Case Studies

Marsh/Bell Construction Co. Inc.

Giving New Meaning to Collaboration

Marsh/Bell Construction Co. Inc. (Marsh/Bell) has been the locally owned and operated choice of contractors in South Carolina since its inception in 1984. The company looks beyond building structures to figure out how it can help clients achieve success. Marsh/Bell’s approach as a licensed construction manager enables the team to build better value for the client by identifying the greatest priorities early on and working through logistical snares to ensure those goals are delivered. Above all, Marsh/Bell’s flexibility and can-do attitude enables the team to develop creative, innovative solutions that when combined build a legacy of success.

Over half of the Easley-based company’s work is concentrated within a 70-mile radius of Greenville. Marsh/Bell specializes in the management of projects requiring close collaboration, which has fueled the team’s diversification into a wide variety of commercial and institutional markets. New construction, renovations, major mechanical system retrofits and redevelopments are all approached with the same level of attention and professionalism so that budgetary constraints are always respected.

“We might be a small company, but that allows us to really become family with our clients,” admits David Jones, senior project manager at Marsh/Bell. The team at Marsh/Bell looks at the long term in order to build relationships with clients, and the company remains open to continual feedback in addition to remaining flexible enough to incorporate changes as needed. The company’s feedback process has been designed specifically to eliminate instances of silent dissatisfaction, no matter how small.

Looking Within

“We believe we have to earn our clients’ satisfaction,” asserts Dwayne Bell, owner and president of Marsh/Bell. “We work hand-in-glove with clients, using a highly collaborative method throughout the design process so we can work more efficiently and guarantee our final pricing.”

Marsh/Bell was once a fully formed general contractor, but the company gradually made the shift to become a licensed construction management specialist. The move has helped Marsh/Bell improve its own internal efficiencies to pass along to the client while working with experienced, vetted and reputable subcontractors and suppliers who have proven themselves capable of delivering the Marsh/Bell standard of quality.

The company is also licensed in North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee, allowing the Marsh/Bell team to facilitate a client’s out-of-state endeavors just as easily as it does those closer to home. Naturally, a focus on continual and rigorous safety training is critical to Marsh/Bell’s success in any industry. The team works with a third-party safety consultant who specializes in safety administration and training, and gives the company a fresh set of eyes in identifying areas of concern. Working with a third-party safety specialist also ensures Marsh/Bell can tailor and tweak its safety program to meet local regulations and industry-specific concerns.

Marsh/Bell is also an approved Butler Builder, which provides clients with an extra degree of durability, reliability and cost-effective construction. Butler Buildings disprove the notion that pre-engineered metal buildings limit design possibilities since Butler Manufacturing produces a range of products to meet virtually any aesthetic. The corrugated metal exteriors associated with pre-engineered metal building systems are still available, but Butler Manufacturing also produces products to mimic brick, masonry and stucco.

Realizing Each Client’s Vision

However, Marsh/Bell is just as skilled in building structures using conventional construction methods, which gives the team greater flexibility to work with clients in whatever way is necessary to realize the client’s vision. More recently Marsh/Bell constructed the Thrift Library at Anderson University in Anderson, S.C. The university was founded in 1911 and has gradually outgrown its original campus. On the eve of its centennial celebration the university braced itself for a record jump in enrollment, seeing the student body rise to 2,400 in 2011 up from 1,700 in 2007.

During this period of growth Marsh/Bell helped build many of the facilities that the university direly needed to keep up with its growth. The Thrift Library replaces Johnston Hall, which served as the university’s primary library since its completion in 1956. Johnston Hall has since been repurposed to house the university’s College of Education and School of Interior Design, complete with a CAD design lab on the first floor. Construction of Thrift Library likewise required a hefty investment in technology infrastructure, but students will also benefit from a wealth of study rooms, seminar rooms, a café, computer lab and multimedia center. Thrift Library is home to over 10,000 tomes, as well as the university’s archives and special collections.

For Today and Tomorrow

Marsh/Bell’s most recent accomplishment at the Anderson University campus was a renovation of Vandiver Hall, an old gymnasium that has since become the new home of the College of Nursing. The gym was expanded with the addition of a second story, and Marsh/Bell also had to oversee the complete replacement of the building’s older HVAC, electrical and mechanical systems, as well as the structural reinforcement of the building’s foundation. Existing wooden floors were refinished and the space was divided up to house a cadaver lab, cadaver storage room, multiple classrooms, seminar rooms, a health assessment lab and plenty of offices for faculty and administration.

“Anderson University was a junior college for much of its history,” says Mike Vargo, owner and executive vice president of Marsh/Bell. “However, five years ago the institution began branching out to become a four-year liberal arts college and we’re very proud to say we’ll be working on their biggest dormitory yet in 2012.”

In the process the company will gradually make its way back toward the level of growth it experienced prior to the economic downturn, though achieving that growth rate is not Marsh/Bell’s primary objective. “We just want to maintain a good reputation, even amongst our competitors,” says Dwayne.

As the company continues to streamline its internal efficiencies, clients can rest assured that the Marsh/Bell Construction Co. Inc. collaborative approach will carry on, ensuring the long-term success of both contractor and client for years to come.

Published on: July 22, 2013


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