Wolgast Blog

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.

 

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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

How the Condition of Your Facility Could Attract the Best Successor

Posted by Cory Sursely on Mon, Feb 24, 2020 @ 11:54 AM

successionMost of us want to retire as soon as we’re ready and able, but business owners have a unique situation of preparing for a successor to take over their operation.  Ideally, they’d have started planning for successorship early so the transition can happen during high times when business and the economy are strong.  This way the owner was able to choose the best candidate and get the anticipated value of the company.  The best successor is one that will take care of employees and clients as well or better than the predecessor did. And the best way to find them is to remove all obstacles to entice a successor who’ll continue the business legacy.

As part of your planning, consider the condition of your building (being a lesser known limitation) when seeking the right candidate.  Think about it, how valuable is it to your clientele how your building looks, or what do you think when you visit a business establishment if their building is outdated, dirty, or run down?  The condition, cleanliness and design say a lot about the capabilities of who is providing the goods or service.  Furthermore, whether or not there’s a family member to take over, there’s a lot involved in preparing to make the transition.  They won’t want to start their new leadership focused on remodeling rather than on improving the business.  Having a building in good condition could set you apart from other potential businesses by a successor.  The most common advice offered to owners is to start looking early.  In addition, we advise to maintain an attractive building kept in good repair.  We know that there is a lot more involved with succession planning, but since we’re building contractors we will focus on our area of expertise.

A well located and good looking building can attract traffic and result in a higher valuation, as well as be more enticing to a potential successor.  Of course the successor will want to research the company’s books, systems, earning potential, and corporate culture to make a decision about buying a business.  However, if they have to do a lot to the building to make it suitable, or relocate due to a building’s poor status, the anticipated expense could kill the deal. 

Small aesthetic changes due to the successor’s design tastes is one thing, but a major overhaul like repairing the building envelope, code violations, and outdated systems or infrastructure ought to be addressed by the predecessor well before the succession happens, so that they can recoup some of their cost.  Building updates and repairs as part of the succession plan can be timed right so the owner gets the most value for the company.  There is a balance to achieve when an owner can have a couple years to generate sales and cover some of the expense, but also still be up-to-date so the successor will be proud to take ownership.  Working with a contractor, like Wolgast, to update the commercial building will bring the most value to the predecessor.  We will help guide the owner to make cost effective decisions while supplying great quality construction.  Call Wolgast today to get your building improvements started.

 

Tags: Good for Business

What Should a Business Owner Know before Hiring an Architect or Contractor?

Posted by Cory Sursely on Tue, Jan 21, 2020 @ 10:23 AM

Calculator2-1The Jack Miller Group was a former industry network for General Contractors across the United States.  In 1988, Mr. Miller had published a paper called, “Rules You Should Know before You Build Your Important Project”.   He started by stating that there are a few basic questions that business owners should ask themselves as they start to plan a construction project1:

  • Why expand?
  • Why own…why not lease?
  • What do I need?
  • What can I afford?
  • Where is the best place to build?
  • Where can I get financing?
  • When should I start?
  • When should I occupy the new facility?
  • What is the best way to build?
  • How can I be sure I get maximum value for my investment?

These questions are still a good place to start planning prior to contacting a designer or building team.  However, I asked our project team what they thought was most important to see if there were any updates to Mr. Miller’s list.  Their response was 1) a budget and 2) who will do the financing.  This is because knowing the budget early will help a business owner to know if what he or she wants to do is reasonable and having the financier in place will help speed up the start date.

Next, our team thought that the business owner should know that their contractor and architect have good liability insurance and that they are capable of handling the entire project.  When making a contractor or architect selection, the business owner should inquire about insurance coverage, bonding ability, safety records, customer/ trade/bank references and financial proof that the project team can complete the building.  Additionally, it’s good for an owner to know that he or she has construction delivery optionsDesign/Build is a better option for certain types of buildings because the architect and contractor are on the same team under the same contract.  It provides time and cost savings and results in less disputes as to the responsible party when there is an issue during construction.  However, Design/Build isn’t suitable for all projects, so other options we offer are General Construction for simple projects or Construction Management for complicated projects that are long in duration.  Investigate which method will provide the best outcome for the type of building.

It’s good to know the area or type of property desired to build or renovate.  A business owner doesn’t need to settle on a property before meeting with a contractor.  The contractor may even be able to suggest a property that hadn’t been considered, but could meet the business’ needs while being more economical because the utilities already exist or the zoning has already taken place.

Additionally, a business owner can benefit from knowing that bidding in the winter and building in the spring/summer, or even early fall, can save money on a construction budget.  In the winter contractors are less busy relatively to spring/summer, so they’re looking for projects in the off season to fill their calendars during the prime construction season.  Scheduling design to be completed in time for winter bidding will get the most value for the construction dollar.

