Building For The Future: Adapting Commercial Spaces To Changing Business Needs

Building For The Future: Adapting Commercial Spaces To Changing Business Needs

The business landscape is constantly changing, driven by technological advancements, evolving work dynamics, and changing customer expectations. Businesses must adapt their commercial spaces to meet the evolving demands of the work landscape. Adapting commercial spaces goes beyond mere aesthetics; it involves creating environments that foster collaboration, productivity, and employee well-being and align with the demands of the digital age.

Understanding Changing Business Needs

To effectively adapt commercial spaces, it is essential to understand the changing needs of businesses:

1. Shifting Work Dynamics 

The rise of remote work and flexible work arrangements has become increasingly prevalent. Companies now require commercial spaces supporting in-person and remote collaboration, offering flexibility and seamless connectivity. Office layouts must be designed knowing that teams may sometimes be physically present in different spaces. The optimal hybrid workspace includes integrating technology to facilitate virtual meetings, digital communication, and collaboration tools that bridge the gap between remote and on-site employees.

2. Flexible and Collaborative Work Environments 

Traditional rigid office setups give way to dynamic and adaptable spaces that encourage teamwork, creativity, and innovation. Commercial spaces should include flexible furniture arrangements and communal areas. Modular furniture allows easy reconfiguration to accommodate different work activities and potential changes in needs. By creating open rooms and shared spaces, businesses can promote interaction and cross-functional collaboration, essential for problem-solving and knowledge sharing.

GSD Construction’s Conference Room is a great example of incorporating natural elements into the buildings design.

3. Employee Well-Being and Productivity 

Modern businesses recognize the importance of employee well-being and its impact on productivity. Ergonomic workstations, adjustable furniture, and supportive seating contribute to employee comfort and reduce fatigue. Incorporating design elements such as plants and natural materials can improve employee’s moods, reduce stress, and increase productivity. 

4. Embracing Technology and Digital Transformation 

The digital age demands technology integration into commercial spaces. High-speed internet, innovative office solutions, and virtual collaboration tools are necessary for efficient operations, streamlined communication, and enhanced productivity. Reliable internet connectivity ensures seamless access to digital resources and supports real-time collaboration between in-person and virtual employees.

Adapting Commercial Spaces

To successfully adapt commercial spaces to changing business needs, consider the following strategies:

Seidel-Schroeder utilized modular cubicles to allow for potential growth or office changes.

1. Redesigning Office Layouts 

Create flexible and modular office layouts that can be easily reconfigured. Add adjustable furniture, movable partitions, and multifunctional spaces to accommodate changing work requirements. Emphasize open areas and collaboration zones to foster interaction and creativity. Design spaces that cater to different work styles, including quiet areas for focused work and collaborative spaces for group discussions. By incorporating flexible design principles, departments can adapt their rooms to the evolving needs of their team.

Seidel-Schroeder’s conference room includes a monitor and smart speaker to accommodate virtual meetings.

2. Embracing Technology and Connectivity 

Ensure robust internet connectivity and infrastructure to support seamless communication and operations. Incorporate smart monitors and 360° conference call cameras for convenient collaboration. Integrating technology into commercial spaces enhances productivity, streamlines processes, and improves operational efficiency.

Overcoming Challenges in Adaptation

Adapting commercial spaces may present challenges, including financial considerations, privacy concerns, and legal and regulatory requirements.

The initial investment in adapting offices can be a significant barrier for businesses. However, companies can explore cost-effective solutions, such as leasing options, shared spaces, or phased renovation plans. Privacy concerns can be addressed by creating designated private areas or implementing soundproofing solutions in open office environments. Adhering to legal and regulatory requirements requires thorough research and compliance with building codes, accessibility guidelines, and safety regulations.

Adapting commercial spaces to changing business needs is essential for businesses to thrive in the future. Successful adaptations require careful planning, flexibility, and a commitment to continuously evolve to meet the changing demands of the modern business landscape. By building for the future, businesses can position themselves for long-term success and remain at the forefront of their industries.

