Landmark EPC, an engineering firm based in Loveland, Colorado, has set out to change the status quo engineering process and move to a construction-driven engineering model. The leadership team is disrupting the industry with their ability to take projects from start to finish. They are challenging the industry’s existing model when it comes to land development projects. Landmark is striving to create a better process for all involved at every phase of a development project.

Why the shift in approach? Landmark EPC’s new leadership team brings a unique perspective to the engineering process. President CJ Rigdon and Vice President of Operations Sam Firth both come from a background in construction and have seen first-hand the disconnect between the design and construction processes. Sam Firth says, “Being on the receiving end of the sort of drawings that we put out has given me a unique insight into the challenges that they present.  I now understand some of the preconceptions that drive engineers to make what are ultimately mistakes.” Most engineering firms fail to think projects through to completion, which often leads to challenges during construction.

Historically, the land development process is design, engineering, and then construction. All three phases are typically very siloed, with little consideration as to what happens downstream, and there is little to no communication between the teams. According to Vice President Sam Firth, this fosters competition between the industries. Contractors bid on projects based on the design the engineering firm has created. If there are mistakes, the contractor is forced to put in a change order to address the issues, and the client is charged for it. Typically, this isn’t communicated back to the engineering firm, perpetuating the disconnect between engineering firms and what’s possible in the real world. As you can imagine, the client’s additional cost is not well received, and the blame is often misplaced and falls on the contractor. President CJ Rigdon says, “Sometimes a design looks good on paper but doesn’t work when constructing, which in turn costs the customer time and money.” Unfortunately, with this process and lack of communication, there is no opportunity for the engineering firm to learn what’s possible for a construction team to execute, and the design flaw continues to happen.

What is construction-driven engineering?

According to CJ, “Construction -Driven Engineering is taking a different approach when looking at a project. Instead of designing and engineering a project and finding out that it’s not possible or that something was missed once construction begins. Our approach is to bring the construction professionals into the mix at the beginning phase to work with engineering to try and eliminate issues before construction starts.” The goal is to flush out potential issues in executing the design from the beginning versus waiting until the project is in progress to identify the design problems and go back to the client with additional cost. This new model has been a significant shift in how Landmark and other engineering firms have approached projects in the past. For Landmark’s engineers, it’s been an eye-opening experience to work directly with the construction team and understand the challenges they face when executing a design. According to Sam, “Our engineers also gain valuable insight into the real-world application of their designs that they’re able to carry over into other projects. The fresh perspective is embraced by our team and has changed the way they design and even estimate projects”.

Allowing Landmark to take the entire design and general contracting provides a lot of value to a client. It takes the headache of having to deal with numerous contractors off their plate.  They only have to deal with Landmark from the planning phase until they start the actual building process. They also get a design that has the input of the construction team, which results in fewer change order costs. With Landmark at the helm, clients also benefit from a more streamlined and smooth project and have fewer contractors to manage versus only one company to deal with during the planning and design phases.

This new model also has a significant impact on sub-contractors. They can precisely understand what they’re getting into with a project before the construction phase starts. Sub-contractors get a clear picture of the project, allowing them to know going into construction how they’re going to execute their portion of the project, reducing the worry around the unknowns that come with a traditional process. Also, the longer the relationships go, they understand what to expect, making the estimation process easier. They do not have to worry about getting price shopped as once Landmark has selected a contractor, they will be the contractor for the foreseeable future barring anything drastic happening.

With Landmark’s full suite of engineering, planning, and construction management services coupled with their design and planning process innovation, the Landmark team is making waves in the industry and set a precedent for engineering firms in the future.


About Landmark EPC

Landmark EPC is a multi-disciplined engineering firm based in Loveland, Colorado. With expertise in civil and structural engineering, landscape architecture and land planning, geotechnical services, land surveying, subsurface utility engineering, and construction management, Landmark provides clients with one source for all your development project needs from design and engineering to project management. To learn more about Landmark EPC, click here to schedule a call with our team.