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 Van Dyke | 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


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:


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.


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.  


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.


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) 


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. 


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:


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.”


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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. 


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)


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)


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.


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.



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.


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.


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.


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.


Budgets are typically utilized during the preconstruction process, before final design drawings are complete.



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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Professional Women in Building (PWB)

PWB is a council within the NAHB that supports women in the home building industry. They offer mentorship programs at both the local and national levels to connect women in the industry with mentors who can help guide them in their careers.

Women Construction Owners & Executives (WCOE)

WCOE is a national organization that advocates for women-owned businesses in the construction industry. They offer a mentorship program that pairs women business owners with experienced professionals who can offer guidance on business development and growth.

2. Role models

Having visible and successful women in leadership positions can help to break down stereotypes and encourage more women to pursue careers in construction. This can also help to create a culture that is more welcoming to women. Having women in high level positions is important for many reasons, including providing representation, leadership, and mentorship. When women see other women in positions of power and influence, it can inspire and motivate them to pursue similar roles and to see what’s possible for their own careers. This is especially important in industries like the construction trades, where women have traditionally been underrepresented.

Women in high level positions can also provide important leadership, by bringing a diversity of perspectives and experiences to the table. This can lead to better decision making, more creative problem solving, and a more inclusive workplace culture.

In addition to representation and leadership, women in high level positions can serve as mentors and role models for other women in the industry. They can share their own experiences, offer guidance and support, and help to open doors for the next generation of women in the field. This can be particularly important for women who may not have access to other mentors or role models in their immediate network.

3. Addressing unconscious bias

Training programs that address unconscious bias can help to reduce the impact of bias in hiring and promotion decisions. This can help to ensure that women are evaluated fairly based on their skills and experience, rather than gender.

4. Family-friendly policies

Offering family-friendly policies, such as flexible schedules and paid parental leave, can help to attract and retain women in the construction industry. However, these policies can also benefit all employees, regardless of gender.

In 2019, Oregon became the eighth state in the United States to pass a paid family leave law, which provides employees with up to 12 weeks of paid time off to care for a new child or a family member with a serious health condition. The Oregon Paid Family and Medical Leave Law (PFML) allows eligible employees to take leave for the birth, adoption, or foster placement of a child, as well as to care for a seriously ill family member or to address their own serious health condition. The leave is paid at a percentage of the employee’s wage, up to a maximum benefit amount.

The PFML program is funded by a payroll tax on both employees and employers. Starting in 2023, employers will be required to contribute 40% of the total payroll tax, with employees contributing the remaining 60%. The program is administered by the Oregon Employment Department, which will provide benefits to eligible employees.

Overall, the Oregon PFML law is part of a growing trend in the United States to expand access to paid family leave, recognizing the importance of supporting working families and caregivers in balancing work and family responsibilities.

5. Addressing harassment and discrimination

Addressing harassment and discrimination head-on is lawful and essential for creating a safe and welcoming environment for women and people of color. In addition, education and supplemental company-wide policies and procedures for reporting and addressing incidents add another layer of support for all people. There are several programs across the United States that are in place to reduce harassment and discrimination in the construction trades. Here are a few examples:

Stand Against Racism
A program by YWCA USA that seeks to eliminate racism and promote diversity and inclusion. The program provides resources and training to organizations to help them address issues of racism and discrimination in the workplace, including the construction industry.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)
Federal agency that focuses on workplace safety and health. They offer resources and training to help employers and workers prevent workplace violence, including harassment and discrimination.

The National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER)
Non-profit organization that provides training and certification for workers in the construction industry. They offer courses on diversity and harassment prevention to help workers understand the impact of their behavior and language on others, and how to create a more inclusive and respectful workplace.

The Construction Industry Alliance for Suicide Prevention
A group of industry organizations and individuals that aims to promote mental health awareness and suicide prevention in the construction industry. They provide resources and training to help workers recognize and address issues such as harassment, bullying, and discrimination, which can contribute to mental health problems.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
A federal agency that enforces laws against workplace discrimination. They offer training and resources to help employers and employees understand their rights and responsibilities under the law, and how to prevent and respond to harassment and discrimination.

Final Thoughts

The underrepresentation of women in construction trades is a complex issue. There are a variety of barriers that prevent women from pursuing careers in the industry. However, there are many efforts underway to increase diversity in the field, including mentoring programs, addressing unconscious bias, and implementing family-friendly policies. Addressing harassment and discrimination in the industry is essential for creating a safe and welcoming environment for women. By taking these steps, we can work towards a more diverse and inclusive construction industry that benefits everyone involved.

Continuing our Construction Terms series this week, we’re covering Requests for Information, more commonly known as RFI’s. If you missed our first article in this series, check out Construction Terms: Submittals to learn about the value and process of submittals in commercial construction.

What are RFI’s in Commercial Construction?

Requests for Information (RFI’s) are a standard communication tool used in the construction industry to request information or clarification from the project team. RFI’s can be submitted by any member of the project team, but they are most commonly used by the contractor or subcontractor.

RFI’s can help ensure that a construction project is completed on time, within budget, and to the required quality standards. However, it is also important to ensure that RFI’s are being used appropriately and that they do not cause unnecessary delays or expenses.

According to the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA), RFI’s are a vital component of the construction process, as they help ensure that documents are interpreted and implemented correctly, and that the project meets the owner’s requirements and expectations. The CMAA recommends that owners establish clear procedures for submitting and responding to RFI’s, and that they monitor RFI activity to ensure that RFI’s are being used effectively and efficiently.

The purpose of an RFI is to seek clarification or to resolve discrepancies or uncertainties in construction plans, drawings, and specifications.

Streamlining the RFI Process in Construction

To ensure that RFI’s are being used appropriately for a commercial construction project, team members should take the following steps:

1. Establish Clear Communication Channels

The first step in ensuring that RFI’s are being used appropriately is to establish clear communication channels between the project team members. The team must be clear on the proper procedures for submitting and responding to RFI’s. This can help to prevent confusion and misunderstandings and ensure that everyone is on the same page.

2. Monitor RFI Activity

Monitor RFI activity on the project to ensure that they are being used appropriately and not causing unnecessary delays or expenses. By monitoring RFI activity, owners representatives can identify any issues or trends that may be affecting the project’s progress and take action to address them.

To track RFI’s effectively, it’s important to assign a unique identifier to each RFI. This can be a number or a code that can be used to identify the RFI throughout the construction process. By assigning a unique identifier to each, owners can easily track their status and ensure that they are being addressed in a timely manner.

Additionally, RFI’s can be tracked by type and priority to help prioritize which RFI’s need to be addressed first. This can be done using color codes or labels that help to identify which RFI’s are high priority, and which are low priority. By categorizing RFI’s, owners can ensure that the most critical RFI’s are addressed first, helping to avoid delays and additional costs.

3. Evaluate the Quality of RFI’s

Contractors should aim for high quality RFI’s, ensuring that they are clear, concise, and address the specific issues or questions that need to be resolved. This can help to minimize the number of RFI’s submitted and prevent confusion or misunderstandings. Construction teams should also ensure that RFI’s are written in a professional manner and are free of any unnecessary or irrelevant information.

4. Review and Approve RFI’s Promptly

RFI’s should be reviewed and responded to promptly to avoid delays in the construction process. Timely approval can help to ensure that the project stays on schedule and within budget. It is also important that the contractor submit RFI’s in a timely manner so that decision making isn’t rushed.

5. Use Technology to Streamline the RFI Process

Project teams can use technology, such as construction project management software, to streamline the RFI process and make it more efficient. This can help to reduce the time and effort required to submit and respond to RFI’s, which can help to keep the project on track. By using technology to streamline RFI’s, owners can also reduce the likelihood of errors or omissions in the process.

6. Ensure RFI’s are Necessary

Before submitting an RFI, it is important to ensure that it is necessary. Unnecessary RFI’s can lead to additional time and costs, as well as needless interruptions to the project team. Team members should make certain that all RFI’s are needed and are addressing specific issues or questions that cannot be resolved through other means.

7. Identify Trends and Patterns in RFI’s

Team members should also identify trends and patterns in RFI’s to help identify any issues that may be impacting the project’s progress. By identifying trends and patterns, owners can take corrective action to address any underlying issues or concerns that are causing RFI’s to be submitted in the first place.

8. Communicate Clearly and Effectively

Finally, it is important to communicate clearly and effectively with the project team to ensure that RFI’s are being used appropriately. Owners should ensure that all communication is clear, concise, and professional, and that all team members are aware of the proper procedures for submitting and responding to RFI’s.

RFI’s are an important tool for ensuring that construction projects are completed on time and within budget. However, they can also lead to additional costs and delays if they are not managed effectively.

Final Thoughts
RFI’s are an important communication tool in commercial construction projects. To utilize them properly, project teams should:

– Establish clear communication channels,
– Monitor RFI activity,
– Evaluate the quality of RFI’s,
– Review and approve RFI’s promptly,
– Use technology to streamline the process,
– Ensure RFI’s are necessary,
– Identify trends and patterns in RFI’s,
– Communicate clearly and effectively to ensure that RFI’s are being used appropriately.

By taking the necessary steps to ensure that RFI’s are being used effectively, teams can make sure the project is completed on time, within budget, and to the required quality standards. If you’re ready to engage with a general contractor that has solid processes in place for managing projects, contact us today!

In recent years, the construction industry has seen significant advances in technology, from building information modeling (BIM) to drones and virtual reality (VR). These technologies are revolutionizing the way commercial construction projects are planned, designed, and executed, and are helping to improve safety, efficiency, and quality.

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at some of the key technological advancements that are changing the face of commercial construction.

Building Information Modeling (BIM)

BIM is an advanced 3D modeling technology that allows architects, engineers, and construction professionals to create a virtual model of a building, including its structural and mechanical systems. This model can then be used to simulate different scenarios and test the performance of the building before construction begins. BIM technology can also be used to generate detailed schedules and cost estimates, reducing the risk of delays and cost overruns.

BIM has become an essential tool for commercial construction projects, as it allows stakeholders to visualize the final product before construction even begins. This helps to identify potential design issues and allows for more efficient project planning. By using BIM technology, architects, engineers, and contractors can work together more effectively, resulting in better communication and collaboration. BIM has also proven to be a valuable tool for facilities management, as the model can be updated and used to plan maintenance and repairs.

Key Takeaways
  • Advanced 3D modeling technology for creating a virtual model of a building
  • Simulates different scenarios and tests building performance before construction begins
  • Generates detailed schedules and cost estimates

Virtual Reality

Virtual reality (VR) technology is another game-changer in the construction industry. VR headsets and software allow designers, contractors, and clients to experience a building before it is constructed, providing a more immersive experience than traditional 2D renderings. This technology can be used to simulate different design options and provide a realistic view of the finished product, allowing stakeholders to make more informed decisions.

VR technology can also be used to train workers and identify potential safety hazards. By simulating different construction scenarios, workers can learn the necessary skills and techniques in a safe and controlled environment. VR technology can also be used to identify potential safety hazards on the job site, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries.

