Wolgast Blog

Your Business Plan and Your Building

Posted by Cory Sursely on 9/14/2021

BusinessPlanA critical element of your business plan is a realistic budget for anticipated expenses, along with possible revenue streams. One of the biggest expenses of a business is the building cost.

Realistic Building Costs

Some businesses can operate anywhere and will be able to easily get a rental cost number to plug into their plan, but other operations need a more robust and well developed idea of a building designed for their particular use. Whether an entrepreneur owns the building or will need modifications to a leased building, they would likely need more information to narrow down the expense. Additionally, the location of an anticipated building can factor in additional costs for taxes, association fees, zoning, utilities, permits, supply chain expense, or even affect foot traffic as a revenue stream; so consulting with a professional Design/Build Contractor that is familiar with the area the owner would like to be, can lead to ideas that may have not been realized before they met with these experts.

While a final building expense won’t be possible without hiring an architect, but if you’re willing to share your anticipated/needed budget, Wolgast’s Business Development and Estimating Teams would be able to let you know if your plans are feasible from a ballpark standpoint, or they may have a solution to get you where you need to be. We’ve been helping doctors, restaurateurs, manufacturers, auto dealers, and other commercial businesses realize their building plans since 1948 and we can do the same for you.

Location, Location, Location!

Finding the best possible location can also be an advantage for your business and should be a part of your plan along with the anticipated revenue streams due to the popular location. A Commercial Real Estate professional can help you narrow down possible options and a Design/Build Contractor can help assess how well each one will work for a business’ needs. Location can certainly boost marketing or customer service strategies including brand awareness, signage/communication with passersby, ease of product or service distribution, foot traffic, and/or parking availability to name a few.

A Few Suggested Research Items

I talked to Wolgast’s Business Development Professional, Dr. Michael Shepard, to see what he would suggest to someone who is working on a business plan. He said, “If you have a piece of property in mind and are anticipating building a new building, it is a good idea to add expense for a property survey”. This is so you know the historical use of the property and if there is any environmental contamination that could make the land too expensive to develop. Additionally, “It’s a good idea to meet with possible financial institutions to see what requirements are needed to get a commercial loan in place”. Finally, Dr. Shepard suggests that you look at established offices, either in person or online, and collect photos of design elements that you like. “This will help to determine the finishes and final usage that they anticipate, which will definitely play a factor in the budget of their future business”.

Useful Business Plan Template

The SBA.gov has a template to create a business plan and also a Startup Costs Worksheet for future entrepreneurs to use. On the Startup Costs Worksheet, they have line items for one-time rent expenses, improvement costs, monthly building costs, and repairs/maintenance costs. All of those items Wolgast can assist an entrepreneur in determining a realistic budget based on well-developed ideas.

Tags: Design/Build, Financing Construction, Good for Business

Patient Flow Optimizes the Design of Your Practice Floorplan

Posted by Cory Sursely on 8/16/2021

When a patient walks through the door of a doctor’s office, whether it’s a family physician, chiropractor, dentist or veterinarian, he or she needs to easily find the check-in area to make his or her attendance known.  Patients may not know that check-in area starts off a whole path that they will follow while receiving treatment through paying their bill, also known as patient flow.

Architects that are specialized in medical office design closely analyze a practice’s patient flow to determine the location of rooms and activity areas in a practice.  An office that is inefficiently designed can cause unnecessary delays or bottlenecks in the care of patients, problems complying with HIPAA regulations, miscommunication among staff members, and possibly a frustrated doctor.  An orderly and well designed patient flow has patients moving in a circular motion, so patients don’t have to back track nor cross paths with other patients.  Doctor and staff are able to easily locate each other to communicate effectively and supply areas are easily accessible by staff members for quick set-up of rooms after each patient visit.

Wolgast Architect and medical office design expert, Rick Keith, offers two design examples, below, based on the size of your practice needs and the patient flow theories behind each.

New Construction of a Small Medical Office Small Medical Office Design

In smaller offices, a single hallway is typically used.  Although not preferable, it reduces the size of the building and the cost of construction.  The hallway should be wide enough that patients can pass each other in opposite directions, especially patients with wheel chairs or walkers.

