When asked, most people describe a building by its size, shape, and exterior materials. Some Designers & Property Managers believe that a building is just the covering that keeps weather off of what is going on inside. The exterior of the building is important (a topic for a future eBits) but in reality, it is the interior design and layout which facilitates the experience and function for the people who work inside.
We are working with a client on a new Corporate Office building. Along with the layout of offices, conference rooms and support spaces we have been working through the many offerings of finish materials & furnishings available to make the workspace enjoyable for their staff and customers. This process takes time and there are many compromises along the way, but it is well worth the effort when the space comes together.
Interior design should be more than picking out paint & flooring colors. Ideally the components of good interior design include:
- Efficient floor planning with an understanding of the volume of each space and the flow between them.
- Selection of proper materials with respect to budget, sound & light control, durability & maintenance, and timelessness.
- Selection of furniture & furnishings that increase productivity and collaboration.
At PDMi, we are committed to serve our clients with the best facility design, architecture, engineering & management, including the interior spaces. With that objective in mind, we strive to keep abreast of ever changing building codes, construction technology, and material offerings & trends. After all, the design of a building is only as good as the success of the people and the business that functions with-in it.
Please give me a call if we can help your business keep up with this ever changing world.
All our projects begin with a meeting where we talk with the client about the scope of the project and their expectations for the process of doing the project. I can’t tell you how many times the client looks like the “deer caught in the headlights” as they come to the realization that they may not get everything they want and there may be “bumps” along the road to completion. The thing that amazes us most is that often the “deer in the headlights” client is the one that has gone through a building project before. We just had this happen again last week with a client who wants to build a new office building.
As they come to the realization of how the process will work, I like to say “Welcome to Realville, USA”. Realville is where Compromise Street intersects with Success Boulevard. Every project has a Compromise Street and you will travel down it. Traveling along it is not a bad thing (after all it leads to Success Boulevard) unless you find yourself on it unexpectedly. In other words your travels are not managed properly.
Three areas of the project where compromise will need to be managed are:
- Budgets: There are no free lunches and every scope item and quality issue has an associated cost. There is always compromise in the Scope x Quality = Budget formula, but at the end of the road will be success if managed well.
- Construction Technology: It is not always what you build, but how you build it. Site conditions, weather, material availability, or schedule will often dictate the final detail or function of a part of the project. Managing the how, and the technology of the how, will keep you between the guardrails.
- Regulatory Agencies: Understanding, from the start, the regulations and building codes that apply to your project will keep you from getting caught on a side alley that adds time and unexpected expenses.
Give us a call. We would love to meet you at the city limits of Realville and travel to Success Boulevard with you.
This guy had a job to get done, and quite frankly he may get it done, but he is going about it Just Wrong. The family van is not the right vehicle to haul a log from point A to point B.
This reminds me of a client that called us several weeks ago. They had an exterior paving and site improvement project at their plant that they wanted to get done before year end. One of the facility engineers decided he could put together a scope of work document for competitive bids from contractors. It did not work out well. Because, like the guy with the van, the facility engineer did not use the right vehicle to convey his message to the contractors. The quotes he received from his document of general notes, a non-scalable plans & no specifications, were not complete and could have led to major change orders. His supervisor stepped in and gave us a call. We created a document that clearly conveyed to the contractors what the owner wanted done.
So how do you determine if you have the right in-house vehicle to get a project done?
- Assess what existing documentation (plans, details & specifications) you have on file. If you don’t have good documents or a way to create them – you may want to call a professional.
- Assess the experience and abilities of your staff. If your staff has not successfully managed a project like this one – you may want to hire a professional.
- Assess how busy your staff is. If your staff already has more work to do than there is hours in the day to do it – you may want to hire a professional.
PDMi would love the opportunity of helping you create documentation, manage the information and provide the effort needed to complete your project. We can be the right vehicle to bring your project home. Give us a call…
This is a picture of my two granddaughters taking a breather after a rough and tumble tube ride. The older one always says, “Grampy, please let’s have just a normal ride, nothing crazy”. While her younger sister says, “Start with crazy and go from there”. Obviously as the ride starts, they do not share expectations; by the end they both have a great time whipping outside the wake, bouncing over the waves and riding without holding on.
Just like a building project, you start out with certain expectations. As the project moves along you get out of the wake, you bounce on the waves and at times you feel like you are not holding on. So how do you set your expectations on your next facility building project?
- Know why you are doing this specific project and what value it will bring to your business. This allows you to have a measuring stick to determine if your expectations are met.
- Retain, as part of your team, professional Engineers, Architects and Contractors that understands codes, design concepts, construction technology and cost. Their input will be invaluable in managing your expectations.
- Recognize that sequence matters. Plan before you design; design before you build; then build the designed plan. As the old saying goes “Ready-Aim-Fire”. Following the right sequence will always lead to fulfilled expectations.
PDMi would love the opportunity of helping you set your expectations, manage your expectations and see your expectations fulfilled on your next project. Then you, like my granddaughters, can look forward to the ride. Give me a call…
I am in the process of engineering a foundation for a project we are working on (not the house in the picture – that picture is just for fun). The soils at the site are just bad and are not capable of supporting the building, so I am designing a system that will use deep piles as the foundation. As I was doing the design, I began to think about foundations and what good they are. Foundations are seldom seen after they are constructed, which makes them one of the most “underappreciated” building component on the project.
So what steps should be taken as you design and build the foundation system of your next project?
Know your Site Conditions: All buildings rest on soil that is below the surface. Since each building site is unique in terms of specific geological conditions, each foundation system presents unique design problems on how the building and ground interact. This is why it is important that subsurface investigation be completed by soil borings or excavated test pits.
Select a foundation system specific to your building: One size does not fit all. Foundation systems can be shallow continual or isolated footings (less than 5’ deep) or grade beams supported by driven or augered piles. Generally foundation systems are of cast-in-place concrete with steel reinforcing, designed to support loading conditions from the superstructure above (that which is seen).
Understand that Foundations are difficult to repair: Performing continual inspections & testing during construction will assure that the foundations will be constructed properly. Foundations are very difficult to repair after the building is built which means that you need to get them right the first time.
Foundations are a lot like the Planning Process of any project. The planning supports the project, the plan is underappreciated because it is not what you see at the end, and the plan is very difficult to fix after final design is done & construction begins.
At PDMi we can help you PLAN your next project so that it is on a Sound Foundation. Give us a call, we want to put our experience to work for you.