Wolgast Blog

Certificate of Need and Your Design/Build Contractor

Posted by Cory Sursely on Tue, Nov 24, 2020 @ 03:45 PM

Ambulatory Surgery CenterUpdated 11/24/20: The controversial Certificate of Need (CON) program in Michigan is in question through several new bills that passed the Michigan Senate in February 2020.  It has yet to be decided in the House.  The debate has been ongoing and seems to be getting more and more heated with those against it arguing for an open market approach to drive down cost and those for it are claiming that the medical industry needs to be regulated to keep a high standard of care at an affordable cost.

Furthermore, as we hear in the news more often, medical groups are having difficulty securing their CON in saturated Metro Areas of Michigan because a premise of the CON has been to drive medical care to regions where there is less medical access.  A positive note is, due to regionalism and urban sprawl, there are new populated pockets where medical services are less saturated and CONs are still available.

As a Design/Builder that has been through the CON process several times with our medical group clients, we wanted to offer you some insider tips to getting through the application.  First and foremost, it’s important to build your team of CON/Design/Construction experts before you even look for your property.  Enlist your CON consultant and contractor to help you find an area that has CON capacity and also will accommodate your building/parking lot size.  Additionally, you’re architect plays a big role during the application period as you’ll need to submit schematic drawings, project narrative, site development plan and design fees, in the CON submittal package.  The contractor provides the estimated cost of the project, which is also required with the application.  And, obviously, having a CON consultant on the team provides an expert when navigating around the requirements and bringing all the necessary documentation together with accuracy, so that there are no setbacks from missing or incorrect information during the application process.  It could save you two weeks or more in your review time and provide insider know-all advantages.

When you work with Wolgast Corporation as your design/build expert, we already have an established team of architect, engineer, medical construction specialists and CON consultant that have been through the CON process together.  We’ve helped doctor groups find suitable locations with available CON credits and also with renovations, additions and new builds to help them grow their surgery centers.  Through our Design/Build construction service, we satisfy all necessary requirements to help you move through the application process as efficiently as possible.

Learn more about our Design/Build construction services below, or call Dr. Michael Shepard to discuss how we can help you expand, 800-WOLGAST. 

Design/Build  the Wolgast Way

Tags: Medical Office Construction, Design/Build, the Wolgast Way, Design, Good for Business, Risk Management

All Things Touchless Boosts Protections for Onsite Staff

Posted by Cory Sursely on Mon, Nov 23, 2020 @ 10:09 AM

AutomatedThrough the pandemic, business leaders have learned that the importance of making work spaces safer within a commercial, industrial or institutional building and still be functional for workers, students, patients, patrons, clients, or whoever else may cross the threshold. Now, winter is predicted to elevate the Covid-19 spread as people are spending more time indoors sharing air. Even though many Michigan businesses are still closed from the shutdown or limited because they have made it possible for their work force to force work from home, some industries can’t have their staff working from home, schools have been going between open and closed as they navigate the infection levels, and healthcare offices are still restricting their service and who can come in the building. As these entities plan for the long haul of whatever amount of time the virus is going to be inflicting us, the keys of working at the “office” are separation, clean air, and making more things “touchless” in the business space – AKA All Things Touchless.

Making All Things Touchless in a work place is a means that could be useful past the pandemic. The less that people have to touch or be near each other, the less likely the spread of germs of any kind can happen. For many that are back to the office, there is most likely a check in process where they open the door, someone interviews about health and takes temperatures, then the arriving staff member makes their way to the elevator or doors to get to their work area. This creates face-to-face interaction and touching door knobs. Installing access control, such as card readers to use with smart phones at an entrance can prevent continual touching of door handles and can record who is entering the building. Also, automating bathroom features throughout the building will reduce the need to touch shared spaces.