A check-out alcove should be created so patients stand or sit out of the hallway.  Often, this alcove area is also where personal information may be gathered, if needed, from patients while they’re checking in.  Staff should be careful to avoid having two patients giving personal information at the same time.

 New Construction of a Large Medical Office

Large Medical Office Design 

In a larger office setting it’s desirable to circulate patients one way around a central business/support core.  This circular pattern avoids a bottleneck with personal intake (check-in) and check-out.  It also avoids privacy (HIPAA) issues with patients standing together giving personal information.

At the reception window, it’s preferable for a patient to avoid verbal communication with staff members.  Many offices prefer patients write their name to check-in.  The receptionist then marks through the name to avoid other patients from seeing it.

It’s preferable to have a patient step inside the door separated from the waiting room to give personal information.

Our team wants to design and construct comfortable, relevant and efficient spaces for you to provide patient care.  Please share with us any thoughts you may have about improving your practice.

 

Medical Services

Tags: Medical Office Construction, Design/Build, the Wolgast Way, Dental Office Construction

Four Key Site Selection Factors before Purchasing Commercial Property

Posted by Cory Sursely on 8/10/2021

siteselection.jpgWhen searching for commercial property you can and should rely on your realtor for many key details and features of the site that will benefit your business. That being said, there are details that only a Design/Build partner can help you make a more complete, educated decision. With the Architect and Contractor on the same team, they will review the site together and determine obstacles and costs quickly. Specifically, Design/Build contractors are looking for infrastructure, constructability, and challenges of a site that could potentially add cost to a construction budget or schedule.

Our Site Selection Evaluation services include the following:

  1. Space Availability - for instance, when you contract with a Design/Builder, the team architect will be able to offer building layout options including the appropriate parking lot space needs per ordinance requirements. This will help you determine if the arrangement will work well for you.
  1. Regulatory Restrictions - a search for municipal codes and ordinances that may flag obstacles for your intended use.
  1. Utility Search – your budget will increase if utilities aren’t readily available.
  1. Overcoming Site Challenges - should you discover that the site has challenges; you may be able to make alterations so that it will be suitable for your use. The key to using a Design/Build contractor is that the industry professionals can provide an educated, ballpark estimate to help you make a go or no-go financial decision early in the process. For instance, if you need to clear more of the site than you anticipated, there’s no road to your property, or if the site isn’t level and extensive accommodations need to be made to your foundation, it may still be worth the investment for your business goals or it may be cost prohibitive, but you won’t know without a rough estimate of the associated costs.

By adding a trusted Design/Builder to your team prior to shopping for commercial property, we can walk the site with you, check the background on the property, and provide assistance with your selection process to avoid headaches and unexpected expense.

800-WOLGAST | mshepard@wolgast.com

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Tags: Design/Build, Professional General Contractor, Risk Management

The Best Method to Build Light Commercial & Light Industrial Buildings

Posted by Cory Sursely on 8/4/2021

MetroInfusion3Light Commercial Buildings include (but aren’t limited to) medical practices, dental practices, office buildings, restaurants, banks, auto dealerships, and generally any building that is 25,000 s.f. or less and used for commercial business.

Light Industrial Buildings include, but not limited to (as defined by National Institute of Building Sciences -11/5/19), “space types used for assembly, disassembly, fabricating, finishing, manufacturing, packaging, and repairing or processing of various types of materials…spaces for printing, commercial laundry, film processing, vehicle repair, building maintenance shops, metal work , millwork, cabinetry work” and warehousing. Also the light industrial buildings are typically not over 2 stories tall.

Construction for these types of light buildings are best suited to use Wolgast’s Three Phased Design/Build Services among our construction delivery method options. Projects that are bigger in square feet or that would take a long duration to construct, (typically more than a year) are better suited to use our Construction Management delivery method.

We work with partner Architects that are licensed and highly skilled to create visually attractive and efficiently adept spaces to house either light commercial or light industrial operations. They will meet with the building owner for a needs analysis to determine specific usage and their style to create an elevation and prepare other Preliminary Phase I Documents. We use these documents to determine early cost budgets to present to an owner, so they can make an early and educated decision about their investment.

