Wolgast Blog

Top 7 Guarantees of Using Design/Build Construction Delivery

Posted by Cory Sursely on Thu, Oct 17, 2019 @ 08:45 AM

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  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 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 collaborates with the architect and project stakeholders during the planning and design phase.  The early meeting of the minds and expertise of each role has shown to save on costs and schedule, which 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

What to Do with an Old School Pool?

Posted by Cory Sursely on Wed, Mar 06, 2019 @ 08:25 AM

PoolBlog.jpgSchool Districts with older pools that have floated, no longer pass inspection, or pools that are simply underutilized, we have an answer to your dilemma. Other School Districts who have faced this problem just closed the door to their pool room, others use the pool shell to store old desks, chairs, athletic equipment, or general storage, etc., but this is obviously not the most efficient use of space. Plus there is still additional expense of insurance coverage and for the heating costs of the large area.

So why do they keep the unused pool shell? Because the cost to update for current regulations is typically too much for schools that are already financially strapped. When you consider the expense of demolishing the concrete around the pool to gain access to cracked tubes, digging deeper and wider to comply with new regulations (in some circumstances), then rebuilding or resurfacing the pool walls/floor, it could reach $1M to get it functioning again. Plus, the shrinking of some Districts or the lower interest in swimming can make it less appealing to keep up with maintenance costs. So what’s a School District to do?

In the last few years, we have remodeled pool areas for a handful of School Districts. At Northview Public Schools, we converted their existing pool into a fully functional community fitness center including a 3-lane walking/jogging track.

Northview had several issues with their existing pool. The ceilings and lighting needed updating; the bleachers needed to be replaced; the diving well was not deep enough; there were not enough lanes; and it was costly to maintain. As a part of their 2011 Bond Planning, the District sought voter approval to build a new Natatorium that would include a new swimming pool and convert the existing pool space into a fitness center that the community would be able to utilize.  The Community supported the proposal and the project began with infilling the existing pool; laying down athletic sports flooring; adding new fitness equipment; replacing existing windows with new, more efficient windows; and later completing the 3-lane suspended walking / jogging track.  Then a new 13-lane competition pool was completed with enough pool depth to support diving and a shallow area that is used by the Community Swim Group.

At Mt. Morris Consolidated Schools, the District decided that they no longer needed the pool, but could use room for an auxiliary gym instead. This would have required an addition to their school to make room if they hadn’t decided to modify their pool area as an alternative. We also infilled the pool and created a solid level surface with a rubber gym floor to morph the room into their needed gym space. Without the pool, the district is now able to hold practice at reasonable hours for all sports, they’ve eliminated the additional maintenance, HVAC, and insurance cost also.

Similarly, at Montrose Public Schools, we converted their pool into a needed auxiliary gymnasium space with a wood gym floor. Other schools have been able to convert their old pools into dry storage space.

If your School District has an underutilized pool or one in a state of disrepair, this may be the solution for you and as experienced Construction Managers of old school pool conversions, we are the team for you to contact! Please call 800-965-4278 (800-WOLGAST) to discuss your options.

Tags: Schools, Construction Management, Risk Management

Building Maintenance Strategies for Small Business Owners

Posted by Cory Sursely on Mon, Mar 04, 2019 @ 11:48 AM

bldgextWhen you’re a small business owner who is responsible for your building, you likely don’t have a budget for a facility manager. Building maintenance probably isn’t something that hits your to-do list very often, but is still very important to the longevity and cost of building operation.  Having a building maintenance strategy can help you proactively catch repairs, leaks, and heating deficiencies with way less expense out of pocket.

I spoke with our VP of Contract Management, Steve Seibert, about what is the best way for non-facility managers to monitor their buildings realizing that they may have never needed to pay attention to such things.  Steve said, “The most important thing to monitor is your building envelope, so that the integrity of the building stays intact.”  He is referring to your roof, EIFS, siding, and windows.  “Your EIFS needs to be inspected periodically, and every transition of dissimilar materials needs to be re-caulked as needed, especially around windows”.  He said that the life span of caulk can last five years or more, but once a year, caulked areas should be examined for any cracks or missing material and be repaired.

Another important part of your strategy is to manage your warranties.  According to Steve, “If your single ply roof has a warranty for 15 years, call the manufacturer in year 14 to have them examine it.”  Each manufacturer’s warranty will differ a little as it ages, but they should be able to make necessary repairs for little to no cost while it’s in the warranty period.  If you wait until year 16, then any repairs or replacements will come completely out of your pocket.  Things to look for on a shingled roof include fading, dinginess, and curling.

