Tesla Service Center
- Project: Tesla Service Center
From Standard to Automatic: Building an Award-Winning Tesla Service Center
When Don Pickett & Associates, a Fresno, California-area design/build firm and Metallic builder of over 27 years ordered another of their “standard” buildings through Metallic sales representative Ramon Plascencia, Ramon assumed it would be the same as Pickett’s typical requests. “We’ve done so many of these,” said Plascencia, “that they call it a ‘standard’.” But both Pickett and Plascencia were in for a surprise.
Using Metallic products, Don Pickett & Associates constructs many types of metal buildings, from “the standard” to fully customized, build-to-suit projects. Whatever building type is required, it’s sure to get their full attention. But they’ve gotten into a rhythm in which “the standard” can be constructed quickly and flawlessly. Plascencia explained “they are typically between 5,000 and 10,000 square feet, but the basics are always the same – they request a welded gutter and always want the first girt at eight feet. I make sure that notes like these are part of the quote so there are no hiccups down the road.”
While this project began as another “standard”, it ended up being a bit different. The location was quickly leased to the wildly successful electric vehicle and clean energy company, Tesla, Inc.. Tesla planned to use the building as a service center and charging facility for its electric vehicles. “This one was kind of interesting because when our customer sent in their drawings,” said Plascencia, “I didn’t know it was a project for Tesla.”
The Don Pickett & Associates team developed plans specific to Tesla’s business and plans for the facility. “[Tesla] needed a space where they could showcase everything they had to offer. We were able to take their vision and specific needs and build them this new home with the same cutting-edge vibe their company represents.”
With this new information, the project incorporated a few important changes. It would still be a building with a multi-span frame stretching from sidewall to sidewall. But as Pickett’s Nina Helgeson pointed out, “They were going to be straight up and down columns, but they decided to put them at an angle to give it more of a cutting edge, modern look.” The 12,100 square-foot service center made use of PBR wall panels in Charcoal Gray and Ash Gray as well as PBR roof panels in White, and included a 1354-square-foot office.
PBR Panels are the workhorse of the metal construction world, finding practical applications in everything from commercial, industrial and agricultural environments to high-end, attractive architectural installation. Don Pickett & Associates has relied on panels like these for decades, specifically the high-quality Metallic products that they know stand the test of time – backed by personal relationships that put excellent service above all else. “We have worked with Metallic for many years,” said Helgeson. “We’ve had a valued relationship with them. They’ve always put our relationship as a priority and they’re very responsive. I feel like they truly are doing everything they can to nurture that relationship.” Plascencia feels the same. “It’s just building that relationship,” he said, “knowing that they’re confident and we’re confident that we’re making sure that the end result is exactly what they had in mind.”
The Business of Relationships
Relationships like these are the foundation of Don Pickett & Associates’ method of doing business not only with Metallic, but also the men and women who perform the front-line trades on their projects. “We have long-time relationships with our subcontractors,” Helgeson said. “Our subcontractors are an extension of our family. They help hold up our reputation and have the same values we do as a company. That goes for electricians, our plumbers, our stucco contractor, and our mason. They’ve been longtime trade partners.”
Setting The Standard
Those trusted partnerships have led to much success. In fact, the collaboration between Tesla, Pickett and Metallic on this project took the Bronze Merit Prize in the 2020 Metallic Design Build Awards.
But that doesn’t mean the project is entirely wrapped up. “We’ve done tenant improvements since the original build for Tesla,” Helgeson said. With business booming, Tesla needed to make the facility even more efficient. “We’ve done some different custom things to fit their needs with the equipment they’ve brought in,” she said. “They’re really, really busy. They’re thriving. This was a fun one to do. We’re happy that Tesla’s in there and we’re proud of this project.”