There is a nominal fee for this early pricing, but during Phase I, much preliminary work is done to advance the speed of the project should the owner decide to move forward to Phase II - Design. The benefit is that the owner doesn’t have to pay for a complete design that ends up being over budget and they will be further ahead in their schedule when it comes to the final design phase. Owners will have solid budget information earlier to determine if the project is feasible than if they used the traditional design/bid/build method.

If the project moves forward, our Design Team completes the full design documents in Phase II – Design along with our Estimators completing final estimating, securing a minimum of two to three bidders for each trade. From here, the owner gets a guaranteed price and completion date. Building owners will know exactly what to expect during construction. This is the biggest benefit of the Design/Build process for light building owners.

This leads to Phase III – Construction. The prior two phases allow us to be ready to start construction with our team, materials and permits already ordered ahead of time. Plus with the Design and Construction Teams working together during the Phase II - Design, plans have already been reviewed and checked for issues translating them into applied Construction. We are solely responsible for getting your light commercial or industrial building completed as expected.

Design/Build is an alternative delivery method to General Construction, which typically takes longer to get through all of design, estimating, permitting, material ordering, and then to construction. With Design/Build an owner of a light commercial or light industrial building gets earlier pricing information, a guaranteed price, and an advocate to complete their building with the most value.

Additionally, companies that typically reside in a light commercial or light industrial building are the same candidates for SBA 504 Loans, which are a great opportunity to fund construction projects. Under this program, the loan requirements include 10% down by the business owner, 40% low interest, fixed loan for 20 year duration by the SBA’s Certified Development Company (CDC), and then 50% from an approved financial institution. Qualifying companies must have been in business for 2 years, have a net worth less than $15M, and an average net income less than $5M. The SBA 504 funding source is designed to assist established, healthy, expanding businesses purchase land, building, machinery or equipment, make land improvements, complete construction activities, or make leasehold improvements.

Michigan Business Owners, call 800-WOLGAST to schedule your free assessment to get your project started or use the link below.

FreeAssessment

Tags: Medical Office Construction, Design/Build, Auto Dealers, Financing Construction, Dental Office Construction, Manufacturing Construction

How to Design an Office for Patient Centered Medical Home

Posted by Cory Anderson on 7/13/2021

GFPSince the Patient Centered Medical Home (PCMH) is more of a management model or philosophy, you may not have considered the building design changes that may be necessary to make the conversion.  Below we discuss some of the elements that your PCMH office design should consider.

2021 Updates

We first wrote this blog prior to Covid-19 and the growth of telemedicine and have a few new remodel suggestions for post pandemic medical offices.  While, digital healthcare may remain an option, which could reduce the number of patients coming to your physical location, space in your waiting area as people continue to distance from each other may need a new layout/design.  Also a designated space to conduct your telemedicine calls, especially when bringing in specialists, as part of your PCMH operation, could be helpful for your practice to effectively provide services.

Storage Space

Electronic Medical Records are a key tenet of the PCMH model, however as practices transition into PCMH offices, one could expect to increase file storage requirements due to the added patient education and follow up.  Additionally, you’ll be accumulating the documentation from each visit your patient has with a specialist or key staff member inside or outside your office and therefore your space requirements will need to be addressed in physical space or specially designed spaces, such as climate controlled areas that accommodate computer servers and databases.

Meeting Space

Collaboration is another key of the PCMH model.  Practice doctors and staff members will be having meetings among themselves about their cases as well as consultation meetings with specialists, group meetings held for patients with similar conditions, and patient education sessions.  All of these types of meetings will require private and comfortable space to allow for most optimal conditions for patients, and for easy patient access.

Privacy Measures

With additional files and open areas for communication comes more responsibility for patient privacy and HIPAA compliance.  The design of your building will need to account for the privacy of verbal communication and protection of patient files.

Spare Exam/Treatment Rooms

We have recently completed the construction of a large PCMH office which included in its design additional exam and treatment rooms for visiting specialty doctors, so they can come to the patient rather than having the patient travel to the doctor.  This is a clear benefit to serving your patients with the PCMH model.

Dr. Michael Shepard, M.D., Ph.D., Wolgast Corporation’s medical office development specialist, along with Rick Keith, Wolgast Design Group’s architect experienced in designing for PCMH, can provide insight in the designing of an office remodel or a new building.  Contact Dr. Shepard at 800-965-4278 to discuss the design and construction of your next building.

