Schools & Municipalities

The Lawson Group Approach

We do a significant amount of work for cities and towns in New England, school renovations in particular, relative to indoor air quality and asbestos. I would say the biggest challenge in working with those groups is because they are public entities, they are always restricted by budgets and in a lot of cases, it’s hard for them to allocate the resources to do a lot of this work ahead of time. So a lot of it is reactionary in nature. Anytime we end up doing this type of work in a reactionary fashion, it’s much more time-consuming. It’s much more expensive and, in a lot of cases, it gets in the way of the work that they’re trying to do. Again they didn’t anticipate that they were going to have to deal with these problems, but in New England asbestos, lead, and mold are common problems when they get into a building.

A favorite story of that is we had a facilities manager for a school district several years ago. We were talking to him in March or April and kind of casually said, ‘So do you have anything coming up this year?’ and he looked at us and he said, ‘Well nothing more than a 20 million dollar major school renovation in New England.’ We looked at him and said, ‘You have considered asbestos in this right?’ and he said, ‘Oh I think the GC is taking care of that!’ Well, a quick phone call to the GC said ‘what asbestos?’ We had all we could do to manage what they had to do to deal with and abate the asbestos before they started with this 20 million dollar expansion plan for the high school about four months later.

So planning is always the best tool in this to know what you’ve got for issues and problems. The more we can get the cities and towns to talk to their own districts in terms of budgeting, the better their school renovation [in New England] goes. We’re happy to help out with that whole process because we’ve been through it a thousand times and we know exactly how it works.

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