Jackson Control, a building security solution company, in Indianapolis, IN conducted a virtual Town Hall Meeting series in April 2020 to discuss ways to make commercial and institutional space safer. They identified that keys to improve the health of a commercial building include UV light filtration, thermal imaging, and occupant tracking. The UV light retrofitted in the duct work sanitizes the air while it circulates taking out infectious virus before it spreads through the air ducts, which is ideal for schools and restaurants. Thermal Imaging and Occupant Tracking is also good for schools where anyone with a fever can be detected within the building and tracked where they have traveled to help narrow down tracing activities, or additionally help monitor the number of people in an area where they can’t spread out to socially distanced levels. Occupants who came into the same space where the thermal camera identified an elevated body temperature can be notified to monitor for symptoms, tested, or quarantined to stop an outbreak faster. This can all be done without much interaction or need for additional staff.

Protecting a work force, or adding these safety measures to bring a work force back to work would be more efficient and convince staff, customers, students, delivery people and vendors alike with All Things Touchless. If you need direction on how to install any of these into your building, please contact us for more information - 800-WOLGAST.

Tags: Professional General Contractor, Good for Business

Fire Resistant Building Elements for Business Owners

Posted by Cory Sursely on Mon, Oct 05, 2020 @ 02:21 PM

Forty to sixty percent of businesses that face disaster, such as a fire, never reopen according to FEMA.gov. To prepare for Fire Prevention Week the beginning of October, we have compiled information about making a business structure more fire resistant.

In 1922, the NFPA originated Fire Prevention Week was a small organizational observance. President Coolidge adopted it nationally in 1925 to be recognized every year during the week of October 9. That date coincides with The Great Chicago Fire, which happened in 1871, killing 250 people and leaving 100,000 homeless (nfpa.org).

This yearly reminder to building inhabitants whether end users or owners is a good practice to help save many lives, homes, and businesses, and we feel that knowing what causes the most fires in a commercial or industrial setting will help business owners protect themselves from hazards, see graphs.

Commercial Building Fire Causes         Industrial Building Fire Causes

Sources: nfpa.org: U.S. Structure Fires in Office Properties, Aug 2013     nfpa.org: Fires in Industrial and Manufacturing Properties, Mar 2018

For commercial buildings, the majority of fires are started while cooking, so having flame retardant materials and furniture is important in the kitchen area. It’s also important to know that intentional fires are commonly arson caused by a disgruntled person either in the bathroom or an exterior dumpster, therefore, it’s good to be aware of who is in a building when there has been an altercation, empty trash daily, install motion sensor cameras, and keep the dumpster away from the building.   Additionally, most unintentional fires are commonly started by cigarettes in the landscaping or space heaters placed against the wall. Having designated disposal units for cigarettes and a policy about the use of space heaters are great, low cost means to protect from everything going up in smoke (smokeguard.com).

Depending on the size and use of a building, a sprinkler system may be required by code. For example, an office or medical building, AKA light hazard, over 12,000 s.f. is required to be “sprinkled”, but a restaurant only needs to be 5,000 s.f. to require a sprinkler system. I interviewed Bernie with Jimco Fire Protection, Inc. about what materials building owners should use to be more fire resistant and he suggested, “Metal trusses with fire retardant sheeting is the best way to go on a roof.” By using these materials, an attic doesn’t need to be sprinkled regardless of the size even if the rest of the building needs to be. Another option that Bernie doesn’t readily recommend is instead using wood trusses and installing a dry suppression system. It may be less upfront cost, but there will be regular ongoing maintenance of the system that will likely add up to cost more and cause more risky down time. According to sciencedirect.com, other material selections good for fire protection of a building envelope (i.e. walls, ceiling, floors, columns, and roof), are heat resistant materials and/or metal choices, such as concrete, coated steel, brick and mortar, treated wood, glass, and other metals to name a few.

Also, depending on the size and use of a building, an owner may be required by code to incorporate the following into the structural design, fire curtain, a minimum number of fire alarms, emergency lights and exit signs, and a minimum number of fire extinguishers. Bernie reminded us that if adding on to a building, it could trigger the additional expense of some of these requirements.

