like dealing with one of the owners at job meetings. We are easy to work with and we’re not out looking for change orders all the time. It’s a good team approach — we’re good team players and we work well with each other and our clients.”

Local connections keep the team busy in Worcester County. John and his colleagues keep an ear to the ground, always on the lookout for new bid and negotiated work opportunities. “We’re staying local,” he notes. “Our employees live in the central and western part of the county and we don’t need to send them all over the place. You run into a labor issue if you spread yourself too thin — we like to keep our guys busy and we don’t want to go out to new areas, hire local labor and then lay them off when a job is over.”

With a strong team and longstanding relationships with clients, Lauring Construction Co. Inc. is in a steady pattern of providing quality construction services through a perfected family business approach.

Published on: February 1, 2016


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