The same philosophy of knowing your warranty period is true for your HVAC system.  In addition to this, Honeywell now offers Light Commercial Building Systems to make smaller commercial buildings SMART at a manageable cost.  It is an automated HVAC system operation that can save on heating costs and will notify the appropriate person when the system gets disrupted from its programming.  This person will know immediately if there is an issue via an alert to their phone where ever they are.

Other areas to monitor include lighting, electrical, plumbing, fire equipment, and access control.  A quick internet search will lead you to thousands of Building Maintenance Checklists telling you specifically what to check on your building.  However, our best advice is to keep your building envelope in good and clean condition, which will add to the life span of it and save yourself money and headache, too.

Wolgast Corporation is a commercial contractor specialized the design and/or construction of medical office, dental office, manufacturing, restaurant, and school buildings.  We provide comprehensive services from the design phase through construction and insurance restoration.  Call us if you have questions about the longevity of your building

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Tags: Professional General Contractor, Good for Business, Risk Management

Top Benefits of Single Source Responsibility Construction

Posted by Cory Sursely on Mon, Nov 26, 2018 @ 03:12 PM

Less Risk + the Right People Collaborating + Competitive Bids + Early Starts

1stopshopMost people envision a big box store when using the term “one-stop shopping”, and I’d bet that they would never think of a commercial contractor, instead.  However, a design/build contractor provides one-stop shopping for architectural plans and construction services (and everything in between), also known as Single Source Responsibility (SSR)

There are several key items to making any construction project successful and those include a collaborative team, detailed/accurate plans, competitive bids, and adequate time to provide a quality project.  By using a design/build contractor as SSR, an owner gets an architect, contractor, and estimator as a package deal on their team by placing one phone call and that team takes on the full risk of providing an owner’s vision within budget and on time.  The architect meets with the owner to determine the scope and creates preliminary (Phase I) drawings.  The contractor collaborates with the architect to review the plans for construction applications and makes suggestions to streamline the building phase.  The estimator then establishes a rough estimate providing a budget for the owner to take to his financing company early in the process.

Alternatively, with the design/bid/build (or general construction) method of construction, the building owner takes on 100% of the risk, works with their selected architect to provide 100% complete drawings to the contractor who then bids it out without an opportunity for constructability review, and then the owner can only get an estimated budget just prior to construction.  This method has been the standard since the beginning of the industry and has provided sufficient results, however, if there are going to be problems during construction, or over spending, it’s much more likely to happen with the design/bid/build method.

Wolgast uses architectural firms with licensed architects who work with our construction team to get a constructability review prior to bidding.  Constructability review is partially (along with open communication) what allows us to take on the risk of guaranteeing budget and delivery date, as well as starting construction early when needed.

Speaking of starting early, since the SSR team is already familiar with the plans, they can get permits, order materials, prepare the site, and basically start the project before the plans are finalized, which can result in the project being completed months earlier than a design/bid/build project.  SSR is A.K.A. a third name, Fast-Track Construction.

SSR has an additional perk that not everyone realizes, and that is the multiple bid process.  Many times owners feel that they are better off with the traditional means of construction, so they can get competitive bids, however the SSR method includes getting the multiple bids for subcontractor trade categories from qualified contractors.  Furthermore, the SSR will have collected a wide variety of bids for each trade, so the holder of the bids will see who all the low bidders are for each category, rather than design/bid/build, which has several general contractors collecting a few bids from subs in the market.  With SSR, owners are going to get great quality at a great price resulting in the best value!

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

Sharing Your Budget Streamlines the Pre-Construction Phase

Posted by Cory Sursely on Wed, Oct 24, 2018 @ 02:54 PM

BarBWe use this blog to help educate potential construction clients on how to build their buildings more efficiently and economically.  I am posing a taboo view in this edition, but all in an effort to save the building owner weeks and maybe months of time on their pre-construction phase.  By giving a contractor a ballpark budget before design and/or estimating starts, an owner can take a shortcut in the preliminary phase and get to construction sooner.

Realistically, we understand that sharing a budget feels risky because it shows the owners “full hand” so to speak in poker terms and he or she could feel like it reduces the opportunity to negotiate.  However, for Design/Build Construction, by knowing our client’s budget we can design a building that can be accomplished comfortably for the owner, rather than one that causes sticker shock and then adds time for redrawing.  Having an owner’s actual budget at the start, helps us to provide valuable consultation to the owner regarding allowances for materials and finishes.  Also, we will know upfront if we need to scale down the building and by how much if the numbers need to be tweaked when estimating is complete.  Knowing a budget for General Construction, lets us discern if we are a fit with our full service offering (including insured contractors, precise estimates, guaranteed completion dates, warranty, full-time supervision, self-performed trades, etc. to protect the owner’s interest), or if the owner is willing to accept a more risky and lesser value option for their construction needs.

