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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difficulties would include asbestos or other hazardous materials abatement, difficult site conditions, poor soils, and outdated mechanical and structural systems.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 [...]

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 [...]

2016 – A Look Back

By |December 22nd, 2016|

John Glenn passed away, Donald Trump is President Elect, and developers are turning Nazi camps into luxury resorts; 2016 appears to be the year of “What just happened?”

More close to home, I have reviewed the AIA, AGC, and the Deltek reports, spoken with numerous industry professionals, and analyzed trends on the projects we are managing to conclude the following opinion: generally speaking, there continues to be skeptical optimism related to continued growth and architects feel less positive than general contractors; this makes sense since much of the design work associated with the uptick in 2016 is complete while contractors are still riding the delayed wave of new work. Companies hired more staff in 2016 than in previous years and we saw a trend of professionals changing companies at a higher rate than previous years.  Many seasoned professionals are retiring and the absorption of smaller firms by larger ones, although slower than the 2015 record of 234 sales of U.S.-based A/E firms a 5.4% increase over 20141 is still occurring.

Size Matters
We experienced clients basing project decisions on the continued escalation of design and construction costs. We also saw a  trend of projects increasing in both size (square feet) and programs of work (i.e. large school programs). Clients desire for risk mitigation increased and owners defaulted to the large-sized, resource rich companies. These larger firms didn’t just win the large jobs in 2016, they won jobs of all sizes; it seems significant portfolios, robust teams and the ability to quickly generate designs was the winning strategy in 2016.  As the big guys continue to absorb small firms, albeit at a slower rate than the 2015 record-year, you would think they would depart from the recession mentality [...]

Building is Scary!

By |October 27th, 2016|

It all started with a spider—a giant 13-foot spider.  “Harold,” who lives in my crawl space all winter and summer, emerges every Halloween in our front yard. He holds a special place in my heart as my kids and I designed and built it together. Halloween, more than any other holiday, reminds me of how design and construction engages a community and impacts all involved.

Since the birth of Harold the neighborhood kids have requested to get involved; we decided to design/build a haunted house in my garage. Like all our projects we began by drafting a solid design. It has been an adventure being part of this Halloween construction evolution.

1. The first year was a simple room with games. It was ok.
2. The second year was a two-room-scene–one with an outdoor cemetery and on the inside a day-of-the-dead dining room.
3. The third year we created a crime scene complete with a digital ghost projection. Although it was cool it did not have proper flow and the result was less than scary.

Then the fourth year came along. The design team of three (my children) decided a maze was the ticket to scary; it solved the problem of year three’s single pathway flop and would allow each design team member an area that they (and their friends) could focus on. The designers brainstormed, researched and eventually decided on the design for each space as follows: click-here-to-view-wember-scareville-plan

1.  The first space was the infinity hallway
2.  The second space, a brilliant glow room
3.  Third space, “something funny”
4.  Fourth Space, creepy chamber
5.  Fifth space, science lab
6.  Sixth space, spider hallway
7.  Seventh space, psychedelic hallway

But, the real first scare? Building seven spaces with children [...]