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10 Advantages of Architect-Led Design-Build

Ten Penny Construction teams with Gontram Architecture to deliver commercial projects via the Design-Build process.  Our unique process of architect-led design-build makes our Clients’ lives simpler by providing design and construction from a single source. The fact that we are architects and contractors gives our clients the distinct advantage of early budget confirmation, and the virtual elimination of surprises, delays, change orders, and cost overruns.

In the traditional Design-Bid-Build process, clients hire an Architect, who then designs the dream project for the Client.  It is then put out to bid to multiple general contractors, who provide a price, that may or may not be within the project budget, but is guaranteed to be ripe with potential change orders, surprises, and budget busters in the end.  It is a contentious process that puts the Owner between the design team and the construction team if a conflict arises, with multiple parties pointing fingers at each other.

In the Architect-led Design-Build process, everything is provided to the Owner thru a single-source, team approach.  The Architect and General Contractor work together from Day One to provide a successful project, within an initial budget, within the time allotted, and with no surprises.  And with a single source for design and construction, the owner doesn’t need to worry about playing referee.

At Ten Penny Construction, we make the complicated and stressful process of commercial design and construction predictable, economical, and enjoyable.  We’d like to help you with your project!  You can find out more about our process by downloading our FREE GUIDE.

“Smooth Joe Coffee” coming to North Raleigh

Craig Crump enjoys good coffee so much he roasts his own beans. After investigating the possibility and requirements around roasting beans in his garage, he took the big leap and is opening his own coffee shop and roastery:  Smooth Joe Coffee!

Ten Penny Construction was engaged to construct the fitup which features some rustic interior finishes, a new outdoor patio, small commercial kitchen, roastery, and other engaging elements.

Construction is underway and due to be complete this Fall!

“The Mill” is Reborn!

Anyone that has been around the Raleigh area since the 1980’s remembers Crowley’s, a local restaurant chain famous for bar food and nightlife. In the Olde Raleigh Shopping Center at Blue Ridge Road and Edwards Mill Road stood Crowley’s Courtyard. That subsequently evolved into Edwards Mill Bar and Grill, the same concept under new management. It stood the test of time and was frequented by many of Raleigh’s citizens for many years. If going to a North Carolina State University football game, Carolina Hurricanes hockey game, or one of many concerts at PNC Arena, you simply said, “Let’s meet at the mill” to meet up with friends before or after.

When the restaurant closed during the pandemic, Urban Food Group saw an opportunity to resurrect a Raleigh mainstay, rebrand it in their own flavor, and give everyone the chance to visit “The Mill” again!

Urban Food Group teamed up with Gontram Architecture and Ten Penny Construction to renovate the endcap restaurant and outdoor patio! Construction began in July is making steady progress towards an October/November completion. Surprises are abundant as is typical with renovation construction, especially restaurants. Nevertheless, we look forward to once again saying, “Let’s meet at The Mill!”

Design-Build in a Mural

The latest addition to the new office is a 4′ x 8′ steel mural depicting the conceptual design-build process. The 1/8″ sheet steel was cut with a plasma cutter compliments of Schulz Ironworks in Raleigh, NC. It is held off the wall with 1″ x 1″ stainless steel standoffs and backlit with LED tape.

KS Bank Face Lift Continues

The complete face lift of the existing KS Bank building in Selma, NC continues. This regional bank is updating its appearance after many years, and Gontram Architecture and Ten Penny Construction are teaming up once again to deliver it under the Architect-led Design-Build process.

Phase 1 (of 3) of the interior work is complete. Phase 2 is well underway and should be complete in a couple of weeks.

The exterior work continues, and would make better progress if it were not for all of the recent rain. Nevertheless, the roof trusses have been completed, the fire-retardant roof sheathing and ice-and-water shield has been installed.

This project is scheduled to be complete in September, 2020.

Replacing Rooftop Units

Replacing rooftop units in a downtown environment can be tricky. Street closure permits are required. Crane access must be carefully coordinated with underground structures, overhead utilities, reach distances, etc. Scheduling a lift around City activities can be challenging, but “luckily” there’s not much going on currently in this COVID climate.

Timelapse video of installation

NCRMA Renovation Now Underway!

The North Carolina Retail Merchants Association has occupied the building located at 209 Fayetteville Street in a prominent part of downtown Raleigh since 2012. Many years before that, previous owners renovated the building and installed a cultured marble facade that has leaked like a sieve. The current owner’s have asked Gontram Architecture and Ten Penny Construction to remedy that situation, and return a more traditional curb presence to the building. That project, several years in the making, is now underway.

First on the chopping block is the subgrade exterior garden area that was never realized to its full potential. 1 story below street level, the garden area was a good attempt at bringing some exterior experience to the offices on the basement level. But a constant source of maintenance, and an attractive nuisance from nightly revelers, the garden area was a liability and lost square footage. This project will enclose that area for an interesting multi-purpose meeting space, viewable from street level, but inaccessible to the public.

Work is scheduled to be complete in September 2020.

What Now?!?


