Scary Merger Names Part 2

By |October 30th, 2018|

The A/E/C industry has seen many mergers and acquisitions in the past few years. As a follow up to the original “Scary Merger Name” blog, we gave some thought to a few more that would be fun to see!

Zehren & Associates+Zmistowski Design Group+Zone 4 Architects = Zzzz Architects

B2sj Design Group +Zone 4 Architects+Yow Architects = BS 4 Yow Group

Greenfield Architects + Brown David P + Blueline Architects PC  = Rainbow Color Design

Hairabedian ARG Architects + Klipp (now GKK now Cannon) = Hair Klipp

Conger Fuller Architects + Shike Design = Fuller Shike Architects

Craig Melvin Architects + Hobbs Design Firm = Celvin and Hobbs Architects

Vaught Frye Architects + Theodore K Guy Associates = Frye Guy Architects

Barker Rinker Seacat and OZ Architects = BROZ

Way Architects + Unreal Construction LLC = Way Unreal Design / Build

Reynolds + Arapahoe Architects = Reynolds Arap Architects

Gunson Architects  + Abo Group = Guns and Abo Architects

Bucher Design Studio Inc.+ Fisher Associates Architects = Bucher Fish Architects

RNL Design + McDonald Architects = RNL McDonald Architects

Sunlit Architecture + Moon Hill Design Inc = Sunlit Moon Architecture

Steamboat Architectural Associates + Sprocket Design Build Inc = Steam Sprocket Associates

Way Architects + Fenno Hoffman Architects = Way Off Architects

O’Bryan Partnership Inc + Myller Scott Architect+Godden | Sudik Architects, Inc. = O’My God Architects

Nunn Construction + JE Dunn = Nunn Dunn Construction

Melinder White + White Construction + The Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. = Miles of White Construction

GH Phipps Construction + FCI Constructors = C in the FGHI Constructors

Turner Construction + MW Golden Constructors = Turn Gold Construction

Mark Young Construction Inc. + Mortenson = Young Mort & Sons

Maxwell + Iron Mike Construction = Max Iron Construction



Is The Need For Speed Costing You More Than You Realize?

By |August 2nd, 2018|

During the recession, the projects that were funded enjoyed the ability to move quickly through design and construction phases seamlessly. The abundance of “A” team members, available subcontractor labor, and an attitude of appreciation from all involved, created a climate for producing successful projects. As the bull market continues across Colorado, we are still seeing bear market attitudes toward schedules. Driving the project schedule is critical to the project flow and it has to be realistic. The benefits of a professionally built and collaboratively discussed schedule include: the ability to prove to your funding source that you have the project under control; prevent runaway costs born out of accelerated design; and it keep the project momentum maximized.

1. As a licensed architect, I have learned that unless you are replicating a project, contemplation is a necessary and valuable trait of architects and the design process. If you know the story of Frank Lloyd Wright and Falling Water, you may have heard how he designed the project in a two hours the day before the client arrived to review the plans. The reality is that Frank Lloyd Wright had a year of contemplation and design effort. Keep in mind that even if the design team is not feverishly producing set after set of design documents or renderings, it doesn’t mean that they are not working on your project. The best plan of action is a result of thinking things through from many different perspectives.

2. The entitlement review time, processes, and approvals have never been fast—it’s not designed to be fast. The key to managing them is to outline the process in the project schedule with appropriate float. All too often, submittals are provided to approval agencies [...]

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    Deciding Between Renovating a Clubhouse or Building A New One

Deciding Between Renovating a Clubhouse or Building A New One

By |July 24th, 2018|

Typically, when a clubhouse hits around 15 years since a major renovation has been conducted and the membership is beginning to feel either the neglect or lack of modern amenities, the ownership starts thinking, is now the time to embark on a major change in the form of a capital improvement project?

The next elephant in the room to address is deciding whether to renovate or build new. The gut reaction might be to renovate the existing facility, as the perception is that this is the fiscally responsible option to appease the membership. However, renovations, depending on the scale, are not always less expensive than new construction and can come with difficulties not seen with new construction. Some of these difficulties would include asbestos or other hazardous materials abatement, difficult site conditions, poor soils, and outdated mechanical and structural systems.

When considering a renovation, ask yourself the following:

Will a renovation fit the changing landscape and programming of the club?
Will a renovation attract new members?
Is the building still perceived as aesthetically pleasing?
Are there extensive unforeseen conditions that would cause a renovation to be expensive?

New construction will typically cost 20% to 25% more than a major renovation, and it comes with its own pros and cons. The major pros of new construction are that the building can be designed to meet new program needs. The building will have the latest in mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, and can result in a significant upgrade from an aesthetic standpoint; however, there are some cons to new construction. The most significant of the cons is the added cost of the project, but others to consider would be the need for a temporary facility during [...]

“Dear Abby, I’ve Been Married 20 Years And ….”

