From the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island to Beaux-arts masterworks and Frank Lloyd Wright’s V.C. Morris Gift Shop, San Francisco is a golden hub for aspiring architects who wish to create modern gems like the ones already peppering this city. This list of the best commercial contractors in San Francisco includes contractors who have been in the industry for years and have collaborated with architects and other big-name clients. The firms on this list are veteran firms, some who have nearly 60 years of business and many stories of successfully completed projects. Some of these firms are also Leadership in Environmental Energy and Design (LEED)-accredited professionals, allowing their firms to become additional supporters of the city’s movement to make its contemporary buildings both beautiful and eco-friendly.
Fisher Development, Inc.
601 California Street, Suite 300, San Francisco, CA 94108
For five decades, Fisher Development has built thousands of commercial projects throughout the US, Canada, and Europe. Robert Fisher started the firm in San Francisco in 1971, building single-family homes throughout Northern California with some of their first projects in Davis. During the shopping mall construction boom, many retailers—including Gap Inc. —partnered with Fisher to roll out their stores — something the firm has since come to be known for. Robert continues to guide Fisher Development as Chairman. His son, Alex Fisher, succeeds him as President, representing the fourth generation of building in the Fisher family. Alex spent his high school summers working on job sites and went on to work with the firm in project management and business development roles. Today, he leads the firm as it builds complex urban core projects in San Francisco.
Fisher handled the Wayfinding Enhancement Program for the San Francisco International Airport. In an effort to help travelers find their airport destinations with greater ease, the firm managed the fabrication, construction, and installation of thousands of newly designed signs throughout the complex. This involved a campus-wide gate renumbering system, a 22-foot by 11-foot digital freeway sign, as well as wayfinding signage at the Grand Hyatt Airport Hotel. The project covered a total of 500,000 square feet.
608 Folsom St., San Francisco, CA 94107
When it comes to customer loyalty, NOVO Construction is the first name in mind. A mid-sized firm established in 2000, it has completed several notable commercial projects that highlight its client-centric approach. Its work for the Airbnb headquarters, in particular, is a great example of its work. A 169,000 square foot tenant improvement project that extended over three floors. Its open-plan workspace enables the company to have more meeting rooms, a round boardroom, more presentation spaces, a full-service kitchen and panoramic views of the city. Projects like these have earned the firm much customer loyalty. These days, NOVO Construction’s commissions come from many loyal, repeat clients.
Alten Construction, Inc.
1141 Marina Way South, Richmond, CA 94804
Alten Construction, Inc. has built up a clean reputation that highlights high-quality results born out of an efficient process. Bearing this process, Alten Construction, Inc. has evolved into an innovative firm that not only practices commitments to safety on-site, veteran-worthy efficiency, and sustainability. Its approach to sustainability for one makes sure that the firm diverts 75% of its construction debris from the landfill by recycling metal and concrete. The firm’s commitment to these practices is most embodied in the San Rafael High School project. A project that included the construction of a new two-story building, central kitchen, support spaces, and student common areas and classrooms for Madrone High School—the continuation high school campus of San Rafael High School. Modern and contemporary in design, the structure has a dramatic glass curtain wall system at the common area’s entrance and serves as the space’s focal point amidst 30-foot ceilings and straight edges seen in a usual modern and contemporary space. The firm also expanded the space’s amenities by adding a new courtyard with amphitheater-style concrete seating and a shade structure. It also has a parking lot with accessible parking spaces and electronic vehicle (EV) charging stations.
2384 Walsh Ave., Santa Clara, CA 95051
Skyline Construction is one of the few fully employee-owned companies in Silicon Valley. With other offices in Silicon Valley, San Francisco, and the East Bay, it is well respected for offering its clients a seamless design and build process highlighting quality builds like Littler Mendelson. Completed with architecture giant, Gensler, this project for the law firm took 20 weeks to complete. It includes two and a half floors filled with private offices that have clean, streamlined finishes expected of a modern setting. Other features include a grand staircase made of metal, concrete, and glass. This is just one of its many complex projects. So far, its impressive portfolio has gained it recognition from SV Business Journal, ENR Magazine, and SF Business Journal.
Cahill Contractors LLC
425 California St. Ste. #2200, San Francisco, CA 94104
Carrying over 100 years of experience, Cahill Contractors is a woman-owned general contracting firm. Over time, it has completed several residential, commercial, and educational construction in the Bay area with the help of smaller businesses. One of its notable works was done for the San Francisco Proper Hotel. An 83,297-square-foot structure, it was given a historic rehabilitation and conversion. Its new spaces include the usual amenities seen in a hotel alongside 135 updated guest rooms, a new rooftop terrace bar, and a fitness center. It has many other projects that have been recognized in publications like Business Wire and AP News. In 2018, it was even given the Construction Excellence Awards.
1160 Battery St. Ste. #250, San Francisco, CA 94111
Among the places to work in San Francisco, BCCI Construction was ranked as one of the best offices. Established in 1986, this firm is composed of a unique mix of professionals who work as the essential cogs of the company. With its exemplary team, BCCI Construction has been ranked by ENR California and the San Francisco Business Times as a top contractor. This reputation is met with a meticulosity that is evident in all the different projects it has completed. Retail, education, non-profit, or office, BCCI Construction has over 30 years of multifaceted expertise can be seen in its attention to detail and overall theme of the client brand. Adobe Hooper in San Francisco was completed with this approach. Designed by renowned architectural firm, Gensler, Adobe Hooper is a 251,000-square-foot office in San Francisco’s design district. It is made up of two lobbies, four floors of workspaces, a cafe, and a relaxing rooftop space. Other special features include a fitness center with showers and meditation areas, media rooms, a library, and a kitchen and cafe with a living wall feature.