A professional contractor will then handle the other critical items that need to be complete before construction on behalf of the business owner, such as conducting site inspections, determining zoning requirements, obtaining construction permits, conducting utility checks and calling Miss Dig among many other necessary activities to get construction complete efficiently and accurately for the most value.  Wolgast is a full service contractor and we will professionally deliver your building.  Call 800-WOLGAST to get started.

1Miller, Jack. 1988.  “Rules You Should Know before You Build Your Important Project.” Group Communications, Inc.

 

Tags: Professional General Contractor, Good for Business

Entering Retail Space as a Non-Retailer

Posted by Cory Sursely on Tue, Dec 10, 2019 @ 10:49 AM

RetailBlogRetail space is becoming attractive to non-retailers as more of it becomes available.  Likely, Business Owners see a build-out as a quick, easy, low cost way to enter or expand in a market due to space already being established with a structure, vast parking, some foot traffic, and necessary amenities.  Just a little remodel and they can be open for business!

While much of the above is true in theory, there are cost savings associated with having a professional team with background knowledge to lower leasing and, in turn, operating costs.  This “leasing” team of Design/Builder, CPA, and Real Estate Attorney can help an owner negotiate their lease, get regulatory approvals quicker, a build-out estimate, and a distinguishing design for their storefront so it’s easily identifiable among a sea of retail shops, “medtail” offices (redi-med, chiropractic, veterinary, or other health services), restaurants, recreational businesses, salons, and whatever other operation may be nearby.

Mall and shopping center managers are seeking retailers, restaurants, mom and pop shops, and non-traditional businesses to fill their open spaces.  As a lessee, the business owner will have to pay rent as agreed upon in a lease, plus Common Area Maintenance (CAM) fees, possibly utilities and/or taxes, and build-out costs.  A professional leasing team can set up a business owner to have the best lease option, plan for their accounting, and designed store in less amount of time.  Additionally, there are nuances to getting an allowance for build-out costs that factor into your lease amount.  Also, negotiating how the taxes and utilities are covered could affect your monthly rent, too.  Furthermore, it’s a good idea to check out the HVAC equipment that is present to prepare an owner for what heating and cooling costs may be. 

Speaking on behalf of the Design/Builder, the art of the build-out is to identify issues with the space, make sure the utilities are (or will be) where you need them, architectural plans are created to meet municipal/code requirements, and the design helps with branding so a business can be easily found and attractive to customers. 

Wolgast Corporation, has completed retail build-outs for mall, shopping center, and stand-alone customers throughout Michigan.  We can help a business owner to get their design, utility access situated, and build-out completed to save on time and create a professional looking operation, so they can start making sales, seeing patients, or serving clients as efficiently as possible.  Our resources include technology, utilities, engineering, design, and construction.

Tags: Remodel, Retail

Preparing for Michigan Schools’ Safety in 2020

Posted by Cory Sursely on Tue, Nov 19, 2019 @ 09:51 AM

MeridianElEntrance-2Over the last year, a lot of action has happened to make K-12 schools safer for students in Michigan.  While still in office, Gov. Snyder implemented legislation for a School Safety Task Force.  The Task Force has been meeting to oversee School Districts and their Safety Plans for each of their buildings.  Schools are required to have their plans in place by January 2020.  Also, as part of the Legislation, starting in 2020, new construction and renovation plans for schools have to be shared and consulted with their local law enforcement agency for their evaluation from a safety standpoint.

In August 2019, the Michigan State Police (MSP) published their Expanded School Safety Summary List, which includes a breakdown of the legislation and their recommendations to improve the safety of school buildings.  Also, in March 2019, the MSP issued the largest number of safety grants to applying School Districts for safety improvements.  Since 2015 (as part of the same program), the MSP has distributed $56M to 556 recipient schools.  The majority of schools have used their grants to improve their secure entrance, install security cameras, apply shatterproof film on windows, and provide more training.  In addition to these improvements, law enforcement emphasizes that schools install solid classroom doors with commercial grade locks that can be secured from inside the classroom, the ability to communicate outside a locked classroom, wayfinding or labeled areas of the building to quickly narrow down an area within the building for police, and vehicle barriers at entrances.  We would add that an automated system can help staff monitor their camera feeds and control access within the building from an off site laptop.  Schools can benefit from peace of mind when being able to monitor or being notified of movement within a building when there shouldn’t be any.

Wolgast Corporation will continue to manage the construction of schools with safety of students and staff in mind while working along with team Architects to follow with Michigan State Police and the Safety Task Force consultations and recommendations.

 

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Tags: Schools, Construction Management