Case Studies

MBR Construction Services Inc. – Maryland

Union electrical contractor serves the Capital metropolitan area

A family-owned business, MBR Construction Services Inc. – Maryland was established when the company expanded from its Reading, Pennsylvania, location to Baltimore in the early 2000s. MBR Maryland is a full-service mechanical, electrical and plumbing contracting firm serving the Maryland and Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. MBR has completed numerous large-scale jobs in industries including industrial, commercial, institutional, pharmaceutical, manufacturing, power generation and waste treatment facilities.

MBR Construction Services Inc. - Maryland

“We‘re pretty vast in the type of work we do,” says Marty Strunkstein, general manager for MBR Maryland. “We do everything from heavy industrial electrical work to school and hospital renovation work.” With qualified and licensed technicians, MBR Maryland acts as a subcontractor and self-performs all of its work with the exception of low-voltage data work, the majority of which is performed by pre-approved subcontractors that the company is required to use. As a union contractor, the manpower that MBR Maryland uses depends on the size and scope of each project.

A relationship-based market

With the strong reputation that MBR Maryland has established based on the high-quality work and customer service it provides, the company generates opportunities to work on numerous high-profile projects. Owners that MBR Maryland has been involved with recently include Fort Meade, Towson University and MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center.

At Fort Meade, which is bordered by the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, MBR Maryland was involved in a $4.5 million renovation project for the National Security Administration data center. At Towson University, the company provided services for a phase-three renovation of Burdick Hall. “We also did a renovation/addition for the neo-natal intensive care unit at MedStar,” recalls Strunkstein.

Although MBR Maryland opted not to use the small works agreement on the MedStar job, the company did take the opportunity to employ a few CW/CEs. “The small works agreement basically gives you certain ratios you can use such as one journeyman, one apprentice, one CW or one CE,” Strunkstein explains. “Through our normal union hall agreement we can only have one mechanic to either one apprentice or one CW/CE. We can’t really have the full combination.”

In the day-to-day challenges of being a union contractor, MBR Maryland remains competitive by maintaining strong relationships in the industry, which provide the company bidding opportunities within the market. “Many of the projects that we bid on are hard-bid jobs and are by invite only,” says Strunkstein. “That does narrow the playing field to a degree.”

These relationships proved to be an asset when it came to weathering the recession and the effects it imposed on the construction industry. Like many other contractors, MBR Maryland was forced to tighten its belt on overhead. The company began approaching jobs by continuing to do business rather than concerning itself with the bottom line. “We really focused on getting as many bids out the door as possible for government jobs as opposed to chasing open-market work,” says Strunkstein. “We are now starting to witness the resurgence of the open market, which makes it more worthwhile to pursue.”

A beneficial membership

As a member of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), MBR Maryland receives numerous benefits. With the resources, information and advice the company is able to receive from the NECA network, MBR Maryland employees remain educated and prepared for challenging situations. “When you are competing for a job against a company that is a member of NECA, it’s nice to know that you are playing by the same rules,” says Strunkstein. “NECA is always providing education. At a recent seminar they had some attorneys come and do a presentation on change orders and claims, which was very helpful.”

Strunkstein believes that it is important to attend NECA events not only for the benefit to his company, but to support the organization as well. “If you’re going to be a member in an organization, you need to take part in all that it does,” he says. “It doesn’t do any good to just pay dues and show up to the occasional lunch meeting. You need to be involved hands on and stand up for the things that matter.”

MBR Maryland shows no signs of slowing down. As the company moves forward, Strunkstein plans to expand further into the private sector as well as increase the company’s service workload. With a staff and management team dedicated to providing the highest quality products and services, MBR Construction Services Inc. – Maryland possesses the capability to complete every project on time, in a safe manner and with superior quality of workmanship.

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Spring 2018



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