Case Studies

Design Build Construction LLC

Turnkey construction services for diverse clientele in the Southeast

Roger Barnett established Design Build Construction LLC (DBC) in 2006 with the goal of providing experienced design and construction services to customers in Tennessee and surrounding states. Barnett is a licensed architect with more than 35 years of experience in the field. He works with a team of designers, engineers and construction managers to turn around diverse and complex commercial renovation and addition projects throughout the region.

DBC employs 17 people, led by Barnett and his fellow management staff. Wesley Bradley is a principal architectural designer and desktop publisher for the business. He has served as a draftsman, designer and estimator for the business and has 13 years of experience. Eddie Blevins, the company’s director of marketing, has a background in construction, architectural design and commercial furniture design. He plays a strong role in building lasting relationships with clients. Working closely with these customers, he helps to establish the needs of end users and guide project owners through the design-build process.

Turnkey services

The company performs construction work primarily in the tri cities of Tennessee, encompassing Kingsport, Johnson City and Bristol, Tenn. The team’s architectural reach extends to seven states in which the business is licensed. Across the company’s geographic footprint, DBC has performed unique turnkey projects for retailers, restaurants, local governments, banks, churches, medical facilities and more. Most of the company’s projects fall into the commercial sector, though the crew has worked on several private residential projects over the years.

“Last year, we completed a medical care facility in Elizabeth, Tenn.,” Blevins recounts. “We took an existing warehouse and manufacturing building that was 73,000 square feet on one floor and we added a second floor of 45,000 square feet into it. We turned it into a very nice medical facility, with some additional medical office space. This was a $6.5 million project that took about two years to turn over.”

The team is currently working on another project in Virginia, putting together a $1.5 million church renovation project. “We are adding 10,000 square feet to an existing church built in 1953,” Blevins notes. “We were able to keep the original architectural appearance. This is a very neat and rewarding project for us and we are about two months out from finishing there.”

Maintaining strong relationships

Blevins and the team prioritize customer experience as far as gauging the success of the business. “Anytime we get a call from someone through a referral, that is a sign of success for us,” he explains. “We draw most of our business through word-of-mouth from happy customers. We really enjoy what we do and I personally take a lot of enjoyment working with our clients, especially churches. We like meeting with good people and helping them out.”

To build and maintain these relationships DBC draws on strong relationships with skilled subcontractors and other strategic partners. “As far as the building process goes, we self-perform things like framing, concrete forming and architectural trim work, and we have a foremen on every site,” Blevins notes. “We sub most everything else out. We have a team of major subs, many of which we work with on a repeat basis. Our mechanical, electrical and plumbing contractors work with us on just about every project. We have a really good team and they help us control the quality of our work as well as the cost.”

Maintaining growth

DBC has been able to remain strong, even throughout the recent recession. The nature of the company’s work offers more flexibility than contractors that exclusively perform new construction. Many businesses, agencies and organizations have opted to expand and/or renovate existing facilities as opposed to building new ones for the sake of savings and value over the last decade.

“Attention to budget on previous projects has helped with our reputation,” Blevins adds. We are able to offer value while meeting the needs of our clients. When we perform well, we get a lot of word-of-mouth advertising. We also have some repeat customers who have chosen to continue working with us for the long term. We have done five projects for a local credit union. We also do a lot of repeat work for our church clients.”

Looking ahead, Blevins says the company’s primary goal is to maintain partnerships and volume. The team has no major plans for expansion; however a recent move in office location may boost business. “We have some growth opportunities in Kingsport, Tenn.,” Blevins notes. As Design Build Construction LLC builds up its client base throughout the region, the team maintains a simple goal: to provide clients with successful, turnkey solutions that work for their budgets and fill the needs of their businesses.

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Spring 2018

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