The Big Three in Building Costs

We always advocate for getting a contractor involved early in your project to help with constructability input, provide conceptual budget estimates and other milestone pricing feedback, and control costs as the design develops.  There are also three key areas that your development team needs to make decisions that significantly impact project costs. 

One of the big three is structure type.  Multiple factors will go into your decision to go with a wood structure, block, plank, block structure with wood floor trusses, steel framing, or a hybrid.  Some of these factors are building code for your particular project, your project's location, which will affect wind load requirements, maintenance of the building in the future, long or short-term hold strategy, etc. 

The second of the big three is the mechanical system you choose.  There are many factors to consider, such as cost, future maintenance costs, what your target client may prefer, the system's life...

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A Developer’s Contractor

Last week I was sitting in a presentation with an experienced developer for a project we will be starting soon.  This same developer is currently building a facility in Columbus, Ohio, with an institutional contractor, which is not going well.

Over and over, he said, "how much of a pleasure it is to be working with a developer's contractor." We are one, but sometimes I forget what it means.  In this case, the client's architects and engineers completed the drawings and added all kinds of things that were nice, but didn't add value to the project or its future residents.  With our experience in senior living, we are able to control cost by weeding out what was not required, and we have the technical expertise to communicate effectively with the design professionals with minimal involvement from the client.  But there are other things we do, such as keeping up a...

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A Team Approach to Reduce Cost and Risk in Development

Recently, Bob Ritter, Douglas Company Director of Business Development, and I had a discussion with an architect we had worked with once in the past about progressive approaches to control costs and risks in senior living development.  This discussion ran the gamut from upfront information gathering to control risks, proper planning for development costs to ensure they are inclusive, proper construction cost budgeting, control of design to meet budgets, and control of risks during construction to help assure a project’s success. What was remarkable about this discussion was how similar our approaches were in our efforts to contribute to our clients’ success.  A team approach with the architect and contractor working with the owner to achieve project goals works, and has been increasingly accepted in the architectural community as the best way to service our clients.  As it has been our approach since inception, we are pleased to see this approach’s...

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Financial Stability – Providing You Peace of Mind

As an owner of a construction project, imagine receiving a call from your contractor telling you that they have run out of money and can’t pay for the labor or material to keep your project on schedule.  What options do you have?  The answer is, “there is no good option!” So if not having it is bad, what are the benefits of being financially stable?  It starts with making your project financing approvals quicker and easier.  Lenders want financially stable construction companies used on projects they lend on, as it helps reduce risk.  In situations where surety bonds are needed, financially stable contractors have a surety relationship that can provide for these needs without delay. Financial stability ensures during construction; the project owner is not bothered by untimely requests for money to meet cash flow needs caused by a problem on your project or worse, someone else’s project.  A financially stable contractor can...

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Cost and Risk Control in Senior Living Construction

The latest project started for Capital Health Group in January is exemplary in how The Douglas Company can control costs and risks of projects.  The previous three projects they did in Florida were bid competitively after drawings were completed, and came in 20% over budget, a significant overrun.  On two projects we were called in to solve the problem, providing them value engineering to reduce costs making the situation manageable. On the one that recently started in Dayton, we were hired as a design-build contractor.  The Douglas Company’s preconstruction processes were followed, and a guaranteed price was given off schematic drawings.  With our guaranteed price, the owner was able to close his loan prior to completion of construction documents and move the project forward at his budget. Since then, the drawings have been completed; The Douglas Company rebid the project and returned savings to the owner.  This is the way it’s meant...

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