AP Southwest’s Special Projects Division Makes Big Impact on Smaller Projects

By Jeff Baggenstoss, Director of Special Projects Division

There’s a common misconception that all construction projects must be monumental undertakings, requiring vast resources and complex logistics. However, this simply isn’t the case, as proven by the work undertaken by AP Southwest’s Special Projects Division.

Construction projects come in a wide range of sizes. Small-scale projects, valued under $5 million, are essential within this mix. While they may not require vast resources and complex logistics, they do demand an equal, if not higher, level of skill and meticulous planning compared to larger builds.

And though construction is often associated with large-scale endeavors, it’s the smaller projects that have a significant impact on communities and individuals, proving that size doesn’t always determine success in construction.

Big Focus on Small Projects

Over the past three decades in Arizona, we have noticed an uptick in the number of smaller projects that are coming to the forefront. Momentum picked up in the early 2000s when AP Southwest won various small-project bids and received master service agreements with several major corporations. The work consisted of remodeling offices for American Express, demolition and upgrading infrastructure for Target, and installation of new fixtures and modifications for JCPenney. We quickly realized that with a dedicated division to manage projects such as these, we could optimize our resources, reduce costs and deliver superior results for clients with a range of needs.

Launched in 2021, AP’s Special Projects Division has brought our unique approach of quality building to construction projects under $5 million. Today, we tackle expansion and renovation work in education, retail, entertainment and healthcare sectors, as well as commercial improvement and remodeling projects.

Strategic Small-Scale Construction

Unlike larger projects that are often the focus of the industry, small-scale projects require a distinct skill set and resources. Dedicated to helping our clients create world-class facilities, these undertakings allow us to maintain the momentum of larger projects by assigning smaller tasks to a specialized team, which ensures that project managers stay focused on the larger scope of their projects while the smaller tasks are executed efficiently.

Smaller-scale projects typically entail tight deadlines and are often located in occupied facilities or spaces, from which many construction companies shy away. But our division is structured to handle these unique requirements with agility and precision.

A prime example of agility in action can be found in our work with Acadia Healthcare’s Sierra Tucson behavioral health facility, which included everything from installing anti-pick caulking to updating hardware throughout the five-building facility, all while the hospital maintained full patient capacity. In order to minimize any disruptions, our team:

  • Organized the project into distinct phases, ensuring minimal interference for both patients and staff.
  • Made special efforts to ensure timely delivery of required materials, so once the project started, it could be completed without delays.
  • Implemented a considerate-construction approach to keep the needs of patients who may be sensitive to loud sounds at the forefront.

Overcoming Hurdles

All construction companies have faced numerous challenges in the current environment, including material shortages and shipping delays. But these obstacles become especially pronounced when a small project is involved and construction companies question whether the extra hassle is worth it.

Having a Special Projects Division that’s dedicated to navigating these hurdles allows us to meet the needs of our clients without compromising the quality of the work. We are constantly evolving and adapting to the changing landscape of the industry to ensure we remain at the forefront. This includes:

  • Bundling projects and leveraging relationships with our vendors and trades to enhance their appeal and make them worth the investment of time and effort.
  • Developing comprehensive estimates that leave no stone unturned in materials that are needed, so we can ensure a project runs smoothly and without unnecessary delays.
  • Implementing systems to foresee project challenges in advance and devise effective solutions before we enter the worksite.

Proven Success, Promising Future

Since our inception, we have been building upon the success of Special Projects Division’s first project, a $924,000 weatherization improvement with the Kyrene School District. After completing a major build for a client, we have found many return with smaller projects – from taking on juice bars and facility refreshes to installing pickleball courts or updating facilities to accommodate new equipment. As companies become more cost conscious when it comes to upgrading their facilities, we see great growth in the small-scale projects area.

Over the past two years, AP Southwest’s Special Projects Division has been transforming the face of small-scale construction projects in the Southwest region. Our team’s commitment, strategic approach and adaptability have allowed us to successfully deliver a wide range of projects. We are constantly challenging ourselves to be innovative and bring more value to our clients with the same dedicated commitment for which we’re known.

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