By: Jessica Stoddard on August 29th, 2017
How iSqFt helps Tri-North Builders meet the demands of retail construction
Headquarters: Madison, WI with offices in Milwaukee, WI; Portsmouth, NH; Fort Worth, TX and Carlsbad, CA
Company Size: 250 employees
Annual Revenue: $200+ Million
Role: General Contractor
Specialty: Full service construction manager and general contractor
More Information: www.tri-north.com
Don't waste time tracking down projects
Challenge is nothing new to Tri-North Builders. Over the past 35 years, Tri-North has built its reputation on tackling tricky projects and delivering on promises. And when it comes to retail construction, they eagerly rise to the challenge, says Carl Hardy, VP Retail Construction at Tri-North Builders.
Tri-North’s retail division completes approximately $50 million to $60 million annually. Its clients represent the full gamut of retailers—specialty, luxury, service, entertainment, food, and big box. The company has built and remodeled stores across the nation for retailers like JCPenney, REI, and Coach.
“Retail is a very demanding construction industry. It’s a very tight schedule, dollars are very tight, budgets are tight and the owners are very demanding in terms of finishes and on time completions,” says Carl. “You can’t make a mistake. You have to be very efficient and you have to think ahead.”
Carl says even a project that would seem straightforward, like replacing an escalator, has its challenges. “It’s incredible in terms of time and effort. Trying to remodel a store safely without interfering with any of the customers and keeping them safe and always keeping cost low requires a lot of planning.”
Even with nearly 40 years of experience in retail construction, Carl finds it exhilarating, “I have been in the retail construction business 37 years. What is not to like?” asks Carl. “Retail construction is fast-paced and anything but boring. There is nothing more satisfying than building a successful retail project on time and on budget.”
“Retail construction is fast-paced and anything but boring. There is nothing more satisfying than building a successful retail project on time and on budget.”
—Carl Hardy, VP Retail Construction,
Project Profile: Duluth Trading Co.
Owner: Duluth Trading Co, Belleville, WI
Design Team: Interwork Architects, Northbrook, IL
General Contractor: Tri-North Builders
Carl Hardy, Project Manager | Lamar Wood, Superintendent
Size: 12,624 sq. ft. | Location: St. Charles, MO
Demolition of a former restaurant and renovation of a 12,624-sq. ft. retail development in an active shopping center.
Reworking the existing standing seam roof to accommodate Duluth Trading Co. signage. Not only was reworking the existing roofline a challenge but “finding the right people who were able to do the work in time and provide the material on time could have been an issue,” says Carl.
“iSqFt Bid Management is where we keep our database of subs and issue invitations to bid,” says Carl.
How iSqFt helped:
When it comes to retail construction, Carl says you need to be on your game, which takes a collaborative approach and consistent communication. “Schedules are tight. You need to work around existing tenants and ensure the safety of customers. In most commercial construction, the project owner, design team, and the construction team are learning the building at the same pace.
“The specs and drawings can point out as many details as they want but you never know what goes into a building until you build it. With retail, because the owners and architects have built the building before, that learning curve is gone. They know how it goes together. There’s no room for error on the part of the construction team.”
“We use iSqFt to notify our subs of certain elements and bulletins, project notices, and general information. It allows us to send formal invitations to bid. Revisions or addenda are automatically issued so we know we are all working off the same documents. It helps us communicate quickly with our subs when we need to.”