At Perlo, our people are the secret to our success. Whether at a jobsite or in our office, we have a culture that encourages open dialogue and collaboration. This dedication to the spirit of partnership is reflected throughout our company and is a major reason Perlo is consistently recognized as a top place to work in Oregon

Today, we sit down with one of the most highly respected estimators in the industry and an invaluable VP and Partner at Perlo, Chris “CMac” McLaughlin. A 31-year employee of Perlo, Chris has led our Preconstruction Services department for at least a dozen years and continues to be a force in the local construction market and our company. Let’s get to know more about Chris!


What is your role at Perlo?

My role has definitely changed over the years with the growth of the company and a lot of what I do changes day-to-day. I help with conceptual budgets, estimate and budget reviews, as well as business development and early communication with clients related to upcoming projects. As part of the Leadership Team, there are always tasks to be addressed as part of the company’s operations.

How did you get started in construction?

I started out at Oregon State University in electrical engineering, but after a while, I realized I didn’t want to only build power lines; I just wanted to build. I ended up changing my major to Construction Engineering Management, and shortly after met Bill McCormack (Bill owned McCormack Pacific, which later evolved into Perlo). I was friends with his son, and after talking with him for a bit, I became interested in his company. I started as an intern, and my first project was actually helping remodel the Sandburg Street office. With Bill’s oversight, I basically ran the project and was paired with a rookie superintendent: Tim Kofstad. Tim is still one of our general superintendents.  

Fun fact: Back in those days, before cell phones, you had to order a landline for your job trailer for phone calls. I’ll never forget that number, 624-2090, as it became the company phone number once the project finished.

What do you consider to be our most important “Perlo Practice” and why?

I’d say it’s a tie between #3, “Everyone Empties the Trash,” and #6, “Stay Hungry.” They exemplify how Perlo has always been. We run lean and mean, and in order to do that, you can’t think you’re above any task. Every job is essential, and success requires everyone to be hands-on. Pride and arrogance won’t get you far in this business, either. In this business we don’t win every project and you have to be able to shake it off and move on to the next without letting it get to you. Stay hungry, keep the fire to move forward, and don’t be afraid to get hands-on.

How do you see the industry evolving in the near future and what can Perlo do to adapt to these changes?

The biggest change we’re going to see is the aging workforce. In the next decade, a huge chunk of the labor force is set to retire, this will be a serious problem if we don’t get the younger generations more interested in joining the industry. I think a big part of that is changing the conversation around entering the trades. It’s a stable job with high wages and endless opportunities. Nurturing the younger people entering this industry through internships, mentorships, and hands-on experience is so important, too. If we don’t, I think we’ll lose the spirit of being true builders.

What is your pet peeve?

When people are late. Being prepared and a few minutes early shows you care, you’re focused, and that you respect people’s time

What do you like to do for fun?

My wife and I are big travelers. Whether it’s locally or farther away, we love to travel. I’ve got kids in three different states now, which definitely accounts for some of the traveling we do, but I also love a sunny beach somewhere warm. More regularly, I like playing pickleball, tennis, and just being outdoors. I really like bird watching. I actually have a tracking sheet and some binoculars at my desk to track the birds from the marsh by the office. Outside of work, I regularly go to the Tualatin River Wildlife Refuge with my scope and camera and take pictures of the wildlife there.

What or who inspires you?

My family, definitely my family. Being able to watch my kids grow up into full-fledged adults and having their own families really inspires me. Getting to watch your kids be happy adults is a really rewarding part of parenting.

What advice would you give to someone wanting to enter the construction industry?

This industry is not easy, it takes hard work, and there seems to be a never-ending supply of new challenges. I mean, I’ve been doing this for most of my life, and still, I find myself saying, “I’ve never seen that one before,” at least once a week. There are all kinds of people and personalities, and you have to be able to work with them all. But, if you can be flexible and adaptable, it’s incredibly rewarding. You get to actually make things that stand for years. Your work is out there, very public, and visible. You get to have a direct hand in someone’s business to help them grow. With all the frustrations comes a lot of fun, too.

How do you handle high-pressure situations or heavy workloads?

You have to stay organized. However, that looks to you. There are a lot of moving parts in this industry, and you have to keep them all straight. Your day will change – that’s just a fact – and you have to be willing to change with it. For me, that means following priorities and early mornings. If I can’t do ten things at once, then I start with the task with the highest payoff, and I give it my full attention. When required, I come in early and get caught up before the phones start ringing. An hour of uninterrupted time can save my whole day.

Why Perlo? What makes us unique?

At Perlo, we genuinely enjoy what we do. We collectively think our jobs are fun. The field work is fun. The proposal writing is fun. The bids are fun (sometimes). The early mornings and late nights are hard sometimes, but we find a way to make them fun. A big part of that goes back to my favorite Perlo Practice: everyone empties the trash. Every level in this company buys in to the success of our work. On a bid we did earlier this year every single member of the leadership team was in the room, calling subs, checking numbers, assessing risk, and helping the team win the project. A project manager will talk with dozens of different people in a day, from a building client to electricians to their Assistant Project Manager, and they’ll talk to each person the same way – with respect and understanding. That’s just something very special you won’t find at other companies.

Final Thoughts

Thank you, Chris, for sharing your story with us! If you’re interested in opportunities to work with Perlo, check out our Careers page today.

The construction industry stands as a vital pillar of modern society, shaping skylines, infrastructure, and communities. Yet, amidst the roar of machinery and the clatter of tools, there exists a silent struggle that demands our attention: the mental well-being of construction workers. In the shadows of towering structures and bustling sites, individuals face a myriad of challenges that can take a toll on their mental health. However, with awareness and support, we can build a stronger, more resilient workforce.

In partnership with this year’s National Safety Week theme “Value Every Voice,” we want to help break the silence around mental health in construction. Speaking up gives us strength, because it means we are not alone in building a stronger, safer industry, and in creating a safe, supportive environment for our workers. Today, we’re addressing this very real and important topic by sharing some signs to look for, opportunities to help employees and coworkers, and debunking the age-old idea that “mental health makes you weak.”

Understanding the Challenges

The construction industry is a dynamic and demanding field where individuals work tirelessly to erect the structures that define our landscapes. There are also a range of unique challenges that can significantly impact the mental health of construction workers, including:

  • Physical fatigue
  • Mental fatigue
  • A ‘tough it out’ culture

The physical demands of the job are undeniable. From lifting heavy materials to operating machinery in challenging environments, construction work requires strength, agility, and endurance. Staying safe, with a backdrop of constant hazards, requires continual vigilance which can take a toll on mental well-being. Mental fatigue is just as taxing as physical fatigue, and prolonged exposure can lead to heightened levels of stress and anxiety.

Beyond the tangible challenges, there exists a culture of toughness and resilience within the construction industry. The expectation to “tough it out” and “get the job done” can discourage individuals from acknowledging their struggles or seeking help. This culture of stoicism perpetuates a stigma surrounding mental health issues, making it difficult for workers to openly discuss their experiences or reach out to access support.

Collectively, these challenges create a perfect storm for mental health issues to thrive within the construction industry. Without proper recognition and intervention, the toll on individuals’ well-being can be significant, impacting not only their personal lives but also their ability to perform effectively on the job. 

As we strive to build better futures, it’s essential to confront these challenges head-on and prioritize the mental health of those who build our world.

Recognizing the Signs

It’s imperative to recognize the subtle signals that indicate a worker may be struggling with their mental health. Studies have shown that construction workers are at a heightened risk of experiencing mental health issues, yet the signs often go unnoticed or unacknowledged until they escalate into crises. According to a survey conducted by the Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention, construction workers are disproportionately affected by suicidal thoughts and behaviors compared to the general population. The survey found that factors such as job-related stress, financial worries, and relationship problems contribute to elevated suicide rates within the industry.

Recognizing the signs of mental distress is crucial for early intervention. One of the most common indicators of mental health struggles is changes in behavior. This could manifest as:

  • Increased irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Sudden withdrawal from social interactions.

Individuals may become more agitated or easily frustrated, displaying a departure from their usual demeanor. Behavioral changes can often be the first sign that something isn’t right. If a team member who is typically outgoing and sociable suddenly becomes withdrawn or isolates themselves, it may be a red flag that they’re experiencing mental distress. It’s important to remember that small feelings can add to the pressures of mental health. Feeling overwhelmed, dissatisfied, disconnected, on-edge, or even a general numbness can all point to signs of mental fatigue or distress. These feelings may also come and go, and some days may be better than others. Constant states aren’t always the norm.

Physical symptoms can also serve as warning signs of underlying mental health issues. Some chronic manifestations of stress and anxiety can include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension

Individuals may complain of physical ailments without realizing they are linked to their mental state.

Breaking the Silence

In the construction industry, a culture of stoicism and toughness often prevails, discouraging workers from speaking openly about their mental health struggles. However, breaking the silence surrounding mental health is essential for creating supportive environments where individuals feel empowered to seek help without fear of judgment or stigma.

According to a survey conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), nearly 60% of construction workers reported that they would not feel comfortable discussing mental health concerns with their employer or supervisor. This reluctance to speak up can perpetuate a cycle of silence and isolation, preventing individuals from accessing the support they need.

Promoting open dialogue and peer support is key to breaking down barriers and fostering a culture of transparency within the construction industry. Initiatives such as toolbox talks, peer support groups, and mental health awareness training can provide opportunities for workers to share their experiences and support one another.

Treating mental health like any other illness can also help to destigmatize mental illness within the industry. Would you wait to see an eye doctor until you were blind? Would you feel embarrassed to visit a dentist? Mental wellbeing is just as important to overall physical health as a healthy diet or regular exercise. By sharing stories of resilience and recovery, we can inspire hope and demonstrate that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Building Support Systems

Companies play a central role in providing resources, guidance, and a supportive environment that fosters mental health awareness and resilience among their employees. They can support their employees by implementing comprehensive mental health policies and programs, which might include:

  • Providing access to counseling services
  • Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs)
  • Mental health education and training 

Importantly, creating a supportive culture that promotes open communication and destigmatizes mental health issues can break down barriers and encourage help-seeking behavior. This can be achieved through initiatives such as regular check-ins with employees to discuss their well-being, establishing peer support networks, and organizing mental health awareness campaigns.

Safety is a great place to start. Reducing constant stressors can greatly improve not only mental but also physical wellbeing. This may involve advocating for safer working conditions, providing adequate training and resources to mitigate workplace hazards, and offering continued education for those wanting to get more involved. Ultimately, building support systems for construction workers requires a holistic approach that addresses both individual and systemic factors. By implementing comprehensive mental health policies, fostering a supportive workplace culture, and addressing underlying stressors, companies can play a vital role in promoting mental health awareness and resilience among their workforce.

Strategies for Coping and Resilience

In the high-pressure environment of the construction industry, coping with stress and building resilience is essential for maintaining mental well-being. While the nature of the job presents unique challenges, there are several strategies that teams can employ to manage stress and cultivate open communication.

Developing strong social connections and support networks is vital to changing the stigma. Building relationships with coworkers, participating in team-building activities, and seeking out social support outside of work can provide a sense of belonging and camaraderie. Having a support system in place can offer emotional support during challenging times and help individuals navigate stress more effectively.

Furthermore, cultivating emotional intelligence skills can enhance resilience and coping abilities. Emotional intelligence involves the ability to recognize and manage one’s own emotions, as well as understand and empathize with the emotions of others. By developing skills such as self-awareness, self-regulation, and empathy, construction workers can better navigate interpersonal dynamics and cope with stressors in the workplace.

Advocacy and Collaboration

Company-wide buy-in is critical to create a culture of mental care. If everyone believes in the importance of doing the work, support and advocacy become the norm – not the outlier.

One crucial aspect of advocacy is raising awareness about mental health issues and the unique challenges faced in the industry. Advocacy organizations can focus on destigmatizing mental health discussions and promoting open dialogue within the construction industry. By challenging stereotypes and fostering a culture of acceptance and support, individuals can empower their peers to seek help without fear of judgment or reprisal.

Collaboration between industry stakeholders is essential for implementing effective strategies and policies to support construction workers’ mental health. This can involve partnerships between employers, labor unions, government agencies, and mental health professionals to develop comprehensive initiatives that address the root causes of mental health issues and provide support to those in need.

By advocating for the mental health of their workers and collaborating with industry stakeholders, companies can play a crucial role in creating a more supportive and conducive work environment for construction workers. Together, we can build a future where mental health is valued, and all workers have access to the resources and support they need to thrive.

Final Thoughts

In the blueprint of progress, we can’t forget about the well-being of those who build our communities. By raising awareness, fostering dialogue, and building support systems, we can ensure that the construction industry stands on a foundation of resilience—a foundation built not only of bricks and mortar but of compassion and care for the mental health of its workforce.

If you or someone you know is experiencing mental health challenges, please reach out to any of these crisis resources below:
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255 (Press 2 for Spanish)
  • Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 (to connect with a Crisis Counselor)
  • Veterans Crisis Line (call, chat or text) 1-800-273-8255, Press 1 or click here.
  • Construction Industry Alliance For Suicide Prevention: click here.
  • Spanish Resources: haga clic aquí.

In the ever-evolving landscape of construction, the concept of resilient infrastructure has risen to the forefront of industry discussions. For commercial general contracting companies, embracing resilience isn’t just a trend—it’s a necessity. As the guardians of construction projects, these companies play a pivotal role in shaping the built environment to withstand a myriad of challenges, from natural disasters to economic fluctuations. Our teams are experts in concrete tilt-up construction, known for significant strength and resilience, and constantly help clients build lasting facilities.

In this article, we delve into the history, innovation, legal frameworks, design features, and practical applications of resilient infrastructure in the realm of commercial real estate.

History: Building on Lessons Learned

Discussion of resilient infrastructure gained momentum in the early 2000’s following catastrophic events such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011. These disasters exposed vulnerabilities in existing infrastructure and underscored the need for proactive measures to enhance resilience. Consequently, governments, policymakers, and industry stakeholders embarked on a journey to redefine the standards for essential infrastructure.

The United Nations has played a pivotal role in shaping global policies and initiatives aimed at promoting resilient infrastructure. In 2015, they put together a global framework outlining strategic goals and priorities for reducing disaster risk and enhancing resilience, with a particular focus on vulnerable communities and regions prone to natural hazards. The guidelines also paid special note to the partnership between resilience and sustainability. By integrating better systems into infrastructure planning and investment, countries can build more inclusive, sustainable, and resilient societies, in line with the broader agenda set forth by the UN.

Innovation: Embracing Technological Advancements

Innovation lies at the heart of resilient infrastructure, driving continuous improvements in construction practices and materials. Commercial general contracting companies are at the forefront of embracing cutting-edge technologies to enhance the resilience of infrastructure projects. Some of these include:

Building Information Modeling (BIM):

By creating digital representations of physical and functional characteristics of buildings, BIM enables multidisciplinary collaboration and visualization throughout the project lifecycle. Commercial general contracting companies leverage BIM to optimize the layout of structural elements, identify potential clashes, and simulate the performance of building systems under various conditions. This proactive approach not only enhances the efficiency of construction but also minimizes the risk of errors and rework, ultimately contributing to the resilience of the built environment.

Advanced Materials and Construction Techniques:

The development of advanced materials, such as fiber-reinforced polymers, high-strength steel, and insulted concrete panels, has significantly expanded the toolkit available to construction professionals. These materials offer superior strength, durability, and resilience compared to traditional building materials, allowing for the construction of structures that can withstand a wide range of environmental stressors and increase sustainability.

Smart Technologies and Internet of Things (IoT)

Sensors embedded within buildings can monitor structural integrity, environmental conditions, and energy consumption in real-time, providing valuable insights into performance and potential risks. For example, structural health monitoring systems can detect anomalies in building structures, allowing for timely maintenance and repair to prevent catastrophic failures. Similarly, smart building systems can optimize energy usage, reduce operating costs, and improve occupant comfort.

Drones and Robotics

Drones enable aerial surveys, site inspections, and progress monitoring with unprecedented speed, accuracy, and safety. By capturing high-resolution images and generating detailed 3D models of construction sites, drones provide project managers with valuable data to assess progress, identify potential risks, and make informed decisions in real-time. Additionally, robotics technology is revolutionizing construction processes, from automated bricklaying and concrete spraying to autonomous equipment operation. These advancements not only improve productivity and efficiency but also reduce the reliance on human labor in hazardous environments.

Law, Regulations, and Codes: Setting the Standards

Governments worldwide are enacting stringent regulations and building codes to mitigate risks and ensure the resilience of infrastructure projects, placing commercial general contracting companies at the forefront of compliance and implementation.

National and Local Regulations

In response to growing concerns over infrastructure resilience, governments are implementing regulations tailored to local risks and vulnerabilities. For instance, earthquake-prone regions like California mandate seismic retrofitting measures, while flood-prone areas require elevated foundations and stormwater management systems. Compliance with these regulations is not only a legal requirement but also essential for safeguarding public safety and minimizing liability.

International Standards and Guidelines

International bodies such as the International Code Council (ICC) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Reduction (UNDRR) develop standardized guidelines and best practices for resilient construction. These standards cover a wide range of factors, including seismic resilience, energy efficiency, and environmental sustainability. Commercial general contracting companies must stay abreast of these international standards to ensure their projects meet the highest levels of resilience and sustainability.

Certification and Accreditation Programs

Certification and accreditation programs, such as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and Envision, provide frameworks for assessing and recognizing infrastructure projects’ resilience and sustainability. These programs incentivize commercial general contracting companies to incorporate resilient design features and sustainable practices into their projects, driving industry-wide adoption of best practices and standards.

Design Features: Integrating Resilience into Architecture

Resilient infrastructure encompasses a multifaceted approach to design, encompassing both physical and operational resilience. Robust structural systems, such as moment-resisting frames and reinforced concrete cores, provide the structural integrity necessary to withstand seismic forces and other external threats. Redundancy in critical systems, such as power generation and water supply, ensures continuity of operations in the event of disruptions.

Flexible space utilization strategies, such as modular construction and adaptable floor plans, enable buildings to evolve with changing needs and conditions, maximizing resilience over the long term. Furthermore, the integration of green infrastructure, such as green roofs, permeable pavement, and rainwater harvesting systems, enhances resilience by mitigating the impact of climate change and promoting sustainable development practices.

Application to Commercial Real Estate: Enhancing Asset Value

In the realm of commercial real estate, resilience has become a paramount consideration for investors, developers, and tenants alike. Buildings that are resilient to natural disasters, climate change, and other disruptions not only safeguard occupants but also preserve asset value and ensure business continuity. According to a report by the Urban Land Institute (ULI), properties with resilient features command higher rental rates, lower insurance premiums, and greater market appeal.

For example, commercial office buildings equipped with backup power systems and robust communication networks are better equipped to withstand power outages and maintain productivity during emergencies. Similarly, retail centers with resilient design features, such as flood-resistant building materials and elevated storefronts, are less susceptible to damage from extreme weather events, reducing downtime and revenue losses for tenants.

Final Thoughts

As stewards of the built environment, commercial general contracting companies bear a profound responsibility to prioritize resilience in every aspect of their work. By embracing innovation, adhering to regulations, integrating resilient design features, and applying these principles to commercial real estate, they can pave the way for a more resilient future. In an era defined by uncertainty and volatility, resilient infrastructure isn’t just a goal—it’s a fundamental imperative.

In the face of evolving challenges, the resilience of our infrastructure will determine our ability to thrive in the decades to come. As commercial general contracting companies embark on this journey, they must embody a steadfast commitment to resilience, ensuring that the buildings they construct not only withstand the test of time but also serve as beacons of strength and stability in an ever-changing world.

If you’re looking to update or upgrade your facilities, our Special Projects Group and development teams are ready to help. Our experience with high quality concrete buildings, cutting edge technologies, and sustainability certifications can help facilitate a seamless and successful project. Ready to get started? Reach out to us today.

As the construction industry works to bridge the need for sustainable practices, increased tech infrastructure, and functional design, we’re witnessing firsthand the evolution of building materials and techniques. One of the most exciting developments in recent years has been the rise of mass timber as a viable and versatile option for commercial and industrial spaces.

In today’s article, we’re going to dive into the history, development, and discussion of mass timber in commercial and industrial spaces.

What is Mass Timber?

Mass timber may seem like a modern innovation, but its roots stretch back centuries. Historically, timber has been a primary building material in many parts of the world, prized for its abundance, durability, and ease of construction. However, it wasn’t until the late 20th century that engineers began exploring ways to optimize wood’s structural capabilities through modern manufacturing techniques.

One notable milestone in the development of mass timber was the invention of glued laminated timber (glulam) in the early 20th century. Glulam beams, which are made by bonding together smaller pieces of lumber with structural adhesives, offered increased strength and versatility compared to solid wood beams. Another significant advancement came with the development of cross-laminated timber (CLT) in Europe in the 1990s. CLT panels consist of multiple layers of lumber stacked at right angles and glued together, creating a strong and stable building material suitable for walls, floors, and roofs.

In recent years, mass timber has experienced a renaissance, driven by advancements in engineering, sustainability concerns, and a growing interest in natural and renewable building materials. Today, mass timber is being used in a wide range of projects, from small residential buildings to large-scale commercial and industrial developments.

Specific Examples of Mass Timber Projects:
  • T3 Minneapolis: One of the most iconic examples of mass timber construction is T3 (Timber, Transit, Technology) in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Completed in 2016, T3 is a seven-story office building constructed entirely from CLT and glulam. Its innovative design and use of mass timber garnered international attention and helped pave the way for similar projects.
  • Brock Commons Tallwood House: Located at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, Brock Commons Tallwood House stands as the world’s tallest mass timber building. Completed in 2017, this 18-story residential tower showcases the potential of mass timber for high-rise construction while also promoting sustainability and innovation.
  • Oregon Conservation Center: The Oregon Conservation Center, located in Portland, Oregon, is a LEED Platinum-certified office building constructed primarily from CLT and glulam. Completed in 2020, this project demonstrates how mass timber can be used to create sustainable and energy-efficient buildings that promote environmental stewardship.

How is it Used?

Mass timber’s versatility and strength make it suitable for a wide range of applications in commercial and industrial construction. From structural elements to interior finishes, mass timber can be used in various ways to create sustainable and visually striking spaces.

Structural Components

Walls: Mass timber panels, such as cross-laminated timber (CLT), are commonly used for exterior and interior walls in commercial and industrial buildings. CLT panels provide structural support while also acting as insulation, reducing the need for additional materials.

Floors and Roofs: Mass timber is ideal for constructing floors and roofs in multi-story buildings. Glued laminated timber (glulam) beams and columns can support heavy loads, allowing for open and flexible floor plans. Cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels can span long distances, eliminating the need for traditional joists and rafters.

Exterior Cladding

Facade Systems: Mass timber can be used as an exterior cladding material, adding warmth and texture to the building’s facade. Vertical and horizontal timber panels create a modern and natural aesthetic while also providing weather protection and thermal insulation.

Sunshades and Louvers: Timber sunshades and louvers can be integrated into the building’s facade to control sunlight and glare, improving energy efficiency and occupant comfort.

Interior Finishes

Ceilings and Wall Panels: Mass timber can be left exposed on ceilings and walls to showcase its natural beauty and warmth. Tongue-and-groove CLT panels create a seamless and visually appealing surface, enhancing the architectural character of the space.

Staircases and Elevator Cores: Glulam beams and columns are often used to construct staircases and elevator cores, providing structural support and architectural interest. Timber treads and handrails add a tactile and organic element to the building’s interior.

Source: tallwoodinstitute.org

Recent Innovations

In recent years, the mass timber industry has seen significant advancements in technology and design. Engineers and architects are pushing the boundaries of what’s possible with mass timber, exploring innovative techniques such as hybrid systems that combine mass timber with other materials like steel and concrete. These innovations have opened up new possibilities for creative and sustainable building design.

Hybrid Systems

One of the most significant recent innovations in mass timber construction is the development of hybrid systems that combine timber with other materials such as steel, concrete, or glass. These systems leverage the strengths of each material to optimize performance and efficiency while allowing for greater design flexibility. For example, hybrid timber-concrete systems utilize timber beams and columns with concrete slabs to create lightweight and sustainable floor structures capable of spanning long distances.

Prefabrication and Modular Construction

Advances in prefabrication and modular construction techniques have streamlined the mass timber manufacturing process, leading to faster construction times and improved cost-effectiveness. Prefabricated mass timber panels can be manufactured off-site in a controlled environment, reducing waste and minimizing on-site labor requirements. Modular construction methods allow for the assembly of entire building components, such as walls, floors, and roofs, off-site before transporting them to the construction site for installation.

Advanced Timber Technologies

Technological advancements in timber manufacturing and processing have led to the development of new products and techniques that push the boundaries of what’s possible with mass timber. For example, robotic fabrication systems can precisely cut and shape timber components with minimal waste, optimizing material usage and efficiency. Computer-aided design (CAD) and building information modeling (BIM) software enable architects and engineers to visualize and analyze complex timber structures before construction, ensuring accuracy and performance. Additionally, advancements in timber treatment and preservation techniques have improved the durability and fire resistance of mass timber, expanding its range of applications and increasing its lifespan.

Carbon Sequestration and Environmental Benefits

As concerns about climate change and sustainability continue to grow, there is increasing interest in the environmental benefits of mass timber construction. Wood is a renewable resource that has the unique ability to sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, helping to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. By using mass timber in construction, developers can reduce the carbon footprint of buildings and contribute to a more sustainable built environment. Innovations in life cycle assessment (LCA) methodologies and environmental certification programs, such as LEED and Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, provide frameworks for measuring and verifying the environmental performance of mass timber buildings, further incentivizing their adoption.

Biophilic Design and Wellness

Another emerging trend in mass timber construction is the integration of biophilic design principles and wellness-focused features that enhance occupant health and well-being. Biophilic design seeks to reconnect people with nature by incorporating natural elements, such as wood, daylight, and greenery, into the built environment. Mass timber’s natural warmth, texture, and visual appeal create inviting and comfortable spaces that promote productivity, creativity, and overall satisfaction. Additionally, timber’s acoustic properties help to reduce noise levels and create a quieter and more peaceful indoor environment. Wellness-focused amenities, such as green roofs, indoor gardens, and natural ventilation systems, further enhance the health and comfort of building occupants, fostering a sense of connection to the natural world

Challenges to Consider

One of the primary challenges facing the adoption of mass timber in commercial and industrial construction is the shortage of skilled labor trained in timber construction techniques. Mass timber construction requires specialized knowledge and expertise, including timber framing, joinery, and installation. As demand for mass timber projects increases, there is a growing need for training programs and certification pathways to develop a skilled workforce capable of meeting industry demand. Additionally, collaboration between educational institutions, industry stakeholders, and professional organizations can help promote timber construction education and training opportunities.

Sourcing high-quality timber and ensuring a reliable supply chain can also be challenging, particularly for large-scale mass timber projects. Factors such as forest management practices, timber species availability, and transportation logistics can impact the availability and cost of timber materials. Moreover, the increasing global demand for wood products, coupled with potential supply chain disruptions due to factors like climate change and trade policies, may further exacerbate these challenges. Building strong relationships with timber suppliers and adopting sustainable sourcing practices can help mitigate supply chain risks and ensure the availability of quality timber materials.

Adhering to building codes and regulations is essential for ensuring the safety, durability, and compliance of mass timber structures. However, existing building codes may not always accommodate the unique characteristics of mass timber construction, leading to regulatory barriers and approval delays. In some cases, building officials may lack familiarity with mass timber building systems and require additional documentation or testing to verify compliance. Advocacy efforts to update building codes and standards to reflect advances in mass timber technology and research can help facilitate the widespread adoption of timber construction methods.

While mass timber offers many benefits, including sustainability, speed of construction, and aesthetic appeal, it can sometimes be more expensive upfront compared to traditional building materials such as concrete and steel. Factors such as material costs, labor expenses, and project complexity can influence the overall cost of mass timber construction. Additionally, market conditions, supply chain dynamics, and regulatory requirements may impact project budgets and financial feasibility. Conducting thorough cost-benefit analyses and exploring innovative financing options, such as incentives, grants, and tax credits, can help address cost considerations and make mass timber projects more economically viable.

Fire safety is a critical concern in mass timber construction, as wood is combustible and can pose fire risk if not properly addressed. While mass timber has inherent fire-resistant properties due to its charring behavior, building regulations typically require additional fire protection measures, such as sprinkler systems, fire-rated assemblies, and compartmentalization strategies. Addressing fire safety requirements and obtaining insurance coverage for mass timber projects may present challenges due to perceptions of risk and uncertainty among insurers. Engaging with fire protection experts, conducting fire safety assessments, and implementing proactive risk mitigation strategies can help alleviate concerns and ensure the safety and insurability of mass timber buildings.

Final Thoughts

Mass timber holds tremendous promise for the future of commercial and industrial construction. Its sustainability, versatility, and aesthetic appeal make it a compelling option for clients looking to build with both the environment and their bottom line in mind. While there are challenges to overcome, the potential benefits far outweigh the obstacles. Mass timber represents not just a material choice but a shift towards more sustainable and innovative building practices.

A qualified general contractor can be an excellent asset on these types of projects, as they are familiar with codes and regulations, labor costs, and supply lead times. For any questions regarding your next project, feel free to reach out to our teams here.

Embarking on a commercial tenant improvement project can be an exhilarating endeavor, promising to breathe new life into a space and elevate your business operations. However, beneath the surface of excitement lies a complex web of considerations and potential challenges. As any seasoned project manager knows, unforeseen obstacles often arise, threatening to derail timelines and budgets.

For many business owners, the world of renovations can feel like uncharted territory. While they may possess a clear vision for their space, they may not be fully equipped with the industry insights and expertise necessary to navigate the intricacies of a successful project. This knowledge gap can lead to delays and missed opportunities for optimization. In the realm of commercial tenant improvements, two critical factors reign supreme: schedule and budget. Yet, maintaining control over these pillars requires more than just wishful thinking. It demands the guidance of a skilled general contractor who can seamlessly orchestrate every aspect of the project, from inception to completion.

To shed light on the essential questions every business owner should consider before starting a commercial tenant improvement, we turn to our field experts that regularly work on tenant improvements of all shapes and sizes. Join us as we delve into the key inquiries that lay the foundation for a seamless and successful renovation endeavor.

Do you have an architect or engineer, yet?

Engaging an architect or engineer early in the tenant improvement process is essential for developing detailed plans and ensuring compliance with building codes and regulations. These professionals bring expertise in design and structural integrity, laying the foundation for a successful construction project. While some general contractors offer in-house design teams, most work hand-in-hand with outside agencies. This partnership is essential to creating accurate, functional blueprints for the construction teams.

Example:
Imagine you’re renovating an office space and wish to hang large, framed photos and several designer light fixtures. By incorporating an architect or engineer early on, they can help you not only create the best layout, they can also offer industry insight for pricing, confirm the products are hung according to code, and ensure your design falls within the property managers guidelines.

Do you have permits started or scheduled?

Securing permits is a critical step in the commercial tenant improvement process, as it ensures compliance with local regulations and building codes. In most cases, construction can’t even begin without proper permits or city notices. If these aren’t secured early on in the process, construction activities may be halted or delayed in the future, leading to costly disruptions and legal consequences.

Example:
Consider a scenario where you’re renovating a retail storefront to create a more inviting shopping environment. Without obtaining permits for exterior modifications or signage, you risk fines or enforcement actions from local authorities. By scheduling permits early in the project timeline and ensuring all necessary approvals are obtained, you can proceed with construction confidently and avoid unnecessary delays.

Do you have an approved budget?

Having an approved budget is essential for managing costs and ensuring that the tenant improvement project remains financially viable. By establishing a clear budget upfront, project managers can make informed decisions about resource allocation, prioritize expenditures, and identify cost-saving opportunities to maximize the project’s return on investment.

Example:
Consider a scenario where you’re renovating a retail space to launch a new product line. With an approved budget in place, you can allocate funds for marketing initiatives, store fixtures, and inventory procurement while maintaining profitability targets. By closely monitoring expenses and adjusting plans as needed, you can ensure that the project stays within budget constraints and delivers the desired outcomes.

Do you have a pre-construction plan or schedule?

Developing a pre-construction plan or schedule provides a roadmap for executing the tenant improvement project efficiently. This includes identifying key milestones, allocating resources, and establishing timelines for each phase of construction, ensuring that the project stays on track and within budget.

Example:
Suppose you’re upgrading a commercial kitchen to meet new health and safety standards. A pre-construction plan outlines tasks such as equipment procurement, plumbing upgrades, and installation of ventilation systems, along with corresponding timelines and dependencies. By adhering to the plan and closely monitoring progress, you can minimize disruptions and deliver the project on time.

How long will it take to get products?

Knowing the lead time for procuring necessary products is crucial for project planning and scheduling. Delays in product delivery can significantly impact the overall timeline of the project and cause costly delays down the line. By understanding the lead time upfront, project managers can coordinate with suppliers and ensure timely delivery of materials as well as properly schedule future phasing. Alternatively, suggestions for like materials with shorter order timelines might be suggested.

Example:
Suppose you’re renovating a restaurant space and need custom furniture and fixtures to enhance the dining experience. If the lead time for these items is several weeks, it’s essential to factor this into the project schedule to avoid delaying the grand opening. By coordinating with suppliers early on and expediting the procurement process, if necessary, you can ensure that the project stays on track and meets deadlines.

Are there any preferred milestone dates crews should be aware of?

Identifying preferred milestone dates allows project teams to align their efforts and resources effectively to meet key deadlines. This ensures that critical project milestones are achieved on time, minimizing delays and ensuring smooth progress throughout the construction process.

Example:
Imagine you’re renovating a hotel lobby to coincide with the start of the tourist season. Identifying milestone dates such as the completion of the reception area or installation of decorative features allows the construction team to prioritize tasks accordingly. By meeting these milestones, you can ensure that the hotel is ready to welcome guests as planned, maximizing revenue opportunities.

Are there any sustainable certifications you want to pursue?

Integrating sustainable design principles and pursuing green building certifications can enhance the environmental performance and long-term value of your commercial space. By identifying sustainability goals early in the project, you can incorporate eco-friendly features and practices that reduce energy consumption, minimize waste, and improve indoor air quality.

Example:
Suppose your commercial tenant improvement including renovating an office building and aiming to achieve LEED certification to demonstrate your commitment to sustainability. Incorporating features such as energy-efficient lighting, low-flow plumbing fixtures, and recycled materials can help you meet LEED requirements while reducing operating costs and enhancing occupant comfort. By prioritizing sustainability initiatives, you can create a healthier, more resilient workspace that benefits both the environment and your bottom line.

Are there any scopes the owner will take on themselves?

Clarifying which scopes of work the owner will undertake directly helps to streamline the construction process and avoid misunderstandings or duplicative efforts. By delineating responsibilities upfront, project teams can coordinate more effectively, minimize conflicts, and expedite project delivery.

Example:
Suppose you’re renovating a commercial space to accommodate a new tenant’s requirements. If the owner plans to handle interior design and furnishing independently, it’s essential to communicate these intentions clearly to the construction team. This allows contractors to focus on tasks such as structural modifications and MEP installations, while the owner oversees finishing touches and decor selection. By dividing responsibilities strategically, you can optimize efficiency and ensure a successful outcome for all parties involved.

Who is the final decision-maker to communicate with?

Identifying the final decision-maker ensures that critical project approvals and changes are addressed promptly and effectively. By establishing clear lines of communication and decision-making authority, project teams can avoid delays caused by indecision or conflicting directives, ensuring that the project progresses smoothly and stays on track.

Example:
Consider a scenario where you’re renovating a corporate office space to accommodate a new layout and technology upgrades. If multiple stakeholders are involved in approving design revisions or selecting finishes, it’s essential to designate a primary decision-maker who can provide timely feedback and sign off on proposed changes. This streamlines the decision-making process and empowers the project team to proceed confidently, minimizing disruptions and ensuring project success.

How do you like to have critical conversations?

Understanding stakeholders’ preferred communication styles during critical project discussions fosters more effective collaboration and problem-solving. By accommodating individual communication preferences, project teams can facilitate open dialogue, address concerns promptly, and make decisions collaboratively, enhancing overall project outcomes.

Example:
Suppose you’re coordinating a commercial tenant improvement project with a diverse team of stakeholders, including architects, contractors, and business owners. Some stakeholders may prefer face-to-face meetings for discussing complex issues, while others may prefer email or phone communication for quick updates. By acknowledging and respecting each stakeholder’s communication preferences, project managers can foster a supportive project environment where concerns are addressed promptly, and decisions are made collaboratively, ensuring project success.

Final Thoughts

Renovating a commercial space involves a nuanced process that requires thorough planning, coordination, and compliance with regulations. Commercial projects demand careful consideration of zoning laws, building codes, and permitting procedures. By addressing these questions and acknowledging the unique challenges of commercial renovations, stakeholders can navigate the process more effectively. Prioritizing thorough planning, permitting compliance, and adherence to codes ensures that commercial spaces meet functional, aesthetic, and regulatory objectives for long-term success.

If you’re looking to renovate your space, reach out to our team here. We’re happy to answer questions or connect you with the right team member for your project.

In today’s designs and buildings, accessibility is not just a legal requirement but also an opportunity for inclusion and creativity. For reputable general contractors, ensuring compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act is paramount. However, with ever-changing codes and regulations, compliance can be a daunting task.

Our teams at Perlo have extensive experience building spaces for the entire spectrum of users; ensuring facilities can be enjoyed by all. We’ve talked with our experts to create a general overview for contractors working in ADA compliant environments. In this guide, we’ll delve into the intricacies of ADA compliance in commercial construction projects, exploring key considerations and practical strategies to create spaces that are welcoming and accessible to everyone.

*Note: this is only a general overview that does not address every part of the ADA. Compliant construction will include input from several official parties such as designers, engineers, contractors, and law council.

Understanding ADA Compliance

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) stands as a landmark piece of legislation that aims to eliminate discrimination against individuals with disabilities and ensure their equal access to public accommodations. For commercial contractors, understanding the intricacies of ADA compliance is essential to uphold the principles of inclusivity and accessibility in construction projects. The ADA provides comprehensive guidelines known as the ADA Standards for Accessible Design (ADAAG), which outline specific requirements for various aspects of building design and construction. These standards cover a wide range of elements, including, but not limited to, parking facilities, entrances, doorways, ramps, pathways, restrooms, signage, and communication systems.