Key Takeaways
  • Allows designers, contractors, and clients to experience a building before it is constructed
  • Provides a more immersive experience than traditional 2D renderings
  • Can be used to simulate different design options and provide a realistic view of the finished product


Drones are becoming increasingly popular in the construction industry, as they allow for aerial inspections of building sites, reducing the need for manual inspections. Drones equipped with cameras and sensors can provide detailed 3D maps of construction sites, allowing for better monitoring of progress and identifying potential safety hazards. They can also be used to inspect hard-to-reach areas, such as roofs and facades, making it easier to identify potential issues.

Drones can also be used for site surveys, mapping, and modeling, allowing for more accurate site planning and design. In addition, drones can help to reduce the time and cost associated with traditional surveying methods, as they can cover large areas quickly and efficiently.

Key Takeaways
  • Provide aerial inspections of building sites, reducing the need for manual inspections
  • Provide detailed 3D maps of construction sites for better monitoring of progress and identifying potential safety hazards
  • Can be used for site surveys, mapping, and modeling, reducing the time and cost associated with traditional surveying methods

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI) is becoming an increasingly important tool in the construction industry, as it allows for more accurate project planning and risk management. AI algorithms can analyze large data sets to identify patterns and predict potential risks and delays, allowing stakeholders to make more informed decisions. AI can also be used to optimize construction schedules, reducing the risk of cost overruns and delays.

AI can also be used to monitor job site safety, as it can identify potential hazards and provide real-time alerts to workers and supervisors. By using sensors and cameras, AI can detect potential safety hazards, such as falls or collisions, and alert workers to take corrective action.

Key Takeaways
  • Analyzes large data sets to identify patterns and predict potential risks and delays
  • Optimizes construction schedules, reducing the risk of cost overruns and delays
  • Monitors job site safety, identifying potential hazards and providing real-time alerts to workers and supervisors


Robots are being used in the construction industry to perform tasks that are dangerous or difficult for humans to perform. For example, robots can be used to lay bricks, pour concrete, and perform other tasks that require precision and speed. By using robots for these tasks, construction companies can increase productivity, reduce costs, and improve safety.

In addition to these benefits, robots can also be used to perform repetitive or physically demanding tasks, such as digging, grading, and demolition. This can reduce the risk of worker injuries and allow workers to focus on higher-value tasks.

Key Takeaways
  • Used for tasks that are dangerous or difficult for humans to perform, such as laying bricks, pouring concrete, and performing other tasks that require precision and speed
  • Reduces the risk of worker injuries and allows workers to focus on higher-value tasks
  • Can perform repetitive or physically demanding tasks, such as digging, grading, and demolition

Images source:

Autonomous Equipment

Autonomous equipment, such as self-driving trucks and excavators, is also becoming more common in the construction industry. These machines use sensors and cameras to navigate job sites and perform tasks without the need for human intervention. By using autonomous equipment, construction companies can reduce labor costs, improve safety, and increase productivity.

These machines can also be used to perform tasks in hazardous environments, such as mines or disaster areas, where it may be too dangerous for humans to work. Autonomous equipment can also work around the clock, increasing productivity and reducing project timelines.

Key Takeaways
  • Self-driving trucks and excavators that use sensors and cameras to navigate job sites and perform tasks without the need for human intervention
  • Reduces labor costs, improves safety, and increases productivity
  • Can perform tasks in hazardous environments, where it may be too dangerous for humans to work

Cloud Computing

Cloud computing has become an essential tool for construction companies, as it allows for real-time collaboration and communication between stakeholders. By using cloud-based software, project managers, architects, engineers, and contractors can share information and data, reducing the risk of miscommunication and errors. Cloud computing can also improve project visibility, allowing stakeholders to monitor progress and identify potential issues in real-time.

In addition, cloud computing can be used to store and share project documents, such as drawings, schedules, and specifications. This can help to reduce the risk of data loss and provide a secure platform for sharing sensitive information.

Key Takeaways
  • Allows for real-time collaboration and communication between stakeholders
  • Reduces the risk of miscommunication and errors
  • Improves project visibility, allowing stakeholders to monitor progress and identify potential issues in real-time

Final Thoughts

Advances in technology are revolutionizing the commercial construction industry, allowing for more efficient and safer project planning, design, and execution. Building Information Modeling, drones, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous equipment, and cloud computing are just some of the many technological advancements that are changing the face of commercial construction.

As technology continues to evolve, it is important for construction companies to embrace these changes and stay up-to-date with the latest trends and tools. By doing so, they can improve project outcomes, reduce costs, and improve safety for workers and stakeholders.

At Perlo, our people are the secret to our success. Whether at a jobsite or in our office, you will find 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. In this article, we sit down with one of the biggest proponents of our core values and VP of Business Development, Todd Duwe.

With over 30 years in the construction industry, Todd shares his personal journey and influences, what working for Perlo means to him, and what he sees for the future in construction.

1. What is your role at Perlo?

My primary role is to bring in new construction projects through relationship building, developing strategies, and most importantly, leveraging our greatest resource…our people. Because I ran projects for over 20 years, I’m also able to engage with our project teams and clients to help bridge the gap from initial award to preconstruction.

I’m a big collaborator so project engagement, however minor, allows me to keep a pulse on the core of what our business does. It also helps keep me fulfilled.

2. How did you get started in construction?

2023 is my 30th year in the industry, so this question takes me back a bit. After graduating from Oregon State University, I joined a local architecture firm that specialized in healthcare design. While I was there, I worked up construction documents using AutoCAD, including everything from basic floor plans and building sections to specific details. After two years, I started my construction career with a local general contractor. My first project was the preconstruction and estimation of a seismic upgrade for a large hospital.

With my background in design and ability to efficiently interpret a set of documents, I was given a tremendous amount of responsibility early on. Because of this, I quickly fell in love with the industry.

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

I really like Perlo Practice #1, “do what’s right.” In my mind, it is similar to the “Golden Rule” of treating others as one wants to be treated, which is a value my parents instilled in me. It can be applied to many different situations and is an overarching guiding principle that I use every day.

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

I believe future changes will revolve around managing supply chain issues, the labor force, and focusing on sustainability. Also, advancements in technology will always have an impact on construction as we’re constantly seeing innovative ways to complete and manage projects. The increased use of more environmentally friendly materials combined with building techniques, such as prefabrication and 3D printing is becoming a significant focus of the industry. We’re beginning to see how important these initiatives are to local jurisdictions and decisions that owners are making.

It takes good leadership to make the right decisions, and Perlo Construction has a leadership team that continuously reviews future trends and strategies to achieve greatness. In addition, we encourage all our people, no matter what position they’re in, to participate in making improvements to our business practices. This kind of “ground up” ingenuity is what will keep Perlo moving forward with innovative strategies and techniques for construction.

5.What is your pet peeve?

I’m a pretty easy-going guy, but if I had to choose something, it would be the lack of someone saying the two simple words: “Thank you”.  It sounds so simple and yet it is forgotten far too often. Genuine, sincere appreciation can really help drive your co-workers to greatness. I value a culture of team building, respect, and hard work, and I like to see people appreciated for those efforts.      

6. What do you like to do for fun?

My wife and I have three children ranging from a fourth grader to teenager, so we’re pretty busy with sports and school activities. When we get the chance, we like to travel and be active outdoors. Our favorite places to visit are Sunriver and Hawaii. I also love to golf.

7. What or who inspires you?

My wife inspires me. She is a registered nurse at a children’s hospital and takes care of the most critically ill kids and their families. When I think that I have had a bad day, and then listen to the stories she brings home from work . . . well, it puts things into perspective. Let’s just say she keeps me grounded – she is an angel.

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

Experience matters in construction, so take the time to learn the basics and build a good foundation. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and learn from all the expertise around you. This is an exciting industry with many career avenues to choose from. If you work hard, build relationships, and do the right thing, then this industry will reward you. 

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

I am a believer of “cooler heads prevail.” When I was younger, I was part of a volunteer fire department and learned how to work swiftly while staying calm. When in doubt, always focus on the task at hand and do not lose your head.

10. Why Perlo? What makes us unique?

I have found that Perlo is made up of a lot of smart, yet humble, people. Combined with a hard work ethic, we have the ingredients that sustains an extraordinarily strong company as a force in the industry.

In addition to good recruiting and focusing on our core values, we are constantly seeking to better ourselves. For this reason, we will never be satisfied that we’ve found all the answers. It’s the journey that creates a culture of continuous improvement. That hunger is contagious, and when one idea doesn’t quite pan out, it may very well spur an idea from someone else that leads to an even better outcome.

I have appreciated how Perlo is able to communicate lessons learned. It takes being vulnerable to share the mistakes we have all made at one time or another, but we are all better off for it.

Final Thoughts

We’d like to thank Todd for sharing his thoughts with us about his career, lessons learned, and why the culture at Perlo keeps us highly ranked in the 100 Best companies to Work for in Oregon. If you’ve been considering a career in construction or are looking for a workplace that values your contributions not just to projects, but to the company as a whole, check out our Careers page to view open positions.

There is no doubt the construction industry is one built on relationships. They are forged with the clients, subcontractors, architects, coworkers, and colleagues. as well as local and state jurisdictions.  Each serve a distinct purpose and help us deliver a high level of coordination and communication for the successful delivery of construction projects. 

But what about the relationships that are built off the jobsite? As a large commercial general contractor, our business depends on having a pulse on all aspects of the industry to be innovative and ahead of the curve. This starts with being actively involved with organizations that directly influence real estate and provide networking, education, and advocacy opportunities.

At Perlo, we are honored to have deep and lasting relationships with many of these organizations and continue to nurture and foster our connections through active participation. Today we highlight several of the organizations that make an impact on our industry and people.

The CREW Network (Commercial Real Estate Women)

CREW aspires to transform the commercial real estate industry by advancing women globally. Founded in 1989, CREW currently boasts over 12,000 members in 75 markets. Through their initiatives, members are given the tools to build a successful presence in the commercial real estate industry.

CREW has proven to be an invaluable resource for business networking through their conventions and leadership summits. In addition, their exclusive technology platform works as a personal marketing tool via a membership directory and resource and referral center. CREW strives to be a leader in achieving gender equity and greater diversity in commercial real estate. Their industry research delivers critical data for the development of meaningful actions that serve to positively impact women and the BIPOC community.

Members are provided multiple opportunities for high-level leadership development, including service on boards and committees. CREW provides programs to educate women and young girls about careers in commercial real estate, promotes education and provides scholarships for college-level courses and mentorships.  

Their website explains that, “A CREW Network membership is generally open to individual professionals of any gender currently employed in a qualified field of commercial real estate. Many chapters also offer “Affiliate” membership for individuals who do not work in a qualified field of commercial real estate”.  They advise consulting the chapter website or contacting them for additional details.

Perlo’s Director of Strategic Initiatives Elissa Looney describes her experience;

“I’ve been a part of CREW for more than a dozen years and served on the CREW Portland board from 2014 – 2017, acting as Chapter President in 2016. CREW has been instrumental to my professional growth. I can say, without question, that CREW Portland and CREW Network have been integral to my success in this industry.