Nibbi Brothers General Contractors
1000 Brannan St. Ste. #102, San Francisco, CA 94103
Nibbi Brothers General Contractors was founded on integrity and strong relationships which in turn helped the firm’s reputation trickle into the industry. Nowadays, Nibbi Brothers General Contractors has grown into one of the strongest and most respected construction companies in the Bay area. This reputation has been highlighted in publications like Engineering News-Record (ENR) and San Francisco Business Times. Its veteran reputation and years of experience in dealing with complex and maybe even dangerous construction sites has also been recognized with awards like the Safety Awards from 2016 to 2020. This evident range of expertise has helped the firm create some of the most iconic structures in Northern California. This includes work on the San Francisco Zoo’s African Savannah. A site more than three acres in size, the new exhibit mostly featured elements that let animals interact and move around more. The exhibit consists of the north and south savannah divided by the Donga (dry riverbed) serving as the pedestrian walkway. In the northeast section of the savannah is the giraffe barn with a 43-foot-tall roof and a hoof stock holding barn on the northwestern side. This hoof stock barn will be the new home for zebras, antelope, and a variety of African birds. Other work majorly consisted of heavy landscaping that mimics that African savannah perfectly.
McCarthy Building Companies, Inc.
1265 Battery St. 3rd Floor, San Francisco, CA 94111
Since 1864, McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. has been recognized for its drive to create valuable buildings. In this day and age, it has evolved to create buildings that carry evidence of green building practices. As one of the top 20 green builders of today, McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. has kept up efforts with recent eco-friendly trends. This has brought the firm recognition from publications like Engineering News-Record (ENR), San Francisco Business Times, and Silicon Valley/San Jose Business Journal. This in turn has brought it collaborations with various great architects like Kwan Henmi Architecture/Planning, Inc. and Stavi Architects who collaborated to complete The Cannery. Built in 1907, it was previously three stories of simple unreinforced masonry brick and was given a renovation and seismic upgrade. Despite a few challenges involving construction documents, the 35,000 square foot tenant improvement portion of the project was completed two days ahead of schedule, exemplifying the firm’s great ability to find solutions and manage projects.
1 Sutter St. Ste. #200, San Francisco, CA 94109
Pankow Builders is a company committed to environmentally responsible construction. This attention to environmental impact has been a theme of the firm since 2004 when it became a member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). As of now, more than 70 of the team’s professionals have earned the LEED-accredited professional designation. This drive to champion sustainability is most evident in the Los Angeles Mission College East Campus Complex in Sylmar. Its sustainable features include a 44,500 square foot, 408-space paved parking lot covered by photovoltaic panels. Advanced lighting and an HVAC high-performance building facade with a Swiss Pearl Rainscreen panel system were also included. Over the years, projects like these have gained the firm features from Concrete Construction Magazine and Los Angeles Times. These features are accompanied with honors like the 2020 Education and Healthcare Building Award by the Los Angeles Architectural Awards.
207 King St. Ste. #300, San Francisco, CA 94107
Webcor tackles social corporate responsibility by the horn and is especially aware of the impact its structures leave on the communities and its surroundings. Established in 1971, this veteran firm has been recognized for its innovative and collaborative approach to building. Combining this with decades of experience and its high regard for social responsibility, it has completed a wider range of commercial projects like the LEED-Platinum and Gold-certified Oceanwide Center in San Francisco. Considered the tallest building on the West Coast, the Oceanwide Center is a mixed-use structure built with concrete and steel. Designed by Foster and Partners, it totals 2,164,000 square feet throughout two structures with 61 and 54 levels above ground and four levels below. These levels house an outdoor urban room for a communal space, office spaces and residential amenity spaces, and residential units. Projects like these have earned the company accreditations from publications like AP News, Construction Drive, and Globe News Wire. These features are also accompanied by awards like the 2020 National Award of Excellence for Construction approach and the 2020 ENR Regional Best Project Award.
945 Front St., San Francisco, CA 94111
Admiration comes as a result of someone helping the collective. After years of completing projects with inclusivity, sustainability, and philanthropy in mind, DPR construction has become one of the top 50 general contractors in the country since 1997. This reputation has been highlighted in several publications like the Washington Business Journal, BD+C Giants, Sacramento Business Journal, and ENR Southwest Best Projects among several other publications that have seen the firm’s veteran touch in the projects it has produced over the years. The University of California (UCSF) is one of the clients that now flaunts the firm’s notable projects. Currently, the campus has the Block 23A Neurosciences Research building which is most recognized for being the largest neuroscience complex in the world. At 270,000 square feet wide, the structure was delivered using Lean Integrated Project Delivery Processes. It also has other special features such as a low-iron glass curtain wall on three sides of the exterior, a large center atrium topped with a 40’x80’ skylight, and an open terrace on the 6th floor made as a space for relaxation and events.