Creating Superior Interiors

Terlin Construction

“Both of my grandfathers were carpenters, my father was a carpenter, and I’m a carpenter,” says Mr. McLaughlin, who spent years in the construction industry prior to founding Terlin Construction in 1989. As an ambitious teenager, he did small contracting jobs, and moved from installing and repairing doors and windows to working with his father on single rural homes and agricultural buildings. In his twenties, Mr. McLaughlin gained experience as a project manager / project superintendent for several large developers in Ottawa, yet maintained his goal of starting his own company at age 30. As fate would have it, he got his wish when his multi-unit residential employer went bankrupt when he was 29.

“I thought to myself at the time, ‘Twenty-nine, thirty, it’s about the same thing, so I started up the business,” says the third-generation carpenter. “By that time, I was really getting sick of mud and snow. We always started our projects on the banks of the Rideau River, and we would always seem to start them in November or December… When you’re trying to do footings and concrete, you think, ‘There’s got to be a better life.’”

Today, mud-caked work boots and icy fingers are a thing of the past for Terry McLaughlin and Terlin Construction, who works on projects valued up to $5 million in the Eastern Ontario area as well as across Canada. With a skilled staff of about 60 individuals, the company has grown over the past 24 years into an industry leader, immediately recognized for its superior quality interior construction work for prestigious retail, commercial and institutional clients, like Shoppers Drug Mart, The Royal Canadian Mint, Tim Hortons, Best Buy, Future Shop, Canadian Tire, the Reitmans chain of apparel stores, countless medical and dental offices, and many other quality national brands.

The company, which recently started working with respected coffee and tea retailer chain Second Cup, remains unique in the construction industry. Distinguished by its end-to-end approach to interior construction and a reputation for quality, reliability and on-time / on-budget project delivery, Terlin is able to meet the complete needs and exacting specifications of all clients. Unlike general contractors who need to contract out millwork for custom display fixtures, reception counters specialized medical / dental cabinets and more, Terlin Construction maintains its own separate shop to design, fabricate, and install high quality, custom-made products and finishes.

Fully bonded and insured, the company is dedicated to quality, professionalism, and safety on all work sites. From start to finish, the company is able to handle every aspect of interior construction, often working under challenging time constraints in occupied spaces to ensure customer satisfaction every time.

Challenges of Interior Retail Spaces

Unlike general contractors working on a house renovation – where the homeowner is usually forgiving if the project runs a few days over schedule – Mr. McLaughlin and his team at Terlin Construction realize that to retailers, institutional clients, doctors and dentists, lost time means lost revenue. “When the business has to open, it has to open,” he says. “That’s their trademark on the line, and it has to be right.” In all his years in business, Mr. McLaughlin cannot recall a single one of his store renovations or constructions opening late, although he does recall a number of occasions when shops were completed ahead of schedule, much to the delight of the owners.

For some contractors, working in a retail setting is simply overwhelming, but not for Terlin, who has scheduling, documentation and the entire building process down to a science. Since the company has specs of materials and layouts used for previous projects, everything from checkouts to paint colour and the type of tiles used on the floor is recorded, and no time is wasted. As a result, the customer is often overwhelmed by the results. In many cases, Terlin will work overnight or around the clock to get a job done on time for clients like McDonald’s restaurants, which recently saw staff on-site 24 hours a day.

“The work we do is not always about price, it’s about value,” says Mr. McLaughlin, who has formed many long-term relationships with clients. “We want them to know they can be comfortable and trust us.” With complete commercial interior renovations and fit-ups to custom design services and custom millwork, Terlin also offers its clients a dedicated service department to keep their businesses operating in peak condition. Formed in 2007, this division offers outstanding repair and emergency service 24/7, making things easier for all clients, who need not look elsewhere for maintenance work.

Medical and Dental Office Expertise

Along with working for name-brand retailers like Shoppers Drug Mart, Pizza Pizza, Best Buy, Future Shop, Canadian Tire, Staples and Tim Hortons, Terlin Construction is also known for its skills as a leader in the medical and dental field.

Realizing that the appearance of their office is often a key factor to success, many medical professionals call on Terlin to create interior spaces which are not only functional, but in which clients can relax. In the case of the Villanova Dental Studio, Mr. McLaughlin and his staff followed the lead of Kanata-area client Dr. Barakat, who envisioned not just a dental office, but a luxurious and welcoming space with curved walls, where patients could relax and where advanced dental techniques could be practiced. By carefully listening to the client and working with a team of talented designers, Terlin Construction was able to transform the doctor’s vision into reality, and help him turn his dream into a stylish, modern medical practice.

The Villanova Dental Studio sees patients welcomed into a stunning reception area with a flowing waterfall, a comfortable and inviting living room, and a high-ceilinged clinical area outfitted with iPod docks, massage chairs, and ceiling televisions in each operatory, making the patient experience as pleasant as possible.

Fulfilling Client Visions

From inception to completion to handover to maintenance, Terlin Construction strives to attain the highest possible standards and complete customer satisfaction with every project. In business for over two decades, the company has formed many valuable partnerships with interior designers, architects, engineers, suppliers, and many others to create teams dedicated to realizing and fulfilling the vision, requirements and specialized needs of all clients.

Getting it right from the start is the key to a successful project, and Terlin works with the most reputable and experienced interior designers to ensure an optimal design. By partnering with some of Canada’s finest talent, the company is able to seamlessly integrate design integrity, architectural form and function, and precision engineered elements to create interiors which are aesthetically pleasing, well-designed, safe, and built to last.

“There are very few architects who would not tell you we are their preferred contractor,” says Mr. McLaughlin. “Customer service is what really sets us apart.” Recently, Terlin received accolades from a client for the team’s superior work on a dental clinic renovation and expansion, which the company successfully reduced from three stages to two, with the client able to open the office several weeks early.” We are the experts at that,” comments Mr. McLaughlin. “If you take a job like this to a traditional general contractor, they’ll never figure it out.” Realizing they are often working in public, occupied spaces, staff and subcontractors also dress appropriately and uphold the highest of professional standards to make clients and patrons more comfortable while work is underway.

Since it opened its doors in 1989, Terlin Construction has successfully completed projects with national retail chains across Eastern Ontario, Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg and Halifax. A proud member of the Canadian Construction Association (CCA), the Ottawa Construction Association (OCA), the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) as well as many other associations, for many years Terlin Construction has been the only general contractor who is a full member of the Retail Council of Canada (RCC). “We promote that we understand retail construction, and that we’re the specialist, so it is important to support their organization too,” says Mr. McLaughlin. “It helps me to have a better idea of how their world functions, and helps with my business and internal training.”

A great believer in giving back to the community, Terlin Construction has been an active supporter of dozens of local charities and service organizations across Ottawa and eastern Ontario for over two decades; Mr. McLaughlin’s wife, Catherine, is actively involved in fundraising for children’s hospitals, schools, and other groups. As for the future of the company, the family is optimistic about transitioning the successful business to the next generation; Terry’s 24-year-old son who already works in the office, and another son is presently in business school. Built on three generations of construction tradition, it looks like Terlin Construction will carry on the family commitment to quality for generations to come.

September 23, 2017, 5:46 PM EDT

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