The Associated General Contractors of America

The AGC functions as a “voice for the construction industry” by providing access to experienced contractors and construction companies all with a dedicated emphasis on the values of skill, integrity, and responsibility.   Currently, the AGC represents more than 27,000 firms, including over 6,500 of America’s leading general contractors, and over 9,000 specialty-contracting firms. Additionally, through their expansive network of chapters across the nation, more than 10,500 service providers and suppliers are also associated with AGC. Nationwide chapters seek to provide a full range of services that address the needs and concerns of its members, “thereby improving the quality of construction and protecting the public interest”.

These core services address critical components of the construction industry such as safety, labor relations, advocacy, and workforce development. Members have access to vital programs such as health insurance, retirement, and workers’ compensation, and generous discounts on industry-related products through vendor partnerships. Most notably, the AGC is a premier education resource for its contractor members through their extensive training and certification courses designed to improve safety and reduce accidents.

The AGC sponsors multiple events like golf tournaments and conventions where members can socialize and network with those in the industry. The AGC offers two types of membership: Contractors and Associates. While Contractors have access to programs and services, Associate members can still make connections with industry colleagues to market their products and services and to build relationships. Associate members are also invited to serve on councils and committees and can participate in sponsorship opportunities.

To learn more about membership with the AGC, visit their contact us page on their website.

Perlo Project Manager Lainee Perala says of AGC:

“As an active member of AGC of America, I get a front-row seat to the inner-workings of a hugely influential construction organization at a national level. Through my participation on a number of national boards, I have been able to not only develop my own project management and leadership skills, but also aid in creating a construction industry that is diverse, engaging, and beneficial to all involved.

The Commercial Real Estate Development Association

The Commercial Real Estate Development Association is a leading organization for developers, owners and related professionals in office, industrial and mixed-use real estate. The association began in 1967 when a small group of industrial park owners and developers in the eastern US formed the NAIP (National Association of Industrial Parks) to provide a forum for open exchange and information. The “O” to the acronym was added later to include office parks but due to a change in membership, the words behind the acronym were dropped to better reflect the composition of their members. Today, NAIOP’s 20,000+ membership advances responsible commercial real estate development and advocates for effective public policy in North America.

NAIOP’s mission is to provide advocacy, education and business opportunities through an influential network of professionals in the commercial real estate development and investment industry. Through their advocacy and educational resources, NAIOP takes action on legislative priorities relevant to commercial real estate such as tax and regulatory policies and provides career advancement opportunities via their courses and certificate programs. NAIOP’s sister organization, the NAIOP Research Foundation conducts dedicated research to evaluate emerging trends, economic conditions, and to assess the overall needs of the industry. With their 50+ years of experience, NAIOP has laid out a clear vision statement, “Commercial real estate solutions meet the changing demands for how people work, live, shop and play”.

NAIOP continues to attract a diverse group of members, representing the many facets of the commercial real estate industry who are committed to excellence, entrepreneurial in spirit, and want to reach new heights in building excellence.

Membership information is available by contacting the state chapter or visiting their website.

Perlo Marketing Coordinator and NAIOP Marketing & Communications Committee member Meuy Tzeo, remarks

“NAIOP Oregon has been a game-changer for me professionally and personally. As a newbie to construction, I initially got involved to expand my network and gain insights about the industry. I quickly discovered that this association goes beyond small talk and surface level advocacy. I have built meaningful relationships, and get to see first-hand the work put in by board of directors, committee members, sponsors, and members to make the Greater Portland Metro area a wonderful place to live again.”

Final Thoughts

Investing our time and efforts into these associations provides Perlo and the larger industry with critical insights and data that assist us with strategic planning, relationship building and political advocacy. We are proud to be members of each of them and look forward to what the future holds for the commercial real estate market.

With any ground-up construction project, there is a large amount of excavation and site work necessary to prepare the ground. All of that digging could uncover something that could stop a project dead in its tracks. For instance, what happens if a contractor uncovers a set of bones or culturally significant artifact? While it might seem tempting to push these items to the side and proceed with business as usual, there are both state and federal laws in place that protect these findings.

In this article, we will explore the reasons behind these laws and the steps that must be taken in the event a qualifying item is uncovered. Although every state has their own laws and are also beholden to federal guidelines, today we will focus on the State of Oregon’s guidance related to the discovery of archaeological sites on private land or property, and how these discoveries might impact a construction project.

We spoke with the Oregon State Archaeologist, John Pouley, to understand the significance, designations, and do’s and don’ts when it comes to identifying and encountering potential artifacts on an archaeological site. Pouley has a master’s degree in Anthropology from Washington State University, and for the last 11 years has worked for the Oregon State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). Prior to working for SHPO, Pouley was the Senior Archaeologist for the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation in Washington State.

What is an Archaeological Site?

An archaeological site is defined as any location that has “physical remains of past human activity that is at least 75 years old”. These might include anything from an arrowhead, stone tools, foundations from historic buildings or even debris like cans and bottles. While many of these items may seem insignificant, they all contribute to the history of Oregon and its inhabitants.

Archaeologists have discovered human activity dating back to 16,000 years ago. Native Americans and early settlers lived off the land, and their tools, artifacts, burial sites, homesteads, and villages are still being uncovered to this day. According to John Pouley, only 20% of Oregon’s land has been surveyed and inventoried by the Oregon SHPO, which leaves an expansive amount of territory that could be potential archaeological sites.

What do Oregon laws Say About Archeological Artifact Preservation?

Archaeological sites on non-federal public and private lands are protected by Oregon laws which prohibit the removal, excavation or destruction of any cultural resource’s sites and artifacts. Examples of prohibited activities include:

  • Using a tool to remove an artifact from the ground
  • Vandalizing homestead sites or other old buildings
  • Disturbing burial sites
  • Digging or probing the ground for historic or Native American artifacts

The significance of archaeological sites is determined by the National Register of Historic Places. To be determined, the site must first be evaluated, which can only be completed by a professionally qualified archaeologist with a state archaeological permit. Violation of state law can result in the following penalties:

  • Class B Misdemeanor-Damage to archaeological sites
  • Class C Felony (up to $10,000 fine)-Disturbance of Native American human remains or associated funerary objects

Only 20% of Oregon’s land has been surveyed and inventoried by the Oregon SHPO.

Private Lands & Archaeological Sites

It is important to clarify that in the case of archaeological sites on private land, the artifacts and sites discovered actually belong to the landowner. In the event of an archaeological excavation, the landowner has the right to retain the artifacts, or donate to a tribe or museum, except for Native American human remains, burials, associated funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony (ORS97.740)”.  This may seem confusing, or at the least, a gray area. After all, the landowner not only has the right to object to a permit or request special considerations of a proposed archaeological survey, but they also must provide consent for anyone to access their land.

The State of Oregon entrusts the landowners to be stewards of these potential sites, though only qualified archaeologists are allowed to survey, collect, or excavate on private lands and must possess a state archaeological permit to proceed with these kinds of investigations. Damage or desecration of protected remains or objects could lead to potential fines, charges, or litigation.

The Oregon SHPO strongly recommends that the best course of action when encountering a potential archaeological site on private land is avoidance. If that is not possible, and there is good reason to believe that it could be an archaeological site, the property owner can have the area tested by a qualified archaeologist.  The Oregon SHPO offers guidance and resources to address any questions or concerns about the evaluation process and property rights, including these FAQ’s.

Construction and Project Planning

When it comes to construction, time and scheduling are of the utmost importance. Between supply chain issues, labor shortages, permitting delays and the myriad of other obstacles every project can face, the last thing any team wants is to uncover something that could set their project back and potentially place their schedule in jeopardy. State Archaeologist John Pouley recommended steps that can be initiated from the beginning of the project to avoid potential delays:

  • Contact the Oregon SHPO to determine if the property is in the historic registry or if there are registered archaeological sites nearby.
  • Require the landowner to provide an archaeological report completed by a qualified/professionally recognized archaeologist.
  • Keep and maintain an inadvertent discovery plan on any site where the ground is disturbed, in the event an archaeological site or artifact is uncovered.
  • If the designated project site is close or adjacent to a registered archaeological site, it is logical that it might be an archaeological site as well. Due diligence is always best, and the Oregon SHPO has specific information on finding a qualified Archaeologist.

With most large construction projects, it is customary that the owner provides an archaeological evaluation during the preconstruction process. In the event an artifact is uncovered during the construction process, the following steps should be taken immediately:

  • Stop work at that location, protect and block off to area.
  • Contact the Oregon SHPO for further information and instructions.
  • Avoid further work until the site is evaluated.

While the possibility of a project being shut done seems detrimental, according to Pouley, no site has ever been permanently shut down. However, delays are likely. If contact is made quickly with the Oregon SHPO, they will help coordinate with all interested parties to expedite the process.

Potential Human Remains

If, during excavation or site work, bones are uncovered, there are specific steps necessary in to order to ensure compliance with the law: any bones found should be treated as human remains, therefore the Oregon State Police should be the first agency contact. They will approach the site as a potential crime scene.

In addition to the possibility of the bones being connected to a crime, they could be the bones of Native America or early Euro-Americans and there are very specific laws (ORS 97.745 and ORS 97.750) that apply to the treatment of Native American remains. It is both ethically and legally critical to follow proper protocols to avoid potential fines, penalties, or criminal charges.

In the case of the discover of remains, the following agencies must be contacted:

Keep in mind that in some cases federal laws and guidelines may apply to these scenarios, as well.

Why is protecting archaeological sites important?

According to the Protection of Archaeological and Cultural Resources guide provided by the State of Oregon Department of Environmental Quality, “these sites are the legacy of our country and the heritage of all people. Once removed or damaged, they cannot be restored. The relationship or context between artifacts and their surroundings is as important as the artifacts themselves. The artifacts should be left undisturbed.” Oregon is and has been home to dozens of Native American tribes, and currently has nine registered tribes. The tribes have been diligent in protecting their history and have been integral in the establishment of both state and federal laws regarding the protection of archaeological sites. There is a deep-rooted and devastating history of desecration of their sacred lands and artifacts, which makes it vital to protect the remaining sites in an effort to preserve their culture and heritage.

In addition, artifacts recovered from archaeological sites can also be connected to the lives of early settlers and various cultures and communities who have lived and established their legacy in Oregon. Pouley explained that ultimately, these artifacts tell a story; a tangible record that helps paint the big picture of the history of mankind and the earth.

Final Thoughts

While the construction industry revolves around the act of building new structures, there is also an ethical component to our craft that encourages preservation and responsible stewardship. Construction companies have a duty to not only act in the best interests of the owner, client, or developer, but also to abide by and adhere to the laws and regulations established by local, state, and federal jurisdictions. While the discovery of an archeological site may not be predictable, the steps to follow upon their discovery are clear.

This year we are introducing a new series to our weekly articles titled, ‘Construction Terms,’ and we intend to use this series to present and explain common terms within the commercial construction industry. To those not familiar with the construction process, entering it can be daunting, as if you are learning another language and culture. And if it is your project on the line, the learning curve can be staggering as well as expensive.

We will be paying particular attention to the terms for various processes and procedures, as properly managing these can make or break the success of a project and determine how smoothly it is planned and constructed.

For today, we will be exploring the concept of Submittals. What are they, and why do they matter?

What are Submittals?

Submittals are an important part of construction processes and procedures, with submittals occurring on every construction project. Submittals are documents, drawings, product data sheets, samples, or mock-ups of materials and/or systems developed by the contractor and reviewed by the architect prior to ordering materials for a specific project. Contrary to popular belief, submittals are not a contractual document, but rather a demonstration of how the contractor will perform according to the design intent.