One of the fundamental principles of ADA compliance is the concept of “universal design,” which emphasizes creating spaces that are usable by people of all abilities without the need for adaptation or specialized design features. Universal design goes beyond mere accessibility compliance to promote inclusivity and usability for everyone, regardless of age, size, or disability.

Perlo’s Senior Manager of SPG Jeff Hankins says, “What a good contractor does is ask the right questions. ADA requirements are constantly evolving, and we come in and ask, ‘what are you missing and what can we do to set you up for the future?’ Someone not as experienced might just say, ‘oh you want a bathroom? Great,’ and not go any further. We’re here to bridge the different parties that design, build, and approve your facilities.”

By understanding the principles and requirements of ADA compliance, commercial contractors can play a vital role in creating built environments that are inclusive, welcoming, and accessible to everyone. Furthermore, it can help expand a building’s longevity and cut-down on the need for future modifications for compliance.

Key Considerations for Commercial Contractors

Ensuring ADA compliance in commercial construction projects requires a multifaceted approach, encompassing various aspects of design, construction, and implementation. Here are some key considerations for designers and contractors:

Site Assessment

Before breaking ground, conducting a thorough site assessment is essential to identify potential barriers to accessibility. This initial step sets the foundation for creating inclusive environments from the ground up. In early design meetings or initial site visits, note:

  • Terrain and topography modifications required to ensure smooth and accessible pathways.
  • Parking facilities available for ADA-compliant parking spaces with appropriate signage and access aisles.
  • Potential challenges such as uneven terrain or obstructions that may impede accessibility.
Design and Layout

Collaboration between architects, designers, and contractors is paramount to integrate accessible features seamlessly into the building’s design. A proactive approach to design can anticipate the diverse needs of users and ensure universal access. Key considerations include:

  • Incorporating wide doorways and corridors to accommodate wheelchair users and individuals with mobility aids.
  • Designing accessible entrances with ramps, automatic doors, and tactile indicators for enhanced usability.
  • Creating flexible spaces that can adapt to the evolving needs of users, including those with disabilities.
Ramp Design

Ramps are critical components of accessible design, providing alternative routes for individuals with mobility impairments. Proper ramp design requires careful attention to detail to ensure safety and usability. Key considerations include:

  • Adhering to ADA guidelines for slope ratios, handrail placement, and landing areas.
  • Using durable materials with non-slip surfaces to enhance traction and stability.
  • Incorporating features such as level platforms and switchback designs to minimize the space required for ramps.
Signage and Wayfinding

Clear and intuitive signage is essential for guiding users through the built environment and providing vital information. Thoughtful signage design improves navigation and enhances the overall user experience. Key considerations include:

  • Installing high-contrast signage with clear, legible text for improved visibility.
  • Incorporating tactile elements such as Braille and raised lettering for individuals with visual impairments.
  • Ensuring signage is placed at appropriate heights and locations to accommodate users of all abilities.
Restroom Accessibility

Accessible restrooms are essential amenities that promote dignity and independence for individuals with disabilities. Designing inclusive restroom facilities requires careful consideration of layout, fixtures, and accessibility features. Key considerations include:

  • Providing adequate space for maneuverability, including turning circles and transfer areas.
  • Installing grab bars, accessible sinks, and toilet fixtures at appropriate heights for ease of use.
  • Incorporating universal design principles to accommodate users with diverse needs, including parents with young children or individuals with temporary disabilities.
Communication Accessibility

Effective communication is vital for ensuring inclusivity and accessibility within commercial spaces. Implementing accessible communication systems enhances usability for individuals with hearing or speech impairments. Key considerations include:

  • Installing visual notification devices and hearing loop systems to accommodate individuals with hearing impairments.
  • Providing alternative communication methods such as text-based messaging or video relay services.
  • Training staff members to effectively communicate with individuals with disabilities and provide assistance as needed.

Practical Strategies for Compliance

Ensuring ADA compliance requires more than just understanding the regulations; it demands proactive planning, ongoing vigilance, and a commitment to creating truly inclusive environments. Commercial contractors can implement practical strategies throughout the construction process to ensure adherence to ADA standards and promote accessibility for all users.

Stay Informed

Keeping abreast of updates and revisions to ADA guidelines is crucial for maintaining compliance throughout the construction process. Regularly review ADAAG and stay informed about any changes or updates issued by the U.S. Access Board or relevant regulatory agencies. Consider subscribing to industry publications, attending seminars, or participating in professional development opportunities to stay updated on best practices and emerging trends in accessibility design.

Collaborate with Experts

Engage with accessibility consultants, disability advocacy groups, or certified access specialists early in the design phase to gain insights and guidance on best practices for creating inclusive environments. Collaborate closely with these experts throughout the construction process to address accessibility concerns effectively. Their expertise can help identify potential barriers and provide recommendations for mitigating accessibility challenges.

Training and Education

Provide comprehensive training for construction teams, subcontractors, and project stakeholders on ADA requirements and the importance of accessibility in commercial construction projects. Offer specialized training sessions focused on accessibility standards, universal design principles, and strategies for addressing common accessibility issues. Empower workers to identify and address accessibility barriers proactively, fostering a culture of inclusivity and accountability within the construction team.

Regular Inspections

Conduct regular inspections during the construction process to identify and address any potential accessibility issues promptly. Implement a systematic approach to quality control, including checkpoints for accessibility compliance at key stages of construction. Assign dedicated personnel or accessibility coordinators responsible for conducting inspections and monitoring compliance with ADA standards. Document and communicate any observations or findings and take corrective actions as needed to ensure that accessibility standards are met consistently.

Accessibility Documentation

Maintain comprehensive documentation throughout the construction process, including design plans, specifications, permits, and compliance records related to ADA requirements. Keep detailed records of any modifications or deviations from the original design to demonstrate compliance efforts. Document all accessibility features installed during construction, including measurements, materials used, and installation methods. This documentation serves as a valuable resource for future reference and can help demonstrate compliance during inspections or audits.

Post-Construction Accessibility

After completing construction, conduct a final accessibility inspection to verify compliance with ADA standards and ensure that all accessibility features are functioning correctly. Consider engaging individuals with disabilities or accessibility advocates to participate in post-construction evaluations and provide feedback on the usability of the built environment. Make any necessary adjustments or improvements based on feedback received to enhance accessibility and usability for all users.

By implementing these practical strategies for compliance, commercial contractors can demonstrate their commitment to creating accessible environments and promoting inclusivity within the communities they serve. Compliance with ADA standards not only fulfills legal obligations but also contributes to building a more equitable and inclusive society where everyone has the opportunity to participate fully and independently.

Final Thoughts

Commercial contractors play a pivotal role in creating spaces that are welcoming, inclusive, and accessible to all individuals. By embracing universal design principles and integrating accessibility features seamlessly into the built environment, general contractors contribute to building a space where everyone has the opportunity to participate fully and independently.

Our teams at Perlo have extensive experience working with ADA requirements, and we’ve helped build countless educational, health care, assisted living, and community spaces that support folks of all abilities. Looking for help on your next project? Connect with our team here.

As electric vehicles (EVs) become increasingly accessible to the general public, the infrastructure supporting them is rapidly expanding. From bustling urban centers to suburban landscapes, new buildings are incorporating facilities to accommodate the growing number of EV owners. More and more experienced industrial general contractors are seeing, firsthand, the shift towards sustainable transportation solutions and the integral role construction plays in facilitating this transition.

Today, we look at the recent evolution of EVs, their supportive infrastructure, and how they’re making their way into the construction industry.

How Electric Vehicles Have Grown and Developed Over the Last Five Years

Over the past five years, the electric vehicle (EV) landscape has experienced a dramatic transformation, expanding from niche offerings to a diverse array of mainstream vehicles. Automakers have diversified their portfolios to include electric SUVs, trucks, and luxury models alongside traditional compact cars. Tesla, Ford, and Volkswagen are among the industry leaders introducing flagship EVs boasting competitive performance, extended range, and advanced technology. This expansion reflects a broader trend towards electrification, driven by advancements in battery technology, which have increased energy density and reduced production costs.

Furthermore, the adoption of electric mobility extends beyond personal vehicles to encompass commercial fleets and public transportation. Companies such as Rivian and Amazon are developing electric delivery vans to enhance efficiency and reduce emissions in urban environments. Municipalities worldwide are investing in electric buses to improve air quality and noise pollution in urban centers. This rapid evolution underscores the imperative for the construction industry to adapt and incorporate EV infrastructure into new projects, facilitating the transition to a sustainable transportation future.

The Growing Demand for Adding Electric Vehicle Charging Stations to New Construction

With the surging popularity of electric vehicles, there is a corresponding increase in demand for EV charging infrastructure. New construction projects, whether residential, commercial, or industrial, are recognizing the importance of integrating EV charging stations into their designs. Developers understand that providing convenient access to charging facilities not only attracts environmentally conscious tenants and customers, but also future proofs their properties against evolving transportation trends.

Additionally, government mandates and environmental regulations are driving the adoption of electric vehicle infrastructure in new construction projects. Many municipalities and local jurisdictions have established requirements or incentives for developers to incorporate EV charging stations into their developments. These mandates align with broader efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change, making EV infrastructure a focal point in sustainable urban planning initiatives.

How Electric Vehicles Are Being Used in Construction

Within the construction industry, electric vehicles (EVs) are increasingly deployed for a variety of applications, contributing to greener and more efficient operations. One prominent utilization of EVs in construction is in the realm of machinery and equipment. Contractors are embracing electric alternatives to traditional diesel-powered machinery, such as excavators, loaders, and cranes. These electric machines offer several advantages, including quieter operation, reduced emissions, and lower operating costs. Manufacturers like Volvo Construction Equipment and Caterpillar are at the forefront of this shift, developing electric prototypes and production models tailored to meet the demands of construction sites.

Furthermore, electric vehicles are making inroads as fleet vehicles in construction operations. Companies are replacing conventional diesel trucks and vans with electric counterparts, aiming to reduce their environmental footprint and operating expenses. Electric fleet vehicles offer benefits such as lower fuel costs, decreased maintenance requirements, and compliance with stringent emissions standards. By transitioning to electric fleet vehicles, construction companies demonstrate their commitment to sustainability while capitalizing on the operational advantages of electric propulsion. As charging infrastructure continues to expand, the adoption of electric vehicles in construction fleets is poised to accelerate, paving the way for a greener and more sustainable future in the industry.

Governmental Incentives to Move Towards Using More Electric Vehicles to Lower Emissions

Governments worldwide are deploying a range of incentives and policies to expedite the adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) as part of broader strategies to combat climate change and reduce emissions. For instance,  the federal government offers a tax credit of up to $7,500 for qualifying EV purchases. This incentive significantly lowers the upfront costs for consumers, encouraging more individuals to choose electric over traditional combustion engine vehicles. At the state and local levels, additional incentives further incentivize EV adoption. States like California and New York provide generous rebates and incentives, such as additional cash rebates and exemptions from sales tax, registration fees, and tolls.

Additionally, regulatory measures are being implemented around the world to accelerate EV adoption and curb emissions. Countries like Norway have set ambitious targets to phase out the sale of new internal combustion engine vehicles by specific deadlines, incentivizing automakers to prioritize electric vehicle production. Similarly, cities like London have introduced low-emission zones and congestion pricing schemes, levying fees on high-emission vehicles to encourage the transition to electric alternatives.

Challenges of Incorporating Facilities for Electric Vehicles and Using Them in Construction

Despite the numerous benefits of electric vehicles (EVs) and the increasing demand for EV infrastructure in construction projects, several challenges exist in integrating these facilities and utilizing electric vehicles within the construction industry. One significant challenge is the upfront cost associated with installing EV charging infrastructure. While long-term savings in operational costs are evident, the initial investment required for purchasing and installing charging stations can be prohibitive for developers and property owners, particularly in retrofitting existing buildings with EV facilities.

Another challenge lies in the technical complexities of designing and implementing EV charging infrastructure. Factors such as determining optimal charging station locations, assessing electrical capacity and load management, and ensuring compliance with building codes and regulations require specialized expertise. Moreover, the evolving nature of EV technology and charging standards adds complexity to the design process, necessitating ongoing adaptation and integration of emerging technologies into construction projects. Owners looking to add these systems should look for a qualified general contractor with experience in either EV facilities or similar fields such as high-tech and manufacturing.

Our team here at Perlo has extensive experience not only in the automotive industry with companies like Tesla, but also high-tech and industrial spaces with electric vehicle infrastructure. Questions about incorporating EV facilities in your next project? Contact our teams here.

Final Thoughts

As the popularity of electric vehicles continues to soar, construction general contractors play a crucial role in facilitating their integration into new builds. By incorporating EV charging infrastructure into construction projects, developers not only meet the needs of a growing market but also contribute to a cleaner, more sustainable future. Despite challenges, governmental incentives, technological advancements, and shifting consumer preferences create opportunities for innovation and growth. As we embrace the electric revolution, construction professionals are at the forefront of shaping a greener, more electrified world.

Tackling projects at home can be a rewarding endeavor, adding value and personality to your living space or saving you time and money on repairs and updates. However, amidst the excitement, it’s crucial not to overlook safety. Just because you’re not pouring several tons of concrete or painting a 600,000 SF building, doesn’t mean similar safety standards don’t apply. Our award winning in-house safety team strives to keep our crews safe both on and off the jobsite with comprehensive, but attainable, safety tips and tricks.

This week, we’re sharing some of them with all the hardworking at-home craftsmen out there. Whether you’re a seasoned construction veteran or a weekend DIY enthusiast, this guide will equip you with the knowledge and tools necessary to ensure a safe and successful at-home project.

Proper PPE for Home Projects

One of the fundamental aspects of home project safety is the proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Regardless of the scale or scope of your project, wearing the appropriate gear can significantly reduce the risk of injury. This includes items such as safety goggles, gloves, hearing protection, and, when necessary, respiratory protection. Investing in quality PPE not only safeguards against immediate hazards but also protects against long-term health risks associated with exposure to harmful substances.

By prioritizing proper PPE selection, cleaning, and storage habits, you can enhance safety and minimize risks during your home projects. After each use, thoroughly clean PPE with mild soap and water, paying special attention to areas exposed to contaminants. Allow PPE to air dry completely before storing it in a clean, dry location away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures. Inspect PPE regularly for signs of damage or wear, and replace any compromised items promptly to maintain optimal protection. Remember, investing in quality PPE and following recommended safety practices are essential steps toward ensuring a safe and successful DIY experience.

Handling Combustible Materials

Many DIY projects involve the use of combustible materials such as wood, paint, and solvents. It’s imperative to exercise caution when working with these substances to prevent fire hazards. Also ensure you have proper ventilation regardless of the scope or size of the project. Additionally, keep a fire extinguisher nearby and familiarize yourself with its operation in case of emergency. Here are some additional tips for minimizing the potential for a fire.

1. Proper Storage:

Store combustible materials in designated areas away from heat sources, sparks, and open flames. Flammable liquids should be stored in approved containers with tight-fitting lids to prevent spills and leaks. Keep storage areas well-ventilated and free from clutter to reduce the risk of ignition.

2. Proper Disposal:

Dispose of combustible materials according to local regulations and guidelines. Many municipalities have specific requirements for the disposal of hazardous materials such as paints, solvents, and other chemical products. Contact your local waste management authority or recycling center for guidance on proper disposal methods and designated drop-off locations. Start your search here.

3. Fire Prevention:

Take proactive measures to prevent fires during your home projects. Keep a fire extinguisher rated for Class A, B, and C fires readily available at all times, and familiarize yourself with its operation before starting work. Install smoke detectors in key areas of your home, especially near project sites where combustible materials are present. Additionally, avoid smoking or using open flames in areas where flammable materials are stored or used. Keeping your work areas separate can lower risks significantly.

Proper Use and Storage of Chemicals

Chemicals play a vital role in many home improvement projects, from cleaning and painting to adhesion and sealing. However, improper handling and storage of these substances can pose serious health and safety risks. Here’s how to ensure the proper use and storage of chemicals during your DIY endeavors:

Choose the Right Chemical for the Job:

Select chemicals that are appropriate for your specific project requirements. Consider factors such as surface compatibility, environmental impact, and safety considerations when choosing cleaning agents, paints, adhesives, and other chemical products. Avoid using stronger chemicals than necessary, and opt for less hazardous alternatives whenever possible.

Store Chemicals Properly:

Store chemicals in their original containers with tightly sealed lids to prevent leaks and spills. Keep them in a well-ventilated, dry area away from heat sources, direct sunlight, and incompatible substances. Use designated storage cabinets or shelves for organizing chemicals and ensure they are clearly labeled with the product name, hazard warnings, and expiration date.

Prevent Cross-Contamination:

To prevent accidental mixing and cross-contamination, store chemicals separately based on their compatibility and potential reactivity. Keep acids away from bases, oxidizers away from flammable materials, and incompatible substances in separate storage areas. Implement a color-coded labeling system or use hazard signage to clearly identify different chemical storage zones.

Use Appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE):

Wear the appropriate PPE when handling chemicals to protect yourself from potential hazards. This may include safety goggles, chemical-resistant gloves, aprons, and respiratory protection, depending on the nature of the chemicals and the tasks involved. Ensure PPE fits properly and is in good condition before use.

Aerosolized Hazards (Dust, Fumes, Carcinogenic Materials)

Aerosolized hazards, such as dust, fumes, and carcinogenic materials, pose significant health risks during home renovation projects. To mitigate these dangers, employ dust containment measures, such as plastic sheeting and HEPA filters, to minimize airborne particles. When working with toxic materials such as lead paint or asbestos-containing materials, follow established protocols for containment, removal, and disposal. Additionally, use respiratory protection and ensure adequate ventilation to reduce exposure to harmful substances.

The type of respirator you’ll need depends on the specific hazards present in your environment. You can find guidance on selecting the appropriate respirator for your needs from reputable sources such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). These organizations provide detailed information on respirator types, filtration capabilities, and proper fit testing procedures.

Tool Care and Safety

Your tools are indispensable assets during home projects, but they also pose inherent risks if not used and maintained properly. Regularly inspect tools for signs of wear or damage, and replace worn components promptly. Always use tools for their intended purpose, and follow operating instructions to avoid accidents. When not in use, store tools in a secure location, preferably out of reach of children. Remember, a well-maintained tool is not only safer but also more efficient and reliable.

See OSHA’s guidelines for proper tool use here.

The Importance of Keeping a Clean Workspace

Maintaining a clean and organized workspace is not just about aesthetics; it’s a critical aspect of safety. Cluttered work areas increase the risk of trips, slips, and falls, while debris and obstructions can impede proper tool operation. Take the time to clean up spills, dispose of waste materials, and organize tools and supplies after each work session. By keeping your workspace tidy, you’ll minimize hazards and create a more conducive environment for productivity and safety.

Final Thoughts

In the realm of do-it-yourself projects, safety should always take precedence. By implementing proper safety measures, such as wearing appropriate PPE, handling combustible materials with care, and maintaining a clean workspace, you can mitigate risks and ensure a successful outcome free of injury. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a novice DIY enthusiast, prioritize safety every step of the way, because a safe project is a successful project.

In a world where career paths seem to multiply by the day, working in construction trades remain a steadfast beacon of opportunity. No matter your educational plans or background, the construction and trade industries are excellent lifelong career choices. The world is especially in need of skilled tradespeople with a passion for creativity and an eye for detail.

In this article, we’ll explore the myriad opportunities available in the construction trades and provide a roadmap for young individuals eager to kickstart their careers in this thriving sector.

The Growing Demand for Skilled Labor in the Construction Industry:

The construction industry serves as the backbone of economic development, shaping skylines and infrastructures across nations. Yet, behind every towering skyscraper and bustling highway lies an urgent need for skilled trade workers. Retiring baby boomers and insufficient numbers of young people entering the trades has resulted in the industry faces a critical shortage of talent. From residential construction to commercial projects, the demand for skilled tradespeople continues to outpace the supply, creating abundant opportunities for those willing to roll up their sleeves and get to work.

The number of unfilled labor jobs in the construction industry alone totaled between 300,000 and 400,000 in the spring of 2022. Those numbers have only grown in the last two years; especially with the increased demand for domestic manufacturing of products like semiconductors and electronic vehicle batteries. To accommodate the facilities and equipment needed to produce these products, skilled trade workers must be brought on to properly retrofit, install, and maintain them.

Those with an interest in technology and electrical engineering can actually find more stable, lasting, and higher-paying entry-level jobs than as employees for them. Apprenticeships and certifications offer a quicker, less expensive way to enter these cutting-edge industries while allowing professional flexibility and career growth. Residential, health care, education, manufacturing, food and beverage, and tech often have overlapping needs and requirements. You may start out as a residential roofer only to find yourself pursuing a career as a dedicated brewing and distilling electrician. That’s the untapped beauty of the trade industry: opportunity.

Benefits of Joining a Trade or Union

The construction trades offer a multitude of benefits for aspiring professionals. Trade unions, in particular, serve as guardians of workers’ rights, advocating for fair wages, safe working conditions, and comprehensive benefits packages. Through union membership, individuals gain access to extensive training programs, equipping them with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in their chosen trade. Additionally, unionized workers often enjoy higher wages, better healthcare coverage, and retirement security, providing a sense of stability and peace of mind for themselves and their families.

Unlike some sectors that may be susceptible to economic downturns, the demand for skilled trades generally remains resilient. Whether it’s building new infrastructure, renovating existing structures, or maintaining essential systems, the need for skilled tradespeople persists regardless of economic fluctuations. Moreover, skilled trades often have the advantage of multiple income streams. Beyond their primary role, many tradespeople offer specialized services or side projects, further diversifying their income and bolstering their financial security.

Getting Started in the Construction Trades

Embarking on a career in the trade industry requires determination, diligence, and a willingness to learn. Fortunately, there are various pathways available for individuals looking to enter the field:

Apprenticeships

Apprenticeships offer a time-honored method of learning a trade through a combination of hands-on experience and classroom instruction. Many trade unions and organizations administer apprenticeship programs, providing apprentices with the opportunity to earn a wage while honing their skills under the guidance of experienced mentors.

Vocational Training

Vocational schools and community colleges offer specialized training programs tailored to the needs of the trade industry. These programs provide students with practical, industry-relevant skills, preparing them for entry-level positions in their chosen trade. High schools have also started bringing back vocational classes for students; giving them the opportunity to specialize sooner.

Entry-Level Positions

For those eager to jumpstart their careers, entry-level positions offer a foot in the door to the trade industry. Many trade companies hire individuals with little to no experience and provide on-the-job training, allowing newcomers to gain valuable hands-on experience while earning a paycheck.

Encouraging Diversity

Despite its historical male dominance, the construction and trade industry are increasingly recognizing the importance of diversity and inclusion. Women bring unique perspectives, skills, and talents to the workforce, contributing to innovation and driving success. However, women remain significantly underrepresented, facing barriers such as stereotypes and limited access to opportunities.

To address this imbalance, concerted efforts are underway:

  • Educational support programs encourage girls to pursue STEM education and provide hands-on experiences to cultivate their interest in trades from an early age.
  • Targeted recruitment and apprenticeship programs aim to attract and support women entering the trade industry, providing mentorship and guidance throughout their career journey.
  • Creating inclusive work environments involves implementing policies to combat discrimination and bias, fostering an atmosphere where women feel valued and supported.
  • Organizations like Women in Construction and Tradeswomen, Inc. offer resources, support networks, and advocacy to empower women in trades.

By embracing diversity and actively supporting the inclusion of women in trades, the industry can tap into a broader talent pool, drive innovation, and pave the way for a more dynamic and prosperous future. Read about how Perlo specifically supports women in the trades from Perlo’s Director of Human Resources, Meghan Looney, here.

Salaries in Skilled Construction Trades

Salaries in the construction trades vary depending on factors such as experience, location, and specialization. While entry-level positions may start with modest wages, skilled tradespeople often enjoy competitive salaries and opportunities for advancement. However, the average construction salary far exceeds the U.S. median wage. Notably, plumbers, electricians and HVAC technicians all make above the U.S. median wage and are in high demand on jobsites.

Here’s a breakdown of common salaries for some skilled trade jobs (please note these are estimates and may change based on location, time, experience, or market sector):

Electrician: Electricians play a crucial role in ensuring the safe and efficient operation of electrical systems. With median salaries ranging from $55,000 to $90,000 per year, electricians enjoy lucrative career prospects and ample opportunities for growth.

Carpenter: From framing houses to crafting custom furniture, carpenters bring precision and craftsmanship to their work. Median salaries for carpenters typically range from $40,000 to $70,000 per year, with experienced professionals commanding higher wages.

Plumber: Plumbers are essential for maintaining and repairing plumbing systems, ensuring the efficient flow of water and waste. Median salaries for plumbers typically range from $50,000 to $80,000 per year, with opportunities for specialization and career advancement.

Welder: Welders possess the skills to join metals together, fabricating structures and machinery with precision and strength. Median salaries for welders typically range from $40,000 to $70,000 per year, with experienced welders commanding higher wages for specialized work.

Joining the construction industry isn’t just about finding a job; it’s about building a career that can withstand the test of time. So, whether you’re drawn to the intricacies of electrical work, the craftsmanship of carpentry, or the problem-solving nature of plumbing, know that the industry welcomes you with endless possibilities. With dedication, determination, and a passion for your craft, the sky’s the limit in the world of skilled trades.

Final Thoughts

The construction trade industry offers a wealth of opportunities for young individuals seeking rewarding careers. Beyond just jobs, trade professions offer fulfilling careers with ample opportunities for advancement and upward mobility. By considering the pathways outlined in this blog and tapping into the resources available, young people can embark on a journey towards a prosperous and fulfilling career in the trade industry. For more information on opportunities with Perlo, visit our Careers page.

Repurposing malls represents a complex, yet increasingly necessary, response to the changing dynamics of consumer behavior, urban development, and economic revitalization. The decline of traditional malls has been driven by the rise of e-commerce, changing consumer preferences, and economic shifts. This has presented significant challenges and opportunities for communities, developers, and policymakers alike.

Below, we explore various facets of mall repurposing in greater detail, including zoning ordinances, neighborhood views, economic impacts, construction challenges, and potential new uses. With some dedication and creativity, these large complexes can go from failing, to thriving economic engines for the locations in which they reside.

Local Mall Repurposing: The Lloyd Center

The City of Portland has it’s own mall project to think about, as the Lloyd Center Mall, originally opened in 1960, faced foreclosure following the exodus of most of its traditional tenants in the mid-to-late  2010’s. This all took place in spite of its urban location, close proximity to the downtown core, and variety of transportation options available.

Most recently sold in 2021, developer Urban Renaissance Group released a new vision for the outdated space, which includes:

  • New multi-family housing
  • Commercial office space
  • Outdoor amenities
  • Restaurants
  • Experiential retail
  • Entertainment venues
  • Improved pedestrian walkways

Important to the local community, the developer has been committed to leaving the long-standing ice-rink in place. Some have even speculated that the Portland Diamond Project, an effort to bring Major League Baseball to Portland, should land in the Lloyd Center Mall area. Whatever happens with the Lloyd Center, it will be a fascinating case study to watch as malls in other locations face similar circumstances.

Zoning Ordinances and Community Engagement

Adaptive reuse of malls often requires navigating complex zoning landscapes and potentially advocating for changes to accommodate new uses. Zoning ordinances are critical to the repurposing process, dictating what activities can occur in a given area. This process involves engaging with municipal planning departments, community stakeholders, and, sometimes, the broader public through meetings and hearings.

Successful projects typically involve early and ongoing dialogue with these groups to ensure that the redevelopment aligns with community needs and visions. Good communication can lead to a smoother approval process and greater public acceptance.

Neighborhood opinions are equally important. Community support or opposition can significantly influence a project’s trajectory. Often known as ‘NIMBYism’, the attitude of ‘not-in-my-backyard’ by locals can create significant opposition to redevelopment efforts. It’s often particularly prevalent when projects include low-income housing or services for mentally ill citizens. 

Developers and city planners often engage in community outreach efforts to gather input, address concerns, and integrate community feedback into their plans. This engagement helps build a sense of ownership and investment among local residents and businesses, which is crucial for the long-term success and sustainability of repurposed malls.

Economic Implications of Mall Repositioning

The economic implications of repurposing malls are vast. On one hand, these projects can stimulate local economies by creating jobs, both during and after construction, and increasing tax revenues through enhanced property values and new businesses. On the other hand, they require significant investment, not just in terms of construction and development costs, but also in planning, community engagement, and potential infrastructure upgrades.

The return on investment can be substantial; however, transforming dormant properties into productive, vibrant spaces can attract residents, businesses, and visitors and boosts local economies. In this four-part series by Camoin Associates, an exploration of the benefits to local communities is described, and they include:

  • Economic revitalization
  • Job creation – both temporary and permanent
  • Increased tax revenue
  • New business integrations
  • Improved property values
  • Diversification of land uses
  • Tourism or destination appeal
  • Adaptive re-use
  • Community enhancements

While redevelopment efforts for these types of spaces may take years and significant hurdles to achieve, the local economic benefits are substantial.

Construction and Development Challenges

The construction challenges of repurposing malls are diverse. These buildings were initially designed with a specific use in mind and transforming them for new purposes can uncover a range of structural, architectural, and environmental issues. Depending on the geographical location, seismic upgrades could be a considerable challenge. According to JLL, more than 54% of mall redevelopments include residential uses and 35% office uses. Others include hotels, medical spaces, and entertainment, among others.

Source: JLL

Most redevelopments still include a significant amount of retail space. These multi-use redevelopments seek to achieve a ‘live, work, play’ community.

Some examples of challenges might include:

  • Retrofitting a large, open retail space into office units or residential apartments may require extensive demolition and reconstruction to meet current building codes, provide adequate natural light, and ensure proper ventilation.
  • Environmental assessments may reveal contamination from previous uses, requiring remediation.
  • Upgrading infrastructure to support new technologies and utilities can be both costly and complex.
  • Existing parking or transportation constraints must be considered, particularly for new uses that may generate excessive vehicle traffic.

Many of these projects are significant in square footage and cost. This adds a layer of complexity for financing and funding these projects. Public and private partnerships might be the answer to creating new spaces for the community while also making these projects feasible for a developer to pursue.

Potential New Uses and Innovations

The potential new uses for repurposed malls are limited only by imagination and community needs. Beyond conversions into mixed-use developments, housing, or office spaces, innovative projects have transformed these spaces into cultural centers, educational campuses, medical hubs, and green spaces.

For example, some communities have turned vacant malls into indoor farms, leveraging the expansive square footage for sustainable food production. Others have introduced public amenities such as libraries, community centers, and parks, adding value to the neighborhood and fostering a sense of community. Recently, several vacant office spaces have been turned into vertical farm spaces. This same concept could be applied to mall spaces.

The integration of technology and sustainability practices into repurposed malls can set new standards for urban development. Smart building technologies, renewable energy sources, and green building materials can reduce the environmental footprint of these large structures, making them more sustainable and efficient in the long run.

Final Thoughts

The repurposing of malls is a multifaceted endeavor that requires careful consideration of zoning laws, community needs, economic impacts, construction challenges, and the best way to innovate the spaces. By addressing these aspects comprehensively, developers, communities, and policymakers can transform obsolete retail spaces into thriving hubs that serve the evolving needs of their surrounding areas. Such projects not only contribute to the economic and social revitalization of communities but also offer a blueprint for sustainable urban development in the face of changing retail landscapes and consumer behaviors.

Over the last decade, the renewable energy landscape has experienced exponential growth, with industrial construction projects increasingly embracing sustainable practices. This surge is a response to both global environmental concerns and the recognition of the economic benefits associated with renewable energy. As technological advancements make these solutions more accessible and cost-effective, their incorporation into industrial buildings has become more common, marking a significant shift toward a greener future.

The Rise of Renewable Energy Technology in Industrial and Commercial Spaces

The transition towards renewable energy in industrial and commercial spaces has gained momentum, driven by a growing awareness of the environmental impact of traditional energy sources. Solar energy, in particular, has witnessed a remarkable surge in adoption. For instance, Solar panels are now a common sight on the rooftops of industrial buildings. Warehouses and manufacturing facilities, with their expansive roof spaces, have become ideal candidates for large-scale solar installations.

Wind energy is another prominent player in the renewable energy landscape for industrial projects. Wind turbines, strategically placed on vast industrial plots, harness the power of the wind to fuel the facilities nearby. These turbines can be tailored to suit the specific energy needs of each, providing a reliable and consistent source of clean power.

Geothermal technology has also made strides in the industrial sector. By tapping into the Earth’s natural heat, geothermal systems provide efficient heating and cooling solutions for large commercial buildings. Ground-source heat pumps are becoming increasingly popular, offering a sustainable alternative to traditional HVAC systems.

Supportive Legislation for Renewable Energy Adoption

Governments around the world are recognizing the importance of transitioning to renewable energy sources and have introduced legislation to encourage businesses to embrace sustainable practices. In many regions, there are financial incentives, tax credits, and grants available for industrial buildings and construction companies that invest in renewable energy technology.

These legislative measures are designed to make it more attractive for businesses to adopt clean energy solutions, fostering a supportive environment for the integration of solar panels, wind turbines, and other renewable technologies. As a result, many industrial facilities and construction projects are finding it financially viable and socially responsible to go green.

Benefits of Using Renewable Energy Technologies

The adoption of renewable energy technologies in industrial and commercial spaces brings forth a multitude of benefits. One of the primary advantages is the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. By shifting away from fossil fuels, companies contribute to mitigating climate change and creating a more sustainable future. Cost savings are another compelling benefit. While the initial investment in renewable energy infrastructure can be significant, the long-term operational savings often justify the expense. Companies can also insulate themselves from the volatility of traditional energy prices by generating their own power.

Additionally, integrating renewable energy solutions enhances a company’s reputation and marketability. Consumers are increasingly making purchasing decisions based on a company’s commitment to sustainability, and businesses that prioritize renewable energy are likely to attract environmentally conscious customers and investors.

Challenges in Building or Installing Renewable Technologies

Despite the numerous benefits, construction projects incorporating renewable energy technologies face several challenges. One significant obstacle is the upfront cost. The initial investment required for solar panels, wind turbines, or geothermal systems can be substantial, deterring some businesses from making the transition. However, it’s essential to recognize that these costs often pay off over the system’s lifespan through energy savings and environmental benefits.

Navigating regulatory complexities and obtaining the necessary permits can also pose challenges. Local building codes, zoning restrictions, and permitting processes vary, requiring careful planning and coordination during the design and implementation phases. Working with knowledgeable contractors who understand the regulatory landscape is crucial for overcoming these hurdles. Disruptions during the construction phase present another challenge. Installing renewable energy infrastructure may require modifications to existing buildings or the incorporation of new technologies into ongoing construction projects. This process can lead to temporary disruptions, impacting the regular operations of the facility. Proper planning and communication are essential to minimize these disruptions and ensure a smooth transition to renewable energy.

The Role of General Contractors

General contractors play a pivotal role in the implementation of renewable energy technology in industrial settings. Their expertise in local permitting, building codes, and proper engineering can help save businesses time and money. Working with a contractor familiar with high-tech and manufacturing projects, even if the current facility isn’t in one of those fields, can make the installation processes smoother and quicker. Here are some other ways a reputable general contractor can help:

Project Planning and Integration

General contractors can work closely with architects and engineers to incorporate renewable energy systems into the initial design phase of industrial projects. This includes assessing the feasibility, cost implications, and potential energy savings associated with various renewable technologies.

Technology Selection and Procurement

Contractors can assist in selecting the most suitable technologies based on the specific needs and constraints of the industrial building or construction project. They can also handle the procurement of equipment and materials, ensuring quality and efficiency.

Installation and Maintenance

Experienced general contractors can be responsible for the physical installation of many renewable energy systems. This involves coordinating with specialized subcontractors, ensuring compliance with building codes and safety regulations, and overseeing the construction process. Additionally, contractors can provide ongoing maintenance to ensure the optimal performance of renewable energy infrastructure.

Navigating Regulatory Compliance

The regulatory landscape for renewable energy can be complex. General contractors are well-versed in navigating local building codes, zoning regulations, and permitting processes, ensuring that renewable energy installations comply with all relevant requirements.

Forecasting Future Uses and Kinds of Renewable Energy Technologies

Looking ahead, the future of renewable energy in industrial buildings holds exciting possibilities. Advancements in energy storage technologies are expected to play a crucial role in overcoming the intermittent nature of some renewable sources. Improved battery technology, for instance, can store excess energy generated during periods of high production for use during periods of low production, ensuring a consistent power supply.

Smart grid integration is another area poised for growth. The development of intelligent energy distribution systems allows for more efficient utilization of renewable energy. Companies can better match their energy consumption with the availability of renewable resources, optimizing their operations and minimizing waste. Innovative forms of renewable energy are also on the horizon. Tidal and wave energy, for example, harness the power of ocean currents and waves to generate electricity. While still in the early stages of development, these technologies hold significant potential, especially for coastal industrial facilities.

Furthermore, the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) and automation is expected to enhance the efficiency and performance of renewable energy systems. AI algorithms can optimize the operation of solar panels, wind turbines, and other renewable technologies, maximizing energy output and minimizing downtime.

Final Thoughts

The journey towards integrating renewable energy technologies into industrial buildings is an ongoing process marked by innovation, challenges, and tremendous potential. As the world grapples with the urgent need for sustainable practices, industrial and commercial spaces are at the forefront of this transformative shift. With each solar panel, wind turbine, or geothermal system, businesses contribute not only to their bottom line but also to a cleaner, greener, and more sustainable future. By overcoming challenges, embracing innovation, and staying committed to environmental responsibility, the industrial sector is set to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of renewable energy technology.

Looking to begin your own renewable energy project? Many of our project managers are familiar with LEED Certification, IMMUNE Building Standards, Living Building Challenge Certifications, high-tech installations, and existing resource mitigation. Contact us today to get started on your next project.

Construction dewatering is a significant aspect of many construction projects, particularly in wet geographies and when the work involves below-ground excavation. “Dewatering” refers to the process of removing excess water from the soil or groundwater at a construction site to create a dry and stable environment suitable for building. This is crucial for ensuring the safety and structural integrity of the construction project.

In this article, we’re taking some time to look closer at the means and methods behind construction dewatering.


Purposes of Construction Dewatering:
– Provide stable working conditions at the construction site.
– Prevent water from undermining or damaging the foundation of the structure.
– Prevent the mixing of water with construction materials, such as concrete, which requires dry conditions to cure properly.
– Reduce the risk of groundwater-related problems, like water contamination, soil erosion, or landslides.

