"More smaller firms are getting into design-build probably because more owners are learning about it and hearing the success stories of their peers," says Mel Spangler, a vice president at Garney, which specializes in municipal water and wastewater projects.Spangler
550-employee company did some big municipal water jobs, such as a $20-million water treatment project in Oletha, Kan., and an $8-million pipeline project in Longmount, Colo., that boosted the firms total design-build revenue.Spangler
says that even with a hot market for design-build in the water sector, there is still room to grow."Most owners prefer CM-at-risk because they want control of the design done before they hire a contractor," he
Another small firm, 155-employee Ajax Building Corp.
, has found a niche in Florida's education market, reporting $15 million in design-build work last year.