What’s Actually Going On with Construction Prices?

It is the question everyone is asking in the construction industry right now, “What’s happening with prices, and when will it come back down?” The short answer is, no one can say for certain.

What we do know are a few key principles that can help all of us be more discerning consumers of current information:

  1. Commodity Prices do not Equal Actual Costs - Many people have taken to following publicly-traded commodity indexes to understand where things are going. While this can give us some insight; many things affect the commodity indexes besides just the actual cost of the materials. For material markets that have been hit extremely hard, turning to trusted suppliers is the only way to know where prices are and what is to come. 
  2. Supply Trumps Demand - In certain markets, such as lumber and PVC, an extreme shortage in supply is driving the price and...

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The Douglas Company announces construction is underway on the new Eastern Woods Senior affordable housing apartment community in Findlay, Ohio

The Douglas Company, an award-winning Toledo, Ohio based general contractor, announces that construction is underway on the new Eastern Woods Senior apartment community,  designed to offer affordable housing to the growing senior population in and around the Findlay, Ohio area. Pennrose Properties, LLC of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is partnering with Blanchard Valley Health System on the new development, scheduled to open in late summer 2021.

Designed by architectural firm Moody Nolan, Inc., a Columbus, Ohio based company, the development will consist of 50 senior apartment units in one three-story building, with a total square footage of 49,677. Amenities include elevator service, resident storage, fitness center, on-site management office suite, community gathering space, outdoor patio, and ample on-site parking all within the peaceful, walkable, amenity-rich Eastern Woods mixed-use campus.

"We are very excited to get started on this project, these apartments will be a much-needed community resource that will help meet...

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Fighting COVID-19 with Bi-Polar Ionization

As we continue to learn, adapt, and move forward during a global pandemic, we understand that poorly ventilated buildings are a significant risk factor in the transmission of COVID-19.  Operators and developers who are planning new senior living communities will want to consider air cleaning technology as an option for creating and maintaining cleaner indoor environments that reduce the spread of disease.

Bipolar ionization systems have been tested and found to reduce the levels of various types of airborne contaminants with a MERV equivalent of 13 without the pressure increase of MERV 13 mechanical filters.  During the cleaning process, ions attach to airborne particles like dust, dander, and pollen, subsequently increasing their mass and size. This allows the air filtration system to easily capture the larger particles, increasing the capture efficiency of the HVAC system.

In addition to health benefits, this technology can save building owners 30% on conditioning costs because it...

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What’s the New Standard in Senior Living Communities?

It’s hard to believe that it was in May that I blogged about being ready to “turn the corner” on everything that was impacting the country.  I guess I was a little impatient.  In the meantime, it is as we predicted that there would be some creative times ahead in the design and construction of senior living communities. 

We have spoken with a lot of our colleagues in the senior living operations and design community in the last couple of months to learn about what they want to implement into their future projects to increase health and safety when a contagious health crisis such as Covid-19 hits.  At the top of the list is upgraded HVAC systems to better filter airborne pathogens as well as increase fresh air circulation.  A close second is UV technology to kill microbial particles (both incorporated into HVAC systems as well as other equipment options for...

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The Growing Cost of Lumber

Perhaps one of the largest issues builders and developers are currently dealing with is the recent surge in lumber prices coupled with the scarcity of lumber materials.  According to Nasdaq’s lumber report, lumber has increased 87% since the beginning of the year, which is a staggering increase.  However, what is more, shocking is that lumber had only risen 1.6% from January 1, 2020, to July 1, 2020, but then jumped 85.4% from July 1 to August 20!  The cause is a result of diminished supplies coming out of the mills due to Covid-19 related shutdowns. At the same time, demand has remained high due to strong residential housing and multi-family construction markets. 

The magnitude of this pricing increase is putting pressures on margins for contractors, builders, and developers and could cause projects to be deferred or canceled should these increases continue into the 4th Quarter.  The question on everyone’s mind...

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The Douglas Company Donates to Nightingales Harvest for Local Food Donation

The Douglas Company, a General Contractor in Holland, Ohio, recently donated $2,100 in food donations to the Nightingales Harvest food pantry in Toledo, Ohio. The donation was made in honor of Brian McCarthy, a well-loved executive of the company who lost his battle with cancer this year.

This year the annual food drive was conducted virtually through team member's monetary donations. The donations allowed us to purchase in bulk the most-needed food items that will soon find their way into the kitchens of Toledo-area cancer patients and their families.

"The Douglas Company understands the importance of a local organization that provides food access for people in need. The donation is just one of many the company makes to charities and non-profit organizations through our Douglas Cares Program," said Nikki Lopez, Marketing Coordinator at the Douglas Company. "Our team proud to support Nightingales Harvest and their initiatives in providing food, hope,...

