Watkins Landmark Construction – Westminster Court Project

Watkins LandmarkWatkins Landmark Construction prides itself on delivering cutting-edge projects that leave a lasting impression on clients and communities.
By Bianca Herron

In 2004, Jody Watkins founded Watkins Landmark Construction in San Diego. His goal was to build a construction company that specialized in cutting-edge projects that left a lasting impression on the client, end-users and the surrounding community.

Today, the company has more than 70 employees and three offices throughout southern California, including its corporate headquarters in Carlsbad, an Indian Wells office and new location in Anaheim. Watkins Landmark is also looking to expand into the San Francisco and San Jose areas as well.

“We have worked on quite a few historical landmarks, buildings and community centers that are well-known in the community,” Vice President of Business Development Dean Schumacher says. “We try to keep that at the forefront of what we do and pursue.”

For Watkins Landmark, the company has always believed that its niche is not having one.

“That means we pursue just about any type of project from multifamily to hotels to commercial buildings to churches, restaurants and sporting facilities,” Schumacher explains. “So because we have such a broad reach, we have been able to grow and expand our business. We have also experienced a lot of repeat business. Our clients continually come back to us for new projects. They also recommend us to other clients for their projects.”

Close Collaboration

When it comes to customer service, Schumacher notes that the company’s clientele has come to expect a certain level of service that is brought to each and every project.

“That quality service begins at the preconstruction stage where we bring forth a lot of value-engineering ideas, all the way through contracting and the level of service and attention to detail that we carry into the execution of the project through closeout,” he says. “We do this by meeting the customer where they are and by meeting the needs of their facility. We work on a lot of active campuses and facilities and we keep their needs in mind, which includes the safety of their employees and guests.” Watkins Landmark box

Communication plays a critical role throughout this process. “At their operations we try to be discreet as possible with our construction activities so that they can maintain normalcy throughout the process,” Schumacher says. “That is why we let them know where we will be and when we will be there. We also try to ask the right questions of them in regards to what they need and when and how we can take utilities and services out of commission to not impact them.”

It’s all about being persistent and having pride in the projects the company takes on, he adds. “We are very persistent in the bidding and preconstruction phase to get in front of the customer and provide them with the best pricing and ideas that we can bring forth,” Schumacher says. “All the way through the project, we are very persistent with getting done on budget and on schedule. We take a great amount of pride in doing that and delivering it to customers for each and every project.”

That persistence, communication and pride all stems from Watkins Landmark’s employees, Schumacher notes. “We make an effort to hire builders,” he says. “People that can see the vision, understand how the project works and are able to work seamlessly with customers. So our success is entirely due to the quality of people we have hired.”

The company’s subcontractors have also played a role in its success. “The number of subcontractors we work with depends on the project,” Schumacher says. “There are some jobs that require only a handful, while others require 30 to 40 subcontractors. We make an effort to develop relationships with them so we can convey our methods and beliefs to them on how the project should be built and how we should treat the clients.

“We maintain that relationship by getting them involved early in the project,” he continues. “We ask for their advice on how to make the project run more efficiently and seamless. We really try to involve them in the overall project planning. Instead of telling them how it’s going to be done we take more of a team approach and bring them into the fold as a member of the team.”

Continuous Improvement

One of Watkins Landmark’s current projects is the renovation of Westminster Court, a 75-unit elderly care and assisted-living facility located in Bell Gardens, Calif. The company started the 50,000-square-foot renovation project last year in December and is anticipating completion in September.

“This is a great example of a project we excel at,” Schumacher says. “It’s a three-story senior housing facility to which we’re doing a pretty extensive renovation. The residents at this facility will stay in the units while we’re working on this project. So, again, with a project like this we try to orchestrate the least impact to the residents and staff that we can while still getting the project done in a timey manner and cost-effective way.”

Schumacher notes the company does this through constant communication with staff and residents. “We give them updated briefs showing where the project is headed. For example, we inform them as to what will be happening over the next week or further out. At times we’ll have to turn off water or power in certain parts of the building, so we let them know before we do it, of course. Construction by nature is kind of an inconvenience, so we’re trying to minimize that as much as possible.”

Watkins Landmark will be working in the common areas – such as the kitchen, hallways and activity rooms – which will all be renovated with new finishes.

“We’re also renovating all the units, so we’re touching every bit of the building,” Schumacher says. “We’re renovating all of the restrooms, all of the windows in the building are being replaced and we also have a bit of site work as well to improve the landscaping outside of the building. We will also add some outdoor amenities, such as a BBQ area, and raised planter beds and a potting bench, which will be accessed by a pathway leading to a community garden.”

Because Westminster Court is a senior housing facility, it requires a few specific building materials. “For example, HDF (High-Density Fibreboard) is being used for the cabinets instead of MDF (Medium-Density Fibreboard),” Schumacher explains. “HDF is more durable and has a longer life expectancy, especially in a wet area. So they are really trying to plan for the future in this facility. We’re also putting solar panels on the roof to offset the building’s electricity usage.”

Ultimately, when it comes to a Watkins Landmark Construction project, Schumacher notes that the company is most proud of delivering a beautiful project that makes an impact in the community. “We want our projects to benefit the community and want them to be high-quality,” he concludes. “Most importantly, we want the client to be pleased with the outcome and feel that their needs have been met.”

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