Low cost ways to protect staff, customers and assets from fire damage include good housekeeping inside and out of the building, maintenance, having a disaster response plan, and a contingency plan. The best practice is to take the time to train staff on fire safety and how to use an extinguisher, and discuss a disaster plan with staff including where to meet outside the building to be accounted for in the event of an emergency.

I asked Bernie what was new in the fire protection industry and he said, “Sprinkler heads are the only thing changing. In the 70s there were only 4 options, now there’s an unknown number of options.” He shared that on the market are single heads that can reach 30 ft. one way and 30 ft. the other way, essentially covering entire rooms with its spray. A head of that strength of spray requires only one main line in a room, rather than using more materials to branch out with piping through the space and also needs less labor saving on cost.

Wolgast Corporation and Wolgast Restoration are in a unique position to be able to assist business owners to rebuild during a disaster. We have the insurance restoration expertise to help with clean up along with the design and construction expertise to rebuild the structure if it’s needed. In the event of an emergency call 855-WOLGAST for our 24-Hour emergency hotline, or 800-WOLGAST for other building needs.

Tags: Professional General Contractor, Restoration

Michigan Schools Making Space for Robotics

Posted by Cory Sursely on Fri, Oct 02, 2020 @ 08:57 AM

RoboticsFLAt the 2018 FIRST Robotics World Championships in Detroit, there were 601 teams from Michigan. To say that robotics is growing quickly is an understatement. Through grants, bond programs, and sponsorships, Michigan School Districts are making room on their campuses to support those teams. The makerspace, as these rooms are more broadly called, can include a robotics lab. These areas are “dependent on the size of the robotics involved”, according to Douglas Rich of spaces4learning.com in his article, Designing Robotics Labs.   “There is no difference between learning to program a demonstration robot or full-size robotics arm; so many schools choose the smaller robots to save space and money”.

Robotics is well supported by the automotive industry and other manufactuers to develop the next generation of engineers.  Subsequently, there are grants available for schools to create their robotics program and scholarships available for students through the competitions. Michigan schools are creating a space for a robotics program by either repurposing existing classroom areas, adding on space, or remodeling. Below, we discuss how some of our clients are making room for robotics.

Meridian Public Schools has an enrollment of 1,340 students and began to transform their school in 2009 to the New Tech program. At that time, an entire wing of their building was converted for the intent of collaborative education. Since then, we have remodeled more of the school for collaborative learning. They were able to do this with help from grants and a bond program, respectively. We remodeled two existing rooms into a divided makerspace and their Robotics Team Volatile Chaos Inhibitors 5203 uses it for building their robots with work tables, a white board, storage and an additional tool crib.

Flushing Community Schools has an enrollment of more than 4,000 students and they have just completed an addition/remodel to their high school through a bond program. Included in the remodel is repurposed space, approximately 400 s.f. for a robotics lab with adjacent pre-engineering classroom. The robotics lab includes ceiling pulleys, white board, work tables with under storage, and rubber flooring. The Raider Robotics Team #5561 has done well for itself with 2 banner years under their belt. Prior to this remodel, the team had been conducting their work at nearby Kettering University, now they can work together in their own space.

Swartz Creek Community Schools has approximately 3,600 students and they are presently remodeling four of their elementary schools. Each of these schools is getting approximately 1,300 s.f. of makerspace intended for collaboration or lab space for small projects. Areas will be open and able to be arranged to fit the need of a project.

We are currently in pre-construction with Whiteford Agricultural Schools, which has 750 students enrolled. Their plans include a makerspace (558 s.f.), collaboration room (200 s.f.), STEM classroom (1,245 s.f.), presentation room (253 s.f.) and tool storage space in their High School. The 6750 Whiteford Bobcats were a 2019 State Qualifier.

