Wolgast Blog

Pardon Our Dust - Under Construction

Posted by Cory Sursely on Tue, Apr 25, 2017 @ 09:58 AM

Three Options to Keep Your Clients Happy During Your Remodel Project

Pardon.jpgDuring a commercial remodel, there is more you can do than just posting a good looking “Pardon Our Dust” sign when it comes to your customers and your staff.  We know all too well how it is when you’re trying to run a business, but need to update or reconfigure your working space.  The thought of disrupting business as usual is just too much, and losing out on customer traffic is out of the question.  But never fear, Wolgast has solutions to help you get through a remodel with only a little interruption to staff or customers.

  • We can schedule your project in phases, so that operations can be temporarily shifted or moved, but you’re still functioning as an office, manufacturer, school or shop. We’ll help you plan prior to the start of the remodel.  This applies to doctor’s offices as much as it does restaurants or schools, mostly all business types.  Open communication with your contractor will help minimize stress as you serve your customers.

  • We’re able to accommodate after hours remodeling in many instances and clean-up for your operational use in the morning. We do this when Phasing just won’t work and it may take a little longer, but it’s an option if needed.
  • Build next to or around your existing space. It has been more economical for some of our customers to build new rather than renovate, but they didn’t want to lose their current location.  As a design/build construction firm, we were able to configure how to build on their site, right next to their office.  We were able to reuse most of their existing parking lot and help them benefit from cost savings with utilities already onsite.  In many instances, once the team has moved into the new space, the old one can be demolished and cleared in a day or two.

 
We have found that there are many understanding consumers, as long as they’re able to safely enter your establishment; they will still come to you while you remodel.  For restaurants, many times we can keep your kitchen open as long as possible while working on your dining room, so a drive-thru or take out is still available.  Schools luckily have the summer to schedule their work with less interruption to their full staff.  Medical and Dental offices need special accommodations for keeping clean spaces, so we plan ahead to ensure dust doesn’t get where it will cause serious problems.

For staff, we know that demolition, nail guns and electric screw drivers can be loud.  We remodeled our own office last winter and know the excitement we felt to see the progress and also having a completion date made most noises tolerable.  Additionally, some of the noisy parts were held off until after office hours, so it all worked out with little disruption.  And if you put out a friendly “Pardon Our Dust” sign, you’ll probably get customers excited to come back and see the changes – updates on Facebook are good means to reach out as well, with a steady flow of messages to share.

We’re happy to answer any of your remodeling, or even new build questions, any time! 800-WOLGAST.

Inquire Here

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

How Employee-Owned (ESOP) Companies Deliver More Efficient and Reliable Results

Posted by Cory Sursely on Wed, Jan 18, 2017 @ 09:10 AM

Employee-Owners.jpg

Companies that offer an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) for their staff members provide an opportunity for their workforce to have a vested interest in their success.  By virtue this creates a long-term incentive for employees to stay with the company and an eagerness to make the company even more successful.

According to the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO) article, “Research on Employee Ownership, Corporate Performance and Employee Compensation” there are typically lower turnover rates at ESOP companies, therefore, an ESOP employer is more likely to keep the best employees on their roster.  For clients, this means that they will benefit from experienced, skilled employee-owners working on their project.  Long-term staff members should have a deeper understanding of what the company stands for and will pass along traditions and higher standards of quality as newer staff members join the organization.  Relationships and repeat business become a goal for every staff member on every level, not just the management or sales teams.

As an employee-owned company, all Wolgast employee-owners are entrusted to find ways to be more efficient in their work, suggest ways to perform better, be active with problem solving with the company or for clients, share employee-owner mentality, and lead by example.  Our folks do this to keep costs down for the company which enables us to be more competitive with our pricing and create a positive experience for our project owners.  Also, featured in the NCEO article, were results that showed ESOP companies have more longevity than their counterparts which shows that customer service and satisfaction mixed with a well-managed business results in long-term success of this type of organization. 

