Rabren General Contractors

Staying on schedule in any large-scale construction project is never easy, but doing so during an abnormally rainy season requires a high level of skill not often found in some contractors. How­ever, Auburn, Ala.-based Rabren General Contractors was able to finish its George Washington Carver High School project on schedule in spite of bad weather and a number of change orders during the course of construction.

“This required a very close working relationship with both the owner and subcontractors to ensure continuity within the schedule,” Project Manager Ray Harrelson says.

The weather-related challenges during construction placed the project behind schedule at certain points, but the Rabren team increased its manpower during ideal weather to ensure the school opened its doors in time for students to begin the new year. “Knowing that the owner needed the school to open on time, an agreement was made to accelerate the schedule and provide minimal extensions of time only to ensure that the school still opened for the normal term,” Harrelson says. “With the cooperation of the design team, the owner and all subcontractors, this endeavor was successful.”

The 224,000-square-foot high school, located in Montgomery, Ala., is comprised of two floors of classrooms, an auditorium, cafeteria and kitchen, culinary arts classroom and related facilities, art rooms, gymnasiums and a football field. Although the school has fairly traditional amenities and finishes, it was built to unique new standards to meet strict weather protection standards.

Certain areas of the building are classified as official storm shelters, built using reinforced concrete masonry walls, reinforced concrete ceilings and storm doors. “All areas are finished as if they were classrooms [and] locker rooms for everyday, normal use, and no one would be the wiser without looking above the ceiling or behind the walls,” Harrelson adds.

Building Relationships

Although the George Washington Carver High School project presented a number of challenges, the company collaborated closely with the owners as well as its own team to ensure the job stays on track. “I’m very proud of the new relationships we were able to build with a new owner as well as with new subcontractors,” Harrelson explains. “The fact that we were able to finish the job on time and on budget in spite of the challenges we encountered is something I’m very proud of.”

The company closely monitored safety on the job site, and completed the project with no major incidents. To ensure employees work safely and responsibly, the company organizes daily toolbox meetings. “We also have periodic inspections by the project superintendent, and inspections by off-site quality control personnel, as well,” Harrelson adds. “We strive to ensure that everyone goes home at the end of the day.”

All in the Family

Founded in 2000, Rabren General Contractors is owned and operated by brothers Matt, Mike and Travis Rabren. “Although the company is relatively young in age, it is the experience and dedication of the people that make this company special,” the company states.

Before joining forces in Rabren General Contractors, the brothers were involved in different areas of construction. For 11 years prior to 2000, Mike Rabren owned Michael Rabren Construction Co. Based in Auburn, the company focused on light commercial and custom residential construction.

Travis Rabren graduated from Auburn University with a degree in building science, and worked for two of Engineering News-Record’s top 50 construction companies, and eventually worked his way from estimating to vice president and general manager of an office in Jackson, Miss.

After earning a civil engineering degree from Auburn University, Matt Rabren worked for two leading construction companies before joining Rabren General Contractors. “These three individuals have distinct roles within the company, but regardless of the task, they all understand the project must be built in a timely and professional manner,” the company states. “Rabren General Contractors has surrounded itself with dedicated and experienced people in both the field and office. Rabren is proud of the people and its clients it does business with. We welcome the opportunity to work with you on your next project.”

Harrelson says the hands-on ownership team sets it apart from its competition. “They still have the mindset and willingness to still be a part of the team and stay in the ditches with all of us,” Harrelson says. “They are 100 percent involved in every aspect of the company and the community.”

Owners appreciate the fact that the Rabren ownership team is personally involved in making sure projects are completed as expected. “The owners know that Rabren will take all measures necessary to complete a project on time, even throughout time extensions if necessary if the need is permitted,” Harrelson adds.

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