Expanding into other types of construction is quite common. Most often contractors expand because their marketplaces are dwindling. But the risks of doing a new kind of work are the same as starting a new business. If the risks aren't recognized and addressed, you could destroy your existing, successful company. To make a switch, expect a learning period and plan a small first project to get experience.


Subtle changes within types of construction are nearly as dangerous as drastic changes. Perhaps that's why we undertake them with such confidence and act so surprised when the roof falls in. It's not that one type of construction is easier than another, nor that one type of contractor must be smarter than another. It's simply that a successful contractor is a specialist.


A more subtle change in type of work is the change from public to private or from private to public sectors. This change, even when the project is within a contractor's normal size and work area, has cost numerous firms a lot of money. Considerable differences exist: qualifying for bid lists; the criteria used for selecting winning bids; the amount of collaboration among contractor, owner, and others; and the quality of work expected and delivered.