Scammed

Earlier this year, I received a call from my controller asking me to confirm the wire transfer that I requested for $35,000. Surprised, I asked, “what wire transfer?” She had received not only a request but responses from me by email approving the transfer.  Fortunately, she was astute to realize we have never done a wire transfer before and that we don’t send money without approved invoices. So, what did we do? First, we contacted our IT director who commended us on our prudence and said there is nothing you can do, and at that dollar amount, the police or feds won’t care enough to try and catch them. Second, we looked at the email exchange. What became clear was that this was very well calculated and planned; the email, logo signature, and even the language I would normally use was so accurate it was really convincing. It was

Stereotypes

It takes time to develop stereotypes, and with the owner’s representation being a newer niche service in the AEC industry, we have not fully formulated a stigma, but it appears to be in the works. As an architect turned owner's representative fifteen years ago, I have gained a perspective as I guide clients through the design and construction process. I quickly learned that there are owners sometimes buy into widely held beliefs stemming from architecture and construction professionals' stereotypes. Despite consistent efforts to shed our respective stereotypes to owners, they continue to resurface time and time again. Most people form their understanding of the profession of architecture from the cinema or news articles about high profile projects, such as airports or art museums. The prominence of “starchitects” took off in the dot com era of 2003, and some owners we contract with are still reacting to the perceived attitude

The Construction Labor Shortage is an Owner Issue

It is predicted that there will be a pilot shortage. Over the next two decades, 87 new pilots will need to be trained every day to be ready to fly a commercial airliner in order to meet our insatiable demand to travel by air. Industry leaders are finding ways to attract today’s youth to a career in aviation, but given the time and cost it takes to become a pilot, the solution must be multi-faceted. Many ideas are being implemented including the use of autonomous aircraft, shortening the pilot training time frame and by the opening of aviation education facilities, such as the Wings Over the Rockies Exploration of Flight Campus in Centennial, Colorado and Metro States Department of Aviation and Aerospace Science. Like the aviation industry, labor shortages continue to be a significant challenge in the construction market. Owners are not willing to simply accept higher costs

Deciding Between Renovating a Clubhouse or Building A New One

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:

Cars and Relationships

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

Scary Merger Names Part 2

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

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

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

Should You Be Using AIA Contract Documents?

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

Feastability

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

Who Should Own the Contingency?

A good contingency plan requires continuous thought and planning, whether you are going on vacation to Mexico, climbing Mt. Everest, or tackling a capital improvement project--things go wrong. As a father of three, and a business owner, I find myself commonly swerving through what could go wrong next and how to circumvent potential obstacles and recover from bumps in the road. I am not being pessimistic; I am being a survivalist. When it comes to navigating a project budget, proper management of the contingency is an area that can influence a successful project outcome. Who manages it? Who carries it? And, how do you make sure it doesn’t get inflated to the point of stopping your project? While there are many discussions on the subject of contingency we could hash over, this blog addresses why an owner and general contractor would want to have a portion of the