Dewatering Methods

Sumps and Pumps

The sumps and pumps method is the most basic form of dewatering. This involves digging sumps (pits) in the construction area, which naturally collect water due to gravity. Pumps are then used to remove the water from these sumps. This method is particularly effective in areas with low to moderate groundwater levels.

Applications
Ideal for shallow excavations and small-scale construction projects where the water inflow is relatively low.

Advantages
It’s simple, cost-effective, and easy to install. It requires minimal technical expertise and can be quickly set up.

Disadvantages
Limited effectiveness in areas with high groundwater levels or in soils with low permeability. It can also be less efficient if the inflow of water is very high, as the sumps might not hold all the water long enough to be pumped out, or the pumps may not be able to keep up.

Wellpoint Systems

Wellpoint systems involve a series of closely spaced shallow wells, known as wellpoints, installed around the perimeter of an excavation site. These wellpoints are connected to a common header pipe, which is in turn connected to a pump, usually at ground level.

Applications
Commonly used in medium to large construction projects, especially where the excavation depth is moderate, and the soil is permeable.

Advantages
Highly effective for lowering groundwater levels in sandy or gravelly soils. The system can be scaled and adapted easily by adding more wellpoints for larger projects. It allows for precise control over the groundwater level.

Disadvantages
Efficiency decreases in clay or very fine soils. Installation and operation require more expertise and equipment than simple sumps and pumps. Regular maintenance is necessary to ensure the system’s efficiency

Deep Wells

Deep well dewatering involves drilling wells, typically around the perimeter of the excavation site, and installing submersible pumps at the bottom of these wells. Each well operates independently, which makes this method highly adaptable to varying site conditions.

Applications
Ideal for large-scale projects like dam construction, deep basement excavations, and tunneling where significant water inflow is expected.

Advantages
Suitable for deeper excavations and can handle larger volumes of water. It works effectively in a wide range of soil types, including those with low permeability.

Disadvantages
The method is more expensive and time-consuming to set up than wellpoints or sumps. It requires specialized equipment and expertise in drilling and pump installation.

Eductor Systems

Eductor systems, also known as ejector systems, use high-pressure water and venturi nozzles to create a vacuum that helps to draw water out of the ground. This method is particularly effective in soils with very low permeability, where other dewatering methods might struggle.

Applications
Often used in deep excavation projects where traditional dewatering methods are not effective, such as in clay soils or where the excavation goes below the regional water table.

Advantages
Can be used in a variety of soil types, including those with very low permeability. It’s effective at greater depths compared to wellpoints.

Disadvantages
The system is complex and requires a high level of expertise to design and operate. It’s also more expensive due to the energy requirements for maintaining high water pressure.

Each dewatering method has its specific applications, advantages, and limitations. The choice of method depends on various factors, including soil type, depth of excavation, groundwater conditions, and project scale. It’s often necessary to use a combination of these methods to effectively manage water at a construction site.

Water Disposal and Treatment

The water extracted during dewatering often needs to be treated to remove sediments or contaminants before being released back into the environment or into the municipal drainage systems. We discussed this is more detail in a former article about dewatering.

Environmental Considerations

Compliance with environmental regulations is critical in dewatering processes to prevent ecological damage. Care must be taken to avoid lowering the groundwater table excessively, which can affect nearby water bodies and ecosystems. The states of Oregon and Washington have strict policies and guidelines in place for managing erosion and sediment control, which ties closely into dewatering strategies.

Types of Dewatering Monitoring and Control

Continuous monitoring in construction dewatering is critical to ensure the effectiveness of the dewatering process and to prevent any potential issues such as excessive drawdown, structural instability, or environmental impacts. Achieving continuous monitoring involves several strategies and technologies:

Water Level Monitoring

Piezometers and Observation Wells: A piezometer is a geotechnical sensor used to measure pore water pressure (piezometric level) in the ground. Designed to measure pore water pressure in soil, earth/rock, foundations and concrete structures. These are installed in and around the construction site to monitor the groundwater levels continuously. Piezometers can provide real-time data on water level changes, which is crucial for adjusting the dewatering systems accordingly.

Automated Sensors: Advanced sensors can be used to provide continuous, real-time monitoring of water levels. These sensors can be linked to data loggers and remote monitoring systems, allowing for off-site monitoring and immediate response to changes.

Pump and System Performance Monitoring

Flow Meters: Installed in the dewatering system to monitor the rate of water being pumped out. These help to ensure the pumps are operating efficiently and effectively.

Remote Monitoring Systems: Many modern dewatering systems come equipped with remote monitoring capabilities, allowing for real-time tracking of pump performance and immediate detection of any malfunctions or inefficiencies.

Soil and Structural Stability Monitoring

Inclinometers and Tiltmeters: These are used to monitor any movement or deformation in the soil or nearby structures. This is particularly important to ensure that the dewatering process is not negatively impacting the structural integrity of the construction site or adjacent buildings.

Vibration Monitors: To detect and monitor any vibrations caused by dewatering pumps or other construction activities, ensuring they remain within safe limits.

Environmental Monitoring

Water Quality Testing: Regular testing of the water being pumped out is essential to ensure that it does not contain harmful levels of pollutants or sediments before it is discharged or treated. Having an onsite Certified Erosion and Sediment Control Lead (CESCL) is advised so that testing can be regularly performed.

Ecological Impact Assessments: Monitoring the impact of dewatering on nearby water bodies, vegetation, and wildlife habitats to ensure compliance with environmental regulations. These assessments are done with ecology surveys through a geotechnical engineer.

Data Management and Analysis

Centralized Data Management Systems: Collecting data from various monitoring tools into a central system for analysis. This helps in identifying trends, predicting potential issues, and making informed decisions. Management can be as simple as notes in a book, or a software solution.

Predictive Analysis Tools: Advanced software can be used to analyze the collected data to predict possible future scenarios or issues, allowing for proactive management of the dewatering process.

Use of Drones and Aerial Surveillance

Drones: Equipped with cameras and sensors, drones can be used for aerial inspections of the site, offering a comprehensive overview of the dewatering process and its effects on the larger area.

Continuous monitoring of construction dewatering is a multifaceted approach that involves a combination of physical tools, sensors, data analysis, and environmental assessment. It ensures not only the effective management of the dewatering process but also the safety, stability, and environmental compliance of the construction project.

Final Thoughts

Construction dewatering is a complex process that requires careful planning and execution. It often involves the collaboration of geotechnical engineers, environmental experts, and construction professionals to ensure that it is done effectively and sustainably. The failure to properly set up these systems can be catastrophic not just for the site but for the areas surrounding it, impacting wildlife, ecosystems, residential and business areas and more.

Getting ready to build? Contact us today to see how we can help.

The semiconductor industry is a vital component of the global economy, especially in the last decade, where it has seen rapid growth and influence on other industries. The CHIPS Act, or Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors for America, is a comprehensive legislative initiative aimed at bolstering the domestic semiconductor manufacturing industry in the United States. The CHIPS Act has far-reaching implications, especially for regions like the Pacific Northwest. 

For high-tech and electronics manufacturers, this means easier access to government funds and incentives. Many hope to use these funds to expand research facilities and develop more efficient manufacturing in the US. In this article, we delve into the potential impact of the CHIPS Act on local tech businesses, how they can leverage these opportunities, and the crucial role contractors play in creating efficient workspaces.


The CHIPS Act

The CHIPS Act, having received legislative approval, addresses the escalating reliance of the United States on foreign semiconductor production, recognizing associated risks to national security and economic stability. This legislation introduces substantial financial incentives and support for semiconductor research, development, and manufacturing within the United States.

The primary objective is to fortify production to circumvent the chip shortages felt in critical industries over the last few years. Through the allocation of funds and provision of incentives for domestic semiconductor production, the act seeks to establish a robust supply chain for crucial components, thereby impacting a diverse range of industries. For example, this could involve grants, tax credits, or other financial support to encourage private companies and research institutions to invest in advancing semiconductor technologies.

Potential Benefits of the CHIPS Act on the Construction Industry

The construction sector relies heavily on technology, including advanced machinery, sensors, and communication devices, many of which are powered by semiconductors. The current global semiconductor shortage has already impacted construction in many regions, leading to delays, increased costs, and supply chain disruptions. With many local electronics developers and manufacturers such as Intel, HP, LAM, Tektronix, and several others immediately receiving funds from the bill, they are now tasked with developing factories and laboratories in the area. This is where the construction industry and the tech world can partner to reach the full potential of the CHIPS Act. Successful implementation of this program could lead to:

Supply Chain Resilience:

One of the primary benefits of the CHIPS Act for the construction sector in the Pacific Northwest is the potential for enhanced supply chain resilience. By promoting domestic semiconductor manufacturing, the region can reduce its dependency on foreign suppliers and mitigate the risks associated with global shortages. Tools and equipment for both the build crews and the final facilities rely on these chips, and with less wait times come shorter build times. A more secure semiconductor supply chain would contribute to stable construction operations and project timelines.

Technological Advancements:

The CHIPS Act’s focus on semiconductor research and development can lead to technological advancements benefiting many markets, including the construction industry. Improved and more efficient semiconductors can enhance the capabilities of construction machinery, increase automation, and enable the integration of smart technologies into infrastructure projects. This, in turn, could result in improved productivity and new cost-effective techniques.

Increased Demand for Tech-Integrated Construction:

With the CHIPS Act fostering technological advancements, the construction industry is poised to witness a surge in demand for tech-integrated solutions. Smart construction technologies, powered by advanced semiconductors, will become pivotal in enhancing project efficiency, safety, and sustainability. Some of these, including drones, 3-D printing, and wearable safety sensors, are already in use today. Contractors that can work in the development of these plants and technologies will be better positioned to take on the evolving landscape of industrial building and design work. 

How Pacific Northwest Tech Businesses Can Benefit from the CHIPS Act

The Pacific Northwest, with its vibrant tech ecosystem, is poised to reap substantial benefits from the CHIPS Act. The region’s tech companies can harness this transformative legislation to propel innovation, strengthen supply chains, and bolster their competitive edge on a global scale. The CHIPS Act’s emphasis on domestic semiconductor production aligns seamlessly with the Pacific Northwest’s tech prowess, offering a unique opportunity for local companies to play a pivotal role in the semiconductor industry’s growth.

Semiconductor Manufacturing and Innovation:

One significant advantage for Pacific Northwest tech firms lies in the increased investment and incentives for semiconductor research and development. With the CHIPS Act allocating funds to spur innovation, companies in the region can channel resources into cutting-edge semiconductor technologies, contributing to the development of more efficient and advanced chips. This not only positions local businesses at the forefront of technological breakthroughs but also creates a favorable environment for collaboration and knowledge exchange.

Supply Chain Stability

The CHIPS Act’s focus on shoring up the semiconductor supply chain domestically can serve as a boon for Pacific Northwest tech companies, ensuring a more reliable and resilient sourcing of essential components. By reducing dependence on foreign suppliers, local businesses can mitigate the impact of global disruptions and secure a stable supply chain for their products. This increased resilience is particularly crucial in the tech industry, where timely access to semiconductors is integral to product development, manufacturing, and overall competitiveness. Pacific Northwest tech companies can leverage this enhanced supply chain security to drive innovation and meet market demands more effectively.

New Collaboration in the Construction Industry

As the construction sector embraces advanced technologies powered by semiconductors, tech companies can position themselves as key partners in creating smart and sustainable solutions. By tapping into the incentives provided by the CHIPS Act, these collaborations can pave the way for the development of high-tech infrastructure projects, establishing the Pacific Northwest as a hub for innovation and technology-driven progress.

Challenges and Considerations

With any new legislation, there will be kinks to work through. For companies looking to utilize CHIPS funding, they will have to adhere to not only the act’s guidelines, but regular federal and state regulations as well. This will take time, and trial and error. Consider these potential challenges.

Initial Investment and Transition Period:

While the long-term benefits of the CHIPS Act are promising, the initial transition period may pose challenges for smaller scale companies. The establishment of new semiconductor manufacturing facilities and the scaling up of production require significant investments and time. During this period, both tech and construction companies may experience disruptions in the supply chain and face uncertainties regarding the availability of semiconductors for their projects. Proper funding, forecasting, and supply management will be imperative to successfully transferring to domestic manufacturing.

Potential Cost Increases:

The construction sector, already grappling with rising material costs and labor shortages, may face additional challenges if semiconductor prices increase due to the implementation of the CHIPS Act. The cost of integrating advanced semiconductor-powered technologies into construction processes could potentially rise, impacting project budgets. Balancing the benefits of enhanced technology with the associated costs will be a critical consideration for construction

Final Thoughts

As the CHIPS Act ushers in a new era of technological advancement, the technology industry stands at the forefront of change. Local tech businesses have a golden opportunity to thrive, while contractors play a pivotal role in shaping the region’s efficient and tech-forward workspaces. By embracing innovation, fostering collaboration, and leveraging the incentives provided by the CHIPS Act, we can pave the way for industries to seamlessly integrate the newest technology, setting a benchmark for the rest of the nation.

Our teams are well versed in tech, chemical, and industrial manufacturing spaces. We’re here to help guide you through a new build, or answer pressing questions. Reach out today.

Are you planning to lease commercial space for your business? Understanding commercial lease structures, common terms, and negotiation strategies is crucial to secure the best deal for your enterprise. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the basics of commercial leasing, including the consultants who should be involved, as well as how a reputable general contractor can assist you in the process.

Common Terms in Leasing

Within the commercial real estate space, there are many terms that get thrown around. These can be daunting if they’re not a part of your everyday discussions. Your relationship with your landlord will be defined by your lease agreement. A lease agreement, also known as a rental agreement or lease contract, is a legally binding contract between two parties: the landlord (property owner or lessor) and the tenant (person or business renting the property). This agreement outlines the terms and conditions under which the tenant is granted the right to occupy and use the landlord’s property for a specified period, typically in exchange for payment of rent.

Here are some of the basic terms related to lease structures and common leasing terms: 

Commercial Lease Structures

Gross Lease: In a gross lease, the tenant pays a fixed rent, and the landlord covers all operating expenses, including property taxes, insurance, and maintenance. This structure simplifies budgeting for tenants.

Net Lease: Net leases shift some operating costs to the tenant. Common variations include Single Net Lease (tenant pays property taxes), Double Net Lease (tenant pays property taxes and insurance), and Triple Net Lease (tenant pays property taxes, insurance, utilities, and maintenance).

Percentage Lease: Typically used for retail spaces, this lease structure involves a base rent plus a percentage of the tenant’s monthly sales. It’s a win-win for both parties if the business thrives.

Common Lease Terms

Rent: The amount you pay for using the space. Ensure it’s within your budget and competitive for the location.

Term Length: Decide how long you’ll lease the space. Shorter terms offer flexibility, while longer terms can secure better rates.

Security Deposit: A refundable amount held by the landlord to cover potential damages or unpaid rent.

Operating Expenses: Know which expenses you’re responsible for (common area maintenance, property taxes, utilities, etc.) and negotiate accordingly.

Rent Escalation: Understand if and how your rent will increase over time, whether it’s fixed increases or tied to the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Tenant Improvement Allowance: This is the dollar amount the Landlord is willing to contribute to building upgrades or modifications.

Effective Lease Negotiation Tips

Do Your Homework: Research comparable rents in the area to gauge market rates. Knowledge is power in negotiations. Your real estate broker will be critical in helping you find comparable spaces to review the local rental market.

Seek Legal Advice: Consult an attorney experienced in commercial real estate to review the lease agreement and ensure it aligns with your interests.

Negotiate Terms: Don’t hesitate to negotiate terms that favor your business, such as rent reduction, tenant improvement allowances, or favorable exit clauses.

Inspect the Property: Prior to signing, inspect the property thoroughly for any necessary repairs or improvements. Ensure the landlord addresses them before occupancy.

Understand Renewal and Termination Clauses: Know how to renew the lease or terminate it if needed. Plan for your business’s future, and understand what your landlord’s rights are as the property owner.

Get It in Writing: Ensure all negotiated changes are documented in writing and incorporated into the lease agreement.

Consider Hiring a Broker: A commercial real estate broker can assist in finding the right space and negotiating on your behalf.

Your General Contractor’s Role in Leasing

There are several real estate professionals that play a role in leasing commercial space: your real estate broker, banking partner, an architect or engineer, and general contractor. Depending on the type of space you’re interested in, there may be other consultants that should be involved. A general contractor (GC) can help in several ways. The most obvious is to complete any building upgrades, but they can be involved even earlier than that.

  • A commercial GC can do a pre-purchase inspection to identify areas of concern or anticipated future expenses, such as:
    • Roof condition and lifespan.
    • Building envelope condition
    • Code compliance issues/ADA upgrade requirements
    • Mechanical, plumbing, fire protection and electrical system life expectancies
    • Site deficiencies or needed upgrades
  • Your GC partner can create early budgets for modifying the space to your needs based on preliminary information. This may be valuable to complete for several spaces at a high level to identify affordability and complete your lease negotiations.
  • Depending on the scope of work required to make the space ready for occupancy, your general contractor can develop realistic schedules to help with your planning.

Utilizing your GC before you’ve ever signed a lease is the best way to ensure that the road through construction is done with few surprises and is completed as quickly as possible. Pre-lease building inspections can also help rule out spaces that might be too expensive or time-consuming before you continue more extensive negotiations.

Final Thoughts

The process of leasing a commercial space can be daunting. Having a basic understanding of lease structures and terms is helpful. And, with the right partners on your team to identify what you need, the stress of the process can be reduced. Finally, each lease is unique, so tailor your negotiation approach to your specific situation and needs.

If you’re ready to engage in finding a new space, contact us today. We can get you started.

The distillery industry is experiencing unprecedented growth, with the market reaching a staggering $196.55 billion worth in 2022. This is fueled by a surge in demand for premium and super-premium spirits, coupled with the rising popularity of local food and cocktail culture. Craft spirits, holding a 7% value share of the total US spirits market, are anticipated to nearly double their market share by 2025. Notably, North America emerged as the craft spirits market leader in 2021, while the Asia Pacific region is projected to be the fastest-growing.

As the industry thrives, small distilleries are emerging as key players, benefitting from trends like premiumization and innovations such as cocktails-to-go, delivery, and e-commerce. The shift in consumer preferences has become a catalyst for growth, emphasizing the importance of producing high-quality, locally sourced liquor. This kind of growth fuels a need for construction companies to be available to complete necessary upgrades and expansions. In this article, we’ll discuss what the construction process looks like and how to make it feasible for growing businesses.


Expanding Your Spirits Business

If you’re one of these many small craft distillers looking to expand into a bigger industrial space, it can feel like a daunting task. Getting the proper licenses, permits, zoning, equipment, and location can take time and a lot of effort. Your local, state, and federal government will have a variety of fire, safety, occupancy, and manufacturing codes and laws. As a distiller, you probably already have a manufacturing license; however, requirements can change based on volume and capacity.

Working with a broker, designer and a general contractor is a great way to make sure you’re meeting all the qualifications. Finding local guilds, chambers of commerce, entrepreneur committees, specialized university programs, and national industry organizations can open up a world of opportunities and information.

Want to learn more about how to take your business to the next level? Check out our recent blog on moving out of the garage and into a bigger space.

Industrial Distillery Construction

For companies venturing into the construction of distilleries, it’s essential to consider various factors to ensure the facility aligns with industry standards and regulatory requirements. There are many unique features that play a pivotal role in creating a functional and compliant distillery. Some examples include:

  • Trench drainage systems,
  • FDA-mandated, easily washable walls and surfaces
  • Explosion-proof electrical switches
  • Thermally protected electrical systems

Here are a few requirements and features you and your general contractor (GC) should consider when developing your space:

Ensuring Safety in a High-Heat Environment

Since spirit distilling uses and produces dangerous and highly flammable products, it’s essential to ensure your facility meets the unique industry standards. Your product, materials, and equipment need to be clean and safe. Unless you are entering a space that previously manufactured beer, wine, or spirits, your new space is going to require some modifications.

These can include:

  • Trench drainage systems for efficient liquid management.
  • FDA-compliant equipment and facilities.
  • Thermally protected electrical systems and fire barriers.
  • Extensive ventilation and powerful HVAC for safety.
  • Boiler foundations and safety systems.
  • Easy access to boilers for maintenance.
Operational Efficiency and Safety Compliance

Make sure the space can run smoothly and safely and can handle potential future growth. You may need to incorporate fire suppression for flammable liquids and meet hazardous material safety codes. These will affect the kind of building materials your contractor uses as well as the ventilation systems you will need to install. If your distillery will also include a tasting room or restaurant, you will need to consider multi-use classification and zoning. Many buildings don’t come with this and are classified as only industrial or only mercantile.

Your contractor and design team can help you with designing and constructing an efficient space and specialty systems, including:

  • Clean-in-place process piping and steam lines.
  • Multi-classified/multi-zoned spaces for versatility.
  • Spill management for safety and cleanliness.
  • Separate spaces for product manufacturing, material storage, and final product storage.
  • Hazardous material occupancy requirements compliance.
Storage, Logistics and Utilities

Your product is your business; keep it clean, safe, and organized with proper storage. In industrial manufacturing, racking system are often used. There are several ways to organize and build out this system, and your contractor can help you choose one and make sure it’s safe for your employees. Also consider the energy and water requirements for production. Will you need a special connection to city water or power? Does the city require unique disposal plans? Design a space that also allows for growth. Make sure you have the right amount of square footage and clear space to accommodate future tanks, bottle processing, or new product lines.

In your design, you will need to consider, among other things:

  • Flammable liquid fire protection for safety.
  • Ample clear space for tanks and rack storage for organization and access.
  • Proper power solutions and energy growth plans for sustainability.
  • Water lines and wastewater disposal considerations.

All of these items can be determined with the help of consultants like specialty contractors, architects and engineers.

Oregon Craft Distilleries

Oregon’s foodie culture and bountiful agriculture make it a powerhouse in this industry. Innovation and special touches are what set apart craft distillers in a market shadowed by more prominent companies like Jack Daniels, Bombay Sapphire, Smirnoff, and more. The culture of different thinkers and scrappy entrepreneurs makes Oregon the perfect environment for new stars to make their debut.

For those looking to start their own craft distilleries here, you will have to work with the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission. They have strict guidelines on how alcohol is produced, sold, and stored. Working with a legal counsel and an experienced contractor can help streamline the process of getting approval and permitting. The Oregon Distillers Guild is also an excellent resource for finding relevant legislation, representation, and community support. 

As the distillery landscape evolves, with Oregon leading the pack in distilleries per capita, contractors have a unique opportunity to contribute to the success of this vibrant industry. By incorporating all these considerations into the construction process, you can ensure your space is not only compliant but also well-equipped to thrive in a market driven by innovation and consumer preferences.

Spirit Industry Construction Experts

The Perlo team has experience working not only with federal requirements but also with hazardous material manufacturing. We’ve helped several Pacific Northwest industry icons find their new homes. From new builds to tenant improvements, our teams have partnered with big hitters like Stoller Winery, Breakside Brewery, Vinovate Custom Wine Services, Straightaway Cocktails, and Westward Whiskey.

Our work in the tech industry and chemical manufacturing also allows us to build and install cutting-edge equipment and facilities. With the incorporation of more AI and digitized fermentation equipment in most modern distilleries, you’ll need someone familiar with these products. 

Final Thoughts

The craft distillery industry is witnessing significant growth, and craft spirits are forecasted to double market share by 2025. Small distilleries, especially, are thriving through innovative measures and premiumization.

If your business is looking to expand, you’ll need to consider a larger location, navigating federal and local requirements, and how to design a functional space. Finding an experienced contractor and design team can help ensure you’re meeting safety measures for high-heat environments, operational efficiency, compliance with safety codes, and proper storage and logistics. Need help getting started? Reach out to our teams today.

Starting a business in your garage is often an exciting and cost-effective way to launch your entrepreneurial journey. However, as your business grows and evolves, you may find that your humble garage can no longer accommodate your needs. This is a sign of success, but it also signals the need for expansion. Moving into a commercial building is a significant step that can be both daunting and rewarding. In this article, we explore the process of finding appropriate commercial space and what it entails to make a smooth transition from the garage to a dedicated business location.


1. Assess Your Needs:

Before you start the process of finding a commercial space, it’s essential to assess your business’s specific needs. Consider factors such as:

Space requirements

Calculate the square footage required for your operations, including office space, storage, specialized equipment, and future growth needs.

Location

Determine whether you need to be in a specific geographic area for customer accessibility or logistical reasons. This may also be a very personal decision based on the location of your residence, family, etc.

Budget

Establish a realistic budget for your new commercial space, including rent, utilities, and any necessary renovations.

Helpful hint: Architects are great at helping clients determine just how much space they need. Joining local business associations and industry groups can also connect you to growth coaches and like-minded entrepreneurs. Local chamber of commerce groups are another great resource.

2. Consult Your Banking Partner

It’s likely that expanding your business will require a loan. Utilize your existing banking relationships or discuss your needs with multiple bankers to find the one that will best accommodate your needs.

3. Consult a Real Estate Professional

Once you have a clear understanding of your needs and budget, it’s time to consult a real estate professional. A commercial real estate agent, also known as a broker, can be an asset in finding the right space for your business. They have local market knowledge, access to listings, and negotiation skills that can help you secure the best deal.

Note that brokers often specialize in certain types of real estate and can be on either the tenant representative side, or the landlord side. For example, some brokers may focus solely on urban office spaces while others might operate only in the industrial sector. Evaluate what category your business falls in to help determine which type of broker will be best for you.

Helpful hint: Architects and general contractors often know which brokers are best at finding specific property types. Ask them for referrals to help you find the optimal fit!

4. Define Your Business Requirements

When working with a real estate broker, provide them with detailed information about your business requirements. This includes your space needs, desired location, and any specific amenities or features you require. Be open to their suggestions and consider various options before making a decision.

Utilize your broker to help you understand the various types of lease agreements that exist. Deals on commercial spaces are always a negotiation, so being informed about what your options are can be pivotal in ensuring you can afford the space.

5. Research Zoning Regulations

Commercial properties are subject to zoning regulations and building codes, which dictate how they can be used. Ensure that the properties you are considering are zoned for your specific type of business. Zoning laws vary by location, so it’s crucial to research and understand the local regulations. Find a contractor or architect who is familiar with your business’s specific regulations. This may include unique fire, storage, and manufacturing codes that could effect whether or not you can produce your product in specific buildings or locations.

6. Budget for Additional Costs

Moving into a commercial building involves more than just rent. You’ll also need to budget for additional costs such as security deposits, utilities, insurance, permits, and potential renovations or build-outs to customize the space for your business. Factor in these expenses to avoid any financial surprises.

Determining construction costs early on is critical for any business, and reputable general contractors can help you with early construction budgets even before a final space has been determined. This can also be helpful when working through lease negotiations.

7. Negotiate Lease Terms

Once you’ve identified a suitable commercial space, work with your real estate broker to negotiate lease terms. Be prepared to discuss a variety of items during this process, including:

  • Lease duration and structure
  • Rent increases – timing and escalation
  • Maintenance responsibilities
  • Tenant improvement allowances
  • Growth opportunities
  • Any other terms that are important to your business

It’s likely that a real estate attorney should be consulted to review the lease terms and ensure you are well represented in this documentation.

8. Complete Construction and Plan for the Move

As you finalize the lease agreement, start planning the logistics of your move, starting with the construction process. If you have involved a general contractor in your early planning, now is the time to complete pricing and finalize contractual agreements for all necessary work. Your general contractor should specialize in the type of work you need, whether it’s large or small. In addition to construction, preparing for your move will require coordinating equipment relocation, inventory management, and onboarding added personnel. Develop a timeline and budget for the move to ensure a smooth transition.

9. Consider Legal and Regulatory Requirements

Obtain permits or licenses to operate in a commercial space in your particular jurisdiction. Consult with local authorities and legal experts to ensure you are in compliance with all necessary regulations. This may involve interacting with the city, county, state or even federal jurisdictions.

10. Promote Your Move

Don’t forget to let your customers and clients know about your move! Update your contact information, website, and social media profiles to reflect your new location. Consider hosting a ribbon cutting ceremony, open house or launch event to introduce your business to the community.

Final Thoughts

Moving your business out of the garage and into a commercial building is an exciting milestone that signifies growth and success. However, it requires careful planning, research, and collaboration with professionals who can help you navigate the process. By assessing your needs, consulting experts, and taking the necessary steps, you can ensure a smooth transition and set your business on a path to even greater achievements in its new commercial space.

If you’re ready to expand your space, get in touch with our teams. We can help connect you to the right people and start the preconstruction process to help you determine your potential costs.

In the dynamic world of construction, setting clear and actionable goals can significantly impact the positive growth of a company. When project management is discussed, goals are often an assumed part of the puzzle. For instance, a target budget, completion date or other objectives are often identified before designs even begin.

Goal setting isn’t just for individual projects, but for companies as a whole. Goals guide businesses towards efficiency, quality, and profitability. Essentially, well thought-out goals have the power to impact every aspect of an organization.

Today, we are discussing how goal setting affects businesses as well as how to create an effective strategy for setting useful and appropriate annual objectives.


Results of Goal Setting in Construction

There is countless research on goal setting and what it can help achieve. In fact, according to Positive Psychology, goal setting is linked to higher motivation, self-esteem, self-confidence, and autonomy. Additionally, further research has been completed about the effects of goal setting on organizations, finding that a collaborative goal setting process creates more proactive, productive, and engaged employees. While the effort to set goals may be high, the benefits are substantial. 

1. Impact on Business Operations

Goal setting in construction drives efficient business operations. For example, a goal to adopt new technology can streamline project management, while a target to reduce overhead costs by 15% can lead to smarter budgeting decisions and higher profitability. These goals help in identifying and eliminating inefficiencies, leading to a more profitable business model and informed decision making.

2. Boosting Employee Morale and Productivity

Specific goals give employees a clear sense of direction and purpose. For instance, a goal to achieve zero accidents in the workplace enhances focus on safety protocols, which not only improves safety standards but also shows employees that their well-being is a priority. Similarly, completing internal projects that improve operations within a specific timeline fosters a sense of achievement at completion, boosting morale and enhancing productivity.

3. Community and Environmental Impact

Construction companies greatly influence their communities and the environment. Setting goals like incorporating community feedback into project planning or reducing carbon footprint by 25% through sustainable practices demonstrates corporate responsibility. Not only is it the right thing to do, but sharing these goals can enhance the company’s reputation and foster community trust.

4. Enhancing Client Satisfaction

Client-centric goals are vital for success. For instance, aiming to reduce client complaints by 50% or ensuring 95% of projects are delivered on time directly affects client satisfaction. Achieving these goals can lead to a strong client base and a reputation for reliability and quality.

5. Improving Building Product Quality

The end goal for every individual project is to deliver a high-quality space that is both on time and on budget. Setting overall goals related to continuous improvement in building methods or materials, as well as achieving specific industry certifications can lead to superior building quality. These goals not only enhance the final product but also credibility and a reputation for being a leader in quality construction.

Strategies for Setting Effective Goals

Goals are great, but if the right strategies aren’t attainable, they may fall flat, not only preventing company improvements, but causing employees or outsiders to lose confidence in leadership’s ability to follow-through. There are several strategies that, if utilized, will help ensure that the effort is productive:

1. S.M.A.R.T Goals

Generally speaking, goals should be:

  • Specific,
  • Measurable,
  • Achievable,
  • Relevant and
  • Time-Bound.

For instance, a goal to ‘increase annual revenue by 20% within the next fiscal year through expanding into two new regional markets’ is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

2. Engage Team Members in Goal Setting:

Encouraging departments to set their own goals ensures that they are realistic and that employees agree and buy-in to them. Goals should be relatable and attainable, and if employees set them, they’re often more enthusiastic about making sure they’re achieved. For example, the design team might aim to reduce design turnaround time by 30%, while the procurement team aims to negotiate contracts that reduce material costs by 10%. Both contribute to efficiency for the company overall, even if the way they’re contributing is different.

3. Regular Monitoring and Evaluation:

Implement a review process to track progress against goals at regular intervals. This could be monthly, quarterly or another reasonable time frame. Use key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure success and make necessary adjustments.

4. Align Goals with Company Vision and Values:

Goals should reflect the company’s broader vision. For instance, if the company values innovation, set goals around adopting new construction technologies or methods. This way, the core values stay intact even while pursuing growth and improvement.

Examples of Well-Structured Goals

Here are a few examples of the types of goals that a construction company might consider. Importantly, goals should always be tailored specifically to each business:

Continuous Learning and Development Goals: Encourage continuous learning by setting goals for employee training and development. This could include a certain number of training hours per employee or achieving specific professional certifications within a specific timeframe. For example, Perlo enacted a goal several years ago that all superintendents, project managers and leadership team members would achieve their OSHA 30 certification within one year.

Client Feedback and Improvement Goals: Regularly gather client feedback and set goals to address any areas of concern. This could include improving communication channels or customizing services to better meet client needs. For example, set a goal to have a particular staff member complete a certain number of client surveys via phone call each year. 

Employee Retention Rate Goals: Set a goal to improve employee retention through the addition of workplace culture events, additional benefits or adding career development opportunities. Goals like these should include feedback from existing employees as well as HR staff or even specialized consultants to verify that they will enhance employee retention.

Technological Advancement Goals: Set a goal to adopt new construction technologies, such as Building Information Modeling (BIM) or 3-D printing within a certain time frame.

Green Building Practices: Set a goal to commit to increasing the number of projects that attain green building certifications, such as LEED, The Living Building Challenge or others. Alternatively, a goal related to employee certifications, such as LEED accreditation, might be appropriate.

Financial Goals: Goals can be related to volume, profit margins or cost-savings measures. For example, a goal may be to increase revenue by 10% during the next fiscal year.

Final Thoughts

Goal setting is essential for the growth and success of any company, including those in construction. They can positively influence operations, employee satisfaction, the community, clients, and product quality. By adopting strategic goal-setting practices, construction firms can more easily navigate industry challenges and pave the way for sustained success.

The construction industry is entrenched in a significant labor shortage, with nearly 400,000 job openings available for construction workers in June of 2023. While there are many reasons for this labor shortage –  an aging workforce, a lack of a reliable pipeline for trades workers, and a heavy focus on academic routes for American students – one largely untapped force to backfill this demand is women.

In an era where gender norms are being redefined and traditional career paths reevaluated, the construction industry stands as a significant battleground for gender equality and empowerment. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women make up less than 11% of the construction workforce. Challenges such as gender bias, a lack of role models or exposure to the work all make accessibility for women difficult. However, women in trades like excavation, electrical, and plumbing are breaking barriers and contributing significantly to the workforce. These industries offer women opportunities for high-paying, skilled jobs with the potential for growth and advancement.

Encouragingly, there’s a growing recognition of the value of diversity in these fields, leading to more inclusive policies and practices. Mentorship programs, supportive networks, and education initiatives are increasingly available; helping more women enter and thrive in these vital sectors. The presence of women in trades not only diversifies the workforce but also brings unique perspectives and skills, essential for the industry’s evolution and success.

This week, we’re taking some time to discuss what it’s like to be a woman in the trades with two who are in it day after day. Lana and Rebecca are both employed by a local excavation company completing work at one of Perlo’s construction sites. A rarity to see many women in the trades, we spent some time getting to know Lana and Rebecca, their work, and what they’ve experienced in their careers.


Challenges and Resilience:

Rebecca began her career at a young age while Lana entered excavation later in life after careers ranging from horse care to general labor.

Lana: “I started after my son was born. I used to manage a horse barn and I think that’s why I was used to being outside in the elements. There was always work to be done, no matter the weather, and that’s true for this job, too.”

Rebecca: “I started when I was 19. My grandpa was an excavator, and I knew that school wasn’t for me after high school.”


Their journeys highlight a common theme: resilience. In an industry where sexism is prevalent and women are often underestimated, they’ve had to work tirelessly to prove their capabilities. Earning respect, they agree, doesn’t come easy; it’s a constant uphill battle against entrenched biases.


Rebecca: “The guys don’t think we know anything and do treat us differently. I wish they would just treat us like the rest of the guys. We’re out here and working just as hard as anyone else, but it feels like we have to work ten times harder to prove ourselves. It’s hard to earn the respect.”

Lana: “I end up earning the laborer’s respect because I outwork them.”

Opportunities and Growth:

Despite the hurdles, Lana and Rebecca find their work deeply rewarding. They take pride in the physicality of their jobs and the tangible results of their labor. As the only women on many job sites, they’ve formed a unique bond; supporting and understanding each other’s struggles in a way that only fellow women in the trades can.

Rebecca: “This job is rewarding. It’s nice to drive around town and see where I’ve worked and what I’ve built. It pays decently. My favorite worker is Lana. We think and brainstorm together and get along really well. She’s works as hard as anyone and knows just as much.”

Lana: “This is the only thing I want to do. I love hard, outside, physical work. I wish I would have started earlier. I kind of got a late start into it. When your bosses are family oriented, they understand that family comes first. I’m a single mom and this is a great job for families. I don’t work weekends and the shifts are generally 7am – 3pm, so it works fairly well for families.”

Workplace Dynamics:

Navigating the male-dominated environment of construction has its peculiarities. Lana and Rebecca have observed that while their co-workers can be protective and supportive, there’s also a tendency for some to view women as competition or underestimate their skills. However, they’ve also noticed a gradual shift with newer generations being more accepting of women in the field.

Lana: “The newer generations are a lot more open to women on jobsites than the older generations. We have to work really hard to get their respect. It’s getting them nowhere. In the long run, we keep doing what we’re doing, and try hard.”

Rebecca: “You need to have a thick skin. There’s yelling and screaming onsite, but they treat everyone the same in that regard. You need to be tough. I do think it’s hard to get a job if you’re not known. They want to see your work ethic. It’s hard to find good workers, so if you show up and work hard each day, you’ll gradually be accepted.”

The Joy of Labor:

Both women express a deep love for their work. They enjoy the outdoors, the challenge, and the independence their roles offer. Their enthusiasm for construction is a reminder of the fulfillment that comes from pursuing a passion, regardless of societal expectations.

Lana: “I’m just trying to constantly learn, especially since excavation is so new to me. You’re kind of your own boss – you work pretty independently some of the time. Our boss will guide us and give us tasks but then it’s up to us to execute on it. That kind of environment is nice to work in.”

Rebecca: “Not many want to get dirty or be out in the cold and the weather. Not a lot of people are willing to do it. It’s a lot of work. I’m really happy I’m making a career out of this though. I enjoy it a lot, even though there are hard days. You’re never done learning; you’re always getting better and learning more.”  

