Builders with institutional knowledge, build value for CRE owners

03 August 2021

When it comes to getting a major commercial construction project off the ground, it is hard to overstate the importance of working with an experienced general contractor. Not only is it vital that the builder have experience with the building type and location, but that they are brought into the process as early as possible.

To develop a final product with the highest possible value, owners need to extract as much technical and experiential knowledge from their building teams as possible. Experienced general contractors inject their knowledge and know-how to lower costs, reduce schedules and create efficiencies. However, with the bulk of the building design happening before a GMP contract can be signed, the best way to reap those benefits is to hire a GC to participate during preconstruction.

Benefits of preconstruction

By hiring a GC to provide preconstruction services, the construction pros can work side by side with the project’s architect, engineers, and designers to explore an owner’s vision from all perspectives. Often, experienced general contractors will have come across the issues that pop up for potential projects like challenging municipal code requirements, material shortages and cost limitations and will have a number of creative solutions to consider. Some of the benefits of working with a GC during preconstruction include:

  • Increased potential for design build solutions
  • Better value engineering
  • Expanded logistical efficiencies
  • Enhanced costs estimation

The value of an integrated developer + general contractor

As a firm that has been building high-quality commercial real estate for over 25 years, Focus’ team of construction professionals has honed its preconstruction process to the benefit of our projects and third-party clients alike. Take for example, the recently announced active adult community, Everleigh Vernon Hills. Focus was an integral part in moving that project forward for client Greystar in a number of ways.

First, when reviewing the HVAC system for the project, the Focus team noticed increased ductwork when compared to similar suburban apartment layouts like Focus’ own project down the street, The Atworth at Mellody Farm. The team shared their previous knowledge with the HVAC engineers who with the help of the Focus team, modified the design to increase efficiency and reduce the amount of necessary ductwork.

Similarly, the foundation system was originally designed as two separate foundations to accommodate the residential and parking structures. However, Focus’ experience with a similar product told them that it is possible to build a shared foundation system between the residential building and parking structure which reduced costs and improved the schedule.

In addition to technical knowledge, the Focus team brought their local experience to the table which benefitted the project in a couple of way as well. For instance, their knowledge of the local zoning codes allowed them to adjust the fire detection systems and remove certain kitchen exhaust technologies to reduce the cost to ownership while meeting the municipality’s safety requirements and building code.

These are just a handful of examples of the solutions discovered when the Focus team applied their institutional knowledge to the Everleigh at Vernon Hills project. Ultimately, the team proposed over 40 design and engineering changes which reduced cost and improved efficiency while maintaining the owner’s vision and building value for the project.

To learn more about Focus’ approach to preconstruction or to discuss a project of your own, please reach out today.

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