FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are Mollenhauer’s primary businesses?
A: Mollenhauer is known primarily for its surveying and mapping, construction surveying, and civil engineering services.
We’re probably best known for traditional land surveying and mapping, something that’s been going on around here since the doors were opened in 1924. It’s a noble profession – three out of the four presidents depicted on Mount Rushmore were land surveyors at some point in their lives – and it’s always in demand. Over the years we’ve probably surveyed at least half of the buildings in downtown L.A.
Construction surveying, which means translating construction plans into physical points on the ground that are used for actual construction, is also a major business for us. Over the last two decades, Mollenhauer has become one of the largest construction surveying groups in Southern California.
Civil engineering is another big part of what we do. It’s a very broad field, which can include the design of roads, bridges, dams, you name it. Our civil engineering practice is focused primarily on LEED® design of infrastructure related to building projects, such as sewers, storm drains, waste water and drainage.
Subdivision mapping has recently become a very significant activity for us. Los Angeles is undergoing a major revitalization these days, with an unprecedented amount of adaptive re-use and mixed-use development underway. Our subdivision mapping group works with owners, architects and developers to manage the complex strategic, technical, political and logistical processes from conceptualization right on through construction.
The last and newest of our services is 3D Scan to BIM. 3D Scan to BIM has revolutionized a lot of industries lately; we think our industry will be next. With a laser scanner we can capture a highly-detailed, highly-accurate representation of a building or group of buildings containing far more information and in far less time than a conventional survey would take. This framework can then provide the baseline for all kinds of high-value applications, such as building information models.
Q: How do they all fit together?
A: That really depends on the client and the project. Many times we’re called upon to provide just a single service at a specific point in the project. Obviously, we prefer to provide the whole gamut of services for a customer. It permits us to operate more efficiently and to do a better job controlling the variables. The result is higher quality all the way around.
Q: Who are your clients?
A: We deal with pretty much everybody who’s involved in medium-to-large scale construction projects: owners, developers, architects and contractors, obviously, but also land use attorneys, title companies, entitlement consultants and, in the public sector, all manner of public agencies.
Q: How would you characterize your relationship with your clients?
A: Well, I hope they see us as responsive, for openers. We like to get back to our clients within 24 hours whenever possible, and if that’s not possible I like to get in the loop to make sure we’re attending to their needs.
Secondly I think they value our resourcefulness and professionalism. It says a lot when a company has been around for over 90 years. Bob Mollenhauer had great long-standing relationships with his clients because he knew his craft and he was dedicated to first-rate service. I think that’s still very much a part of the culture here.
Third I think they feel confident about our experience. There’s a lot of practical knowledge that goes into our work that can only be gained through years and years of experience. As one example, over the years I’ve held most of the jobs one can hold in the surveying and mapping profession so I’ve at least got a practical understanding of the considerations in most of the work we do.
Our reputation is based on the quality of our work and that quality is based on our experience. And there really is no substitute for experience.
Lastly, for many of our clients, I think they like the fact that we’re close by. Being headquartered in Glendale, we are a short drive to downtown Los Angeles, the San Fernando Valley, the San Gabriel Valley and the Inland Empire. That makes a big difference when time is short and the stakes are high.
Q: What is 3D Scan to BIM and how does it fit into Mollenhauer’s business strategy?
A: 3D Scan to BIM is the name of our new high-definition laser scanning group. As I said earlier, we think lasers are going to impact this business in much the same way they’ve impacted other industries, because they’re very fast and very accurate. We’ve got about a year’s worth of practical experience at this point and we’re beginning to see some real potential for this new tool, especially in historic and renovation projects, and where there’s a need to capture comprehensive as-built information in environments. Over the long run we see the laser becoming an important everyday tool in much of the work we do.
Q: Mollenhauer is in some very competitive markets. How do you compete?
A: I think it starts with an attitude. We may not be the biggest at what we do, but we do aspire to be the best. That’s always challenging, but also rewarding when we’ve done the job right.
Then there’s the environment. We’re strong advocates of having the right tools for the job, so we continually invest in the appropriate technology and training for our people. For the last few years we’ve been spending upwards of half a million dollars annually on new technology and I don’t see that changing in the immediate future. We provide a very supportive working environment, with very competitive compensation and benefits.
Maybe most important is our business philosophy. Some companies are in this business to maximize size, or growth, or earnings. We’re not. Sure, we want to make money, but our success for the last 90 years has been based on the success of our clients and the quality of the work we do on their behalf. We’d like to be around at least another 80 years, and to do that we have to keep putting the needs of our clients ahead of everything else.