Tester Construction Group provides comprehensive General Contracting and Construction Management Services in Philadelphia, New Jersey, and Florida.   In less than 5 years, TCG became one of the largest General Contractors in the Philadelphia region.  They specialize in multifamily and mixed-use construction types, but have active projects across the majority of the market sectors.  These include commercial fit-out, adaptive reuse/historical renovation, education, and hospitality. 

TCG thrives on creating unique solutions to the challenges which arise in all construction projects. We believe in properly estimating, scheduling, and planning the project on paper during preconstruction. These plans translate into an organized and clear vision for project goals to be executed by our operations team in the field. After breaking ground on the project, we focus on coordination with our subcontractors and vendors in order to create an organized project which flows between trades.

The safety of our staff and subcontractors is paramount to the way we manage our projects on a daily basis. Our safety director is active on job sites to assess risk, ensure proper procedure implementation, train and educate workers on site, and hold those accountable for failure to follow rules and regulations. We believe safety cannot be overlooked and that it is everyone’s responsibility. TCG takes tremendous pride in the safety culture we have created. “At TCG, our goal is to ensure everyone goes home to their families at the end of the day”–Josh Wilson, Safety Director. 

At TCG, we believe in “open book” contracting with our Clients so they understand where and how they are spending their money. It is our job to provide our Clients with every possible advantage which often includes detailed descriptions of Cost Events and Budget Control Reporting. This type of reporting allows our clients to make the critical decisions on how and where they want to use their funds to create their vision.


Michael Tester, founder of TCG, started in the construction industry as a construction cost estimator with two of the largest General Contractors in Philadelphia, Boston, and New York City. There is nothing more powerful and valuable for our clients than being able to discuss the always evolving construction cost industry. We provide preconstruction estimating services for every client and project in which we are involved. Often, we are providing 10-15 iterations of estimates, value engineering reports, and budget control reports prior to breaking ground on a project.

These deliverables often include the following:

1. Order of Magnitude Estimate – We will provide an overall schedule of values estimate based on our historical database with information as limited to the building height, square footage, unit quantity, and description of the exterior facade.

2. Schematic Estimate – From the time of the first schematic plan, we will generate a 30-40 trade detailed estimate back up. We will also include a full summary of material allowances, qualifications, add alternates, and potential value engineering.

3. Design Development Estimate – During this phase of the estimate we are able to reduce the contingency included in the order of magnitude and schematic phases. We refine the schematic estimate with additional detail and value engineering to make sure the final version of the construction documents does not create any surprises for our clients.  We also push for market feedback on all trades during this time of the preconstruction process. We get the subcontractor/vendor market excited about your project and propose with competitive pricing.

4. GMP Estimate – This final version of the estimate is typically based off Permit Documents (around 75% CDs). If there are any holes or loose ends in the documents, we provide additional detail and allowances to prevent cost events in the field. The GMP Owner Agreement is based off this final schedule of values and estimate back up which we provide to all of our clients.  During this time, we typically award over 50-75% of the subcontractors/vendors to mitigate the risk of cost escalations and procurement issues. 


TCG is currently providing Owner’s Representation and Consulting services to some of the largest Developers in Philadelphia. We can provide valuable assistance in making sure the project is properly planned, estimated, scheduled, and contracted on your behalf. These services often include:

Bidding / Estimating / Plan Review:

1. Drawings will be reviewed and a list of RFIs (request for information) and coordination issues will be generated. These RFIs will be sent to all applicable consultants (architect, structural engineer, and MEP engineer) and subcontractors. TCG will assist in reconciling these issues with the applicable parties.

2. Drawings will be sent out to bid to numerous subcontractors under an official TCG Invitation to Bid.

3. TCG will conduct detailed quantity take offs of building components including exterior wall materials and interior building programs.

4. A detailed trade summary and trade detail estimate will be completed by TCG with the subcontractor proposals received.

5. TCG will coordinate and descope subcontractors in all major trades to make sure the proper scope has been provided.

6. A master budget will be established which can be used by our Clients during their management of the project. This budget will be transferred into a Contract Status Report (Budget Report) used for purchasing subcontracted work by our Clients.

Value Engineering:

7. TCG will outline all potential value engineering options across all trades on the project.

8. This comprehensive value engineering list can be sent to all applicable consultants for coordination and discussion.

9. During the VE process, items are tracked as “pending”, “approved”, or “rejected” depending on the feedback we receive from our Clients.

10. The value engineering will often steer the design to provide every advantage possible and ensure that once subcontractor/vendor pricing is received it is aligned with our Client’s budget.

Purchasing / Subcontracts:

11. TCG will set up a specific Contract Status Report (CSR) which will be used to track all subcontracts issued and how they compare on a line item basis versus the budget.

12. We will establish a subcontract template for our Client to use with their subcontractors. This will include creating a new document list and safety plan.

13. We will help negotiate and “buy-out” the major trades for their subcontract execution. Major trades are defined as foundations, masonry, wood framing, structural steel, plumbing, HVAC, and electrical.

On Site Management:

14. TCG will provide additional support in the field in order to push projects to completion. This includes attending project meetings and understanding the scheduling risks/opportunities. We will provide weekly feedback on how to progress the project to completion and intercept the potential setbacks.

15. We will review project sites for safety issues and provide valuable feedback on the proper practices to avoid incidents and injuries occurring on the jobsite.

16. We will work directly with the Owner and General Contractor on their procurement process and how that relates to ROJ “Required on Job” dates for long lead times which can impact field production.