If you’re interested in a fair, competitive price by a skilled contractor that is focused on your satisfaction and that will be around for a long time, please contact us to build your commercial or industrial building.  We can also design it or if unfortunate mayhem strikes, we can restore it after the storm, flood, or fire.

Tags: Professional General Contractor, the Wolgast Way

Construction Broker Service Comes up Short in Professional Construction Services

Posted by Cory Sursely on Mon, Nov 28, 2016 @ 10:00 AM

worker-figuring-edt.jpgAs construction broker companies continue to pop up, they’re coming up short compared to a Design/ Build – General Construction (DB-GC) Firm in many important areas for project success.  DB-GCs provide much more control over the schedule and the budget on your project versus a construction services broker.

A DB-GC will typically have their own self-performed trades working on the project site.  Additionally, for us, a full-time, skilled, project supervisor will be onsite 100% of the time for the duration of a project.  Having these company representatives onsite helps set the pace of the work, keeps the jobsite and scheduling organized and as a result incites progress on the project which in turn controls the budget.  With a DB-GC, you’ll also be supported by administrative staff dedicated to keeping record of insurance, invoices, sworn statements, waivers, etc. which are easily tangled if not managed properly and in real time, causing issues with financing and liability.

Additionally, a brokerage company doesn’t have “skin in the game”.  They have very little committed, i.e. no office, no staff, no equipment, and typically no ties to the community.  It’s very easy for them to walk away if things don’t go well.  Some building owners may think that should result in lower fees because the broker doesn’t have the overhead, but they also don’t have much incentive to stick through complications or hold subs accountable to their contracts and warranty work if there’s an issue after the project is done.    

Across the industry, we’re facing a labor shortage.  A broker has to rely on finding an outside contractor for every single trade because they don’t self-perform any work nor have the staff to do so.  Going forward, this shortage could result in additional time to the schedule throughout the industry; however a DB-GC is able to self-perform several trades, so this will more likely help minimize the gaps the shortage could cause with the schedule.  For instance, a DB/GC can begin site work while the other skilled trades are scheduled in the meantime.  Additionally, as the project progresses, the DB-GC can start rough carpentry if other remaining subs are needed to be scheduled.  Again, this will result in better control over the budget and schedule. 

Finally, lower price is the possible competitive benefit a broker can offer, which can make them attractive in the beginning.  In other words, a broker needs to shop around to get the lowest priced services to be competitive in the market.  Therefore, to get to that price point, they may have to select lesser quality subcontractors, which means that the quality of the work may be poorer, the schedule delayed, and warranties difficult to honor within a timely manner.  Often times, brokers are not local to the area and are blindly seeking their outside contractors in a market about which they know very little.  They don’t have relationships or the knowledge of subcontractor work history, which is a risk a building owner faces for the future of their building quality and warranties.

The leverage that a broker has over a full team of outside contractors pales in comparison to a professional DB-GC to maintain quality, protect the building owner, and deliver a project on schedule.  Our industry is going to be facing difficult times until we’re able to beef up the training programs for skilled labor, but by having our own team of craftsmen and subcontractor relationships throughout Michigan and reaching further into the Great Lakes Region, we’re able to deliver the quality and reliable construction services for which we’ve come to be known.

Inquire Here

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

Medical Office Design and Construction for Savvy Docs

Posted by Cory Sursely on Wed, Sep 07, 2016 @ 09:07 AM

MedicalExpertsVid.jpg

For over 65 years, Wolgast has developed specialty design and construction services for Medical Practitioners and efficient use of their space.  We keep in mind the patient flow, staff flow, regulatory requirements, and design elements for comfort for all.  Please view the short video linked above that displays our experience and abilities to make your space great for everyone who uses it.  If you have plans for a new office or remodeling/adding onto your existing space, please contact me to discuss your plans at no obligation to you.  Build with Wolgast to Be in Business Faster!