By |October 16th, 2017|

This year my wife, Vicki, and I celebrated 20 years of marriage; and we can both tell you we are grateful, it’s been mostly harmonious. What makes it work? I’m no Dear Abby, but as I reflect on how my wife and I interact, I realize there is an alignment between the actions that help personal relationships succeed and those that bolster client relationships.

(1) Put the toilet seat down. OK, not literally, but identify what makes your client insane. People can drive others crazy through their idiosyncrasies. Watch body language as you just may have a habit that is getting under your client’s skin, such as how you greet them, address them, or smack your gum. This isn’t about you; it’s about them and their issues, so don’t take it personally.

(2) Tell her she is beautiful. This is easy for me to tell my wife because it’s true. That said, when she was nine months pregnant and was miserable with edema and emotionally done being pregnant, I made a conscious effort to remain patient and make her feel loved. Everyone has insecurities and knowing what your client’s are, and managing them correctly, is critical. Ever stop to think that your client is scared to death about screwing up a project? A compliment and or a bit of encouragement from an industry professional can go a long way in calming nerves.

(3) Throw them a life line. Recently we were on a flight and I got stuck in a conversation with my new-found neighbor. Being the astute partner my wife is, she pulled me aside letting me know she had something in her eye and asked for my help. After the winking surgery was complete the [...]

Myth #7 – Owner’s Reps Select the General Contrator

By |August 18th, 2017|

It was a good day, indeed. Earlier this spring, Wember was notified that we had been selected to serve as owner’s representative for the much anticipated State of Colorado, Department of Agriculture’s new laboratory. Our efforts of tracking the project for over four years paid off! We had worked diligently to align our company’s experience and key team members and poured hours into devising a thoughtful proposal.

We knew this was a special project and began to realize its high-profile nature by the emails that began populating my inbox before our contact was even signed. Within days, I received over a dozen emails from general contractors who had heard the news and were preparing their submission strategy. While I was encouraged to see the amount of proactive effort being put forth, I began to get a little nervous after reading a few…

What do we have to do to be awarded this project?
What’s up? Did you select CMaR as the delivery method, if so we would be interested in pursuing.
Congrats! When is the RFP for our services being issued?
Congrats! Let’s grab lunch and we can tell you about our team.
How did you win this?

It was then that I began to realize another myth that exists about owner’s representatives:  Myth #7 – The Owner’s Representative Selects the General Contractor. As an owner’s representative it is our priority to help assemble the project team while remaining fair and neutral to the A/E/C industry. We encourage interested firms to reach out to us to gain a greater understanding of the project before the RFP is published. It is our in our clients’ best interests to understand how interested parties are [...]

Should You Be Using AIA Contract Documents?

By |August 16th, 2017|

In 2011 I wrote a blog comparing the two primary contract platforms in the A/E/C industry, AIA contract documents and ConsensusDOCS, https://wemberinc.com/consensusdocs-vs-aia-construction-forms/.   After a recent training session with a team of legal professionals, I was surprised by their strong support the use of the AIA Contract Documents. The AIA promotes the use of their documents through following statements below, also found on their website: https://www.aiala.com/why-use-aia-documents-2/

AIA documents are fair.  AIA contracts and forms are consensus documents that reflect advice from practicing architects, contractors, engineers as well as owners, surety bond producers, insurers, and attorneys. AIA documents balance the interests of all the parties, so no one interest, including that of the architect, is unfairly represented.
AIA documents reflect industry practices, not theory.  Where practices are inconsistent or no guidelines for practice exist, the AIA documents provide a consensus-based model for practitioners to follow.
AIA documents reflect changing construction practices and technology.  AIA documents are revised regularly to accommodate changes in professional and industry practices, insurance, and technology.
AIA documents reflect the law.  AIA documents are revised and updated to incorporate changes resulting from court interpretations and rulings, legal precedent, and nuances.
AIA documents are flexible.  AIA documents can be easily modified to accommodate individual project demands. Such changes are easily distinguished from the original, printed language.
AIA documents are easy to interpret.  AIA documents use the common meaning of words and phrases. Industry and legal jargon is avoided whenever possible.

I find the definition of many of the terms used in the clauses above could be debated, especially when determining what is “fair” and “flexible.”  But one item stands out from the rest: #4, “AIA documents reflect the law.”  It [...]

Cars and Relationships

By |July 9th, 2017|

My wife’s car was twelve years old and between the paint touch-ups from my guy Benny and the engine that rattles more than an angry snake, it was time to move on. I reached out to my brother and resident deal-hunter for advice. He told me not to be afraid of buying a car out of state if it was the right car. He expanded on the concept by indicating that when you buy a car from a far distance the built-in road trip back to home allows you to form a bond with the car and your travel mate making the new car an experience rather than a purchase. Although I love watching shows about junkyard cars coming back to life, I would not claim that I am a “car guy.”  That said, I do understand the attachment that comes along with major purchases like this, especially ones that offer a bit of a vacation.

