VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Projects require much work before ground is ever broken

Encouraging new development-residential and commercial-is such a high priority in many communities these days that one would think both the private and public sectors would rush to break ground before the impulse passes. But as ESPN college football analyst Lee Corso often responds each Saturday during the season to the observations of others, "Not so fast my friend." Before construction actually starts, all parties involved in a proposed project, if it is to be successful, must reach consensus on a...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Security takes on new importance in building design

The growing threat of terrorism-both foreign and domestic -has alerted building owners to be much more concerned about security these days in the design of new and remodeled buildings. The recent murderous university rampages at Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois, for example, have become troubling reminders that developers and other building managers must carefully examine whether their structures make it easy or hard for would-be killers. It's impossible to design a building that is completely safe under any and all...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Choosing renovation or new construction a tough decision

Sooner or later, in the life of almost every building owner, there comes a time when a structure has outlived its usefulness in its current condition. A choice between two options must be made. Do we renovate or do we demolish and build something totally new? The answer is by no means easy or automatic. Confronted with these options, an owner must grapple with a host of issues. The following sample is not exhaustive but may prove helpful as a...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Our biggest management challenge: communication

When I was promoted to president and chief operating officer of our firm a couple of years ago, I was not totally aware that directing a staff in a service business has special requirements you can't appreciate until you are actually in the role. I assumed that I would go on working Fortunately, my company has a board of directors that includes Tim Baldwin, a management professor at Indiana University's Kelley School of Business. His counsel has been invaluable in...
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VOICES FROM THE INDUSTRY: Putting construction, engineering into laymen's terms

Sometimes those of us in the construction industry-like many other professions-forget we have our own technical vocabulary that many laymen simply don't understand. Like some of my colleagues, I have occasionally started tossing around the lingo of our industry before business and civic leaders from other fields and have seen the confused look that comes over their faces. I have to stop and define my terms. With that situation in mind, I thought it might be helpful to put together...
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