 

 

Medical Services

Tags: Medical Office Construction, Design/Build, Professional General Contractor, the Wolgast Way, Design

You Have Construction Service Options

Posted by Cory Anderson on 7/6/2021

constructionWhich construction delivery system is best for your project?

There are several unique and distinctive methods for providing construction solutions. As a business owner you have the luxury of selecting the most beneficial and appropriate delivery system for your type of project.

Design/Build

The Owner hires one firm to provide architectural design and construction services in a phased approach.  The design/builder becomes the single-source that is responsible for designing the building, estimating the budget, hiring the subcontractors and coordinating the schedule to ensure the project is completed on time and within budget.

It’s the design/builder’s sole responsibility to complete the project to the client’s satisfaction.  The architect and contractor are the same entity, which eliminates misunderstandings as they collaborate throughout the design process.  The design/builder becomes the owner’s advocate securing multiple bids for each trade and leading them through site planning, permitting, design, value engineering and construction.  The phased approach provides economical/budget information early for the owner to decide if the project is a go or no-go.

Design/build is suitable for busy owners who don't have the time to oversee construction.  It’s also a fast-track method or a fast construction process for projects with a tight schedule.

Construction Management

A construction manager’s (CM) role as part of the project team is to provide estimating and constructability review during design, and cost, time and quality control during construction.  The client establishes their team of architect, CM and owner’s representative at the onset of the building concept.  The architect is responsible for defining the building through drawings and specifications while the CM regulates and monitors the schedule, budget, materials and performance of the subcontractors.  The owner thoroughly informed by these professionals, can then make educated decisions about his or her project.

The owner must be willing to be involved in the process because by using the CM method each trade contract is signed with the owner.  The CM method is most suitable for those who construction is a recurring activity and/or their project is very large, like schools and retail chains.

General Construction

Considered the design/bid/build method, the owner typically already has plans which were prepared by an outside architect/engineer when they seek a general contractor.  They choose their general contractor by one of three methods, 1) negotiating with one or more contractors of their choice, 2) selecting a group of contractors to bid and then accepting the lowest bid, 3) advertising for a broad variety of bids and accepting the lowest.

For clients who have a simple construction project, general construction is likely the appropriate construction solution.  It’s also the right choice when it’s necessary to bid and then build a project based upon completed plans and specifications.  However, this method leaves little room for correction of design or programmatic errors, if any exist.

Leaseback

The contractor finances, builds and leases a new facility back to a qualified owner, allowing him or her to focus on his or her business.  This is the best option for businesses that are faced with the need to expand their floor-space while at the same time minimize the risk involved with tying up capital in construction costs.

Business owners who qualify and currently have all their working capital in their business without a budget for building their new space are candidates for leaseback.  By choosing leaseback, they can move their business to a prime location and get the space tailored to their design needs.  The owner has the option to purchase at a future date when the business warrants the investment.

Still not sure which one works best for you? Call us to discuss your options.  At Wolgast Corporation, all systems are in place to provide the most appropriate delivery method. 

Tags: Medical Office Construction, Design/Build, Professional General Contractor, Schools, Construction Management, the Wolgast Way, Restaurant Construction, Leaseback, Dental Office Construction, Manufacturing Construction

Is There a Future in Commercial Investment Properties for You?

Posted by Cory Sursely on 1/6/2021

Warehouse-3Have you considered commercial investment properties to add to your portfolio?  On a surface level, it seems like a long-term, but easy investment that will generate ongoing income and also potentially appreciate in value the longer you own it.  For those who have capital to invest, is it the right type of investment for you?

Something new to consider, the pandemic has quickly changed the use of buildings significantly.  Office buildings and retail shops may no longer be lucrative structures to take on.  Some experts are anticipating that more workers will continue to work from home and as online shopping gains popularity, it reduces the need for brick and mortar stores.  According to fool.com1 article “Commercial Real Estate Predictions for 2021”, warehouses, life sciences and data centers are thriving going into 2021 and looking for more space, despite the pandemic.  So, there are opportunities available.  It’s best to get your financial advisor, commercial realtor, and design/builder to work with you and identify a good opportunity.

What You Need to Know?

