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Frequently Asked Questions


Q. How does the District determine the referendum amount?


A. Establishing/setting the referendum amount is a critical decision for the District. Factors such as construction contingency, design growth, and prorating costs to the construction year are significant. Also, the referendum amount should be conservative, with both the Architect and RMG confirming/validating the appropriate value.


Q. When should the District hire RMG?


A. Hiring RMG during pre-referendum planning is an advantage; however, it’s ideal to hire RMG during the District’s Building Condition Survey and related 5 Year Plan to ensure all building components are reviewed and reliable cost estimates are developed by the team (Architect, RMG, and District).


Q. How should the District "present" the project?


A. Similar to the District’s operating budget, the project should be introduced through a series of newsletters, then one or two public information sessions prior to the vote. RMG is very experienced in pre-referendum planning and is ready to assist the District.


Q. Should the project have a tax increase?


A. A zero tax impact is advantageous; however in today’s economic conditions, RMG would recommend keeping the tax increase as minimal as possible (i.e. less than 20¢ per $1,000 of assessed value). Don’t forget to factor in the District’s debt service or retirement of debt.


Q. What is the ratio of incidental (soft costs) to hard construction costs?


A. RMG typically recommends soft costs (Architect, Construction Manager, insurance, builders’ risk, testing, Financial Advisors, legal, abatement monitoring, surveys, appraisals, field offices, temporary utilities, environmental, etc.) be budgeted at 22-25% of hard construction cost.


Q. Should the District establish a construction contingency and other reserves?


A. Yes!  The District should consider an 8-10% construction contingency and 10% design contingency (design growth), plus prorate all hard cost to construction year (inclusive of any/all inflation factors).  These are critical factors prior to establishing the referendum amount!


Q. Does RMG perform pre-referendum cost estimates?


A.Yes! RMG has 37+ years of reliable, conservative cost estimating.


Q. What factors should the District consider for a preliminary project timeline?


A.Upon a successful referendum vote, RMG recommends the following parameters:

  • Design – 6-12 months. The majority of projects are ready for NYSED submission in 8-9 months.

  • NYSED Approval – Stay close to this one!  Currently running 6-7 months.

  • Bidding & B.O.E. Approval – 2 months.

  • Construction – RMG recommends $1mm (one million dollars) per month can be implemented effectively and efficiently once materials are onsite (i.e. $10-12mm referendum can be constructed in 10-12 months).

  • Close-Out & Occupancy – RMG has fine-tuned the close-out process.  Let’s discuss!


Q. How long has RMG been in business?


A.Established in 1999, RMG has been focusing on K-12 construction management for sixteen (16) years.


Q. Why should the District hire RMG?



  • We specialize in K-12 projects – Simply, it’s all we do, and we excel in its implementation!  We’ve produced reliable and repeatable construction management processes that are “tried and true,” especially tailored for K-12 schools.

  • Project management approach/staffing – RMG realizes that each project comes with unique goals, objectives, and challenges. Our approach focuses on getting to know our clients, listening to their goals, and then working with them to develop a scope of services specifically tailored to meet their specific needs.

  • Capital project preplanning – Early planning in the following areas is key:

    • Listening – Understanding the District’s needs and priorities, and sitting in on early concept and design sessions.

    • Cost/budget/referendum estimating – RMG will take the lead on project cost estimating. However, our firm recommends getting the Architect’s and Engineers’ assistance/input to ensure the entire design team and the District are comfortable with any/all cost estimates.

    • Master construction schedule integrated into bid specifications – RMG recommends developing a Master Construction Schedule that not only schedules the contractors, but also schedules all other resources (Architect/Engineers/Subcontractors) to ensure the design schedule coincides with the building schedule. We will work closely with the District to create sequencing plans for all renovation work.

    • Amount and type of individual “prime” contracts – We recommend multiple prime contracts, which minimizes subcontractor mark-up and helps to “stretch” the District’s dollars.

    • Other pre-construction recommendations – RMG has developed some additional language designed to clearly set the owner’s expectations within some sections of the standard Bid Specifications.

  • Synergies with area Architects and Engineers – RMG has worked with developed sound relationships with many local Architects and Engineers.  We believe this prior experience between our organizations helps to strengthen the District’s project team.

  • Change proposal/change order visibility – RMG anticipates and will financially forecast any and all project change proposals. We will “reserve” the cost early on, prior to receipt of a formal change proposal. This gives the District a “real time” insight to all potential cost exposures, allowing contingency funds to be closely monitored and reallocated as necessary.

  • Customized and visible cost control – We have teamed with Fiscal Advisors and Business Executives throughout many districts to successfully design customized cost control reports to track all financial components of the project.  We also incorporate additional information to assist the District with the preparation and submission of the NYSED Final Report in a timely fashion to ensure the receipt of building aid as soon as possible.

  • Experienced at identifying opportunities to reduce project cost – We have extensive experience in managing projects with finite budgets and will carefully monitor your project to identify any cost savings options available to ensure your project stays on track.

  • Strong operations experience – RMG is dedicated to taking the additional time to not only analyze conventional cost savings opportunities (i.e. utility costs, custodial, and building maintenance costs), but will go one step further and consider life cycle costs of building components/equipment.

  • Zero tolerance policy for safe construction methods – Our safety record speaks for itself with over 40 building projects completed since our inception in 1999 and no lost time accidents. This track record comes from a comprehensive safety program and zero tolerance for any non-compliance on the job.  All RMG personnel are OSHA 30 certified.

  • Local experience and local contractor knowledge and background – RMG is based out of Endwell, NY and serves the Southern Tier, Central, and Capital District regions. We work extensively with all local contractors and deeply understand each contractor’s capabilities, right down to requesting the preferred trade supervisor for each crew.

  • NYSED experience – RMG has worked extensively with Carl Thurnau and the Facilities Planning Team at NYSED. We fully understand the complexity and importance of the SED processes, regulations, and guidelines governing capital projects and will carefully monitor the project to ensure the District maintains compliance.

  • Core values – Our core values of dedication, honesty, and hard work directly align with the District’s values and mission. Our firm’s senior staff has over 100 years of combined project management experience, and our keen sense of operations and project related opportunities are well respected and beyond reproach.

  • Timing and flexibility – RMG will ensure daily review of all project activities, identify any exposures, and take the necessary steps to correct any issues that arise. Our firm will remain flexible to meet your construction schedule and will deliver your project on time and on budget… every time! 

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