Group of Peers. No Pressure.

Group of Peers. No Pressure.

This week, I was in Denver participating in a peer group of other contractors from around the US–from Washington State to Pennsylvania. This was “an assembly of like, non-competing firms in an organized setting, exchanging private company information for mutual benefit.” As a construction company, I found these three takeaways we discussed most helpful and to [Read More]

A Simple Tape

A Simple Tape

As teenager, I helped my father build a cabin in North Georgia. I still remember how he loved his Craftsman 6-foot yellow folding rule. I wish I still had one, but unfortunately, I somehow misused them when I was younger and ended up breaking a few. Still, I have great respect for what that simple tool [Read More]

The (Before) Breakfast Club

The (Before) Breakfast Club

There’s a running joke around the office about who has received an email from me early in the mornings, maybe too early at times. I’ve been known to write at 3 or 4 in the morning. I wouldn’t bill myself as an insomniac or a workaholic. I just find my best productivity in the solitude [Read More]

Concrete Flatness:  A Nickel Ain’t Worth a Dime Anymore

Concrete Flatness: A Nickel Ain’t Worth a Dime Anymore

Strange as it sounds now, back in the 1970s, getting a concrete floor into a “flat mode” was at times measured as “no more than an 1/8 inch difference in 10 feet,” or for the old timers, “throw a nickel on a wet floor, and if the water doesn’t bead over the top, it’s okay.” [Read More]

Subject: Email Response Time

Subject: Email Response Time

Before email came on the scene, in many ways we were restricted to communicating during business hours. No one wanted to bother someone with a call to their home phone unless it was a real emergency. Email transformed this notion by giving the sender the option to write at his or her leisure. The receiver [Read More]

When to Use EIFS, and What to Look Out For

When to Use EIFS, and What to Look Out For

EIFS (exterior insulating finish system) was once one of the hottest building materials on the market, then water intrusion problems signaled the demise of the way it was being used. The industry then took a hard look at means of installation and corrected those earlier problems. Beyond revising installation errors, a whole new family of cool finishes [Read More]

Architectural Adaptive Reuse

Architectural Adaptive Reuse

Restoring buildings to their original state, or at other times giving them new purpose, brings a lot of satisfaction. Our Thomas Jefferson project falls into this category. We are in the process of converting the circa 1920s hotel into 96 apartments targeted at Millennials, complete with food and retail on the ground floor. One of [Read More]

Shrinking Parking Lots.

Shrinking Parking Lots.

A few years ago, I wrote about the “streetwise parking” trend we are seeing, where parking fields are getting smaller and smarter. In the 4 years that have passed since that post, we are seeing more innovative parking solutions in our own projects. Two examples: Merchant’s Walk, a Whole Foods-anchored retail center that included hybrid street [Read More]

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]