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Building a Garage: An Interview with Lawson WIlliams of Cardinal Buildings

By Lawson Williams

About Cardinal Buildings:

No matter how large a home may be, eventually many people realize that they do not have enough space, so their house space needs to be extended. Cardinal Buildings provides options to answer to that need, while meeting a wide range of price points. We have been active in the Raleigh community for 8 years, having a long list of local businesses, churches and organizations which have benefited from our assistance with their storage needs.

Cardinal Buildings is committed to offering quality construction, exceptional customer service, and contribution to our local community. We pride ourselves on being a Christian business, and treating all of our customers in a courteous, respectful manner, while offering a wide range of storage solutions at an excellent value.

What Services do You Provide?

Cardinal Buildings offers storage solutions. We are a full-service, custom builder of garages, workshops and storage sheds. In addition to construction, we offer design services. We offer buildings from as small as a portable 8 x 8 to a double or triple 2-story garage, completely finished out, with walls, cabinetry, plumbing and, electrical.

Question to Ask Your Contractor:

  • Does the contractor have a brick and mortar location where the customers can visit and see displays of constructed buildings, and materials? It is important to know what one is buying and know that it will be easy to contact the builder after the sale and construction.
  • Does the builder have plans to choose from and are the engineered plans customizable? The customers want to have the opportunity to make their building uniquely theirs, not be forced into one of a few stock plans.
  • Does the builder handle building permits? The builder should be familiar with the many restrictions and requirements, and should have a comfortable relationship with the permit office staff, relieving the customers of the time and hassles.
  • Is the builder/contractor licensed or insured for the contracted job? Without a builder with proper insurance, the homeowner effectively become the contractor, and could be liable for any property damages or injuries.
  • What will be the timeframe for construction? While it is impossible to get an exact commitment given unpredictable weather conditions, the customers should have a good idea when the construction should start and how long until completion, as well as any variances which could impact the schedule.
  • What warranties are included? In addition to manufacturers' warranties, what warranties are on the construction? Is there a lifetime service warranty?
  • How will change orders be handled? The process should involve a clear contract, determined to be fair to both parties.

General Garage Construction Process:

The first and most important step is planning, deciding the purpose, size and desired style of the building. Is the building for storage, vehicles, a workshop, living area or combination? The second most important step is designing a building that will meet the functional need, while at the same time will become an attractive asset to the property, meeting all the municipal or HOA requirements. The third is having the building constructed to the customer's satisfaction, in a timely manner, while controlling expenses.

  1. Consultation and Design: A Cardinal Building Designer will meet with the customers, listen to their ideas and help them determine what size and style of building will work best for the customers' needs, budget, and property. We will suggest enhancements or design ideas based on the conversation, and our years of experience. We will provide a wide sample of existing plans and make any modifications tailored to suit tastes and functionality.
  2. Communications: The customers will be assigned a contact person, who will keep them informed throughout the process and answer any questions that arise.
  3. Scheduling: Cardinal Buildings knows that scheduling is essential to every project. In order for a project to run efficiently, the project manager schedules each phase, including building inspections.
  4. Foundation Preparation: A crew comes in and prepares the area for the foundation installation. Flooring is installed, meeting all local building code requirements. For sheds, solid wooden flooring is installed, and leveled on the site.
  5. Materials: After the foundation is ready, we schedule for the materials to be delivered to construct the building. We use high-quality materials from trusted manufacturers. Whenever improved products are introduced to the market, Cardinal Buildings incorporates them into our construction. We blend the new construction to the customers' home by matching roofing, paint and windows. Our experienced carpentry crew comes in and constructs a custom building, using siding to complement the exterior of the customers' property. Our professional roofing contractors will install the roof, with 25 year shingles or 30 year architectural shingles in a choice of colors, over felt.
  6. Electrical & Plumbing: If electrical capability is part of the project, the electrician will come in to install electrical wiring, after the building is walled in. If climate control is important, an HVAC system can be installed. Plumbing fixtures can also be added.
  7. Doors: Garage and/or walk in doors are installed, with many attractive and functional styles from which to choose.
  8. Clean up: Upon completion of the building, our crew will clean up any debris.
  9. Final Inspection: The builder and customer will inspect the building together to make sure everything is to the customers' satisfaction.

Common Issues When Building Garages:

  • Customers who have not fully thought out what they want or need or adequately convey their needs. For Cardinal Buildings, communication plays a major role in customer satisfaction.
  • Municipality or HOA restrictions, which can typically be handled at the project planning stage.
  • Unforeseen issues with the property such as wet areas, areas with boulders underneath the soil.
  • Interference with the homeowner's time, privacy or usage of the area during construction. We take care to respect our customers' time, space and property.
  • Changes in the plan or scope of work, after the project commences. This can be handled through open communication and status reports during the process.
  • As a contractor, please describe your ideal relationship with the homeowner for whom you are working: Open communication from the very beginning is the key. Both parties are in agreement as to what the customers want, the anticipated schedule, the agreed upon pricing, job status and customer satisfaction throughout the process.
  • What advice do you have for the homeowner during this process? Garages, sheds and workshops are built to last for years, and are both an extension of the home as well as an investment. Don't cut corners in areas where they will regret it later. Look for the best value, not necessarily the lowest price that fully meets their needs. Find a company that they can trust, who will build a quality building and be there in the future standing behind their product.
  • What is your ideology when designing/building a garage or shed? Cardinal Buildings works for the customer, building a relationship as well as a garage or shed. We want a customer pleased with the interaction with our employees and happy with the end product. A well constructed building at a good value will please the customer and insure our business success. Unless we deserve a rave review, we have not done our job.

Contact Info:

Customers can call us at 919 771-2833, complete a request form at, or stop by our display lot and showroom on East Business Hwy 70, Garner, 2 miles off exit 306 off I-40 towards Clayton. The owner, Lawson Williams offers free home consultations as well. You can call him directly at 919 422-5670, or email him at

Click here to see more at our Raleigh Garage Builder site.

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