Ambling Construction Co.

With a development firm as its sister company, Ambling Con­st­ruction Co. has the right ex­per­ience to serve other developers, Senior Vice President Gary Davila says. “We understand developers’ needs and their financial stresses,” he says. “We adapt our sched­ules and our billings to make them successful.”

That expertise is now being put to good use on Woodlawn Terrace, an affordable senior residential project that the general contractor is building for Gateway Companies in Valdosta, Ga. When finished, the development will consist of two three-story buildings with 60 units.

“Our contract schedule is 10 months but we anticipate beating this schedule by two months,” he says. “The project has to be finished by March 2011. The client wants this product quickly so we are working to make this happen for them.”

Exceeding Expectations

Gateway Companies is a repeat client of Ambling Construction, and that previous experience has aided the general contractor. “We understand this client,” Davila says. “We know what their expectations are.

“We have a proven track record of getting this [type of] project done,” he continues, adding that the project team has set itself apart by the level of care it has put into Woodlawn Terrace. Some contractors might not give their best effort on an affordable housing project, thinking the quality expectations would be less, but Ambling Construction’s team has provided a complete effort, Davila says.

“People will be impressed with the pride and craftsmanship we’ve taken with our work,” he says. “The brick work is outstanding, as is the roofer’s work.” 

To beat the project’s schedule, Ambling Construction accelerated the construction of the building pads and framing and has worked closely with its subcontractors to meet all the interim milestones. “The sequencing may not be ideal for the contractor, but we’ve made it ideal for the client,” he says. 

Client Favorite

Based in Valdosta, Ambling Construction spec­ia­lizes in multifamily construction, Davila says. “Our goal is to become the preferred pro­vider of construction services to our clients,” he says. “We are expanding into other market segments.”

Originally, he explains, the company was formed to better control the construction costs and quality of the projects developed by Ambling Companies.

Today, 50 percent of the company’s volume consists of third-party work, primarily from clients in the southeastern United States. “We have traveled as far as Texas,” he says. “We’ve built approximately 9,300 living units in 12 diff­erent states.”

Additionally, the company recently ranked No. 10 in Multifamily Executive magazine’s 2010 list of the top 50 builders. “Our repeat business and quality of execution contributes to that ranking,” Davila says. 

Streamlined Systems

Recently, Ambling Construction improved its operations by implementing new systems that will keep it more efficient. All of its business pro­cesses are mapped out electronically with a workflow, according to Davila. Associates can find step-by-step descriptions in the workflow of all construction operations. 

“If anyone wants to know how to perform a specific task, they just click on the workflow shape describing the step and a work instruction telling them how to perform the task opens up,” he says. ”This ensures repeatability, consistency and the ability to measure results.”

The accounting systems, estimating system and project management systems are fully integrated, as well. “We can provide accurate reporting, historical cost data and real time cost analysis,” Davila adds.

Ambling Construction also added digitized estimating systems and Web-based bid management systems, Davila says. “Our goal is to be the most efficient, sophisticated and value added multifamily contractor in the marketplace,” he says.

Davila predicts that Ambling Construction will take on more projects for Gateway Companies. “We anticipate a long-standing relationship with them,” Davila says, noting that he thinks the company will diversify into other market segments. Many of its target clients build mixed-use projects, with residential and commercial/retail space, Davila says. 

“I can see us diversifying to become their sole provider of construction services.”  

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