Don’t Get Soft on Wood Buildings

Wood structures seem to have gotten a bad rap the last few years. It’s not entirely their fault. The skyrocketing land costs have pushed projects to go to more stories than a conventional wood frame building allows to get the number of units needed. Massive price hikes and volatility of material costs have also made it a less desirable building material to use.

Throughout the years The Douglas Company has proudly worked hard to build as much of our work out of wood as possible. We thought we should revisit the good reasons and tactics for doing so that still exist today.

Wood framing is simply faster than other methods. Modular and panelized systems abound in our industry now, but none of them from our experience go up faster than a wood-framed structure. Despite some of the scary lead times we’ve seen over the last two years, wood framing materials involve many...

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The Douglas Company Finishes $28 Million Multifamily Development Ahead of Schedule

Holland, Ohio, July 14, 2022 - The Douglas Company has recently completed construction of The Sagefield, a new multifamily residential development located in the heart of Jacksonville, Florida. This luxury residential community includes 234 spacious one-bedroom, two-bedroom, and three-bedroom units in two 4-story apartment buildings and two 2-story carriage homes with tuck-under garages. The Douglas Company served as general contractor for the $28 million upscale development.

Real estate developer Chance Partners, LLC chose Dynamik Design Partners as the architect for the 274,590 square-foot space. The architecture features a contemporary farmhouse design, with gabled rooflines, vertical siding, and a striking dark red, charcoal, and white color scheme. Apartment upgrades include stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, Smart Home technology, sleek wood-like flooring, 10-foot ceilings, and upscale finishes.                         

“It was a pleasure working with Chance Partners to provide such high-quality residential housing to northern Jacksonville,” said Brian Carter, project manager for The Douglas Company....

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As Boring as Dirt – Understanding Your Site Construction Options

It is easy to focus on the building cost per square foot in the preconstruction process, but the site costs can make or break a project. Too often we see scope creep on the project site after the initial site plan, and it takes asking the right questions and getting creative to bring these costs back in line.

As your civil plans develop and soils reports become available, make sure you’re asking the design team these questions:

  • Grading - Are the buildings at the right elevation? The finished floor level is usually set early in the design process, but as more requirements become known it may not be the right height anymore. Raising/lowering a finished floor level can help reduce soil import/export, and can have positive impacts on your storm sewer layout as well. 
  • Deep Foundations/Undercuts - It seems that poor soils are an issue on most projects we are looking at...

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The Douglas Company Completes $44 Million Harper’s Station Luxury Retirement Community

Holland, Ohio, July 6, 2022 - Harper’s Station is a new state-of-the-art senior living community in the Gainesville, Virginia area. The 55+ retirement community offers spacious, well-appointed independent living, assisted living, and memory care apartments along with residential cottage homes and a wide variety of amenities and services. The Douglas Company served as general contractor for the $44 million upscale senior living community.

Co-Developers, Bourne Financial Group and Sage Development Group, selected John Marc Tolson Architecture to design the 192-unit community. The 244,400 square-foot Harper's Station consists of a 3-story main building and three villa buildings comprising seven units. The amenity-rich community offers a variety of options for residents to enjoy, including a heated indoor swimming pool, grand dining room, coffee shop, bistro, library, salons, fitness center, game room, yoga studio, putting green, exterior fireplace, fire pits, and a gazebo. Architecturally, all buildings provide 360º architectural treatments that include high-quality...

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Technology Advances in Construction

As the world continues to evolve with technology, so too does the construction industry, albeit at a much slower rate. Looking back over the last 15 years, it is incredible to think about how much technology has changed in our daily lives. Smartphones weren’t very prevalent and the first generation of the iPhone had just been released. Businesses used fax machines instead of email to transmit information, very few people knew what the cloud was, and drones, as we know them today, didn’t exist.

As it relates to the construction industry, 15 years ago I can remember physically mailing sets of drawings out to people for them to bid jobs and waiting for their faxed bid to come through. People used an actual camera to take pictures, and submittals were wet stamped and mailed to the design team for their review.

All of the efficiencies gained through technology really are fascinating. To...

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The Douglas Company Names Three Lead Estimators

Holland, Ohio, June 21, 2022 - The Douglas Company is pleased to announce that Andrew Barger, Rey Rodriguez, and Matthew Upton have all been promoted from project estimator to lead estimator. These well-deserved promotions come as the company’s preconstruction departments are working harder than ever to keep projects on track in preconstruction through a challenging market, and getting more creative and proactive in keeping project prices under control.

