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:
How does your building meet the needs of your market?
How can you prepare for adverse conditions?
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:
What supplies might have long lead times to procure?
How can you plan around delays and prepare in advance?
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:
How can I plan ahead for unforeseen circumstances?
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:
What final details do I need to coordinate?
What are the final steps before move in?
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
The GSD team is growing! Last month, Eric Cruz came on board as a project estimator.
A native Houstonian, Eric earned his degree in Construction Management at the University of Houston then immediately began his career in commercial construction.
In his early experience as an assistant estimator and project engineer, he quickly learned that ‘time is everything’. Read on to meet Eric, the guy behind the numbers.
Q: Why commercial construction? A: It’s an ongoing business. There is always a commercial need, especially in Houston, Texas.
Q: Favorite core class for your degree? A: Estimating, actually! I’m a computer guy, and I really liked the On-Screen Takeoff software we used.
Q: What would be a dream project to bid and win? A: Highrise. I look at downtown and I would love to develop something there. Then when it was done, know I was a part of that.
Q: Most significant learning experience? A: It happened early on. I was in a hurry to meet a deadline and submitted information from a sub without reviewing everything. Some items were left out of the scope. The experience drove home that you have to be diligent and careful. Always check twice.
Q: Best UH undergrad memory? A: The UH vs. Louisville game. (Football, 2016) It was an upset. No one expected us to win.
Q: Saddest March Madness bracket heartbreak? A: Obviously, UH. I wouldn’t care if my whole bracket was busted if they went all the way. But also the UVA game.
An exciting industrial interior build-out is rare.
But a 60-day completion timeline makes things more interesting. Will Hedges of Triten Real Estate Partners brought on GSD to complete a two month, 70,000 sq. ft., light industrial build out in north-west Houston.
The end user DXP Enterprises, Inc., provides products and services to a variety of industries through its Innovative Pumping Solutions (IPS), Supply Chain Services and MROP Product and Services. Method Architecture was selected to design the space. 57,000 sq. ft. is designated to production + warehouse, and the remaining 13,486 is office space.
Construction began November 2017 and completed on budget December 29th.
For 50 years, the firm has provided experienced and trusted financial leadership for businesses and individuals throughout central Texas. What better gift to recognize 50 years than a new office building?
Seidel Schroeder worked simultaneously with architect Andrew Hawkins, Hawkins Architecture, the team at Gessner Engineering and GSD to streamline the entire design-build process and maximize value engineering. The result is a 17,000 sq. ft. two-story build-to-suit in the heart of College Station.
Congratulations to Seidel Schroeder and cheers to another 50 years of steadfast service.
Tom is a seasoned superintendent, integral to our ground-up and build-to-suit focus.
During his more than 25 years in construction, Tom has managed multiple, complex, ground-up projects ranging from multi-story build-to-suits, grocery-anchored retail centers, and U.S. government projects abroad ranging in value from $4 million – $112 million.
Currently, Hiley is dedicated to the close-out of Seidel Schroeder and will wrap construction at the end of this month. His job site presence in College Station has kept the project on time despite design adjustments and multiple challenges from Harvey.