We’ve been estimating and constructing buildings for over 70 years and have a good idea of what a competitive price for a scope of work may be, considering variables like the time of year, how busy our subcontractors are, and material pricing fluctuations to pinpoint a precise final price.  Therefore, we can save everyone a lot of time if the owner’s budget is significantly under what we speculate the cost would be and the owner isn’t willing to change their scope of work.  In turn, we can help them make a business decision before they spend any money on design or go through the estimating process.

Contact Rick Suitor or Dr. Michael Shepard at 800-WOLGAST to discuss your project and budget and to see if our services are well suited to design and/or build your business investment.  In return, we will provide a competitive and accurate estimate and offer professional construction services!  This is just one shortcut to construction and happiness that we can offer.

Tags: Professional General Contractor, Good for Business, Risk Management

Preparing Your Business for a New Buyer

Posted by Cory Sursely on Fri, Feb 17, 2017 @ 10:50 AM

BusinessOwner.jpgBruce has owned his business for more than 30 years and he’s ready to retire.  He is five years under the retirement age and has no children to take over this operation.  He has poured his blood and sweat into his business for most of his life.  Bruce has a few options.  He can close the doors, walk away, and lay off his staff of 25.  He can sell the business and the building to an interested party and use the money to supplement his retirement savings.  Or, he can find someone who wants to buy the business and then lease the building to him or her, keeping rental income for continual cash flow.

To supplement his retirement the second two options are the most appealing.  Bruce has employees to think about and having extra cash in his pocket would be beneficial.

Bruce begins to think about how he can make his business attractive to a buyer and among other things, he realizes that even though he has kept up with repairs, the building could use an overhaul after 3 decades.  His HVAC system could be more efficient, his flooring is worn out, the lunchroom is a little drab, his conference room doesn’t function as well as it could, and areas that could change to help workflow.  There are many things that a remodel could do that would help him to attract a serious buyer and sweeten the deal if the new owner doesn’t have to turn around and renovate the building.

A renovation can also drive traffic to a business because community members are curious to see the changes (note: depending on the industry).  Promoting a remodel is a great marketing tool.  So increased traffic can help Bruce recover some of the expense of the updates and a freshened building can help attract a buyer to set him on his way to a comfortable retirement.

If you have any questions about remodeling your business or options for leasing your building to a future owner, please contact Wolgast’s, Rick Suitor-Business Development, to set you in the right direction.  If you’re a little further from retirement, you may want to start your succession planning now and keep Wolgast in mind for future renovation needs.

Tags: Leaseback, Good for Business, Risk Management

The Inside Scoop on Construction Manager at Risk Delivery Method

Posted by Cory Sursely on Wed, Feb 24, 2016 @ 10:17 AM

Steel-Erection.jpgBy hiring a Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) you’re getting a construction consultant on your team who handles all aspects of your building from design through warranty for a guaranteed maximum price. The CMAR oversees your project and can even hire the architect on your behalf, working with them to see that your design goals are recognized within the allotted budget. Then they complete all the pre-construction activities and hire the contractors as if it were the CMAR’s own project. The CMAR oversees the construction of the building through completion and any warranty issues.

Typically, a CMAR is most suitable for large, complex projects that may include multiple buildings or a year plus duration to construct. Clients that use this method of construction will be able to focus on their business while the undertaking of building their substantial building is professionally managed by construction experts.

Below is a list of five discoveries you’ll learn from working with a CMAR:

  • Constructability and application reviews will help mold your building design for efficiency, provide better opportunity for a reduction in change orders, likely reduce cost of construction activities, and save time on the schedule.
  • Selection of prime contractors based on value rather than low bid will provide a better quality building with less rework and or possibility of lawsuits. This is another means to save on the budget and time.
  • Your scope doesn’t have to be complete for construction to start. With the contractor being completely familiar with the project goals, site work and in some cases foundation work can start before the plans are complete.
  • CMAR is not always the least expensive delivery method due to the complexity, more risk being transfered to the construction manager, and (in some instances) working with an incomplete scope of work. However, if it was easy you wouldn’t need their expertise to complete the project. You likely will still be saving money over alternative methods of construction because of complications that can arise otherwise.
  • If they weren’t already, your CM is going to be overly diligent in monitoring the budget and schedule because if anything is out of line, it will go against their predetermined profit for the project.

Due to the nature of this construction delivery, it is ordinary for a relationship of trust to develop among the team. The CMAR will treat the project as their own and make decisions that will result in the best quality for the budget and schedule duration providing a superior building as a result. For more information regarding Wolgast’s CMAR service, please call us at 800-WOLGAST.

