Clifton Construction Inc.

Clifton picClifton Construction Inc.’s design/build capabilities and close relationships with customers and subcontractors have earned it a positive reputation.
By Jim Harris

Clifton Construction Inc.’s ability to help its clients through each step of the construction process is one of its greatest strengths. “We are a true design/build firm; most of the time our clients talk to us before they talk to architects,” says Rob Clifton, business development director for the Augusta, Ga.-based general contractor.

The company starts its process by looking at the empty lots where its clients intend to build, which helps it determine how large of a building would be appropriate on the site. Clifton Construction also researches how the lots are zoned to ensure the right type of building is placed there. The firm also offers its clients value-engineering services, which provides them substantial savings and shows the client how and where their money is being spent.

“By having our subs price the project throughout the design process, we can sit down with the owner and give them a real budget based on a preliminary design and clarified assumptions,” Clifton says. “We are then able to show the owner where their money is being spent. This allows the owner to determine what parts of the building are most important.” Clifton Construction

The company’s approach has earned it repeat business from many of its clients. The majority of Clifton Construction’s work comes from negotiated contracts instead of through a bidding process. “We’ve been able to secure repeat business because of how well we treat our customers,” Clifton says. “We want our construction process to be easy for our customers to understand.

“Through our years in business, we’ve been able to educate our clients about the process and help them understand what they’re spending money on or why parts of the project needed to change. As a result, they enjoy the process,” he adds. “We want our customers to only work with us.”

Clifton Construction believes in the Golden Rule when it comes to its relationships with not only its customers, but also its subcontractors. “We figured out a long time ago that we need our subcontractor and vendors in order to get our project completed quickly and efficiently,” Clifton says. “We have great relationships with [subcontractors] and can call them on a moment’s notice and, if at all possible, they will get something done for us.”

Answering the Call

The company’s philosophy of treating customers, subcontractors and employees with integrity, kindness and respect extends back to its founding. Company owner Steve Clifton, Rob’s father, established the company in 1986 after previously working for construction companies in Hilton Head, S.C.

Steve Clifton, who had previously served as a construction superintendent and project manager, relocated to the Augusta area after looking into different markets where he could start a business as well as raise his family, his son says.

Today, the company – which recently celebrated its 30th anniversary –specializes in commercial projects including retail centers, office buildings and medical centers. Clifton has also in recent years worked on a number of church projects.

“We’ve often found ourselves in niches,” Rob Clifton says. “Early in our history, we had customers who built a lot of gas stations and convenience stores. We’ve recently found ourselves building several churches, which fits our status as a Christian company that bases its decisions on what we think is right and how we feel people should be treated.”

Clifton Construction in May started its newest church construction project, an addition to Journey Community Church in Evans, Ga. The company is building an 8,000-square-foot building that will serve as a new lobby for the church’s sanctuary, as well as a connection between the sanctuary and the church’s education center. In addition, the company is renovating 12,000 square feet of space in the education center, Clifton says. Construction is slated for completion in early February.

Other ongoing projects include the $3.2 million, 15,000-square-foot Harlem City Library in Harlem, Ga., which is slated for completion in February. Recent completed project include the $2.1 million 7,400-square-foot Med Now urgent care facility in Augusta.

Room to Grow

Although the majority of Clifton Construction’s projects are located within the Augusta area, the company is willing to travel as far as a five-hour drive from its home base. The company is licensed in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina, Rob Clifton says.

Expanding the company’s customer base is a high priority for Rob Clifton, who joined the company full-time earlier this year. Clifton had previously worked for a commercial flooring contractor in Atlanta after graduating from Auburn University with a degree in building science in 2011. His experience with his father’s company includes working part-time and during summers through high school and college as a carpenter and assistant project engineer.

Clifton’s new role includes establishing a sales department. The company also recently hired a new project manager who specializes in build-out work. “Previously, everything we did was purely through word of mouth or referrals,” he says. “We’ve decided we wanted to grow and do larger projects while not leaving our long-time clients behind.”

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