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LaRosa Construction Project Favorites: The 2023 People's Choice

Choosing a favorite construction project can be a subjective and personal decision influenced by a variety of factors.

It often involves a combination of professional satisfaction, unique challenges, and personal connection to the project's purpose or outcome. For some, the complexity of a large-scale infrastructure project might be particularly appealing, presenting an opportunity to showcase engineering prowess and problem-solving skills. Others might find fulfillment in projects with a strong community impact. The architectural uniqueness or innovative design elements of a project can also captivate professionals in the construction industry. Ultimately, the selection of a favorite construction project is often shaped by a blend of technical achievement, emotional resonance, and the sense of contributing to the environment or the community in a meaningful way.

We decided to poll the members of our top-tier team at LaRosa Building Group to see what they would identify as their 2023 favorite project and the reason behind their choice.

Would the 2023 CBC Project Team Award-winning Rocky Neck or the CT ABC Excellence in Construction Award-winning Choate Rosemary Hall be the favorite?

larosa team members gold sponsorship

Turns out that neither of these two award-winning construction projects was chosen. Interestingly, except for the library, there were no duplicate answers.

Here is the rundown, starting with our CEO:

"There is something about each of our LaRosa construction projects that resonates with me. If I have to pick one that stands out in 2023, it would be Brookside Commons, the 40-unit affordable housing complex in Waterford Connecticut," explained James LaRosa, CEO of LaRosa Groups. "I really admire the team's ability to complete this project on schedule despite facing unforeseen circumstances. That's a significant achievement for LaRosa and a great source of professional pride for me," he added.

The complexity of the project and its operation, as well as a personal interest, is what drove Michael Anderson, Operating Manager at LaRosa Building Group LLC, to choose the Quinebaug Fish Hatchery.

"The hatchery was my favorite because I love to fish, and it was fascinating to see how the hatchery operated," he explained.
Quinebaug Fish Hatchery construction project

Three LaRosa team members chose the CCSU Elihu Burritt Library as their top choice. Senior Estimator James Uryase had a personal alumna connection to the library.

"As an alumnus of the CCSU Construction Management Program, I take great pride in the construction of the well-designed 14,000-square-foot addition to the CCSU Elihu Burritt Library, making it now the focal point of the campus," he explained.

There was also an alum connection for Senior Project Manager Rome Santilli.

"It's the confluence of three factors that makes the library, which will not be completed until Summer 2024, my 2023 favorite. In addition to being an alumnus, I am fascinated with the new timber-style construction we are using. And our excellent relationship with the Department of Administrative Services just adds an indisputable layer of work satisfaction," he explained.

The library was also a favorite of Project Superintendent Mark Barlow. However, his choice was based on integrating new technology into the library addition.

"For this project, we used mass timber construction consisting of solid wood columns, beams, and floors instead of steel and concrete or the traditional stick frames. That is a relatively new technology for this region. In addition, the AV system we installed incorporated state-of-the-art technology such as book theft protection, shooter detection systems, security locking devices, and cameras tied to the building management system," he added.

The challenge of thinking outside the box was why Dwayne Peart, Project Superintendent, chose The Carl Robinson Correctional Institution as his 2023 favorite.

"Logistics were a huge issue in this occupied-renovation project. Just going in and out of the compound each day required extreme measures. No cell phones were allowed, and we had to find alternative communication methods. By fostering a more inclusive collaborative environment and making small incremental changes, we were able to promote a positive outcome," he explained.

Sometimes, the chemistry between the owner, the administrative staff, and the construction team makes an occupied renovation project special.

"The three-phase renovation of the Bradley Home & Pavilion in Meriden, CT was unique. We were surrounded by good staff, and the owner was willing to work with us. We all shared the common goal of getting the job done, and everyone did their part to meet that objective," explained Tim Penton, Construction Supervisor.
 Bradley Home & Pavilion in Meriden, CT

Making people's lives better can make one project stand out from the rest.

"The soil remediation project in Hamden was such a feel-good project. We removed the top three feet of soil and replaced it so the yards were safe for the children to play and for families to plant vegetables," explained Vincent Parete, Co-Director of Estimating.
larosa team members at a construction site

Our favorite projects were not necessarily the simplest, and the team faced many challenges in 2023, including:

  • Finding the manpower to staff all of our new projects

  • The combination of rising interest rates and construction costs

  • Taking over as superintendent in the middle of construction and integrating into the team by gaining confidence and building rapport

  • A misconception by consumers about the time required to complete a project due to scheduling and coordination between multiple trades

  • Unforeseen circumstances, such as asbestos abatement issues which cause delays in our scheduling

  • Renovation and new construction in fully occupied projects required intense attention to safety protocols

  • Time lost due to inclement weather

  • Material delivery and project delays due to funding and permitting

  • Changing our subcontractor billing from the standard system to processing invoices through Procore

2023 was a year for a wide variety of projects but also a year for embracing new technology, perfecting new skills, and mastering others:

  • Embracing Microsoft Teams: Our clients are embracing Teams; probably 95% of our client meetings are on Teams, which is an efficient way to promote the collaborative process.

  • Utilizing mass timber: The library was our third mass timber project. It's an excellent option for green projects because of its sustainability, renewability, and environmental impact.

  • Working with new waterproofing materials: Epoxy floors are getting more popular, and we recently installed them along with the Schluter ®-KERDI waterproof system in the Bradley Home & Pavilion bathrooms. That combination was a first for us and super impressive.

  • Mastering the art of passive house: Having a certified team of professional who has seen what works and what doesn't has made LaRosa a Passive House leader in new construction and renovation projects.

two larosa building group team members

As we prepare for 2024, it seems fitting to share a message from our CEO:

"The most valuable lesson I learned in 2023 is the importance of hiring the right people and giving them the freedom to succeed. That clearly conveys that we value our employees and recognize their role in the company's success," concluded James LaRosa.

We wish everyone a Happy New Year. We look forward to working on your next construction project and adding it to our list of 2024 favorites.

Click HERE to schedule your free consultation today.

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