Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative

Erin, TN

Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative

For their new office and warehouse facility, Meriwether Lewis Electric Cooperative contracted for a large metal structure of pre-engineered components designed to their specifications. In many ways, it was a straightforward build, but with a few twists.


Scheduled during a rainy winter and spring, construction was often hampered by the weather. Faced with saturated soils on the site, Architect Brian Sabla of CT Consultants explained that the construction team “decided to over-excavate and fill the footprint of the building up with stone. And given what the water was doing to the soil conditions when we were paving, we had to over-excavate and put some stone in there”

Better drainage allowed them to proceed more quickly, and as the Meriwether Lewis President Keith Carnahan noted, had the added benefit of helping to alleviate drainage issues in the future.


With the best bid on the project, but still a little above what Meriwether Lewis had budgeted, Carden Company worked with the client and the architect to suggest changes that would reduce costs without diminishing quality. Architect Sabla was pleased with Carden’s willingness to “work with us on some value engineering options to take some of the money out of the project. Overall they did a good job on the costs. Like on any project, some things come up – peg A doesn’t fit slot B and you have to swap out some pieces or order something extra and take something back. For the most part, when things came up they just handled them and took care of them without any cost.”

President Carnahan was also satisfied with how the budget was managed: “The good thing is when we bid the project out, they were the low bidder and they didn’t come back and say, well we missed this and we missed that, so project costs go up…We had some time slippage, but even with that they were able to meet their budget.”

Management and Communication

Initially, Carden had weekly calls with the client and architect for status updates. “As we got further into the project we moved it to a couple of weeks,” said Carnahan. “Overall the communication was very good. If anything came up between those times, they didn’t wait – they’d reach out right away so we could get it resolved as quickly as possible.”

He summed up, “We had a great working relationship with Carden, and I would recommend them. I definitely would. They did a good job for us.”