Buzick Construction

Since 1937, the name Buzick Construction has been synonymous with quality-built whiskey warehouses and other industrial structures for distilleries throughout Kentucky and Tennessee. Although the company has expanded its portfolio to include projects in a wider range of industries, the company continues to service the distillery industry. 

The company was founded by Cliff Buzick, who first visited Bardstown, Ky., as a distillery equipment salesman. Upon discovering that many of his customers didn’t have anyone to install the equipment he was selling them, Buzick took it upon himself to move his family from Ohio to Bardstown and open Buzick Construction for business.

Today one of the larger companies in central Kentucky, Buzick Construction works on most distilleries within the central Kentucky area. Many of the oldest distilleries in Kentucky and Tennessee are among Buzick’s regular customers, according to the company. Nevertheless, to stay competitive during the slow economy, the company has taken on smaller projects to keep crews busy.

“The market has become a lot more competitive due to a lack of work,” Vice President Kevin Aldred says. “[However] the distillery business is still expanding while other areas dry up.”

Buzick Construction can self-perform 70 percent of the work itself for a project since the company owns a lot of its own equipment. The company also has many positions on staff associated with subcontractors, such as steel pre-fabrication crews.

“We even have our own plumber on staff,” Aldred explains. “We try to self-perform as much as possible to keep jobs on schedule and under budget.”

When it comes to its clients, Aldred says it is important to make sure the customer is satisfied even if it costs more to meet their needs. The move has paid off since the company gets a lot of business through word of mouth. 

“Be honest and straightforward with the customer,” he says. “If you keep the customer happy, you keep getting new business [through word of mouth].”

Being Innovative

Owner and President Tom Blincoe, who has worked in the construction industry for more than 30 years, developed a new system to build barrel storage houses utilizing a crane. “That’s one of our specialties, building these barrel storage facilities,” Aldred explains. “They used to be built by hand.”

A typical warehouse has the equivalent of 100 tractor trailer loads of lumber. Using a crane to construct these storage buildings ends up saving the workers time. The barrel storage houses can now be built in four to five months instead of six to seven months, which is how long it took to build by hand, Aldred says.

Quality: Priceless

Recently, Buzick Construction worked on phase one of the expansion of the Wild Turkey distillery in Lawrenceburg, Ky. The expansion includes constructing a 20,000-space barrel storage warehouse. The primary building is the distillery for fermentation of Wild Turkey’s bourbon whiskey products and other distilled spirits. Buzick Construction worked on the support buildings for the expansion, including the dry house. The company’s portion of the project was to be completed in May with the new distillery to be operational by late 2010.  

The barrel warehouses are design/build projects utilizing primarily Buzick Construction for the design and construction. Aldred says it can be challenging going to bid for design/build projects, as it did for the Wild Turkey distillery, especially since the company doesn’t know how much money its competitors are bidding for the project. When going to bid, it is important to clarify what the company can build and how much it will cost. 

“Money can’t be the bottom line,” according to Aldred. “You’ve got to be descriptive, exact and clear [in bids] so the owner knows what he gets for [his] money.”

“We like to think we are better quality [but we are] not always cheapest,” he adds. 

Going Green

Green initiatives are something new Buzick Construction is investigating to incorporate into its distilleries. Recently the company incorporated green building methods when constructing a new office building for CMTA in Louisville, Ky. Buzick Construction served as the general contractor and construction manager while CMTA used its own consultants for engineering.

CMTA’s two-story, 20,000-square-foot office building is a mixed-use development located in the town center near shops, restaurants, retail and other community businesses. The building’s design was meant to be historically accurate for a development in the 1800s. The façade resembles three separate buildings: two replicate Federal-style town houses and the other recalls the architectural style of a Victorian commercial storefront. 

The building is on track to become the first LEED Gold building in Louisville. The project contains numerous sustainable features, such as insulated concrete form walls that serve as the structure and insulating system for the exterior walls. The large, first-floor storefront glazing is protected from heat gain by awnings that project six feet from the building. Solar panels on the roof are intended to provide 12 to 15 percent of the building’s power usage.

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