Advice for Aspiring Women in Construction:

For women considering a career in construction, Lana and Rebecca’s message is clear: go for it. They stress the importance of having a thick skin, being willing to learn, and not being afraid to get your hands dirty. The industry needs more women, and as Lana and Rebecca have shown, women have much to offer and gain from these trades.

“If you don’t want to, don’t do it. It’s a lot of work. Women have got to want to do these jobs. You’ll know pretty quickly if you like it or not.”

“If women are thinking about it – do it. You’re just as good as men. All the tasks we have to do, we can do them just like the men. Sometimes they’re physically stronger but that’s it. The guys tell me women are more detail oriented. We tend to make things look good and be clean and tidy. I’ve heard that many times over. If you like the outdoors and are ready to work hard, it’s totally doable.”

Final Thoughts:

Lana and Rebecca’s stories are more than just personal triumphs; they’re a beacon for other women considering a path less traveled. Their experiences in construction demonstrate that with resilience, hard work, and mutual support, women can not only succeed but also thrive in any field they choose.

There are many resources available to women interested in the construction trades. Check out this article we previously published for additional information. We hope to see you following passion soon!

As 2024 begins, we at Perlo are not just setting corporate goals; we are celebrating the personal resolutions of our diverse and talented team members.


Diverse Goals, One Family

Our team is comprised of individuals from various backgrounds, each with their own unique set of goals for the year. From pursuing new hobbies and skills to setting fitness milestones, our employees are embarking on a variety of personal journeys.

Celebrating Milestones Together

Whether it’s running a first marathon, learning a new language, or achieving a personal best in any area of life, we’re committed to celebrating these milestones together. Every achievement is a testament to the dedication and spirit of our Perlo family.

Embracing a ‘Work Hard, Play Hard’ Ethos

At Perlo, we’re all about striking the perfect balance between professional diligence and personal enjoyment. We’re encouraging our team to not only be passionate and committed in their work but also to make the most of their time outside of work. Take adventurous outings, pursue passions, or just unwind; we support working hard and playing harder!

In 2024, Perlo is more than just a workplace; it’s a community of ambitious, supportive, and thriving individuals. Each personal resolution adds to the vibrant tapestry of our company culture, and we can’t wait to see what our team members will accomplish!

Final Thoughts
If you’re looking for a place where we work hard and have fun, check out our current employment opportunities and inquire now.

It’s been an incredible year for both Perlo and our people. With such driven and passionate folks, it’s no wonder we have something to celebrate! From holiday cheer to project milestones and personal achievements, we want to share some of our favorite moments from this year. Here are just a few:

If you’re looking for a place where we work hard and have fun, check out our current employment opportunities and inquire now.

As we come to the end of our final week of 2023 project reviews, we have enjoyed showcasing a wide range of our completed work, from beautiful theaters and unique retail spaces to high-end remodels. This week, we’re bringing our bread and butter to the front: new industrial tilt-up buildings. This is what we do; we take pride in bringing major square-footage projects to life and love to get creative with challenging builds.

Well known in the area as the ‘Tilt Kings’, we love to see those concrete panels standing up.


Burnt Creek Logistics

A new, 682,000 SF speculative warehouse with 36’ of clear height, four drive-through doors and two full sides of dock-height door openings. This project features unique exterior sunshades, custom planters, and shadow boxes. The sitework includes detention ponds, landscaping, paving, truck docks, right-of-way improvements, and several new streets. Completed in October, the project is now the 15th biggest industrial property in the Portland-Metro area.

Additional features include:

  • The project used more than 23,000 cubic yards of concrete
  • 128 roll-up doors
  • 180,000 SF of tilt-up concrete exterior walls

“One of the interesting things about this build was the land itself. It was part of an oak tree preservation site, which meant we had to replant any trees felled during the initial clearing of the area. Once we started excavating, we also discovered boulders the size of cars riddled throughout the area. In the end though, we were able to crush and use about half the rock for the site, and the trees add a unique landscaping touch that most warehouses don’t get.” – Jacob Klein, Project Manager

Perlo Team

Thomas Quesenberry | Project Executive

Jacob Klein | Project Manager

Ray Vigue | Superintendent

Tim Dorey | Foreman

Crystal Bentley | Lead APM

Mars Gracida | Field Safety Coordinator

Alli Strand | Subcontractor AP Specialist

Rinchem Cornelius

This new concrete tilt-up project serves Rinchem’s expanding presence in the advanced-tech market. The chemical warehouse is a type H2, H3, and H4- occupancy and includes a detached isolation tank and trailer parking pad, storm detention pond, site parking, as well as preparation for future expansion. This project included several technical aspects including a unique fire suppression system for flammable liquid storage, chemical resistant epoxy flooring, super flat slabs for wire-guided forklift aisles and a fully fireproofed roof structure.

Additionally, the building is fully temperature controlled and includes a backup generator for 24/7 operations. Challenging the project teams, the local jurisdictions was new to chemical storage. This required our teams to spend time providing education and guidance to keep the work moving forward while simultaneously maximizing the building’s ability to protect the occupants and public from the possibility of spills.

Additional features include:

  • Fully fireproofed roof structure
  • 6,400 SF specialty, outdoor gas pad for loading and storage
  • Site prep for future building

Perlo Team

Stephen Alger | Senior Project Manager

John Tompkins | Superintendent

Moses Ibrahim | Foreman

McKayla Marshall | APM

Brandon Brooks | Field Safety Coordinator

Torry Worthey | Subcontractor AP Specialist

Bauer Cases

The Bauer Cases project is an 89,000 SF new warehouse and office space for a supplier specializing in durable shipping and carrying cases. Constructed utilizing concrete tilt-up panels, this new single-story facility includes a floor-to-ceiling racking system, a product assembly and packaging area, and a 4,000 SF mezzanine with multiple office spaces.

Features include:

  • 8 drive-up loading docks
  • Specialty production workshop

Perlo Team

Devin Koopman | Project Executive

Lainee Perala | Project Manager

Tylor Kofstad | Superintendent

Joel Slayton | Foreman

Crystal Bentley | Senior APM

Mars Gracida | Field Safety Coordinator

Alli Strand | Subcontractor AP Specialist

Moraga Road Storage

This project was a complete ground-up build featuring four separate buildings housing nearly 1,000 individual storage units in San Pablo, California. The site presented several unique challenges, such as a fault line running diagonally through it that contributed to the one-of-a-kind building design.

The team also worked closely with engineers and local experts to incorporate seismic reinforcements throughout the entire site.  Additionally, the crew discovered sensitive native artifacts that had to be carefully excavated while under the supervision of an archaeologist.

“This was a great learning experience for our teams. We got to learn so much about Native American remains, archeological processes, common ADA issues, and even local art. I want to give a huge shout out to our on-site team, Superintendent Jarred Hakala and Foreman Matt Aleksich, for doing such a great job and being troopers for staying out of town to get the project complete. A fun experience all the way around.” – Stephen Alger, Senior Project Manager

Features include:

  • Seismic-lead design to work around a major fault line
  • Spray-paint mural done by local artist
  • Highly accessible entrances and storage units for clients with mobility requirements

Perlo Team

Stephen Alger | Senior Project Manager

Jarrad Hakala | Superintendent

McKayla Marshall | APM

Mia Doyle | Admin Assistant

Jacki Williams | Payroll Manager

Torry Worthey | Subcontractor AP Specialist

Final Thoughts

It’s been an exceptional year for all our teams and their projects. We’ve worked with some fantastic partners in both new and old markets, learned so much along the way, and brought some ground-breaking projects to life. All this wouldn’t be possible without the incredibly hard-working labor teams, superintendents, foremen, operators, project managers, and, of course, our clients who trust us to better their businesses.

We look forward to continuing to grow and build next year with a list of projects already lined up. If you’re interested in constructing a new facility, please get in touch with our team today. We’re eager to build for you!

Welcome back to Week 3 of our 2023 project reviews. This week, we are focusing on remodels and tenant improvements. Creating a welcoming and comfortable space requires careful planning, personalized touches, and constant communication with the client.

With limited time frames in schools, neighbors in offices, and workers in warehouses, it can be challenging to complete the required work without causing disruption. However, our teams leveraged their experience in these environments to meet strict deadlines, ensure the safety of high-end finishes, and bring the client’s vision to life.

Take a look at some of our favorite projects below.


Sig Sauer

A remodel of an existing building that included 30,000 SF of office space and 28,000 SF of warehouse/light manufacturing space. This project was highlighted by the installation of two pre-manufactured clean rooms. Perlo was involved in design input from the very beginning, producing multiple budgets through several design drawing updates while providing real-time constructability feedback. Our team also helped facilitate early mechanical and electrical design required to meet the project needs unique to clean room manufacturing.

During preconstruction, Sig Sauer, LRS, and Perlo worked together to create a space that met Sig Sauer’s operational needs, maintained their brand identity, and remained within their target budget. The success of this project highlights how involving the General Contractor and design-build trade partners early on helps establish a well-designed construction plan.

Additional features include:

  • Installation of 2 cleanrooms
  • Employee amenities including locker rooms, shower stalls, and a wellness room
  • Specialty compressor and hazardous material storage

“I believe that much of the success came from (Superintendent) Lance’s leadership onsite. Between the city and supply chain issues, the project came up against several delays. Every time, Lance managed to minimize the impact, and many times he brought us back to the original timeline. Lance worked hard, was kind but direct, and was always the first to arrive and last to leave. His experience and foresight saved us multiple times, and his years of leadership was obvious as I watched him work with subs, inspectors, and Sig.” – Patrick Pierce, Client/Facilities Manager, Sig Sauer

Perlo Team

Jordan Peterson | Senior Project Manager

Jakob Eisenbeiss | Project Manager

Lance Livingston | Superintendent

Kyle Kowalski | Foreman

McKayla Marshall | APM

Brandon Brooks | Field Safety Coordinator

Torry Worthey | Subcontractor AP Specialist

Lum’s Buick GMC

This project was a renovation of the existing customer service write-up area as well as a new, 9,000 SF service building for a premier Portland Metro auto dealer. To achieve an improved customer flow and visibility, the existing write-up area was opened up and included new finishes throughout. Utilizing a pre-engineered metal building, the new service center features nine new service bays, a fluid storage room and an employee restroom. The addition nearly doubled the current service department capacity and allows for Lum’s to receive electric vehicles.

“Lums Auto Group is one of the best owners I have worked with in my career. They are amazing community members and care about their staff and the people they serve. It was a pleasure helping them with this project, and effectively doubling their shop capacity.” – Stephen Alger, Senior Project Manager

Additional features include:

  • Remodeled customer lounge
  • Nine new EV accessible service stalls
  • New safety features including eye wash stations, sprinkler systems, and extra thick concrete slabs for service stall anchorage

Perlo Team

Stephen Alger | Senior Project Manager

Regan Cloudy | Project Engineer

Bill Phipps | Superintendent

Dave Moudy | Foreman

Eccles Elementary

Continuing our relationship with Canby School District, this project focused on the extensive design-build mechanical upgrades for this elementary school.

This project consisted of a complete mechanical system replacement, associated interior and exterior improvements, new flooring in select areas, and re-roofing. Additional work included hardware upgrades as well as preparing walls in each classroom to accommodate new marker boards, projectors, and upgraded technology.

“Working in a school requires tight planning. You have to implement MONTHS in advance. In a short schedule, we had the roof demoed, mechanical units installed, and the new roof set. Superintendent Kyncade and his foreman were huge in getting this wrapped up on time.” – Adam Smelley | Project Manager

Features include:

  • New roof
  • Fixture updates
  • Tight finish schedule to avoid disturbing active classes

Perlo Team

Adam Smelley | Project Manager

Kyncade Hardy | Superintendent

Nathan Wright | Foreman

Crystal Bentley | Senior APM

Brandon Brooks | Field Safety Coordinator

Alli Strand | Subcontractor AP Specialist

Boyland Kia of Portland

The Boyland Kia of Portland project included a full renovation of the original Portland Jaguar Land Rover store built in the 1970s. The interior was completely demolished, new windows were cut in to brighten the space, and new service drive canopies and customer entry points were added.

The project included a combination of new construction materials, and matching original ornamental features such as textured exterior walls, re-building the original ornamental fence pillars, and getting creative repairing out of plumb walls and floors that had settled over the decades.

Features include:

  • New fabricated ACM logo tower
  • Installation of several new ADA ramps and accessories
  • Addition of new steel service center canopy

Perlo Team

Jake Jensen | Senior Project Manager

Regan Cloudy | Project Engineer

Nick Butler | Superintendent

Travis Eaton | Superintendent

Jacob Chaney | Foreman

Alli Strand | Subcontractor AP Specialist

Baird Tenant Improvement

This was a complete 10,000 SF remodel of an office space located on the 3rd floor of a fully occupied 5-story building.

The work included demoing down to the studs, repairing imperfections in the existing slab on deck, reworking existing MEPF, and building out the new office to strict design standards from Baird and Shorenstein. For the first 1/3 of the project our crew worked nights to reduce noise impacting surrounding businesses and our team spent significant time coordinating logistics so that construction work would not impede all the other businesses operating in the building.

“This one was all about team coordination. We had to work nights for the first third of the project so we didn’t disturb other tenant in the building – even then we had to be extra vigilant to keep within Lake Oswego Quiet Hours. It was a lot of work, but it turned out great and both Baird and the property manager were pleased. We were even asked to return for another tenant job in the same building!” – Joshua Swake | Project Manager

Features include:

  • High-end fixtures and finishes
  • Multiple mural walls and art installations
  • Game room and custom kitchenette

Perlo Team

Jeff Hankins | Senior Manager, SPG

Joshua Swake | Project Manager

Kory Stark | Superintendent

Reygan Pattullo | APM

Alli Strand | Subcontractor AP Specialist

Final Thoughts

Whether you’re expanding your business or updating the look and feel of your current office, it can be difficult to coordinate work and construction. Our teams have extensive experience operating in occupied spaces, working within tight deadlines, and implementing low-impact plans to keep your neighbors happy.

Looking to spruce up your space, contact our teams today. We’re ready to build for you!

As we continue with our 2023 review, we’d like to highlight some of our favorite food, beverage, and retail spaces. Our highly skilled teams take pride in their ability to adapt to any project and bring their creativity to the table. We understand that retail locations require a unique touch, and we are committed to bringing our highly-regarded abilities to produce exceptional results.

These spaces require a distinct level of finesse, on-the-fly transitioning, and landscaping work that is not typically needed for some commercial spaces. Whether it’s a small boutique or a large distribution center, we approach each project with the same level of dedication and attention to detail.

Moreover, these specialty projects are not just functional; they also create fun and engaging environments for the community. By helping clients bring to life designs with practical layouts, high-end fixtures, and customizable features, we strive to make these locations a destination for people to gather, socialize, and enjoy. We love blending functionality and aesthetics to create spaces that are not only visually appealing but also highly practical.


Vinovate Custom Wine Services

Vinovate’s new 24,000 SF facility features a gravity fed fermentation room that is 8-feet below the crush pad level along with a refrigerated fruit chilling room, three temperature-controlled barrel rooms, a bottling line room, and a two-story laboratory and office space build-out. Vinovate is a unique winery that operates differently from traditional wineries. Instead of producing wines for direct sale to customers, Vinovate is a custom crush facility that produces wines for smaller winemakers, who in turn distribute these products to their clients.. Once production begins, the winery will be capable of producing 40,000 cases of wine annually.

Specific to the construction, this rural site required all new well water storage and treatment systems, process wastewater treatment facilities, sanitary drain fields, and coordinating a new 480v 3-phase power supply with the local utility companies. Our team coordinated all of the tank and catwalk layouts along with the glycol chiller and associated piping, as well.

Additional features include:

  • 3,500 SF bottle crushing facility
  • Glycol chemical and cold room storage
  • Vineyard processing support such as new wastewater treatment, solar panels, and irrigation system

“I can’t say anything but great things about Perlo and their team that I’ve been working with on our winery project. I’ve built multiple wineries and tasting rooms during my career and this by far has been the most positive experience because of how professional Perlo is and how they are able to make these larger projects happen on tight timelines.” – Bryan Weil, Managing Partner/Winemaker

Perlo Team

Jake Jensen | Senior Project Manager

Kane VanDyke | Project Engineer

Josh Kelly | Superintendent

Demetrio Garcia Arias | Foreman

Crystal Bentley | Senior APM

Brandon Brooks | Field Safety Coordinator

Alli Strand | Subcontractor AP Specialist

Breakside Brewery – Beaverton

The new Breakside Brewery location marked Perlo’s first taproom and partnership with a brewery. Breakside Brewery‘s new location in Central Beaverton started as a small parcel of land for a food cart pod, but soon expanded to include the former furniture store next door. As with many adaptive reuse projects, the nearly 50-year-old building came with several surprises, not the least of which included splintering window frames occurring during paint prep. Luckily, our crew was able to self-perform the reframing of the windows without losing any of the original glass.

The newly renovated space boasts an interior bar with seating, a lounge area, restrooms, an event space, multiple fireplaces, and outdoor seating surrounded by landscape planters. The taproom has direct access to the food cart pod and seating area. Future plans include installing a converted shipping container that will serve as a kitchen and outdoor bar space adjacent to the building.

We were able to bring our experience with large-scale refrigeration to the taproom and back-of-house cooling system for a seamless experience. It was nice to work with such a Portland icon like Breakside, and potentially building a lasting relationship for future local breweries. – Kathleen Buono, Senior Project Manager

Additional features include:

  • Custom tasting room with high-end finishes and cold storage
  • Concrete floor modifications to provide level floor areas
  • Renovations made off an existing shared wall owned by a separate building

The project was an overwhelming success. Perlo was given the opportunity to perform all of the subsequent tenant improvement projects, and now both buildings are  is fully leased. Another great project for Perlo!

Perlo Team

Kathleen Buono | Senior Project Manager, SPG

Ray Caswell | Superintendent

Tyler Broderick | Foreman

Reygan Pattullo | APM

Antonio Gonzales | Field Safety Coordinator

Brandon Brooks | Field Safety Coordinator

Englund Marine – Eureka

This new 15,700 SF stand-alone retail facility on California’s Northern Coast features a standing seam metal roof with a unique concrete panel structure for repeat client Englund Marine & Industrial Supply. The building includes warehouse, retail, and office space along with a loading dock with overhead doors. Three bioretention facilities were added to handle stormwater prior to connection to the city storm system

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As the 6th facility that Perlo has completed for Englund Marine, , our teams were able to offer continual improvements by reviewing the previous projects to ensure the new store aligned with the other locations. As a coastal facility, particular attention is paid to the specific environmental concerns that these geographic locations require. Proper waterproofing, weatherproofing and drainage are just a small part of the quality control processes involved in this type of work.

“It’s always a pleasure to work with the Englund team. They very much have a family-focused feel, which not only resonates with me personally, but also Perlo as a whole. Everyone who comes onto the projects wants to come back and work with them again. We can’t wait to see what they have planned next.” – Devin Koopman, Vice President | Partner

Features include:

  • Waterfront property developed with low impact soil and landscaping
  • All-in-one facility with warehouse, loading docks, office space, and retail storefront
  • 3-acres of mass grading required prior to construction

Perlo Team

Jacob Leighter | Senior Project Manager

Ray Caswell | Superintendent

Tyler Broderick | Foreman

Jadyn Bentley | APM

Torry Worthey | Subcontractor AP Specialist

Final Thoughts

Retail spaces are never just one thing. They often have to function as a manufacturing floor, an office, a dining room, a warehouse, and an event space. Being able to seamlessly tie these all together is essential to creating a comfortable and efficient environment for clients, employees and guests. Our project teams prioritize communication and creative problem-solving when building food, beverage, and retail locations to find this balance.

If you’re considering a new facility of this nature, contact our teams today. We’re ready to build for you!

As 2023 draws to a close, we are continuing our tradition of using this space to highlight the amazing work our teams have engaged in over the course of the year. We would like to take a moment to reflect on the fantastic projects our team has accomplished.  In the next few posts, we will highlight some of the different market sectors, building challenges, and unique builds we worked on this year.

Perlo’s 2023 portfolio showcased a diverse range of fun, essential, and groundbreaking projects. From self-storage in Tukwila, Washington to a 100-year-old theater in our own backyard in Portland, Oregon, we jumped feet-first into new states and new sectors. Even our famous tilt-up construction broke new barriers at Burnt Creek Logistics in Vancouver, Washington, which boasted nearly 700,000 square feet. If it needs building, improving, or expanding, our team can apply their versatility and adaptability to make it happen.

This week, we’re delighted to review our recent sports and entertainment projects. These businesses provide captivating experiences for audiences, and top of the line products for consumers to enjoy. Our teams worked closely with clients, architects, and designers to overcome specific challenges at each building, and we’re proud to say that the results were outstanding!


Tomorrow Theater

Covering nearly 9,000 SF, this unique revitalization project for the Portland Art Museum was completed by our Special Projects Group. Originally built in 1925 as a vaudeville space, the theater’s history includes hosting art house films, Spanish-language films, and most recently, was known as the Oregon Theater. Renovating the space included unique and artfully selected features such as blue marble countertops, a mirrored feature wall, and new custom seating. An important aspect of the project was paying homage to its past by displaying the original Oregon Theater sign.

This new space will now serve a variety of purposes including immersive theater experiences, Portland Art Museum programming, and a community event space. Working in a nearly 100-year-old building has its challenges. The owners requested the original wall tiles be saved and incorporated into the new design; however, during construction we discovered they were hollow terracotta which prohibited any mounting fixtures from being applied. This required our teams to hang everything in the theater itself from the ceiling; a task which necessitated specialty engineering. Now open, the theater has already been host to several events and will continue to be a staple to the community for many years to come.   

Additional scope included:

  • Grinding and sealing 4,000 SF of theater space
  • Installing almost 300 seats
  • Installing custom concessions façade, countertops, and food service equipment
  • Installing specialty fixtures including custom tiling, artisanal lights, and multiple art pieces

“Our family operated the former Oregon Theater between 1967 and 2020 and we are thrilled to see its reinvention…What was a fairly plain neighborhood theater has now been transformed into a work of art,” – Letter to the Editor, The Oregonian

Perlo Team

Joe Sprando | Project Manager, SPG

Bryan Esler | Superintendent

Kathy Ohannessian | APM

Antonio Gonzales | Field Safety Coordinator

Torry Worthey | Subcontractor AP Specialist

Brookwood Sports Complex

An interior and exterior renovation of a former manufacturing facility brings a new outlet for volleyball enthusiasts in Hillsboro. This project created a private volleyball club with seven courts, an athletic training area, private offices and team meeting areas, and all new restrooms. This change of use renovation triggered upgrades related to seismic, ADA access, energy code compliance, as well as landscaping.

The court area features fully furred perimeter walls with impact padding below 6-feet and Cardinal Complete acoustical panels above, all new high-bay LED lighting, and sport court flooring. Again, completed by our Special Projects Team, this work highlighted our ability to engage in preconstruction, to adapt to onsite conditions that required changes and persist in delivering a great community space.

“The site came with a lot of challenges. Fully changing the use of the building required a long list of upgrades. But the team on site was fantastic and handled everything, even as unknown conditions were uncovered as we built new facilities.” – Kathleen Buono, Senior Project Manager

Additional features include:

  • Leveling and preparing for 28,000 SF of sports court flooring
  • Roof modifications including maintenance, patching, and skylight installation
  • New build-out of athletic facilities such as training rooms, meeting spaces, and updated bathrooms

The project was an overwhelming success. Perlo was given the opportunity to perform all of the subsequent tenant improvement projects, and now both buildings are  is fully leased. Another great project for Perlo!

Perlo Team

Kathleen Buono | Senior Project Manager, SPG

Joe Kane | Superintendent

Gary Cox | Foreman

Kathy Ohannessian | APM

Alli Strand | Subcontractor AP Specialist

Evergreen Aviation Conference Center

Breathing new life into the Evergreen Aviation campus, this project was a renovation of the existing office and storage space located in their IMAX Theater building. Among the updates were new meeting rooms, restrooms, finishes, and an upgraded HVAC system.

A major component of this project was installing a new exit stairway accessible from each floor of the building, which required cutting through two floors and tying into the existing steel structure as well as extending the exterior loading dock. As the Evergreen Aviation campus continues to expand, we were proud to be a part of this newest adaptation to bring community together.

Features include:

  • Conference room updates of space and fixtures
  • Addition of multiple stairways and shafts
  • Updating HVAC system for 42,000 SF of conference space

Perlo Team

Thomas Quesenberry | Vice President | Partner

Mike Lutz | Superintendent

Levi Anderson | Foreman

McKayla Marshall | APM

Mike Souder | Safety Manager

Final Thoughts

When you welcome customers and employees to your space, it’s important to make them feel comfortable so that they can enjoy the experience and participate with ease. At Perlo, we understand the importance of people in creating a positive environment, and we are proud to help companies and organizations achieve a harmonious balance between place and space.

Our team has extensive experience in industrial safety and manufacturing precision, and we use this expertise to help sports and entertainment venues outperform their competitors with open design concepts and industry-leading safety measures. No matter the size of the job, whether it’s a locker room update or a brand-new auditorium build-out, we are committed to delivering exceptional results as we continue to expand our services into these sectors and beyond.

Building a commercial structure that incorporates substantial refrigeration elements is a complex task, and there’s a lot to consider. Whether it’s a cold storage warehouse, a supermarket with extensive frozen sections, or a food processing facility, it’s crucial to understand the significant components involved, effectively plan for them, and ensure that you have the right design and building team on board.

Cold storage may be as small as a reach-in cooler, or as large as hundreds of thousands of square feet of cooler and/or freezer space. Identifying what will be stored inside and knowing the logistics of the facility’s operations all contribute to the planning and construction of the building. Existing buildings can also feasibly be renovated to suit this purpose, with extra considerations and an adaptable build crew.


Building Structure & Exterior Considerations

The structure’s exterior is pivotal when integrating commercial refrigeration systems. The exterior skin, insulation systems, roofing, floor slab and ventilation must all be considered. Whether renovating or building new, the structure will heavily influence the longevity and energy efficiency of the building. Some of the components to consider include:

Insulation

Wall, roof, and floor insulation are vital to maintaining energy efficiency and preventing condensation. Insulation comes in many forms and must be evaluated to effectively resist moisture build up. 

Vapor Barriers

These prevent moisture infiltration, which can degrade insulation and cause structural issues. Vapor barriers of some form should be evaluated for areas such as walls, roof structure, windows and ceilings.

Doors and Entrances

Insulated doors, rapid roll-up doors, or air curtains can minimize temperature fluctuations. These systems can be manual or electronic with a variety of controls available depending on budget and desired functionality.

Flooring

Floors should be adequately insulated and able to handle low temperatures without cracking. Often made of concrete, freezer spaces typically need heating installed within and below the slab to prevent heaving and cracking.

Roof Structure

Coated steel and metal deck with insulation above the decking in lieu of below, or with insulated metal panels at the ceiling that resist corrosion are often the best solution to prevent moisture damage.

Height, Storage, and Fire Protection

Height Considerations

Vertical space can be utilized to maximize storage, but this may require specialized equipment and added safety measures. Higher ceilings can aid in better air circulation, ensuring uniform temperatures. Production strategies must be considered relative to storage solutions.

Storage Considerations

Efficient racking systems, optimized layouts, and multiple temperature zones might be necessary for facilities storing various products. Many buildings may have areas for bulk storage options with entrances into production areas, potentially with equipment that transports materials between them.

Fire Protection

Cold temperatures typically dictate constructing spaces with fire-resistant materials and specialized sprinkler systems designed for low temperatures. Racking will often dictate the placement of fire suppression piping and sprinkler heads, and temperature the type of system utilized. Local building codes must be reviewed and in compliance to achieve permits and inspection approvals.  

Electrical

Evaluate electrical load and confirm service size for new construction and renovations to accommodate the refrigeration equipment. Be sure to include any truck charging requirements for exterior refrigerated trailers at loading docks.

Commercial Refrigeration Components

Identifying and installing the right refrigeration systems is key to a successful commercial refrigeration project. As we discussed in a previous article, there are many components that make up a refrigeration system, all of which must be carefully considered when planning.

  • Compressors, condensers, evaporators, and expansion valves are integral parts of the refrigeration cycle, working together to circulate refrigerant, absorb heat, and cool the desired space.
  • Refrigeration fluids or gases are crucial to actually cooling the space. Their choice impacts efficiency, environmental concerns, and regulatory compliance. Common refrigerants include ammonia, CO2, and propane.
  • Piping, controls, and automation components work in tandem to maintain efficiency, energy conservation, and optimal functionality of the refrigeration system. Controls and automations range from minimal to very complex, depending on the size and function of the building.  

When designing each commercial refrigeration system, consider how the product will be stored and transported. Product temperature will vary between users; some will keep product in temperature-controlled trucks, others will be at ambient temperature. Certain products are required to be maintained at a certain temperature while others will need to follow a rigid cooling schedule.  This may require temperature-controlled loading docks and dock seals to control the environment. Understanding how the building user will control product will allow you to create the most efficient build to meet the client’s needs.

Planning and Assembling the Right Team

Finding the right design and construction team is a crucial element of achieving the right space both on time and on budget. When it comes to cold storage and refrigerated spaces, there are a few things to consider when choosing a reputable general contractor:

  • Hire experienced designers: Refrigeration is complex, and an experienced designer will ensure the system is efficient and compliant with local and federal codes, as well as food safety standards. Referrals from others who have created similar buildings can be a great place to start.
  • Collaborate with a knowledgeable builder: Work with a reputable contractor during the design process to complete a thorough preconstruction process. With a design-build or similar collaborative design and construction process, owners can find optimal options for cost, schedule and longevity of the building.
  • Involve a refrigeration engineer: These experts can propose various systems depending on how the building should function. They can ensure the system operates at peak efficiency and meets all technical requirements.
  • Maintenance and support: Engage a construction team that brings trade partners on board with expertise in refrigeration systems. This team will include a full-service mechanical and electrical contractor. Ideally, the general contractor and trade partners have the capacity to provide ongoing operational support for the life of the building and/or business.  

Ensuring a Successful Project

Achieving a successful project usually means constructing a building on time, on budget, and meeting the end-use goals of the occupant(s). There are many means and methods to get from the idea of a building to the completion of it, with some more critical than others. These include:

  • Clear communication: Regular meetings and updates will keep everyone on the same page. In a previous article, we discussed communication techniques and its importance to the construction process.
  • Comprehensive preconstruction processes: Develop a clear budget, including contingencies for unforeseen expenses. Complete preconstruction investigations help prevent surprises both during and after the building is complete.
  • Know the desired operational outcomes: A great design and construction team can help identify best practices for construction, but the business operator must know what items are must-haves vs. nice-to-haves with regards to the functionality of the building. Active participation during preconstruction by the end-user will help significantly.
  • Regular review: Regular reviews and quality checks should be performed throughout the construction process by all team members, including the design team, specialty consultants, ownership and end users, in addition to the contractor’s teams.

Final Thoughts

Building a commercial refrigeration facility with significant components requires expertise, meticulous planning, and a comprehensive approach to integrate the refrigeration systems seamlessly with the building structure. It’s critical to evaluate not just the building process, but also how the building needs to operate in the short and long-term. Of equal importance, support for ongoing maintenance will increase the lifespan of the building.

If you’re contemplating a construction project involved cold storage, reach out our teams today.

The construction industry is a demanding sector that requires an array of specialized skills and experience. One group we like to support is military veterans who have transitioned into civilian life.  They bring valuable, unique skill sets that significantly enrich this industry. This article aims to explore the ways veterans are impacting the construction industry and provide some resources for veterans interested in joining this rewarding industry.


Honoring Our Veterans

Before we delve deeper, we want to pause and recognize the tremendous sacrifices veterans have made for our country. Military service is a commitment that goes beyond the call of most duties. It requires resilience, dedication, and often involves leaving family behind and risking their own safety to protect the freedoms and values we hold dear.

When we talk about veterans transitioning into civilian roles, we must not merely see them as assets to an industry. We must remember and honor the battles they’ve faced, and the invaluable lessons they’ve learned. By acknowledging and appreciating their service, we can ensure they receive the respect, support, and opportunities they deserve.

Impact of Veterans on the Construction Industry

Leading and Following on the Job

Military veterans are often skilled leaders, having coordinated teams under high-pressure environments. They know how to lead, follow, and respect chain of command. The construction industry requires the same, needing people who are well-rounded team players. Managing a construction crew involves coordinating tasks, ensuring safety protocols are followed, and keeping projects on track and within budget. These skills are inherent in many veterans, adding value to every project and team they become a part of.

Technical Skills

Those serving in military roles are typically tasked with learning a technical skill, trade or discipline, as well as learning that of other members in their unit so they can take over if one servicemember is unable to complete their duties. This cross training makes them quick, adaptable, and technically savvy. This provides a direct advantage within the construction industry, where a wide range of technical knowledge and flexibility is necessary.

Discipline and Reliability

The military is a setting that emphasizes discipline, reliability, and professionalism. These are traits that the construction industry holds in high esteem. Veterans are often detail-oriented, punctual, and dependable; qualities that are paramount to a project’s success. Their ability to adhere to stringent protocols ensures projects are completed efficiently and up to the highest standard.

Safety Consciousness

Strict adherence to safety protocols and procedures is a key element of military training. This embedded culture of safety is invaluable in construction, where safety standards must be met to prevent workplace accidents and ensure the welfare of all workers on site. This ingrained safety consciousness enables veterans to contribute significantly to maintaining and improving safety measures on construction sites.

Problem-Solving Skills

Veterans are typically well versed in solving complex problems under challenging and high-stress conditions; sometimes with extreme consequences. The construction industry is full of unexpected challenges that require quick thinking and adaptable problem-solving skills in dangerous environments. The experience veterans bring in this area can lead to innovative solutions and a more agile approach to overcoming construction obstacles.

Resilience and Adaptability

Veterans are required to perform under a wide variety of conditions and environments when in the field. Their training encourages versatility and efficient planning for mission success. These traits can be highly beneficial in the construction industry, where unpredictable conditions are often the norm rather than the exception. Finding ways to finish projects in their entirety, both on time and on budget, is a mission of its own.

Programs and Resources for Veterans Transitioning into Construction

Recognizing the valuable skills that veterans bring, many organizations and programs have been established to help veterans transition into construction careers post-service. These programs offer training, support, and job placement services for veterans, further amplifying their impact on the industry. We have included a few examples here:

Helmets to Hardhats

A national, nonprofit program that connects National Guard, Reserve, retired, and transitioning active-duty military service members with skilled training and quality career opportunities in the construction industry.

Hard Hat Heroes

The National Center for Construction Education and Research’s Hard Hat Heroes initiative offers veterans a way to receive credit for skills and training they received while in the service, and helps match them with job opportunities in construction.

NextOp

This nonprofit organization helps veterans with job placement in the construction, energy, and manufacturing industries. They offer mentorship, resume assistance, and interview coaching.

Warriors 4 Wireless

This program provides training and job placement for veterans interested in the wireless infrastructure industry, a niche sector of construction.

Hiring Our Heroes

This is a nationwide initiative to help veterans, transitioning service members and military spouses find meaningful employment opportunities.

Final Thoughts

Military veterans bring a diverse and valuable set of skills to the construction industry. Their leadership, technical skills, discipline, and adaptability are assets that enrich the industry and can lead to a mutually beneficial partnership. With a wealth of resources available, veterans interested in this field have numerous opportunities to utilize their skills and contribute to the growth and safety of the construction industry while participating in a rewarding and well-paying career. Veterans in construction is not just about filling roles; it’s about leveraging unique skill sets to create an industry that is efficient, safe, and continually evolving.

Lastly, and importantly: Thank You to our veterans for your service. We are forever grateful.

Our Perlo Culture truly lives by the Perlo Practice to ‘Make it Fun.’ Halloween is a company-wide favorite, and a chance to get creative while having spooky fun. Each year, our employees dress up as ghosts and goblins, favorite TV or movie characters, as drinks, food items, construction cones and more. They’re scary, funny, cute and often incredibly imaginative! Many people even team up with others to make group costumes. We’re not kidding when we say our people go all in on the fun!


To celebrate this day, we thought we’d show you some of the fun we had this year at our Perlo Halloween party.

If you want to be a part of this team, check out our current job openings. May you have a spooky and safe Halloween!

As the summer sun gradually yields to the crisp autumn breeze, commercial property owners and facility managers must shift their focus towards fall building maintenance. Preparing commercial properties for the upcoming fall, winter, and spring weather conditions is paramount to ensuring the safety, functionality, and longevity of buildings. Neglecting this crucial maintenance can result in costly repairs, operational disruptions, and potential safety hazards.

In this guide, we will explore the key types of building maintenance that should be completed in the fall to be prepared for seasonal challenges.


1. Roof Inspection and Maintenance

The roof of a commercial building serves as a primary defense against the elements, making it a top priority in fall building maintenance. Begin by conducting a thorough inspection of the roof for any damage, loose membranes, or signs of wear and tear. Clear away debris, leaves, and branches that may have accumulated over the summer, as these can lead to clogged drains and potential leaks. Consider hiring a professional roofing contractor to perform a comprehensive inspection and address any potential issues. Proper roof maintenance in the fall will prevent leaks, ice buildup, and heat loss during the winter months, ensuring that the building remains safe and operational.

2. Gutter Cleaning and Repair

Clogged gutters and downspouts can lead to water overflow, causing significant damage to the building’s foundation, exterior, and even its interior. Prior to the heavy fall rains and winter snowfall, ensure that gutters are clean and free of debris. Repair any damaged sections and consider the installation of gutter guards to prevent future blockages. Functioning gutters will redirect water away from the property, mitigating the risk of water-related structural damage.

3. Mechanical System Maintenance

Regularly inspect and maintain mechanical systems, including changing filters and scheduling a formal maintenance review by a licensed HVAC contractor. These efforts improve energy efficiency, indoor air quality and extend the life of each unit. Address any drafts around windows, doors, and ventilation systems to prevent heat loss. A well-maintained HVAC system will keep buildings comfortable throughout the fall and winter, ensuring a conducive environment for employees, tenants, customers and stored products.

4. Chimney and Fireplace Inspection

For commercial properties equipped with fireplaces or wood-burning stoves, it is essential to have the chimney and fireplace inspected and cleaned during the fall season. The buildup of creosote in chimneys can pose fire hazards, necessitating its removal and ensuring proper ventilation. Inspect for any cracks or damage to the chimney structure and take prompt action to address any issues. While providing a cozy ambiance for patrons or employees, safety should always remain a top priority.