Submittals are generally created by the specific trade partners on a given project and submitted to the general contractor for review. The contractor must first review and approve them before sending them to the architect for their review. During the general contractor’s review, they are searching for a variety of components on a given submittal, such as:

  • Conformance of the materials to the design specifications
  • Conformance of dimensions for the existing space and design drawings, with clarifying questions to the architect in the event of a discrepancy
  • Conformance to the design intent
  • Conformance of the proposed material layout as compared to the contractual design documents
  • Constructability issues
  • Conflicts with other building systems

Submittals are reviewed by at least one, if not multiple project management team members, including the superintendent, project manager, project engineer or other parties such as a BIM coordinator, MEPF manager, safety team members, etc.

Depending on the contractual agreement, the submittal may be reviewed only by the architect, and they also may be passed on to a third-party consultant and/or the owner for review and approval. Submittals can be returned to the contractor with directions such as, but not limited to:

  • Rejected
  • Make corrections noted
  • Approved with corrections
  • Approved

It is possible that submittals are generated and submitted more than once if corrections are necessary or material choices and/or designs change. They should be reviewed until approved to the satisfaction of every party involved.

Following the general contractor’s review, the submittal is returned to the trade partner if significant corrections and/or concerns are discovered. If they conform to the design intent, they are sent to the architect for their review.

Once returned to the general contractor, they must review the submittal and return it to the trade partner with directions to review, make any necessary changes, and proceed with next steps, generally either a modification to the submittal, or ordering materials and proceeding with fabrication.

Planning for Submittals

One element of the submittal process is knowing what items and/or trades need submittals for review. Sometimes, the project specifications will list out what submittals are required. During the preconstruction process, the general contractor will create a Submittal Schedule that includes a list of required submittals, the trade partner responsible, and associated deadlines for submission, review, and return to the trade partner. They may also call this a ‘Submittal Log.’ This schedule, or log, includes deadlines for the number of days each reviewer has for their piece of the process. For instance, many typical submittals may be given to the general contractor with a 3-day turnaround to review and send to the architect. The architect may then have 3 days to review and return the submittal, and so on. These timelines are dictated by contractual documents.

The submittal log is updated when submittals are received, sent to the architect, returned to the contractor, and sent back to the trade partner, as well as with due dates for turnaround times from all these parties. This log is reviewed consistently by the project management team as well as at Owner/Architect/Contractor meetings so that all parties understand what is due and by when.

Submittals must be prepared well in advance of ordering products. In today’s climate, this often means they are needed well ahead of materials installation, possibly as much as a year or more ahead of the installation. In any case, the lead times for material orders and/or fabrication must be part of the equation when planning for submittal deadlines.

Types of Submittals

Submittals come in many forms, but the main ones include:

Shop Drawings

These diagrams or drawings, typically completed in a design program such as CAD, which demonstrates elements of the work. Commonly, these are used for items such as:

  • Casework and countertops
  • Structural and decorative steel elements
  • Rebar
  • Doors, frames, and hardware
Product Data

Often provided direct from a manufacturer, these are not typically produced custom for a project but are provided to demonstrate what material will be installed. These are often submitted for items such as:

  • Drywall products
  • Light fixtures
  • Mechanical units
  • Plumbing fixtures

These are physical illustrations of an item to demonstrate things like color, workmanship, how materials fit together, etc. They may be referred to as ‘mock ups’. Common items that might be a sample include:

  • Paint swatches
  • Plastic laminate samples
  • Stone, tile, carpet, or other flooring materials
  • Finished wood samples
  • Wood doors and/or stain samples

The basic idea is that whatever is submitted will provide an adequate depiction of the final product so that all parties can agree to what will be installed. In other words, the contractor is setting the expectation for what the owner will see when construction is complete.

Final Thoughts
Submittals are a critical part of the construction process. They help clarify expectations for products, finish materials and coordination between trade partners, the architect and ownership teams. What needs to be submitted and who reviews them will depend on the contractual arrangement between the owner and project team members.

Welcome to 2023 and a new year of commercial construction projects in the Pacific Northwest. We’ve now made it through the busy holiday season and it’s time to look forward to what the new year might have in store for commercial general contracting companies.

If you’ve been following along, we spent some time reviewing the projects we completed in 2022, ranging from large industrial projects to small renovations, with many building uses including self-storage, auto dealerships, K-12 education, high-tech manufacturing, office and more. So, what’s to come for 2023? We see much of the same types of buildings and renovation projects with many of the same material procurement challenges on the horizon, but with an added complication: the forecast by economists of a mild recession.

Looking forward doesn’t just mean evaluating what projects are coming down the line, but how to successfully operate our business, how to recruit and retain a workforce in a tight labor market, to stay relevant in a competitive market and still ensure that work is still delivered on time and on budget. Today, we’ll explore what we see in store for the new year relative to commercial construction work.

Construction is Cyclical

Commercial construction is a cyclical business that follows the trends of the businesses it supports. When other businesses are performing well and growing, construction does, too. Similarly, when other businesses slow down and/or operate more conservatively, construction also slows down. What we are seeing is a large amount of new construction projects that pushed from their planned 2022 starts moving into planning for 2023, and moving for various reasons, including permit delays, financing challenges, etc. It will be interesting to see if these projects, in addition to new 2023 planned projects, actually break ground.


Where new construction and remodels in the industrial space, in particular, has been rapid in the last couple of years, some of the largest e-commerce giants have recently slowed construction. This, along with other economic predictions by both local and national economists, signals that the construction market is on the decline.

This kind of cycling is normal for the industry. We even discussed it with two of our long-term superintendents in a recent podcast. Superintendent, Mark Helling, talked about carpentry work being ‘feast or famine’, with trades workers being used to the cycling of the market and periods of too much work compared with too little.

The question everyone will be looking to answer about this decline in the construction cycle is: how deep will it go before we hit the trough and climb back up? In positive news, the State of Oregon’s economist, Josh Lehner, is anticipating only a mild recession, in large part due to the strong economic indicators that currently exist, such as the tight labor market, increased wage growth and high levels of personal savings in individual households. 

Our forecast is that the ‘recession’ for commercial construction will be shallow, as well. Smart companies will be planning their workloads strategically and confirming great customer satisfaction, ensuring that clients don’t question their loyalty for upcoming projects.

Most recently, clients have reported difficulty in acquiring contractors for their work, as if there is too much work to go around. With any luck, the next year will find us with ‘just enough’ for everyone – a pleasant leveling off that doesn’t feel much like a recession at all.   

The Industrial Cycle

Particularly in the industrial market sector, construction and absorption in the United States saw booming numbers in 2021 and 2022. In fact, according to NAIOP, net absorption of industrial space in 2021 was nearly double that of 2020 and most of the previous 5 years prior to that, as well. Construction, therefore, has been at the peak of the cycle, indicating that we are ‘due’ for a decrease in activity. Industry experts agree, with predictions for absorption returning to more ‘normal’ levels for 2023.

Some have suggested that this decrease in construction activity may help improve on lead times for roof structure and electrical gear, both of which have significantly increased with shipping and manufacturing delays during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. This would be a welcome relief. While we have seen developers being thoughtful about their upcoming projects and evaluating financing options closely, there are still many plans on the horizon for projects scheduled to break ground in spring and summer of 2023.

Recruitment of Tradespeople and Professional Positions in 2023

Recruitment for professional positions and craft workers has been a challenge in recent years and is not anticipated to improve any time soon. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, 93 % of construction firms reported difficulty in filling open positions as of August 2022, and 77 % of those firms cited a lack of qualified candidates or inability to pass drug testing as the most common explanation for this difficulty.  

This lack of skilled labor is unlikely to improve in the near term, as workers continue to retire, and training new workers requires significant investment in education programs. Construction firms are rising to the challenge, however, with more companies increasing their spending on training and supporting local organization like Girls Build, Portland Youth Builders, and the Beaverton School District’s Career & Technical Education programs. Additionally, union trade programs continue to offer opportunities for new workers to learn skills through their education and apprenticeship programs.

While major efforts are underway to shore up skilled trades, these efforts will take time and significant resources to solve.

In addition to craft positions, recruiting for roles such as Project Manager and Project Engineer have also been a challenge this past year, with nearly every construction company seeking experienced candidates in a variety of roles and locations. We don’t see this easing much in the new year. With the anticipation of only a mild recession, smart companies will be holding tight to their team members to weather the storm and come out strong on the other side.

Retention of Construction Crews and Professional Positions

With recruitment a tough battle, retention of workers in all positions is a critical concern for the upcoming year. Fair treatment of employees and finding ways to make all workers feel included, safe and valued will go a long way towards retaining them. Some strategies include:

  • Making safety programs a high priority and including all levels of employee in safety programs/committees.
  • Making employees part of decision making. This can be achieved through initiatives such as Perlo’s Opportunity for Improvement Program where employees can submit ideas for peer group review and implementation.
  • Finding ways to provide employee engagement opportunities with a variety of team building activities, creative work groups and collaborative meeting spaces.
  • Giving back to the local community. This can be achieved through paid volunteer programs, charitable giving campaigns, engagement in youth education work, and more.  
  • Provide bonus programs for performance and/or certain measurable outcomes.

Most importantly, treat all workers with respect and kindness. Find ways to provide them with opportunities to increase their skillsets and challenge them to improve over time. Empowering employees goes a long way towards spurring loyalty and ingenuity.    

Final Thoughts on our 2023 Forecast

The new year is upon us, and while some economic indicators might seem daunting, there is hope for a strong commercial construction market. If the predicted recession remains shallow, inflation levels off and we collectively stay optimistic, there will be plenty of work to go around.

Here at Perlo, we will remain optimistic and continue to take care of our people and always do what’s right. We wish you all a Happy New Year!

A new year is all about new beginnings and at Perlo Construction, it’s all about renewed opportunity. We take this time to reflect and learn from what is behind us, reinforce and develop relationships with our friends and partners and open the door to new ones. We focus on the journey ahead and how we can successfully grow while doing what we do best: building.

The new year is also the perfect opportunity to invest in the community where we work and live by increasing our outreach and paying it forward. We are proud to have delivered 390 coats and 211 toys to the Angels in the Outfield charity group last week, providing warmth to local children who have been impacted by crime or abuse.

We have a lot to discover from what came before us. In this New Year, we embrace that knowledge and seize the opportunities ahead.

From all of us at Perlo Construction, we want to wish you all a very happy and prosperous New Year. Here’s to 2023!

We conclude our Year in Review series by taking a look at our projects close to home. Our headquarters, located in Tualatin, Oregon, affords us the opportunity to take part in the ever-expanding growth of the Portland Metro area where we build premier facilities for our clients and partners.

They say, “there is no place like home,” but for us, home is in the field doing what we do best: building. Beyond the building of our specialty structures like industrial warehouse tilt-up buildings, we strive to build relationships both in our industry as well as our community. We have been doing what we do for 66 years, and we do not take that longevity for granted. We know that to sustain a company for this long takes serious work. It requires showing up and delivering on our promises day after day.

