Recently I read an article by Dodge Data & Analytics regarding the expected rise in green construction globally. According to the article, over half of the 2,000 respondents in The World Green Building Trends 2018 report expect to see 60% of the projects across the globe to be green by 2021. In the US, it is expected to increase from 32% to 45% by 2021. Some of the reasons for the increase include increased client demands, improving environmental regulations, and healthier buildings for residents. With the expected increase in green construction, interestingly the percentages of projects that get certified are not expected to increase. Within The Douglas Company’s portfolio, we have built one LEED Silver Certified project, the Department of Veteran Affairs in Fayetteville, NC, and two other Department of Veteran Affairs in Toledo, OH, and Rochester, NY are LEED Silver Equivalent. Our experience with LEED projects allows The Douglas Company to implement the...Read More >
The Douglas Company. We are a Developer’s Contractor.
But what does that mean? It means quite simply that we exclusively work with developers. We do not bid government projects or work with large corporations, retailers, etc. We work with developers to assist them in making their vision become a reality. Being a developer’s contractor means we have the experience, knowledge, and personnel to get involved early in projects and work on a collaborative basis with the design team and owners. Not everyone plays well with others but when you do it on a regular basis in the conceptual stages like we do, you get good at it and see the positive results it brings to a project and all involved. If you want a general contractor to sit on the sidelines while drawings are completed and then bid on that final set of drawings you are missing out on a very beneficial strategy to save time (which is, of course,...Read More >
The Impact of Tariffs on Construction Costs
As everyone knows, there is a lot of controversy regarding trade and tariffs. It is impacting the stock markets both domestically and internationally, and dramatically. Recently I have been hearing of subcontractors qualifying their bids in our Florida market for the impact of tariffs, so I decided to do some research to find out what people, including the press, are saying about the impact. In the past year or two, tariffs have been imposed on Canadian lumber, which did affect that pricing. This past summer, tariffs were rendered on Chinese steel, which had a dramatic effect on those prices. The steel increases are interesting, since less than 1% of our domestic steel comes from China, and in fact, we export more steel to China than we import. But that is in the past. The question has to be, what can we anticipate coming up in the future, and should I be...Read More >
Delivering “Peace of Mind”
As one of The Douglas Company’s core values, “Peace of Mind” is something that we take very seriously. One of the key components to delivering “Peace of Mind” is timely and effective communication to ensure that clients are not surprised by unexpected events, delays or issues during their project. While we cannot prevent unexpected events, clients hire The Douglas Company for our ability to foresee potential challenges to their project, keep them informed, and offer a solution to deal with situations before they become a surprise. Many times these are not easy conversations to have with clients, but they are crucial. Part of The Douglas Company’s on-going training and development program, all of our Project Managers, Assistant Project Managers, Superintendents, Estimating Staff, Business Development and Senior Management will be participating in a 3-hour seminar focused on “Building Better Customer Communication”. Individually and collectively, all of us are committed to enhancing our communication...Read More >
Important Concepts in Scheduling
The project schedule is a given for any construction project. For the project team, particularly the Project Manager, it is the most important tool in setting priorities for the team. For all other stakeholders in the project, it can be an incredibly useful tool as well. In order to take advantage of this however, there are a few important concepts to understand and to ask your contractor about regularly:
- Progressive Elaboration - This is a concept that many schedules take advantage of, it involves bringing additional detail into the project schedule as it becomes available; typically as the team comes closer to performing the work. For instance, it is not reasonable to expect a project team to have a detailed breakdown and sequence assigned to the finishes portion of the schedule at ground break, but that portion of the schedule should look much different when you're wrapping up drywall work. ... Read More >
Virtual Reality in Construction
Recently I read an interesting article regarding the implementation of virtual reality into construction. It is fascinating to think about all the changes in technology our industry has experienced throughout the past few decades, and how it continues to evolve. One of the popular trends in our industry is utilizing 3D modeling software like BIM in the design phase. It provides that added visualization element in an effort to assist with identifying clashes, as well as, providing a glance at what the end product will be. Throughout the article, it mentioned how virtual reality will take 3D modeling one step further allowing Developers, Designers, and Contractors the ability to walk through the spaces and “feel” the spaces before they are even built. This will allow for Developers to get a better sense of what their spaces will look like beyond that of a design board, set of plans, etc., which would...Read More >
Design Build, the Future?
The primary design method used in the construction industry is design-bid-build, which is where a Developer hires a design team to complete design documents and also hires a contractor, under a separate contract, to build off those documents. An alternative to this approach is a design-build contract which is where the Developer hires a single entity, often times a contractor, to take on the building and design responsibilities for their project. In a recent study performed by FMI, they are projecting by 2021 the design-build delivery method to reach nearly half (44%) of the construction put in place which would be an increase of 18% from today. That is a rather large increase in only a three-year span. Why the shift? Design-build promotes more of a collaborative/team approach, working together to meet the developer’s schedule and budget, whereas the more conventional design-bid-build, tends to be a little more contentious between the...Read More >
When is a “Clash” a Positive Thing?
When is a “Clash” a positive thing? Your first response would likely be never, and most likely everyone would agree that conflicts and clashes are not a positive thing. In construction, the term Clash is used to refer to design interferences found between various building system components in our project buildings that will cause installation issues in the field when trades are installing their systems during a project. As buildings get more complex and the designs add considerable architectural features while attempting to minimize cost resulting in less space to install the infrastructure inside the building, we find more and more project system clashes. This dichotomy of project goals typically results in a multitude of clashes between our structural components, mechanical, electrical and fire protection systems that aren’t always identified by the design professionals. Clashes of this type are found on most projects and if not dealt with before mobilizing to build...Read More >