Earlier this year C Brannon Construction had the opportunity to step into a very unique, challenging and fun project. From time to time we work with businesses and help design and build commercial interior alterations, because it’s often very similar to doing a home renovation or remodel. We often work very closely with the business owner to match their vision, and we do our best to keep their customers in mind as we build.
Of course, we’re using slightly different materials, the planning can be more detailed, and the drawings are built out to a higher level to allow for a different standing in commercial building codes, but at the end of the day, when we get involved in a commercial project, we keep the same mindset as working on your home: plan your work, work your plan, and keep the customer up to date and informed every step of the way.
The idea for Work Nicer Red Mile was for an open concept office with an industrial feel that is very welcoming. Their customer base are creatives looking for a dynamic environment, so we had to ensure that it was not only conducive for getting work done, but provided a bright, yet relaxed ambiance.
We have nothing but great things to say about the Work Nicer team and the 8 weeks we spent in their space. They’re collaborative, creative people whohave very interesting ideas. Not only did we come away very pleased with the overall space and experience but our team also picked up a few valuable lessons along the way.
The Biggest Challenge
We came into the Work Nicer Red Mile project in an un-typical way. Usually we bid on tenders for projects such as this, and work from the get go to completion. In this case, we came in midway through the project to make sure it got to completion. There had been hiccups throughout the lifespan of the project, and C Brannon Construction stepped in to push it across the finish line and offer a high finish level and great customer experience behind.
One of our biggest challenges was making sure some of the already completed work was up to our standards. For example, the existing drywall wasn’t sealed and taped where it met the concrete ceiling. We wanted to make sure the walls had a finished look, so it was up to our team to ensure the gaps were caulked, and that the mudding and painting were done to a high level.
The Lesson: We don’t always get to pick the “start point” on a project. As opposed to complaining about it, or ignoring it, the best option is to “make it work” for the customer.
Un-typical materials create un-typical challenges
One of the bigger pieces of this build was the feature walls, that was built out of polycarbonate, aka plastic. While light and easy to maneuver, building with plastic sheeting presents it’s own set of challenges. The 8 millimeter twin wall polycarbonate material is similar to greenhouse sheeting, and was selected to give the space a unique architectural feature. It was designed to provide optimal light, while also offering a private space within the open concept office.
We discovered that when you cut with a skillsaw, the fine particles work their way into the grooves in the sheet, and you have to take compressed air and blow it out. While not affecting the strength or structure, it would have been a very poor look for these brand new walls not to be clean and sleek, so in a space that’s full of dust, from drywall to concrete, we had issues trying to keep it clean before we could get the inside of the wall cleaned up. Needless to say we spent a lot of time with our air compressor making sure the dust was out of the material.
However at completion, the wall looks and functions exactly as it was supposed to, offering light, privacy and giving off a bright and clean look.
The Lesson: Every new piece of a job is an opportunity to learn about new techniques and best practices.
Building Walls with Pipe
Another piece of the architectural design was the Kee Klamp wall. Kee Klamp products are often used in industrial warehouse spaces for things like hand and guardrails, and in the Work Nicer Red Mile space, they were intended to be used as a feature wall to divide the room while maximizing space.
The Kee Klamp fasteners worked alongside schedule 40 galvanized pipe to create the structure. When we started building it, we were using materials already onsite from the base build, but it became clear that we were going to be short on a few things, in particular the aforementioned galvanized pipe.
No problem right? There’s plenty of industrial suppliers in Calgary with the right materials sitting around, however after we had it delivered from the supplier, we realized there was a colour difference between the pipe we had already installed, and the pipe that we received. Putting on our detective hats (and placing a call to the supplier), we came to the conclusion that our “new” pipe sat outside for a period of time, allowing the sun to dull the colour just enough that it would be very noticable.
Our solution? We grabbed a few metal grinders and polished the pipe to a high shine, which gave it a shinier, more polished look.
The Lesson: Just because you’ve been dealt a lousy hand, doesn’t mean there’s not a solution to the problem. Adapt, improvise and overcome.
Helping Cool People Keep Their Beer Cold
We’ll be honest with you, we don’t do too many beer tap installs in a home reno, however Work Nicer Red Mile is very tapped into Calgary’s craft beer culture, and wanted to make sure there was frosty, locally-made brews on tap for their clients.
We were presented with three different pieces that all had to work together. The first was a quartz countertop, the second was a keg refrigerator that was designed to be a standalone appliance as opposed to being installed, and the last was a set of beer taps.
Long story short, we had to get the fridge installed under the kitchen counter, then install the beer taps (which were designed to be installed on top of the fridge) on the counter.
We were able to ask the countertop manufacturers to drill holes to allow for the beer taps to slide through the heavy and thick quartz, and then we took the taps that were on the existing fridge, and mounted them to the counter and fastened them down with custom-made stainless steel bolts for a perfect custom fit.
The Lesson: Going the extra mile to make sure everything has a smooth, sleek and custom fit is always worth it.
A Happy Customer
We love doing projects with small and medium businesses that fit their values, and delivers the message they are trying to give to their customers. At C Brannon Construction, that’s what we’re all about. But don’t let us tell you about it, we’d like to share with you what Alex, from Work Nicer, had to say about our team: