tash@lakewoodinc.com, Author at Lakewood Construction - Page 2 of 2

What I wish They Knew About Skilled Trades

Guest Post: DHE Plumbing & Mechanical

For many years, skilled trade positions have been seen as a plan b or c career. However, while working in the office may be the right path for some, it certainly isn’t for everyone. So why are so many people pushed toward the narrative that if they don’t go to college, they somehow won’t do as well in life?

Somewhere out there, there is a great plumber or electrician sitting in an office at a job they don’t enjoy because they thought that is what they had to do to be successful. What if those same people were given the opportunity to understand their career options beyond the classroom? This is the reason I have attended many high school career days over the years. Students have the chance to select a profession and learn more about what that may look like. But so often, I end up with sessions that have only 2-3 students (and many with zero) that want to hear about the trades industry. I wish I could shout from a mountain top what makes this industry great so that more students could excel in a career that they truly enjoy.

Here is what I wish they knew:

  1. Many trade contractors in the area (including DHE) offer great benefits packages. This includes family health insurance, yearly bonuses, and an employer 401K match.
  2. Just like any office job, our tradesmen receive paid training and paid vacation. We understand the importance of work-life balance and ensuring everyone is continuously learning.
  3. Variety! No day is the same on a jobsite. From new schools to breweries to skyscrapers, tradesmen get to experience working on a long list of spaces that all need their specialized skills.
  4. Want to travel?  We have completed the Penguin Exhibit at the Turtleback Zoo, the Jelly fish exhibit at the Georgia Aquarium and even a mangrove exhibit in Dubai.  YES, that is plumbing!

Just like every other industry, we need highly talented people. While the path may look different than what is expected, we know you can have a successful life-long career in a skilled trades position.

Early Involvement Leads to Client Wins

Guest Post: Town & Country Group

The destination is always the same: successful delivery of a high-quality, high-performing building on time, on budget that meets the end-user’s needs and vision.

The path to completion depends on multiple factors, including design and system complexity, budget, conditions and more.

The path an owner chooses to bring together the team of trade contractors, construction manager, architects and engineers does affect the building’s destination. And while bringing trade contractors into the mix during the design phase might be assumed to increase construction costs, the opposite is the reality.

Trade contractors — professionals with years of experience who ultimately will physically construct the desired building — play an important role in its design. Their early involvement allows for more cohesive communication, preventing potential design conflicts, redundancy and confusion of responsibilities. They also have the ability to create a preliminary schedule to prevent scheduling conflicts and identify opportunities for prefabrication, early product procurement and more.

Town & Country Group’s reputation of providing Service Second to None never varies, regardless of client or delivery method. But being involved in the design process early allows us to be better stewards of our clients’ money and needs. Our experts know first-hand how to efficiently meet the building’s needs, eliminating unneeded materials and offering practical and lasting products. 

Designers and non-trade-specific engineers are not afforded the experience of piping eight sub-panels in a room the size of a postage stamp. But a journeyman-electrician-turned-estimator can quickly foresee and explain why more space is required and how the cost will be reduced. RFI’s, Addendums and Bulletins, which can lead to change orders and extra costs, also are avoided.

Town & Country Group recently won the bid for a multi-phase renovation project for a long-time healthcare client. We were brought in at the start of construction and quickly discovered conflicts with electrical panels. The panels designed and scheduled to be installed in later phases were actually needed in the first phase. By looking at the project as a whole from the very beginning, we were able to prevent change orders during the later phases.

Instead of installing the electrical panels in Phase 3 as designed, we installed them in Phase 2. As a result, we only needed short power shutdowns to rework the electrical panels in Phase 2 instead of a long shutdown that would have negatively affected the hospital’s daily procedures.

Examples of positive impacts on bringing trade contractors into the design process are endless, and by no means trade specific. All trade professionals, from electricians to glass suppliers, have stories of poor installations that could have been prevented had they been consulted.

Over the years, significant growth has led to the evolution of certain trade contractors. Professional trade contractors are now staffed with engineers and architects fully capable of delivering a warehouse through the design-build delivery method. And today, we have the design-assist delivery method, with the same professional trade contractors partnering with the design expertise of architects and engineers to deliver high-design and highly coordinated projects, such as hospitals, schools, aquatic centers and more.

The Holland Community Aquatic Center, Lakewood Construction, Town & Country Group and other trade contractors are currently teaming using the design-assist delivery method. As a professional trade contactor, we were brought on early after the conceptual phases. Together, we ensured the design meets the owners’ needs and can be constructed without finger-pointing. Together, we have ensured all of the needs are met while maintaining the budget.

The destination of a high-quality, high-performing building for the coming decades of the Holland Community is progressing, swimmingly.