As you can tell, makerspace is becoming more common as hands-on application of coursework is gaining popularity. Wolgast is experienced with the construction of these areas and how to build them with quality for Michigan k-12 Robotics Teams. Dean Kamen, originator of FIRST Robotics says, “We are the only sport that every kid in school can participate in and then turn pro.” firstinspires.org

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Tags: Schools, Construction Management

Expert Says Take Advantage of Large Rebates to Convert to LED Lighting

Posted by Cory Sursely on Tue, Sep 01, 2020 @ 02:14 PM

LED1

Light-Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs are the most efficient light option on the market, and energy companies are making them more affordable for residential and commercial clients. The market cost can seem prohibitive for business owners with hundreds of bulbs to convert, despite the fact that LED lights last much longer and use significantly less energy. In 2019, 10.4% of electricity costs in the U.S. came from lighting our businesses.1   This figure has been trending downward from 38% in 2003 for commercial buildings2.

For some time now, energy companies have realized that overall energy usage would only continue to grow if users didn’t take precautions to save on energy. One way they set out to achieve this was by encouraging more LED lighting which uses “75% less energy and lasts 25x longer than incandescent lighting”3.


Rebate savings and incentives offered by the energy companies

Most energy companies across the country, including those in Michigan, are underwriting the cost of LED lights (and other energy saving measures) to help slow down the need to build costly energy plants, burn more coal, or maintain aging generators. Programs include interior and exterior lighting for businesses. It is beneficial to check with your energy company to find out what they’re offering and what qualifies for rebates.

I consulted with Standard Electric’s Lighting and Energy Program Specialist, Chelsea Wisniewski, who helps their clients with energy rebate applications. Chelsea said, “Most of these programs are actively providing large incentives at this time. We don’t know how long they’ll last. The incentives could decrease or go away eventually depending on program budgets, goals, and ever changing building codes. Clients should take advantage of these programs as soon as possible so they can receive enhanced incentives for the materials they are purchasing.”

Wolgast has been a Business Solution Trade Ally with Consumers Energy since 2013. We’ve helped our clients save money, including the largest amount for one School District that received over $125,000 to help offset the money they invested in a new heat-conserving roof, energy-efficient lightbulbs and other energy saving renovations they made to their buildings. This School District also gets to reap the benefits of future energy savings from these products, but also decreased bulb replacement costs. While schools have a large footprint and use a lot of bulbs to light their building that is used vastly throughout the day, Chelsea said, “the average dollar amount saved usually depends on how many items and what items a client is purchasing. Rebates change from anything as low as $5.50 instant savings on each bulb to possibly thousands of dollars through a prescriptive rebate”, or one that is customized for the client. She also said that it’s best to find out if your energy company has a specialist to help with the prescriptive application to make the process smoother and more efficient.


Hot Topics for Energy Saving Lighting Products or Programs

Right now, there is a “huge incentive for purchasing DLC approved exterior lighting”, according to Chelsea. You can receive “70 cents per watt reduced”. DLC stands for Design Lights Consortium and provides a list of products prequalified for energy efficiency standards. Also Chelsea shared that currently, K-12 schools that make outdoor lighting upgrades, “can account for up to 88% of product cost”.

Additionally, I spoke with Steve Ferrier of Gasser Bush, a lighting and controls company, about what is hot right now in lighting products for commercial use. He said that “OLED is newer technology available in light fixtures.” Also known as Organic Light Emitting Diode, it is the same light that illuminates your cell phone. The panels are flexible and emit beautiful light with great resolution. The down side is the OLED light is very costly, there are no rebates at this time, and also it burns faster than LED, so replacement costs will be higher. They could be useful in a luxury, display lighting situation.

In closing, if you haven’t done so already, look at your energy company’s website to find out more about their incentives and other cost saving ideas to start reducing your energy costs, today for your home or business. Or if you have any questions about lighting your building or any other energy saving ideas, feel free to contact us for guidance going forward. We have LEED Certified professionals on staff to help, too.

If you’ve found this information valuable for managing your building, please let us know.