5. Insulation Assessment

Proper insulation is crucial for maintaining an energy-efficient building. Conduct an evaluation of the insulation in your property, looking for signs of wear, damage, or areas where gaps have developed. Reinforce insulation, particularly in areas prone to deterioration, or where it’s in danger of falling. Adequate insulation aids in retaining heat during the winter and keeping the space cooler in the summer, ultimately reducing energy costs and enhancing the comfort of the building’s occupants.

6. Window and Door Maintenance

Windows and doors are potential sources of drafts and heat loss. Examine them closely for cracks, gaps, or damaged weatherstripping. Replace any weatherstripping that is worn or damaged to prevent cold air infiltration. Consider upgrading to energy-efficient windows and doors to improve insulation and reduce overall energy consumption. Properly maintained windows and doors enhance security and protect against water intrusion and increase energy efficiency.

7. Exterior Maintenance

The exterior of your commercial building is constantly exposed to harsh weather conditions. In the fall, conduct a thorough inspection of the siding, paint, and caulking for signs of damage or deterioration. Address any issues such as peeling paint or cracked caulking promptly to prevent moisture from affecting the structural integrity of the building. Repair or replace damaged siding to maintain the property’s aesthetic appeal and overall functionality.

8. Landscape and Outdoor Maintenance

Autumn is an opportune time to prepare landscaping for the impending winter. Trim trees and shrubs to prevent branches from posing safety hazards during storms. Clear fallen leaves, as they can create slippery conditions and contribute to drainage problems. Drain and winterize outdoor water features to prevent freezing and potential damage. Additionally, consider landscaping improvements such as reseeding or aerating the lawn to promote healthy growth when spring arrives.

9. Pest Control and Prevention

As temperatures drop, pests often seek refuge indoors, potentially becoming a nuisance in commercial buildings. Conduct a thorough inspection to identify potential entry points for rodents or insects, such as cracks in the foundation or gaps around doors and windows. Seal these entry points and consider implementing pest control measures to prevent infestations. Fall is an ideal time to schedule professional pest control services to safeguard buildings from unwelcome visitors during the colder months, ensuring a clean and pest-free environment.

10. Emergency Preparedness

Lastly, it’s essential for commercial property owners and facility managers to have a well-thought-out plan in place for emergency situations. Given that fall and winter often bring severe weather conditions, ensure that each space is equipped with an emergency kit containing essentials such as flashlights, batteries, non-perishable food, and blankets. Familiarize all building occupants with evacuation routes and emergency contact information. Consider installing backup generators to maintain essential systems during power outages, particularly in regions prone to winter storms. Proactively addressing emergency preparedness can minimize disruptions and protect the well-being of those within each property.

Final Thoughts

Fall building maintenance is a proactive approach that commercial property owners and facility managers should prioritize to safeguard their properties and ensure their long-term resilience in the face of changing weather conditions. By addressing critical areas such as the roof, gutters, HVAC system, insulation, and more, commercial buildings can be prepared for the challenges of fall, winter, and spring.

Regular maintenance not only reduces the risk of costly repairs but also enhances the safety, functionality, and energy efficiency of your property. As the leaves begin to fall, invest the time and effort required to prepare commercial buildings for the seasons ahead to enjoy a well-maintained, durable, and professionally operated space year-round.

In the construction industry, workers are surrounded by an environment filled with potential hazards, from falling debris to electrical equipment, and from heavy machinery to harmful airborne particles. To protect themselves, workers rely heavily on safety equipment. But it’s not just about having the right equipment—it’s also about ensuring it fits correctly. Properly fitting safety equipment is a crucial element of workplace safety, and understanding its importance can be a matter of life and death. Let’s dive deep into the importance of properly fitting construction safety equipment and how to achieve it. 


Why Proper Fit Matters 

Maximum Protection

Safety gear is designed with specific protective features. Equipment that doesn’t fit can’t protect as intended. Some examples might include:  

  • Gloves that are too big can impede grip,  
  • Too-tight safety boots can lead to foot ailments. 
  • A helmet that’s too large can easily fall off, leaving the worker exposed to falling objects. 
  • A respirator that doesn’t seal properly can allow harmful particles to be inhaled. 
Comfort & Efficiency

Workers are more likely to wear safety equipment consistently if it’s comfortable, with heavy temptation to remove it if it’s ill-fitting or causing discomfort. A good fit means less distraction and adjustment throughout the day, allowing workers to focus on their tasks. 

Compliance & Legal Requirements

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and other safety organizations often have guidelines that dictate not only what safety equipment should be worn, but also how it should fit. Non-compliance can lead to penalties for companies and increased risk for workers. OSHA provides resources to help guide contractors on best practices for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), which is a minimum guideline for wearable safety equipment. 

Essential Safety Equipment and Fitting Tips

Helmets/Hard Hats: 

Selection: Hard hats should be chosen based on the type of work. For instance, a hard hat used for electrical work should have non-conductive properties. 

Fit: The hard hat should sit comfortably on the head, without rocking side to side. The inner suspension system should be adjusted so that the hard hat sits low on the brow. 

Care: Most Hard hats have a lifespan. The manufacture date stamp can be found on the inner lip of the brim. They should be inspected regularly for cracks or damage, and replaced after a significant impact, even if no damage is visible. 

Safety Glasses & Goggles: 

Selection: Choose the proper item based on the type of hazard. Tinted lenses are for outdoor work, while clear lenses are for indoor or low-light conditions. Anti-fog properties can be beneficial, especially in situations where workers are required to wear a mask. 

Fit: Glasses should sit snugly against the face without pinching. Goggles should form a complete seal around the eyes. Look for glasses with rubber temples and nose pieces, which prevent slipping due to sweat. 

Care: Clean regularly with a soft cloth. Store in a protective case to avoid scratches. If glasses are damaged or significantly scratched, they should be replaced.  

Prescription Options: Safety glasses are available with prescription modifications. Perlo offers an incentive program for prescription safety glasses for its employees.

Safety Glasses must have a minimum Safety Rating of Z87+. 

Hearing Protection: 

Selection: Earplugs or earmuffs should be chosen based on noise levels and personal comfort. Some jobs might require electronic earmuffs that allow communication between team members.

Fit: Earplugs should seal the ear canal without causing discomfort. Earmuffs should encompass the entire ear.

Care: Clean earplugs and replace them regularly. Earmuffs’ cushioning can wear out, affecting the seal, so inspect and replace as needed.

The permissible exposure limit for Sound level dBA’s can be found in Table D-2 of OSHA 1926.52(d)(1) 

Respirators: 

Selection: The type of respirator depends on the airborne hazard. For dust, a simple mask might suffice. For chemicals or other toxins, a full-face respirator might be necessary. 

Fit: A proper seal is crucial. Respirators should be fit-tested annually or whenever there’s a significant change in the wearer’s facial structure. Facial hair can disrupt the seal, especially for tight-fitting respirators. It’s essential to either opt for full face respirators or ensure workers are clean-shaven. 

Care: Clean after each use. Filters should be replaced as recommended or if breathing becomes difficult. 

Harnesses: 

Selection: Choose based on the type of work—fall arrest, positioning, or retrieval.

Fit: The harness should be snug but allow full range of motion. All straps should lie flat, and there shouldn’t be any twisted webbing. 

Care: Inspect before each use. Look for frayed straps, damaged buckles, or other signs of wear. 

Foot Protection: 

Selection: Safety shoes should cater to specific risks. Steel-toed boots, for instance, are essential where crushing hazards exist.

Fit: There should be wiggle room for toes, but heels should sit snugly to prevent blisters. 

High-visibility Clothing: 

Fit: These should be snug but not restrictive. Too loose, and they might get caught in machinery. 

Material Considerations: For warmer climates, opt for breathable fabrics to prevent heat-related illnesses

Ensuring Proper Fit: Training & Regular Checks 

Initial Training

Every worker should receive thorough training on how to wear, adjust, and care for their safety equipment. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution; personalized guidance is crucial. 

Regular Inspections

Supervisors and workers should conduct periodic checks to ensure that safety equipment is being worn correctly. In addition, people’s sizes and shapes can change. Regular fits provide consistent protection for workers.  

Feedback System

Workers should feel comfortable reporting issues related to equipment fit, damage, or discomfort. If a piece of equipment doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not working properly, either.  

One Size Doesn’t Fit All

Ensure that equipment is tailored as needed to maximize efficiency and safety.  

Final Thoughts

In construction, every layer of protection counts. By ensuring that safety equipment is selected and fitted properly, workers can be confident in their protection, employers can be assured of their compliance, and projects can proceed with minimal risk. Properly fitting equipment is more than just a box to check off—it’s a commitment to safeguarding lives on the job site.

As we’ve delved into, the right fit enhances protection, ensures comfort, prevents additional hazards, and meets regulatory standards. By understanding these nuances and investing in the right fit, construction sites can remain productive, efficient, and above all, safe.

Construction is a complex process that often encounters unexpected situations impacting the cost of work. From material shortages to unexpected site conditions or even surprise requests from the local jurisdiction, a variety of factors can lead to unanticipated costs.


Risk in Construction

Construction projects inherently involve a multitude of risks. These include, but are not limited to:

Design Risks

There might be flaws or omissions in the architectural or engineering design, leading to issues during construction.

Construction Risks

These include potential problems related to the actual building process, such as delays, construction errors, or safety incidents.

Financial Risks

Fluctuations in the cost of materials or labor, funding issues, or budget overruns can create financial challenges.

Environmental Risks

Unforeseen soil conditions, weather events, or encounters with hazardous materials can impact the project.

Regulatory Risks

Changes in building codes, zoning laws, or regulatory requirements can affect both the construction process and the project’s ultimate viability.

Market Risks

In property development, changes in the real estate market, from shifting demographics to fluctuating property values, can impact the project’s profitability.

Given these risks, allowances and contingencies serve as important buffers that ensure financial resources are available to address unexpected situations or costs. Understanding these two concepts is crucial for any owner to effectively manage their project’s finances and reduce risk.

Understanding Allowances in Construction Projects

The construction allowance, often referred to simply as an “allowance,” is a specified amount set aside in the contract to cover the cost of certain items that have not been finalized or selected at the time of contract signing.

Allowances provide a means to manage financial and market risks. They ensure that there is budgeted funding available for aspects of the project that have not been finalized at the time the contract is signed, such as specific material or equipment selections. This gives owners flexibility in their decision-making and the capacity to adapt to market conditions, like fluctuations in the cost or availability of certain items.

Common items covered by allowances might include:

  • Appliances
  • Fixtures
  • Interior or exterior finishes
  • Certain types of equipment

The allowance gives the owner flexibility to make decisions about these items later in the process.

However, it’s essential to remember that if the actual cost exceeds the allowance, the owner must cover the difference through a change order. Conversely, if the actual cost is less than the allowance, the owner could save money or choose to reallocate the leftover funds to other areas of the project.

Understanding Contingencies in Construction Projects

Unlike allowances, which cover specific items, contingencies are funds set aside to cover unforeseen items during the construction process. These could include unexpected site conditions, design errors or omissions, or unforeseen changes in market conditions, like a sudden increase in material costs.

There are two primary types of contingencies: owner’s contingency and contractor’s contingency.

Owner’s Contingency

Covers items outside the contractor’s control, like changes the owner decides to make during construction.

Contractor’s Contingency

Covers unexpected costs within the contractor’s scope of work.

Best Practices for Owners to Manage Allowances and Contingencies

While it is impossible to foresee every potential issue or change in a construction project, allowances and contingencies provide the financial flexibility necessary to manage the unpredictable nature of the construction process. They serve as essential tools for owners and contractors alike to ensure a project can adapt to changes and risks, ultimately helping to keep the project on time and within budget. The following strategies can be utilized to ensure either option is used properly:

Define and Document Allowances and Contingencies

The first step in effectively managing allowances and contingencies is to clearly define them in the construction contract. Each allowance and contingency should be itemized separately, with a clear description of what it covers. Ideally, these have been discussed during the preconstruction process, preventing any surprises at contract.

Review the Allowance and Contingency Amounts

As an owner, ensure the set allowances and contingencies are reasonable. If they’re too low, you may be faced with significant extra costs during the project. It can be helpful to discuss what amount is reasonable with the design team to ensure the amounts seem standard for the market and/or adequate for the risk associated with your project.

Monitor the Use of Allowances and Contingencies

Regularly track the use of these funds throughout the project. Reputable contractors should provide a running tally of allowance and contingency expenditures. It can be expected that these are reviewed at regular intervals over the course of the project.

Communicate Regularly with the Contractor

Maintaining open lines of communication with the contractor is vital. Discuss allowance and contingency spending at regular meetings to keep everyone on the same page.

Hire a Construction Manager or Consultant

If you are not familiar with construction management, consider hiring a professional to assist. A construction manager or consultant can help manage allowances and contingencies and ensure they’re used correctly.

Final Thoughts

Allowances and contingencies are not just financial provisions; they are also tools for managing the dynamic nature of construction projects. By understanding these concepts and adopting the best practices, owners can ensure the financial stability of their projects, maintain transparency with their contractors, and navigate the winding road of construction with fewer bumps along the way. By mitigating unpredictability and promoting adaptability, allowances and contingencies are truly the unsung heroes of successful construction projects.

If you need a second opinion or expert advice on your construction project, get in touch with us

The construction industry is a cornerstone of any thriving economy, providing nearly 9 million jobs and contributing significantly to our nation’s GDP. Within Oregon alone, construction contributes nearly 5% of the annual GDP. In Washington State, construction makes up 4% of the annual GDP. With the prevalence of construction in our economy, there is a constant demand for skilled labor. Today, older generations are retiring faster than new labor can be found, creating a shortage of skilled workers and challenging the industry to find ways to promote careers in construction trades in order to recruit a new wave of talent. Nearly 91% of contractors report challenges in filling open positions. 

Filling this labor gap and creating a pipeline of skilled young workers requires collaboration between industry and educational leaders. In today’s article, we will explore the efforts that can be taken to encourage young people to join the trades.


1. Acknowledge the Skills Gap in Construction

The first step in encouraging young people to take up careers in the construction trades is acknowledging the skills gap. Many industries, including construction, are struggling with a disconnect between the skills job applicants have and the skills employers need. This issue can be mitigated by training and education, but the reality is that this must start early. Young people need to be exposed to the possibilities and advantages of careers in the trades, something that can only happen if industry and education take a joint approach to the problem.

2. Industry Involvement in Preparing Youth for the Trades

Partnerships with Schools

Industries can engage directly with educational institutions to provide hands-on experience to students. Apprenticeship programs, guest lectures, or “day in the life” sessions can be extremely effective ways of introducing students to the trade. Real-world experience allows students to understand the application of the skills they are learning, making their education feel more relevant.

Sponsorships and Scholarships

Companies can also offer scholarships for trade school tuition or provide the necessary tools and materials for training. This financial assistance removes a significant barrier for many young people who might otherwise not consider such a path due to economic constraints. The Schweiger Memorial Scholarship is one local program working to help bridge the gap between workers and the trades. Awarded more than a dozen monetary awards each year to students and apprentices across the country, this scholarship has helped many find success in their careers. 

Mentorship Programs

Experienced workers in the industry can offer guidance, tips, and advice to younger generations through mentorship programs. These relationships offer invaluable support networks and contribute to skill development and professional growth. The Ace Mentorship Program is a local example of a high school after-school program that mentors youth and exposes them to careers in construction and design. 

3. Get Schools and Educational Leaders Involved

Curriculum Development

Aligning curricula with the needs of the industry is a logical first step in getting educators involved. Incorporating technical skills such as carpentry, electrical wiring, and HVAC operations is one part of the equation. These lesson plans also need to include a focus on “soft skills” like communication, teamwork, and problem-solving, as they are frequently cited by employers as equally important. The Beaverton School District in Oregon has worked hard in recent years to create Career Technical Education (CTE) classes, currently offering 33 CTE programs across their high schools, including several focused on trades like carpentry.

Career Guidance

Counselors and teachers are essential in helping students set career goals and expectations and opening up possibilities. They should be equipped with the knowledge to guide students interested in more hands-on work toward relevant courses that could eventually lead them to a career in construction. 

Emphasizing the Value of Trade Careers

The narrative around vocational careers has traditionally been centered on the idea that joining the trades is a back up option. Educators play a key role in shifting this thinking and help students understand that construction can be a lucrative and fulfilling career. They offer living wage jobs without the crushing debt of many higher education programs. According to the NCCER Research Department, workers report higher levels of satisfaction with careers in construction than in all other industries.

4. Promote the Incentives for Careers in Construction Trades

Competitive Salaries

Many construction jobs offer competitive salaries without the burden of student loan debt. For instance, an experienced electrician or plumber can earn a wage comparable to some white-collar jobs. Additionally, construction workers have received steady wage increases for the last five years. This Forbes article reviewed the top-paying construction jobs, with elevator and escalator installers topping the list, followed by supervisors, pile driver operators and building inspectors. 

Job Security

The perennial demand for construction ensures a certain level of job security. Aside from the many homebuilding projects, private construction and public buildings built each year, infrastructure projects are continually underway, requiring a steady supply of skilled workers. In 2023 alone, predictions say that the construction industry must add more than a half million new workers to meet demand.  

Entrepreneurial Opportunities

The skills acquired in construction trades can eventually lead to self-employment opportunities. For example, starting a small contracting business could offer financial and personal freedom. This option could increase a worker’s ability to choose the types of projects they pursue, their salary and retirement plans. 

5. Collaborate to Grow the Work Force

The most effective strategies to grow interest in the trades will involve a cooperative approach between industry leaders and educators. Jointly developed training programs, integrated curricula, and shared resources can all contribute to a more skilled and prepared workforce. These collaborations can also lead to shared funding for essential training programs and equipment, providing the best opportunities for students to learn and apply their skills.

Final Thoughts

The challenge of preparing youth for careers in construction trades is not insurmountable, but it does require a multifaceted approach involving both industry and educational leaders. From curriculum enhancement to mentorship programs and from scholarships to real-world experience, these efforts can guide young people towards a rewarding career path that fills a societal need.

By acknowledging the skills gap, aligning education with industry requirements, and creating attractive incentives for young people, we can build a sustainable workforce for the construction industry. In doing so, we not only secure the future of the sector but also offer fulfilling, financially rewarding careers to the next generation.

Each year, Perlo hires a class of interns for the summer months to provide them with an introduction and education about general contracting, as well as fill our ever-growing need for talented, hard-working individuals. This year, Perlo’s class was made up of 12 stellar students, including 7 men and 5 women, hailing from multiple universities across the Western United States, including Arizona, Cal Poly, Central Washington, and Oregon State.

 

The class also ranged in age from freshman to senior in college, with several intending to return to Perlo for subsequent internships or permanent hire positions.

Our interns experience a variety of tasks and experiences over the course of the summer, including shadowing a tenured project manager, attending onsite meetings, watching unique aspects of the building process and attending formal training sessions. They often receive exposure to our estimating processes, project management, onsite processes, safety, and even business development.

Two of our summer interns were also recipients of the 2023 Schweiger Memorial Scholarship and attended the awards ceremony with us to receive recognition for their hard work and dedication to their education.

Here are some of the things this year’s interns had to say about their time with Perlo this summer:


BRITTEN

College
Oregon State University

“The best part of my experience was that the first day of the project was my first day here, and we just had our punch walk. So, I got to see the project in its entirety. I got to be out onsite a lot. I learned a lot! I learned Bluebeam, RFIs, Submittals, and my phone etiquette is much better How fast construction moves, was a big surprise to me too.”

GREGORY

College
Oregon State University

“I was surprised at how much PM’s do. I knew they did a lot, but it was exciting to see what they did. I liked not being pigeonholed into one specific thing and that I got to see all the things. I learned a lot about the industry in general. I learned that personal relationships get jobs done, and how important communication is. I also learned how important culture is.”

ELLA

College
Oregon State University

“I didn’t know what to expect and didn’t realize how much I would learn. I didn’t have any expectations so it was good to be thrown into it. I loved the culture, it was easier to learn because everyone was so welcoming. I didn’t realize how much fun it would be to work here.”

KELLEN

College
University of Arizona

“There is just a super positive energy in this office and it’s an easy place to be in a good mood. I never heard anything negative, truly. People are so cool, people make an effort to make others feel included everywhere you look. It was surprising to me to walk into an office like this and see the happy people. I was sort of expecting needing to have tough skin and be ready to roll my sleeves up. I have never stepped foot into an office until now. I could barely log in to my computer, but I’ve learned little things that are so important. How to send an email, talk on the phone. I’ve really learned how to listen, what to listen for, how to do meeting packets, overhearing conversations has taught me so much.”

JAKOB

College
Cal Poly

“My favorite part of the internship experience was collaborating with employees around Perlo. The Culture. I would tell my parents about my day,  and they would respond by saying, “You better cherish this because it’s really rare. you won’t find this anywhere”. My friends at other internships weren’t doing the same fun things. I really enjoyed the weekly trainings and thought the program was awesome and well thought out. I really enjoyed my time here at Perlo and would love to come back.”

MACY

College
Oregon State University

“My favorite part was how much I learned – more than I could have expected. My favorite memory was contributing to the bid for the Mt. Hood Community College. I was part of the whole process from selecting subs to being the bid runner. It was nice working with 4 other girls, because I’m usually the only girl in my classes. My goal this summer was to know the process of construction and what it is like to be a PM. I wanted to understand the day to day life of a Project Manager. This is my future and this is what I need to prepare for over the next year.”

JIMMY

College
Oregon State University

“I looked forward to the OACs. I enjoyed helping my project manager with meeting minutes and other project tasks. It was great to take what I learned last summer and apply it this summer. I have started to pick things up and have helped with value engineering, OACs, and meeting minutes.”

MEG

College
Cal Poly

“All of the projects I was working on were in the beginning phases. It was fun getting to see all of the prep, and all the time it takes to actually start. I also did a lot of calling subcontractors and talking to them about scopes of work and scope gaps. It was really cool learning how to call people. I started that right away. This experience boosted my confidence that I can work in a workplace. The amount of information I was able to take in was great, I came in not knowing anything, and now I feel confident in my abilities to get things done.”

MIKEL

College
Oregon State University

“My favorite part was being able to see what it takes for a job to run smoothly. It was fun to get a glimpse of all the steps that go into a process, it’s so much more than you think. I really enjoyed learning construction terms and communicating with subcontractors. I was surprised by how Perlo as a company is. It’s a team. If you stumble there is always someone to help.”

RILEY

College
Central Washington

“This was a really good summer, because I got to use what I previously learned and put it to use. The highlight of my summer was that I completed a bid for the Beaverton School District and won! I will always remember the contract value on that. I learned how to be a better writer and to write more concisely. Learned to ask myself the who, what, where, when, why, and how? For everything. I LOVE IT here – I don’t want to go back to school. I genuinely enjoy coming back to work every day.”

ALEX

College
Oregon State University

“I loved contributing to the project’s Submittals, RFIs, and OAC meetings. I also learned how to write a professional email and talk on the phone with Subcontractors, Design Team members, and internal team members. It was so fun contributing to something exciting right off the bat. I was so impressed with how friendly everyone was, I thought it was a first week of Summer type of thing, but it lasted the whole time. I was also surprised by how much a PM needs to know in general. They must have a wide range of general knowledge. ask the right questions.”

JACOB

College
Oregon State University

“This opportunity was good for career development for me. This was my first time in an office setting. I like the problem-solving. I liked looking through the specs to figure out a problem, and I liked being out in the field, and have my hand in what’s going on in the project. I also liked being in the OAC meetings and taking meeting minutes. I didn’t expect people to be so nice or to be thrown into the fire, which I appreciate. It’s what I needed. Getting to know the other Interns was fun, we would share experiences over lunch, and talk about things going on with their projects.”


Final Thoughts

Perlo has created an internship program that is a two-way street, where both interns and employers have the opportunity to learn and grow. We are grateful for the time spent with the Summer Intern class of 2023, excited about their potential, and look forward to seeing each of them thrive in the construction industry. 

If you’re interested in a future internship, check out our careers page or contact us today! 

In recent years, there has been an increasing emphasis on sustainability, ethical operations, and the broader impact of businesses on society. These concerns are encapsulated in the concept of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG). ESG has transformed how businesses operate across various industries, and the construction industry is no exception. In this article, we’ll delve into what ESG is and explore its significance in the world of construction.


What is Environmental Social Governance (ESG)?

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) refers to the three central factors used to measure the sustainability and societal impact of a company or business. These factors aim to ensure that companies not only focus on profitability but also operate responsibly in relation to environmental and societal issues.

Environmental (E)

This pertains to how a company’s operations impact the natural environment. It includes considerations like waste management, carbon footprint, resource conservation, and energy efficiency.

Social (S)

This revolves around the company’s relationships with its employees, suppliers, customers, and the communities in which it operates. It encompasses issues like human rights, labor standards, and community engagement.

Governance (G)

This pertains to a company’s leadership, executive pay, audits, internal controls, and shareholder rights. Governance ensures that companies operate ethically, transparently, and in the best interest of their stakeholders.

The Custom Blocks project repurposed a historic downtown Portland location while utilizing sustainably sourced and local materials.

The Significance of ESG in the Construction Industry

The construction industry has traditionally been associated with significant environmental impact, resource consumption, and waste. However, in more recent years the industry has been pushing towards increased sustainability, efficiency and positive community impacts. This transformative change is being accelerated by the rising prominence of ESG. Here’s what ESG means for construction:

Sustainable Building Practices

Green building practices have been gaining momentum, with certifications like LEED and The Living Building Challenge becoming more prevalent. These practices emphasize energy-efficient buildings, reduced water usage, sustainable sourcing of materials, and a lower carbon footprint. Implementing ESG principles means more construction companies will adopt these sustainable building methods.

Responsible Sourcing

The materials used in construction play a crucial role in determining its ESG score. The industry is moving towards sourcing materials that are both eco-friendly and ethically produced. This might mean using recycled or upcycled materials, or sourcing wood from sustainable forests. Re-using buildings in lieu of demolishing them is another option to responsibly utilize built space.

Labor and Community Relations

Construction projects can have a significant impact on local communities. An ESG-focused approach means that companies will need to engage more with these communities, ensuring that their concerns are addressed. This includes providing fair wages, ensuring safe working conditions, and taking steps to minimize disruptions during construction.

Transparency and Accountability

With ESG comes the need for transparency. Stakeholders, whether they’re investors, clients, or the community, demand clear reporting on ESG metrics. This means construction firms will need to have systems in place to monitor, measure, and report on their ESG performance.

Financial Implications

Increasingly, investors are considering ESG factors when making investment decisions. Construction companies that prioritize ESG may find it easier to attract investment, secure loans, and win contracts, especially as clients and governments also prioritize sustainability.

The Block 10 project utilized Falkbuilt wall paneling, which is a sustainable, prefabricated wall covering that helps improve installation efficiencies when compared to drywall.

Challenges and Opportunities Related to ESG in Construction

While the adoption of ESG presents numerous benefits, it’s not without challenges. For many construction firms, there’s a significant upfront cost associated with adopting sustainable practices, whether it’s investing in new technologies or training staff in green building techniques. There’s also the challenge of navigating a rapidly evolving regulatory landscape, as governments around the world introduce new sustainability-focused legislation.

However, the opportunities far outweigh the challenges. By adopting ESG principles, construction firms can differentiate themselves in a competitive market, foster positive relationships with communities, reduce their environmental footprint, and ultimately, ensure long-term profitability and sustainability.

ESG Initiative Examples in the Commercial General Contracting Industry

The construction industry has a unique set of challenges and opportunities when it comes to implementing ESG initiatives. Here are some tailored examples:

Environmental (E) Initiatives

Green Building Certifications

Obtaining certifications such as LEED, The Living Building Challenges, or other region-specific green building standards.

Example

Specializing in developing buildings that meet LEED Platinum standards, incorporating features like green roofs, solar panels, and efficient HVAC systems.

Resource-Efficient Construction Methods

Utilizing techniques like modular construction, which can reduce waste and improve energy efficiency.

Example

Adopting a prefabrication technique that reduces waste by 20% and shortens construction time.

Sustainable Materials

Using eco-friendly building materials like bamboo, recycled steel, or low-VOC paints.

Example

Opting to use recycled steel in its structure, which has a lower carbon footprint compared to new steel.

On-site Waste Management

Implementing strict waste segregation and recycling procedures on construction sites.

Example

Introducing color-coded bins for sorting waste, making it easier to recycle materials on a construction site.

Social (S) Initiatives

Fair Labor Practices

Ensuring fair wages, good working conditions, and employee benefits.

Example

Introducing a comprehensive health and safety training program that drastically reduces on-site accidents.

Community Engagement

Engaging with local communities before and during construction to understand their concerns and needs.

Example

Before starting a major urban development project, the construction firm holds community forums and surveys to understand local concerns, and then adjusts plans accordingly.

Local Workforce Development

Hiring local workers and providing them with training and development opportunities.

Example

Collaborating with local trade schools to offer apprenticeships, supporting workforce development in the community where they operate.

Supply Chain Responsibility

Ensuring that materials are sourced from vendors who adhere to sustainable and ethical practices.

Example

Focusing on working with suppliers who have certified sustainable timber and conflict-free minerals.

Governance Initiatives

Transparency in Reporting

Clear and comprehensive reporting on sustainability goals, financials, and other corporate activities.

Example

Releasing an annual sustainability report, audited by a third party, detailing its ESG performance metrics.

Inclusive Leadership

Promoting diversity within leadership roles and decision-making processes.

Example

The company might create new leadership roles, such as a “Chief Sustainability Officer” or a “Director of Community Relations,” who bring expertise from fields traditionally outside of construction. This broadens the scope of the decision-making process, bringing in varied perspectives that can help the company better address ESG considerations.

Compliance Audits

Regular internal and external audits to ensure compliance with environmental regulations and labor laws.

Example

Engaging an external auditor to review compliance with new emissions standards, ensuring that any gaps are identified and addressed.

Stakeholder Collaboration

Creating avenues for stakeholder feedback on ESG initiatives.

Example

Establishing a stakeholder advisory panel, consisting of community leaders, environmental experts, and workers to advise on its ESG strategies.

By implementing ESG initiatives like these, construction companies can not only mitigate their impact on the environment and society but also achieve better financial performance in the long term. These initiatives can make a company more appealing to investors, improve its reputation, and create value for both the company and its stakeholders.

After many expansions over the decades, 224 Logistics was re-roofed, renovated, and structurally secured for use by a variety of tenants.

Final Thoughts
ESG is more than just a buzzword. It represents a fundamental shift in how businesses operate, ensuring a balance between profitability and positive societal impact. For the construction industry, ESG offers a roadmap to a more sustainable, ethical, and profitable future. As the world grapples with challenges like climate change, resource scarcity, and social inequality, the construction industry – by embracing ESG – can play a pivotal role in building a better, more sustainable future for all.

If you’re planning a new building construction project, it’s essential to prepare the site properly. The right preparation can make all the difference to your building’s success. A good foundation can save time, money and headaches both during the construction process and during the lifespan of the building.


Risks to Consider in Site Preparation

While site preparation is critical, it can also present challenges:

  • Environmental Concerns
    Managing environmental impacts and adhering to environmental regulations can be complex and costly. Strategies for mitigating these concerns should be integrated into the site preparation plan.

  • Unforeseen Conditions
    Sometimes, unexpected conditions like buried debris or unsuitable soil can emerge during excavation, leading to delays and added costs. A thorough site assessment can help minimize these surprises.

  • Weather
    Adverse weather conditions, such as heavy rain, can impede site preparation activities. Project managers must have contingency plans in place to address weather-related delays.

Preparing the site for construction is an important part of the process. The site must be prepared before you start construction, so it’s important to make sure that your contractor does this properly. Follow these key steps to ensure that the process goes smoothly.


Key Steps in Site Preparation

Effective site preparation involves a series of well-coordinated steps:

1. Site Assessment

The first step is to assess the site thoroughly. This includes evaluating the soil composition, drainage patterns, existing structures or vegetation, and potential environmental impacts. Understanding these factors is essential for making informed decisions throughout the construction process.

2. Clearing and Demolition

If there are existing structures, trees, or debris on the site, they must be either removed or properly protected. Demolition and clearing activities should be carried out safely and responsibly, taking care to dispose of materials properly.

3. Excavation and Grading

Excavation involves digging and removing soil to achieve the desired site elevation and shape. Grading ensures a level surface and proper drainage. These processes often require heavy equipment and skilled operators.

4. Soil Stabilization

Depending on the soil type, it may be necessary to stabilize it using techniques such as compaction, soil reinforcement, or geotechnical engineering methods. This step ensures that the soil can support the planned structure.

5. Utilities and Infrastructure

Utilities such as water, sewer, electricity, and gas need to be installed or connected to the site. Additionally, access roads and temporary infrastructure may be required for construction activities.

6. Erosion Control and Environmental Compliance

Preventing erosion and sediment runoff is crucial for environmental protection and regulatory compliance. Installing erosion control measures, like silt fences and sediment basins, helps mitigate these risks.

7. Site Security

Securing the construction site is essential to prevent unauthorized access and protect equipment and materials from theft and vandalism.

Best Practices for Effective Site Preparation

Site preparation is the crucial first step in any construction project, and its importance cannot be overstated. It lays the foundation for safety, structural integrity, compliance with regulations, efficiency, and project success. By following best practices and addressing potential challenges proactively, construction professionals can ensure that their projects start on the right foot.

Investing time, effort, and resources into thorough site preparation is an investment in the long-term success of the construction endeavor. It not only reduces risks and delays but also sets the stage for a smooth construction process and a durable, high-quality final product.

To ensure a seamless site preparation process, consider the following best practices:

1. Comprehensive Site Assessment

Thoroughly assess the site to identify all potential challenges and opportunities. Engage geotechnical engineers and environmental experts to provide insights into soil conditions and environmental concerns.

2. Clear Communication

Open and transparent communication between all project stakeholders, including contractors, engineers, and regulatory authorities, is essential. It helps in addressing issues promptly and ensures everyone is on the same page.

3. Proper Equipment and Expertise

Select the right equipment and skilled operators for each task. Using modern machinery and employing experienced operators can significantly improve the efficiency and quality of site preparation work.

4. Environmental Responsibility

Implement environmentally friendly practices during site preparation. This includes proper disposal of waste, minimizing soil disturbance, and using eco-friendly construction materials when possible.

5. Contingency Planning

Develop contingency plans to address unexpected challenges that may arise during site preparation. Having alternative strategies in place can help mitigate delays and budget overruns.

6. Safety First

Prioritize safety throughout the site preparation process. Ensure that workers have the necessary training and personal protective equipment (PPE). Regular safety audits and risk assessments should be conducted.

7. Quality Control

Establish strict quality control measures to monitor the progress and quality of site preparation work. Regular inspections can help identify and rectify issues before they become major problems.

Final Thoughts
If you’re planning a construction project, it’s important to know how much work it will take and whether you have the right trade partners to complete it. By following these steps, you can make sure your site is ready for building.

Contact us to learn how we can help you through this process.

Tilt-up construction, also known as tilt wall or tilt slab construction, is a widely adopted building method where walls are poured directly at the jobsite in large slabs. These slabs are then tilted or lifted into position by a large crane. Tilt panel picking is one of the most critical processes of this building type with unique safety considerations that must be addressed to prevent accidents and ensure a smooth construction process.

Safety is always a hot topic in construction, and for good reason: working on construction sites is dangerous. Reputable contractors work hard to provide education, tools and processes to reduce the rates of injury on jobsites. In an industry where margins can be tight and schedules demanding, cutting corners on safety can be a tempting but perilous path. A culture that prioritizes safety in all aspects of construction, including tilt panel picks, can enhance efficiency, protect valuable human and financial resources, and contribute to a company’s long-term success and sustainability.


Key Safety Considerations in Tilt Panel Picks

The practice of lifting and positioning large concrete panels, often weighing 150 tons or more, can be fraught with hazards. Any failure in handling these panels can lead to catastrophic consequences, including serious injuries or fatalities, as well as substantial damage to property, delays to the schedule and more.

To optimize safety, the following strategies must be utilized in conjunction with an experienced team:

1. Planning and Designing

Proper planning and engineering are foundational to safe tilt-up construction. This includes:

  • Structural Analysis: Panels should be designed with proper reinforcement, considering all forces they will be exposed to during lifting and positioning. A qualified structural engineer must be involved in panel design.
  • Lifting Inserts and Hardware: The right materials, inserts, and hardware must be chosen, ensuring they can handle the forces exerted during the tilt process.
  • Crane Roads & Terrain Analysis: Proper haul roads must be designed and engineered to ensure the load of the crane will be supported by the surface on which it will sit. The crane might be positioned outside the building area, within it, or a combination of both, during the pick process. Each surface must be extensively analyzed by licensed and qualified engineers.

2. Training and Qualification of Personnel

Handling tilt panels requires specialized skills. Key considerations include:

  • Training: Workers should be trained on specific procedures, safety regulations, and potential hazards.
  • Certification: Using certified crane operators and riggers who understand the dynamics of lifting heavy panels is vital.
  • Site Specific Safety: Every individual site must be evaluated prior to picking panels to determine the plan for safety, including who will be involved, what tools they need, and what the exit routes are in the event of catastrophic failure during panel placement.

3. Equipment Selection and Maintenance

The right equipment ensures safe and efficient lifting. Key aspects include:

  • Crane Selection: Cranes with proper capacity and reach must be selected. Other factors, including but not limited to crane transport routes and placement, must be considered.
  • Equipment Maintenance: Regular inspections and maintenance of cranes, rigging, and other equipment are essential to prevent mechanical failure. This kind of failure is both costly and can also be dangerous to onsite crews and operators.
  • Slab Protection: If the crane is placed on the floor slab, analysis must be completed to ensure the slab can withstand the crane load. Measures such as temporary matting, outrigger locations and increased structural capacity of the slab will all be considered prior to the pick.

4. On-site Safety Measures

Safety practices during the tilt process should include:

  • Safety Barriers: Establishing clear safety barriers around the lifting zone to keep unauthorized personnel away.
  • Communication: Ensuring clear and constant communication between the crane operator, ground crew, and supervisors.
  • Weather Considerations: Monitoring weather conditions and postponing lifts during high winds or other unfavorable conditions.