Dr. Michael Shepard, Building Expert for Physicians, can answer your questions at:


800-WOLGAST  |  mshepard@wolgast.com  |  #godesignbuild  #theWolgastWay
855-WOLGAST  |   www.wolgastrestoration.com  |  Insurance Restoration – Fire/Flood/Wind

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

How Much Will a Phase I Save Me on Architectural Costs?

Posted by Cory Sursely on Tue, May 10, 2016 @ 09:50 AM

designbuild5.jpgShort answer is roughly 20% or more.  Through a number of cost saving opportunities, the Design/Build Phased Approach to construction can be the most economical cost- and time-wise, not only saving on Architectural services, but also on the overall construction budget.

For Wolgast’s Design/Build program, we estimate that you can save 20% or more on your architectural costs by using this Phased Approach.  Phase I Preliminary Drawings are the first step in our Phased Approach (A.K.A Design/Build Process).  The Phase I offers many benefits including a nominal fee, an earlier budget and it can be tweaked before the more expensive Phase II Construction Documents begin.  With Phase I Drawings, you’ll know your budget before investing in a final design.  Additionally, estimators and our construction team have an opportunity to provide review and value engineering input early in the process.

Further evidence of savings includes the opportunity for more competitive bids.  With Design/ Build Delivery, estimators have more time to line up a wider number of bidders making it a more competitive scenario.  We know that Building Owners like competition in anticipation of a lower budget.  The best news is that when one entity, the Design/Builder, is collecting all the bids then they will have all the low bids from which to choose.  Alternatively, when a project goes Design/Bid/Build (A.K.A. General Construction Delivery), then multiple GCs are obtaining bids from a smaller pool of contractors (due to the quicker deadline for bidding) and they will hit or miss the lowest estimates from each trade.  Building Owners can’t be sure that they have the lowest price by the most qualified sub-contractors.

Additionally, through continual prompt payment to our vendors and suppliers, Wolgast secures discounts that we pass along to our clients.  This is a policy we have adopted because it’s an easy way to keep our costs down and save money for our clients.

With the Architect and Contractor on the same team, there’s little opportunity for discrepancy between the plans and the application, nor down time due to issues that stop construction.  Our team will be motivated to openly communicate and quickly resolve any challenges so that the project stays on track and within budget.

Also important to note, our Architects are licensed and have had the same training as those in an Architectural Firm, so you will get the same caliber of drawings at a discount.  Rick Keith, our on-staff Architect graduated from Lawrence Tech with a BS in Architecture, is registered in both Michigan and Wisconsin and has over 30-years experience.  We also work with independent, registered Architects from outside firms when capacity requires it.

Finally, the Design/Build Delivery Process provides significant information early, so that the construction team is able to start site work and possibly foundations prior to the Phase II Construction Drawings being complete.  When it’s important to be in the building quickly, a Building Owner will benefit most from the Fast-Track, Design/Build Process to be in business faster.

In our White Paper, Why Some Business Owners Don't Do Design/Build, but Should we discuss all the benefits of this construction process and how it can save money for business owners.  Download by clicking on the image below.

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

 

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

Why is Wolgast Thankful?

Posted by Cory Sursely on Tue, Nov 24, 2015 @ 09:16 AM

 This still applies after 2 years!thanksgiving

Counting our blessings this Thanksgiving Holiday Season

First and foremost, our faithful customers—new and those who have repeatedly come back to us for each of their building projects.  We appreciate each and every one of you!!

We are thankful for our community within Saginaw, the Great Lakes Bay Region and Michigan as a whole.  We have been in Saginaw County for over 65 years and have built many of the area businesses that surround us as well as many throughout Michigan.  We couldn’t be more proud to drive around our community and be able to say “built it!”.

Our employee-owners who are dedicated to making our business and service run efficiently and who also help us achieve excellent customer service.  We are grateful for their professionalism and dedication.