 

1 https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/electricity/use-of-electricity.php, “Electricity Explained”, 8/28/2020.

2 https://www.eia.gov/consumption/commercial/reports/2012/lighting/, "Trends in Lighting in Commercial Buildings", 5/17/17

3 https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/save-electricity-and-fuel/lighting-choices-save-you-money/led-lighting, “LED Lighting”.

 

Sustainability

Tags: Energy Savings, Good for Business

New Ways to Add Infection Control to Your Healthcare Office

Posted by Cory Sursely on Tue, Jul 21, 2020 @ 02:45 PM

doctor-1149149_1920Medical and Dental practice owners you’ve taken a big hit same as most other industries due to the Covid-19 shut down. You’re still fresh to reopening and making the extended measures to provide infection control and start treating patients safely again. Your building facility can be made more effective in protecting staff and patients better, including tools for surface cleaning, aerosol infection control and social distancing.

Learning how to provide services over telehealth tools was likely a “fun” and necessary exercise to treat your patients during the stay-at-home order. Now that you’ve got the hang of it, offices are reopening and incorporating the CDC guidelines to manage infection control. The CDC’s1 steps include:

  • Educating staff
  • Communicating with patients (placing reminders for social distancing and hand washing in your facility)
  • Wearing Personal Protective Equipment
  • Installing ventilation systems to eliminate the aerosols that escape from the mouth, eyes or nose
  • Integrating easy to clean barriers in open spaces
  • Installing UVGI lighting
  • Removing magazines and toys (or other unnecessary items that could be touched in public areas)

You may be wondering how long you can sustain ongoing surface cleaning, social distancing and what you should do with those magazine subscriptions. Especially with some cleaning supplies and PPE in high demand and the varying level of concern by your patients. We have found other tools and materials with which you may not be familiar. These could be helpful in elevating the cleaning and distancing you’re already doing.

You may be aware that UVC Light is useful in sanitizing unoccupied rooms. That’s why the CDC recommends UVGI disinfecting light as an option for cleaning your unoccupied treatment rooms. However, the light is harmful to skin and eyes when exposed/penetrated, so it is critical that the room is empty of people when in use.. Recent, new findings by Columbia University have filtered the Far-UVC light from the UVC as a potential option for cleaning occupied rooms – emphasis on occupied. The wavelength range of the Far-UVC are shorter and don’t penetrate into the top dead layer of skin, or outer layer of the eye, but still are able to destroy the bacteria and viruses. Being able to use it in occupied rooms, they claim, “will prevent the airborne, person-to-person transmission of pathogens such as coronaviruses.”2 When the results are confirmed, researchers believe that it will be great to use in “hospitals, doctors’ offices, schools, airports, and airplanes” to fight transmission of germs.

Additionally, conducting ATP testing can measure the cleanliness of surfaces. In high traffic or shared spaces, the tests can tell you quickly if you are cleaning adequately. It evaluates the cleaning practices and “can be a useful tool to measure the efficiency of cleaning procedures also in environments with very low microbial counts”.

Antimicrobial Surface Coatings have been used primarily on door knobs, countertops, and wall surfaces, according to an article in Architect Magazine, “Materials & Coatings that Reduce Surface Transmission of Bacteria & Viruses”.   It’s also being added to paint and silicon based nanocoatings now. The applied material has self-cleaning functionality and can help with confidence between regular cleanings. However, the CDC has “found no evidence to suggest the products offer any enhanced protection from spread of bacteria and germs and that proper cleaning and hand washing are best for protection”. Contrastingly, there are studies that prove that the silver or other metals used in the material does reduce microbial growth.3 So at this time it should be considered extra protection in addition to a regular cleaning schedule, rather than in place of cleaning.

