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Mark Filanc

Design-build work shores up Filanc business

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Performing the design-build delivery method on construction projects helped Mark Filanc and J.R. Filanc Construction Co. excel in the last few years.

“In 2010 we were doing 80 percent bid-build work and next year will only do about 20 percent bid-build,” said Filanc, CEO of J.R. Filanc Construction.

The reason for this change, according to Filanc, was because the number of bidders on water treatments projects, their bread and butter, was increasing dramatically and placing bids so low they couldn’t compete.

“We hired a key marketing person to our team to work with contractors and engineers, and now we have a good mix of work where we get prequalified to bid,” Filanc explained. “It makes for a better process where we can win projects based on our experience.”

The general contractor started doing design-build work in 1995, but didn’t ramp up this delivery method until now because of the current state of the construction industry, in which less experienced contractors entering into new markets drive down bids.

“It has been tough the last five years,” Filanc said, adding that there are typically roughly 15 bids on a bid-build project, whereas on a design-build project the competition would mainly be with the top three prequalified firms.

In 2012, the firm will bring in revenue of approximately $100 million. This is slightly lower than the average $115 million Filanc said the company was bringing in before going almost exclusively to design-build, but that delivery design-build project is more organized and creates a better team.

Filanc said the company has also been successful with the hiring of its own engineers, something that is uncommon for general contractors.

“We have several managers and staff members that have engineering background and experience,” Filanc said. “I think that’s how we make it work.”

In the last year, the engineering department has helped better position the company to win more bids and work on more projects.

The firm currently has a backlog of nine months totaling $120 million. Filanc also said there could be an additional $100 million in projects coming to the company’s backlog if they are able to win bids that they are waiting to hear back from.

The company is headquartered in Escondido, but also has offices in Arizona and Colorado and is licensed to do business in Oregon, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah. The firm has approximately 250 employees with its own craftsman and tradesman on staff.

Filanc said the company plans to hire a few more positions in the next few months, and estimators are what he is mainly looking for, as well as recent college graduates with new and fresh ideas. He also mentioned that the company hires interns for the summer.

The CEO also just finished his four-year term as a city councilman of Del Mar at the beginning of December. He said he learned about community, transportation, house and land issues, and how passionate people are about their community.

“As a city council member you are looking at a region more than just a city,” Filanc said. “You understand how your vote and decisions are connected to a larger picture and that even though you may differ in opinions, your ultimate goal is to enhance the community.”

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