Construction Today 2018 - Volume 16, Issue 3 - 55
connections continue to work together on
Continental Electrical's projects. For example, Marketing Specialist Julia Dunford
works in the office, while her brother has
been one of the company's field electricians
for more than 10 years.
"Family is a big part of our culture,"
Dunford stresses. "We all work together and
we are proud of who we are, our history and
what we create together. But we know that
how we interact internally effects how we
interact with our customers. To give them the
best, we have to communicate effectively."
To aid this, Continental Electrical recently
established a set of standards - what it calls
"Continental Operating Principles" - to
enhance communication between departments. Over the course of several months,
the departments sat down with each other
and explained what they needed.
"This adds accountability - things are
more spelled out and we know what to
expect from each other," Witz says. "We
focus on not making our lack of planning
someone else's emergency. While it's still
evolving, it's been an important step for us."
Experience and Technology
Continental Electrical is dedicated to
continuous improvement and to remaining
ahead of its market. The company is offering more pre-construction services, with a
goal of devoting up to 10 percent of every
job to pre-construction. It is expanding its
warehouse space from 25,000 square feet
to 47,000 square feet to accommodate its
bolstered pre-construction services.
Pre-construction provides many advantages for Continental Electrical's clients and
electricians. When preparing materials in the
warehouse, there is a controlled climate, the
space to work, and the ability to provide justin-time delivery, which keeps the job sites
clear of materials waiting to be installed.
"All of this helps our jobs be more productive and goes a long way with safety,"
Witz says. "Pre-construction is one of the
ways that the industry is going and we're
defining the standard."
In addition to pre-construction, the company regularly invests in bleeding-edge
technology. Recently, the company
purchased a 3-D point-cloud scanner. As it
learns how to adapt the new equipment, it
hopes it will be used to evaluate job sites
better and ensure drawings are as accurate
as possible. As construction technology
continues to evolve, Continental is committed to bringing the right equipment to
The company's 3-D point-cloud
scanner is connected to a gang
box for a test scan.
"We have a lot of experience, but we
know that technology will drive the future
and we want our people to have the best
resources," Dunford says. "Our electricians,
combined with the company's blend of
experience and technology, set us apart."
Continental Electrical works in a number
of market niches. In addition to interiors
for large commercial projects in downtown
Chicago, it completes numerous energy
projects and is the top solar installer in
Illinois. The company also works on mission critical data centers, offers distributed
antenna system (DAS) installations, and is
bringing a heightened focus to the industrial market and its service department. It
currently is working on numerous projects
throughout the Chicago area in all its niche
markets, but the Nobu Hotel project downtown is one that the company is particularly
This project took several phases to get to
the final developer and Continental worked
hard to be part of the final project team.
"Our project managers, estimators, and
purchasing department really assist us
with design and budgeting," Witz explains.
"Some jobs require several budgets before
the firm pricing exercise, so if you're going
to get the job, you have to be ready to provide multiple budgets."
Several rounds of bidding is nothing
new to Continental. In the Nobu job
and on other jobs, the company works
to educate its customers about what is
realistic, what is the best value and what
is in the customers' best interest. Continental works with customers to make
their visions constructible. Witz believes
the company wins bids because of its
"Our customers deserve the best, so we
consistently provide the proper scheduling,
staffing, safety, pricing and communication
on their jobs," Witz explains. "The fact that
we empower, respect and treat our people
fairly goes a long way toward everyone
making good contributions to the company. Our staff is not simply putting in a
day's worth of work, they are moving the
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