Vercon and Gordon James partnering on Fairfield Inn build

Stephen Halonen Vercon News

Fairfield Inn, Detroit Lakes, MN

Vercon is well underway with constructing the new Fairfield Inn & Suites in Detroit Lakes. They are partnering on the project with Gordon James Construction of Maple Plain. The 4-story, 69-unit hotel will also include nine top-floor condominiums and a 4,000 square foot restaurant.

The hotel is located on 2.78 acres near the Detroit Lakes City Beach. Providing upscale lodging offerings in that area aligned with the city’s long-range comprehensive plan and would have a positive impact on tourism economy. Several existing buildings have been demolished to make way for the development, including the former Capri Motel.

Structural framing and roofing work is nearly completed with interior mechanical and electrical rough-ins in progress. The goal is to have the building enclosed by mid-November, and to have site utilities, concrete curb and gutter, and the first lift of asphalt paving completed this fall.

“Fairfield was a perfect fit for us due to our experience scheduling and managing large commercial projects,” said Stephen Halonen, Vercon’s CEO. “And our integrated building process, from our people to our technology and systems, is important on a project of this size.”

“We appreciate this joint venture partnership with Vercon Construction on the Fairfield project,” said John Quinlivan, Gordon James Construction’s founder. “We’ve developed strong relationships and communication with everyone on the project team—both within our individual companies as well as with each other—to execute a successful project.”

The Fairfield construction site is located in a high-traffic area, so attention to pedestrian safety has been critical to the planning and execution of the construction process. The hotel is slated for completion in spring 2017.

Vercon specializes in commercial construction—including education, financial, retail, manufacturing and office buildings—as well as residential construction and remodeling projects around the upper Midwest.

With offices in Baxter, Menahga, Minneapolis, and Williston, N.D., Vercon’s commercial projects in the upper Midwest include the hangar at Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport, projects at Grand View Lodge on Gull Lake in Nisswa, and the renovated Winegar Colby Dental and Orthodontics in Baxter. Vercon projects in the Menahga area include the Menahga Public School additions, renovations at First National Bank of Menahga and Sebeka, and the Wadena County Transfer Station addition, among others.

Gordon James Construction’s commercial experience includes hotels, restaurants, office buildings, shopping centers, manufacturing, medical, assisted living, churches, and schools, as well as residential construction and renovation.

To learn more about Vercon’s commercial or residential construction capabilities, visit or 1-877-824-2040.

The Myth of Bidding

Stephen Halonen Vercon News

Are you planning a construction project for a new or existing facility? If you are, you will be facing some demanding responsibilities.

Among them is the responsibility of choosing the contractor who will take care of all your needs for your project.

Unfortunately today, this decision is driven in large part by the bids contractors submit to construct your project. This drive results from the belief that bids are indeed the best way to assure you of the lowest possible initial cost of construction.

This belief is founded in myth.

Dispelling the myth begins with an understanding that the role you play requires that you make an informed and responsible decision for yourself and other stakeholders in your project. Part of a responsible and informed decision includes spending no less – and certainly not more – than is necessary to complete your DREAM, right?

The answer is obvious. As an owner you are entitled to a fair and competitive price for satisfying your needs and getting one is a part of making an informed and responsible decision. The real question is; how do you do that?

Bidding does not assure you of the lowest price for a solution to your needs and rarely, if ever, provides any assurance of the best price for a solution to your needs.

Study the following chart carefully. What you see down the left margin are items typically priced by general contractors from key sub-contractors and material suppliers. Across the top are four bidding general contractors. The data within the chart represents the component prices they use in tabulating their bid for your project.


Subcontract   Contractor 1   Contractor 2   Contractor 3   Contractor 4

Site Work       $155,000       $163,000        $146,000        $172,000

Concrete        $ 96,000        $ 80,000         $ 82,000         $ 90,000

Carpentry       $135,000       $116,000        $125,000        $104,000

HVAC             $305,000       $305,000        $290,000        $311,000

Plumbing        $ 30,000        $ 33,000         $ 30,000         $ 28,000

Electrical        $120,000       $105,000        $118,00          $120,000

Painting          $ 15,000       $ 11,000          $ 13,000         $ 14,000

Flooring          $ 21,000       $ 26,000          $ 27,000         $ 23,000

Total               $877,000      $839,000         $831,000        $862,000
By means of the traditional bid process, contractor three, with a price of $831,000 has the lowest bid and should, if the myth of bidding is believed, get the award for construction. Look carefully. The spread or range among bidders varies by 5.5% ($831,000 – $877,000).