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The Douglas Company is pleased to announce the completion of the Legacy Ridge Memory Care Community

Legacy Ridge Memory Care

The Douglas Company, an award-winning Toledo, Ohio based general contractor specializing in multi-family, senior living, and mixed-use construction projects, is pleased to announce the completion of Legacy Ridge, a new 41,189 square foot, single-story memory care community in Gainesville, Virginia.

The Douglas Company was pleased to work alongside the developer, Dillin LLC, and architect, M&A Architects, on another exceptional senior living project. This $11.6 million community features a blend of Hardi lap siding and beautiful brick veneer and includes stylish design elements such as architectural louvers, chimney pots, and large viewing windows. The 64 units offer built-in storage and walk-in showers with single or double occupancy options available.

Legacy Ridge combines contemporary elegance with a warm, inviting environment that is sure to create the feeling of home. Mealtimes are celebrated in the full-service kitchen and multiple dining rooms, featuring relaxing fireplaces, and restaurant-style dining options. The Fitness center, salon,...

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Designing Senior Living Communities for COVID-19

Recently I had the privilege of participating in a design charrette for a new IL/AL/MC facility.  Obviously the current pandemic is on everyone’s mind.  No one knows when it will end, if the virus will morph and/or come back, or if we will someday need to deal with another similar crisis.  So the decision was made by the client that the facility needed to be designed not only to protect the residents and staff but also in such a progressive manner that the operator could use this as a strategic advantage in the marketplace.  Their concept is that they want to be known as a place safer than home-where professionals know how to keep you safe. In my experience, these discussions are just starting, so there is much to learn and will continue to be, but some of the ideas that came out were as follows:

  • Electrostatic sanitation systems.
  • Safe visitation areas.
  • A...

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Communication of Construction Delays

A recent report I came across revealed some stunning data about construction delays. According to the 2020 National Construction Payment Report (https://www.levelset.com/blog/2020-reportconstruction- wasted-time-slow-payment), “80% of construction businesses expect delays on some or all of their projects.” That is four out of five construction projects across the board that will have a delay and lose time! While it is no secret that delays are an unfortunate and often frequent problem in construction, numbers this high tells me that some conversations should be occurring on nearly all construction projects across the board that may not be happening.

Developers - Are you receiving notice letters and having open conversations about delays with your construction team? No one likes sending or receiving letters, but contracts often require them, and they don’t need to be contentious. The Douglas Company, one of our 68 documented process systems, requires that we send letters for all delay events,...

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Post Covid-19 Senior Living Communities

The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted nearly everyone and somehow touched every aspect of the world in which we live.  It will change many aspects of the senior housing industry, including not only the prospects for new development but the design and functionality of new senior living communities.  While the ramifications both short and long term are still unclear, the pandemic will not change the vast wave of baby boomers who will provide steady demand growth for senior housing for several years beginning in 2022.

Most experts within the senior living industry continue to express optimism about the long term prospects for senior housing, and particularly the assisted living, memory care, independent living and active adult segments, all of which have experienced significantly fewer cases of Covid-19 than have been realized in skilled nursing communities.

As we begin to look to the future, it seems inevitable that Covid-19 will have a lasting impact...

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COVID Construction

As our country begins to transition back to a new level of normalcy, it brings to light how fortunate we were to be able to continue to work relatively unscathed throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing us to fulfill our core purpose to contribute to the success of our clients and associates. While there is a lot of uncertainty about what all of the long term impacts this crisis will bring, I believe that it is fair to assume there will be some changes to our industry moving forward as a result of the past few months.

The virus has brought to focus on the importance of worker health and safety on our job sites, while some of the policies are tedious, it is better to be safe than sorry. It will be important to continue practicing these policies moving forward into the future to help mitigate any future waves of...

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How much will construction prices go down in the current COVID-19 recession?

The current slowdown is unfortunate in its cause, with all of the people suffering from the virus.  It is hugely disruptive to all of us both professionally and personally, but it is the reality.  Though this arose fairly quickly, our clients are intelligent, optimistic, and focused and are already asking how much prices are going to come down and when.

The best predictor of the future is usually the past, so I did some research.  RS Means, a widely respected resource for pricing in our industry, reports that the 2008-2010  recession had stable pricing, not decreasing.  I think we all know this isn’t right, so I checked the Turner Construction Company historical index.  It seems more realistic, reporting an 8.4% decrease in construction costs in 2009 and a 4.0% decrease in 2010 for a total of 12.4%  This seems more accurate.  All recessions are different.  There was a milder recession in...

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The Douglas Company announces that construction has begun on The Grove at Trelago

The Douglas Company, an award-winning Orlando, Florida based general contractor, announces that construction has begun on Vestcor Communities' newest $21 million assisted living and memory care senior housing community. The Grove at Trelago will be located along Maitland Boulevard east of I-4, with the elegant backdrop of Lake Charity.