So we did it. We bought the used car my wife had found in Salt Lake City and my thirteen-year-old son and I flew out in the morning. We completed the purchase and cruised the ten plus hour drive with impromptu stops to enjoy the sites along the way.  My techie, knowledge devouring son had read the entire manual by hour two and discovered things about the car we didn’t know we purchased, like remote-start. Around the bend arrives Grand Junction–time to hike through the canyon; at Rifle–grab an ice cream, and so on.

During the hours of windshield time I pondered what my brother had said and realized that starting a relationship with a new client and project team has this same opportunities as the car-purchase-inspired road trip. So [...]

Damn, I’m 45

By |June 20th, 2017|

“Turns out, 45 years old is just 45 years old. An age that means you are old enough not to feel young anymore, but not old enough to complain about it. It’s like the middle child of ages… no one is impressed or thinks your turning 45 is a big deal but you.”  Huffington Post

When Wember turned 10, I was 42 and I wrote this blog, https://wemberinc.com/wember-turns-10/; it’s fun to be 10 after all! Today, I turn 45 and reflect on advice that I have received over the years from those who matter most.

Don’t do dumb shit ~ Only a father could give you such words of wisdom
Be on path by age 30 ~ If you’re going to be taken seriously, by age thirty you have better know where you’re headed.
Life’s not fair and then you die ~ Growing up the youngest of six it felt that many things were not fair, you have to get over it. The irony of my mom’s advice is that she passed at 62 from Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease, which is contracted by one in a million. Even when sick in bed she would state, “life’s not fair and then you die.”
Grit and perseverance outdoes raw talent. Raw talent fades, perseverance is a trait to be nurtured; if you have it you will accomplish what you set out to do.
Family, friends, beer and then hockey. Have your priorities straight and keep them that way.

My dad swears to me that 45-50 is the golden age of life; you are old enough to be respected, you have your full physical capabilities and, if you have planned properly, you have the financial advantage to [...]

Should you set GMP at Schematic Design?

By |May 10th, 2017|

Should you set your Guaranteed Maximum Price (GMP) at schematic design?  No, you should not set it at schematic design.  Should you set your guaranteed maximum price (GMP) at construction documents?  Let’s discuss this further.

The GMP on a project is the point where you ask your contractor to lock in the costs for the project and, in theory, transfer the risk to them. And although we agree that locking in a price does shift some exposure to the contractor, a sophisticated contractor will manage that risk through allowances, contingencies and exclusions and clarifications/qualifications. Here are some pros and cons.

Construction Document GMP: At this point, the drawings are nearly complete and the contractor will have all the information to receive multiple bids and clearly understand the intent of the design. The costs will be detailed and based on actual take-offs and material pricing.


You are receiving pre-construction services, which includes estimates at key phases of the project (schematic design, design development).
You gain an early price and a comfort knowing that you are “close to target.”
You can begin fundraising to an established goal.
There are few allowances and contingencies that could prevent money being left on the table. But, note that the owner could control the use of the contingency.
Allowances and contingencies are reduced as contract documents are more detailed.
Changes during the construction phase are reduced due to the contractor being engaged on the project early in the design phase.
Exclusions and clarification items are significantly reduced. We recommend no more than a one-page document.
It decreases the contractor’s pressure on the team to make changes to the design. This may have occurred if the [...]


By |April 11th, 2017|

Portmanteaus words are a way to add colorful meaning to a thing or occurrence; some terms have become so commonly used they are part of our vocabulary. From the Chunnel to tween and medivac, these words inform us in a twitter-style efficiency. Entrepreneur Magazine often showcases portmanteaus words and the digital age has created many new ones like:

Cellfish – an individual who continues talking on their phone when it is clearly being rude or inconsiderate of other people
Internest – the cocoon of blankets and pillows you gather around yourself whilst spending long periods of time on the internet
Youniverse – a person who has knowledge only of him or herself
Nonversation – a completely worthless conversation; small talk
Screenager –the typical adolescent who indulges excessively in screen entertainment
Masturdating – going out alone to dinner or a movie
Badvertising – poorly crafted marketing
Hangry – hungry and angry (an often used term at my house)
Snark – snide remark, often used to call someone snarky

Our AEC industry has their own:

Hazmat – hazardous materials
Transistor – combination of transfer and resistor
Cineplex – cinema combined with the complex that houses the theater
Cafetorium – the multi-use space of cafeteria and auditorium
Imagineering –  a mixture of imagination and engineering
Workaholic –  an architect who has a job
Pleather – the value engineering result when we can’t afford leather
Meld – when you want welding but you get melting
Bankster – who developers can obtain their gap financing from

And, the latest portmanteaus word for our industry is:

Feastability – a combination of fee, feast and stability

As the [...]