The latest news on New York architecture.

  • An Overview of Construction Management

    An Overview of Construction Management

    Construction management encompasses all aspects of a construction project, from bid through completion, including:

    • Staffing
    • Construction
    • Oversight
    • Documentation
    • Permits
    • Quality control/quality assurance
    • Drawing preparation

    Based on a client’s desired level of control, a skilled construction manager is responsible for, first and foremost, acting as the owner’s representative throughout the course of the project and providing cohesion from bid through delivery. Additional duties include preparing drawings to technical specifications and coordinating and overseeing scope, special conditions, documentation, and pricing considerations. The manager also examines contractor and material supplier pre-qualifications and ensures that projects meet all specifications and requirements.

    There are two broad phases involved in construction management in which construction managers involve themselves: pre-construction and construction/delivery.

    Pre-Construction Phase

    During the planning, design, and pre-construction phase, the manager works with the client and architect in order to define the project’s scope, budget, and other preparatory factors such as energy efficiency, design, structural integrity, market value, space used, and mechanical and electrical systems before construction begins. The manager also ensures that materials adhere to specifications and fall within the desired budget.

    Construction/Delivery Phase

    As would be expected, this phase addresses the actual construction based upon the specifications, plans, and budgets discussed in the previous phase. The construction manager coordinates and oversees:

    • On-site construction supervision and coordination
    • Scheduling
    • Cost accounting and other financial records

    With respect to cost control records, the construction manager is responsible for:

    • Evaluating actual versus proposed costs
    • Adhering to the budget
    • Developing and maintaining the construction schedule
    • Monitoring construction progress
    • Arranging inspections
    • Dealing with any change orders by the owner
    • Coordinating product delivery, storage, and security
    • Obtaining the necessary equipment
    • Assisting the owner with occupancy, systems operations, and any other post-construction concerns.

    Quality Control

    During and following the project’s completion, quality assurance and control is critical to ensure that the finished product meets the original requirements, specifications, and subsequent performance expectations. Construction managers make sure that the project not only falls within the proposed budget but that the finished project is structurally sound and adheres to all specifications and codes.

    For more information about the construction management services we provide, please contact us.

     

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  • Adaptive Reuse in NYC: Planning for Site Remediation

    Adaptive Reuse in NYC: Planning for Site Remediation

    When considering more sustainable practices for design and construction, adaptive reuse architects first consider their choice of site. Instead of building on “new” land, they often choose to clean up existing land known as “brownfield sites”.

    A brownfield is defined by the EPA as a property, the expansion, redevelopment, or reuse of which may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. There are over 450,000 brownfields in the United States, which presents immense potential for improving the health of people, nature and the environment.


    Brownfield sites typically exist within the industrial section of cities on sites with abandoned factories or commercial buildings, which not only reduce property values but encourage pollution and unsafe conditions. . Urban environments like New York City have a long history of industrial development, and as a result, a long history of heavy metals, pesticides, hydrocarbons, solvents, and other human health hazards in the soil. The rough appearance of these sites and the mere mention of hazardous materials often scares off developers, even though they may be in locations of great value. Though the remediation and development of these brownfield sites may be an expensive and lengthy process, the benefits to the community, environment and even the investor’s wallets, often outweigh the risks.


    The land remediation process depends heavily on the intended use of the property. For example, a more extensive remediation program will be required if the lot is being converted into a residential site or community garden, as opposed to a parking lot. The more extensive the remediation program, the longer it will take and the more expensive it will be to treat. Regardless of the future plan for the site, the first step of land remediation usually starts with looking at a property’s past uses and identifying possible contaminants, called a “Phase I Environmental Site Assessment”. While the hefty cost of remediation is a huge factor in the decision to reuse a brownfield site, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) offer grants to encourage developers to heal and reuse formally contaminated sites.


    Brownfield remediation and redevelopment boasts a number of benefits including the removal of harmful substances, increased area property values, less land use than greenfield developments, avoidance of urban sprawl, increased economic value and return on investments and a boost in community pride and vitality. One developer’s trash may be another’s treasure if he’s willing to invest time and money into brownfield sites.

    For more information on adaptive reuse in New York City, please contact uss.

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