Contract - Process: Less Is More

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Process: Less Is More

25 January, 2010

-By Ted Hammer, FAIA, LEED AP, with research by Chris Baxter and Oliver Hamm


HLW once again has collaborated with construction consultancy Faithful+Gould to create a Construction Cost Index for commercial office space. The Index, dubbed by HLW as the "Rules of Thumb for Interior Construction," explains what clients can expect for their money. It takes into account the typical characteristics of the type of space needed and the desired level of design (basic versus high-end), as well as the estimated costs of individual components in the space and what materials can be provided within various cost ranges. A companion chart  helps designers adjust costs by geographic location.

A Better Way to Work

Last year, this annual article on construction costs focused on downward pressures in the construction market across the country. This year, the headline is not only about lower costs, but about corporate America taking less space. From our perspective, having witnessed every economic downturn since the Great Depression, it is a common and necessary reaction for companies to reevaluate and create more efficiencies during challenging times.

Organizations that are looking to stay competitive are taking advantage of this lull before the next economic upswing to focus on creative solutions to their workplace requirements. As a result of the downsizing, consolidations, and acquisitions that have occurred over the past year, companies are looking to improve workplace efficiency and ultimately increase productivity per square foot of real estate. This is not about simply reducing the size of a typical workstation or increasing population density onto a typical floor plate. It is about creating a high performance workplace environment as a way to become more flexible, sustainable and efficient, and ultimately create a better place to work and fuel future growth.

Sustainability in the Workplace

Organizations are realizing that the ultimate benefits of a sustainable workplace are not only tax incentives and energy efficiencies, but also a more productive workforce. A sustainable approach to design and construction has become the norm; companies expect a sustainable approach regardless of the decision to seek formal LEED certification. Architecture and design firms are expected to take an aggressive, proactive approach to identifying and implementing design and material decisions that are sustainably driven. These choices can alleviate any added financial burden to the client and add perceived, quantifiable value to the workplace.

The current construction environment already includes green costs that are not optional. There are significant government mandated energy and material requirements in place. Introducing green design measures into a project at the earliest phase and continuing the effort with an integrated team throughout the life of the project are far more cost effective than tacking on individual "green" additions late in the design process.

Theodore S. Hammer, FAIA, LEED AP, is a managing partner at HLW International in New York. Chris Baxter is a vice president, and Oliver Hamm is a project manager at Faithful+Gould in New York.



Process: Less Is More

25 January, 2010


HLW once again has collaborated with construction consultancy Faithful+Gould to create a Construction Cost Index for commercial office space. The Index, dubbed by HLW as the "Rules of Thumb for Interior Construction," explains what clients can expect for their money. It takes into account the typical characteristics of the type of space needed and the desired level of design (basic versus high-end), as well as the estimated costs of individual components in the space and what materials can be provided within various cost ranges. A companion chart  helps designers adjust costs by geographic location.

A Better Way to Work

Last year, this annual article on construction costs focused on downward pressures in the construction market across the country. This year, the headline is not only about lower costs, but about corporate America taking less space. From our perspective, having witnessed every economic downturn since the Great Depression, it is a common and necessary reaction for companies to reevaluate and create more efficiencies during challenging times.

Organizations that are looking to stay competitive are taking advantage of this lull before the next economic upswing to focus on creative solutions to their workplace requirements. As a result of the downsizing, consolidations, and acquisitions that have occurred over the past year, companies are looking to improve workplace efficiency and ultimately increase productivity per square foot of real estate. This is not about simply reducing the size of a typical workstation or increasing population density onto a typical floor plate. It is about creating a high performance workplace environment as a way to become more flexible, sustainable and efficient, and ultimately create a better place to work and fuel future growth.

Sustainability in the Workplace

Organizations are realizing that the ultimate benefits of a sustainable workplace are not only tax incentives and energy efficiencies, but also a more productive workforce. A sustainable approach to design and construction has become the norm; companies expect a sustainable approach regardless of the decision to seek formal LEED certification. Architecture and design firms are expected to take an aggressive, proactive approach to identifying and implementing design and material decisions that are sustainably driven. These choices can alleviate any added financial burden to the client and add perceived, quantifiable value to the workplace.

The current construction environment already includes green costs that are not optional. There are significant government mandated energy and material requirements in place. Introducing green design measures into a project at the earliest phase and continuing the effort with an integrated team throughout the life of the project are far more cost effective than tacking on individual "green" additions late in the design process.

Theodore S. Hammer, FAIA, LEED AP, is a managing partner at HLW International in New York. Chris Baxter is a vice president, and Oliver Hamm is a project manager at Faithful+Gould in New York.
 


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