The proof of our longevity is in the on-time delivery of our projects and our long-standing relationships with our clients. Before we conclude this series, we want to take the time to thank all of our collaborators for partnering with us and allowing us the opportunity to bring their projects to life.

Tualatin-Sherwood Corporate Park

Located on the bustling Tualatin-Sherwood Road, this 32-acre development is home to three new, speculative, tilt-up industrial buildings. The project needed more than one million cubic yards of excavation work, new utility tie-ins, and public street improvements. In addition, a soil nail shotcrete retaining wall, large water retention ponds and several new EV charging stations were added to the design.

Like any project, the team encountered detours along the way. Project Manager, Jacob Klein, explained that the preparation of the site required extensive rock blasting. Because of this, added precautions were necessary to maintain safe working areas and to coordinate concrete pours around the blasting. Vibration monitors were used to ensure no concrete was damaged in the process. We featured much about this project in a previous article, discussing the complexities of the site logistics for this work.   

Perlo’s crews self-performed the following scopes:

  • Structural concrete, including footings and slabs
  • Tilt-up and cast-in-place walls
  • Miscellaneous rough carpentry
  • Doors, frames and hardware installation

The construction of this project began during the thick of the Covid-19 pandemic, which required the establishment of safe working conditions while enforcing both Perlo and governmental policies. There were multiple shake-ups after construction began, like reducing the number of buildings from five to three, and incorporating LEED certification, which resulted in significant changes to the design, budget, and the scope of work. The team went above and beyond to work with the City of Sherwood and local jurisdictional authorities to meet every necessary requirement.

Perlo Team

Chris McInroe | Project Director

Jacob Klein| Project Manager

Mike Lutz | Superintendent

Thomas Vielle | Foreman

McKayla Marshall | APM

Dennis Bonin | Director of Safety

112th & Myslony

Like the TS Corporate Park, these two new concrete tilt-up industrial buildings are located on the highly visible Tualatin-Sherwood Road. The sitework performed by the project team was extensive and included installing an underground stormwater detention system. From the beginning, there were several factors the team discussed during preconstruction that needed extra attention. Extensive planning was necessary to complete this work, including:

  • Managing a very tight jobsite to accommodate the building size and configuration.
  • Implementing the city’s requirement for an 80% increase in stormwater detention systems
  • Management of the increased budget due to the added stormwater detention requirements.

Additionally, Superintendent Tracy Robinson remarked that a street and utility extension was required and had to be completed in conjunction with the site construction. Since this new street extension was also the only site access, it was difficult to complete the new buildings while maintaining construction flow.

Senior Project Manager, Jordan Peterson, added that one of the greatest challenges for him was knowing “that it was a project that every Perlo employee would drive past each day,” and wanting to ensure that it was a building that represented the Perlo brand successfully.

The Perlo work crews self-performed the following scopes:

  • Structural concrete, including footings and slabs
  • Tilt-up and cast-in-place walls
  • Miscellaneous rough carpentry
  • Doors, frames and hardware installation

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

Jordan Peterson | Senior Project Manager

Whitney Peterson | Project Manager

Tracy Robinson | Superintendent

Jared Libby | Foreman

McKayla Marshall | APM

Dennis Bonin | Director of Safety

Shredding Systems, Inc.

This project consisted of the construction of two new concrete tilt-up buildings with a combined 57,400 SF for Shredding Systems Inc., conveniently placed next to their existing facility in Wilsonville, Oregon. One of the buildings included around 3,000 SF of wood framed office build-out and mezzanine space.   .

From the beginning of the project, the team faced an enormous obstacle in that the project had originally been designed 15 years prior. The project team worked diligently to coordinate with ownership, civil engineers, and utility companies to address the existing utility locations that conflicted with the dated plans. In addition, several trees had grown significantly into the locations of the footings and utility easements. of the City of Wilsonville is affectionately know as Tree City, USA. As such, Project Manager Lainee Perala reflected that “we had to engage an arborist and the city each time we worked near a tree or were considering removal”.

Perlo’s team self-performed the following scopes:

  • Structural concrete including footings, slabs, tilt panels, dock aprons, and stair pans
  • Installation of engineered timber framing
  • Doors, frames and hardware installation

Despite facing the disruptions of unknown site conditions, schedule impacts, plan and design conflicts, and the Covid-19 pandemic, the project team was able to put their adaptability and experience to work, and successfully see the project through its completion.

Perlo Team

Chris Gregg | Senior VP of Operations

Lainee Perala | Project Manager

Nick Butler | Superintendent

Travis Eaton | Foreman

Brooke Carswell | APM

Final Thoughts

In construction, there will always be challenges to overcome. Perlo Practice #3, Success Isn’t a Straight Path, speaks to our ability to adapt during our work, learn from each project and take responsibility for every choice and every action. We set the bar high, but know that there is always room to grow, and that is what drives our success.

Thank you for joining us as we reflected on some of the projects we completed in 2022. We look forward to the next year and the many projects it will bring!

It’s week 3 of our 2022 Year in Review Series and we’re taking a look at some of the projects we constructed right in our ‘backyard’, so to speak. With a new owner-user manufacturing plant, high-tech product picking equipment, a local district administrative office remodel, an industrial warehouse and a new self-storage building, the projects we tackled in 2022 were both varied and unique!

To begin, let’s take a look at a local owner-user, a well-known and reputable brand.

Leupold + Stevens

Perlo developed this new distribution center adjacent to the Leupold & Stevens active manufacturing plant and constructed the building utilizing concrete tilt-up panels, metal decking, and built-up roofing. In addition to the main warehouse area, this project features a thickened slab for heavy material storage, two separate office spaces with custom finishes, a stormwater detention system, and public right of way improvements to accommodate a widened driveway.

The project team collaborated closely with the Architect, CIDA and Developer, Stratus Real Estate Developers throughout the preconstruction, design, and permitting process. The permitting process was complicated by the location of the building, since multiple jurisdictions weighed in on the project including the city of Beaverton and Washington County. Clean Water Services also required extensive permits and inspections. Building constraints also included maintaining access to the existing Leupold & Stevens manufacturing facility.

Perlo’s crews self-performed the following scopes:

  • Structural concrete foundations, slabs and tilt-up walls
  • Miscellaneous rough carpentry
  • Miscellaneous accessories installation
  • Doors, frames and hardware installation

Early planning and coordination paid off for the team in terms of a successful delivery of this new facility. Perlo Senior Project Manager, Jordan Peterson, reflected that “we were able to build the project on an active campus with Leupold and they were very happy with our team, our communication and ultimately, they love their new building.”

Perlo Team

Jordan Peterson | Senior Project Manager

Jakob Eisenbeiss | Project Engineer

Darrell Budge | Superintendent

Isaac Hobb | Foreman

Kathy Ohannessian | APM

Dennis Bonin | Director of Safety

Reilly West – GXO

Constructed in Hillsboro, Oregon, this fully insulated, 27,000 SF concrete tilt-up building with steel decking is complete with racking, offices, break rooms, restrooms, and conference rooms, as well as both a walk-in cooler and freezer, and electric forklift chargers. In addition, the site includes twenty-seven dock doors, vehicular parking, electric vehicle charging stations and a large bio-swale and landscaping.

This unique project presented a myriad of obstacles that offered Perlo an opportunity to rise to the occasion to deliver successful results for the end-user. These obstacles were met with quick and creative thinking, extensive planning and coordination with all parties, and confidence in the capabilities and experience of the team. These obstacles included:

  • Extensive rainfall (99 days with at least 1/10th of an inch from August to June)
  • Supply chain issues and delays in the delivery of the electrical gear and emergency backup generator
  • Challenges in acquiring permits

The Perlo work crews self-performed the following scopes:

  • Structural concrete including footings, aprons, dock pits, slabs, and panels
  • Door, frames, and hardware Installation
  • Toilet accessories installation
  • Roof accessories installation
  • Smoking shelter installation

Most unique about this project was the preparation of the robotic package picking system by AutoStore in a section of the warehouse. To function properly, the floor was designed to have a special rating for both floor flatness and floor levelness. To learn more about this unique process, read our featured blog post GXO: A Warehouse to Admire. Perlo Project Manager Taylor Regier reflected that, “we were able to find solutions over the course of months of detailed coordination efforts to still deliver the project on time.”

Perlo Team

Chris McInroe | Project Director

Taylor Regier | Project Manager

Gary Lundervold | Superintendent

Kyle Kowalski | Foreman

Brooke Carswell | APM

Mike Souder | Field Safety Coordinator

Sandy Industrial Lot II

This sprawling industrial building was built on 8-acres in Portland, Oregon and features twenty-five dock doors, dock levelers, and 3,500 SF of office space. The projected required extensive sitework to remove and reuse what seemed like a never-ending supply of boulders and the integration of an eyebrow canopy to conceal required sprinkler heads.

During preconstruction, an extensive amount of planning was done to work with the site conditions and grades. Unlike most tilt buildings, the new tilt panels were installed about 11’ under the exterior finished grade, which dramatically complicated the tilt-up process. A specialty material was used for the backfill to ensure the panels will withhold the loading.

Perlo’s team self-performed the following scopes:

  • Structural concrete including footings, aprons, dock pits, slabs, and panels
  • Miscellaneous carpentry
  • Doors, frames & hardware installation

When asked about the challenge of the site in terms of size and conditions, Senior Project Manager, Jordan Peterson, explained that the picking of the panels was an extraordinary challenge. He remarked that, “we had it planned down to literally inches of space that we had available for our crane.”

Taking all these factors into consideration and being able to rise to the occasion and not only manage, but successfully overcome all of the site challenges was a great triumph for the team.

Perlo Team

Jordan Peterson | Senior Project Manager

Whitney Peterson | Project Manager

Jack Johnson | Superintendent

Jean Rwandika | Project Engineer

McKayla Marshall | APM

West Coast Self-Storage

Located in Happy Valley, Oregon, this project consisted of the ground-up construction of a 57,000 SF, three-story self-storage building and the remodel of an existing 41,000 SF tilt building. With a combined 98,000 square feet, Perlo completed both buildings in a compressed 11-month timeline. Each building’s design features high-end exterior finishes and architectural towers to meet the requirements of the local jurisdiction..

When asked about what made the project unique, Superintendent Mike Lutz had one word: “location.” The jobsite was in close proximity to a major roadway which required that the project team maintain strict traffic control measures to ensure all scheduled deliveries could access the site with ease. In addition, because of its dense, urban location, the site was small and difficult to manage.

Perlo’s team self-performed the following scopes:

  • Seismic upgrades
  • Doors, frames & hardware installation
  • Structural concrete, footings & slabs

Another critical factor that required special planning was the existing power lines surrounding the jobsite. Every one of these challenges were considered and addressed with meticulous care by the project team, allowing us to complete the project in a compressed timeframe.

Perlo Team

Jeremy Maynard | Project Director

Erich Schmidt | Senior Project Manager

Mike Lutz | Superintendent

Devon Panosh | Foreman

Dennis Bonin | Director of Safety

Final Thoughts

Perlo Construction is never one to shy away from a challenge. We understand that in construction, every detail counts. Perlo Practice # 9 is to “Finish Strong: even if you get 99% right, they’ll only remember the 1% you get wrong”. We know that if we dig deep and ensure no stone is left unturned, we can meticulously execute our planning to deliver high-quality projects each and every time.