Some of the safety measures Perlo implements on jobsites for panel picks include:

A ‘No Access Zone’: Within this area, no individuals can be present that aren’t actively working on the pick. The zone is determined by calculating 150% of the panel height. For example, if the panel is 50 feet tall, the No Access Zone would be 75’ around it.

All workers must be within the line of site of the crane operator.

A safety ‘stand down’ is held with all crew members to review potential hazards as well as individual roles and responsibilities prior to the pick beginning.

Personnel are rotated throughout the pick to eliminate body fatigue. 

5. Emergency Preparedness

Having a clear emergency response plan is crucial. This includes:

  • Emergency Training: Regular drills and training on what to do if something goes wrong.
  • First-Aid Availability: Having first-aid facilities and trained personnel on-site.

Utilizing Case Studies to Increase Safety

Analyzing previous accidents in tilt-up construction can provide valuable insights. One common theme in many incidents is a failure in communication or oversight. Such failures might be addressed by implementing comprehensive safety protocols and ensuring all team members are aware of their individual responsibilities.

As usual, prevention is the best medicine. A good plan prior to beginning this work is the key to maintaining a safe jobsite.

Final Thoughts

Safety during tilt panel picks in construction is not just a matter of compliance with regulations; it’s a vital aspect that protects lives and investments. By embracing a safety culture that includes proper planning, training, equipment selection, on-site safety measures, and emergency preparedness, construction companies can greatly reduce the risks associated with tilt-up construction.

The rewards for prioritizing safety in tilt panel picks go beyond just preventing accidents. It fosters a more efficient and harmonious working environment and ensures that projects are completed on time and within budget. In a competitive industry where reputation matters, a strong commitment to safety can also become a valuable asset, setting companies apart and cultivating trust with clients.

Perlo has completed hundreds of tilt buildings in our 65+ year history. We have even been labeled the ‘Tilt Kings’ because of our strength in this market. If you’re interested in a new building, get in touch with us today.

Featured Tilt-Up Projects

Columbia Distributing Headquarters

This project consisted of a concrete tilt-up shell with steel joists, and metal deck. Included in the facility is approximately 17,000 SF of class A office space build-out with warehouse improvements and a 53,000 SF cooler.

Read More >>

Ridgefield Industrial Center

Completed on 50-acres in Washington, this ground-up construction projects was a speculative warehouse space utilizing concrete tilt-up panels. Features include 36-feet of clear height throughout the warehouse. 

Read More >>

Reilly West – GXO

This 270,000 ground-up, concrete tilt-up building in Hillsboro, Oregon, included high-tech fulfillment systems, unique fire alarm and fire sprinkler components, a fully racked warehouse as well as a built-out office space.

Read More>>

Every construction project, no matter how well-planned, is susceptible to changes. From unexpected site conditions to design modifications, various factors necessitate alterations to original plans. These modifications come in the form of construction change proposals (CP) and change orders (CO). Both play pivotal roles in the construction management process. A construction change proposal and a change order are related to alterations in construction plans and associated costs. They can both involve changes in scope, design, methods, or other variables that impact the work. Here’s a basic description of these two terms:


Change Proposal (CP)

Definition

This is typically a request or suggestion for a change to the existing construction plans, often requiring a modification to the contract amount.

What else?

The request may come from various parties involved in the construction project, such as the contractor or a subcontractor, and the change may originate from added scope, unexpected site challenges/existing conditions, or dictated by the local authority having jurisdiction.

The CP is presented by the general contractor to the owner and design team and generally outlines:

  • The proposed change in detail,
  • The reason for the change,
  • An estimate of the impact the change will have on the project in terms of cost, time, or resources.

A CP does not change the contract value. Rather, it is the explanation for a proposed change that an owner must decide to either accept or decline.

Change Order (CO)

Definition

A change order is an official document that represents the agreed-upon revision(s) to the construction project. It details the specific change(s) in scope, design, or method, including the impact on the project’s cost and schedule.

What else?

Change orders are issued after a CP (or multiple) has been reviewed and approved. Once signed, the CO becomes a formal part of the contractual agreement that all parties are bound to.

Best Practices for Reviewing Change Proposals and Change Orders

Project owners, while not expected to be construction experts, play an instrumental role in reviewing and approving changes. It’s crucial to approach this process systematically and thoughtfully.

Here are some best practices:

1. Understand the Changes

Before approving any change, owners must comprehend what the change entails. Understanding the ‘what’, ‘why’, and ‘how’ of the proposed alteration is paramount. This includes gaining insight into what the change involves, why it is needed, and how it will affect the project’s time frame, costs, and resources. If the written documentation isn’t sufficient for understanding, it’s sometimes worthwhile to have a discussion in person or via phone, or onsite.

2. Validate the Change

Validation is a crucial step in the process. Owners should verify the necessity and feasibility of the proposed change. This could mean consulting with architects, engineers, or construction managers who have the technical expertise to understand the implications of the proposed changes. Often, the designated project architect and/or engineer will review the change proposal before it is sent to the owner. In this way, the design team is verifying the necessity and accuracy of the proposal.

3. Conduct a Detailed Review

Details matter in construction. Therefore, CPs should be scrutinized, focusing on cost estimations, time implications, and the impact on the overall project. Estimates should be realistic, and changes shouldn’t unduly disrupt the project’s timeline without justification. These details should be included in the description of the requested change. If they’re not, it’s reasonable to ask the contractor to refine the document so that these items are clear.

Negotiating is about reaching a mutually beneficial agreement that ensures project success.

4. Communicate and Negotiate

It’s possible to negotiate. If the proposed cost increase or timeline extension appears unreasonable, it’s important to communicate and negotiate with the contractor to ensure you’re receiving a fair agreement. Remember, negotiation is not about winning or losing; instead, it’s about reaching a mutually beneficial agreement that ensures project success. At worst, a contractor will have justification for the change to the scope, price or schedule and be able to discuss these items clearly. 

5. Document Everything

One of the golden rules of project management is to document everything. Proper documentation provides a clear record of all decisions, helping to avoid misunderstandings and disputes. This is especially critical in change management, where miscommunication can lead to costly mistakes. Documentation related to CP’s should include associated bids, schedule updates and descriptions of the change, sometimes including design drawings to demonstrate the work.

6. Seek Professional Advice

Complex changes or large-scale projects may necessitate expert advice. Professional construction management consultants or legal advisors with construction experience can offer valuable insights and advice, ensuring that the owner’s interests are protected. This may not be necessary for most CP’s, particularly when working with a reputable contractor with whom you’ve established trust. However, outside discussions may help bring clarity to the documentation so you can be certain what you’re receiving is fair.

7. Stay Proactive

Keeping an open line of communication with the project team is crucial. This proactive approach can help anticipate potential changes, allowing for effective management before issues become problems.

Contract Considerations Related to Change Orders

Change orders can be issued in most types of contractual agreements. The ability to issue a change order is not entirely dependent on the contract type but is more about the terms stipulated within the contract. However, certain types of contracts do more naturally lend themselves to change orders due to their inherent flexibility.

In all cases, the specific terms and conditions of the contract will govern how change orders are handled. Therefore, it is important for all parties to understand the contract thoroughly and seek legal advice if necessary. Remember that the goal should be to have a fair and clear process for managing changes, regardless of the contract type.

Final Thoughts

The complexity of construction projects almost guarantees that changes will occur. It’s not the change itself that’s challenging but rather how it’s managed. Understanding the intricacies of construction change proposals and change orders is crucial. The key lies in meticulous review, open communication, careful negotiation, and proactive management. Following these guidelines can ensure project alterations are beneficial and not detrimental to the overall project goals.

Historical and adaptive reuse buildings can help preserve a community’s cultural heritage. In some cities and towns, especially in the Pacific Northwest, there are regulations to prevent culturally significant buildings from being demolished and replaced with newer complexes or parking lots. While preserving the past and embracing the future, historical and adaptive use buildings offer a unique blend of nostalgia and innovation. In this post, we will delve into the power and purpose of transforming these significant projects into long-term investments and explore the definitions, rules, and regulations that govern their renovation.


Definitions

Historical Buildings

Also referred to as heritage buildings, are architectural gems that have stood the test of time. These structures carry historical, cultural, or architectural significance, and their preservation is important to maintaining a connection with our past.

Adaptive Reuse Buildings

Existing structures that have been creatively repurposed for a different function. Instead of tearing down these buildings, they are adapted to serve modern needs while retaining their historical value.

Considerations for Salvaging Existing Buildings

There are many cost-effective reasons as to why an owner or developer may choose to adapt or reuse a space. Demolition of buildings is costly, and not always permitted. New buildings often take longer to construct, while in comparison some existing spaces can remain habitable while construction is on-going.

Preserving historical and adaptive use buildings requires adherence to specific rules and regulations. These guidelines are in place to ensure that the integrity and historical value of these structures are not compromised during restoration or repurposing.

In many jurisdictions, obtaining permits and complying with building codes is required. Historical preservation societies may also have their own set of guidelines that must be followed.

In the Portland Metro area, there are specific zoning regulations regarding historical buildings:

“Historic resources are subject to land use regulations provided by Portland Zoning Code Chapter 33.445, Historic Resource Overlay Zone. The regulations apply to certain alteration, addition, new construction, demolition, and relocation proposals affecting historic resources.”

When assessing whether a prospective building can be preserved or adapted to suit a new business or function, there are several steps to take to ensure that the project will be a success. Here are four vital steps to guide you through the process:

1. Site Assessment

Before diving into any restoration or repurposing project, it is crucial to thoroughly assess the condition of the building. This assessment includes evaluating the structure, identifying damages or weaknesses, and determining potential for adaptation. By conducting a comprehensive site assessment, you can gain valuable insights into the feasibility and scope of the project.

2. Get an Estimate

Once the site assessment is complete, it is important to obtain accurate cost estimates for the project. This includes factoring in expenses for repairs, permits, renovations, and any necessary modifications for the new use. Obtaining estimates from experienced contractors  will help you develop a realistic budget and avoid any financial surprises along the way.

3. Hire Reputable Professionals

To ensure a successful historical or adaptive use building project, hiring reputable professionals with experience in restoration and adaptive reuse is crucial. Architects, contractors, and consultants with knowledge of historical preservation will help you navigate the various regulations and bring creativity to the table, ensuring that the building’s historical value is preserved while meeting modern requirements.

4. Finalize Plans and Build

After conducting site assessments, obtaining estimates, and assembling a trustworthy team, it is time to finalize plans and begin the building process. A careful balance must be struck between preserving the historical elements of the building and incorporating modern design and functionality. By working closely with your team of professionals, you can bring your vision to life while still honoring the building’s unique heritage.

Examples of Renovation and Adaptive Reuse

Tomorrow Theatre | Portland, OR

Consisting of nearly 9,000 square feet, this Special Projects Group renovation is substantially complete and scheduled to open in late fall 2023. The theater was built in 1925 and was originally a vaudeville space which has gone through many changes over time. It once hosted art house films, Spanish-language films, and most recently, was known as the Oregon Theater.

The project includes some unique and artfully selected features such as blue marble countertops, a mirrored feature wall, and new custom seating. The space also pays homage to the past by displaying the original Oregon Theatre sign and utilizing the original seatback chairs as an art installation backdrop on an interior feature wall.

Since the original building was constructed with hollow clay tiles, some design choices had to be revised-such as anchoring certain features to the walls. This newly revitalized space will serve as a venue for multimedia storytelling and as a creative center for Portland Art Museum’s PAM CUT.

Boyland Kia | Portland, OR

The original structure was built approximately in 1974 before being remodeled in 1994 to become a Jaguar Land Rover Dealership. Over time, the building became vacant and dilapidated. This full renovation included demolishing of the original interior, and adding new windows that were cut in to brighten the space. New additions included service drive canopies and customer entry points.

The project included combining new construction materials and matching original ornamental features such as textured exterior walls, re-building the original decorative fence pillars, and some creative repairs to plumb walls and floors that had settled over the decades. The project is now complete and breathes new life into the surrounding area.

MUV Fitness | Troutdale, OR

This massive 126,500 SF space was once a Safeway Grocery store and was originally constructed in 1997. The entire interior is currently being re-built to encompass a full gym, complete with basketball courts, a sauna and hot tub, daycare center, reception area, and open workout spaces. The project highlights creativity, adaptive reuse, and the right team and resources to get the job done.

Final Thoughts

Historical and adaptive use buildings are not just remnants of the past; they are gateways to the future. By preserving the beauty and historical significance of these structures, while adapting them to meet modern needs, we are able to honor cultural heritage while embracing sustainable and innovative approaches to architecture.

Whether it’s a vacant grocery store chain repurposed into a vibrant state-of-the-art gym or a vaudeville adult theatre repurposed as a film and arts space, historical and adaptive use buildings are testaments to the harmonious blend of the past and the present. By understanding the definitions, rules, and regulations that govern their transformation, and by following a systematic approach, we can ensure that these buildings continue to captivate us for generations to come.

If your next historical project is in need of new life, contact us today.

Chris McInroe started at Perlo Construction as an intern and was offered a position as a field engineer after graduating from Oregon State University in 2008. Over time, he achieved several promotions and was most recently promoted to Vice President, joining the Executive Leadership team. Known for his strong work ethic, critical thinking and cool head during challenges, Chris has been responsible for managing some of Perlo’s largest projects.

Today, we’re getting to know Chris just a little bit better.


1. What was your first project at Perlo, and your favorite memory of it?

It was a 150,000 SF concrete tilt-up building in Wilsonville, Oregon. Rockwell Collins was the tenant. They make aviation displays and needed a unique space with clean rooms, labs, and manufacturing areas. I worked with John Huddleston, who was the Superintendent on that project. It was a huge tenant improvement in an existing building, especially relative to what we were typically building out at that time. Most of our TI’s were much smaller than that. The large magnitude of that project and getting exposure to the lab rooms was really fun.

2. What has surprised you most about Perlo in the last 10 years?

Our growth. As fast and as big as we’ve gotten–it’s been awesome. I think that has happened because we have great people and with that comes great results.

Also, it’s impressive how we’ve adapted to the technological changes and implementing new processes. When I started, we were still faxing things. It’s crazy how fast things change, but Perlo has always been good at staying cutting-edge. We used to take plans, redline them, take them to a copy shop, and then fax or courier them over. Now we have the latest software for all that, digitally sending everything. We’re virtually paperless and that’s improved efficiencies and reduced waste significantly.

3. What kind of vision for the company in your new role?

My main focus is on continued growth and expanding our market share, but in smart and sustainable ways. Potentially expanding geographically. We’ve got an amazing reputation and are known for maintaining relationships and creating quality buildings. I think it’s important that we never get too comfortable and lose those roots.

4. On a more personal note, what do your kids think you do for work?

They would say that I build stuff and have a cool office with ping pong and shuffleboard.

5. Tell us about your work as an author.

I’ve got a couple of project books that I work on as a hobby, it’s something completely different from work and very challenging for me.  I’m just trying to get better at it with each book. I think it’s cool to use your imagination to create something, rather than rely on other platforms. 

6.What advice do you have for aspiring leaders or trailblazers in this industry?

Get exposure through internships to different companies and find the right fit. Find a company that aligns with your goals. Don’t wait for the opportunity to come to you; take it. Be self-disciplined, and self-motivated and understand you’ll have to work much harder in the early portion of your career. It gets easier, but you’ve got to be competitive in everything you do.

     

7. Anything else you’d like to share?

The people here are different in a unique way. We’ve got a special thing going on. I believe we’ve got the best talent in the industry. On top of that, there’s a lot of cross-collaboration between teams which leads to results, you don’t feel like you’re on an island here. I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m beyond excited to find out!

Final Thoughts

Chris, congratulations on your new role! Thank you for sharing more about your journey with Perlo and construction management.

Perlo is hiring. If you’re looking for your next career opportunity, check out our Careers page for current openings.

The words ‘budget’ and bid’ are often used interchangeably, but when it comes to commercial construction, these terms are distinctly different, with important consequences if one is mistaken for the other. Both are integral to project management, but they serve different purposes.


Budget

Definition

A budget is a preliminary financial plan for a specific construction project. It encompasses all the expected costs that will be incurred throughout the project, such as labor, materials, equipment, permits, and overhead costs. It may even include some soft costs, such as architectural and engineering fees.

Purpose

The purpose of creating a budget is to have a financial blueprint that guides the construction process. It ensures that the project stays within the allocated financial resources and helps in making informed decisions regarding resource allocation.

Flexibility

A budget is a living document, meaning that it can change as the project progresses. Unforeseen events or adjustments in the scope of work can impact the budget, necessitating revisions.

Components

It usually includes line items with unit costs for all of the sub categories such as site work, foundations, framing, electrical, plumbing, interior finishes, and more.

Timeline

Budgets are typically utilized during the preconstruction process, before final design drawings are complete.

Bid

Definition

A bid is a proposal submitted by a general contractor (or subcontractor) to the project owner, which outlines the cost for which they are willing to complete a specific part or the entirety of a construction project.

Purpose

The bid is intended to compete with other contractors’ bids for the award of a contract. It provides the project owner with a fixed price or a clear basis for the costs involved, which is used to make a decision on which contractor to hire.

Flexibility

Unlike budgets, bids are generally fixed. The contractor is committed to completing the project for the price they bid, barring any changes in the scope of work or unforeseen conditions.

Components

A bid will usually break down the total price into different categories. However, it may also include a profit margin and contingencies. This depends on the procurement method the owner chooses to use to find their general contractor.

Timeline

Bids are typically created once the project scope is defined, often when design drawings have been fully completed.

The Bottom Line

The budget is an overarching financial plan created to guide the construction process, whereas a bid is a competitive proposal submitted by contractors indicating the price for which they will complete the project or a part of it.

Budgets are usually more flexible and can change as the project evolves, whereas bids are generally fixed and serve as a binding agreement on the price of the project once a contract is signed.

Why the Distinction Between Budget and Bid is Important

There are a few reasons that the distinction between a budget and a bid should be understood:

  • A budget is rarely used to form a contractual price. There are some scenarios where a budget may be used as a contract price depending on the procurement method, but this is not typical.
  • A budget can be produced based on very preliminary information if a contractor with experience in the particular project type is utilized. A building doesn’t have to be formally designed to create an outline of the potential costs. These early budgets can contribute to:
    • Tenant negotiations
    • Feasibility studies
    • Procuring early financing commitments
    • Preliminary discussions with local jurisdictions for permitting purposes
    • Fundraising efforts

Importantly, the ability of a contractor to create a budget based on preliminary information can save an Owner significant design dollars that don’t need to be spent if the budget determines that a building isn’t the right design/space for the desired purpose.

  • Budgets can be modified as designs progress, helping to keep the total project dollars in line with the cost of construction.
  • Budgets can be used to explore options and quickly understand price effects prior to sending changes to the architect/engineer to fully design. For instance, a good general contractor can help provide pricing to raise the building height by 4’. This study will likely provide enough information to an owner to determine whether they want to move forward with that option or not, without the investment and time required for design.

In contrast to a budget, a bid is generally presented when all of the data related to a project is known, with the intention of determining the contractual price for the work. An Owner may choose to have a single contractor bid the work, or elect to solicit pricing from multiple contractors. There are benefits to each method of procurement.  

Once bids are received, they can be compared to the latest budget to ensure that the price is as expected. And if the pricing does not align, the discrepancies can be investigated and resolved.

Final Thoughts

Both budgets and bids are critical pieces of construction projects, and they both have their place. When discussing potential projects with a contractor, it’s important to identify whether the ‘price’ should be a preliminary budget, or a firm bid. The process for creating each differs, so clarifying this expectation can prevent misunderstandings.

If you’re considering a project and need a rough idea of the price, contact us now

In the contemporary business landscape, a company’s physical infrastructure often parallels its ambitions and goals. Whether it’s renovating an existing space or constructing a new building, the role of a commercial general contractor is indispensable. The decision to hire a reputable commercial general contractor, also known as a non-residential contractor, can be a game changer for businesses seeking to strike a balance between functionality, aesthetics, and cost-effectiveness. In this article, we will explore the myriad of values that such a partnership brings to the table.


Expertise and Experience

First and foremost, a reputable commercial general contractor comes with a wealth of experience and expertise. Construction projects often involve complex procedures that require knowledge of construction laws, safety regulations, and effective management of labor and resources. A seasoned contractor has been through the thick and thin of the construction world and knows how to effectively steer the ship. They have the expertise to predict and mitigate potential issues, ensuring that the project runs smoothly and adheres to the set standards and timelines.

Cost-Effectiveness

Hiring a reputable general contractor is a cost-effective move. With a comprehensive understanding of budget management, they can help you to save in areas you might not even consider. Leveraging their network of suppliers and subcontractors, they have the bargaining power to procure materials at lower prices. Additionally, their experience allows them to optimize labor and resource allocation, minimizing waste and maximizing efficiency.

Compliance and Reduced Liability

Keeping abreast with building codes and regulations is a task in itself. A reputable contractor takes this responsibility off your shoulders. They ensure that your project complies with all the local and federal construction laws. This not only prevents legal issues but also ensures the safety and longevity of your building. Moreover, a trustworthy contractor is insured, which means that in the event of any accidents or damage, your liability is significantly reduced.

Quality Assurance

The quality of construction is a direct reflection of your brand. When you hire a reputable general contractor, you are ensuring that your project is in the hands of someone who is committed to excellence. From using high-quality materials to employing skilled labor, they leave no stone unturned in delivering a final product that stands the test of time. This, in turn, enhances your brand image and instills a sense of pride and satisfaction among your employees and stakeholders.

Time Management

Time is money, especially in business. Delays in construction can have a cascading effect, impacting your operational efficiency and bottom line. A reputable commercial general contractor excels in project management. By efficiently coordinating with suppliers, subcontractors, and managing the workforce, they ensure that the project stays on schedule. Their proactive approach in dealing with unexpected issues minimizes delays and keeps the momentum going.

Single Point of Contact

Coordination and communication become significantly easier when you have a single point of contact. A commercial general contractor serves as your one-stop liaison, handling all aspects of the construction process. This simplifies communication and ensures that your vision and requirements are consistently and accurately translated into the final product.

Post-Construction Support

The relationship with a reputable general contractor doesn’t end with the completion of the construction. They stand by their work and often provide post-construction support. Be it dealing with regulatory inspections or addressing any issues that surface after the project is finished, you have the assurance of continued support.

Final Thoughts

Hiring a reputable commercial general contractor is an investment that pays dividends in the form of expertise, cost-effectiveness, quality, and peace of mind. It’s a partnership that imparts value not just to the building, but to the very foundation of your business’s growth and success. Make the smart choice – build with the best.

If you’re thinking about your next construction project, get in touch!

How do you know you’re hiring a reputable general contractor?

Knowing that you are hiring a reputable general contractor is critical to the success of your construction project. Here are steps and criteria that can help you in ensuring that you’re hiring the right contractor:

Check for Licenses and Certifications

Ensure that the contractor holds all the necessary licenses and certifications required in your area. This indicates that they meet the minimum qualifications and adhere to industry standards.

Verify Insurance

Confirm that the contractor has liability insurance and workers’ compensation. This is crucial to protect yourself from financial liabilities in case of accidents or damages during construction.

Examine Work History and Portfolio

Look into the contractor’s past projects. Check if they have experience in the type of construction you need. A strong portfolio with diverse and high-quality projects is a good indicator of their capabilities.

Ask for References

Speaking directly to past clients can give you insights into their experiences and satisfaction levels. Pay attention to the feedback regarding the quality of work, adherence to timelines, and communication

Evaluate Communication Skills

A reputable contractor should be transparent, responsive, and willing to address your queries and concerns promptly.

Analyze the Quotation

Obtain detailed quotes from several contractors. While it’s tempting to go for the lowest bidder, it’s important to ensure that the quality of materials and workmanship is not compromised. The quotation should be clear, detailed, and reasonable.

Check Affiliations and Awards

See if the contractor is affiliated with industry associations or has received any awards or recognition. These are often signs of a reputable contractor committed to maintaining high standards.

Research Financial Stability

A financially stable contractor is less likely to run into cash flow problems that could stall your project..

Get Everything in Writing

Ensure that the contractor is willing to put everything in writing. A written contract should include details about the scope of work, timeline, payment schedule, and other essential terms.

Trust Your Instincts

If you feel comfortable and have a good rapport with the contractor, and everything else checks out, it’s a positive sign.

Taking the time to perform due diligence before hiring a commercial general contractor is an investment in the success of your project. It can save you time, money, and stress in the long run by ensuring that your project is in capable hands.

Building codes serve as essential regulatory tools that shape the built environment we live in. Regulations and standards are put in place by governments or regulatory bodies to guarantee that buildings and structures are safe, healthy, accessible, and sustainable. These codes are crucial to ensuring that these requirements are met. In this post, we will explore the significant impact that building codes have on our man-made environment and how they contribute to enhancing safety, sustainability, and accessibility.


Safety for Building Occupants

The primary focus of building codes is to ensure the safety of occupants, particularly during catastrophic events, such as earthquake, flood, tornado, fire and more. By setting minimum safety standards, building codes help prevent accidents, injuries, and loss of life due to structural failures, fires, or other hazards.

Through comprehensive guidelines and regulations, building codes address various aspects of structural integrity, including systems such as fire protection, electrical, plumbing, and mechanical, with the goal of protecting lives if a building or system fails.

Though building codes have been in existence for decades, more recent laws have increased the focus of codes to emphasize life safety during catastrophic events. Signed into law in 2002, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) investigates building failures and helps advise on improvements to the building codes through their findings.

Ensuring Structural Integrity

Building codes define standards for the design and construction of buildings to ensure their stability and resistance to various loads, such as wind, earthquakes, and snow. By specifying materials, construction techniques, and structural engineering principles, building codes play a crucial role in ensuring that structures can withstand the forces they may experience.

For example, buildings in the Pacific Northwest are built to withstand seismic activity due to the proximity of the Cascadia Subduction Zone. The requirements for structural designs in this area will differ from other areas of the country where seismic risk is lower. 

Compliance with building codes leads to robust and durable buildings, reducing the risk of collapses and enhancing the longevity of structures.

Achieving Accessibility within Structures

Building codes often include provisions for accessibility, ensuring that structures can be accessed and used by individuals with disabilities. These requirements cover aspects such as:

  • Ramps
  • Elevators
  • Door widths
  • Signage
  • Parking spaces
  • Door hardware
  • Restroom sizing

Promoting inclusivity and equal access for all, these codes are backed by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which was passed by Congress in 1990 and amended in 2008. By mandating accessible design, building codes contribute to creating an environment where people of all abilities can navigate and utilize buildings without barriers. This aspect is vital for promoting equal opportunities and enhancing the quality of life for individuals with disabilities.

Improving Energy Efficiency within the Built Environment

In response to the pressing need for sustainable practices, many building codes incorporate energy efficiency standards. These codes may include requirements for insulation, efficient HVAC systems, lighting, and renewable energy integration. By promoting energy-efficient design and construction practices, building codes contribute to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and conserving natural resources. Energy-efficient buildings not only reduce environmental impact but also offer economic benefits through lower energy costs for occupants.

Many states, including Oregon, have a range of incentives to help building owners implement more efficient systems into their buildings, with programs like Energy Trust of Oregon helping coordinate access to funds.

Increasing Sustainability in the Built Environment

Building codes increasingly address sustainability considerations. They may include provisions for green building practices, such as the use of insulated materials, recycled materials, rainwater harvesting, waste management, and efficient water usage. Some jurisdictions have adopted green building certification systems like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), which provide additional voluntary standards beyond the basic building code requirements.

By encouraging sustainable design and construction practices, building codes contribute to minimizing the environmental footprint of buildings and promoting the health and well-being of occupants.

Overall Health of Building Occupants

Building codes often address aspects related to occupant health and comfort. They may specify ventilation standards, acceptable indoor air quality levels, and requirements for the use of non-toxic materials. These provisions aim to create healthy and comfortable indoor environments for occupants. Adequate ventilation and using low-emission materials reduce the risk of indoor air pollution and associated health issues. In addition to creating healthier living and working environments, building codes encourage the design and construction of buildings with occupants’ well-being in mind.

Influences on Urban Planning and Aesthetics

Influencing the overall urban planning and aesthetic aspects of an area, these often playing a crucial role in maintaining the visual character and coherence of a neighborhood or city. They may include provisions regarding setbacks, building heights, density, landscaping, and other elements that shape the visual character of a neighborhood or city. This ensures that new construction aligns with the existing built environment and does not disrupt the overall aesthetic harmony.

These codes often address façade design, encouraging architectural diversity and quality, which enhances the appeal and livability of urban spaces. Additionally, building codes may include landscaping and open space provisions that promote greenery and contribute to a more pleasant and sustainable urban environment.

Larger than Local Impacts

Building codes often reflect the local context and consider climate conditions, geographical factors, and cultural considerations. However, there is also a growing effort towards global harmonization of building codes, particularly safety standards and sustainable practices. International organizations work towards aligning codes to facilitate trade, promote knowledge sharing, and ensure consistent standards worldwide. This process benefits the construction industry by enabling international collaboration, reducing barriers to entry in global markets, and promoting best practices across borders.

Final Thoughts

Building codes are a fundamental component of the construction industry that significantly shape the world we live in. They play a crucial role in ensuring the safety, sustainability, and accessibility of buildings and structures for people and the environment. They also shape the visual character and coherence of urban areas, promoting aesthetics and urban planning considerations.

Overall they provide a regulatory framework that helps create safer, more sustainable, and inclusive built environments, benefiting individuals, communities, and the broader society.

The construction industry, long known for its reliance on traditional methods and manual labor, is experiencing a profound transformation thanks to the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. AI is revolutionizing various aspects of construction, from design and planning to project management and safety. By leveraging the power of AI, the industry is becoming more efficient, productive, and cost-effective.

In this post, we will delve into the significant ways in which AI is changing the construction landscape.


1. Enhanced Design and Planning

AI is reshaping the design and planning stages of construction projects by offering advanced tools and capabilities.

Building Information Modeling (BIM) systems, powered by AI, enable the creation of comprehensive virtual representations of structures. These 3D models provide architects, engineers, and contractors with a collaborative platform to optimize designs, identify clashes, and simulate real-world scenarios.

By analyzing vast amounts of data, AI algorithms can generate optimized design alternatives, resulting in improved energy efficiency, cost reduction, and shorter construction timelines. Furthermore, AI-powered design software can automate repetitive tasks, such as generating floor plans and calculating structural loads. This automation liberates designers’ time, allowing them to focus on creativity and innovation.

Additionally, AI can assist in materials selection by analyzing the environmental impact and recommending sustainable alternatives. This could help foster a greener construction industry. AI can also simulate and analyze vast amounts of data effectively to:

  • Identify the most energy-efficient solutions for heating, cooling, lighting, and ventilation systems.
  • Utilize local environmental analysis to optimize building orientations, window placements, and insulation levels.
  • Evaluate embodied energy, carbon footprint, recyclability, and durability, helping designers make eco-conscious choices.
  • Analyze the environmental impact of materials throughout their lifespan, including extraction, manufacturing, use, and disposal.
  • Optimize waste management strategies through better material estimation, improved logistics planning, and recycling initiatives.
  • Regulate HVAC systems, monitor air quality, and adjust temperature and humidity levels based on real time date and feedback.
  • Optimize timing and usage of energy-intensive systems based on grid conditions and electricity pricing to help reduce peak loads and support grid stability.

2. Efficient Project Management

AI is streamlining project management processes, leading to improved efficiency and reduced costs. AI-powered project management platforms integrate various data sources to optimize resource allocation and scheduling, including:

  • Construction schedules
  • Material inventories
  • Workforce availability

These platforms leverage machine learning algorithms to predict project risks, identify potential delays, and optimize task sequences, ensuring smoother operations. Real-time monitoring and analytics powered by AI facilitate proactive decision-making and provide project stakeholders with insights into progress, budget adherence, and potential bottlenecks.

IoT, The Internet of Things, is a network of physical objects embedded with sensors, software and connectivity capabilities that enable them to collect and exchange data over the internet. Everyday items that might include this technology might include:

  • Smartphones
  • Fitness trackers
  • Smart watches
  • Home appliances
  • Vehicles
  • Home security systems/smart doorbells
  • Smart TV’s
  • Virtual voice assistants (Alexa, Siri, etc)

More specific to construction, IoT systems might include:

  • Smart sensors to measure: temperature, humidity, air quality, noise levels
  • Sensors on equipment measuring usage, fuel consumption, performance, maintenance requirements
  • GPS-enabled trackers on equipment
  • Connected cameras with motion detection, video analytics, and access control
  • Environmental Monitoring for soil moisture, watering systems, dust and particulate matter, air quality sensors
  • Remote site monitoring systems
  • Lighting, HVAC, and power usage monitoring

These examples highlight the diverse applications of IoT devices within the construction industry that assist in maximizing project management efficiency. By leveraging IoT technology, construction companies can enhance safety, optimize resource management, streamline operations, and improve overall project efficiency.

3. Intelligent Automation and Robotics

AI-driven automation and robotics are starting to reshape construction sites, enhancing productivity and reducing manual labor requirements. Autonomous vehicles and robots can perform repetitive and physically demanding tasks, such as excavation, bricklaying, and material transportation, with greater speed and accuracy. While not commonly used yet, these technologies will not only improve productivity but also mitigate safety risks for workers by taking over hazardous tasks.

Machine learning algorithms can also be deployed to predict equipment maintenance requirements and prevent unexpected downtime. By analyzing historical data and monitoring equipment conditions, AI systems can identify patterns and anomalies, enabling timely maintenance or repairs, minimizing disruptions, and optimizing resource allocation.

4. Quality Control and Safety

AI technologies are enhancing quality control processes, ensuring compliance with specifications and industry standards. Computer vision systems, powered by AI, can analyze images and videos captured on-site to identify defects, measure dimensions, and detect safety hazards. AI algorithms can compare captured data against predefined standards or models, ensuring adherence to quality specifications.  This automated inspection process saves time and enhances accuracy, reducing errors and rework.

AI can also analyze jobsite imagery and sensor data to identify safety hazards and potential risks. Computer vision algorithms can detect unsafe working conditions, such as the presence of unauthorized personnel in restricted areas, lack of personal protective equipment (PPE), or hazardous material handling. AI-powered safety systems can send real-time alerts to supervisors, enabling them to take immediate corrective actions and enforce safety protocols.

In addition, AI algorithms can learn from historical data and identify patterns that lead to accidents or safety incidents, enabling proactive risk mitigation. By analyzing real-time sensor data, AI-powered systems can alert workers and supervisors to potential safety breaches, such as unstable structures or dangerous working conditions.

AI enables the analysis of large volumes of safety-related data to extract meaningful insights. By integrating data from multiple sources, including incident reports, inspection records, and near-miss data, AI can identify patterns and trends that provide valuable safety insights. These insights can help refine safety protocols, develop targeted training programs, and establish best practices for accident prevention.

By integrating these technologies, AI empowers construction companies to improve quality control, detect safety hazards, and create safer work environments. The ability to automate inspections, proactively mitigate risks, and gain valuable safety insights leads to enhanced construction site safety and ultimately reduces accidents and injuries.

Final Thoughts

The construction industry is witnessing a seismic shift with the integration of AI technologies. From design and planning to project management, safety, and quality control, AI is revolutionizing every aspect of the construction lifecycle. By leveraging the power of AI, the industry can improve efficiency, reduce costs, enhance productivity, and create safer working environments.

While challenges and ethical considerations exist, the transformative potential of AI in construction is undeniable. Embracing these technologies will empower construction professionals to unlock new opportunities, drive innovation, and build a sustainable future for the industry.

As summer approaches and temperatures soar, we need to turn our attention towards a critical occupational safety issue that affects thousands of construction workers each year: heat exposure.

Heat, particularly extreme heat, is not merely an inconvenience or discomfort for construction workers; it can be a deadly danger. According to OSHA, between 1992 and 2017, heat stress has killed 285 construction workers in the U.S. and injured far more. However, these statistics are far from the true toll heat takes on the workforce, as many heat-related incidents are underreported.


Understanding Heat Stress

Heat stress occurs when the body can’t cool itself adequately. In normal circumstances, our bodies cool down by sweating. However, in extreme temperatures, especially when combined with high humidity and direct sunlight, sweating might not be enough.

The consequences of uncontrolled heat stress are severe. It can lead to heatstroke, a potentially life-threatening condition where the body’s temperature rises above 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Symptoms include confusion, loss of consciousness, seizures, and in severe cases, death.

Other heat-related illnesses include heat exhaustion, heat cramps, and heat rash. While less severe than heatstroke, these conditions can still significantly affect a worker’s health and productivity, leading to time off work, decreased morale, and even long-term health issues.

Common Heat Related Illnesses

Heat Stroke

This is the most severe form of heat-related illness and is considered a medical emergency. It occurs when the body’s temperature control system fails, leading to a dangerously high body temperature, usually above 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Symptoms include confusion, altered mental state, slurred speech, loss of consciousness, hot and dry skin, rapid heartbeat, and seizures. Without immediate treatment, heat stroke can cause major organ damage or death.

Heat Exhaustion

This is a serious health problem that can develop from prolonged exposure to high temperatures, especially when combined with high humidity and strenuous physical activities. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, weakness, cold, pale and clammy skin, a fast, weak pulse, nausea or vomiting, and fainting. If not treated, heat exhaustion can escalate to heat stroke.

Heat Syncope (Fainting)

This typically occurs when a person stands or rises suddenly in a hot environment and experiences a temporary decrease in blood flow to the brain. Symptoms include light-headedness, dizziness, and fainting.

Heat Cramps

These are painful, involuntary muscle spasms that usually occur during heavy exercise in hot environments. They are likely linked to an electrolyte imbalance caused by sweating. The cramps may occur during or after physical activity.

Heat Rash (also known as prickly heat)

This is a skin irritation caused by excessive sweating during hot, humid weather. It can occur at any age but is most common in young children. Heat rash looks like a red cluster of pimples or small blisters. It is more likely to occur on the neck and upper chest, in the groin, under the breasts, and in elbow creases.

Each of these conditions requires varying degrees of medical intervention. In all cases, moving the affected person to a cooler environment, providing fluids, and rest are essential first steps. However, severe conditions such as heat stroke require immediate medical attention. It’s crucial to recognize the signs of these conditions and take immediate action to prevent lasting health issues.

Why Construction Workers Are at Risk

Construction workers are particularly susceptible to heat stress due to several factors. First, the physical nature of the work increases metabolic heat production. Workers lifting heavy objects, operating machinery, or simply being active for extended periods inevitably produce more internal heat.