Deliver, Don’t Delay: 5 Recommendations for Avoiding Costly (and Frustrating!) Delays in Commercial Construction

Deliver, Don’t Delay: 5 Recommendations for Avoiding Costly (and Frustrating!) Delays in Commercial Construction

Construction projects are often delayed for various reasons, including inadequate planning, poor communication between stakeholders, changes to the scope of work, unforeseen circumstances, and even disruptions caused by global events (think: the COVID-19 pandemic and supply shortages—remember the 200%+ increase in lumber prices?).

Delays are not only frustrating, but they are typically costly, and they can have a significant impact on schedules and outcome quality. When building on a commercial scale, these negative consequences are compounded even further.

This article will discuss 5 recommendations for avoiding delays in your next commercial construction project.

Always create a written, detailed project plan.

Even if you think you have a clear road ahead, always write down your plan. Writing down your plan can uncover gaps, disparities, or potential conflicts that you wouldn’t have seen otherwise.

Your written plan should include:

  • Detailed timeline, checkpoints, meetings, and deliverable dates
  • Budget, including a buffer to absorb unexpected costs
  • List of tasks and assignments

It is important to consider all the potential risks and challenges that may occur and plan accordingly. Working with your contractor, engineer, and architect can help you understand what storms might be just on the horizon, and they can arm you with the necessary tools to navigate what lies ahead.

Get all stakeholders on board early.

Get the input you need from all stakeholders, including the owner, financing institution, architect, engineer, and contractor as early as possible. It is likely that the needs and demands of each group are interconnected and dependent on other parties, so establishing clear communication lines early will be key.

Communicate regularly with stakeholders.

Your stakeholders can be your greatest asset, as long as you start communicating with them early on in the project timeline.

One of the most common delays—permitting delays—can be mitigated and even altogether avoided with the help of your stakeholders.

Permitting and the permit approval process is commonly misunderstood, as we describe in our article, “Build Without Fear: What to Expect In Your Commercial Construction Project.” Even the most prepared and experienced professionals can’t always avoid the extra hassle and patience that permitting approvals require. Lean on your architect and contractor for help through this process for the least number of delays possible.

Be prepared for the unexpected.

No matter how well you plan, something unexpected will always happen. As long as you have the right resources and processes in place, you can overcome these not-so-fun surprises. 

There are many common reasons for delays. In 2008, 21% of respondents selected weather as a reason for construction project delays.

For delays like those caused by weather, contingency plans can help mitigate the effects.

Monitor the project closely.

It is important to monitor the project and all of its moving parts closely from early on. Keeping an eye on potential delays will allow you to correct and redirect as needed to make sure you stay on schedule.

For example, GSD Construction worked on a project that required an elevator that had a lead time of 30 weeks! Because we ordered it well in advance for our client, it didn’t result in the nightmare of a situation that could have happened without close monitoring. If you’re not diligent about these kinds of delays, your schedule and your budget could turn into something more like a pipe dream than a reality.

In addition to the five recommendations above, make sure you are always looking for trusted, reputable partners in the construction process. Here are some additional tips to keep you on schedule with your next project:

  • Choose a reputable, experienced contractor who will be able to guide you through a complex project process
  • Be clear about your expectations and your project scope early on with your contractor. Change orders are a leading cause of delays in construction projects.
  • Use a written tracker to monitor the project’s progress, and allow key stakeholders to collaborate on the tracker.

By following these key recommendations, you’ll have a smooth-sailing commercial construction project process, and you’ll end up with the office, industrial, retail, or educational space of your dreams.

5 Strategies for Managing Construction Costs

5 Strategies for Managing Construction Costs

Effective construction cost management is crucial for completing projects on time, within budget, and to the required quality. However, balancing the need for quality with cost control can be challenging. With these five strategies, you can take a few steps to ensure your project stays within budget. 