The numbers shaded in the chart represent the lowest component price for each sub-contracted component of the total bid. The true lowest price for the project is $785,000 or an additional 5.5% below the lowest bidder!

Contractor three wins the award by having only two of the lowest component prices. Can you be certain that contractor three has the best price? The answer is no. How do you know for example, that contractor three’s site work sub-contractor will perform to acceptable standards? Do you take the contractor’s word and litigate in the event of a problem? The point is, this entire process is risky, cumbersome, and most importantly, avoidable from the start.

When you choose a contractor on the basis of the price they bid you are using the wrong standard. The responsible thing to do is choose your contractor on the basis of reliability, performance and quality of work before you begin the process of determining cost of construction. Unite together where you and the contractor can approach the sub-contracting and material supply communities as a team.

As an important member of the team, you participate in the process of determining the cost of constructing a solution to your needs. Your influence on the bottom line is direct. Collectively, you and the builder act together to select the best possible option for each price component of the project. In the event the best is not the lowest, you know exactly why because you are a part of the team and a part of the process. That’s what being informed is all about!

Abandon the myth of bidding and with it, the risk and inaccuracies of the traditional bid process. Choose your building contractor on the basis of the factors that truly measure their value; reliability, performance and quality. Join your contractor as a team member to enable him to help you achieve a practical and affordable solution to your need for general construction service.

Vercon Awarded $4.5MM Park River, ND School Project

Stephen Halonen Vercon News

Vercon was just awarded a new project by Park River, ND Area Public School for a building addition and renovation.  The $4.5MM project will include a 23,000 s.f. addition plus extensive renovation of the existing school.  Project start date is June 1, 2015 with completion scheduled for January 2016.

Park River Area Schools

New Perham MN Lake Home by Vercon Inc

Stephen Halonen Vercon News

Vercon just completed a new lake home on Big Lake in Perham, MN.  Final landscaping and exterior painting are all that remain before this home is ready for a great MN summer!

Vercon Big Pine Lake in Perham Photo 2

Vercon Lake Home on Big Pine Lake in Perham MN Photo 2

Vercon Big Pine Lake in Perham Photo 3

Vercon Lake Home on Big Pine Lake in Perham MN Photo 3

Vercon Big Pine Lake in Perham Photo 5

Vercon Lake Home on Big Pine Lake in Perham MN Photo 5

Vercon Big Pine Lake in Perham Photo 4

Vercon Lake Home on Big Pine Lake in Perham MN Photo 4

Vercon Big Pine Lake in Perham Photo 6

Vercon Lake Home on Big Pine Lake in Perham MN Photo 6

Vercon Big Pine Lake in Perham Photo 1

Vercon Big Pine Lake in Perham Photo 1

Vercon Introduces the Modern Farm House Design

Stephen Halonen Vercon News

Vercon is proud to introduce the Modern Farm House concept by SBP Design Consulting. This Vernacular Revival design draws from agrarian architecture and is responding to a growing trend toward simplicity. A great new look perfect for city, country or suburban lots! Six sample designs and a sample floor plan shown below, but there are over 30 designs to choose from.  Call us today at 877-824-2040 for more information!


Modern Farm House by SBP Design - 1 Modern Farm House by SBP Design - 5 Modern Farm House by SBP Design - 8 Modern Farm House by SBP Design - 13 Modern Farm House by SBP Design - 14 Modern Farm House by SBP Design - 17 Sample Floor Plan

Vercon sponsors Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce Holiday Extravaganza

Stephen Halonen Vercon News

Vercon was the main sponsor last night at the annual Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce Business Holiday Extravaganza.  The event is open to the public, and local businesses gather to display their products and services and make new contacts.  This is always the most popular and best-attended event of the year, and last night was no exception.  We showcased our tradition of beautiful custom homes and our capabilities to build any commercial construction project for any customer.  The Vercon booth was also home to Santa Claus for the evening, who provided holiday cheer for everyone!

Brainerd Lakes Holiday Extravaganza