Value Engineering Delivers Timely Savings
Shannon Contracting LLC is powered by in-house teams to give clients personal attention
Shannon Contracting LLC (Shannon) is a midsize general contracting, construction management and carpentry contracting firm based in Yonkers, New York. The company performs private-sector work in the New York metro area, including cities in New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania.
CEO Sean McTigue immigrated to the United States in 1989 from his native County Leitrim, Ireland, just after earning a diploma in architecture from Waterford Institute of Technology. “At that time, the Irish economy was not doing well. Everyone I knew was graduating and then leaving the country,” he recalls. He moved to Boston, where he had friends and family, and went to work as an estimator for a construction company.
Just four years later, he went out on his own. He started Target Contracting, which specialized in large-scale drywall projects in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. He also worked on development projects in Vermont as the owner of Target Custom Homes.
In 2009, Sean and his friend, Michael O’Neill, who owned KL Construction Services, Inc., merged their respective businesses and construction acumen to establish Shannon Contracting as a general contracting company. The company is named for the River Shannon, Ireland’s longest river, which flows near where Michael grew up.
A mason by trade, Michael is President of Shannon and runs all of its field operations, including labor, subcontracting, schedules and safety compliance. Sean manages the company’s day-to-day operations and all business functions. He oversees estimating, project management, planning and implementation. “One of us is physically present on a project daily. We give each client our personal attention,” Sean says.
A Range of Experience Coupled with Specialization
Shannon’s clients benefit from the partners’ range of project and sector experience, which includes residential, commercial retail, education, hospitality, restaurants, health care, assisted living, pharmaceutical, research facilities and churches.
Hospitality projects, such as the 2017 construction of The William hotel in the Bryant Park area of Manhattan, are centered on client services, creating inviting spaces where guests feel welcome.
Shannon’s commercial projects include corporate headquarters and high-rise offices. The firm often performs commercial office buildouts for its clients. Construction projects in existing buildings are challenging, as they require successful coordination with tenants, managing material deliveries and installing temporary protection. “We pay close attention to minimizing disruption and inconvenience to retail and commercial tenants,” Sean says.
Increasingly, the company is hired to build rooftop amenities in apartment buildings. Those include outdoor lounges, living areas for apartment buildings, and green or “living” roofs that are covered in plants, reducing stormwater runoff and lowering cooling costs. At the time of reporting, Shannon had two roof deck amenities projects in process in Manhattan for the Dermot Company—at 520 West 43rd St. and at 101 West End Ave. Both jobs include new raised steel structures, Ipe decking (Ipe is an exotic hardwood that is naturally resistant to decay), barbecue stations, pergolas, bleacher seating for movie screenings, and outdoor living and relaxing areas.
There is significant crossover among Shannon’s clients’ projects. “We often work with architects or business owners who have multiple projects underway. We’re equipped to work with them on both commercial and residential projects,” Sean adds.
Value Engineering Saves Money
Shannon helps architects and owners with value engineering by collaborating with its subcontractors and vendors to find “or equal” products that can save the client money and time on a project, such as plumbing fixtures, light fixtures, HVAC design, and controls and finishes.
Sean’s training in architecture is particularly valuable when he is working with owners and their architects at the beginning of a project. “When we bid a job, we focus on value engineering ideas for the owner. We evaluate plans and present alternative approaches for parts of the project that can save the owner some money,” Sean says.
For example, the original budget for construction of the Equinox East 92nd Street gym in Manhattan was in excess of $12 million. Shannon was hired as construction manager. “We met with the design team, engineers and subcontractors to review the project. Through value engineering, we reduced that budget to $10 million,” Sean recalls. “Our recommendation on HVAC control systems alone represented $500,000 of that savings.”
Shannon was hired as general contractor for a 15,000-square-foot office expansion for The Bronx Defenders, a public defender nonprofit located in the Bronx. Shannon assisted the organization’s leaders with value engineering and was able to expedite this fast-track project, completing it in only three months. To accomplish this, Shannon’s staff worked closely with the architect and engineer, expediting shop drawings and procuring long-lead items before permits were issued. Shannon’s team worked overtime and on Saturdays to complete the project on time.
Self-Performed Work Ensures Quality
Shannon self-performs a significant amount of its work with its own in-house crews, including drywall, carpentry and finish carpentry, masonry, concrete, tiling, painting and installation of acoustical ceilings.
By hiring deliberately and carefully, the company has established a high-level team of skilled tradespeople and keeps them busy on projects. Some of the 35 crew members have worked for Michael and Sean for more than 20 years. The company’s site supervisor has been with them for many years and communicates with Sean and Michael on a daily basis. “We hire independent problem-solvers to ensure the stress of a project is not placed on a client,” Sean adds. “We try to foresee a potential problem before it becomes an actual problem.” He and Michael are in contact with site supervisors daily and typically meet weekly with clients on the job sites.
Shannon’s investment in maintaining a quality in-house team delivers significant client savings, from managing scheduling and labor costs to expediting materials. “This approach gives us a good handle on quality control,” Sean says. “It’s definitely an advantage for us and is a strong selling point for our clients.”
All of Shannon’s superintendents use the Procore construction project management software program on their iPads. Both the team and its clients find Procore to be a useful and valuable tool. “It’s great for architects and owners. They can see everything that’s happening on the job site daily; they have access to daily reports, manpower logs and schedules, photos and videos, and RFI submittals, all in one program,” explains Sean.
A Culture of Safety
Providing a safe work site is foundational to Shannon’s culture and work environment. “We’re heavy on safety,” Sean says. “We look after our people.”
He notes that in New York City, building safety regulations are much tougher than they were 20 years ago. Today, there are third-party inspections for every step in the construction process. But safety has always been part of Shannon’s business model. “Maintaining a clean safety record not only protects our people, it is part of managing our overhead, particularly the cost of insurance,” he adds.
He calls New York City “a market unto itself.” While it’s a challenging market to work in, Sean and Michael foresee steady growth in construction projects over the next five years.
“We take pride in the customers we work for. As a result, we do a lot of repeat business, including for architects and clients who have stayed with us since our first day in business,” Sean says.