This week, our Year in Review series resumes as we continue to explore the variety of our construction projects across the Portland Metro Area. From storage facilities to auto dealerships, we demonstrate our ability to deliver successful results across multiple market sectors.

StorQuest Self Storage

This recently completed project features a 4-story, ground-up, self-storage facility in Happy Valley, Oregon. The project included a daylight basement, metal truss roofing, and a covered loading dock. The unique design included varying pitched roofs at different elevations and cultured stone on the corners of the building. Additionally, the project was built on a hillside next to Rock Creek, which required our teams to excavate and export substantial amounts of dirt from the site. 

Due to rising costs, the project team sourced all materials during preconstruction to guarantee the project stayed on budget. According to Project Superintendent, Joe Kane, one of the greatest challenges of the project was the size of the building site. Because the site was so small, the material had to be stored offsite and trucked in ’just-in-time’ for installation. In addition, getting the concrete trucks and pump truck on site for pours was difficult, there was just enough room to back a single truck in. The others had to wait down to street to avoid blocking traffic on busy Sunnyside Road.

Perlo’s crews self-performed a variety of elements, including:

  • Structural concrete footings
  • Cast-in-place walls for the basement

Despite the tight job site and constant erosion control monitoring of Rock Creek on the west side of the building, the team completed an impressive concrete pour of a 4th floor deck and were successful in delivering the project on time.

Perlo Team

Jeremy Maynard | Project Director

Erich Schmidt | Senior Project Manager

Joe Kane | Superintendent

Gary Cox | Foreman

Brooke Carswell | APM

Mars Gracida | Field Safety Coordinator

Herzog-Meier Mazda

This project consisted of the new, ground-up construction of a two-story Mazda showroom, the remodel of an existing service and parts sales building, and the addition of a new, ground-up service, detailing, and photo booth building.

From the preconstruction phase, special considerations and planning needed to be made to accommodate existing conditions and ongoing showroom operations, including:

  • Large, underground water retention storage facility
  • Site logistics
  • Customer safety

Like so many projects completed within the last couple of years, supply chain disruptions presented an enormous obstacle for the team, but they were able to draw from recent experiences to enact strategies to keep the schedule on track.

The Perlo work crews self-performed the following scopes:

  • Structural concrete work
  • Roof structure installation

Superintendent Jay Edgar reflected on what meant the most for him about this project, “This new dealership sits along the highway with four others that I have previously built. Each one was different in its own design. I am very proud of all these buildings”. The opportunity to perform multiple times for the same clients and those nearby are a true testament to the success that Perlo has achieved in the construction of Auto Dealerships.

Perlo Team

Jake Jensen | Senior Project Manager

Joe Sprando | Project Manager

Jay Edgar | Superintendent

Dave Castillo | Foreman

Regan Cloudy | Project Engineer

Crystal Bentley | Lead APM

Jadyn Bentley | Admin Assistant

True Terpenes

Located in Hillsboro, Oregon, this project consisted of a 22,000 SF tenant improvement in an existing office and warehouse space for a CBD production tenant. The scope of the project included constructing a second-level mezzanine, new office spaces, conference rooms, and a manufacturing space with clean rooms and warehouse storage.

To prepare for the project, special considerations needed to be made in the design to consider existing conditions, such as mechanical units, office spaces, and a stained concrete floor. The mezzanine was constructed above an existing office space which, according to Project Manager Adam Smelley, posed some challenges.  

Perlo’s team self-performed the following scopes:

  • Concrete pour back
  • Doors, frames, and hardware installation
  • Restroom accessories installation
  • Miscellaneous accessories installation

Superintendent, Kyncade Hardy, explained that delays in sourcing the structural steel for the mezzanine as well as the custom-colored cloud ceilings requested for the open office area were both large hurdles to overcome. The team made sure to be honest and transparent in their communication with ownership about progress of the project to ensure that the completion of the project was on time, as well as finding creative solutions to work around these challenges. True Terpenes had a tight schedule to bring in their equipment, so finishing on time was critical.

The Perlo Podcast featured an onsite episode all about True Terpenes. View it now in our Newsroom.

Perlo Team

Adam Smelley | Project Manager

Kyncade Hardy | Superintendent

Nathan Wright | Foreman

Brooke Carswell | APM

Mike Souder | Field Safety Coordinator

Dragonberry Produce Expansion

This new 29,700 SF tilt-up concrete distribution center is located in Canby, Oregon and is the second facility Perlo has built for Dragonberry Produce. The building included a 6,100 SF cooler and a 2,500 SF freezer with high-speed doors, a natural gas generator, and two high-end office areas with a future separate tenant build-out area for nut processing. The site includes a loading dock, passenger car parking, two swales and drywells for storm water management, a truck scale, and two drive aisles for access.

There were two driving factors in the design of this project: flexibility and sustainability. As the Northwest’s premier specialty produce distributor, it was important to the client that their freezer have a dual function as both a freezer and cooler. To accommodate this, adjustments were made in the design, including a glycol system installed under the slab-on-grade to protect the concrete from freezing. Additionally, although natural gas generators are not common, this system was selected because it is more sustainable than diesel generators.

Perlo’s team self-performed the following scopes:

  • Structural concrete
  • Depressed freezer slabs
  • Truck scale foundation
  • Interior mezzanine wood structure
  • Exterior wood accent wall
  • Interior stairs
  • Miscellaneous installations

The project team encountered multiple situations that required quick thinking and flexible maneuvering, including:

  • The late addition of a truck scale.  
  • Jurisdictional requirements to change the site utility design

Both of these examples required coordinated efforts to provide the most timely and economical solutions for our client. Senior Project Manager, Jacob Leighter, recalls that “we had several onsite meetings with the city, Owner, Design Team, and Excavation Subcontractor to resolve the site utility problem quickly to keep the project moving.”

In the end, the project was successfully delivered by the project team.

Perlo Team

Jacob Leighter | Senior Project Manager

Steve Dusenberry | Superintendent

Philip Overbye | Foreman

Brooke Carswell | APM

Jadyn Bentley | Admin Assistant

Final Thoughts

Perlo embraces the opportunity to prove our ability to adapt to and persevere over any challenges or adversity that might arise in the course of our projects. Our Perlo Practice #2, “Solutions show up as problems” is the core of our approach to any project. We pride ourselves on the creative and innovative thinking our team brings to the table that ultimately drives our success. We look forward to continued growth across the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Perlo’s projects in 2022 represented a diverse group of market sectors that reflect a hopeful outlook of what lies ahead for our community. Perlo continues to expand its geographic reach, with this years’ projects spanning across the metro area into Southwest Washington and beyond. While we may be best known for our work with new tilt-up construction, our list for today includes a wide variety of project types, demonstrating the depth of talent on our team, as well as the versatility and flexibility in our work.

This week we are taking a look at the interstate and regional projects that took us from the Oregon Coast to Northwest Washington.

Bay Area Hospital Pharmacy Renovation

Completed in the Bay Area Hospital in Coos Bay, Oregon, this project was unique in that the work was completed within an existing and occupied hospital. The renovation and expansion focused on the Clean Suite, Receiving Area, Office, and Medical Supply Room. The project also included a new exterior shaft and mechanical room that had to be constructed around and fully enclose the existing shaft and mechanical rooms.

Preconstruction required inventive planning with the design team and hospital ownership. Schedule delays from the air handler unit manufacturer resulted in a shift to the design with a removable section of the exterior wall so that the air handler could be craned into place after the construction of the new mechanical room was complete. Another unique aspect of this project included maintaining existing pharmacy operations by assisting the ownership and design teams in acquiring the necessary permits to temporarily relocate the pharmacy during construction. According to Project Manager, Taylor Regier, “this allowed the project to be constructed in essentially one phase.”

Perlo’s crews self-performed a variety of elements, including:

  • Selective demolition
  • ICRA barriers and temporary protection
  • Trench pour backs and housekeeping pads
  • DFH installation
  • Miscellaneous building installations

Major challenges the project team faced included manufacturer caused equipment delays, unknown conditions revealed during selective demolition, and persistent Oregon Coast rainfall. With a lot of flexibility and creativity, the team was able to work with the local AHJ to pass inspections and receive the necessary approvals to successfully complete the project and get the pharmacy back to a fully operational status.

Perlo Team

Thomas Quesenberry | Project Director

Taylor Regier | Project Manager

Christian Rohr | Superintendent

Brooke Carswell | APM

DSW3 Burlington

This project included the development of a 25-acre site and a new 111,000 SF Amazon Delivery Station. The concrete tilt-up building includes dock doors, employee break areas and restrooms, extensive sitework, and also included the installation of extensive infrastructure for several electric vehicle charging stations.

Located North of Seattle, this delivery station was constructed in the airspace enforced by the Federal Aviation Administration. Project Manager Joshua Swake describes “working in FAA air space and having to navigate their requirements was both a special consideration during preconstruction planning and an ongoing challenge, as well.” With consistent communication and record-keeping, the team was able to keep the schedule on track.

The Perlo work crews self-performed the following scopes:

  • Structural concrete work, including foundations, slabs, and tilt walls
  • Doors, frames, and hardware installation
  • Toilet accessories and partitions installation

The specific location required a considerable amount of coordination with multiple agencies to fulfill their requirements. Embracing challenges is what our teams do best, so with significant communication and consistent processes in place, the team was able to complete the job on time and with satisfied end-users.

Perlo Team

Thomas Quesenberry | Project Director

Jacob Leighter | Senior Project Manager

Joshua Swake | Project Manager

Mike Norris | Superintendent

Lance Livingston | Superintendent

Regan Cloudy | Project Engineer

McKayla Marshall | APM

Evelyn Moran | Admin Assistant

Block 10 Tenant Improvement

Located in the heart of downtown Vancouver, Washington, this multi-story built-out in a new mixed-used building was completed by our Special Projects Group. Impressive details bring out the true personality of this building with floor-to-ceiling windows, high-end finishes, and unique construction materials utilized throughout. One of the more unique features is the use of Falkbuilt wall paneling, which is a sustainable, prefabricated wall covering that helps improve installation efficiencies when compared to drywall.

A key challenge of this project was that the tenant improvement was occurring at the same time that a separate general contractor was completing the shell. This combined with the urban location of the building meant that our SPG team had to ensure clear communication and collaboration with the core project team as well as the other contractor to successfully complete this unique project.

Perlo’s SPG team self-performed the following scopes:

  • Doors, frames, and hardware installation
  • Trim installation
  • Restroom accessories installation
  • Miscellaneous finish carpentry

The design included an impressive array of high-end finishes from the ceilings to the wall treatments to the light fixtures. Senior Manager, Jeff Hankins explains “the amount of detail work performed to create the finished space is hard to fully appreciate.” Overall, the project was highly rewarding because of the lessons learned for future projects, the relationships built with partners on the project, and the opportunity to be innovative, resourceful, and collaborative throughout the process.

