ABC Messaging

About ABC

Associated Builders and Contractors is a national construction industry trade association representing more than 21,000 members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 69 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. ABC’s membership represents all specialties within the U.S. construction industry and is comprised primarily of firms that perform work in the industrial and commercial sectors., ABC member firms spend $1.5 billion on workforce development and provide craft, leadership and safety education to more than 1.1 million course attendees annually.


Associated Builders and Contractors is a national construction industry trade association established in 1950 that represents more than 21,000 members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 69 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. Visit us at

Value Proposition

Based on the merit shop philosophy, ABC helps members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which they work.


ABC will continually strive to be the leading voice promoting free-enterprise within the construction industry. ABC will promote and defend the merit shop philosophy. This philosophy encourages open competition and a free-enterprise approach to construction based solely on merit, regardless of labor affiliation.


The vision of ABC is an environment in which people and companies succeed based on free-enterprise principles within the free-market system.

Core Purpose

Advance and defend the principles of the merit shop in the construction industry and to provide members and their employees with an opportunity to succeed.

Core Values

ABC values economic freedom within a free-market economy, with open and fair competition and diverse participants constantly striving to achieve the highest levels of personal and company performance. ABC values the highest levels of personal and corporate standards of behavior characterized by responsibility, accountability and integrity, with demonstrated personal and industry professionalism by all participants.

ABC Helps Members Achieve World-Class Safety

ABC and its chapters strive to provide all members with the knowledge and tools to achieve the highest standard for health, safety, wellness and environment in the construction industry.

STEP Safety Management System

Founded in 1989 as a safety benchmarking and improvement tool, STEP has evolved into a world-class safety management system that dramatically improves safety performance among participants, regardless of company size or type of work. Participating ABC member firms measure their safety processes and policies on key components through a detailed questionnaire with the goal of implementing or enhancing safety programs that reduce jobsite incident rates. Companies receive a rating of Diamond, Platinum, Gold, Silver, Bronze or Participant based on their safety performance. STEP members prove that world-class safety is achievable with a company-wide commitment to safety as a core value.

Safety Performance Report

ABC’s Safety Performance Report presents empirical evidence from members doing real work on real projects that shows that implementing STEP best practices can produce world-class construction safety programs. The 2021 report documents the dramatic impact of deploying proactive safety practices—leading indicators such as supervisor safety training, pre-planning for project safe and behavior-based safety—to reduce recordable incidents by up to 85%, making the best-performing companies 655% safer than the industry average. The 2021 edition was based on data gathered from ABC STEP participants recording nearly one billion hours of work in construction, heavy construction, civil engineering and specialty trades.

Construction Coalition for a Drug- and Alcohol-free Workplace

ABC is an active member of the Construction Coalition for a Drug- and Alcohol-free Workplace, which provides companies and organizations with the resources they need to implement effective substance abuse policies and work toward eliminating substance abuse-related incidents on construction jobsites. Take the pledge and become a partner at

ABC Advances The Merit Shop Philosophy

For more than 70 years, ABC has been the leading voice promoting the merit shop philosophy in construction. ABC members are champions of free enterprise and open competition committed to delivering high-quality, safe construction projects awarded to the most qualified bidder based on merit, not mandates or political favoritism.

Building America: The Merit Shop Scorecard

The Merit Shop Scorecard reviews and ranks state-specific policies and data that are significant to the merit shop construction industry. The scorecard celebrates states with business environments that encourage construction industry growth and underscores areas where strategic improvements need to be made to create an environment conducive to the industry’s needs.

ABC PAC: Get Into Politics or Get out of Business®

ABC and its chapters endorse political candidates, contribute to state and national campaigns through ABC PAC (the association’s political action committee), and lobby members of Congress to promote free enterprise and economic growth during an annual Legislative Week event, as well as through advocacy efforts throughout the year. ABC PAC spent nearly $1.25 million to support merit shop-friendly candidates in the 2020 election cycle.

Free Enterprise Alliance

Founded by ABC, the Free Enterprise Alliance advocates for small businesses, entrepreneurs, limited government, open and fair competition and the economically sound principles upon which America was built. In the 2020 election cycle, FEA raised $3.2 million to support research, outreach and local and national issue advertising campaigns advocating for free enterprise.

ABC Helps Members Win Work

ABC creates opportunities for its members to demonstrate they are industry leaders and compete for work on a fair and level playing field, and then helps them win it. ABC defends open competition in construction contracting at the national, state and local levels, opposing government-mandated project labor agreements and prevailing wage laws while supporting right-to-work policies. In fiscal years 2009-2020, ABC helped members win 57.52% of the value of federal contracts larger than $25 million, worth $67.51 billion.

ABC Opposes Project Labor Agreement Mandates

ABC supports legislation that prevents officials from imposing union-favoring, government-mandated project labor agreements on taxpayer-funded construction projects, which is a win for fair and open competition and taxpayers. PLAs have a dismal track record of increasing costs, reducing competition and discriminating against experienced construction companies and qualified local employees because they are not affiliated with a union.