There are a variety of options for barriers and partitions to separate open areas, however, we found two that caught our attention. Rolascreen can be printed on to create any design that you would like with a variety of options available. It’s also non-porous, easily cleanable, portable, condensable, and lightweight. Also, EverShield Portable Partition System is an efficient way to separate lobby areas or clinics and can easily be expanded with later installments if necessary. These are both good temporary options, also know that there are other fine partition companies that can be found online. If you decide that the partitions should be permanent, please contact Michael Shepard at Wolgast Corporation to discuss remodeling options.

Finally, the N95 masks can be hard to find in the quantity that you’re anticipating. The FDA has identified Hydrogen Peroxide Decontamination Systems are effective in extending the life of N95 masks. The FDA states on its website that certain models of the ASP STERRAD Sterilization Systems can sterilize “compatible N95 masks”, so by verifying the match you can prolong your N95 supply.4

Wolgast is an expert provider of design and construction of healthcare offices. Please call us if you need recommendations for HVAC companies for ventilation, permanent wall barriers, a remodel or a new office built. If you have found other infection control measures that are working well for you, please send us a note so we can share with others.

1https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/dental-settings.html “Guidance for Dental Settings”

2https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-21058-w “Far-UVC light: A new tool to control the spread of airborne-mediated microbial diseases

3 https://www.architectmagazine.com/technology/materials-and-coatings-that-reduce-surface-transmission-of-bacteria-and-viruses_o “Materials and Coatings that Reduce Surface Transmission of Bacteria and Viruses

4https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/letters-health-care-providers/use-correct-cycle-and-compatible-n95-respirators-when-decontaminating-respirators-sterrad “Use the Correct Cycle and Compatible N95 Respirators When Decontaminating Respirators with STERRAD Sterilization Systems - Letter to Health Care Providers”

 

Medical Services

 

Tags: Medical Office Construction, Dental Office Construction, Remodel

Five of the Best Reasons for a Commercial Building Renovation

Posted by Cory Sursely on Fri, Jul 17, 2020 @ 03:00 PM

Commercial Renovation to Stay Put

renovationYou either really like your building the way that it is, your location is part of your long-term plan, or financially speaking a new building is out of the question.  Those are all good reasons to stay where you are.  However, I’d like to share with you a few of the best reasons to consider renovating where you are currently.

1)  Improve traffic to your business – we have seen it time and again that renovating a commercial space peaks the interest of local people.  It also provides additional promotional opportunities because having a renovated space to talk about creates a whole new advertising campaign.  Whether you’re a doctor, restaurant or a school, you consistently want to attract new people to your space, right?  This is a great way to do it while improving your building investment.

2)  Make your current operations more efficient – a company’s business and flow of work obviously changes over time.  A renovation or redesign can help improve efficiency and provide the right amount of space for staff to complete their tasks.  Whether you need more or repurposed space, a redesign should be well thought out to improve your operations.  Through a needs analysis meeting, your architect will be able to determine the spatial needs of your organization.

3)  Accommodate the addition of new equipment – you know that piece of equipment that will allow you to do more with less effort?  You've been thinking about it for a while.  Now is the time to make room for it and improve your bottom line.

4)  Incorporate new energy efficient changes to save on costs – the green market is expanding every day and continues to offer products to make your space more energy efficient.  An update of your heating/cooling system, electrical system, windows and/or insulation could save you a lot of money on energy costs each year.

5)  Take advantage of competitive pricing/low commercial loan rates – should you need a loan to complete your commercial renovation, interest rates are remarkably low at the moment and there is the option of the SBA 504, too.  Take advantage while you can. Also, currently, construction competition is high and material prices are a little lower, so it may be a great time to get even more value for your project.

Pretty much, it all boils down to your business being relevant, efficient, and interesting.  If you already have all those things going for you, you’re all set.  If you need a construction consultant to help you start planning, call Michael Shepard at 989-790-9120.

