A Collaborative Solution

Montagno Construction
Written by Claire Suttles

Montagno Construction Inc. does it all, offering construction services including preconstruction, construction management, general contracting, and design-build.

Kurt Montagno founded Montagno Construction in 1985 with a vision of developing lasting relationships with clients by collaborating to deliver superior services. This commitment remains part of the foundation of the company to this day.

“Nothing makes us happier than when we meet clients with the same openness and willingness to communicate and partner—to put our heads together and function with the give-and-take of a true team,” says Marie Maia, Director of Business Development and Marketing. “Kurt Montagno—that’s the way he operates. He’s very collaborative. He is very open with his clients. He really wants to help the client’s project be the best it can be.”

This approach yields measurable results that benefit the client, from shortening their timeline to saving on costs and materials. “Their projects always end up better than they had hoped,” Maia says. “They very often cost less than they thought, and many clients use the cost savings to add scope that was in their original wish lists but that they didn’t think they’d be able to afford.”

Montagno Construction’s ability to provide that superior outcome starts in the preconstruction phase, when the team sits down with clients and carefully walks them through the process, advising and guiding them through each aspect of the build.

“An architect or an owner may have an idea, and Kurt can come in and say, ‘Well, you know what, from a contractor’s point of view, if we do it the way you’re asking, it would involve this, this, and this but if you choose this other method, we could save time; we could save cost, and we could achieve the same goals that you’re looking to achieve,’” Maia says.

Creating a viable timeline and setting expectations is one preconstruction goal at which the company excels. “If the owner needs to have his or her project done by a certain date, we will see how we can back that up and see if we can set dates where everyone needs to achieve certain things by a certain time in order to achieve the schedule,” Maia says.

Safety is another key aspect of a build that the team begins to tackle during preconstruction. “Whatever project it is, we do a project-specific safety plan for that project in preconstruction,” Maia says.

Logistics planning also begins in pre-construction so that complications are dealt with before they cause a problem or slow down a build. This consideration is vital even on a site that looks relatively straightforward. “Logistics are important. Where are the perimeters going to be? Where do we have to secure the property? Where are we going to have subcontractors’ deliveries come in? Where are we going to have staging areas? Where are we going to have our field office? Where can we have our utilities coming in? These things are really important, and they vary depending on the scope of work for the project.”

The critical importance of logistical planning was particularly highlighted in a recent project to restore the abandoned, fire-damaged, historic St. Patrick’s Hall in Waterbury, Connecticut. The team had to plan carefully to contend with a lack of space.

“The city gave us two parking spaces,” Maia remembers. “That’s what they allotted us for the duration of the project. We had to use those two parking spaces to deliver materials, to [transport] products in and out. We had no parking. We had to figure out parking off-site.”

The build was completed despite the logistical challenge—as well as an additional, unforeseen curveball. Only after the work started did the company discover that the project required additional steelwork.

“When we mobilized and power was turned on, it was discovered that the existing steel had delaminated during the fire, which required the additional work,” Maia explains. When the preconstruction process does not uncover all the complications, the team is always prepared to handle the unexpected.

When it comes to design-build, the team gives their all to ensure smooth execution. This is ideal for clients who are too busy or inexperienced to coordinate the process on their own. “Kurt has stepped up,” Maia says of projects in which clients felt they were in over their heads.

For example, when a group of surgeons needed a new office building, “He helped bring in the architect. He helped bring in the engineering firm because they just were too busy… managing a surgery practice.” In situations like this, clients can rely on Mr. Montagno to jump in and take the reins. “He’s very trustworthy, very dependable.”

In addition to offering a full suite of services, Montagno Construction Inc. shines due to the long tenure of its employees. The family-owned business cultivates a positive work environment with a supportive company culture that attracts and retains workers—oftentimes for decades. “We’ve had a lot of our superintendents with us for over thirty years,” Maia says, “and project managers over twenty years with us, so that really makes us stand out.”

Montagno Construction Inc. has completed a wide range of notable recent projects—far too many to mention in one article. The company’s portfolio covers numerous sectors including healthcare and assisted living, multifamily housing, private education, historic and adaptive reuse, and more.

Several fresh projects have been for nonprofits such as the WYSH House in Meriden Connecticut’s historic district. The 10,000-square-foot building provides twelve efficiency apartments as well as lobbies, offices, gathering spaces, and a research center for young adults up to twenty-four years old who are no longer eligible for foster care, but not quite ready to handle life on their own.

“They age out of the foster home system at eighteen years old and it’s really difficult for eighteen-year-olds to be able to just land in the adult world and support themselves,” Maia points out.

To provide these young adults with the support they need, the team had to overcome many challenges. The project had to be constructed on a tight urban site with a century-old culvert running underground just beyond the building footprint, and special precautions had to be taken to preserve the integrity of this culvert. Despite the complications, the project was completed in just nine months and won the first-place Team Project Award from the Connecticut Building Congress in acknowledgement of the success.

On another nonprofit project, Montagno’s client won a preservation award for work involving the renovation of a church building to provide shelter and support for people experiencing homelessness. The team transformed the Housing Navigation Center for ImmaCare Inc., an organization that strives to eliminate homelessness in the Hartford, Connecticut region. The center now boasts modernized spaces, improved accessibility, and new facilities that allow ImmaCare to provide expanded services.

Montagno Construction’s cost-saving strategies allowed the client to add more to the build and still stay within budget. “We saved them so much money, they kept adding scope,” Maia remembers.

Montagno Construction Inc. has enjoyed organic, sustained growth. “We’ve grown steadily throughout our history,” Maia says. “We take the time to develop personal relationships and nurture those personal relationships with clients. We look forward to continuing to get repeat business with clients.”

The growth from this client-first approach has led to an increased capacity of approximately 30 percent over the last eight years, allowing the team to take on larger and larger projects. Currently, “The sweet spot I’m looking for is over $30 million, $40 million per project,” Maia says. “Those are the ones that I’m spending time developing the relationships and getting opportunities.” Bolstered by a dedicated team offering comprehensive services and a strong commitment to clients, the company’s growth and success can be expected to continue far into the future.



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