Buff Whelan Chevrolet
Buff Whelan Chevy, the Number #1 Chevrolet sales leader and a multi-generational family owned business in Sterling Heights, Michigan, never expected to lose their entire 50,000 SF service department and body-shop one unfortunate evening in June by an accidental fire. Ironically, just week’s earlier, CS’ President Brent Gibson, was introduced to Jack Bos, the longstanding general manager at BWC at a lake house gathering where Brent had the opportunity to share with Jack “what we do” as Construction Simplified.
Although this strong community business had executed several construction projects through the years at their facility and from that were well-connected to the industry, given this unique situation, they were still in need of the proper teammate to help them through this stressful and ultimately confusing process. In December of that year, and after several months of spinning their wheels with the insurance company, demolition crews, and architects, Jack reached out to Brent and said, “I think I have a need for what you do.” That’s when the team at CS joined BWC as their Owner’s Representative and along with their trusted architect, to begin working to re-align the design with their needs and swiftly move to get construction underway.
To be a successful project, CS identified three key components that were to be planned and executed:
#1 – Pre-Engineered Metal Building Procurement
Given the opportunity to rebuild a modern and efficient service & body-shop, but knowing the impending lengthy lead times for a pre-engineered steel structure exceeding (12+) weeks, CS worked quickly with the project team to design an expansive 80,000 SF structure to house the yet to be finalized interior functions. We worked to obtain multiple proposals from building manufacturers, contract directly with BWC, and then quickly started the engineering and shop drawing process. This allowed for confident budget protection all while saving critical months on the overall project schedule, allowing Construction Simplified to onboard the right Construction Manager.
#2 – Construction Manager RFP Process
CS commonly educates our clients in the Request for Proposal (RFP) process by leading and showing them how to accurately convey to Construction Managers the project schedule, budget, and the project’s critical requirements, in turn hiring the RIGHT FIRM and not the first firm. It was crucial for the process that we identify the already procured building structure, citing only erection labor was needed, the desire to maximize the space/use within the insurance reimbursable budget, and the ultra-critical of constructing the large building in a very active and overflowing car lot. Expanding on this challenge further, it was a top priority that BWC have all service customers continue to drop off their vehicles for service at this location, only to be transported to one of (3) other temporary service locations. CS led this coordination and provided detailed explanation of the required site logistics with temporary service drop off, rental car facilities, and construction expectations as part of our CM selection process.
#3 – Construction Coordination with the Operating Dealership
Think of a beehive. That’s how busy the slowest Monday is at BWC; after all they are a brand leading dealership. This daily excitement required the entire construction team to be focused when constructing the new 85,000 sf facility.
With a project of this magnitude taking place literally on the other side of the wall from the functioning dealership sales floor and offices, constant communication was required. Weekly team meetings were led by CS, acting as the liaison between the construction team and the multiple departments of BWC, coordinating water shutdowns, IT/fiber replacement, all life safety systems remained operational during the ever-changing site logistics ensuring the protection of the staff and their supportive customers. CM accountability was also maintained during several site and schedule challenges, and coordinating the involvement of several Owner supplied dealers that were critical to the project schedule. All of this allowed the BWC team to occupy the new structure from its temporary off-site facilities back to the dealership only 10 months later.
By partnering with Construction Simplified, the team at Buff Whelan Chevrolet were able to maintain focus on operations of their dealership and surprisingly received the that year’s Chevrolet’s award for Michigan’s #1 volume dealer amidst the turmoil this fire and reconstruction inevitably bought.