Second, construction workers are often exposed to direct sunlight, exacerbating the ambient heat. Sunlight not only increases the temperature but also causes sunburns and raises the risk of skin cancer.

Lastly, the personal protective equipment (PPE) necessary for construction work can limit the body’s ability to dissipate heat. Hard hats, heavy boots, gloves, and protective suits, while essential for safety, can also trap heat and hinder sweat evaporation, causing the body to overheat.

Mitigating the Risks

Despite the inherent dangers, there are ways to mitigate the risks associated with heat in the construction industry.

Employers play a crucial role in safeguarding their workforce. A heat illness prevention program should be integral to every construction company’s safety policy. Such a program includes training workers about the dangers of heat stress, recognizing symptoms in themselves and others, and understanding how to respond in an emergency.

Regular breaks are essential, particularly during peak heat periods. Employers should provide shaded or air-conditioned areas for rest periods. Hydration is also vital. Workers should have access to cool water and be encouraged to drink frequently, even if they do not feel thirsty.

Employers should also consider adjusting work schedules to avoid the hottest parts of the day. Where possible, heavier work can be scheduled for cooler early morning hours, and lighter tasks reserved for warmer periods. Technological advancements can also be leveraged. For instance, wearable technology that monitors vital signs can provide early warnings of heat stress, while cooling vests and moisture-wicking fabrics can help regulate body temperature.

Federal Regulations to Protect Workers from Heat Related Dangers

Employers are responsible for creating safe places for workers, including mitigating the effects of the natural environment. Oregon OSHA implemented rules in 2021 strengthening requirements for employers to enact safety measures for workers in extreme heat scenarios.  

Additional OSHA materials to download

To best understand these rules, employers can contact Oregon OSHA for consultations. There are also a myriad of resources on the Federal OSHA page, including posters that can be utilized on jobsites to inform workers and supervisors of their duties and responsibilities.

In general, employers should:

  • Provide workers with water, rest and shade
  • Build heat tolerance by gradually increasing workloads and taking frequent breaks
  • Plan for emergencies
  • Teach workers how to prevent heat related illnesses and recognize the signs
  • Monitor workers for signs and symptoms of heat illness

Individuals must also take precautions and educate themselves on the risks of heat illnesses, including their own personal risk factors. These may include:

  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Low physical fitness levels
  • Certain medications
  • Alcohol use
  • Drug use

Employees should ensure they’re drinking water, taking designated work breaks, finding shade and acknowledging when symptoms of heat illness may be starting.

Final Thoughts

Extreme heat is a serious occupational hazard for construction workers, leading to severe illnesses and even death. As global temperatures continue to rise, the construction industry must recognize and mitigate the risks associated with heat exposure.

By understanding the dangers, implementing comprehensive heat illness prevention programs, and harnessing the power of technology, we can protect our invaluable construction workforce from the perils of summer’s scorching heat.

Perlo recently announced the promotion of two members of our team: President Chris Gregg and Senior Vice President Devin Koopman. Both have been staples of Perlo’s culture, projects, and leadership team for many years. Now filling the top spots on our leadership team, we sat down to learn more about them and their careers, as well as the advice they have for others who may want to pursue a career in construction project management.

Chatting with Chris and Devin is almost like sitting down with brothers. The camaraderie, laughter, and mix of serious and funny are always present. They are genuine leaders who built their careers with an optimal mix of hard work and fun, always listening to the needs of our people and our clients, fighting for what’s right even when it’s hard.

Please join us in welcoming Chris and Devin to their new positions. We are so excited to see them continue leading Perlo to new heights. Join us as we learn a little more about them:


What was your first project at Perlo?

Devin: I started here with a summer internship and worked on a building in Hillsboro. Dave Wheeler was the project superintendent. I was then hired full time and started as a Field Engineer under Tim Kofstad on the Alderwood Corporate Center project by the airport. Some of that crew evolved into our current superintendents. They (mainly George) would want me to say that I was lucky to be working with them on my first project.

Chris: I actually started with another company, as my degree is in industrial engineering, and didn’t love what I was doing, but they had assigned me to help manage their building expansion and I found myself really enjoying the process. I decided I wanted to pursue construction management as a career, so I interviewed with Gayland and Devin – at an Applebee’s – and about a month later they offered me a Field Engineer position. I worked with Devin onsite at the Village Baptist Church project and…the rest is history.

What has surprised you most about Perlo in the last 10 years?

Devin: There’s never a dull moment. We have grown so much in terms of people, size of project, and product type, but have been able to maintain some of that family feel that existed when I started.

Chris: I’d agree with that. The magnitude and size of projects, how quickly our project sizes grew, how many more market sectors we work in now. When I started, we were all about industrial buildings, but now, we do so much more.

What kind of vision do you have for the company in your new roles?

Devin: I want to maintain sustainable growth, though it’s felt like a rocket ship at times. We can’t lose sight of how we got here and where we came from. We have a solid foundation built on trust, integrity, and doing the right thing. I also want to keep things fun. This is a tough industry that can chew you up and spit you out. It’s all about working hard and playing hard.

Chris: I want to continue to grow our mentorship program. When we bring on new project engineers and project managers, we give them lots of support. This is a tough business with a lot to learn, and we’ve made huge strides to help support them in their new roles. Same for our internship program. It gets better and better each year, and I’m excited to see that continue. At the end of the day we are a relationship business and our people continuing to develop is the best growth path forward.

In your kids’ eyes, what do you do for work?

Chris: In my kid’s eyes? I build buildings. They think I do the cool part and actually build the buildings. Swing the hammer, right? That’s what they think I do.

Devin: I have a way different answer. Every day, I go to the place that has a candy bin down by Accounting. A ping pong table, shuffleboard, soda machine, video games, and an office full of fun people.

Chris: You go to Wonderland every day.

Devin: I do. You would hear that answer from my house.

What advice do you have for aspiring leaders or trailblazers in this industry?

Chris: Take on the hard stuff. I think Devin and I have a similar philosophy on that front. You have to be willing to work hard and take on the tasks or projects that others shy away from. Be humble. People can tell when you’re doing things to better yourself, verses doing things because it’s the right thing to do.

Devin: Attitude and effort will overcome most obstacles. Don’t ever give someone a reason to doubt you or question your integrity. Meet all deadlines and play your part to help the cause. And don’t forget that this is a team sport – there are people willing to help and support you if you allow it to happen.

Final Thoughts

We want to take a moment to thank Devin and Chris for their time and congratulate them on their new roles. We have no doubt that they’ll be taking Perlo to new heights.

Knowledge of specific soil types and grades are an essential part of any construction project. Diverse soil types have different properties and based on the project type, certain soil grades are better suited for construction work than others. Builders use a variety of tools and techniques to assess the soil on a construction site and determine its properties, such as its bearing capacity, permeability, and compressibility. This information is then used to design the foundation of the building, which is the most critical part of any structure. The foundation must be strong enough to support the weight of the building and resist any forces that may act upon it, such as wind, water, snow, or seismic activity.

In previous posts, we’ve examined how erosion and sediment control measures go hand-in-hand with state and federal regulations on construction projects. Today, we will discuss the local soil types, why they matter, and how to properly identify these types with your next construction project in mind.


Oregon Soil Types

There are thousands of soil varieties all over the world. In Oregon, we have a specific soil type perfectly suited for wine growing, aptly named the Jory soil. The Jory soil is a reddish-colored volcanic soil that is rich in clay, iron, and other essential nutrients that provide excellent growing conditions for pinot noir grapes. In addition to the Jory soil, the state of Oregon has over 2,000 soil types that make it prime for agricultural growth.

Agriculture and winery uses are not the only industries affected by soil types. For example, in construction work, soil types and grades are essential in determining load-bearing capacity for building designations, excavation safety measures, and more.

Soil Categories and Types

There are various types of soil that include:

Most soils are a combination or mixture of clay, silt, and sand, and although its composition cannot be fully identified in the field, it still can be evaluated in a few different ways. In addition to types of soil, there are two characteristics of soil:

Cohesive soil is made up of fine particles and contains enough clay to stick to itself. The more clay in the soil, the more cohesive it is and the less likely it is to cave in.

Granular soil, on the other hand, is made up of coarse particles like sand or gravel and will not stick to itself. The less cohesive the soil, the more measures are needed to prevent a cave-in.

Soil Classifications

There are four types of soil classifications:

  • Solid Rock
  • Type A
  • Type B
  • Type C

Type A soil is the most stable for excavation, while Type C is the least stable. It’s important to note that a single utility trench, for example, may cut through more than one type of soil.

Type A

Type A soil is identified as cohesive and has a high, unconfined compressive strength, with a minimum of 1.5 tons per square foot. Examples of this type of soil include clay, silty clay, sandy clay, and clay loam. However, soil cannot be classified as type A if it has been previously disturbed or is currently fissured, has water seeping through it, or is subject to vibration from heavy traffic or pile drivers.

Type B

Type B soil is cohesive but not as well-bound as Type A soil. It is frequently cracked or disturbed and may have pieces that do not stick together well. The unconfined compressive strength of Type B soil is medium, ranging from 0.5 to 1.5 tons per square foot. Some examples of Type B soil are angular gravel, silt, and silt loam, as well as soils that are fissured or near sources of vibration but could otherwise be classified as Type A.

Type C

Type C soil is the least stable type of soil, consisting of granular soils with non-sticky particles and cohesive soils with an unconfined compressive strength of 0.5 tons per square foot or less. Examples of Type C soil include gravel and sand. Soil with water seeping through it is also classified as Type C soil, regardless of its other characteristics.

Determining Soil Types

When determining which soil type is found at the construction site, OSHA uses a measurement called “unconfined compressive strength” to classify each type of soil. This measures the amount of pressure that would cause the soil to collapse and is usually reported in tons per square foot. A competent person should complete the following tests to determine which type of soil before construction begins:

The Pencil Test

Also called the plasticity test, this is an easy way to determine how cohesive the soil is. The test is done by rolling a moist sample of soil into a thread that is about 1/8 of an inch thick and 2 inches long–to resemble a slim pencil. If the sample does not break, it is cohesive.

The Thumb Penetration Test

This can be used quickly to estimate the compressive strength of the soil sample. To test soil type, press your thumb into a fresh clump. Type A takes great effort to indent, Type B sinks to the thumbnail, and Type C sinks all the way. The results of this test may vary.

Pocket Penetrometer Test

This small piston device offers a numerical measurement, although results may vary based on soil samples. To carry out the test, insert the piston into the soil until it reaches the marked line. After that, obtain the reading from the scale indicator. Please note that if the soil has rocks or pebbles, which cannot compress, the penetrometer might produce inaccurate results.

As you can see, there are numerous tests that can be performed to determine soil types; however, results are not always 100% accurate. To ensure worker safety, OSHA suggests conducting at least two tests to determine the appropriate methods for sloping, benching, or shoring to prevent cave-ins.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, soil types and soil grades have played a significant role in the history of construction work, and they continue to be important today. By understanding the properties of the soil on a construction site, builders and contractors can ensure that their structures are safe, stable, and built to last for generations to come.

If you need an expert opinion or consultation on your new construction project, please contact us, and our dedicated team and project managers can help you build it right.

Since 1956, Perlo Construction has completed over 170,000 square feet of winery space, and we continue to partner with some of the most innovative and exceptional leaders in the wine industry to create exquisite and modern buildings that last the test of time. Our latest in-progress winery project for the Owners, Vinovate Wine Services, is no exception. Vinovate is a community-focused custom crush winery capable of producing 40,000 cases of wine annually. They purchased 66 acres of land from local owners who wished for it to be used agriculturally due to the rich volcanic and sedimentary soils and surrounding residential homes.

In this post, we will explore the symbiotic and community building relationship this winery project has become for the community of Newberg, Oregon.

Architect’s rendering of completed project.

Eco-Friendly Methods for Wine Production

Vinovate’s winery, which will be completed by Harvest 2023, has become a symbiotic project involving community, collaboration, and eco-diversity. The Owners, Rob Townsend, Pamela Turner, Bryan Weil and Scott Baldwin, came to Perlo to help bring their 24,000 square foot steel framed dream to life.

The site’s unique features presented opportunities for our team to be creative and continue the Owner’s vision of a first-class, eco-friendly project. Some of these features include the position and angle of the site–which is east-facing. This positioning provides better protection against wildfires, and the stratified volcanic and sedimentary soils beneath are perfect for growing agricultural crops—especially pinot-noir grapes.

“Wines made from grapes grown in volcanic soils can have varied and complex flavor profiles.”

The site’s sloped position also means that it doesn’t have to be irrigated. The Owners are utilizing eco-diverse methods of rainwater harvesting and processing of wastewater to reuse for onsite landscape irrigation and farm equipment cleaning. In conjunction with the eco-friendly theme, Perlo has also focused on early erosion control by planting seeds to keep the soil intact and greenery lush by the time of opening.

Why volcanic soil?
“Soils that have formed where there is a lot of activity from volcanos often have special chemical properties. They are often very rich in nutrients and hold water well because of their volcanic ash content. These soils are called Andisols, and they are often very young, and acidic depending on which type of volcano they come from.”

Symbiotic Relationship Within the Neighborhood

Our project and jobsite teams have built dedicated, trusting relationships between the Owners and surrounding neighbors. This has led to a symbiotic environment for everyone involved. Vinovate’s core focus is on building community and helping small, boutique winemakers expand their reach. Perlo Superintendent Josh Kelly knows the neighbors by name and has addressed any concerns with them every step of the way; “We’ve been keeping the roads clean and working with the neighbors on adjusting our morning hours, and where our lights are during construction so they aren’t being bothered”, a true permeation of trust seeping through.

Additionally, since the site must be upgraded to accommodate the new electrical load, three-phase power will be installed up Worden Hill Road and allow for future opportunities for more businesses to come in. This project has created the infrastructure for more growth, including for other wineries to expand their power grid – an option that was not previously available to them without significant expense.


“I’ve been working with Perlo on this winery project for almost two years now and can’t say anything but great things about the company and team of employees I’ve been working with. I’ve built multiple wineries and multiple tasting rooms during my winemaking career and this by far has been the most positive experience because of how professional Perlo is and how they are able to make these larger projects happen on tight timelines. I would highly recommend Perlo.”

Brian Weil | Owner


Overcoming the Odds

Despite many ongoing successes throughout the project, our project and job-site teams had to overcome several challenges. These included coordinating the following:

  • Expedited pre-engineered metal building design & procurement,
  • Upgrading power from single-phase to three-phase
  • New on site well water treatment, storage, and pumps,
  • New septic treatment system & leach field,
  • New process wastewater treatment system & sprinkler field,
  • Solar panel coordination with electrical gear and utility companies,
  • Wine processing equipment,
  • Sloped concrete floors and concrete retaining walls throughout,
  • Delayed permitting, pushing the project to start during extreme winter weather conditions that included snow, wind, and heavy rains.

Regardless of the challenge, Perlo prides itself on taking problems and finding solutions. As a result, we maintained schedule and completed our pours with strategic timing regarding weather conditions and careful planning. We also helped the Owners and Subcontractors navigate the electrical gear shortage with our deliberate pre-planning and scheduling process.

Final Thoughts

Perlo has built a name for itself as a top local winery construction firm. Our extensive resume in this market gives us a unique look into the scope of the work and its potential challenges before shovels hit the dirt. Each project has unique needs and design aspects; likewise, each client has different preferences and styles. At Perlo, we don’t just build for our clients; we partner with them and take as much pride in the result as they do.

Our teams know how to deliver to our clients the superior projects they envision within their budget and schedule. If you need a best-in-class commercial contractor to build your next winery project, give us a call.

The Pacific Northwest region of the United States has long been known for its natural beauty, strong technology and manufacturing sectors, and progressive values. As the region continues to grow and evolve, real estate owners and investors must adapt to changing market demands, incorporate sustainable and resilient design features, leverage new technologies, and meet the needs of changing demographics.

In this blog post, we will explore how repositioning real estate assets can help meet these challenges and position owners for success in the dynamic Pacific Northwest market.


More than 1 billion square meters of office space globally will need to be retrofitted or converted to new uses by 2050.

Shifting Market Demands: Adapting to a Hybrid Work Model

The COVID-19 pandemic has upended many traditional ways of working and living, and the Pacific Northwest is no exception. The office market had hit a 30-year high of 17.3% vacancy at the end of 2022, according to CBRE. With the trend towards remote work and the rise of the hybrid work model, demand for traditional office space continued to decline. However, this does not mean that the office market will disappear entirely. As of March 2023, office occupancy has returned to about 50% of pre-pandemic levels. Real estate owners and investors must adapt to changing market demands by repositioning existing office and industrial assets to accommodate a hybrid work model.

Some options to create more flexible spaces include:

  • Incorporating flexible and adaptable spaces that can be used for co-working or collaboration. For example, a building may include conference rooms that can be easily reconfigured for different group sizes, or private offices that can be rented on a short-term basis.
  • Outdoor amenities such as green spaces or rooftop decks can provide a much-needed respite for workers who spend much of their day indoors.
  • Breathing new life into previously vacant and weathered industrial structures with new additions or tenant improvements.

There has been a myriad of discussions about converting office spaces to multi-family housing, but developers are generally finding this idea is too costly to pursue at this time. Restrictions such as building codes, large floor plans, centralized utilities and other challenges make this option untenable for most investors.

Global real estate giants like JLL see the office market remaining challenging, but with less new construction of this product and a continued, although slow, return to the office, it is not obsolete. Give the increased age of the buildings, regardless of the continued use, JLL predicts that, “more than 1 billion square meters of office space globally will need to be retrofitted or converted to new uses by 2050.”  

224 Logistics is a 1,000,000 SF facility that had been expanded and remodeled over the course of several decades. Perlo completed an entire re-roof, seismic upgrade and a variety of repairs to bring this aging building back to life for future multiple market sector tenants.

Sustainable and Resilient Design: Meeting the Challenges of Climate Change

The Pacific Northwest is known for its natural beauty and progressive values, but it is also seeing an increase in natural disasters such as earthquakes, wildfires, and floods. Additionally, workers are demanding more eco-friendly workplaces. In order to increase the resilience of real estate assets in the face of these challenges, it is important to incorporate sustainable and resilient design features into new and existing buildings. One way to do this is by incorporating earthquake-resistant design features such as:

  • reinforced concrete or CMU walls,
  • foundation anchors, and
  • flexible framing systems.

We detailed the importance of and logistics to complete seismic upgrades in a previous article here.

Related to fire risk, defensible space around buildings, such as fire-resistant landscaping and fire breaks, can help protect buildings from wildfires. Evaluating fire resistant building materials, such as concrete, metal roofing and other details, can aid in preventing the spread of fires, as well.

Sustainability

Sustainability measures are important for the environment as well as workers. Measures that can be taken to reduce the environmental impacts of buildings include:

  • Utilizing green energy sources
  • Installing green roofs and rainwater harvesting systems to manage stormwater runoff and reduce the impact of floods
  • Incorporate natural lighting and greenery
  • Install smart windows
  • Utilize controls to manage mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems
  • Install Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

According to a JLL survey, ‘Up to 81 percent of workers aged 21 to 30 expect their company to follow sustainable business practices, and 70 percent of them would prefer to work for a sustainability leader’.

Leveraging New Technologies: Staying Ahead of the Curve

The Pacific Northwest is home to many leading technology companies, and as such, there is a high demand for buildings that can support the latest technologies. Real estate owners and investors who are able to incorporate these technologies into their buildings may be better positioned to attract tech tenants and stay ahead of the curve.

One way to do this is by incorporating high-speed internet connectivity, such as fiber-optic internet, into buildings. This can help attract tech tenants who require reliable and fast internet connections. Additionally, smart building systems that incorporate internet of things (IoT) technology, such as sensors and automation systems, can help improve energy efficiency and reduce operating costs.

What is the ‘Internet of Things’?

The Internet of Things (IoT) describes physical objects embedded with sensors and actuators that communicate with computing systems via wired or wireless networks—allowing the physical world to be digitally monitored or even controlled. For example, automated vacuums, self-checkout counters, autonomous vehicles, etc.

Changing Demographics: Meeting the Needs of a Diverse Population

The Pacific Northwest is becoming increasingly diverse, with growing populations of immigrants and younger generations. Real estate owners and investors who are able to adapt to these changing demographics may be better positioned to capture new market opportunities.

One way to do this is by repositioning existing retail assets to meet the needs of specific cultural groups. For example, a shopping center may cater to a particular ethnic group by including stores that offer culturally-specific products or services. Multi-generational housing that allows extended families to live together may become more popular as the population ages and becomes more diverse.

Another way to meet the needs of a diverse population is by repositioning existing office assets to support co-working or collaboration among entrepreneurs and small business owners. This can help create a sense of community and support for these individuals, who may be underrepresented in the traditional business world.

Final Thoughts

Repositioning real estate assets can be a powerful strategy for real estate owners and investors in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. By adapting to changing market demands, incorporating sustainable and resilient design features, leveraging new technologies, and meeting the needs of a diverse population, owners and investors can stay ahead of the curve and position themselves for success in this dynamic market.

By repurposing assets, adding earthquake-resistant features, and integrating smart building technology, real estate owners and investors can create value for themselves and their tenants while contributing to the long-term health and vitality of the region.

Perlo is a Pacific Northwest regional commercial general contractor that specializes in both new, non-residential construction and renovations. If you are considering repositioning one of your real estate assets, please contact us today.

At Perlo, we believe in investing in our people, fostering a culture of growth and development, and take immense pride in the achievements of our team members. Recently, two employees were promoted to Perlo’s Executive Leadership Team due to their hard work and unwavering determination. Today, we share the stories of our newly promoted Vice President’s: Chris Culbertson and Thomas Quesenberry. We will showcase their experiences and demonstrate the potential for hard working individuals to combine their work with the countless personal and professional developmental opportunities Perlo provides to rise to the highest of heights.


Thomas Quesenberry

Thomas has always been excited about his work in the construction industry. He has spent years honing his craft and developing his expertise in massively diverse projects, from towering high rises to historical renovations throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Nearly six years ago, Thomas joined Perlo to focus on healthcare projects, but when the pandemic hit, everything changed. Healthcare construction came to a temporary halt, so Thomas and Perlo quickly adapted to focus on the rising wave of distribution centers and warehouses. Relying on his experience across multiple market sectors, Thomas helped identify a growing client base, expand Perlo’s reach across the region, and provide new opportunities for growth.

One of the things that Thomas loves most about Perlo is that everyone can provide input and has the opportunity to carve their own path. He feels that his ideas are valued and that he can make a meaningful contribution to the company in many ways while also having a good balance between work and personal life.

“I always want to work harder, but Perlo does a great job of establishing a balance between work and home life.”

He advises those seeking leadership positions: “Stay committed to working hard, building strong relationships, and being a trustworthy resource for clients. You should truly want to help people, because they will appreciate the support and think of you for their next project. Lastly, if you have ideas, you’ve got to speak up. To be heard you have to say something.” For Thomas, working at Perlo is a chance to build something lasting with the freedom to pursue the projects and clients of one’s own interests, allowing for a wide range of possibilities.

Chris Culbertson

Chris Culbertson’s journey with Perlo Construction is one of 18 years of dedication, hard work, and perseverance. Straight out of college, he joined Perlo Construction as a Project Manager. He started his humble beginnings with a fold-up table for a desk just outside of Owner Gayland Looney’s office.

Despite the challenge of no privacy, and having papers blown off his desk every time the door opened, Chris remained committed to his work and his goal of progressing within the company. In 2010, he took on a new role as an estimator; “I saw there was a need, so I filled it”.

Throughout the years, Chris continued to excel and collaborate with his team members, always striving to hit budgets and work quickly. Chris says he’s always had the mindset of progressing in his career but didn’t necessarily have a set timeline. His recent favorite project was working on the Amazon Salem project, which was a great success due to the team’s collaboration and focus.

“Keep pushing. It may sometimes feel like no one notices your efforts, but people do notice, and they will reward your hard work—keep at it.”

As Perlo Construction has grown and evolved, Chris remains excited about the future of the company and any challenges that lie ahead. Chris’ inspiring story is one of commitment and a willingness to adapt to change, in addition to his humble leadership. His desire to learn and grow within the company has made him an invaluable member of the Perlo Construction team.

Final Thoughts

We are proud to congratulate Chris Culbertson and Thomas Quesenberry on joining the Executive Leadership Team and are excited to see their impact on Perlo’s future success. We recognize their hand in mentoring our growing team of estimators and project managers. Their promotion will continue the company’s ongoing success and growth for years to come.

If you are interested in paving your own path here at Perlo, visit our Careers page to learn more about our current openings.

Today, we’re sitting down with Dennis Bonin, our Director of Safety at Perlo, to learn about his path into the safety side of construction. As an employee of more than 8 1/2 years, Dennis started as a Firefighter before unexpectedly landing in the world of construction safety. Thanks to his dedication and leadership, Perlo has expanded our safety program, and he has revitalized the image of construction safety in, and outside of the field.

Dennis will be retiring from Perlo in June of this year. We cannot understate how much we appreciate his time with our company, and while we are happy to see him moving on to the next chapter in his life, he will certainly be missed.

Read on to learn more about our Safety Superhero, Dennis Bonin.


What is your soon to be ending role?

I’m the Director of Safety for Perlo Construction, which means I oversee our corporate safe work practices and policies, including compliance with federal, state, and local rules and regulations related to safety in our office and on our jobsites. I manage our dedicated safety professionals who are a committed resource for our construction supervisors and crews. I coordinate and deliver safety-related training with an emphasis on making it relevant to our employees, both in the office and on the jobsites. I’m also responsible for incident/injury investigations.

How did you get into safety?

I was in the fire service as a battalion chief. My life took a turn, and I didn’t know what I wanted to do. But I had a good friend from the fire service that had retired early from an injury and that was the safety manager for Ness & Campbell crane. He told me I should look into safety management and that I’d like it. I hesitated at first, and it took him three calls to encourage me to look into it before I did! At that time, I applied for a job with Hoffman Construction and went to work at Intel in 2010 as a Site Safety Coordinator. I worked there under some really great mentors and worked on that project for about 3 years. Then I had the opportunity to work with Dynalectric as their Site Safety Manager out at Intel.

Once the Intel project finished up, I took a new position here. It was my supervisor from Hoffman that actually recommended me to come work here. I was ready to move into more of a leadership role and this opportunity seemed to be perfect for that, as Perlo didn’t have a full-time safety manager at the time.

I was hired at Perlo in 2014 as Perlo’s Safety Manager, and now it’s been a little over 8 years.

What have you seen change in your time managing safety programs, in general?

Certainly, industry-wide there is a greater emphasis on construction safety in recent years. Not only from a total worker health perspective, but as a demand from clients to improve. There’s also more emphasis placed on organizations to have better safety scores (lower EMR, total recordable incident rates, etc). This is being driven by public and private clients, as well as insurance companies.

There’s also been a greater emphasis on credentials for safety professionals; for instance, CHST (Construction Health Safety Technician) is basically a minimum requirement now, replacing the once minimum qualifications of OSHA 10 and OSHA 30. For a lot of employers, ASP (Associated Safety Professional) and CSP (Certified Safety Professional) are desired. The CSP is basically the highest-ranking certification for safety out there. There’s a lot more emphasis from our clients as well on having safety professionals be credentialled at the higher levels.

Perlo has all of our Field Safety Coordinators working on obtaining their CHST.

What have you seen change with Perlo’s safety program in your time here?

A lot! To begin with, it was pretty informal prior to my role beginning. One individual took care of the administrative aspects of safety for Perlo, so we had a safety manual and the basic reports covered. Our lead field superintendent managed the field component for investigations and compliance, but there wasn’t an audit system at all. When I was hired, we had about 20 superintendents and now we have 45+. So, our workforce has grown substantially. And our safety team went from just me to now having 6 safety professionals. As far as other changes, there’s more formality now with compliance. For example, we have a safety management software that helps us audit and track safety scores and training records, including our incident/injury reports, etc.

When I got here, there was a safety incentive program, but it has since been expanded extensively. We used to give out just high-viz men’s shirts as awards, but now we have tons of swag, and even do lunches for 100% safety audit scores. All of our foremen, superintendents, project engineers, project managers, and executive team members are OSHA-30 certified as well. Safety overview audits are now being done by all project engineers, managers and executive teams on a monthly basis. All of this has basically led to more accountability for safety both in the field and in the office.

Safety training has also greatly improved overall. We have a much bigger awareness and understanding as a company about how important it is. We also created a safety committee in the last few years to make sure we have involvement from a wide variety of field members.

What are you most proud of with regards to your career in safety?

The relationships that I’ve built with our employees. They see the Safety Department more as a resource and not just as the ‘bad cop’ for safety-related topics. I have a lot of discussions with employees that are outside of work topics. It’s cool to be a resource and mentor that’s available no matter what the concern or crisis is. For me, that’s really rewarding, and I try to instill in our safety coordinators that you need to build those relationships first, then you can use those to help motivate workers to enact safe work practices.

Why do you think it’s so hard for people to think about working safely?

I think construction in general is a “Type A” industry, and there is still a taboo associated with working safely. People still want to be ‘tough’. There’s also a huge emphasis on production over safety. I’m really proud that our culture is changing in that regard, but the industry still has a lot of people that value production over safety and don’t realize that you can still prioritize both. The reality is that you can still have a productive jobsite that is also safe. A safe, clean site leads to efficient production, less off-work time, higher morale, etc.

You want people to appreciate what they’re working for, and it’s not necessarily what they have at work, but it’s what they have at home.

How do you try to motivate people to work safely? 

You want people to appreciate what they’re working for, and it’s not necessarily what they have at work, but it’s what they have at home. So, I use that to help motivate others. If I know people have children, hobbies, or whatever motivates them at home– it’s important for you to work safely so you can enjoy what you do outside of work, too. So, whether it’s a hobby or family, stay safe to continue doing things that bring you joy when you’re not here at work. That’s what I want people to understand.

When I first started with Perlo, I put myself in the position to be a part of the crew. I’ve done some actual labor on a tilt, for instance, and the field crews appreciated that I was willing to do the hard work, but it also helped me understand their work. It also gave me the opportunity to ask people how we could do these tasks more safely. They were much more willing to talk to me about these things after that.

What challenges do you see for our industry with regards to safe work practices?

Definitely, tighter project budgets. It makes it hard for people to prioritize safety when cost is a huge driver. Also, increasing regulations from the federal and state governments. For example, there are new heat related policies that require work to stop in certain conditions. The government has to take action because accidents and deaths have occurred from these, and Federal OSHA has to paint with a broad brush. So, regulations are getting tighter and tighter, and this isn’t a bad thing, but it is a challenge. We now have to look at full personal health, so noise exposure, chemical exposure, wildfire smoke, silica, etc. We now have to take action at much lower thresholds than before, and this does affect production, for sure. Suppose your options are to stop work or put everyone in a respirator during wildfires. In that case, the work is going to slow down significantly.

The other real challenge is that today’s workers coming into the workforce have much less exposure to physical labor than in past generations. You don’t necessarily have people that have worked in a rural environment with their hands. Instead, they’re used to being indoors on gaming systems or things like that. Then they’re entering a very physically demanding job without the knowledge and stamina built-up from the get-go.

I tell people at orientation that construction is hard work. If you aren’t tired and sore at the end of the day, you’re probably not working hard enough. Sore muscles aren’t an injury, and you need to know the difference. And people can build up that stamina, but it’s going to take a while. Technology is great, but we have so much of it now that people are generally less prepared to enter a labor-intensive trade like construction.

What is the biggest ‘lesson learned’ you’ve had in your career? 

I don’t know if it’s a lesson, but it’s a reality that you never can know everything about construction safety. It’s always evolving, especially as a General Contractor; we work with so many subcontractors that have new practices we can learn from. There are always new processes, policies, and practices. You can never know it all. It changes all the time.

What advice would you give to people thinking about safety as a career?

Be patient. Be consistent. Manage the risk, not the policy. Policies are black and white, but risk is not. So, I say think about the risk and manage the risk. I tell superintendents that all the time. I have found this to be a very rewarding career – it’s neat to be a resource for the majority of our team members. We developed good long term relationships, so that you’re accepted as a resource and not a threat. It’s fun to see someone I brought through orientation as an apprentice that’s grown into a superintendent role. It’s neat to see.

You have to care about people both in and out of work, or you won’t be successful in this role. It’s not sustainable to just be a big hammer all the time. Because then if you visit the jobsite, all work stops. I want to be a resource, not a rule enforcer. I think there’s a stereotype that safety professionals have to be big enforcers, but you have to seek first to understand. Ask questions and understand why someone is working the way they are before demanding change. You have to respect their efforts, get to the root of the problem, and then suggest changes that help them be safe.

What will you miss most about your work here?

The people, most definitely. Those relationships.

What are you looking forward to in retirement?

I’m really looking forward to having more time freedom. I think it will be nice to also not have to carry two phones and be worried about what phone call you might get. Safety is 24/7 job, and I’ve always looked at it as my responsibility to be available when the phone rings. I do get those calls during off hours or weekends, and that can wear on you. You can’t really step away entirely, and that’s a lot of my own ‘fault’ because I’m passionate about what I do and hold myself accountable to be available.

What do you want to share as parting words with us?

I look back at my time here with Perlo, and it’s a really special workplace. There is such an investment made to keep workers connected and truly make our workplace a fun place to be, which is engaging and social. Yes, we work hard, but there are a lot of rewards for doing that. To have an organization that makes so much effort to make people feel welcome and be social so that they’re heard and have an opportunity to participate both in and outside of work activities. That’s really what makes Perlo special–and I’m going to miss it.

Final Thoughts

We want to thank Dennis for taking the time to not only share his work and experience at Perlo, but to reflect on the faithful 8 ½ years of service that he has dedicated much of his time to. Dennis will be retiring in June, and his leadership and legacy will very much be missed.

If you’re interested in a career in construction, take a look at our Careers page for more information!

Construction in areas of restricted airspace is a complex and highly regulated process that requires significant planning and coordination to ensure safety and compliance. In this blog post, we will discuss the challenges and regulations associated with construction in restricted airspace areas, as well as some best practices for ensuring the successful completion of construction projects.

What is Restricted Airspace?

Restricted airspace is a designated area where the flight of aircraft is either prohibited or restricted due to safety or security concerns. These areas can include military airspace, national parks, wildlife refuges, and other sensitive areas where aircraft operations may pose a risk to public safety or national security. In the United States, restricted airspace is designated by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and is typically marked on aviation charts and maps.

Challenges of Construction in Restricted Airspace

Construction in these areas poses unique challenges compared to projects in unrestricted airspace. Some of these challenges include:

Compliance with FAA regulations

The FAA has strict regulations for construction projects, including requirements for obtaining special authorizations, submitting detailed construction plans, and adhering to specific safety protocols.

Coordination with aviation authorities

Construction projects in restricted airspace must coordinate with local aviation authorities to ensure that aircraft can safely navigate around the construction site.

Safety considerations

Construction in these areas can pose safety risks to workers and the public due to the proximity of aircraft.

Environmental considerations

Restricted airspace areas often include sensitive ecosystems and wildlife habitats that must be protected during construction. In these instances, special environmental protections may be required.

Construction projects within restricted airspace must comply with FAA regulations to ensure safe and legal operation.

Regulations for Construction in Restricted Airspace

The FAA has established strict regulations to ensure safe and legal operation. These regulations include:

Special Authorizations

Any construction project in restricted airspace must obtain special authorizations from the FAA before beginning work. These authorizations may include a Certificate of Authorization (COA), a Letter of Agreement (LOA), or other approvals depending on the specific requirements of the project. Importantly, general contractors must ensure that these approvals are completed, as the local jurisdictions and the FAA may not be proactive about these efforts.

Notice to Airmen (NOTAM)

The FAA requires that construction projects in restricted airspace provide notice to airmen (NOTAM) of any temporary flight restrictions (TFRs) that may affect aircraft operations. This allows pilots to plan their flights around the construction site and avoid potential hazards.

Safety Protocols

Construction projects in these areas must adhere to specific safety protocols to ensure the safety of workers and airspace users. These protocols may include establishing exclusion zones around the construction site, using specialized equipment that is designed to minimize interference with airspace operations, and implementing safety protocols for workers and equipment.

Environmental Protection

Construction projects in restricted airspace must comply with environmental protection regulations to ensure that sensitive ecosystems and wildlife habitats are protected. This may include monitoring and mitigation measures to minimize disturbances to wildlife, or restrictions on construction activities during certain times of the year.


At a recent project in Burlington, Washington, our team members installed bird mitigation with Hexprotect in the swale on our site. This high-density polyethylene product floats on the top of the water so that birds avoid landing in it – or, more troubling – taking off from the water and disrupting air traffic.


Best Practices for Construction in Restricted Airspace

To ensure successful completion of construction projects in restricted airspace, it is important to follow best practices that have been developed based on years of experience.

Some of these best practices include:

1. Early Planning and Coordination

The planning and coordination of the project with the aviation authorities should begin as early as possible in the project planning process. This allows for a thorough understanding of the specific requirements and regulations that must be followed and ensures that all necessary authorizations and approvals are obtained in a timely manner. The first step in a given project that may be impact airspace includes the completion of an aeronautical study to review impacts to flight patterns, either temporary or permanent. Documentation should be kept onsite during construction. Planning should also be inclusive of the project team members, including crane operators, who may need to adjust their strategies for material placement. 

2. Communication with Aviation Authorities

To ensure that the construction project can be safely completed without affecting airspace operations, effective communication with aviation authorities is essential. During the construction process, this will include providing timely notice of temporary flight restrictions, coordinating with air traffic control, and establishing clear communication channels for any issues that may arise.

3. Safety Protocols

The establishment and implementation of safety protocols is critical for ensuring the safety of workers and users of the airspace. Among these steps are the use of specialized equipment designed to minimize interference with airspace operations, the establishment of exclusion zones around the construction site, and the implementation of safety protocols for workers and equipment.

4. Environmental Protection

In order to protect sensitive ecosystems and wildlife habitats, construction projects in restricted airspace must comply with environmental protection regulations. For example, monitoring and mitigation measures to minimize disturbances to wildlife may be implemented, or construction activities may be restricted during certain seasons.

5. Experienced and Qualified Team

Construction projects in restricted airspace require a team with specialized knowledge and experience. This includes personnel who are familiar with FAA regulations, aviation safety protocols, and environmental protection regulations. It is also important to work with contractors who have experience completing similar projects in restricted airspace.