As lead estimators, these professionals will manage the entire preconstruction process from concept to contract including taking the lead on preconstruction calls, meetings, and presentations. Along with this huge jump in responsibility, they will continue to meet the needs of our clients and work with the assembled team to keep projects on time and within budget.

 “We are proud to promote Andrew, Rey and Matthew as lead estimators,” said Peter Douglas, president of The Douglas Company. “Our company is committed to providing quality preconstruction...

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How The Douglas Company’s proactive approach keeps projects on schedule

In today's construction world, more and more time and resources are spent on scheduling, and with good reason, too. With the high cost of construction loans and general conditions, contractors and developers alike can agree that the sooner we hand over a building the better for all those involved. Project milestones, proper sequencing, and task and crew logic are all scheduling terms that are thrown around on a weekly basis when discussing how we get the job done as soon as possible.

But what if I told you there was something else besides scheduling that can hold up progress on your project just as much as a missing drywall crew or bad schedule logic? Wouldn’t that be something we need to be cognizant of?

I am talking about inspections, of course. Inspections are a necessary step in the construction process to provide a third-party audit that the work meets all code requirements...

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The Douglas Company announces construction of Hearthstone Wildwood in Florida

Holland, OH, June 1, 2022 – The Douglas Company, an award-winning general contractor, is pleased to announce that construction has begun on the $18.2 million Hearthstone Wildwood senior living community in Oxford, Florida. Developed by Wildwood Senior Housing RE, LLC. and situated on the doorstep of the world-famous 55+ retirement community “The Villages”, Hearthstone will be comprised of 36 memory care units and 94 assisted living units for a total count of 130 units.

Forum Architecture & Interior Design Inc. designed the 83,000 square-foot complex with a two-story assisted living building and a one-story specialized memory care facility. Welcoming in-house amenities will include a salon, fitness center, library, theater/multipurpose room, bar/bistro, private dining, and multiple courtyards landscaped to enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Construction is expected to be completed in the spring of 2023.

“We are excited to be working with the owner, Wildwood Senior Housing, and their partner, Nvision Development, to bring...

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Capital Investment Remains Strong in the Active Adult Space

Some developers and investors are unsure about committing to new senior living developments amid rising construction costs and interest rates, while others remain bullish on building new communities figuring that demand will be outpacing supply for the foreseeable future. I have even heard from some clients that they really push to get new developments going in this environment when other potential new projects may be holding off which gives them a leg up in a given market. 

One segment that continues to gain steam is active adult according to a recent article in Seniors Housing Business’ April Edition. Active adult communities target those 55 years old and older that are ready to rid themselves of all things associated with home ownership, but are young and healthy enough that they don’t require assistance with daily living activities. These communities are not as labor- or service-based as an assisted living community because they...

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Protecting wood framing during construction provides peace of mind

As we move into the rainy season, it’s important to revisit best practices of protecting wood from the elements during construction. Previously, we used to rely on just-in-time deliveries which would limit the amount of time our framing materials were subject to the weather prior to being covered up. With today’s market environment, we find ourselves ordering materials early and storing them on site so that we can be productive as we start building and not run out of material along the way. This has led to lumber being stored for longer periods than we are used to.  It’s important that this is taken into consideration as we construct our projects and that we don’t allow deterioration of our building products to occur. 

First, develop a plan early to deal with these issues in order to reduce the risk of mold and product deterioration. Ensure that your storage area is well...

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The Douglas Company begins ninth construction project with Kaplan Development

Holland, OH, May 5, 2022 – General Contractor, The Douglas Company, is proud to announce the beginning of construction on its ninth project with owner, Kaplan Development Group, LLC. The $15.9 million, All American at Tinton Falls is a 58,000 square-foot, 58 unit assisted living and memory care community in Tinton Falls, New Jersey.

Designed by EGA Architects, All American of Tinton Falls will offer quality senior living with a vast array of amenities including an interior courtyard, double-sided fireplace, salon, beauty parlor, bistro, and media room. Construction completion is scheduled for June 2023.

“The Douglas Company is honored to once again work with the professional team at Kaplan Development,” said Dylan Lewis, assistant project manager for The Douglas Company. “The All American communities are uniquely designed with senior independence in mind and we are proud to deliver this distinctive project to Tinton Falls.”

The Douglas Company

The Douglas Company is headquartered in Holland,...

