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AutoZone ground-up retail commercial builder in Miami

Raising the Roof in Record Time for AutoZone

In the world of construction, one missed deadline can cascade into more costs in overhead, materials and lost time. Contractors must be prepared to deal with unexpected challenges without breaking budget. That’s why our team at GSD employs skilled superintendents like Guillermo Mendoza to step on the gas when the inevitable happens. Mendoza’s ground-up build of a 6,815-square-foot AutoZone in Miami is the most recent example.  

Hurry Up and Wait

We were scheduled to break ground in the summer of 2019. However, it took nearly a year to receive the necessary permits from the city. When we finally received the paperwork, the project fell months behind schedule. This left Guillermo with no choice but to race against the clock to make up for lost time. To make matters worse, Guillermo had to prepare for a hurricane looming in the distance.

Luckily Guillermo’s industry experience and ability to expertly manage people and time made him the perfect man for the job. Against all odds and mother nature’s fury, AutoZone is set for on-time completion. So, how did Guillermo do it?

A Roofing Record

Metal Decking

Guillermo knew he needed to make seemingly impossible time cuts at every stage in the process. When his team was ready to install AutoZone’s roof, Guillermo planned to complete the job in half the time. With Hurricane Isaias approaching landfall, Guillermo needed a strategy fast.

Roofing installations typically take seven days, but Guillermo planned to cut it down to three. Based on his industry experience, Guillermo knew the roof would require two separate inspections from the city: One inspection while in progress, and a second after completion. Guillermo knew inspections take at least 2 full days. But in this scenario, 2 days was too long.

If Guillermo and his team did not get the roof up and inspected before the hurricane, the crew would have to break down all the progress they made and start over after it passed. Moreover, if the structure of the building did not have a roof to cover it, the interior would get soaked and his team would have to dry everything out before they could proceed with construction. All of this translates to lost time and profits, which was unacceptable to Guillermo.


To avoid the lag, Guillermo worked out a special timeline with the inspector to visit on the morning of the third day when he planned to complete the roof. Throughout the day, he sent images of the team’s progress to the inspector and requested that he return to the site that evening. Through Guillermo’s polite persistence, he convinced the inspector to complete the process in one business day instead of two.

Managing Through the Storm

Single Ply Roofing Membrane

In addition to working around the inspector’s schedule, Guillermo had to work around nature’s plans. On the second day of erecting the roof, an unexpected storm passed through South Florida. Heavy rainfall like this would normally warrant Guillermo shutting down the site for the day. But this was an unusual case and Guillermo didn’t have the luxury of sending the roofers home. Instead he asked them to wait a couple hours for the rain to stop. His team agreed, and couple hours later they safely got back to work. Guillermo stayed on the roof with them to ensure the crew remained focused on the task. At the end of the day, they didn’t lose any time.

But they still had to prepare for Hurricane Isaias, which was set to make landfall that weekend. Guillermo and the team worked together to take the screens from the fence and tie down any materials that could fly away. Luckily the hurricane never hit, and his team moved everything back in place the next day. Guillermo kept the crew running efficiently and on schedule despite adding hurricane preparations to their list of tasks.

Always think ahead to resolve issues before you perform the work” – Guillermo Mendoza

Guillermo is a scheduling wizard. Before starting the AutoZone build, Guillermo created a master plan where he mapped out the project’s major milestones. During the process, he accounted for social distancing requirements by creating staggered schedules.

From there, Guillermo devised shorter-term timelines to ensure the team stayed on track. He continuously mapped out 2-week and 1-week plans as the project progressed. This tactic allowed Guillermo to zoom in on daily operations so he could address issues before they arose. In the process, Guillermo was constantly searching for ways to cut hours, like finding areas where subcontractors can work on different parts of the project simultaneously.

From Guillermo’s experience building a 12-story mid-rise in Miami, he knew which jobs he could schedule together while remaining compliant with COVID distancing rules. He scheduled accordingly and continually double-checked for more opportunities to shave time.

“The way to save time on a project is to work closely with your subcontractors and always think ahead to resolve issues before you perform the work,” Guillermo said. “You also have to be committed to your schedule and not allow yourself to fall behind.”

Back on Track and on Budget

Thanks to Guillermo’s masterful planning and management, his team executed the AutoZone job without adding extra hours to the budget. In fact, the only extra cost was $50 for straps to hold materials down during hurricane prep. The job is scheduled for completion by the mid-September deadline.

At GSD, we understand time is money and we have a track record of meeting impossible deadlines–all without cutting corners. With an experienced retail construction team that thrives in unexpected conditions, we pride ourselves on the ability to get jobs done on time and on budget.