Perlo Team

Jeff Hankins | Senior Manager, SPG

Kory Stark | Superintendent

Brent Schmitz | Superintendent

Ted Hill | Superintendent

Kathy Ohannessian | APM

Jadyn Bentley | Admin Assistant

Evelyn Moran | Admin Assistant

Ridgefield Industrial Center

Recently completed on a 50-acre site, this speculative warehouse space consists of concrete tilt-up panels with open web joists and a metal deck roof system as well as thirty-six feet of clear height throughout. Preparing site required coordination with local authorities for extensive wetland mitigation and included public right-of-way improvements.

The project team faced record levels of rainfall during the construction work. As we discussed in a previous post titled, “Wet Weather Construction Challenges”, these conditions have an enormous impact on the schedule and scope of work. Project Manager Nate Brown explained that creative scheduling to pour concrete in tight windows of time was a large part of their strategy.

Perlo’s SPG team self-performed the following scopes:

  • Structural concrete including foundations, slabs, and tilt panels
  • Doors, frames, and hardware installation
  • Miscellaneous accessories installation

Another challenge the team faced was delays in permitting due to the small-town jurisdiction lacking the resources to manage the high demand of requested permits in this growing market. Despite all these obstacles, the team was able to stay on track and complete the project efficiently and expediently. Nate remarked that, “the project team was excellent, we worked well together and even in the challenging times we kept our focus on the tasks at hand to complete the job.”

Ridgefield Industrial Center was also the focus of The Perlo Podcast, which can be found on your favorite listening platforms or by visiting our Newsroom.  

Perlo Team

Chris McInroe | Project Director

Drew Carter | Senior Project Manager

Nate Brown | Project Manager

George Trice | Superintendent

Cy Whitmore | Foreman

Crystal Bentley | APM

Final Thoughts

Perlo embraces the opportunity to prove our ability to adapt to and persevere over any challenges or adversity that might arise in the course of our projects. Our Perlo Practice #2, “Solutions show up as problems” is the core of our approach to any project. We pride ourselves on the creative and innovative thinking our team brings to the table that ultimately drives our success. We look forward to continued growth across the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

A pinch of this, a dash of that, a dollop here and a spoonful there. Every recipe has its measurements that create perfect dishes that are guaranteed to delight the palette and satisfy the soul. But, in every recipe, there is always that certain something that really makes it special.

As we prepare for another Thanksgiving holiday and plan our dinners with friends and family, we can’t help but think about what makes us special here at Perlo Construction. What is our secret ingredient?

It’s our people.

The extraordinary men and women who all bring their own individual flavors that, when they’re mixed, create a masterpiece! This Thanksgiving as we pile on the turkey with all the trimmings and enjoy a post-meal nap, we will remember that it’s not just the pumpkin pie, the stuffing or the cranberries that make the day complete.  It is the special people sitting next to us that are that secret ingredient. Together, we’re whole.

This year, we wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving Holiday, and we are grateful for those that make Perlo the best General Contractor in the Pacific Northwest.

Thank you!

Weather conditions in the Pacific Northwest vary from mild, though often wet, to freezing temperatures with ice and snow for long lengths of time. Weather conditions must be considered when evaluating construction projects in terms of the safety of workers, work sequencing and the time needed to complete tasks. Today we will be reviewing some challenges that come with winter weather, and strategies to minimize them. Issues may include the need to protect building elements as well as creating safety hazards for onsite workers. Best practice is to develop plans to mitigate these concerns before the wet weather occurs. Let’s take a closer look at the challenges that winter weather might bring.

Protecting Building Materials

Many building materials cannot be exposed to significant amounts of moisture or even humidity. This limitation restricts project schedules and can dictate the order of installations for work. Examples include:

Concrete Pours
As we discussed in this article titled the Art and Science of Concrete, weather conditions can significantly impact concrete. If exposed to the elements, installers must take care to protect the surface from rain, and to ensure that the concrete doesn’t get too hot or too cold. A delay in the concrete pour may be necessary if temporary protection measures can’t be installed.

These materials are extremely sensitive to moisture. For instance, drywall compound cannot be finished if the temperature is too cold or humidity levels are too high. Methods of solving these challenges include:

  • Waiting to install these items until the building is enclosed and heated.
  • Adding temporary heat to the space.
  • Installing ventilation such as fans, as well as dehumidifiers to lower the moisture in the building.
  • Completing moisture testing of the existing framing prior to installing finish materials.
  • Installing temporary barriers to enclose the space, such as plastic or plywood infill at glass openings.

Like drywall, paint cannot be installed on wet surfaces or in wet conditions. Without proper temperatures, paint may not adhere or dry appropriately.

Flooring Materials
Warranties for flooring materials could be voided if the moisture content in the floor slab is too high.

Finished Carpentry and Wood
Unsealed wood products can stain and warp if exposed to water. It is possible to trap moisture in wood framing if it’s covered up while the moisture content is too high, leading to mold growth. Temporary protection and/or moisture testing prior to installing finishes are best practices for avoiding these issues.

Protecting these materials from the weather are critical to avoid damage or long-term issues such as delamination, deterioration, or mold growth. Managing schedules, temporary protection and heating and cooling are all key to preventing problems.

Schedule Risks

When winter weather stops work tasks, it is justifiable to delay a project schedule per contractual agreements between owners and contractors. Tasks, such as large concrete pours, cannot occur during rain or freezing events. Similarly, remodels that involve opening areas of existing roofing may need to be delayed in inclement weather. Critical to schedule delays, the contractor must communicate and document these delays with the ownership team. A failure to do so could contribute to fees in the form of liquidated damages.

What are liquidated damages? According to the American Bar Association, they are:

 “…provisions specify(ing) a predetermined amount of money that must be paid as damages if one party does not meet certain contractual requirements. 1) In construction contracts, this typically manifests as a fee per unit of time (the “Liquidated Amount”) in case of a missed schedule milestone such as Substantial Completion. 2) The Liquidated Amount is usually expressed as dollars per day. 3) Liquidated damages may also be tied to performance metrics, such as efficiency, output or availability of a project or facility.” 

Essentially, liquidated damage clauses set pre-agreed upon dollar amounts to be paid to the owner if a contractor fails to meet their obligations. Therefore, if delays due to weather are necessary, proper documentation is critical. Other options for minimizing the effects of winter weather might include adjusting schedules forward, or taking a construction break during the worst seasons of the year. Prioritizing site work and wet weather site preparations ahead of the wet weather season leads to efficiencies and cost savings, as well as the minimization of safety risks and penalties.

Earthwork Risks, Erosion Control & Dewatering

One of the largest risks to cost and schedule on a given construction project is the site work. Unknown conditions or weather delays can extend the time it takes to build, increase the modifications required to stabilize the site, and more. In the Pacific Northwest, regulating bodies in Oregon and Washington require a Certified Erosion & Sediment Control Lead (CECSL) inspector be onsite to maintain records related to erosion & sediment control. Temporary and permanent dewatering systems must be installed to manage the runoff from a given site.

What is dewatering?
As we discussed in an earlier article, dewatering is the process of removing surface or ground water from a particular location. Most construction work cannot occur in areas with significant water ponding. Techniques have been designed to move water out of each area for the duration of construction. The process typically involves sloping the areas of work to drain water away, pumping surface water to another location, or drilling a series of well-points into the ground around the area of work and pumping it to another location to artificially lower the water table while work is occurring.

Some form of pumping is typically used for all deep foundation work, pipe zones, utility trenches, and manhole structures, as these items are placed beneath the surrounding ground level. Maintaining proper dewatering systems and preparing jobsites for winter weather conditions protect the owner and contractor from delays and additional costs.

Worker Safety

Wet weather comes with various site safety challenges for crew members. These include:

  • Increased risk of slips, trips and falls due to frozen, muddy or wet surfaces.
  • Decreased visibility if safety glasses are wet, or the environment is dark, foggy, or saturated with rain.
  • Equipment and vehicle windshields or mirrors can become fogged or distorted, making safely operating them an added concern. It’s critical that workers stop their actions to clean or clear windows and mirrors before proceeding with their work.
  • Clogging tools, such as saws becoming clogged with wet sawdust, etc.
  • Excessive weight of materials due to ponding water or saturation.
  • Employee visibility – wet and foggy conditions can lead to poor visibility for employees operating machinery, heavy equipment, or passenger vehicles. It is recommended for workers to wear a Class II high visibility garment.
  • Slippery tools or materials – working from heights with wet, slippery tools or materials increases the likelihood of these hazards striking workers below. Using the correct glove type, using tool lanyards, and establishing a drop zone are important considerations.
  • Electrical Hazards – Power tools, including temporary power distribution boxes and extension cords, have the potential for electrical shock when operated when wet.
  • In addition to these safety concerns, crew members working in wet or freezing conditions without proper protective equipment and waterproof gear are at risk of hypothermia. Workers should dress in layers and have access to a warm, dry, environment for break periods.

Proper planning to implement safety measures during winter weather is critical to keeping workers safe and the project underway.

Final Thoughts
In addition to weather conditions, winter can bring challenges related to labor availability and delivery schedules. Freezing and/or snowy conditions can shut down roads and prevent access for workers and deliveries in the Portland Metro area. This can affect supply chains and labor forces. Floods and power outages during winter storms can also cause delays as workers must tend to their homes and families, or sites must shut down due to a lack of power.

Winter weather presents multiple challenges for construction sites, but with proper planning, documentation and a little flexibility, plans can be put in place to minimize the impacts to the project schedule and cost.

Veteran’s Day is a day of observance, designed to celebrate and honor America’s veterans. November 11th, 1918 is remembered as the end of ‘the war to end all wars’, as hostilities between Germany and the Allied Nations of World War I ceased.

The date was first federally recognized in 1919 when President Wilson declared November 11th as Armistice Day. However, the date wasn’t a legal Holiday until 1938, the same year in which the name changed to Veterans Day to honor the veterans of all wars in lieu of only those from World War I.

In the United States, Veteran’s Day is observed on November 11th, no matter which day of the week it falls.

Currently, there are more than a half million veterans working in the construction industry. The extraordinary qualities they develop and foster in the military tie seamlessly into the qualities we look for in the construction industry. Discipline, teamwork, loyalty and adaptability are just a few of these qualities and that is why we are so proud to employ several veterans on our team.

Today, we tip our hard hat to our veterans. Past, present and future: thank you for your service.

There are pros and cons to the various means of procuring a contractor. Your options are to hard bid work amongst multiple general contractors after design drawings are further along, or to procure a contractor early in the design process with a negotiated fee and general conditions rate. We are proponents of the latter method, for many reasons, but mostly because early involvement in the design process helps us achieve the best results for our clients.

It has never been more important for owners to negotiate for a contractor than today. We are experiencing challenges to the building environment like long lead times for materials, labor shortages, and costs rising at an increasingly rapid pace. The only way to truly combat these challenges is to have a trusted general contracting partner engaged early enough in the design process to prevent them.

Current Market Challenges

It’s common knowledge that prices are rising and materials are hard to come by. Electrical gear and transformers, steel roof joists, and mechanical units are some of the longest materials to procure. The lead times range from 30+ weeks up to a year and these durations aren’t the only consideration for the schedule. Designs must be far enough along that decisions about products can be made and ordered well ahead of when they are needed, increasing the duration of the preconstruction and procurement periods immensely. 

Inflation is similarly challenging the market, with suppliers often refusing to guarantee pricing until they ship materials. This challenge can be prevented by leveraging buying power and/or planning for contingencies to cover unexpected increases in costs.

