Featured Project:

Central Storage & Warehouse Company – Madison, WI

Featured Project

Central Storage & Warehouse Company

Between May 3 and May 5, 1991, nearly half of CSW’s Madison, Wisconsin property was destroyed in the state’s largest commercial fire to date. Dubbed the “Great Butter Fire” and started by a malfunctioning forklift, it caused the evacuation of nearly 3,000 neighboring residents and destroyed 42 percent of the cold storage facility’s 500,000 square feet. Although under control by May 5, the fire wasn’t declared “officially out” until six days later. Losses topped $89 million in facility, equipment, and thirty million pounds of contracted frozen food.

After the fire, the company concentrated its building efforts on other capital projects around the state. But in 2011, twenty years after the fire, CSW found itself with business booming, a client in need of additional freezer space, capital reserves, and an economic climate just right for expansion.

Hitting the open market with their expansion plans, CSW needed a fast-track schedule in order to rebuild its lost warehouse space and satisfy the new client. Miss the deadline, miss the opportunity. To their surprise, and during a time of slow construction starts, two contractors refused the project, citing that it simply could not be done in the time frame given. Going design/build, CSW met with Consolidated and the challenge was accepted.

Under normal circumstances, the expansion should have lasted approximately 100 construction days. However, thanks to a streamlined project delivery system and dedicated project supervision team, that schedule was reduced to 76 days – from groundbreaking to cool down. It also was accomplished with zero overtime.

76 Days. No overtime. On budget. (We think that’s pretty “cool.”)


The project’s cool, 76-day success was based largely on schedule control:

  • 75% of the construction was done by Consolidated’s self-perform crews, specifically on concrete and steel.
  • A strong start was critical and was made possible because our in-house design ran simultaneously with our self-performance team. The collaboration made it possible to order long lead time items and begin construction without completion of the entire design.
  • We worked aggressively with the municipality to get early-start permits and accelerated inspections.

Sequencing was also critical:

  • Pouring concrete as early in the schedule as possible, and prior to steel erection ensured adequate cure time.
  • Working around some existing foundations posed potential challenges. Proper planning provided that we were ready before these obstacles landed on the critical path.

Consolidated’s cold storage team brings knowledge and depth to every project. This expertise allows us to complete preconstruction steps faster and finalize a guaranteed price quicker than most and with less up-front cost to the Owner.

“Given our experiences with some other general contractors, we were at first very skeptical that the job could be completed in the allotted time, but CCC’s assurances and enthusiasm convinced us to proceed. Now, less than 90 days later, we have a completed facility, done on schedule, with no cut corners, and an impressive standard of quality. We were consistently amazed by CCC’s responsiveness during construction, the smooth integration of their crews and all of their subs, and the speed with which the project came together. I would highly recommend Consolidated as a company that can get the job done fast and done right.”

John Winegarden, President
Central Storage & Warehouse Company