Final Thoughts

Construction in restricted airspace areas requires significant planning, coordination, and compliance with FAA regulations to ensure safety and legal operation. Effective communication with aviation authorities, establishment of safety protocols, and compliance with environmental protection regulations are all critical for successful completion of construction projects in restricted airspace. By following best practices and working with an experienced and qualified team, construction projects in restricted airspace can be safely and successfully completed.

If you have a project near restricted airspace, contact our teams today for assistance.

Refrigeration is an essential aspect of food processing, allowing food to be stored safely and preserved for longer periods of time. Refrigeration systems are used in a variety of food processing applications, including meat and poultry, dairy, and fruit and vegetable processing. Designing and constructing an effective refrigeration system for food processing projects requires careful consideration of several critical elements. In today’s article, we will discuss each of these elements in detail and explore how they contribute to an efficient and effective refrigeration system.


1. The Heart of Refrigeration Systems: Compressors

The compressor is the heart of the refrigeration system, responsible for compressing the refrigerant gas and circulating it throughout the system. The compressor is typically located outside the refrigerated space, and its primary function is to increase the pressure and temperature of the refrigerant gas.

The compressor can be driven by an electric motor, gas engine, or steam turbine, depending on the specific requirements of the application. The type will depend on factors such as:

  • The size of the refrigeration system
  • The refrigerant used
  • The desired operating temperature range

2. Critical Support: The Condenser

The condenser is responsible for removing the heat from the refrigerant gas and turning it into a high-pressure liquid, which is better suited for removing heat from the refrigerated space. The condenser typically consists of a series of coils or tubes that are cooled by air or water. As the refrigerant gas passes through the condenser, it gives up its heat to the surrounding environment and condenses into a high-pressure liquid.

The choice of condenser type will depend on factors such as the size of the refrigeration system, the type of refrigerant used, and the available cooling source. For example, air-cooled condensers are typically used in smaller refrigeration systems, while water-cooled condensers are used in larger systems where a continuous source of cooling water is available. If the condenser is not working correctly, the refrigerant will not be able to give up enough heat, resulting in inadequate cooling of the refrigerated space and potentially compromising the safety and quality of the stored food products.

3. Maximizing Efficiency: The Evaporator

The evaporator is responsible for absorbing heat from the food or product being refrigerated and turning the liquid refrigerant back into a gas and typically consists of a series of coils or tubes that are located inside the refrigerated space.

As the liquid refrigerant passes through the evaporator, it absorbs heat from the surrounding environment and evaporates into a gas. By evaporating the refrigerant into a low-pressure, low-temperature gas, the evaporator reduces the workload on the compressor, which means that the system uses less energy and is more cost-effective to operate.

A properly functioning evaporator is needed, otherwise the refrigeration system wouldn’t be able to properly remove heat from the space. This could result in compromised safety and food quality.

4. The Refrigerant Flow Regulator: The Expansion Valve

The expansion valve is responsible for regulating the flow of refrigerant into the evaporator, which controls the amount of cooling that is delivered to the food or product. The expansion valve typically consists of a small, metering device that regulates the flow of liquid refrigerant into the evaporator. In larger systems where precise control over the refrigerant flow is required, electronic expansion valves are needed. The more common types of expansion valves include thermostatic expansion valves, which are used in small to medium-sized refrigeration systems.

5. The Lifeblood of the System: Refrigerant

In larger systems where precise control over the refrigerant flow is required, electronic expansion valves are needed. The more common types of expansion valves include thermostatic expansion valves, which are used in small to medium-sized refrigeration systems. Common refrigerants used in food processing applications include:

  • Ammonia
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)

Ammonia is a highly efficient refrigerant, widely used in large-scale food processing applications due to its excellent heat transfer properties. However, it is also highly toxic, which requires careful handling and monitoring to prevent leaks and ensure worker safety.

Carbon dioxide (CO2) is an environmentally friendly refrigerant that has gained popularity in recent years due to its low global warming potential (GWP). It is used in a variety of food processing applications, including refrigeration of meat and poultry, and as a cooling agent in freezing tunnels.

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are a group of synthetic refrigerants widely used in commercial refrigeration and air conditioning systems. However, due to their high GWP, they are being phased out in many countries in favor of more environmentally friendly alternatives such as natural refrigerants like CO2 and ammonia.

6. Preventing Heat Transfer: The Insulation

Insulation is critical for preventing heat transfer between the refrigerated space and the outside environment. Choosing the appropriate insulation will depend on factors including the desired operating temperature range, the size of the system, and the amount of space available for insulation. Two common types of insulation used in food processing applications include rigid foam insulation, which provides high thermal resistance and is easy to install, and spray foam insulation, which is more expensive but provides superior insulation performance and better air sealing.

Importantly, insulation must be considered for the entire space, including the refrigeration equipment, the walls, ceilings, and floor. Concrete slabs for instance, must have insulation below with heating of the slab to prevent the concrete from freezing and ‘heaving’ – where the slab expands uncontrollably and loses shape.

7. The Brains of the Operation: Control Systems

Control systems are essential for maintaining the desired temperature and humidity levels within the refrigerated space and predictably consists of a thermostat or temperature sensor that monitors the temperature in the refrigerated space, as well as a controller that adjusts the operation to maintain the desired temperature.

The choice of control system will depend on factors such as:

  • The desired level of control and automation
  • The volume of the refrigeration system
  • The available budget

There are common types of control systems that include simple thermostats to more sophisticated digital controllers that can be programmed to adjust refrigeration system operations based on time of day or product load.

8. Even Distribution: Air Circulation

Proper air circulation is necessary to ensure that the refrigerated air is distributed evenly throughout the space. The choice of air circulation system will depend on the capacity and layout of the refrigerated space and the level of control needed.
Common types of air circulation systems used in food processing applications include:

  • Natural convection- this relies on the natural movement of air to circulate refrigerated air
  • Forced-air systems- this uses fans to distribute refrigerated air more evenly throughout the space

9. Proper Waste Removal: Drainage

Proper drainage is essential to prevent moisture buildup within the refrigerated space. Improperly dealt with, moisture build-up can lead to mold and other issues. Types of drainage systems used in food processing applications include gravity drainage, which relies on the natural flow of water to drain moisture away from the refrigerated space, and pump-assisted drainage, which uses a pump to remove moisture from the space more quickly and efficiently.

10. Shining a Light on the Matter

Adequate lighting is necessary to facilitate operations, as well as inspection and maintenance activities within the refrigerated space. The choice of lighting will depend on various factors that include the overall volume and design of the space and available budget. Common types of lighting used in food processing applications include:

  • Fluorescent lighting, which provides bright, uniform lighting at a low cost
  • LED lighting, which is more energy-efficient and has a longer lifespan than fluorescent lighting

Lighting controls are often installed with occupancy sensors so that lights will turn on and off automatically, conserving energy while still providing occupants with the necessary lighting to navigate the area.

Considering All Elements

Designing and constructing an effective refrigeration system for food processing projects requires careful consideration of the above elements. Each of these plays a vital role in ensuring that the refrigeration system is reliable, efficient, and effective
in maintaining the required temperature and humidity levels for food safety and quality. To adequately deliver these spaces, expertise is required in several fields, including mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and refrigeration technology. It is essential to work with experienced professionals who understand the unique challenges and requirements of food processing applications to ensure that the refrigeration system is designed and constructed to meet the specific needs of the products.

Regular maintenance and inspection are necessary to identify and address issues before they become major problems, and proper repair and replacement of components are essential to ensure that the refrigeration system operates at peak performance. Several other factors should be considered when designing and constructing a refrigeration system for food processing projects, including:

  • Safety considerations, such as proper ventilation and leak prevention
  • Environmental concerns, such as utilizing environmentally friendly refrigerants, efficient insulation and lighting systems, as well as controls

Final Thoughts

Overall, the design and construction of an effective refrigeration system for food processing projects requires a comprehensive understanding of the various critical elements and factors that contribute to its performance and reliability. Working with experienced professionals and incorporating best practices and industry standards can help ensure that the refrigeration system meets the unique needs and challenges of food processing applications and delivers safe, high-quality, and cost-effective refrigeration solutions.

Whenever we win a project at Perlo, we follow the ancient tradition of ringing a bell to celebrate. It’s an opportunity for our employees to come together to hear the story of how we achieved the work, who will be the project team, and more. Bell ringing has a long and storied history that dates back centuries. It’s a tradition that has endured through the ages and has been embraced by cultures worldwide. Bell ringing has been essential in many societies, including the ancient Greeks, English and Americans.  

Today we will explore the history behind this ancient tradition and why we use bell ringing to celebrate our wins here at Perlo Construction.  


The Origins of Bell Ringing

The origins of bell ringing are somewhat murky, with various theories and legends surrounding its inception. One popular theory is that it originated in ancient China, where large bronze bells were used for timekeeping and as a means of signaling important events. It is believed that this practice spread to other parts of Asia and eventually made its way to Europe. Bells were also used in ancient Greece and Rome to signal the start of games and other events. In addition, some cultures once believed the sound of the bell could ward off evil spirits and bring good luck.

During the Middle Ages, bell ringing took on a new significance. Bells were used to make announcements and mark significant events such as weddings and funerals. Bells were also used to signal the time of day and to warn of impending danger, such as fires and attacks by enemy forces. In older maritime days, ship bells would be struck to mark a successful passage or used to sound off as an emergency alarm.

Farmers also historically used the cowbell to help identify their pastoral animals. They were placed around the animal’s neck, and when it was time to herd them in the evenings, the sound made it easier for them to be found by their owners. 

In England, bell ringing became highly developed during the 17th and 18th centuries. Towers were built with multiple bells that could be rung in complex patterns, creating a beautiful and intricate sound. As a result, bell ringing became a popular pastime, with groups of people gathering to practice and perform together. 

Bell ringing also played a significant role in the history of the American Revolution. In 1775, Paul Revere famously rode through the streets of Boston, warning of the arrival of British troops. He used bells to signal his message, and the echoes of the bells were heard throughout the city. This event is now known as the “Midnight Ride of Paul Revere“, an important moment in American history. 

Modernized Uses of the Bell

Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, bell ringing continued to evolve and change. Different techniques were developed, and bells were used in new and innovative ways. For example, in the United States, bells were used to signal the arrival of trains and to announce the opening and closing of stock markets. Bells were also used to mark powerful events, such as the end of World War II. “For Whom the Bell Tolls” by Ernest Hemingway takes its title from a line in meditation by John Donne about the tolling of bells for the dead.

Once the cash register was invented in the late 19th century, bells became commonplace whenever a sale was made. The register drawer would pop open, and a bell would make the now iconic “cha-ching” sound, thus becoming synonymous with making a sale. As a result, the National Cash Register Company created a film campaign during the 1950’s titled The Bell Heard Round the World to promote their company across the United States.

Bell Ringing at Perlo 

Ringing a bell in celebrations and events has continued today. Each time we win a project, our VP of Preconstruction Services, Chris McLaughlin, will ring the Perlo bell to celebrate our achievements. On his desk sits a small piece of history that has been in his family for at least one hundred years. His family used this small bell on their farm, where their sheep wore it as they roamed across 2000 acres. For those not in the office during this celebration, a virtual ‘bell ringing’ email is dispersed company-wide to share project details and allow all to see what work is coming down the line.  

This celebration of winning is an important piece of our company culture. Collaborative in nature, no project is ever won by a single person. Instead, each is won based on a variety of factors and the efforts of many. In fact, it can sometimes take years for a project to progress from concept to reality. It makes sense, then, that we gather to celebrate when a project is awarded to us and ready to move forward. Each celebration is an opportunity to acknowledge the win, the participants in achieving it, and to anticipate the work ahead.  

Final Thoughts

If you’d like to be a part of our award-winning bell-ringing team, visit our careers page, or contact us with your next commercial construction project you want the winning team to build right.  

Perlo is well known for its extensive, industrial, ground-up construction portfolio. A drive around the Portland Metro area’s commercial districts will surely include buildings completed by our teams. In fact, a recent review of the City of Canby demonstrated that Perlo has completed most of their tilt-up buildings, and a glance at the Wilsonville area shows much the same. It is less well-known that Perlo completes commercial construction in a wide variety of market sectors outside of the industrial space, including:

Approximately 30% of our project portfolio each year is made up of projects outside of the industrial market sector.

Additionally, roughly $25 million of our annual revenue to date is completed by our elite Special Projects Group, which is a dedicated cohort of project managers and superintendents that work exclusively on small repairs, renovations, tenant improvements and sustaining projects in every market sector we serve. Today, we will explore the history and growth of our talented Special Projects Group (SPG). They serve an important role in our organization, and they are often the backbone of developing new relationships, maintaining existing ones, and providing excellent customer service to our clients for the lifetime of their buildings. 


The Inspiration for SPG

The Special Projects Group was formally established in 2009 when Perlo’s ownership saw a need to better serve our customers between large building projects. Perlo would be commonly called out to expand a building or build an additional structure for a past client and, while touring their facility, discover that they’d hired a smaller contractor to complete minor renovations in between. It wasn’t that they didn’t want to use Perlo; it was that they didn’t think we would be interested in such small work. Unfortunately, the quality these owners received for these smaller projects was often poor. 

Thus, an idea was born: a dedicated group of project managers and superintendents that worked specifically on smaller projects, including repairs, renovations, tenant improvements and sustaining projects. 

Small Beginnings for SPG  

The ideation for this group was given to a two-person team in 2009. Armed with company resources and empowered to establish the department’s structure and flow, the two created a framework and performed small projects to the tune of $250,000 in revenue in the first year. Projects within the department included all kinds of small repairs, such as: 

  • Concrete slab repairs
  • Service repairs – bollards, door replacements, maintenance
  • Small wall repairs
  • Turning two offices into a single conference room
  • Tenant improvements
  • Floor restorations
  • Emergency repairs – vehicle crashes, roof collapses, storm damage

While the revenue number was small, the need for Perlo’s services was evident. Clients were delighted to find they could call on their trusted general contractor for both large and small project needs.

A Trajectory of Growth  

Following SPG’s creation in 2009, the group continued to grow and expand their volume, nearly doubling revenues each consecutive year. As the group grew, their processes refined, and the department structure became more precise, efficient, and highly effective. By 2018, the department had grown to nearly $ 17 million in annual revenue, with four full-time project managers and six field superintendents regularly completing these small construction projects for both current and new clients. Projects also continued to grow in technicality and complexity, including: 

Tuality Healthcare OR Remodel >

Re-construction of two operating rooms in an occupied medical facility to ensure code compliance and more modern working environment for surgery team.

Mahlum Architect TI >

Mahlum’s new, wide open floorplan is within the Custom Blocks Development, a location with built-in character from an old metal stamping shop.

The Duck Store Washington Square >

Tenant improvement of a 2, 300 SF retail shop for the famous Oregon “Ducks” team that doubled the size of the sales floor.

With a 24/7 emergency line, customers could call anytime for regular work, including emergency repairs. Some of these projects have included: 

VLMK Engineering + Design Repair and Renovation >

After a massive oak tree fell through the roof, our SPG team came in to repair and reconstruct this office building. The job entailed replacing all of the steel and Tectum tile roof structure as well as repairing the damaged concrete girders.

Les Schwab Sandy Boulevard

Existing building leaks combined with the snowstorm compromised the back wall of the alignment bay, spurring our teams to install shoring for temporary safety. A new replacement structure was designed and installed to replace the facility’s roof joists and rear wall.

Graybar Roof Collapse

This project consisted of the replacement of approximately 5,000 SF of the roof structure and associated lighting and roofing due to collapse under the snow load. Additionally, one (1) column and footing were found to have settled significantly under the weight of the snow.

In addition to these larger emergencies, SPG regularly completes repairs on existing spaces from vehicular collisions, damaged truck docks, forklift collisions at interior columns, and even a couple of building repairs due to trains colliding with exterior walls! For example, during the extreme 2021 winter storm, we promptly responded to six roof collapse emergencies and quickly repaired the majority.

Today’s Special Projects Group  

Currently, the team still services our existing and new clients for ongoing maintenance, repairs, and upgrades for all their project needs. In addition to service items, SPG is focused on bringing awareness of their experience in the Tenant Improvement market sectors, completing projects from small carpet and paint renovations to multi-million dollar build-outs. 

Our tenant improvement focus has received the most growth over the years, both in revenue and processes. The cohesive team works closely to coordinate labor and subcontractors for projects that are often fast-paced and mission-critical for our clients.  

Our talented and dynamic SPG stands out amongst the crowd for their ability to respond quickly and efficiently. Our superintendents are empowered to self-perform a multitude of work. Overall, our team holds exceptional awareness of tenant improvement skillsets and experience. 

Final Thoughts

Perlo’s Special Projects Group is available any time for repairs, renovations, tenant improvements and sustaining work. If you need these types of repairs, you can call us anytime at 503.624.2090 or email spg@perlo.biz to get connected today.   

Construction sites can be dangerous places, and the importance of creating safe jobsites cannot be overstated. Despite this fact, some people resist efforts to enhance safety on construction sites the world over. In the United States, significant efforts have been made to reduce injuries and deaths in the workplace, but there is still more work to be done. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 1,008 worker deaths on construction sites in 2020 alone. This accounts for 1 in 5 workplace deaths within this country.

In addition to fatalities, 1.1% of construction workers suffer an injury serious enough to result in missing days at work, and workers ages 25 – 34 were the most likely to sustain an injury on the job. The statistics for injuries and death are sobering. And yet, there is significant resistance to embracing efforts to increase safety. In this blog post, we will explore some of the reasons why this resistance occurs.


5 Reasons Why Increasing Safety Isn’t Prioritized

1. The Investment

One of the most common reasons for resistance to safe jobsites is cost. Implementing safety measures and equipment can be expensive, and some companies may be unwilling to invest the money required. This is especially true for small construction firms with limited resources. Some contractors may be more focused on maximizing profits than ensuring the safety of their workers. However, it’s important to note that investing in safety measures can actually save money in the long run. When workers are injured or killed on the job, it can lead to expensive lawsuits and workers’ compensation claims. Additionally, delays in construction due to accidents can be costly.

2. The Time Required

Creating a safe jobsite can also take time, which can be seen as a hindrance to construction progress. Some contractors may feel that they need to rush to complete a project on time and that safety measures will slow them down. However, it is important to prioritize safety over speed. Rushing a project can increase the risk of accidents and injuries, which will ultimately slow down progress.

3. Lack of Education

Another reason why people resist efforts to create safe jobsites is a lack of education. Some workers and contractors may not be aware of the hazards present on a construction site and the steps that can be taken to mitigate them. This can lead to a false sense of security and a lack of action to ensure safety. Providing education and training can help to alleviate this issue.

4. Lack of Enforcement

Even when safety measures are put in place, they may not be enforced properly. This can occur when there is a lack of oversight or accountability. Some contractors may choose to overlook safety violations in order to keep the project moving forward. Additionally, some workers may not follow safety protocols if they do not see their coworkers doing so. Proper enforcement and accountability are essential for creating a culture of safety on a construction site.

5. Resistance to Change

Finally, resistance to safe jobsites may occur simply because people are resistant to change. Some workers and contractors may be used to working in a certain way and may be resistant to implementing new safety measures. This can be especially true for seasoned workers who have been in the industry for a long time. It is important to provide education and training to help workers understand the importance of safety measures, and to address any concerns they may have about implementing new protocols.

Overcoming Resistance to Increasing Safety on Jobsites

Some possible solutions to overcome the resistance to safe jobsites in construction are:

Our Safety team selects one jobsite every month that had 100% safety rating for a sponsored lunch and company recognition.
Collaboration Within the Industry

Contractors, workers, and safety professionals should work collaboratively to create a safe working environment. This can be achieved by regularly holding safety meetings, identifying potential hazards, and brainstorming ways to mitigate those hazards.


Incentives to Workers

Providing incentives to workers and contractors who follow safety protocols can be an effective way to encourage compliance. Incentives could include bonuses, recognition, or other rewards.


Education and Training

As mentioned earlier, a lack of education and training is a common reason for resistance to safe jobsites. Providing regular safety education and training to workers and contractors can help them understand the importance of safety measures and the risks associated with not following them.

Enforcement

Proper enforcement and accountability are essential for creating a culture of safety on a construction site. This can include holding workers and contractors accountable for safety violations, implementing consequences for non-compliance, and ensuring that safety protocols are being followed at all times.

Technology

The use of technology can also play a role in creating safe jobsites. For example, the use of sensors, drones, and other monitoring devices can help identify potential hazards and allow for real-time monitoring of safety conditions.

Resources Available for Education and Training

There are many resources available that contractors can use to enhance their safety programs. Here are some examples:

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA

OSHA is a federal agency that provides guidelines and regulations for workplace safety. They have a wealth of resources available on their website, including training materials, hazard recognition and prevention guides, and compliance assistance.

National Safety Council

The NSC is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting workplace safety. They offer a variety of resources and services, including safety training courses, safety audits, and safety program development.

American Association of Safety Professionals

The ASSP is a professional organization for safety professionals. They provide training, certification, and networking opportunities for safety professionals in the construction industry.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

The ASSP is a professional organization for safety professionals. They provide training, certification, and networking opportunities for safety professionals in the construction industry.

Associated General Contractors of America

The AGC is a trade association for the construction industry. They offer a variety of resources and services, including safety training programs, safety management seminars, and safety best practices guides.

These are just a few examples of the many resources available to contractors to enhance their safety programs. By taking advantage of these resources, contractors can improve the safety of their workers and ensure the success of their projects.

Final Thoughts

Creating safe jobsites in construction is essential for the well-being of workers and the success of projects. However, resistance to these efforts can occur due to cost, time, lack of education, lack of enforcement, and resistance to change. By addressing these issues and prioritizing safety, we can create a culture of safety in the construction industry and prevent accidents and injuries.

Ultimately, creating safe jobsites in construction requires a collective effort from all parties involved. While there may be resistance to implementing safety measures, the long-term benefits of investing in safety far outweigh the short-term costs. By prioritizing safety, we can ensure that workers are protected, and that projects are completed efficiently and successfully.

Construction on the Coast of the Pacific Northwest can be a challenging endeavor due to a variety of factors, including weather, fewer qualified contractors, and distance to supplies, to name a few. However, with every challenge is opportunity.

In today’s blog post, we will explore some of the challenges that construction crews face when building on the coast and the solutions that have been developed to overcome them, as well as the opportunities that exist.


Weather-Related Challenges and Solutions in Coastal Construction

One of the biggest challenges of construction on the Pacific Northwest coast is the weather. The region is known for its rainy and windy climate, which can make it difficult to work outdoors or properly execute on elements such as concrete pouring and painting. Heavy rain can cause soil erosion, and high winds can make it dangerous to work at heights. Additionally, extreme storm events can cause significant damage to buildings and construction sites.

Astoria, located on the Northern coast of Oregon, experiences average rainfall of around 70” per year. Even during the driest month of July, Astoria still averages .8” and 8 days of rainfall. To mitigate these weather-related challenges, builders on the Pacific Northwest coast use a variety of techniques.

Evaluating the site for potential hazards, including:

  • Unstable soil
  • Steep slopes
  • Unstable or damaged trees

Mitigating these risks before starting construction work makes a big difference in the safety and efficiency of the site. Managing these hazards may include installing drainage systems to prevent soil erosion or using retaining walls to stabilize slopes. Safety practices can also include removing hazardous trees or limbs before engaging in other construction activities.

Using materials that are specifically designed to withstand the region’s climate. For example:

  • Utilize concrete in lieu of wood for exteriors.
  • Install special coatings and/or sealants to protect against moisture and other weather-related damage.
  • Ensure steel is galvanized, stainless, or otherwise protected from moisture to prevent rust from occurring.
  • Installing flood-resistant insulation; Closed-cell foam insulation and other water-resistant insulation materials help minimize moisture absorption.
  • Using marine-grade plywood, which is treated with water-resistant chemicals, making it more resistant to moisture damage.

Contractors must also utilize extensive temporary protection measures, which may include creating tented spaces, or using out-of-the-box scheduling strategies to erect shell structures prior to pouring interior slabs.

Adapting Construction Plans: Balancing Environmental Concerns with Building Needs

In addition to weather-related challenges, construction on the Pacific Northwest coast also faces unique environmental challenges. The region is home to a diverse array of plant and animal species, many of which are protected by state and federal laws. Builders must take care not to disturb these species or their habitats during construction.

To address these environmental challenges, builders may work with environmental consultants and other experts to develop plans for minimizing the impact of construction on the local ecosystem. This may involve installing erosion control measures, such as silt fences or straw wattles, to prevent soil from washing into nearby streams or wetlands. Builders may also need to modify construction plans to avoid sensitive areas or to provide alternative habitats for displaced wildlife.

Logistical Challenges and Solutions in Rural, Coastal Locations

In addition to environmental challenges, construction on the Pacific Northwest coast also faces logistical challenges. The region’s remote location and rugged terrain can make it difficult to transport materials and equipment to construction sites. This can increase costs and slow down construction schedules. These challenges will largely depend on the size and complexity of the work, as well as materials required.

To overcome these logistical challenges, builders may investigate and implement a variety of transportation methods. For extremely large materials, barges or helicopters may be used. Road transportation is the most common option for deliveries, but coordination for off-loading, road expansions and other modifications may be necessary.

Ideally, contractors work with local suppliers and trade partners to minimize transportation costs and ensure the timely delivery of materials. It’s also critical to evaluate the transportation challenges during the preconstruction process to identify alternative building methods.

Innovations in Coastal Construction: New Techniques and Technologies

Some builders are embracing the region’s unique challenges as an opportunity to innovate and develop new construction methods and techniques. For example, exploring and using modular construction techniques, which involve constructing building components off-site and then assembling them on-site. This approach can help to minimize the impact of weather-related delays and reduce transportation costs.

Other builders are using advanced materials and technologies to create buildings that are more resilient and energy-efficient. For example, some buildings on the Pacific Northwest coast are designed to be “net-zero” energy buildings, which generate as much energy as they consume over the course of a year.

Other building techniques and sustainability strategies include:

Site Selection and Planning

Choosing sites that have minimal ecological impact and avoiding areas with high erosion or flood risk. Integrating natural features such as wetlands and wildlife habitats into the design to preserve biodiversity.

Energy Efficiency

Using high-performance insulation, energy-efficient windows, and energy recovery ventilation systems to minimize heat loss and reduce energy consumption. Installing solar panels, wind turbines, or geothermal systems for renewable energy generation.

Water Conservation

Employing rainwater harvesting systems, gray water recycling, and low-flow fixtures to reduce water consumption.

Minimizing Maintenance

Implementing native landscaping to minimize maintenance needs.

Green Building

Using locally-sourced, recycled, or low-impact materials to reduce the carbon footprint of construction. Examples include using reclaimed wood, recycled metal, and low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paints and finishes.

Implementing construction waste management plans to minimize waste generation and promote recycling or reuse of materials.

Indoor Environmental Quality

Ensuring adequate ventilation and air filtration to reduce indoor air pollutants. Using low-VOC materials and finishes to minimize off-gassing and improve indoor air quality.

Constructing Resilient Buildings

Another coastal challenge is the risk of an earthquake or tsunami. The primary source comes from the Cascadia Subduction Zone (CSZ), a 600-mile-long fault line that stretches from Northern California to British Columbia, Canada. The CSZ is where the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate is being forced beneath the North American plate. This subduction process builds up tremendous stress over time, which can be released suddenly as large earthquakes.

Reducing these risks often starts with seismic building codes, early warning systems, tsunami evacuation routes and public education and preparedness. Oregon and Washington’s building codes both include robust measures for seismic resilience in new structures, which creates a baseline framework for seismically resilient buildings.

Additionally, passive survivability features in buildings are elements that help maintain habitable conditions during and after a disaster, even when active systems such as electricity and heating are not available. Passive survivability features can include:

Passive Solar Design

Orienting the building and designing windows, walls, and floors to maximize solar heat gain during the winter and minimize it during the summer, ensuring a comfortable indoor temperature without relying on active heating and cooling systems.

Natural Ventilation

Designing windows, doors, and vents to promote cross-ventilation and air circulation, reducing the need for mechanical ventilation and air conditioning. Using passive ventilation strategies, such as stack ventilation or strategically placed vents, to promote air circulation and manage moisture levels. In wet climates, proper ventilation is crucial to prevent condensation and maintain a healthy indoor environment.

Thermal Mass

Incorporating materials with high thermal mass, like concrete or brick, to help maintain stable indoor temperatures by absorbing and releasing heat slowly.

Daylighting

Designing windows and skylights to maximize natural light and reduce reliance on artificial lighting.

Rainwater Harvesting

Collecting and storing rainwater for non-potable uses, such as flushing toilets and irrigation, reducing the need for municipal water supply during emergencies.

Insulation

Use high-performance insulation materials to minimize heat loss through the building envelope. Properly insulating walls, floors, and roofs helps to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures and reduce heating requirements.

Airtightness

Seal gaps and cracks in the building envelope to prevent drafts and air infiltration. Airtight construction helps to retain heat and reduce the risk of moisture-related issues, such as mold and condensation.

Thermal Bridge-Free Construction

Minimize thermal bridges by carefully designing the building’s structural connections and using insulating materials. Thermal bridges are areas where heat is transferred more rapidly between the interior and exterior, reducing energy efficiency.

By incorporating passive building measures in new construction, structures in cold and wet climates can achieve improved energy efficiency, occupant comfort, and reduced environmental impact.

Final Thoughts

Overall, construction on the Pacific Northwest coast presents a unique set of challenges that require careful planning, collaboration, and innovation. By working together and using a variety of techniques and technologies, builders on the coast can overcome these challenges and create structures that are both durable and environmentally responsible.

Last week, we celebrated the 25th annual Women in Construction week, a time dedicated to championing women in the industry. This year’s theme, ‘Many Paths, One Mission,’ celebrated the different journeys women have taken toward the same goal: strengthening and amplifying the success of women in construction.

We’re sitting down with Meghan Looney, Director of Human Resources at Perlo, to learn about her path into construction. As an employee of more than 8 years, Meghan’s background in marketing and public relations and her passion for people led to reforming human resources operations entirely at Perlo, and reimagining a company that is now recognized as an award-winning workplace culture.


1. What is your role at Perlo?

As the Director of Human Resources, I facilitate recruiting, company policies, benefits and compensation, performance reviews, legal compliance for employment, training and development, company communications and culture, and internal events. All that said, and simply put: I like to think I work to find good people and ensure our current people are happy with their work and employment at Perlo.

2. What led you to work in Human Resources?

I never thought of a career in human resources until I got to Perlo. I started in 2014 as a marketing coordinator, and through that, I was exposed to our unique family-feel environment. I fell in love our people saw a need for a more robust human resources department when we rapidly grew, and our people needed more tools to propel forward. So I spoke up about that! The position came naturally with my experience in public relations, communications and marketing, and my extroverted personality helped! Let’s just say the rest is history!

3. What is your favorite part of working for a construction company?

There are so many things I love about working in this industry! First, I love meeting and recruiting great people and helping them find their potential at Perlo, just like how I found my niche. Second, I enjoy welcoming and setting our new employees up for success. It’s important for me to support and empower our employees to reach their greatest potential, so they can give their best selves to the company, team members and our clients. I’m equally for our people and for our company. I am so proud of our work and know wholeheartedly that our people are the reason we do it so well.

Additionally, it’s rewarding to know that I help play a vital role in constructing a project, whether new construction or tenant improvements. I enjoy being a part of something bigger and seeing how our physical work, blood, sweat and tears positively impact the lives of many people, families and communities.

4. Recruiting is a hot topic. What challenges do you see to people wanting to enter this industry?

It’s different with office and field positions. For the office, it’s the unknown. We have people who intentionally got into construction, but we have a lot of people who only knew what construction work meant once they were here. I think the wide variety of people with diverse backgrounds are a testament to the great career opportunities this field offers.

On the field side, work in the trades can be challenged by inconsistent hours. In addition, with field work being cyclical, layoffs are common. We work hard to keep our crew members busy, even if we have a slowdown. There are also challenges for individuals to find enough consistent work as an intern, requiring travel, odd hours, things like that. If you have family duties and obligations, this kind of inconsistency can be a real trial.

I see the behind the scenes and how hard we work to keep our great workers busy, and it’s sometimes different at other companies. Employment at Perlo means something different. You aren’t just a number; you don’t get lost in the shuffle. I see our leadership standing by the Perlo Way every day and it really makes our team easy to sell.

5. What are the challenges facing our industry in the near and long term?

There are many exciting opportunities, but still some challenges. The more significant one, not surprisingly, is labor shortages. As construction continues to grow and we expand into different regions due to the lack of developable land, we need to get creative with how we recruit talented professionals willing to put in the hard work required to make it in construction.

6. As a female, do you feel you face barriers in your work?

No, I don’t. In general, Perlo’s company culture would not allow for that. But I also make a conscious effort to insert myself into conversations and to have my own voice. I don’t accept that I could be treated as ‘less’ than others because of my gender, and I don’t feel like I am. I know I have value to bring here, and others respect me for that.

I don’t take my role as a woman in construction lightly. As a mother of young daughters, I want women and girls to know we have a place in construction and so much to offer this industry.

7. What do you wish more people knew about working in the construction industry?

Our industry has a wide range of jobs – there’s a place for everyone! It’s amazing the extent of backgrounds and experiences that are accepted into this industry and apply very well to the work. I had no idea what I would do for a construction company. I’ve been here 8 years and now understand how I add value, but I can see where others might not know how they initially fit into a construction company. There are so many supporting departments – safety, marketing, accounting, project support, training, IT, and warehouse. There’s something for everyone – just reach out!

8. What advice do you have for individuals wanting to enter the construction industry?

Go for it. Be confident but humble, ask questions and be willing to learn. Find what motivates you, embrace challenges, be a good teammate, stay positive, stay hungry, and let your walls down, but stay true to yourself and be the best you can be. And lastly, don’t be afraid to get out on-site and get dirty! Maybe it’s cheesy . . . but it’s all true! Know your value and bring it with you every day.

9. Is there anything else you’d like to share about your career and/or work here at Perlo?

I’ve never found a work environment or culture as we have here at Perlo. I’m so proud of our team members. We do very challenging, hard work, but we have a genuine, fun, and collaborative culture that makes the stress of the job easier and enjoyable. We carry the burden together and celebrate together, which makes the challenges exciting and worthwhile. We celebrate our achievements and learn from our mistakes. I’ve never found or seen this kind of culture elsewhere, and I’m so proud to be a part of it and grateful for it.

Final Thoughts

We’d like to thank Meghan for taking the time to share her work and experience at Perlo and in the construction industry. If you’re interested in careers in construction, take a look at our Careers page for more information! If you’d like to check out more of our Women in Construction series, visit our Newsroom page.

When it comes to the world of construction, women are vastly underrepresented. In the overall labor force, there is roughly a 50-50 split between men and women, compared to only 9% of workers in the construction trades in the United States being women, according to the National Association of Women in Construction

The lack of diversity in the construction trades is not just limited to gender. People of color are also underrepresented in the field. According to the National Association of Minority Contractors, only 6.4% of construction workers in the United States are African American, 2.6% are Asian, and 2.5% are Hispanic.

The construction trades are one of the last industries to integrate women and people of color into its workforce, even though the number of women obtaining degrees in engineering and architecture has been increasing.


Barriers Against Women Joining Construction Trades

There are many barriers that prevent women from joining the construction trades. Some of these barriers include:

1. Lack of role models

One of the biggest barriers to women joining construction trades is the lack of role models. When girls and young women don’t see other women in the industry, it is hard to envision construction as a viable career option for themselves. This lack of representation also makes it harder for women to find mentors and support networks in the industry.

2. Stereotypes

Construction is seen as a male-dominated industry, reinforcing stereotypes about women being less capable than men in physically demanding and technically skilled jobs. Stereotypes can be challenging to overcome, discourage women from pursuing careers in construction, and make them feel unwelcome in the industry.

3. Unconscious bias

Unconscious bias is a type of bias that is not necessarily intentional but can still significantly impact on women in the workplace. For example, a hiring manager might unconsciously favor male candidates for construction jobs, even if they are equally as qualified as female candidates. This bias can prevent women from being hired or advancing in their careers in the construction industry.

What is unconscious bias?
Unconscious bias refers to attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions, without us even realizing it. It occurs when our brains automatically process information based on past experiences, cultural norms, and societal messages, and can lead to unfair treatment of individuals or groups. Unconscious bias is often unintentional and can be difficult to recognize, which is why it can be so harmful in the workplace and other areas of life. However, by becoming more aware of our biases and taking steps to mitigate their impact, we can create a more fair and equitable environment for everyone.

4. Lack of family-friendly policies

The construction industry often requires long hours and irregular schedules, making it difficult for women with more traditional caregiving responsibilities to balance work and family life. The industry also lacks family-friendly policies, such as paid parental leave and flexible work arrangements, making balancing work and family responsibilities even more challenging.

The lack of family-friendly policies in the construction trades can affect men as well as women. Men with caregiving responsibilities, such as those who have children or aging parents to care for, can also face challenges in balancing work and family responsibilities.

In a culture where work-life balance is not highly valued, men may feel pressure to prioritize work over family responsibilities, leading to increased stress, burnout, and potential strain on family relationships. This can be particularly difficult in an industry like construction, which often requires long hours, physically demanding work, and irregular schedules.

5. Harassment and discrimination

Unfortunately, the construction industry has a reputation for harassment and discrimination against women. According to a survey by the National Women’s Law Center, 80% of women in the construction industry reported experiencing sexual harassment on the job. This type of behavior can make women feel unsafe and unwelcome in the industry.

Efforts to Increase Diversity in Construction Trades

Despite these barriers, many efforts underway to increase diversity in the construction industry. Some of these efforts include:

1. Mentoring Programs

Mentoring programs can be a great way to support and guide women entering the construction industry. In addition, these programs can be an invaluable resource for women in the trades, breaking down barriers and helping them advance in their careers while creating a more inclusive and diverse construction industry.

There are several industry groups and organizations that have established mentorship programs for women in the trades. Here are a few examples:

National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC)

NAWIC is a professional organization that advocates for the advancement of women in the construction industry. They offer mentorship programs to connect women with experienced professionals in the industry who can provide guidance and support.

Women in Construction Operations (WiOPS)

WiOPS is a non-profit organization that provides networking and professional development opportunities for women in construction operations. They offer a mentorship program that pairs women in the industry with experienced professionals for one-on-one support.