ABC Opposes Onerous Taxes

Small businesses need relief from onerous tax policies and a growing regulatory burden in order to succeed and create jobs. The single biggest challenge facing small business today is widespread uncertainty—uncertain economic prospects, an uncertain regulatory environment, and uncertain tax policy. While Congress can't control the ebb and flow of the business cycle, it can (and must) do better to relieve the self-inflicted economic constraints caused by regulatory overreach and anti-growth tax policies. Construction contractors historically paid the highest effective tax rate—the percent of income actually paid in taxes—of any sector in the country, according to a Department of Treasury analysis.

ABC created to help members find and do business with other ABC members. Members can search for an ABC contractor, supplier or other construction professional by name, chapter, location, sales volume or type of construction. Plus, it’s easy to find members that have earned an Excellence in Construction® award, participate in the STEP safety management system and Accredited Quality Contractor program, have federal designations and have signed the Drug- and Alcohol-Free Workplace Pledge. Contractors can also update their membership information.

Accredited Quality Contractor

Exclusively for ABC members, the prestigious Accredited Quality Contractor program recognizes an elite group of more than 400 chapter members for excellence in quality, safety, talent management, education, community relations and diversity. The AQC credential helps ABC members recruit and retain employees, win work and demonstrate corporate citizenship. AQC is presented by The Contractors Plan, specializing in benefits administration and compliance for prevailing wage contractors.

Workforce Development

ABC promotes policies that:

  • Help stem the worker shortage
  • Educate young people about craft professional and construction management opportunities
  • Reach out to adults looking for a new career path
  • Fund education and training
ABC’s 69 chapters offer more than 800 apprenticeship, craft, safety and construction management education programs across the country. ABC members invested $1.3 billion to educate their employees in 2020 to provide 500,000 course attendees with craft, leadership and safety education to advance their careers in commercial and industrial construction. Safety education accounted for 71% of the total workforce investment as per-person spending doubled, revealing an elevated focus on worker education, safety and total human health during the COVID-19 pandemic. ABC works to heighten interest in careers in construction through the website, competitions, awards, programs and student chapters. ABC is proud to support education initiatives like that attract young people to careers in construction.

ABC Honored With Presidential Award for Workforce Development

When ABC signed the Pledge to America’s Workers at the White House in July 2018, it promised to educate and develop at least 500,000 construction workers over the next five years. ABC has already far exceeded that goal with more than 1.1 million course attendees upskilled and educated in 2019 alone. On Sept. 23, 2020, ABC was awarded the Pledge to America’s Workers Presidential Award at a White House ceremony for its successes connecting high school students, minorities, reentering citizens, veterans and women with rewarding careers in construction in more than 50 professions.

ABC Helps Members Improve Profitability

ABC helps members connect with trusted strategic partners for the products and services they need, network with industry thought leaders, and access world-class education and training opportunities.

From business essentials like insurance and software to great deals on everyday purchases through the online ABC Marketplace that features more than 20,000 participating merchants, a typical contractor with 15 employees could save thousands of dollars each year by taking advantage of ABC member discounts. Employee discounts are also available. In 2020, ABC members saved $33 million through member and member employee discounts.

Members also gain access to trusted service providers like such as the ABC Insurance Trust, which specializes in providing medical, dental, disability and life insurance to merit -shop construction contractors.

Grow And Deliver Value to a Diverse and Committed Membership

ABC keeps members updated on key economic indicators for commercial and industrial construction with regular reports and analysis.

Economic Reports

  • Annual construction spending forecast
  • Construction Backlog Indicator
  • Construction Confidence Index
  • State-level Industry Unemployment Rates
Analysis of Government Economic Data
  • Construction spending
  • Construction employment
  • Producer Price Index
  • Economic growth (GDP)

Investing in Construction Technology and Innovation

The ABC construction technology and innovation initiative is officially underway to provide contractor members with education and insights, better access to the tech community and help understanding the inherent value of tech to the industry. This initiative will support incorporating technology and innovation into members’ safety and total human health, political advocacy and workforce development priorities. |

ABC Champions Inclusion, Diversity and Equity

At Associated Builders and Contractors, we believe that career opportunities in this nation should be created and made available to all people. We believe in creating—and championing—conditions where individuals and organizations are limited only by their own potential and desire. This is the driving force behind the merit shop philosophy and ABC’s inclusion, diversity and equity initiatives.

With the founding principles of free enterprise and open competition as their foundation, ABC’s IDE initiatives are focused on bettering the individual, the industry and the nation. ABC values inclusion, diversity and equity as an empowering competitive advantage.

Inclusion—A feeling of belonging.

To value differences to achieve superior results.

All are welcome, valued and included.

Diversity—An appreciation of a variety of abilities, skills and experiences.

To actively seek stakeholders from diverse backgrounds to achieve superior results.

Giving all individuals and organizations the opportunity to compete in a fair and open marketplace.