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Tags: Construction Management, Good for Business, Risk Management

Four Key Site Selection Factors before Purchasing Commercial Property

Posted by Cory Sursely on Tue, Feb 09, 2016 @ 02:21 PM

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. 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

Popularity Increasing for Design/Build

Posted by Cory Sursely on Wed, Sep 03, 2014 @ 10:58 AM

PlansAs an update to this blog originally posted a few years ago, we have new information to add  from the June 2018 Design/Build Utilization Report funded by Design/Build Institute of America. Findings in this report determined that popularity continues to grow for this delivery method. The results showed, "Design/Build Construction spending in the assessed segments is anticipated to increase 18% from 2018 - 2021", and will likely represent 44% of construction spending by 2021. Researchers determined that the education of building owners on Design/Build benefits is gaining traction, and more owners are experiencing enjoying the benefits first hand.  Additionally, FMI Corporation, a management consulting and investment company, had released a report in March 2019 titled 2019 AGC/FMI Risk Management Survey, whereby they found that "38% of contractors were <planning> to increase their in-house design capabilities last year and 43% this year".  So there will be more collaboration, less risk, and more competition among design and construction moving forward.

Original blog article:

According to the May 2013, “Design-Build Project Delivery Market Share and Market Size Report” by Reed Construction Data and RS Means Intelligence, Design/Build construction delivery method has taken an additional 9% of the construction market since 2005 and General Construction has lost 10% of the market share in that same time.

We recognize that the movement isn’t happening at rapid speed, but almost 10% brings it up to 40% of the overall market share.  Another study, “The State of Design-Build”, December 2010, by Design Build Institute of America uncovered that Design/Build professionals believe the biggest reason building owners haven’t rapidly adopted Design/Build is because it’s unknown to them and therefore seems risky.  Is that true? 

Wolgast was the first to bring Design/Build to mid Michigan in the 1970’s.  We saw early on the benefit of having the architect and the contractor on the same team.  It meant more continuity and collaboration, which would create a smoother construction project and therefore protect our clients from discrepancies in plans and change orders to remedy the parts that don’t translate during construction. Also, the cost for construction is determined earlier, so business owners can make an educated decision for their business without getting too far into the design process.

In actuality, Design/Build works so well because the construction experts are reviewing the plans while they are being drawn to ensure their constructability.  Therefore, once a shovel hits the dirt, there are very few setbacks, which in turn creates a quicker construction schedule, a reliable budget, and a happy building owner.

No setbacks mixed with the ability to get permits, pricing and materials earlier, makes Design/Build the fast track to construction delivery.  In some instances, the project can be completed months earlier than if it were delivered via General Construction Delivery Method.

As we are able to educate more people about what Design/Build is and the level of efficiency involved in constructing the building, we believe that it will continue to grow its market share.  To gain the insight that you will need to help you make a business decision, download our white paper, “Why Some Business Owners Don’t Do Design/Build, but Should”, or “Fast Track”.  We can also answer any of your questions, so please leave a comment or call us, 800-WOLGAST.

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

What is the Design/Build Method of Construction?

Posted by Cory Sursely on Mon, Aug 25, 2014 @ 11:17 AM

Design/BuildWe've been providing Design/Build services for almost 40 years and we're curious if it's a well known term among those who haven’t previously been involved with the construction of a commercial building.  Have you heard the term before?  In a nutshell, it’s a method of construction delivery in which the building owner executes a single contract with one entity to provide architectural/engineering and construction services.

In other words, a building owner hires one company to interpret and define the project scope, provide architectural design, bid the project, obtain permits, and then construct it.  The Design/Builder handles the entire project on the owner’s behalf per open communication and agreed upon contractual parameters.

This method uses the same qualified and licensed architects that a building owner would use in other construction delivery methods and provides the same caliber of design.  However, with the architect and contractor as one entity, there is frequent collaboration on the constructability and the budget during the design phase, which helps the project run smoothly or with very few surprises during the construction phase.  Fewer surprises equals a budget and schedule that you can rely on throughout the project.

This team collaboration during design allows for permitting, material ordering, and when needed demolition or site work to start earlier than with the traditional General Construction method (a.k.a. Design-Bid-Build).  That’s why it’s considered the fast track to construction, which means the project can be completed, months faster than with General Construction.

Design/Build is best suited for busy business owners including doctors, dentists, manufacturing, banks, and other businesses who don’t have their own construction department on staff, or who may not be familiar with commercial construction.  The Design/Builder becomes the construction department for these busy firms and the advocate for all things construction.

Hopefully this blog has clarified how the Design/Build method can help business owners efficiently build or renovate their office or plant, if not, here is the perfect opportunity to ask your questions.  Or for more information on the benefits and how Design/Build saves time and money, download our white paper “Why Some Business Owners Don’t Do Design/Build, but Should”.

 

Why Some Business Owners Don't Do Design/Build, but Should

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