To Build or Not to Build?

For the majority of companies, physical real estate is a major equation in their business plan, operations, and growth trajectory. Often, the specter of building can be daunting and unclear. The steps from point A to point B are unknown and many CFOs and operators do not have the knowledge, experience, or capacity to understand the process to get from ideation and planning to construction and occupancy. The goal of most companies is to have a turnkey process that transitions from establishing objectives to moving into their finished space with little friction, the typical experience is far from this desire. Experienced general contractors can often be the liaison and solution to this problem. The tricky part is knowing who and when to engage a construction professional.

What does it mean to be informed?

Being informed when making decisions about the new construction of an office space is a multifaceted process. It involves understanding an organization’s purpose, and how to tailor the needs of their office to the processes of the company coupled with headcount and attendance. This has become particularly challenging in the post-covid era. General Contractors (GCs) have historically been engaged after a series of program and design decisions have been presented to the client and that often leads to disappointment when the first iteration of a comprehensive budget is created. A reputable GC can play a pivotal role in consulting at an early stage in a real estate decision. Removing the siloed approach and getting all of the stakeholders together can rarely occur too soon. Early engagement can be beneficial in helping to align construction logistics with the company’s objectives. This happens through thorough assessments to determine the needs of the client, considering factors such as office layout, workspace flexibility, materials, finishes, and furnishing.

Secondly, being informed means staying current with industry trends and best practices. Distinguished GCs are well-versed in the latest advancements in construction materials, sustainable design, and technology-driven solutions to ensure that the desired outcome is not only functional but also cutting-edge and environmentally responsible. Additionally, they have the expertise to comprehend construction economics while balancing the client’s objectives to effectively meet the project deadline and budget. Budgeting and cost analysis are vital components of informed decision-making. It is imperative that your GC provide accurate cost estimates, and have the creativity to find effective cost-reducing solutions without compromising the quality of the project. The value engineering process can be challenging to navigate, but with the right project team, solutions can always be developed.

General Contractors should be current with local building codes, zoning regulations, and permit requirements to ensure that the construction process remains compliant and avoids potential setbacks or legal issues. With schedules often being the driving force in a construction project, understanding the permit and inspection process can help mitigate costly delays.

Finally, effective communication between the project team and the client is essential to project success. The goal is through collaboration, a partnership is formed. This happens through open dialogue between brokers, architects, engineers, and subcontractors to ensure all stakeholders are informed and aligned throughout the project’s lifecycle. As previously mentioned, eliminating silos and getting all of the players in one room and on the same page is paramount to a project’s success. Early general contractor engagement is vital to maximizing the project efficiency and ensuring a successful delivery.

Why to Build

Once a decision has been reached to build, there are several factors to be considered. The office environment directly contributes to employee satisfaction and performance. Creating an inviting, comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing office environment boosts employee morale, which results in employees feeling enticed to be at their office. Current office trends have phased into companies investing in the physical space and design aesthetic to give their employees a sense of comfort while at the office. Historically, spaces would have been filled with conference rooms, cubicles, and a farm of desks. This has shifted to catering the office setting to utilize lounges and creative spaces over the traditional sought-after components. An example of this being implemented is making work feel more homelike, utilizing design features such as rugs, couches, and coffee tables while incorporating biophilic matter such as natural materials, lights, and patterns. Your general contractor will have relevant examples and experience of what has been successfully accomplished in their recent projects.

Furthermore, well-designed offices can promote increased collaboration between co-workers. An open and collaborative workspace promotes interaction and idea-sharing among employees, leading to increased innovation and problem-solving. Spaces that allow employees to creatively think away from their desks enhance the company’s productivity and provide an opportunity for team members to connect in a more casual environment. On the other hand, well-designed private workspaces can provide employees with the concentration they need for complex tasks, thereby improving efficiency.

Real estate is necessary for company growth and culture, the apprenticeship model is the best illustration that can be given to describe the importance of having in-office interactions. The conversations between co-workers are invaluable, whether it’s building a new relationship, or sparking a chain of thoughts that can further enhance the company’s growth trajectory. Remote work does not allow for these opportunities, thus, why being in-person is paramount to learning and advancement. Sure, the established firm leaders might be more productive while working alone with no distractions, but less experienced team members would suffer from not being surrounded by the skills and abilities their leaders possess. Daily interactions and inclusivity in the workplace separate top-performing teams from the rest, which can be addressed by building an environment that caters to the needs of the company.

By Jackson Bowling, GCX

To learn more, please visit gcxworx.com or contact Greg O’Connor at (213) 291-5882.

GCX is a 2023 Title Chapter Sponsor of the IIDA Southern California Chapter.

Arrow Created with Sketch. Back to Blog