A Circle of Two-Way Streets

A Circle of Two-Way Streets

I have found success in the leverage of our efforts by having solid “two-way street partners.” This is somewhat like loosely connected circles–watching out for each other, touching the perimeter and being able to help each other with opportunities. Sometimes I feel like a high school coach, forwarding my good recruits to my favorite NCAA [Read More]

VRF for Multi-Story Buildings

VRF for Multi-Story Buildings

We’re just starting on an apartment project where we decided to go with  variable refrigerant flow (VRF) technology  for the heating and cooling needs. Instead of each unit having its own HVAC system, these VRF systems use a central condensing unit. Each space is linked digitally to a central controller which manages conditions and monitors usage. Each [Read More]

Is the White Elephant Nearing Extinction?

Is the White Elephant Nearing Extinction?

Recently, someone told me that as a country, we are not over “mall-ed,” we are just under-demolished. There is still a place for shopping malls on good real estate, just not as many. Patterns are changing. I traveled to New England this week to visit a couple of our projects. Driving through smaller towns like [Read More]

Manners as a Motivator

Manners as a Motivator

In our industry, I’ve found that many times folks use too much stick and not enough carrot. Let me explain. Because of tight deadlines and performance pressures, resulting in little time, the industry tends to cater to impersonal emails at best, and raised voices at worst. Perhaps we could all practice better manners and carve [Read More]

Listening With Both Ears

Listening With Both Ears

Over the last few weeks, we have been working on the initial stages of a project that will land somewhere between $40 and $70 million, with a 2017 delivery. A really nice, interesting project. Recently when I was meeting with our customer about the project, I asked about two consultants who I thought would be [Read More]

Trust & Intellectual Property Go Hand in Hand

Trust & Intellectual Property Go Hand in Hand

We are finishing a project that features a technology element so proprietary that there are no drawings. Instead, the system manufacturer sent employees to direct which components go where for our “rough in.” This served to protect the intellectual property. Our team took a number of steps to minimize confusion and maximize productivity on this [Read More]

110 Inches. Really?

110 Inches. Really?

In planning our projects, we always look at average weather conditions. Average is a thing of the past, and it seems we are now surprised by reality more often. We had a project in Wisconsin last winter, and we were told it was the coldest in memory. I guess they did not know about this [Read More]

CRE State of the Union

CRE State of the Union

  For income producing commercial property, Capitalization (Cap) Rates determine property values, a function of the dollars generated by the property and thus the ROI. These cap rates are influenced by a ton of different factors including type of investment, location, potential for increasing cash flow. The lower the cap rate the more valuable the property. [Read More]

Trends Among Millennials

Trends Among Millennials

I’m fortunate to be a part of a solid initiative called Design Alabama. Every year we participate in a Mayors’ Summit, working with five different cities on their most challenging design problems. We just completed our 2015 Summit. A few interesting nuggets I learned about Millennials trends (people born 1979 to 1996) 31% of Millennials prefer [Read More]

Post-Tensioned Slabs On Grade

Post-Tensioned Slabs On Grade

We have a project in the works that has potential for soil movement of subgrade because of wet and dry cycles. It may require a post-tensioned slab on grade.  We will group the cables and space them throughout a slab, just as we would an elevated slab. After the concrete is poured, but before it [Read More]