By John Faceda,

There’s more to being a successful general contractor than just high margins. Sure, you want to move up higher on ENR’s list of top contractors, but there are different ways to get there. For starters, you can make a case for construction technology and become more efficient, or you can qualify your subcontractors and reduce risk.

We asked some of the top general contractors in the U.S. and Canada on what they do that makes them an industry leader in construction.

Listen to new ideas

“CANA is a leader in construction because we’re always embracing a better way to build. We’re always looking for new technologies and new methods, and aren’t afraid of finding the right way to do something. If there’s something better out there that delivers better value for the owners we’re building for, we’re going to use it.

“We’ve been around 75 years, but it’s a young company. We’ve got a lot of young people from management down. The culture is great, and it’s lovely to be surrounded by all these young, active people coming out of school with new ideas. I think there are too many companies that just say ‘We’ve been doing it this way for 30 years, so take your ideas elsewhere.’ But we take those new people and we hear their ideas. From the day I started with CANA, I’ll never forget sitting in a boardroom with a bunch of people who’ve been building things for 40 years. They listened to me the first day I was here. All the young people that work here feel like they’re part of a team and feel like they’re valued.”

— Blaine Kalk, Senior Estimator at CANA Construction

Get to know your clients

“Stuart Olson is a leader in the industry because of our culture and our processes. We believe that buildings are built by people and the relationships that we forge. It’s not just somebody coming to the job site and putting up a building. It begins well before that in the preconstruction phase of the project. For us, it’s important to get to know our clients and make sure that there’s input throughout the process so that our projects are successful.”

— Joe Elliott, Senior Estimator at Stuart Olson

Embrace new technology

“SC Builders is a midsize commercial contractor in Silicon Valley and San Francisco. We work with a lot of the best technology companies in the world. What makes us a leader in the industry is our ability to create lasting relationships with great companies and to be leaders in the world of technology when it comes to construction. There’s a technological revolution going on in Silicon Valley and construction is part of that.”

— Michael Patt, Preconstruction Manager at SC Builders

Have a rock solid reputation

“Clark Builders has been a leader in the construction industry for over 40 plus years. We have a good, solid reputation in the industry for delivering projects on time, on budget, and to the full satisfaction of our clients. It’s a very good team environment to work in. I joined Clark Builders approximately a year and a half ago, but I had a 20-year relationship with Clark Builders on the service side of the business. We are a true builder and a true team environment.”

— Daniel Buisse, Corporate Risk Coordinator at Clark Builders