 

Inquire Here

Tags: Design/Build, Professional General Contractor, the Wolgast Way, Good for Business

Key Elements that Help Our CM Division Achieve Team Cohesion

Posted by Cory Sursely on Mon, Jul 06, 2020 @ 01:16 PM

CMGears_Construction Management is the ideal delivery method for large, complex construction projects, such as those for School Districts.  School Boards and Superintendents rely on their Architect and Construction Manager (CM) to form dynamic teams to fulfill a project’s goals and seamlessly deliver their buildings on time and within budget.  Team cohesion is the goal on each of our projects.  Taking into consideration that we are possibly working with new and diverse players with each new School District, this takes effort and coordination to achieve.  An experienced CM typically will have vast resources and relationships with a wide variety of Prime Contractors, but when bidding projects, an unfamiliar contractor may be more suitable in achieving the schedule, budget, or meet proximity requirements of local contractor, therefore, we have tools that we use to initiate them onto the team as a cohesive member.

According to isixsigma.com, a communications company for process improvement professionals, the definition of cohesiveness is “the extent to which team members stick together and remain united in the pursuit of a common goal”.  In order to achieve our goal of team cohesion, Wolgast has tools and processes in our arsenal with checks and balances and those that provide quick corrective measures when a team member strays from our target. 

Wolgast is a systemized company and we have over 200 systems in place to consistently provide our work functions.  These systems include the means to vet a prime contractor prior to entering into a contract with them, and checks and balances such as forms and reports monitoring progress throughout construction, and evaluations of work.  Your CM is there to guide a team for high performance and work product, cohesion doesn’t just happen without a lot of leg work and checking that all moving parts are on track.

Additionally, we’re an Employee-Owned Company (ESOP), which means that our staff is personally vested in the success of each project. Another benefit of an ESOP is that employees tend to stay for the long haul.  We have staff members that have been with the company a long time who help us maintain our standards and pass down the leadership lessons learned by mentoring new staff.  So we’re able to pass along the key management paths to establishing a high functioning team committed to a project.

Finally, we’ve invested in state-of-the-art Construction Management software that helps keep communication open in real time.  By implementing it, each team member has accountability visible to everyone involved and the goals are openly shared.  We find that it helps guide us naturally to develop team cohesion in real time with notifications and updates pushed out to team members with alerts and bells and whistles.  We are a high end user of this software and have been asked to participate in future updates to make the software work even better for team cohesion and quality assurance.

Your CM wants each project to be successful and rewarding for the client, architect, and all the team players.  You should select one that has the knowledge and capabilities to be organized and committed to delivering just that.

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Tags: Construction Management, the Wolgast Way

Construction Training Program Offers Options for Rewarding Careers after High School

Posted by Cory Sursely on Thu, May 28, 2020 @ 11:28 AM

CarpentryStudentsAssociated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and their Greater Michigan Construction Academy (GMCA) further supports Michigan contractors with an additional training program for interested high school students.  First a little history, Wolgast was one of the founding contractors to bring the local ABC Chapter to the Saginaw Valley Area in 1977.  Six years later ABC started the Merit Shop Training Program, now known as the GMCA, to train construction workers on skilled trades. They started by provided training for a variety of construction workers.  Until recently, their traditional student has been the adult learner taking evening classes.  In 2011, ABC expanded from the Saginaw Valley Chapter to the Greater Michigan Chapter, and included a total of 23 Michigan counties.

In 2012 to prepare for a forecasted labor shortage, GMCA started their relationship with area high schools to target and develop students who weren’t interested in pursuing a college degree.  College preparatory courses had become more common in schools and little focus was made to promote the trades as an option.  GMCA leadership started in Midland County by meeting with local School Superintendents to develop inclusion of the curriculum for students more adept to construction.  With the approval of the School Superintendents, GMCA moved ahead with a beta daytime program to meet the needs of Junior and Senior level students.  The training is the same NCCER curriculum requirements as GMCA’s evening programs.  NCCER is a non-profit, accredited, internationally standardized education foundation founded by leading construction companies. They offer educational materials, accreditation, instructor certifications, and skills assessments.  GMCA took on Junior and Senior level students and developed a pathway for a four-year craft training education.

