San Diego Transcript Column: Competition is the tide raising all merit shop construction boats

San Diego Transcript Column: Competition is the tide raising all merit shop construction boats

This column by Walter Fritz, CEO of Nuera Group and board chairman of Associated Builders and Contractors, San Diego, first appeared in the San Diego Transcript on November 27, 2017.

Human beings love competition. It seems built into our DNA Athletic competition in front of large crowds of enthusiastic fans took place as early as 2000 B.C. Competition isn’t limited to physical sports. The board game known as “Go” in English (Weiqi in Chinese) traces back to ancient China before 2300 B.C. In Asian cultures, Go is seriously competitive in the way video games are today in the professional ELEAGUE, its modern equivalent.

Awards shows on television routinely draw huge ratings, whether for films like the Oscars and Golden Globes, or for music like the Grammys or American Music Awards. We watch driven in part by our competitive instincts, but also to admire and learn from examples of craft excellence.

We don’t expect huge ratings in the construction industry for our awards. We don’t have a red carpet or a massive international television audience watching anyway, which might be for the best. Nevertheless, measuring our skills in competition and recognizing those who set an example for their peers is just as important as a Best Actor statue.

The Excellence in Construction Awards is a nationwide awards competition honoring exceptional projects built by Associated Builders and Contractors members. Projects are judged on set criteria including project design and implementation, innovation, safety, and responses to project challenges, by a panel of judges with background and experience in the construction industry, and knowledge of the technical aspects of construction. Local winners advanced to national level competition.

Our awards recognize work by contractors and subcontractors on collaborations and projects, sharing best practice and inspiring others to adopt new and better ways of working that deliver outstanding results. This is especially important when taxpayers dollars are involved on public projects, especially vital public facilities and infrastructure we all depend on daily.

The awards give us an opportunity to focus attention on some of the most important issues in the construction industry. Good safety practices insure all employees have a quality work environment in which to do their best work, and both companies and clients save costs due to lower insurance rates and no delays in work schedules. Sustainability efforts in construction such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification demonstrate responsible environmental stewardship, which we all need to be concerned about living on planet Earth.

I can tell you from firsthand experience as an entrant in these awards, it is a time-consuming and detail oriented process. Every facet of your project is scrutinized. Did we deliver the project on time? Did we deliver within budget? We submit our safety records. We describe the inevitable challenges that arise. At our company, Nuera Contracting LP, we know from decades of experience only thing that would have surprised us was no surprises.

Over many years of developing our specialty expertise in the renovation of senior living communities, nothing is ever where it’s supposed to be. We accept challenges. It’s central to our mission. Anyone can be a builder, but not everyone has the mindset of selling solutions to problem. If we can set an example for our colleagues and our industry, we all benefit through improved results, value driven budgeting, and clients who are proud to show off their finished projects. An improved reputation for excellence among all merit shop contractors is the tide that raises all of our boats and the tools in them, too.

At this year’s San Diego Excellence In Construction Awards held November 17, Bergelectric Corporation won Top Project by a Subcontractor for its outstanding work on the WeWork on B coworking space project. Top Project by a General Contractor was our work at Nuera Construction LP along with our many subcontractors on the Wesley Palms Retirement Community Renovation project.


For the first time, ABC also recognized an Outstanding Superintendent of the Year, Colin Gillanders of Tri State General Contracting.


Supervisor Kristin Gaspar of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors (District 3) received the 2017 Excellence in Leadership Award for her commitment to ensuring that construction projects are open to all bidders, regardless of labor affiliation.


Walter Fritz is President and CEO of Nuera Group LP, and chairman of the Associated Builders and Contractors San Diego Training Trust board of trustees. For more information visit




Twitter Feed

Find out what's happening, right now, with the people and organizations you care about.

Bad Authentication data.
Copyright 2012 Builder - Company. Design by OrangeIdea