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“IT’S TOUGH TO MAKE PREDICTIONS, ESPECIALLY ABOUT THE FUTURE”
– Yogi Berra

Everywhere I go people are asking what’s going to happen with construction prices, and they are right to ask.  I visited with a prospective client this month and he told me that construction prices on his prototype increased 46% in two years, which was shocking to him and a little surprising to me.  We are tracking prices in our Florida office and our records indicate costs are up 30% in 14 months, 2% per month, so I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.  Everywhere we look subcontractors are backing out of quotes and/or raising prices, and even once under contract don’t always honor prices.  Materials and labor availability is a whole other issue.  It’s hard to believe these increases can continue, but I don’t see any signs of relief. 

The above doesn’t make our jobs any easier or more enjoyable.  We hate giving bad news to our clients on costs, but...

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Driving Rents With Amenities

The multi-family market has certainly evolved over the last several years. From the types of amenities renters demand, to an influx of new single family build to rent communities.  Not to mention the changing renter demographic.  While millennials make up one of the largest rental cohorts, the age 55+ Baby Boomers are selling their homes and opting for a more convenient lifestyle.

According to Forbes, in the last decade, the multifamily market has experienced hyper growth. Even during the pandemic, 2020 saw a 50% increase in multifamily units, compared to that of 2019. Rents in multifamily housing markets have continued to climb.  Yardi Matrix reported in February that year over year rent growth increased 15.4% and occupancy rates of 96.9%, surpassing the previous record of 96.5% in 2000. 

Today’s renters are demanding more and different amenities.  This includes everything from storage areas or lockers for packages, trash valet services, community dog parks...

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The Douglas Company Announces the Completion of Construction on Maumee Pointe!

Holland, OH, April 5, 2022 – The Douglas Company proudly announces the completion of Maumee Pointe, a new assisted living and memory care community developed by Sage Real Estate Development of Rochester, New York. The Douglas Company served as the general contractor for the $13.6 million community conveniently located at Side Cut Crossings in Maumee, Ohio.

Designed by Davison Smith Certo Architects, Inc., the new Maumee Pointe is a 69,310 square-foot assisted living and memory care community consisting of a single-story building including 22 memory care units for individuals with dementia-related conditions and a two-story assisted living building offering 58 one-bedroom suites for those needing assisted living services. The new community boasts numerous upscale amenities, including an arts and crafts area, spa, chapel, bistro and dining area, wellness center, sunroom, and lounges, two exterior courtyards, a fire pit, and a greenhouse.

“As The Douglas Company continues to fulfill the demand for senior...

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March Madness!

Usually March is good for two things in the North, March Madness and spring weather. This spring is a little slower than years past as construction material pricing has been surging for some time and now oil pricing is also surging which is only adding more fuel to the fire.  So just like my March Madness bracket, I am sure everyone’s budgets are busted right now which is leading to some project starts sliding.

While we have been dealing with the pricing fluctuations to the best of our ability for the past year, once we get past that hurdle we then have to overcome the supply chain issues. This is taking a lot more pre-project planning as some materials are simply just not available in the time frame in which we need them to meet the schedule. With being a traveling GC, we have been able to foster relationships in many...

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Spanning the Truss Shortage

There have been many challenges in the construction industry over the past 24 months, but one that has surprised many developers and builders is the unavailability of wood trusses. A problem that seemingly started to appear at the very end of 2021 has now shockingly escalated into lead times measured in months and even years.  I’ve had truss and lumber vendors provide insights into how this situation came to be, and two reasons have been mentioned consistently.  One cause was a shortage of truss gusset plates that caused a bottleneck to the production lines.  The other, and likely the bigger contributor to the shortage, is that many truss manufacturers presold their production capacity to the homebuilders, who all have voluminous production targets for 2022.  I have been advised that the truss vendors have configured their production lines to quickly and efficiently crank out single-family and townhome trusses and have little...

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We are Tired of Bad News Too!

M.A. Mortenson (a very large construction company) says construction prices increased 19.2% last year. ROMAC (a very large building product supplier in Florida) says that on average, materials for a house from mid-December to mid-January went up 12%. Already subcontractors are telling us that they are booked for the year. Truss suppliers, who traditionally have had 2 to 4 weeks fab and deliver times, are out to October, making projects challenging to start and maintain continuous construction. The price of Ready-mix is up by $10 - $20 a cubic yard in the last couple of months, and drywall has been going up approximately 10% a month. 

I am tired of delivering bad news. Everyone knows prices are going up, but it is shocking the extent they are going up. Our clients seem to be getting numb to increases, and they are no longer even asking what I expect in...

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