Just a week ago, I was enjoying myself, watching a college softball doubleheader – UNCG vs. Northern Illinois.  (UNCG took both games from NIU, by the way…Go Spartans!)  The following day, we wre preparing for Gontram Architecture’s 24th annual NCAA Pool.  Sponsors were confirmed, and the pool was setup waiting for Selection Sunday.

Then…in the blink of an eye…it seemed like the entire world went berserk!

Tired of seeing this image yet?

College spring breaks were being extended so professors could prepare their classes to be put online.  Then, students were told to go home.  NCAA Championships were cancelled.  Public schools were closed.  College and high school athletic seasons were cancelled.  (I love fastpitch softball, so this is when I woke up and said, “Holy crap!”)  Pro athletic seasons were postponed indefinitely.  Then, bars were closed and restaurants went to drive-thru or takeout only.  Movie theaters closed, grocery stores went to reduced hours, concerts were cancelled.  Entire countries were in a state of lock down.  The stock market just keeps on falling.  Hand shaking is now practically illegal. And, the value of hand sanitizer and (for some reason) toilet paper continues to skyrocket.

Unfortunately, we all now know the meaning of “social distancing.”

All of this in, what seems like, only a week.

Obviously, the rest of the world was dealing with this for a while, but it took the US and some other western countries a bit more time to wake up to the fact that this virus was going to kick our butts if we didn’t take some precautionary measures immediately.  So, here we are.  (Some still think this is some kind of Chinese conspiracy or hoax, but I will leave them to Darwin.)

The question is, “What Now?”  We have a few ideas:

  • Don’t panic.  Take the proper precautions (wash your hands frequently, don’t touch your face, practice social distancing) and COVID-19 will run its course. It may take some time, but we have survived worse. The stock market comes back after a crisis, it always does — history has proven that.  The trick is to stay healthy in the meantime.  Again, don’t panic.
    • Quick observation:  Your face never itches more than when someone says, “Don’t touch your face.” Right?

      Alcohol kills the virus, right?

  • Work remotely, if you can.  Construction cannot be constructed remotely until we have robotics and drones to the point where field personnel are minimized, but we are hand-washing and keeping proper personal spacing.  So, working remotely and maintaining social distance is the key! I have personally had more teleconferences in the past 2 days than I have had all year so far.  And, you know what?  They have been more productive than I could have imagined.
  • And, consider making lemonade with all of these Coronavirus lemons!

To that last point, now may be the perfect time to deal with what you had been putting off (or just too busy to deal with) — that much-needed project!

Some people will take this time to cower in the corner and wait for the world to end.  Winners will see an opportunity and jump!  As long as Inspections Departments maintain operations, and we can still get inspections, we will still be building!

We have seen a number of our projects accelerated due to the virus.  As employees are working remotely, it is a convenient time to tackle that office renovation project that would have been too disruptive a month ago. Since the residents have been sent home, it is now time to renovate that fraternity house.  And, with the dining room closed, it is now time to upgrade the decor in your restaurant!

Boston actually closed all construction projects – I am not sure what that is about.  (Personally, I think that is a bit more about union influence than anything else.)  With strict rules about social distancing, hygiene, and symptom observation, construction can be performed safely and effectively.

Also, with fewer distractions and social activities, this might be the perfect time to devote some time to improving the built environment around you.  The last thing you want to do is watch CNN for more COVID-19 drama, right? Take a break and start planning for that expansion that will be needed once the restrictions are lifted!

Give us a call!  But don’t come by our office – ’cause we ain’t there.

PS – Interestingly enough, the final play of the last game of the double header, in extra innings, UNCG won on a bases-loaded, HIT-BY-PITCH! Most of the time, victories come after a bit of pain.


Bone & Joint MRI Equipment Delivered!

After a year without an MRI, Bone & Joint Orthopedic Clinic finally has one again! After their original one was damaged, and a supplier fell through for another one, Siemens delivered a Verio model on a rainy December Saturday, to much fanfare and relief.

The 18,000 lb. magnet required a massive crane, special equipment and a professional moving crew to set it in place, all under the watchful eye of Siemens.

Now that it has been placed and connected, Ten Penny Construction has completed the project designed by Gontram Architecture. The MRI is now in use, and patients are now able to receive this unique in-house diagnostic benefit!

Bone & Joint MRI – Chiller Installation

The Bone & Joint Orthopedic Clinic in Raleigh, NC has completed their new MRI suite.  The first step in completing the equipment installation was the placement of the chiller on the roof.  This video documents the aerial trip to the roof on a cool, Saturday morning in December.

Demo begins for Custom Communications Renovation

First, you’ve got to break a few eggs!

New corporate offices are coming to the 2nd floor of the existing building located 6736 Falls of Neuse Road in Raleigh, NC. Custom Communications works with national service providers to meet a variety of field service needs. They have outgrown their current accommodations in Garner, NC and have purchased this building.

Approximately 5,000 sq. ft. of space on the 2nd floor, with room to grow on the 1st floor, this growing company is anxious to move in. Demolition started this week and should be complete by early next week.

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