WASHINGTON - The Associated Builders and Contractors recently released a new study and report, "Best Practices in the Construction Industry, Critical Indicators of Success - the Trimmer Benchmarking Study," at the association's national convention.

"This study will help companies start or build on efforts toward improved business performance through the use of bench-marking," said ABC national Chairman Edward L. Rispone.

Bench-marking is a business enhancement tool that develops a number of "best practices" in a variety of areas that companies can use to improve their own businesses. Bench-marking studies across industries have shown that companies that performed in the bottom 25 percent are achieving profit levels that are one-tenth those achieved by those in the top 25 percent.

The study, conducted in conjunction with Clemson University, surveyed ABC's national leadership about their current business practices. Companies were asked whether their firms included such tools as strategic planning, employee participation in company decisions, employee benefit programs and performance evaluation programs, training, and productivity improvement programs.

The study has been named after John Trimmer, ABC's executive vice president between 1952 and 1976, who died last year.

ABC will continue to work with Clemson University to develop information and tools to help the construction industry incorporate bench-marking as a business enhancement tool, officials said. The next phase of development will feature guides on best practices with a "how-to" orientation for contracting.