Drs. Phil and Sarah Fassler, River Ridge Animal Hospital
When the Dixon Animal Hospital and the Sauk Valley Veterinary Clinic were looking to leave their small and outdated facilities and merge as the River Ridge Animal Hospital, they called on Key Builders’ design-build and construction management services to get the job done.
This new $2.2 million, 17,000 sq. ft. facility has allowed the owners, Drs. Phil and Sarah Fassler, not only to upgrade to a new and larger building, but also to enhance their overall business operations.
This single-story wood construction boasts geothermal heating and cooling and state-of-the-art technology for the treatment of domestic and agricultural animals. The Lee County facility also plans to dedicate some of their new space to specialized areas for animal training, rehabilitation, and physical therapy.
Below, Drs. Phil and Sarah Fassler comment on their experience working with Key Builders.
We found a great combination of experience and integrity in Key Builders.
Q: What was your decision-making process like when first considering Key Builders?
A: Initially we focused on firms that had a lot of experience building veterinary hospitals, but over time we realized that we also needed people we could trust and who would listen to our needs. We found a great combination of experience and integrity in Key Builders.
We had first contracted with an architectural firm in Indiana that had designed a number of animal hospitals, but eventually we moved over to Key Builders. One of the reasons we left the first firm was that we discovered that their estimated cost didn’t include all of the things necessary to complete the project. That was the point in the process that it became clear that we not only needed a firm with a lot of experience, but that was also transparent and that would deal with us honestly. We needed a firm that would deal with us like an open book.
We always felt like Key Builders was looking out for our interests.
Q: What are Key Builder’s best qualities?
A: We always felt like Key Builders was looking out for our interests. Their communication was excellent, and they are just good people. They are hard-working, honest, and they have integrity. They have a great sense of humor too.
Q: How does working with Key Builders make you feel?
A: We felt confident and incredibly comfortable throughout the process. Everyone talks about how stressful building a new facility is going to be, but for us, building the building was the easy part. I always had the impression that they wanted to build what we wanted.
Q: Is Key Builders more like a large firm or a small firm?
A: Key Builders seems like a large firm in the way in which they manage the things that they build, but they feel like a small firm in the personal way they handle clients. They had the resources to do anything we asked. But we didn’t feel like we were dealing with a larger firm, in the way you feel like a number or get lost. We felt like we were important to them. The personal attention is a big part of it. When you’re dealing with larger companies, it often feels impersonal. It was not that way at all with Key Builders.
Q: Was Key Builders transparent and honest?
A: They went out of their way to make sure there were no misunderstandings. Throughout the project, they told us everything. Key Builders was upfront and honest with us throughout the process.
Q: Did you feel that you had control over your project?
A: Initially, we were very concerned that the architect and contractors would try to talk us out of what we wanted. But we’re at the point in life where we knew exactly what we wanted. When it comes to Key Builders, they talk to you, they understand your concerns, and then they solve the problems. It was obvious that they wanted to build what we wanted. We found that they listened to our needs, and they always took care of us. In the end we got exactly what we wanted.
I’ve never been involved with anyone this dedicated to doing things right.
Q: How did Key Builders perform on things like cost, schedule and quality?
A: Key Builders performed the way we expected a professional construction management firm would perform. I’ve never been involved with something that was so organized. It was an amazing experience
Cost: We ended up spending about the same amount as the initial estimate, but we have a better building design, it’s 2,000 square feet larger and it has more features and functionality. They go out of their way to make sure there are no misunderstandings. From the beginning they were very up front concerning all costs. I’m sure we could have gotten it built cheaper, but not with this quality.
Quality: I’ve never been involved with anyone this dedicated to doing things right. Quality always seemed like it was job number one.
When it came to the schedule, Key Builders worked so hard to keep everyone moving forward.
Schedule: When it came to the schedule, Key Builders worked so hard to keep everyone moving forward. They knew how to bring the contractors and architect together to resolve issues, and they kept all the subcontractors on task. We never felt beaten down to the point that we just wanted the building to be finished. They had a great attitude and kept us confident.
About a month before we started construction, Key Builders gave us a schedule with a proposed completion of May 15, 2010. We did the final walk-through and punch list on May 17, 2010, just two days off the original schedule. Nobody believes that when we tell them.
Perhaps all of the big builders are this good, but in my experience, firms aren’t this unique. In our business, we try to be the way they are.
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