This job was done in the summer of 2016. It was an office building in Irving, Texas that was going to become the headquarters for local company. When I bid the job, we were in the planning stages of building our new shop. We had been working in my garage since I started the business and were at that point where we had to have more space. Up to this point I’d refrained from bidding large commercial because of our space limitations, but I looked at the timeline and felt we should be in the new shop in time, should we get the job. Well we got the job and when it was ready for us to start, we’d been in the new shop about two weeks. We were doing countertops and sinks in all the restrooms, all the countertops in the lunch/break room, a bar and bathroom in the CEO suite and the reception area.

This was our first real commercial job and we learned a lot. Commercial jobs move a lot faster and they don’t always do things in the order that makes sense to the residential construction guys. We like to wait until the cabinets are set, template and then start making the countertops. This doesn’t work in commercial. Timelines dictate that you start fabricating the countertops usually before sheetrock is installed and while the cabinets are being made. This means you’re doing field measurements off bare studs, trying to figure out how thick any wall material will be and working with the cabinet maker to figure out the size of your tops. Luckily, the project manager was really understanding and helped me a lot. He made sure I knew all the right people to coordinate with and was always available for my questions.

We got all the countertops made on time and scheduled our deliveries. Yes, it took multiple deliveries to get it all to the site. We learned a lot on the installs as well. We always install countertops prior to wall tile in residential bathrooms. Well, guess what, not on commercial jobs. We went to install the bathroom sinks and none of them fit because the tile was already installed. We don’t like to cut our countertops, and it’s not easy to cut them, but we spent several hours in the parking lot cutting down the sinks to make them fit. Since all the countertops were built off measurements, we had a lot of issues getting pieces to line up correctly, due to walls that weren’t straight. Those were some long install days. One night we didn’t get home until after 11:00 pm, but we didn’t give up.

The reception desk was the one area where I insisted that we had to template, so the cabinet maker started with that cabinet and installed it early, so we could have time to template. This is where it pays to be a nice guy and work with your counterparts on a job. As you’ll see in the pictures the desk slopes down and joins with a lower level of the desk. Even templating this, we still did a lot of head scratching trying to figure out if we had the angles right. On install we were maybe 50% convinced it would fit correctly, but to our relief, it did.

In the end the client was very pleased with our work and a couple of months later had us come back to make the piece that surrounded the column. 

Project Type:

Countertops in an Office Building


Challenges:

This was our first large commercial job and we had a lot to learn


Skills we brought to the job:

  • Confidence in our abilities to take on a job outside our comfort zone.
  • Ability to adapt to unforeseen changes without giving up in defeat.
  • The ability to coordinate with other trades to ensure the job gets done on time.