And those employee-owners who work in the fields, braving the hot heat of summer and the frigid cold of winter to meet deadlines promised, we are very thankful for their service.

Additionally, the network of tradesmen or women we’ve worked with this year who have been right alongside us in the heat and cold.  Thank you for helping us achieve our commitments.

We are also thankful for the mild fall we had, which allowed us to complete more site work before the deep freeze set in.

And finally, our association with Associated Builders & Contractors and the support they offer their member businesses to network and seek additional opportunities.

Wolgast's Top 10 Advantages

 

Tags: the Wolgast Way

Automotive Dealership Reimage with Fast Turn Around

Posted by Cory Sursely on Mon, Nov 02, 2015 @ 04:05 PM

Automotive Dealership ReimageFord Motor Company reimage program is in full effect. Dealers had to be committed earlier this year and now have until the end of 2016 to complete their design. Rick Keith, Wolgast Corporation’s Architect, is ready to assist dealerships however he can. Rick has been through corporate design programs before with other dealerships, hotel chains, and restaurants, so he knows the protocol involved.

Additionally, Wolgast’s construction team has built or remodeled a number of dealerships in the past 5 years. We apply a systemized, professional and speedy approach to completing construction.

Meeting corporate requirements while serving the dealer’s needs can take some time and in certain circumstances, some negotiation. We will work with both of you to navigate through the program and make sure that you get your money’s worth for an outstanding showpiece, quickly. After all, it’s all about selling more cars and a beautiful building will draw the traffic, so being at full capacity sooner, will gain you more sales.

Contact Rick Suitor or Mike Shepard, Wolgast’s Business Development Team, to get started on your design.

800-WOLGAST

989-790-9120

rsuitor@wolgast.com

mshepard@wolgast.com

Tags: Professional General Contractor, the Wolgast Way, Auto Dealers, Good for Business

How to Franchise a Restaurant from a Construction Perspective

Posted by Cory Sursely on Wed, Oct 07, 2015 @ 09:17 AM

FranchiseFranchising a new business is exciting, but it also requires a significant amount of forethought to prepare for a variety of scenarios that a franchisee could encounter. Obviously, your lawyer and consultants can provide the legal and contractual elements of franchising, but as a restaurant construction specialist, we’re more versed with the building design and construction details that you’ll need to establish. Below we offer advice for you to consider during franchise development.

The cost of construction changes in each market. Larger markets obviously cost more for land and construction services. Taking into consideration your business forecast and break even analysis, some markets may not be a good return on investment due to the cost of construction. Break even information and estimated construction costs will help you determine which size markets will be lucrative and which to avoid.

Next is the standard building design. You’ll want to have a uniform look and feel to your restaurant for branding purposes, so you’ll need to establish your approximate square footage, floor plan, number of seats, décor colors, materials, decorations, kitchen equipment and whether or not to use a drive-thru.

Furthermore, if you’re planning to lease your building, it’s best to share your lease agreement with your architect and contractor prior to signing it. Doing so can save you frustration, time and money. Most lease hold requirements involve design and construction provisions that may restrict you from keeping your new space uniform to the brand. Also, your architect can design more efficiently when they know what the requirements are for a space and your contractor can provide value engineering to save money. Or you can search for a new space if you’re unable to do what you want.

Finally, when you establish how many locations you’re going to franchise, you can take advantage of bulk buying power to save money on construction materials such as carpet, floor tiles, ceiling tiles, cabinetry, etc.

Pleas call Michael Shepard, Business Developer, to get your questions answered or to learn more about our franchising and construction expertise. mshepard@wolgast.com, 989-790-9120.

