As part of our series - Focus Features - we recently sat back down with David Hanner, who recently became Focus' Director of Preconstruction. David has been with Focus for over 5-years, and as a senior leader on our construction team, leads the preconstruction and bidding efforts for both our own developments and third-party projects alike. In this Focus Feature Follow Up, we discussed his new role and the trends he's seeing across the industry.
I don’t think it’s a trend specific to the last 5 years, but the cost of construction doesn’t go down. Whether it’s international tariffs, labor shortages, or current industry-wide material cost increases there is always some factor threatening to push cost higher.
How has that informed your approach?
Increases in construction cost requires that we be proactive in finding ways to meet the Owner’s budget. We don’t wait to be asked for cost savings solutions. We seek cost savings while pricing what is currently designed. Additionally, we stay connected with the trade partner community, seek out partners who are enthusiastic about our projects, and who see our project as beneficial to their business.
Understanding how new technology & methods apply to a project and the total cost implication of the tech or method often requires some early conceptual cost comparison. If the new technology or method provides value to the project, then we will suggest it to our customer and the design team. Often new technology and methods are solutions to increased construction costs.
Implementing a design-build strategy and executing it with our trade partners requires that our team contemplates the details and systems of the project early in the process. We enter a partnership with design-build contractors prior to knowing many details of a project. Therefore, we must use Focus’ institutional knowledge gained from previous projects to make sure the necessary scope is within design-builder’s contract to mitigate additional costs as the design progresses.
If I had to pick one, then it would be 167 Green St. In many ways it was a big project for Focus, and our partner Shapack. It was our company’s biggest project in terms of square footage and dollar value. It was also a big opportunity to build a different product, in this case, an office building. It was exciting to be part of an important project in our company’s history. I enjoyed collaborating with Ownership and the design team led by Gensler. There are many interesting design elements such as the gold, reflective ceiling panels in the covered, pedestrian walkway and the large span, glass fin supported curtain wall at the lobby. As a basketball fan, I’m also partial to the indoor, full basketball court on the top floor. Hopefully, I get a chance to sink a few shots up there.
I enjoy the people and working within a team. I have met, worked with, and learned from many smart, funny, and interesting people in the construction industry. I’m fond of the many one-of-a-kind personalities I have met over the years. Additionally, it is rewarding to work with a team to achieve a goal or complete a project. I enjoy reaching the peaks, learning from the valleys, and the laughs with a team along the way.
Strive to be well-rounded. Learn what you can about as much as you can. Possessing some knowledge about different stages or processes in construction such as development, estimating, or project management will help you anticipate a project’s needs and be a good teammate. Understanding different construction types and systems will help you understand how systems work together and can help you solve problems. Additionally, ask questions and don’t be afraid to make a mistake. You will learn a lot from both.