Building Blocks of Problem Solving

Building Blocks of Problem Solving

When I was in Las Vegas a few weeks ago, I took these two pictures on the same day. The first: A bank of slot machines, gold and noise. The second: Wooden building blocks in the corner of my hotel coffee shop, waiting to be taken off the shelf and built into something. Both are [Read More]

Hot Weather Hacks for Pouring Concrete

Hot Weather Hacks for Pouring Concrete

We’ve reached midsummer and there’s no getting around it: It’s hot. When the temperature of fresh-mixed concrete hits 77 degrees Fahrenheit, quality is at risk, depending on the site conditions. When you get above 90 degrees in ambient temperature, you’ll have difficulty producing quality concrete without some serious adjustment to the mix. Interestingly, in the recent [Read More]

The Right Way to Co-Op

The Right Way to Co-Op

Over the last few years, we’ve had a number of interns from the Auburn University Urban Studio, and have had success channeling their talent while they hopefully learn a few things along the way. This past year, we decided to up our commitment, and are now involved with the Auburn University CADC Co-Op Program. It’s our [Read More]

History Set in Steel

History Set in Steel

Lately, we’ve worked on a handful of historic renovation projects, and it always seems something interesting rolls out from them. At our Hotel Thomas Jefferson project, we found bellhop uniforms and menus stored since the Great Depression. At the Lyric Theatre, we unearthed ticket stubs from the Flapper era. As we were finishing The Lyric, [Read More]

Leadership Across Platforms

Leadership Across Platforms

Several decades ago, in most of the larger southeastern cities, union contractors prevailed. As the market began to change toward a more open working environment, these companies formed what would be referred to as a “double-breasted operation,” where the ownership of one company was the same as the other, and yet one was union and [Read More]

When You Speak, Say Something.

When You Speak, Say Something.

I was at a lunch last week sponsored by an engineering firm, and unlucky me happen to sit with someone who works in business development. It was the same old conversation I’ve had with this person many times over. It starts with the standard “how’s business?” and “been playing any golf recently?” line of questioning, [Read More]

Four Ways to Build. Four Lessons Learned.

Four Ways to Build. Four Lessons Learned.

While there are a number of contract forms for building services, they all sort of revolve around these four: Design and Bid. The architect prepares plans and the contractor builds. Fairly simple. Over the last several years, it seems the budgets for architectural design are getting tighter and thus there is not enough design money [Read More]

Wood Framing Construction Topping Out Higher?

Wood Framing Construction Topping Out Higher?

Your average apartment building might be changing. I’m referring to multi-family buildings that are taller than garden-style, but not so tall as a high rise–generally five stories or 75’ in top elevation according to current codes. Wood is coming back into favor as a construction material for multi-family construction. As one of the oldest and [Read More]

4 Rules That Take You Back to the Future

4 Rules That Take You Back to the Future

A while back, when I was working on a project with the CEO of a $2 billion company, his favorite phrase was, “there’s only one opportunity to make a good first impression.” It stuck with me over the years, and I have since boiled the philosophy down to four basic rules that go a long way toward [Read More]

Leaving Las Vegas–RECON 2016

Leaving Las Vegas–RECON 2016

I spent this week at ICSC‘s RECON, the gold standard annual convention for the bricks and mortar component of the retail industry. This year marked the event’s 3oth anniversary in Las Vegas. Retail feels like an old friend to me. For a decade or two when we first started building, retail construction was our mainstay. During [Read More]