Tags: the Wolgast Way, Restaurant Construction

Educational Enhancement the Wolgast Way

Posted by Cory Sursely on Wed, Mar 04, 2015 @ 10:42 AM
Educational Enhancement

As we hear more and more about STEM education and how important it is to expose your students to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math as fields of study, Wolgast offers programs to introduce construction practices to your students during our construction projects at your school.  We call it Educational Enhancement and it has the flexibility to be tailored to your students in many different scenarios.

Our School Facilities Specialists and Field Managers work with your Curriculum Director to create a unique experience for your students, either as a class in a group setting, as individuals in work study, or who as hired summer interns.  Classroom groups are able to visit the site and have an educational opportunity appropriate to their age group, to showcase construction as a profession and how their current studies apply to real world scenarios. Conversely, in the past, we have taken on senior level students who are interested in construction or a related industry as a profession and provided independent study or summer internships.

This is part of our School Construction Management services at no additional charge.  We feel that it's a great benefit for our school clients and also a great opportunity for the future of the construction industry.  Likewise, our Field Managers are happy to show-off to the kids what we’re doing and how it relates to their STEM studies.

Additionally, our Construction Management Department is significantly experienced in K-12 school construction.  By significantly specialized, I mean we’ve done over $2 Billion of in-place construction for K-12 schools throughout Michigan.  We know school construction and can teach your students real world experience on a building that is near and dear to them.

See an example of a program we developed for Northview Schools and one of their students who was interested in architecture as a profession.

 

Example of Educational Enhancement

Tags: Schools, Construction Management, the Wolgast Way

Why Winter Is the Best Time to Plan Your Construction Project

Posted by Cory Sursely on Tue, Jan 27, 2015 @ 02:20 PM

BidOther than taking time to prepare a plan when the weather is poor for construction (so you can be ready when the weather is conducive for construction) there are additional benefits to contact your design/builder or general contractor in the winter.  Let me clarify that the following explanation works best when applied in Michigan and other cold winter states.  

Better Bids

It’s now January and we have at least 3 – 4 months before the weather is ideal for new construction.  So, suffice it to say, there’s typically less construction happening in the winter resulting in more supply and less demand.  Therefore, if you can get your design completed and solicit sub-contractor bids at this time, there will likely be more flexibility to get a competitive price from a larger selection of sub-contracting companies.  Right now, the pool of sub-contractors is larger because they’re only starting to fill their schedules for spring and summer.  More bidders means more competition and competitive pricing.  As we get closer to spring, schedules fill up and the result is either fewer bidders or bidders who aren’t as motivated because they already have a decent work load or they are busy and don’t have time to offer their best price.  The same holds true, typically, with materials and suppliers.

As we discussed in our blog “Ample Time Gets Better Bids”, when a sub-contractor has sufficient time to run their numbers, they provide an accurate and uninflated budget.  Otherwise, if they don’t have adequate time, then they’re more likely to round up, or inflate their price.  This isn’t to penalize the customer, but to make sure that they cover their costs to perform the service, and with inadequate time it sometimes is an educated guess. Therefore, allowing more time will likely result in a more accurate price that will affect your bottom line.

We would advise that getting bids when the pool is large will result in getting the best value for your budget because the cream of the crop will fill their schedules quickly and may not be available or motivated to bid competitively during the heat of construction season.

Design Time

Depending on the size of your building, design can take four months or more to be finalized.  The complexity or jurisdiction that it’s in can make it longer to get through approvals, not to mention if there are revisions made to the plans.  We know it’s daunting to sign off on something that a business owner has to live with for the next 25 to 50 years.  Owners should keep the design duration in mind while also allowing for sufficient time for bidding as we mentioned above.

If you must start your planning in the spring or summer, we will still seek out the best value, just as we do in the winter.  However, we have now shared with you that your budget will likely be lower if you do your planning in the winter when the pool is bigger and there is more time for estimating.  Now is the time to take advantage of cost saving measures and we will have you ready to break ground when the weather turns.

Inquire Here

Tags: Design/Build, the Wolgast Way, Scheduling, Financing Construction, Design, Good for Business