This Just In: Fortunato Awarded Gengras Volvo Dealership

This week, Fortunato Construction was awarded the construction of a new Volvo Dealership for the Gengras Motorcar Company.  The project is a design build collaboration to produce a new facility that meets the latest prototype requirements of Volvo.  

FCG is not stranger to the Gengras Family.  During the past 8 years, we have built or substantially renovated facilities for their Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge Franchise, their Fiat Dealership, and several other projects including their non automotive properties.  

We're honored and excited to continue to grow this partnership, and to get started on the new Volvo Dealership!

CURE Innovation Commons featured in "The Day"

The coworking space and cafe is part of the new renovations at CURE Innovation Commons in Groton, seen on Thursday, June 23, 2016. (Dana Jensen/The Day)

The coworking space and cafe is part of the new renovations at CURE Innovation Commons in Groton, seen on Thursday, June 23, 2016. (Dana Jensen/The Day)

Tech incubator opens in former Pfizer building with three tenants:

Learn more about this project here:

Watch Us Build

Fortunato Construction Group is currently building an Aldi Grocery Store in Plymouth, Massachusetts from the ground up. We've set up a camera on the job site to capture the activity on the site.  The camera takes a photo, and our live feed updates every 10 minutes. 

Check back often to see our progress, and watch what's happening live! 

What About Brand

One of the buzzwords that has dominated the marketing and business development world in recent years is “Brand”.

What used to be a static concept as in “What brand are those jeans?”  “They are Levi’s” was used primarily to identify the manufacturer often by a simple trademark or Logo.

But the marketing gurus have exposed the power of Branding.  They have defined it in terms of communication and marketing channels that distinguish a brand from its competitors and creates a durable impression on its customers.

Included among the key aspects of a brand in addition to identity, are communication, awareness, loyalty and culture.  These are all unified by a particular method of conducting business and treating customers.

A company’s brand is its promise to its customers that they can expect consistent delivery of a particular outcome.  The results often include intangibles such as customer satisfaction and brand loyalty.

Does it work?

Here’s a personal anecdote that suggests it is even more powerful than we realize. 

I recently found an old pair of Nikon binoculars. Although purchased in 1986, they were in perfect condition, but missing an eyecup. I thought finding a replacement eyecup would be easy on the internet.   Nikon could not identify the product based on the model name or serial number. They advised me to send them the binoculars.

Two weeks later I received a replacement pair without question or cost. Nikon's binocular warranty is a no fault repair or replace policy. Pretty simple.  Building brand loyalty one customer at a time is as relevant in Construction as it is on consumer products or any industry.

I’m shopping for a new camera before my next vacation.  Any guess as to which brand will prevail?

Four in Four

TM Crowley on behalf of CVS has retained Fortunato Construction Group for the constrution of their new store in Monroe, CT.  

Bob Piazza prepared the bid and will manage the project with Tom Marra as the superintendent.

This is the fourth CVS project FCG is building in as many years.

Are you a subcontractor interested in bidding on opportunities like this one? Visit our subcontractor portal to connect with us.

Goodbye Delays, Hello Permits

One architect's new permit streamlining process could provide benefits for all

By Tim Culvahouse, FAIA

For over a decade, architect Michael F. Malinowski, AIA, has organized annual “Code Conversations” hosted by California's AIA Central Valley. These gatherings bring together building officials and design professionals from across the Sacramento area for informal dialogue. Harnessing the culture of cooperation they have generated, Malinowski—current president of the AIA California Council and a member of the AIA Codes and Standards Committee—recently led the development of a permit streamlining process known as the Prequalified Architectural Submittal System (PASS).

The Wall Street Journal recently addressed the adverse economic impact that extended delays in building permits approvals is having on the U.S. housing market. And the core principle of PASS is that high-quality permit documents should accelerate approvals. This approach distinguishes it from self-certification programs, which allow approved design professionals to bypass plan review by certifying a project as code compliant. While some jurisdictions have had decades of positive experience with self-certification, many building officials remain skeptical of a process that postpones approval to field inspection. As Steve Burger, the chief building official of Folsom, California, asks, “When do you want us to catch problems, on paper or in the field?”



The Prequalified Architectural Submittal System, a process led by Michael F. Malinowski, AIA, could redefine how high-quality permit documents are approved.

Unlike self-certification programs, PASS facilitates permitting without reassigning responsibilities or changing the approval path. Instead, it clarifies, in a Building Project Submittal Checklist, the information required in a submittal. Participants in the program—both authors of permit documents and lead plan reviewers—must pass a training course on effective ways of satisfying the checklist.

“PASS starts with just a list,” says West Sacramento building official Randall Goodwin, “but the brilliance of it is the collaboration. The traditional view is it’s an antagonistic relationship, but this puts us all on one team.”

Formalizing the Code

For PASS, that team is a steering committee comprised of architects, economic development experts, and plan review professionals from seven jurisdictions. Over a six-month period, beginning in January 2015, the group came to consensus on a 127-item checklist covering both code analysis—the process of determining what code provisions apply to a particular project—and code compliance. It is, as Burger says, “a formalization of what we have been trying to do for years, in terms of saying what we need to see.”

To develop training materials, Malinowski asked plan reviewers from five jurisdictions to use the checklist to grade three anonymized sets of plans donated by area architecture firms. Reviewer consensus determined the examples to be used in the course. These examples aren’t prescriptive; among them, Malinowski notes, is “an incredible variety of how architects portrayed information, where it was portrayed, and how the set was organized.”

The first PASS training course was held in July 2015; as of the beginning of March 2016, nearly 100 design professionals and plan review professionals have become registered PASS participants. The program is open to all those who are allowed by law to be responsible for plan submittal—architects, engineers, and, for some project types, interior designers and contractors. Eleven Sacramento area municipalities and three counties—collectively home to 2.5 million people—have adopted PASS without modification, a boon to architects working across jurisdictions.

Documents that follow the PASS guidelines—providing information thoroughly and transparently—make it easier for plan reviewers to assess compliance. This ease speeds the process, as does the provision that documents signed by a registered PASS professional are accepted without intake review. Not only does this provision reduce the number of rounds of review, it also means that anyone, even a courier, may deliver plans to the building department.

Impact Already Felt

The number of PASS submittals is not yet great enough for statistical analysis, but plan reviewers report evident improvements in quality and fewer rounds of review, from the typical three down to two or even one. An ongoing quality-assurance process maintains consistent compliance. Plan reviewers flag PASS-certified sets that aren’t PASS-compliant and refer them to the steering committee, which after validating the flag alerts the submitter. A participant who receives three flags in a year loses certification and must retake the training class and exam. So far, no flags have been reported.

In addition to streamlining the process, the PASS program is a useful tool for training young people on both sides of the counter. For entry-level permit technicians as well as architectural interns, the checklist promotes both a thorough attention to detail and an understanding of the big picture—the full scope of health, safety, and welfare considerations.

The PASS program is proving to be of value in several ways: It speeds approvals, both during permit issuance and during construction, providing real financial benefits to all parties—building department, architect, and developer. It helps educate young professionals. And it is building a spirit of collaboration between designers and regulators.

Along with the Code Conversations that led to it, PASS is an encouraging example of architects engaging in the formation of public policy. As Malinowski points out, “Architects have a vested interest in being leaders of the process from the beginning to the end. Between design and construction comes permitting, and we should be at that table.”

Tim Culvahouse, FAIA, is a professional development consultant for architecture and related disciplines.