Over the past 8 years, GMCA has developed their formal skilled trades training program with an emphasis on safety through 14 high schools and trains at 22 locations.  They are currently expanding their Lansing academy to add carpentry training at that location, hopefully this fall.  Furthermore, they offer 11 trade specialties to study, and it’s no cost for high school Juniors and Seniors.  Better yet, students are able to transfer to any of NCCER’s 325 training facilities and their accreditation is recognized in all 50 states.  The Academy is giving students the ability to prosper in a worth-while career without the high financial debt of colleges or universities and do it anywhere they want to live.

The program starts in the student’s Junior year and by the time they graduate high school, they’ll have completed 2 years of the 4-year curriculum, again, for free.  GMCA also provides job placement and résumé assistance, so the student can achieve their hands on training hours with a company specialized in their field of study.  The remaining 2 years of class levels or modules do require a paid tuition, but there are scholarships available, and there have been many students hired before the program is complete and their employer has paid their tuition.


Program Statistics:

Total Graduates: 2,000

Number of Trades Offered: 11

Placement Rate: 100%

Partnerships with School Districts: 14 High Schools

Current Enrollment: 600 apprentices


Contractors throughout Michigan, Wolgast included, are appreciative that ABC and GMCA is helping to prepare inclined people with the right skills and safety education for construction employment during a labor shortage.  It has been a big undertaking to develop the new program’s logistics and get the school districts on board, but now they have momentum and are adding more schools and more students ready to make a start toward their careers. They still maintain their original program for non-high school students, too.

Programs offered include carpentry, electrical, HVAC, industrial maintenance mechanic, instrumentation, insulating, ironworking, pipefitting, plumbing, sheet metal and welding.  More information can be found at www.gmcami.org.

Tags: Professional General Contractor

The Right Mix for Pre-Bond School Election Services

Posted by Cory Sursely on Mon, Mar 02, 2020 @ 10:48 AM

Community-CenterXPreparing for a Bond Election is critical to school construction projects because if the election isn’t successful, there is nothing to construct. Therefore, Wolgast has developed Pre-Bond Election Services to set up School Districts for building success.  While we haven’t won them all on the first try, we have maintained a 92% success rate for schools we’ve helped over the past 5 years.

Our pre-bond election services are comprehensive and can be tailored to what the District needs in an a la carte fashion.  Outlined below are the full options for this first phase of school construction. Led by our staff of School Facility Experts, they help guide you through the pre-bond process.  Each Expert is a retired School Superintendent who has successfully carried out bond construction projects of their own and they have a lot of knowledge to contribute to the success of each project. 

Districts have the option to start with a facility study conducted by our Construction Management experts in conjunction with the Team Architect to identify the biggest needs in the District’s school buildings.  This evaluation provides technical data to back up the request you may be making from constituents.  A report of the findings will be presented to the board with the level of updates needed for building systems, infrastructure, materials, or spaces.

From there, we can help organize community forums to discuss the study’s findings or assist in getting public input on what would be supported in an election.  Once general consensus of the Board is identified, our School Facility Experts present funding options available, meaning qualified bond application, unqualified bond application, sinking fund, etc.  Wolgast then provides cost estimates for construction and a realistic milestone schedule.  These are used to fill in a bond treasury application if needed for funding. 

Next, the School Facility Experts can help organize a bond campaign committee, meet with the group to guide them in the right direction, and provide steps that have been successful in the past.  One of which is communicating with supporters.  Wolgast offers graphic design services to create printed materials and also underwrites the cost to print them.  Our marketing team takes the information that you deem useful and important to design and produce either brochures, postcards or posters for your communication use.  The focus of these materials is to get your supporters to the polls.

Whichever level of services you need, everything listed above is provided free of charge.  We consider it our role to help make the project happen, so we can apply our knowledge, skill, and expertise for clients to improve their schools.

 

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Tags: Schools, Construction Management