What is Procore and How Does it Benefit You?

Kevin Osbeck | Estimator

If you’ve gone through the building process before, chances are you have heard of Procore. Procore is a widely used construction software that provides several benefits to all parties involved. At Lakewood Construction, we use it on all of our projects, bringing the power of technology to better your results.

So, what is it?

Procore is a cloud-based platform that allows us to house all of our project documents, manage the bid process, track correspondence, and much more.

More importantly, how does it benefit you?

  1. Increased Transparency – Because Procore is online, each of the different team members have access to real-time project information. This results in everyone being on the same page from the first meeting through project completion and provides open access at any time.
  2. Better Teamwork – When your contractor, architect, and subcontractors, all have the project documents at their fingertips, you can expect a project team that goes above and beyond. For you, that means an enjoyable process with the best possible outcome.
  3. Regular Updates – Part of our Procore process includes regular photo updates from our Project Supervisors. This means you can check in on the project anytime, anywhere, and see what is happening on a day-to-day basis.

We are committed to making sure that we have the tools to provide a best-in-class construction process for every one of our clients and Procore is one piece of that. Whether you want to be involved as much or as little as possible, you have the freedom to decide.

Are you thinking about building? We would love to talk. Send us an email at hello@lakewoodinc.com or give us a call at 616-392-6923.

The Power of Partnerships

GUEST POST: Peter Baldwin, Principal | AMDG Architects

The difference between outright failure, or a project that at best simply ‘gets done’, and a project that advances your mission is a powerful partnership between your design and construction teams. AMDG has found great joy in building a strong partnership with Lakewood Construction throughout our growing history of highly successful projects together. What are the secrets to building a strong partnership? Trust, humility, respect for each team members expertise, and clear communication.

Understanding the “why”

Before even starting the design work, AMDG and Lakewood meet with you to clearly understand your project goals, concerns, and mission. Both teams work to understand the “why” behind your project. In this early stage, design principles are defined for the project. Very high-level budget parameters, programmatic needs as well as project timelines are also outlined. This early discovery stage provides the basis to inform decisions and successfully guide the team through project completion.

Working together

With well-defined design principles and a deep understanding of your goals, AMDG and Lakewood work with a shared purpose throughout the design and construction process. Communicating early and often, regular checks and balances are in place between AMDG and Lakewood as we balance design, cost and schedule. This healthy tension found in our partnership uniquely positions you as the client to both understand and influence the design and cost decisions throughout the project.

Carrying out Your Project

Whether navigating complex code or permitting issues, anticipating your operational logistical needs, or dealing with thorny construction challenges, AMDG and Lakewood are dedicated – to you, your project, and to one another. This mutual respect and humility catalyzes true teaming and creative problem solving throughout the project for your best interest.

With strong partnership and deep trust, extraordinary results are inevitable. Always keeping your needs at the forefront, Lakewood and AMDG, as committed and respected partners, can successfully advance your mission through your next building project.

6 Things to Think About Before Purchasing Land

Dave Ash | Director of Business Development

A land purchase for your next industrial or commercial building project is certain to bring many unknowns. While price, location, and size are important, there are several other critical things to investigate before signing off on the final purchase commitment. So how do you know what to look out for?

Here are 6 things to investigate before you commit to your next land investment:

  1. Soil Borings  – When looking at a piece of land you will want to secure several soil borings to test the soils on the site in addition to learning where the water table happens to be. This will allow for proper design and pricing for your project.
  2. Topography – Is the site low and in need of extensive fill for your building pad and parking? This too will assist in proper design as it relates to neighboring properties, elevation of the road, and proper drainage.
  3. Wetlands – Because wetlands are protected, permits are required if the wetland area will be affected. While this doesn’t mean the land is unusable, you will want to know how this will affect your desired outcome.
  4. Flood Plain – Knowing if the site (or a portion of your site) lies in a flood plain will be critical to know sooner than later. This doesn’t mean the site is unbuildable, it does require additional permits, surveying, and time to make the site shovel ready.
  5. Zoning Compliance for your Intended Use – is the property zoned commercial? Industrial?  On occasion, the local municipality has a master plan that could affect what your intended use may be.
  6. Potential Outstanding Assessments – When buying a piece of land, you may be buying a vacant piece of land that has never been built on. Have the water and sewer assessments been paid already? If not, this is a potential large unplanned expense that you would incur once hooking up to these utilities.

Lakewood Top Tip: A conceptual site plan before committing to the purchase will assure the site will accommodate your desired building size while allowing for future expansions if so desired.

Not sure where to start? We would love to talk. Send us an email at hello@lakewoodinc.com or call us at 616-392-6923