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Kicking off a New Construction Project: What Municipalities Need to Know by Tom McGreevy

When you look at your list of pending deliverables, does a new construction project dominate your to-dos? It’s no secret that construction is a daunting process for municipalities because of the complexity and because there are so many other things on that to-do list. It takes time, effort and experience to keep track of all those moving parts. Without the right team, it can be far too easy to get lost in the details.

Speaking from Experience

I have been an elected official for the last 13 years as a village trustee in SE Wisconsin. What many people do not understand is that elected officials in small towns, villages, cities, and many counties are simply part-time roles. Yes, those elected municipal officials are responsible for updating laws/ordinances and overall governance of that community, however, these elected officials rely heavily on full-time staff in those municipalities. Many full-time staff members are overwhelmed and most have very little understanding of the construction process. They rely on either the engineering firm that all local municipalities have on retainer, or one of the elected officials’ friends is an architect or knows a builder. Being a “part-time” village board trustee, I have seen first-hand the importance of understanding construction. Since I came from the finance industry, my head would swirl in project meetings when we discussed different costs and phases connected to a construction project. Because at that time I was not well-versed in all of the design and construction options, I did not recognize the many distinct aspects of a construction project which can make for a confusing and stressful time. This happens all too often with local municipalities and regrettably, the inexperience of board members overseeing construction projects can lead to spending money and making decision mistakes that would never happen with the right construction partner.

At board meetings across the country today, board members are being given the responsibility to select and approve specific costs of the project without understanding the impact. Because of this they end up accepting proposals without question and spending money on the design they do not need. Knowing the right questions to ask is the first step. But if you don’t have the experience to foresee the nuances that arise during construction projects, it would be unfair to be expected to know what those questions are. And what happens next? You end up spending time and money on things that are simply unnecessary.

So where does that leave you? Instead of trying to become an expert in construction management overnight, it’s important to find a partner that can bring that knowledge and experience to the table for you so you can focus on your actual role in helping run the municipality. This is where our team at Scherrer Construction comes in.

The Benefits of consulting with a Qualified Construction Manager early in the Process

Having a construction manager like Scherrer on your side can eliminate a lot of confusion and government waste and can educate board members on what they are really getting into.

· We Establish and Conduct a Needs Assessment

· We help develop conceptual drawings with real-time cost budgeting

· We partner with qualified municipal architect teams so design and construction are on the same page moving forward

· We join you at board meetings to discuss the design process, cost budgets, and timelines

· We work with you on potential site locations

· We develop slides shows and power points when needed for more in-depth Questions/ Answers

to make sure the entire process is totally transparent

· We highlight new technology

· We eliminate government waste

· We help educate you on the ins and outs of the design and construction from start to finish

We even have a referendum specialist who assists municipalities and public entities with referendum education, marketing and polling to anticipate if it will pass. Here at Scherrer, we're with you every step of the way with answers to questions that you may not have known to ask.

Our Best Advice to Municipalities

Our best advice to municipalities looking into construction is - don’t wait to get going. Today everyone is busy. It’s easy to put things off. But construction takes time and if you wait too long, you’ll end up rushing important processes and losing out on a lot of money and resources.

And again, don’t hesitate to ask for help. As we’ve explained, construction can be overwhelming. That’s why hiring a company like Scherrer is so important. With over 90 years under our belt, this is what our Team does on a day-to-day basis. We know the ins and outs of the design and construction and can guide you through the process so that it's as smooth and painless as possible to satisfy the community and taxpayers’ wallets. And while there is no escaping the supply chain obstacle at the current moment, our expertise can often lead to quicker turnaround times.

Call us at (262) 539-3100 or email us at We would love to talk through your options.

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