Case Studies

W.C. Construction Inc.: Helping Communities Grow Across the Northwest

  • Written by: W.C. Construction Inc.: Helping Communities Grow Across the Northwest
  • Produced by: W.C. Construction Inc.: Helping Communities Grow Across the Northwest
  • Estimated reading time: 5 mins

W.C. Construction Inc. (W.C.) has put honesty, flexibility, quality and the needs of its customers first since 1983. Based out of Elgin, Ore., the company is licensed to bring its extensive experience as a construction management and general contracting company to its growing base of repeat clients in Oregon, Washington and Idaho. Operating with teamwork and customer courtesy, the W.C. team continues to deliver a quality, timely result to its commercial and multifamily residential clients across the Northwest region.

Bob Wiles and Dennis Cross founded W.C. three decades ago, but the pair’s history dates back to childhood when the Wiles family moved to the house directly across the street from the Cross family home. After a few different ventures, the two were reunited in 1981 while working as carpenters on the same project. “We just found that we really enjoyed working together and we have worked together ever since,” acknowledges Dennis Cross, president of W.C.

Today, Cross and Wiles stress tight control over budgets, schedules and safety, as well as open communication amongst employees, trade contacts and project owners to build relationships that turn new clients into repeat ones. W.C. provides construction management, general contracting and project management services and self-performs some framing and finish work, but relies greatly on subcontractors for most of the work. As a result, the company maintains a mix of new and longtime subcontracting partners to ensure the best price without compromising on quality throughout all types of commercial projects – from interior tenant improvements within existing facilities to new multilevel construction. These assembled teams are experienced in steel, wood and masonry construction, both ground up and rehab.

Going the Extra Mile

Efficiently overlapping only the most reputable subcontractors, emphasizing a team approach, and including a minimum of contingency time in the schedule has helped avoid costly change orders and benefited both W.C. and its clients. While many companies scaled back to adjust for an absence of new construction work, W.C. shuffled its resources to complete a record amount of work between 2008 and 2011. Though many of its projects were put on hold, a significant number of clients resumed progress at different points within two years, and as projects came back on line the owners looked immediately to the W.C. team for smooth coordination of all components.

“We consider ourselves very lucky in this current economic climate,” explains Cross. “It’s because of our clients that we have been able to stay out of the public-works market.”

Currently, W.C. is on track to repeat its 2011 record-breaking volume of work in 2012, which is a testament to the team’s flexibility and customer-oriented approach. The company has worked hard in its history to complete work always on schedule and on budget, with a heavy amount of planning during the preconstruction stage to avoid costly scheduling setbacks. Though many competitors offer a standard one-year warranty, W.C. maintains a more flexible policy and will correct work even after the one-year warranty period because it is simply the right thing to do.

As a result, the W.C. team has been honored to complete everything from offices and medical buildings to banks and retail to some of the region’s biggest attractions. In 2009 W.C. was awarded the contract to complete a major renovation at the Pendleton Round-Up’s West End Grandstand in Pendleton, Ore. The Pendleton Round-Up, a showcase of cowboy pastimes, spectacles and sports, was founded in 1910 with over 7,000 visitors turned up for opening day. In the years since, attendance to the four-day annual rodeo event has swelled to over 50,000, and by 2009 the facility was in dire need of an update and expansion.

True to its colors, the W.C. team proudly worked with as many local subcontractors as possible, as the Round-Up has always been an anchor of the Pendleton community. In total, crews completely tore down the West End Grandstand and installed all new covered seating, about 8,000 seats, as well as concessions, restrooms and walkways on a second-level mezzanine with new stock pens below and ADA-compliant features throughout, just in time for the Centennial Rodeo celebration in September 2010. “It was a real honor to complete work at such a world-class facility and help prepare it for the next 100 years,” reflects Cross.

Taking Pride in Every Project

In addition, W.C. continues to expand into the multifamily arena that now accounts for roughly half of the company’s work volume, according to Cross. Most recently, the W.C. team completed work for Beaver State Apartments LLC, the owner of six properties scattered across Oregon communities Wilsonville, Lincoln City, Willamina, Mt. Angel and Ashland. The federal housing authority provided a $9.5 million risk-sharing loan to support the acquisition and rehabilitation of the properties and their 239 units, with W.C. serving as general contractor for the project.

Simultaneously, W.C. had crews completing work at a new LEED Silver-certified office space of the Oregon Trail Electric Cooperative (OTEC) in La Grande, Ore. The co-op originally owned two facilities in La Grande, but decided to consolidate employees and operation under one, environmentally conscious roof. The design aimed to not only meet but also exceed the most stringent code requirements for energy efficiency by 20 percent.

To achieve the LEED Silver certification, OTEC chose to build the new facility atop an already existing site, which meant that OTEC was still in operation as the new structure was being built. The new 10,000-square foot office, combined with the 17,000-square foot warehouse and truck barn, includes rigid foam insulation envelope under the asphalt shingle roofing and all siding. A solar heating system, sidewalk ice melt system and heated concrete shop floors were also included in the project.

In early 2012 the W.C. team will be feverishly wrapping up foundation work for the new Imbler Elementary School before inclement weather throws a wrench in the project’s schedule. If everything goes according to plan, the Imbler School District will have a new 22,000-square foot school to replace its aging buildings in time for the 2012 to 2013 school year. The school is one of the first in the district to use the CMGC (construction management general contracting) model, which Cross believes is growing in popularity for its ability to combine different delivery method strengths and mitigate the risk of the low-bid, often lower-quality model.

In the coming years Cross expects W.C. to continue expanding its presence geographically as clients lure its crews around the state for projects. Additionally, W.C. is experienced with public works projects and the associated paperwork and will continue to explore that avenue of activity. As the company travels farther and farther from home, the team will continue to add to its portfolio of trusted local trade contacts and support the economic development of the region. In the process, the W.C. Construction Inc. team will be further entrenched as a leader in customer service and responsible contracting in the Northwest.

Published on: March 9, 2013

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