At a Glance
General contracting and construction planning and management
Howard Green and Paul Chuma are engineers by trade and problem-solvers at heart. They aim to keep their clients happy, and they understand the keys to the success of any endeavor are identifying challenges early on and implementing cost-effective solutions. Together, using these insights, and with the help of an experienced staff of project managers and field superintendents, they have grown their Chicago-based construction business to a point where more than 85 percent of their projects are the result of repeat business or direct referrals.
A recent project for Kerry Ingredients & Flavours evidences Meridian Design Build’s ability to proactively solve problems for its clients. The client had originally envisioned a warehouse addition designed to free up space within an existing building for additional processing lines. During the first stage of the project, however, Meridian suggested that a more beneficial solution might be to move the new processing lines into the new addition. The potential benefits included fewer interruptions to Kerry’s ongoing production and the elimination of costs associated with retrofitting the existing building structure to accommodate the new lines. Meridian was able to work with the city and subcontractors on the fly to modify permits and material orders to accommodate the revised plan without any delays to the expansion project. “At the end of the day,” Green says, “we were able to deliver a cleaner, more efficient production facility for less money—and within a tighter timeframe—than if we’d tackled this as the two-phase project [our client] originally envisioned.”
Meridian Design Build is, in many ways, a customer-service business. “We’ve been able to greatly speed up the flow of information by leveraging technology to improve the way we interact and communicate with our clients,” Chuma says. Every customer is provided with a secure login to a proprietary online plan room that offers access to the latest design drawings and project documents from wherever the customer is. Meridian’s jobsite superintendents take daily construction-progress photos that are uploaded to the Web to give clients an idea of how a project is going on a real-time/on-demand basis. Virtual tours, 3-D construction modeling, and other innovative technologies are used to help clients envision the completed project and make more informed design decisions.
Green and Chuma have also made it a point to emphasize sustainability. Meridian has successfully implemented a self-imposed policy of separating and recycling construction waste on each and every project and routinely crushes and recycles concrete waste products for use as granular fill on redevelopment sites, a practice that often results in significant savings to a client’s bottom line. The company has LEED-accredited professionals on staff, both in the office and in the field, and makes an effort to assist its clients in understanding and obtaining governmental and utility-company incentives related to sustainable design and energy-efficient building systems.
“Ultimately,” Green says, “we are committed to making sure that every client gets more than they expected and that their construction experience is a positive one. Our best sales tool is a satisfied client.” ABQ