1. Develop a Detailed Project Plan 

A detailed project plan is essential for managing construction costs. It can help accomplish several goals, including: 

  • Establishing a roadmap for the project
  • Identifying critical milestones
  • Keeping everyone on track. 

When developing your project plan, consider all the resources and timelines required. Planning upfront can help you stay on track and avoid any unexpected expenses.

2. Conduct a Thorough Site Analysis 

Conducting a thorough site analysis before construction can help identify potential challenges and limitations that could impact the project’s costs. For example, if there are existing underground utilities that need to be relocated, this construction effort could start to rack up surprise expenses. You can plan accordingly and minimize unexpected costs by identifying potential challenges early.

3. Hire a Reliable Contractor 

Selecting a reliable contractor is crucial for managing construction costs. A good contractor has a reputation for managing costs effectively and can provide you with accurate estimatesnegotiate with suppliers, and find cost-effective solutions. You should look for a contractor with a proven track recordreferences, and a portfolio of completed projects.

Read our article on the benefits of working with a local construction company to get more insight into your options for contractors.

4. Manage Resources Effectively 

Managing resources effectively is critical to minimizing construction costs. Overstaffing can lead to unnecessary labor costs, while underutilizing equipment can lead to longer project durations and increased costs.

5. Embrace Technology 

Technology is revolutionizing the construction industry, and construction companies can use technology to manage costs effectively. For instance, project management software can help you keep track of expenses and avoid overspending. Building Information Modeling (BIM) can also help you detect potential cost overruns early.

Bonus tip: Plan for Contingencies 

Construction projects can often encounter unexpected events that drive up costs. It is crucial to plan for contingencies to minimize their impact on the project’s cost. For example, you can allocate a contingency fund to address unforeseen events or include a schedule buffer to deal with schedule delays.

Managing construction costs requires careful planning and execution. By following these strategies, you can effectively manage construction costs and ensure your project stays on budget.

Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn for more strategies and tips!

Making The Case For Going Local: Benefits Of Working With A Local Construction Company 

Making The Case For Going Local: Benefits Of Working With A Local Construction Company 

Choosing the right construction company for your next project is crucial. While you might be drawn to larger companies, local general contractors can provide individualized attention, so you avoid costly problems and delays that waste your time and money. By taking advantage of a local company’s benefits, you ensure a successful construction project that meets your needs and exceeds your expectations.

Here are a few key advantages:

Knowledge of local building codes and regulations

Local construction companies often have a better understanding of the specific requirements and procedures of building codes and regulations in their area. Equipped with more experience and established relationships with local building officials, permit offices, and regulatory bodies that oversee construction projects, you can avoid mistakes that waste time and money.

Pre-existing relationships with local suppliers and contractors

A key task of general contractors is to hire subcontractors and specialists including plumbers, electricians, roofers, and more. You want to avoid any company that will opt to hire the first available or cheapest option, resulting in sub-par work that may need repairs in the future. A local construction company is more familiar with which local subcontractors produce high-quality work, saving you time and money in the long run.

Faster response time & easier to contact

It is much easier and more efficient to discuss project details face-to-face rather than via email or phone call. In-person discussions are often unlikely or complicated to set up with large companies unless you want to travel long distances. However, when working with a local construction company, they go the extra mile to accommodate you and work through problems quickly and efficiently. This accessibility provides peace of mind, avoids the frustration of miscommunication, and streamlines your project.

Greater accountability

A local contractor’s business is built largely on its reputation. If they don’t consistently deliver quality work on time and within budget, they won’t get hired. This pressure from the community holds local construction companies accountable for everything they do—from how they treat subcontractors to aligning with building codes and regulations.

Growing the local economy

Working with a local construction company keeps money within the community. Employees are hired locally, which creates jobs and develops deeper community ties. More tax money goes to local infrastructure and supports the development of your community.

Local references

With a larger, out-of-town company, you can look at reviews online or past projects, but you might miss being able to look at example projects firsthand. With a local construction company, you can see a contractor’s work in person, talk with previous customers, and evaluate the company before hiring them.