Prior to selecting a property and submitting a purchase agreement, you’ll want to evaluate and compare your options to make an educated decision on the best potential. Each market is different and the price of a building in the city limits will be different than one of similar size on the out skirts of town, so the most common way to compare them is the Cap Rate, also known as Capitalization Rate2. You can calculate the Cap Rate by dividing the Net Operating Income by the current market rate3. The Net Operating Incoming is based on the revenues that appear on the properties income or cash flow statement less the expenses of operating the building (i.e. maintenance, utilities).

How to Add Value to the Property

Finding a lower cost property that needs updates can help you buy low and sell high.  Depending on the building grade, most commercial properties don’t require the highest quality finishes, so if you focus your updating budget to make the building more efficient with energy saving materials, automated controls and more technology, you’ll save money on operating costs and make your building more competitive.  Additionally, when it comes to warehouses, life sciences and data centers, increasing the size, adding truck docks, or cold storage or heat to a building can expand your lessee potential, and add value for appreciation.  Your design/builder can help you identify what types of updates should be made for good ROI.

Financing Help

As an added incentive, you can use the SBA 504 loan as long as you occupy 51% of an existing building purchased or 60% of a new building from the ground up. According to their website, sba.gov4, it is a requirement of the SBA 504 loan that the owner occupy part of the building they are financing, but the loan allows for purchasing more building to lease out as investment property. The SBA 504 loan offers 10% down by the purchaser, an SBA lower/fixed interest rate loan for 40% to be repaid over 20 years, and the remaining 50% is financed through a traditional bank loan.

Your Turn: Is Commercial Investment Property something that you have considered?  What have you found helpful in making your decision? What kind of questions do you have?  We'd like to hear from you in our comments link below.  Otherwise, you could contact us at 800-WOLGAST.

1 https://www.fool.com/millionacres/real-estate-investing/articles/commercial-real-estate-predictions-for-2021/

2 https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/capitalizationrate.asp

3 https://www.investopedia.com/terms/n/noi.asp

4 https://sba504.loans/sba-504-blog/sba-504-loans-for-real-estate-investment

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Tags: Design/Build, Financing Construction

Certificate of Need and Your Design/Build Contractor

Posted by Cory Sursely on 11/24/2020

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

Five of the Best Reasons for a Commercial Building Renovation

Posted by Cory Sursely on 7/17/2020

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

Top 7 Guarantees of Using Design/Build Construction Delivery

Posted by Cory Sursely on 10/17/2019

CopusDB

  1. Fast Track Construction
  2. Less Risk for the Owner
  3. Single Point of Responsibility
  4. Guaranteed Schedule & Budget
  5. Team Collaboration
  6. Quality Construction for Better Value
  7. More Bids Collected by One Entity to Narrow down the Lowest Price

As business owners become more aware of the benefits of Design/Build Construction, the delivery method continues to chisel a bigger piece of market share throughout the U.S. and is expected to reach 44% usage rate by 2021, according to FMI1.  In their Design-Build Utilization: Combined Market Study June 2018, they evaluated the United States Census Bureau, stakeholder surveys, industry reports, associations, and government agency databases, and determined the usage of delivery methods within the construction industry and found that the Midwest region will experience a 5.5% growth in Progressive Design-Build projects by 2021.  Also, manufacturing will take on the highest increase in adopting Design-Build project delivery. 

It makes sense to partner with a combination of contractor and architect team at the inception of your project.  Additionally, the Progressive Design-Build approach has proven to help with efficiency in scheduling and budgeting when the contractor joins with the architect and project stakeholders during the planning and design phase.  The early meeting of the minds and knowledge of each role has shown to save on costs and schedule.  In this method, the Design/Builder takes on more risk to guarantee the outcomes desired.

Since there is one, single source of responsibility it condenses the effort of the building owner to coordinate their needs.  The owner can be as involved as they’d like to be or can be.  It’s the role of the Design/Builder to deliver a high quality building from design through completion that meets all the needs of the owner at an agreed upon price, and when they need it to be ready.  No surprises!

FMI, June 2018, Design-Build Utilization: Combined Market Study June 2018, viewed 4 October 2019, https://dbia.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Design-Build-Market-Research-FMI-2018.pdf

Tags: Design/Build, Good for Business, Risk Management