Contracter Offers Extra Services


    GRAND RAPIDS — A.J. Veneklasen Inc. has trademarked the name “VeneBuilt” to describe a new package of services supplementing its design-build and construction work.

    “Basically, it’s all-service construction, from site acquisition to moving them in,” said Vice President Chris Veneklasen. “We’ve taken every possible service and moved it under one roof.”

    The VeneBuilt process was put into practice in a recent development project for Pella Windows and Doors by Horne. Pella wanted its new distribution facility to be on the east side of the city and near a major highway and gave A.J. Veneklasen the task of finding a site.

    Veneklasen did more than find a location fitting Pella’s specifications. The location, the former Thornapple Valley meat packaging plant at 2120 Oak Industrial Drive NE, was also in a Renaissance Zone and on a brownfield site.

    Veneklasen formed a development group and designed and constructed the new facility while coordinating several other elements of the relocation process.

    The contractor built Pella’s manufacturing process in to the building’s design, making sure, for example, that all racking and storage coincided with safe locations for the windows. It also coordinated power and lighting for each work area and supervised equipment placement.

    Meanwhile, the contractor attained nearly $280,000 in tax savings for Pella.

    Although the facility was in a Renaissance Zone and could not use brownfield credits, Pella had several locations throughout the state that could use those credits. Veneklasen put together the applications for state approval, with Pella needing only to sign the paperwork.

    Another recent project showcasing the VeneBuilt process was a 15-acre Walker development. The developers were seeking 10 to 15 acres, but the package Veneklasen found best fitting the client’s was 45 acres. Veneklasen purchased the site and split off 15 acres for the client.

    “We’ve always kind of done (the extra services), we’ve just never really coined the term,” Veneklasen said. “Everybody in town says that they are design builders, but what we’ve always done is way more than what design build really is defined as. We got tired of everyone saying they’re a design builder and our saying the same thing, and we were doing so much more.”

    According to Veneklasen, in the past his company has provided overnight remodeling for customers, moving furniture and laying carpet in off hours. The contractor will now also provide services such as phone data cabling, signage, leases, feasibility studies and cost analysis along with traffic counts and moving. If needed, Veneklasen will even change over a client’s stationery.

    “We’re coordinating as many things under the sun as they would like us to coordinate,” Veneklasen said. “This is valuable especially now because companies are running a lot leaner than they used to.

    “They don’t have the people on staff or the time to do things like this. With us it’s all part of our process and it happens with relative ease.”

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