Working locally offers numerous advantages that can benefit both the customer and the community. If you’re looking for high-quality, reliable construction services that are tailored to the specific needs and conditions of the area, reach out to your local construction companies.

Build without fear: What to expect in your next commercial construction project 

Build without fear: What to expect in your next commercial construction project 

Commercial construction projects can be overwhelming if you don’t know what to expect. But have no fear – to make it easier, we’ve broken it down into 4 phases and included the key questions that you should be asking yourself and your builder.  

Phase 1: Development and Design  

The first phase, Development and Design, includes the acquisitions, feasibility studies, regulatory approvals, and planning required for a successful construction project.  

Before you begin, prepare yourself: the first phase of construction projects is time-consuming. It will require patience. Even experienced professionals know nothing moves quickly in the development and design phase. To make it easier, start integrating key parties now, including the architects, engineers, contractors, and consultants.  

While the prepping may seem endless and you’re antsy to start your new project, dedicating resources to proper design and development can make or break a project. The industry is unpredictable, and projects fail all the time because of hastily made plans, shaky financing, or sudden market changes for which you were unprepared.  

Phase 1 Check-In:  

  1. How does your building meet the needs of your market? 
  1. How can you prepare for adverse conditions? 
  1. Who exactly needs to be involved in the overall process? Are they involved at this point? 

Phase 2: Pre-Construction   

In the Pre-construction phase, you can get ahead of potential issues, including permitting and material acquisition delays, which are the two most common problems in construction projects.  

The process for getting a construction permit approved is commonly misunderstood. Even if all your paperwork is perfect because you put in the time beforehand to get your ducks in a row, there is a huge volume of requests being processed through multiple approving departments. Permitting offices are typically understaffed and overworked, adding to the delays. Be patient and be organized as you go through this process. 

Acquiring the right materials for your dream office, retail space, school, or industrial warehouse takes time, especially if there are any supply chain delays. Construction project materials may have unexpectedly long lead times. Knowing and avoiding those lead times now can keep your project on schedule and on-budget. 

To avoid permitting and material delays, lean on your architect and builder. As part of your commercial construction team, they can leverage their expertise and experience in handling these complex processes and proactively manage predictable challenges.  

Phase 2 Check-In: 

  1. What supplies might have long lead times to procure? 
  1. How can you plan around delays and prepare in advance? 
  1. How can you make permitting easier? 

Phase 3: Construction 

In well-managed and well-planned construction projects, the actual construction part doesn’t start until you’re at least 2 phases into the project. Once all the materials, team members, permitting, approvals, and planning are in place, Construction can officially start in phase 3.  

However, enter phase 3 knowing that even the best plans encounter unforeseen, uncontrollable circumstances. Whether it’s the weather, adverse site conditions, acts of God, or any other unpredictable event, there are a hundred different things that can happen that threaten to derail a project. Great construction management identifies potential pain points upfront and has plans to mitigate them, so unforeseen events are easier to manage when they happen. 

Phase 3 Check-In: 

  1. How can I plan ahead for unforeseen circumstances? 
  1. Is my builder prepared for potential obstacles in the project? 

Phase 4: Wrap Up  

After construction is complete, the final phase, Wrap Up, will officially complete your project. In this phase, you should expect a final walkthrough and guidance from your builder to facilitate a smooth move-in. Before you settle in and begin to enjoy your new building, make sure all loose ends are tied up and the building is good to go. 

Phase 4 Check-In: 

  1. What final details do I need to coordinate? 
  1. What are the final steps before move in? 
  1. What protocols are in place to ensure a safe transition? 

In all stages of the construction process, always remember that involving your key stakeholders, including your architect, engineer, general contractor, subcontractors, and consultants can be your key to success. 

We can help facilitate the connections and resources you need to get your project done on time and on budget. If you have questions or want to know more about what to expect for your next commercial construction project, connect with us.  