This luxurious 113,989 square-foot assisted living and memory care community designed by PQH Group Design Inc. will be comprised of 96 assisted living units, 20 memory care studios. The Grove at Trelago will boast spacious, well-appointed studio, one and two-bedroom assisted living apartments as well as private memory care residences. The expansive resort-style community will include a fitness and wellness center, movie theatre, multiple dining options, a beauty salon, a grand atrium staircase, and areas for social and educational programming. Outdoor amenities include a resort-style pool, plantation-style porches, luxuriously landscaped courtyards, a putting green, outdoor fireplace, numerous water...

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Turning the Corner

Turning the Corner in design for senior living

Who is ready to turn the corner on everything that has been in front of us in the last couple of months?  I know I am.  While The Douglas Company has been fortunate and grateful to continue operations as an essential business during this pandemic, it has, of course, prevented me from getting out and seeing clients, prospects, and my networking partners, unfortunately.  As I’m sure many can relate, Zoom is just not the same!

That being said, and while it could have spawned from better circumstances, there will be some interesting and exciting times ahead for the design and construction of multi-family spaces in particular senior living communities. 

We have been busy in our estimating and pre-construction departments assisting clients with conceptual budget estimates and value engineering as usual and look forward to seeing more and more creative ideas on how to address health crisis type issues that can...

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BIM

What is BIM? BIM stands for Building Information Modeling; essentially, it is a software that allows the entire project team to integrate their respective components into a 3-D model. When appropriately used it can help streamline not only the design stage of a project but also the build of a project. Some of the advantages of BIM include better visualization of spaces before they are constructed reducing the amount of changes during construction, increased coordination and clash detection which can save time and avoid costly rework, increased productivity through the utilization of prefabrication, safer projects, and ultimately a higher level of quality throughout the building. Some of the disadvantages to BIM are it can be costly and lead to additional time in the design stage of the project, as well as, finding subcontractor’s/firms that are experienced in the software can also be challenging. As our world continues to evolve through...

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Third Party Plan Reviews & Inspections

One of the biggest challenges the construction industry has faced over the past few years is the ever-increasing difficulty to have project plans reviewed in a timely manner, with a fair and reasonable critique of the documents for code compliance, and at a reasonable cost.  Further frustrations have been experienced in dealing with building departments having a shortage of qualified building inspectors to conduct timely onsite building inspections when the contractor schedules them.  This all led Florida to pass legislation allowing for developers to use private, third-party plan review and building inspection services.   Florida Statute 553.791 passed in 2019, allowing developers to hire a qualified independent provider to review their plans in place of the traditional route of submitting them into the local building department.  It also permits the developers to hire independent providers for building inspections instead of relying on the often overburdened local building department officials. 

In addition to...

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COVID-19 Impacts on The Construction Industry

The COVID-19 pandemic has the spotlight of construction industry news across the county right now. Rightfully so, as it has been extremely disruptive to developers, contractors, and suppliers alike. While there is great debate on how to address the spread of the disease, all of us in the AEC industry are trying to determine what we should be paying attention to. For those involved in a large construction project presently, no matter what role, it is suggested to think about a few things:

Safety Measures - By now, most of us are familiar with the term "Social Distancing" and the importance of handwashing, but there is more than that. OSHA has devoted a separate webpage for the standards from 29 CFR that apply to this outbreak and reminded us that this is a recordable event. Do not count on anyone to provide these measurements for you or your associates;...

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The Douglas Company Coronavirus Response

A Message from Our President, Pete Douglas

Our number one priority at The Douglas Company is to support the safety and well-being of our clients, associates, families, and communities while maintaining the highest level of service. As COVID-19 impacts us all nationwide, we’d like to take the time to inform you of the steps that we are taking to ensure continuity of service as we protect our clients and associates. Our goal is to do our part in the global community to prevent the spread of the virus, while still providing our clients with the highest level of service we can under the circumstances. Each one of us must do our part.

To ensure an appropriate and timely response to a quickly evolving situation, The Douglas Company team will continue to monitor COVID-19 coverage closely, adapting as needed to the evolving situation and keeping clients and associates informed of our company’s response....

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Active Adult Senior Communities

As I talk with both senior living and multi-family developers, there is a big focus and many questions relating to “active adult” or “age-restricted’ apartments.  It makes sense for many reasons, but the average age of entry stands out the most.  Today the average age at which a person moves into traditional senior housing is 85, with an average length of stay just over six years.

The move-in age for active adult communities is in the low to mid-70's.  The oldest members of the baby boomer generation, those born in 1946, are just now turning 74.  This creates a true opportunity to capture a younger senior demographic ten years earlier than traditional senior living facilities.

Boomers considering active adult communities prefer renting over owning to provide them with economic and logistical flexibility.  They are attracted by a sense of community and are healthy enough to not need traditional care-based senior housing.  At...

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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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