Terratec Construction — Cranberry Village

Terratec picTerratec has expanded its capabilities into residential housing with Cranberry Village.

By Chris Kelsch

Terratec Construction didn’t start out in residential construction, but that hasn’t stopped it from excelling in a number of projects throughout Massachusetts. “We actually started out doing infrastructure,” President Mounir Matraji says. “Eventually we started expanding into residential homes and now we have a few projects ongoing.”

The company’s experience is literally built from the ground up. It started in 2003 in Marlborough, located in eastern Massachusetts, by offering services such as site excavation, utilities and concrete foundations. It offered these services to a wide variety of industries, including infrastructure, energy, education and health, residential, commercial and industrial edifications, basic sanitation and town planning.

The problem was, in offering those services, the company found itself idle with no work for about three months out of the year—mostly due to weather constraints. About two years ago, the leadership of Terratec decided if the company were to grow, it had to expand its capabilities. That’s when it decided to pursue residential homebuilding. Massachusetts remains one of the more robust markets in the United States, and coming out of the recession the timing was right to expand its expertise. “We thought to ourselves ‘Why not expand?’” Matraji recalls. “We started picking up some jobs here and there and slowly it has started to work. We are seeing momentum.”

Matraji was connected fairly well throughout the Boston area, and in 2016 the company landed its first residential project, Carthay Circle in nearby Newton. It features four condominiums in two buildings. “That was our first residential project,” Matraji recalls. “Then we did a small home and then Cranberry Village.” Terratec box

Terratec’s most prestigious project to date is Cranberry Village, a multi-unit residential project featuring nine residential buildings with 24 units each, and a tenth building with 18 units, along with a state-of-the-art clubhouse. “Within the club house there will be several features,” Matraji states. “There will be a gym, a great room, a swimming area and a barbeque area as well.” Phase one began in April 2016 with the first three buildings and the clubhouse. The project will also include modern amenities such as solar outlets and charging stations for electric cars.

While building the main structures, Terratec is adhering to its roots by supplying the infrastructure related with the project, including all of the main roads and sidewalks. On this particular project, Terratec is serving as both the general contractor as well as the developer. Again, it has tapped its own experience in preparing the entire development.

“We have performed everything from sitework to earthwork from sewers to sidewalks and landscaping,” Matraji notes. “And we have also started working on the surface and then drainage.”

So far the project is going well, although building in the Northeast can be difficult with extreme weather conditions. Matraji notes that Terratec did provide heating services on site, in an effort to keep things moving. Because Terratec is relatively new to the homebuilding process, it is still in the early stages of establishing relationships with reliable subcontractors in this sector.

And while the company isn’t singularly focused on lean methods, it has implemented some processes to ensure construction goes smoothly. The first of those is replacing the traditional stick framing with panelized construction, which refers to a more efficient way of framing the buildings versus standard erection.

Matraji also notes that a lot of the side-walls on the structures were prefabricated panels, which workers simply needed to raise onto the structure. And though Terratec is somewhat new to the residential industry, it gave significant input on the overall design, including changing the flooring system from i-joists to floor trusses, a much more efficient and economical method.

Cranberry Village has been Terratec’s largest residential project to date, and the importance isn’t lost on the company’s leadership. In fact it moved its offices from Marlborough, well over an hour away, to Middleborough to monitor the project. The move turned out to be beneficial, as the company can monitor all of its projects from the new location. “From this office we can manage all our projects, from Brookline to Boston to Newton,” Matraji says. “We try to keep everything in the Boston area.”

For Matraji, travelling for work is nothing new. He has lived overseas and overseen projects in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Dubai. And while the summers in Massachusetts can be hot, they certainly don’t compare to the Middle East. Though it’s still early in Terratec’s residential building career, the early results are promising.

“I know we are just starting,” Matraji says. “But we are pushing forward and determined, and we are doing our best to make it happen.”

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