Equity—A dedication to providing opportunities for all.

Creating the conditions for everyone to compete on a fair and level playing field.

Every individual has the opportunity to succeed.

Through the annual Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Summit, Diversity Resource Groups and the National Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Excellence Awards, ABC provides education and recognizes success in achieving an inclusive diverse construction workforce.

ABC Events Educate and Inspire

ABC Convention

Held annually in March, the ABC Convention is the event of the year for merit shop construction, featuring networking events and education sessions for members and chapter staff. The ABC Convention also features the National Craft Championships, Construction Management Competition and the presentation of awards for Excellence in Construction,® Careers in Construction and Chapter Excellence.

ABC Legislative Day

Held annually, Legislative Day gives members the opportunity to learn about the issues that affect merit shop construction contractors and showcase their contributions to the industry and the economy.

Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Summit

Held annually, the Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Summit brings industry leaders and key stakeholders together to spark though-provoking discussion—and action—on creating and sustaining the construction worker pipeline through workforce and supplier diversity.

ABC Users Summit

The exclusive ABC Users Summit brings together construction users and merit shop contractors for interactive discussions about how to collaboratively improve upon the planning and delivery of high-quality industrial and health care construction projects. The Users Summit is held annually in May.

ABC Leadership Institute

The ABC Leadership Institute offers opportunities for chapter leaders and staff to develop business acumen, master new technologies and share operational tactics to help achieve ABC’s strategic goals. Attendees participate in education sessions and exchange best practices, as well as network with peers—all in a collaborative, solutions-orientation environment.

Chapter Presidents Management Conference

Held annually to help ABC chapter presidents enhance their association management skills, share effective best practices and network with peers.

ONE Conference

Held annually to help chapter staff with professional development along with peer-to-peer sessions for best practice learning and sharing.

Project Management Institute

The ABC Project Management Institute is a premier education and professional development opportunity for future project management leaders. Developed by experienced contractors and Kirk Alter, a nationally recognized subject matter expert with decades of project management experience, this course is designed specifically to meet the needs of today’s contractors. Participants will gain a comprehensive understanding of successfully handling all aspects of project management.

ABC Awards Honor the Best of the Best in Merit Shop Construction

Excellence in Construction® Awards

ABC celebrates the best of the best in commercial and industrial construction through its Excellence in Construction awards. The premier awards program for merit shop construction recognizes the industry’s most innovative and high-quality construction projects across the nation, as well as the Contractor of the Year. Winning contractor firms are joined at an annual black-tie awards gala by their project team—owners, architects and engineers—to celebrate this prestigious achievement.

National Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Excellence Awards

The National Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Excellence Awards recognize ABC members that display exemplary IDE leadership in their company, workforce, supply chain and community through best-in-class recruitment policies, retention practices, and training and mentoring programs.

National Safety Excellence Awards

The National Safety Excellence Awards recognize companies that exhibit a continued commitment to jobsite safety and whose safety performance and programs are judged to be exemplary based on data submitted via STEP applications, essay questions and video interviews with company leadership about their corporate safety culture.

ABC’s Top Performers

ABC’s Top Performers recognizes member contractors’ achievements in safety, quality, diversity and project excellence ranked by work hours, with special designations identified. To be eligible, Top Performers must have demonstrated world-class safety performance by implementing ABC’s STEP Safety Management System. The rankings highlight contractors that have earned ABC’s Accredited Quality Contractor credential for their commitment to corporate responsibility; those that won national Excellence in Construction,® Safety Excellence and Diversity Excellence awards; and those that hold designations awarded to diverse companies to help procure work from government and private entities. Published as a supplement to Construction Executive magazine, the lists identify the Top 200 Performers, Top Trade Contractors, Top Electrical Contractors, Top Plumbing/HVAC Contractors and Top Specialty Contractors, all of which have earned the elite AQC credential, as well as the Top Performers With Special Designations.

Construction Workforce Awards

Craft Instructor of the Year

Presented annually to an NCCER-certified instructor who currently teaches a construction trade an ABC chapter, member company or training affiliate. The recipient of this national award exhibits outstanding leadership and mentorship to help shape the future construction workforce.

Craft Professional of the Year

The recipient of this national award demonstrates a passion for the trade, takes pride in hands-on work, exhibits outstanding leadership qualities, and appreciates the satisfaction of a job well done to benefit both the construction industry and the greater community. Nominees must be journeymen who spend approximately 90% of their daily job duties either using tools and equipment (or directly supervising field employees using tools/equipment).

Young Professional of the Year

Presented annually to an individual under the age of 40 who is dedicated to the merit shop and is a natural leader and top performer in his or her field.

National Craft Championships

ABC’s annual NCC competition celebrates lifelong learning in the merit shop construction industry, with craft trainees from chapter and member training programs across the country competing for national recognition in more than a dozen crafts during annual the ABC Convention.

Construction Management Competition

The hallmark competition promoting careers in construction management features teams of college students testing their skills in project management, estimating, safety and quality control.