Agostini and Bacon

Agostini Bacon pic copyAgostini and Bacon Construction have proved their capability to take on larger-scale projects.

By Tim O’Connor

When the owners of Agostini Construction and Bacon Construction decided to rebrand to give each of the separate but entwined companies a more focused identity, the hope was that both businesses would be better able to take on larger projects. Two years later, the plan is working.

Both firms specialize in public construction in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, primarily schools, but Agostini was repositioned as a firm focused on construction management projects while Bacon remained a dedicated general contractor. Demand for the construction manager at-risk approach to building has been on the rise for several years and by dedicating Agostini to that kind of work the owners believed they would showcase its competency.

“We got involved in a lot of smaller construction manager projects to really prove that we can provide those CM services,” Marketing Manager Kerrie Puglia says. “A lot of owners and architects were satisfied with how we handled those smaller jobs, which is what led to the large projects.”

Several of those large projects occurred in the past year. In July, Agostini and Bacon completed Scituate Middle School, in Scituate, Mass. The school was a $55 million, 130,000-square-foot addition to an existing high school.

Last spring, the companies also completed the $90 million construction of the new Plymouth South High School in Plymouth, Mass. The project included a 250,000-square-foot school building, renovations to an existing football stadium and track, new playing fields and an on-site wastewater treatment facility.

Agostini and Bacon’s involvement with those projects was made possible because of its stellar reputation among past clients. Its work on Henry Higgins Middle School in Peabody, Mass., a $68.7 million project, was notable for being one of the largest middle schools in the state, with more than 1,300 students. Agostini and Bacon box

That job drew the attention of the neighboring city of Beverly, which was planning its own $90 million middle school project. Agostini and Bacon were ultimately chosen to oversee construction for the four-story, 231,509-square-foot building.

“We got a lot of good feedback from the City of Peabody and I think that was heard by Beverly,” Puglia says. “So I think Beverly wanted us because of that good reference from Peabody.”

Once it’s finished in March, Beverly middle school will have a 535-seat auditorium, two cafeterias totaling 704 seats, a gymnasium, classrooms, media center and space for school administrators. As of early November, the project was about 70 percent completed and work was underway on interior finishes and site improvements.

Involved Owners

Agostini and Bacon operate as independent companies but they joint-venture on many projects and have a common ownership. Bacon is the older company, having been founded in 1967 by John Agostini. Ownership passed to his son, George, in 1984, who started Agostini Construction that same years. George and his son, Steven Agostini, now own both companies, with George acting as the president of Bacon and CEO of Agostini and Steven serving as the president of Agostini and COO of Bacon.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the original company. That longevity through multiple recessions and construction booms is a testament to the personal touch the owners give every project. “It has a lot to do with the owners, Steven Agostini and George Agostini,” Puglia says. “They’re involved in every job that we do and they really push everybody to do their best on the job.”

Because they are hands-on, George and Steven Agostini understand the fine details of every project and are able to make quick decisions that save time and money, Puglia explains. Their decision-making and execution are supported by the talented supervisors and crews working in the field, many of whom have long tenures with Agostini and Bacon.

“George and Steven are pretty proud of their employees’ longevity,” Puglia says. “Our employees have been here quite a number of years. We don’t have a lot of turnaround. I think we’re pretty proud of that, the people come here and want to work for them.”

Field Experience

Many of those employees are tradesmen who participate in building projects. “We do self-perform a lot of work,” Puglia says. “That allows us the ability to help any contractors having difficulty keeping up on their scope.” Agostini and Bacon crews typically pour foundations and concrete, install the rough carpentry, and place doors, frames and hardware.

Self-performing those areas helps projects stay on schedule – a critical consideration for school projects that must be ready before classes begin. Agostini and Bacon’s superintendents are carpenters and former tradesmen, so they understand how work should progress and how to keep it on track. “If we’re falling behind, we really pinpoint why and push those areas and work with subs to make sure the project is being built the way it needs to be to meet that deadline,” Puglia says.

That experience also enables Agostini and Bacon to better control costs. “Because we do general contracting and we do self-perform a lot of our scope, we feel that gives us an edge on what the actual market is when we’re putting a budget together for these schools,” Puglia continues. In many cases, Agostini and Bacon are able to come in below budget because it sets realistic expectations. “We have estimators that really know what everything costs,” she adds.

When a problem does arise, Agostini and Bacon work closely with the subcontractors to find a solution. The companies use only local subcontractors on their projects, leading to fewer scheduling issues and faster response times because trade workers are not traveling long distances to the job sites. “They know the market,” Puglia says of that contractor base. “They’re able to pull local people to work for them.”

Successful subcontractors know that quality work and quick responses will lead to more opportunities in the future, either with Agostini and Bacon or other contractors in the region. “They want to do well because this is their market and references are big in construction,” Puglia says.

Clear communication between the construction manager or general contractor and its subs are key to facilitating a smooth project and addressing problems. Agostini and Bacon continuously invest in technologies that ease the communication process. Two years ago, the companies upgraded to ProCore and moved all of their management resources to the platform. The software enabled a more collaborative and integrated atmosphere where every stakeholder, including the owner and architect, can have real-time access to construction documents and plans.

With a clear focus for each company and a team of talented people, Agostini and Bacon will continue to grow. Having reached the $150 million in annual revenue milestone this year, George and Steven Agostini have raised their goal to $200 million. To get there, the companies will have to take on even larger public projects. “It’s really growing our project limit of what we can do,” Puglia says.

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