Building projects and the term “over-budget” seem far too commonly associated together. A quick Google search will give you endless pages of building projects across the country which resulted in over-spending or cost overrun. Here’s an article discussing Lakewood schools in Ohio running $6 million over-budget on building projects. Nearby at Ohio State University, three major building projects are over-budget before they’ve even started. Finally, here’s an article about a VA Hospital outside of Denver riddled with mistakes from poor foresight. With all this news, one might assume their building project will end with a cost overrun, but it doesn’t have to be the case.
Significant additional costs can shut down a building project or make the development no longer feasible. With the amount of time, energy, and resources that go into a building project, budgetary constraints can often alter or dismantle a vision. In these situations, no matter how hard the building teams try to make the dollars work, the project scope will need to be reformed or supplementary monies will need to be found.
What is the Right Way to Approach a Building Project?
So, you have a piece of land, a building, space, or another asset – now what? In many instances, the developer immediately thinks architect but this can be a mistake. Architecture firms are typically involved after a developer has already decided to do a building project. At this point, the architecture firm has vetted concepts, gathered information, and created a budget for the work. All the square footage, programs, and layouts have been planned. What the asset owner truly needs immediately out of the gate is a space consultant.
What is a Space Consultant?
A space consultant is exactly how it sounds. Space consultants are involved at the infancy stages of a building project. They are involved before a blueprint is developed, before a budget is assigned, and before an RFP goes out the door. A space consultant helps developers understand the ins and outs of a building project and all the potential options that exist to maximize dollars and increase efficiencies.
What Benefits can a Space Consultant Provide?
Benefit 1: They Maximize Your Dollars
The best space consultants have a wealth of knowledge and expertise in taking full advantage of financing. They are aware of codes and tax credits which many developers don’t know exist. Examples of these include historic tax credits, thresholds in building codes, and specific nuisances in building materials which can be exploited to benefit builders. As a result, your project can grow accordingly by maximizing your spend. A keen understanding of these finance options for a building project is essential. Sweet spots exist in building codes and your space consultant can find them.
Benefit 2: They Manage Communication and Dialogue
Space consultants work with national, regional, and local constituents to understand benefits of mixed-use facilities, adaptive reuse buildings, and other options for your project. These nuisances and benefits of comparing Path A or Path B can have an incredible impact on financing and your timeline. Space consultants work with these stakeholder offices and create an open dialogue on your behalf. The consultant will create a package of pictures and diagrams to send along to create a conversation and evaluate next steps. This ensures issues are solved before paperwork is submitted for approval of these tax benefits.
Benefit 3: They Increase Efficiencies
Tying into maximizing dollars and communication, space consultants can increase efficiencies of your building project. Space consultants will work with you to understand if it’s more beneficial to build new infrastructure or renovate a previous structure. Options exist to use separate codes within the same infrastructure. Developers can benefit from understanding the efficiencies of using one building code versus another. This ultimately leads to a more cost-effective and economical building project.
Benefit 4: They Help You Fulfill Your Vision
The sooner you can engage a space consultant and open a conversation, the better. This often needs to occur at the seedling stage of your vision. They will help answer your questions and develop a project vision. The first step in a 1,000+ step process is the most important one in a building project. If an RFP has already gone out, the project is likely too far down a path. Oftentimes in these situations, projects are forced to backup and rework mistakes. Space consultants can line up all the pieces, managing both the small and big picture items that come with a building project to ensure success.
Where do I start?
Have an asset and unsure where to start? VIP Structures is a space consultant located in Syracuse, NY. We are a fully integrated design-build firm. Our services include architecture, engineering, construction, and development. Contact us below with any questions.
Credit to Kate Hoeft, Madonna Millerschin, and Bob Garner at VIP Architectural Associates for assisting with this blog post.