Uncomplicating The Mystery of ESG In Construction & Real Estate Development

Uncomplicating The Mystery of ESG In Construction & Real Estate Development

Protecting our environment, decreasing emissions, and producing sustainable energy resources have long been a concern for businesses. More recently, investors are also looking at long-term sustainability and ethical considerations when deciding on where to invest their resources and are using Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) metrics to make these decisions. Companies with solid ESG plans have a higher probability of success, so it is imperative that businesses consider ESG in their own company processes.

Overview: ESG in Construction & Real Estate

Value-oriented ESG practices are valuable, especially in construction and real estate. Because of the importance of investment in real estate development, ESG is now at the forefront of decision-making when considering where to devote financial resources. An investor wants to know the impact of a company’s previous activities and their effect on the surrounding community. Companies that prioritize environmental, social, and governance concerns often build better reputations, have higher customer satisfaction, and more sustainable value-creation—all linked to long-term success and increased capital investment.

1.    Environmental Practices

The environmental standards in ESG metrics are largely influenced by federal regulations and concerns about global warming, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and environmental impact. Consider the following when planning a construction project:

Monitor water consumption on the job site

Using a hydrometer to collect data on the daily usage of water can keep projects within the scope of an environmentally conscious building plan. Companies can integrate low-use fixtures and commit to reusing and recycling gray water. Companies should emphasize water conservation to their employees, set responsible goals for water consumption, and institute consequences for carelessness, like forgetting to shut off a valve.

Reduce emissions both during the building phase and throughout the life of the building

Data shows that the Engineering and Construction (E&C) industry accounts for 25-40% of the world’s total carbon emissions and 30% of greenhouse gas emissions are attributed to buildings. It is crucial that companies commit to procedures that reduce the negative, yet necessary, impact construction has on our world. Start by using sustainable products with optimal life-cycle value. Additionally, use new, more efficient methods of heating, cooling, and lighting, which can drastically impact the consumption of raw materials used.

Recycling, reusing, and repurposing can not only reduce waste but provide cost-saving opportunities

Construction and Demolition (C&D) materials account for a large amount of the United States’ annual waste, with more than 600 million tons of C&D debris generated in 2018. Builders can reduce waste by buying used materials. A project that uses recycled materials not only reduces waste sent to landfills, but it saves money that would otherwise be spent on new materials. Additionally, construction engineers can design for adaptability and disassembly proactively, so the impact of future demolition is reduced.

2.    Social Practices

The construction industry plays a fundamental role in building communities. Because of its integral role in shaping the cities and neighborhoods we depend on, it is in a key position to make a positive social impact.

Human safety should be paramount to any building plans

Not only should worker safety be stitched into every project, but the safety of the people who will work, live, or spend time in the finished structures is critical. According to the World Economic Forum, people on average spend nearly 90% of their time indoors, so the health of occupants should always be taken into account.

Consider the growing urbanization of communities

About 200,000 people are added daily to urban areas. Construction companies that provide affordable and comfortable housing will have a positive impact on the community it serves.

3.    Governance Practices

Because the construction industry directly impacts the daily lives of people who live and work in the community, the accountability of companies in the industry is paramount.

Transparency and accountability should be among the pillars of every company’s core values

Collaboration and cooperation develop trust and reputability not only among the people who work for the company but also for the people who utilize the services, buildings, or provided products.

Incorporate dedicated processes to verify and confirm that all regulatory requirements are met

Demonstrate a commitment to industry-wide safety efforts and decrease any chance of missed regulatory requirements that may impact the success of the company as well as the well-being of its customers.

In Conclusion

Collaboration between key stakeholders across the construction industry—including general contractors, architects, engineers, subcontractors, and other stakeholders—will play a large role in maintaining good ESG practices. Each of these players will play a key role in sustainable construction practices.

When a company in the construction industry makes ESG a priority, it attracts stakeholders by reducing risks, improving long-term sustainability, and positioning itself for long-term success.