ABC and the Merit Shop Philosophy

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national construction trade association with 67 Chapters representing 21,000 merit shop construction and construction-related firms. 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 of the industry.

  • ABC's mission is the advancement of the merit shop construction philosophy, which encourages open competition and a free-enterprise approach that awards contracts based solely on merit, regardless of labor affiliation.
  • Through its national office and chapters, ABC's objective is to provide its members with an organization to deal with issues on an industry-wide basis.
  • ABC's activities include government representation, legal advocacy, education, workforce development, communications, technology, recognition through national and chapter awards programs, employee benefits, information on best practices and business development through an online contractor search directory.

ABC was founded in 1950 when seven contractors gathered in Baltimore, Md. to create an association based on the shared belief that construction projects should be awarded on merit to the most qualified and responsible low bidders. Their courage and dedication to the merit shop philosophy spread rapidly, and within time, ABC became the fastest-growing association in the United States. Today, ABC is recognized as one of the leading organizations representing America's business community and the merit shop construction industry. 

Since 1971, the Greater Tennessee Chapter of ABC has represented the interests of commercial construction. Through eras of tremendous economic growth and recession, political and social turmoil, and changing trends and technology, ABC Greater Tennessee Chapter has been there to support our members in the growth and improvement of their businesses. 


ABC - Greater Tennessee Chapter Mission Statement

The Greater Tennessee Chapter of ABC helps members win work and deliver that work ethically, profitably, and for the betterment of the community.


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The most important reason to join ABC is simple; you need to be where your competition and customers are! ABC is a diverse group of representatives from all sectors of the construction industry. At regular monthly functions, ABC members have an opportunity to interact with customers, suppliers, and competitors. ABC members contribute to an organization that is tackling the most pressing issue facing the construction industry today. In Tennessee, ABC is focusing great energy on its workforce development program, which will meet the needs of its members and the construction industry at large. ABC's goals and direction are guided by all of its members; providing an equal voice to general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and associates, which makes ABC, a group truly representative of the construction industry. ABC strives to make you a better contractor tomorrow than you are today. When you think construction, think ABC!


From the beginning, ABC has worked to be the leading voice of free enterprise within the construction industry. Promoting and defending the merit shop philosophy have been constants throughout our history. Today, that means encouraging open competition and a free-enterprise approach to construction based solely on merit, regardless of labor affiliation. #ABCMeritShopProud is a campaign, a communications hub and a resource, for ABC chapters, members and prospective members.  Visit to learn more.