Construction is a massive industry in New Jersey, and the New Jersey chapter of the Associated Builders & Contractors Inc. (ABC-NJ) is an influential group with two main goals: to support building contractors throughout the state, and to provide consumers with a resource that allows them to find safe, reputable, licensed contractors.
The national organization of the ABC seeks to enhance member's competitive advantage, enrich the lives of its members, and promote a "merit shop" construction philosophy, where free enterprise and open competition are encouraged. The ABC believes that construction jobs should be awarded on merit, regardless of labor affiliation.
On the state level, the ABC-NJ's goal is to provide "innovative programs and superior services" while at the same time assisting members to deliver quality construction and to safeguard the public image of the industry.
"All of our members hold to the highest standards of safety and engage their employees in OSHA-safety-training programs," says Richard J. Lerman, the president of ABC-NJ. "Our members total more than 130,000 workers in New Jersey alone, and they're responsible for more than $4 billion in commercial construction. The commercial construction contracts in the state for the past couple of years totaled $12.7 billion."
The group's involvement doesn't limit itself to commercial projects, of course, says Lerman. "Because our members are both general and sub-contractors, they all do commercial building work, but they often work on projects which eventually become either condominiums or homes [in associations]. Often they may be called in to do the heating and air conditioning, or the electrical or mechanical contracting, as well as in both the initial building stages or later on, to update old or inadequate systems."