To have a building partner on board long before construction begins is the key to being able to procure materials so that they will arrive when needed.

Hard Bidding vs. Negotiation

It is a common misconception that hard bidding a project will lead to the lowest cost for the work when in fact, hard bids more often lead to a contentious relationship between owners and contractors. This relationship most often leads to many change orders and a higher instance of challenges related to delayed materials, design conflicts and more.

With your contractor at the table early in the design process, even as early as a napkin sketch concept, your project can enjoy the following benefits:

Target Value Design: Achieving budget alignment with design intent

Constructability Reviews: Ensuring the most efficient building plan is developed for quality, schedule and cost

Trade Partner Recruitment: Finding the right team for the work to bring quality, cost and schedule into alignment

A Team Approach: With early alignment, the contractor can have a clear picture of your goals and work together to reach them.

Advocacy: The contractor can fight for what’s right for your project with the local jurisdiction, suppliers, trade partners, onsite inspectors and more.

Cost Effectiveness: The items listed previously help achieve the most cost-effective approach which can be established earlier and without fear of extensive change orders over time.

Materials Procurement: A contractor can plan milestones for design development based on deadlines for long-lead items.

For further details into the advantages and disadvantages of hard bidding vs. negotiating, we would encourage you to read our news articles and listen to The Perlo Podcast episode on this topic.

The owner will lock in the fee charged for general contracting services long before construction commences with negotiation. The remainder of the work scope can be bid to the subcontractor and supplier market. A good general contractor will often suggest bidding certain scopes early to take advantage of locking in pricing or labor.

Keys to Effectively Negotiating Projects

There are several keys to ensuring effective relationships between contractors and owners when a project is completed based on a negotiated contract. While this is not an exhaustive list, ensuring that all these boxes are checked is a great start to successful projects:

  • Engage a qualified general contractor with market-specific experience during the conceptual phase of the project. It is optional to have drawings in hand in order to utilize their experience for contributions to the design and budget.
  • Find a contractor with a great ability to develop accurate budgets according to  the following milestones:
  • The general contractor must maintain an open book policy. At each budget and pricing milestone, the owner should be able to review bids and calculations used to compile costs, if desired. The GC is responsible for managing risks and maintaining the budget for the life of the project once the GMP cost is set.
  • Constructability reviews need to be completed at each budget milestone.  To prevent change as the project progresses, the team must ensure the design matches what can feasibly be built.
  • Budgets should include allowances and contingencies that account for unknown risks a project can expose. These funds are transparent to the owner and can be applied as needed and credited back to the owner if the funds do not end up being used.
  • Determine the strategy for procuring subcontractors. When the GC is involved early in the process, they help determine which trades should be involved early. The GC can utilize a design-build agreement for mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire protection trades (MEPF trades). By involving these trades ahead of the others, they can finish designs and submit for permits with the local jurisdiction concurrently with the building permit, often expediting the approval of those permits. In addition, procuring the MEPF contractors early can help aid in the overall design by identifying the following items, among others:

The most significant contributor to a successful project is that the client, design team and contractor approach it collaboratively. When all parties are clear about expectations, communicate frequently, and look for win-win solutions to challenges, the result is a project that is completed as expected, and a team of people that are satisfied by the journey it took to get from beginning to end.

Constructability Reviews

Another benefit to negotiating with a general contractor is to utilize their experience to complete constructability reviews.

A constructability review, or rather, a series of them, is generally completed during the preconstruction process of any given project. Teams review several factors to determine whether the project is designed most appropriately to meet cost, functional goals and schedule. During the design development phase, the general contractor and design teams are responsible for reviewing documents at each stage of design document issuance and contributing their knowledge in assessing many factors. First and foremost, these reviews must consider the design as it relates to the owner’s end goals to ensure they match.

These reviews may include the evaluation of:

  • Materials use
  • Construction timing and its impact to existing conditions
  • Site logistics
  • The potential requirement of temporary shoring/bracing.
  • Phasing strategies to optimize the schedule
  • Subcontractor recruitment strategies
  • Equipment clearances required
  • Test fitting building enhancements against project cost and schedule
  • End-user needs
  • Local building code restrictions
  • Environmental concerns, such as displacement of local wildlife
  • Sustainability goals

Contractors review the design drawings to ensure that what is written in ink translates to a building that meets the owner’s needs in terms of schedule, price, function, and sustainability. Their findings must be transparent and communicated to all team members so they can modify designs.

Final Thoughts

There are many benefits to negotiating your procurement strategy with a general contractor .  In today’s turbulent and challenging market, the benefits for materials procurement and cost control are substantial.

If you are considering a new project, contact our teams today to see how we can help you.

“This is The Perlo Podcast. We talk construction – it’s people, it’s challenges, it’s opportunities. We talk to industry and trade experts, movers and shakers, and people who get buildings built right. Join us. You won’t regret it.”

For full episodes you can visit our YouTube page or search “The Perlo Podcast” wherever you get your podcasts.

In this week’s episode of The Perlo Podcast, Host Elissa Looney, Perlo’s Director of Strategic Initiatives, meets with Perlo Project Manager Forrest Gregg and Superintendent Glen Alcock to discuss the Tesla Service Center in Vancouver, Washington. The Tesla Service Center is a 32,000 SF concrete tilt-up building located on about 3 acres and required the demolition of 3 older buildings. Tesla has been building similar projects across the country, but this model is relatively new compared to other auto manufacturers. Additionally, this building envelope is made of insulated tilt panels, a unique construction method.

Elissa Looney
Podcast Host & Director of Strategic Initiatives
Forrest Gregg
Project Manager
Glen Alcock

Unique Features

While this building is a concrete tilt building, it’s unique in that the shell is made of cast-in-place tilt panels with insulation sandwiched between two layers of concrete. Superintended Glen Alcock explains how the tilt panels were constructed, including the time limits for setting the insulation and placing the connectors, testing them, and what happens if the connectors don’t ‘set’ correctly. Perlo’s team self-performed the slab-on-grade and insulated tilt panels. We looked at the strategies Glen and his team use to communicate the tilt panel pour sequence, layout, pick order, and what trade partners are involved in the process.

Safety and Logistics During Tilt-Up Construction

With tilt panels weighing 75,000 lbs or more, which Glen calls ‘reasonably light’ compared to some of the panels that Perlo has done, safety is a significant concern. The team discussed the crane-picking strategies and site logistics constraints that dictated how they decided to pick the panels.

Lessons Learned with Insulation Tilt Panels 

While much of the process is the same as our typical panels, adding the insulation led to some lessons for the team. The biggest was to ensure the insulation laid loose inside the concrete forms instead of trying to fit it in tight and ‘pushing’ it down. Failure to do so led to the connectors failing to set.

Project Challenges 

Construction projects always have challenges, and this site was no exception. The team encountered many underground utilities due to old placement that wasn’t documented. In addition, high groundwater led to extensive dewatering measures, and the team had to be conscientious of the local businesses in the area. The building site is very small. Building great relationships with the neighboring properties has made a big difference in the success of our work.

In addition, materials lead times are extensive currently. Hence, the team found offsite storage areas to utilize so that the schedule could be met and kept as many items offsite as possible to avoid theft and damage in the interim.

Site Tour

The episode continues with a short tour of the site. First, we looked at the front storefront area where the tube steel structure was erected, the tilt walls were standing, and the roof structure and decking were underway.

In addition to the structure, the site includes the following:

  • Right-of-way improvements.
  • A new parking lot.
  • Electric vehicle charging stations.
  • Underground storm drainage.
  • Utilities.

The team discussed the significant number of underground utilities that had to be relocated once discovered, including the storm lines, power for this and the neighboring site, sanitary lines, and power to the nearby cell tower. In addition to the building and parking areas, the project includes 12 vehicle charging stations. These super charges will reach 80% capacity in 15 minutes.

Final Thoughts

Thanks for joining us for another episode of The Perlo Podcast! You can find us on your favorite listening platforms if you’d like to hear more. You can also engage with Perlo on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram.

Sustaining our growth and future means investing in and mentoring the next generation of employees. We are excited to share the stories of our 2022 Summer Interns, nine students from six schools aspiring to enter the dynamic construction industry. We were blown away by their unique perspectives, go-getter attitudes and willingness to learn. Read on to hear about their summer internship experience. 


Oregon State University

Construction Engineering Management

Levi worked primarily with our estimating department, learning preconstruction and the project bid process. Mainly working with mentor Senior Estimator Broc Van Vleet, Levi spent time recruiting subcontractors for bids, creating budgets and assisting with project estimates.

“I was surprised how upbeat everyone was here all summer; it was so cool. Of course, the work is stressful, but in such a great environment, the work was fun and motivating,” Levi expressed.

Our culture kept Levi engaged; he enjoyed building relationships, exploring different organizational methods, and learning new intercommunication skills. Levi’s takeaways were ongoing improvement of communication skills, particularly when additional direction or clarification is needed. Levi was surprised at how willing everyone was to dive in to help others, even when busy with their work.

“I thought I’d be filing papers and doing more intern-stigma-type work, but I was given real responsibility. I was willing to do whatever was asked of me, and I’d love to be an intern here again next summer.” 

Peyton worked with our general construction team with mentor and Project Manager Josh Swake. He had the unique opportunity to work in the Perlo main office and on the job site with our field teams, pointing out that most of his peers in school weren’t afforded such diverse internship experiences with other companies. 

Peyton was surprised at the role accounting plays in project management and how not all change orders and RFIs require full essays to communicate to owners. 

Peyton said of his mentor, “Josh is super organized, is awesome and showed me the process. I felt lucky to learn from him- he’s a good teacher.” In addition, Peyton felt like he was genuinely participating in the project management process and contributing to the project.

 “The culture is amazing. Perlo is just a cool, friendly, phenomenal place. I participated in all the culture events I could, like 3-on-3 basketball and trivia night; it was fun! I have never heard anyone talk negatively about Perlo. I made some good friendships and relationships.” 


Washington State University

Construction Management


Central Washington University

Construction Management

Riley worked closely with all of our Special Projects Group (SPG) members, learning from each of them across the summer. She was surprised that she was given so much responsibility, learning to communicate effectively with subcontractors, write change orders, and document projects appropriately. With a willingness to jump in and do whatever was asked, Riley had the opportunity to participate in two hard-bid projects, numerous project meetings and more. 

Riley said her favorite experience was “contributing to the bids; that’s where I feel I learned the most. It’s nice to be able to walk around and talk to people. The work can be stressful, but the culture here is so supportive. It’s an easy place to flourish and learn.”

“With my time in SPG I learned how important a paper trail is and how important it is for someone to be able to pick up right where you left off. I’ll take that tip with me everywhere I go.”

Spencer returned for his second summer internship working alongside Senior Project Manager Stephen Alger and Superintendent John Tompkins. He said his internship started fast and never slowed down, as the projects he assisted with were ever-evolving, providing many learning opportunities.

Of his mentors, Spencer said, “Stephen was busy but also available. John engaged me and wanted to help me learn. I absolutely loved seeing a concrete pour and being a part of it. I got to help process the rebar submittals and then saw the work I did come to fruition.” Additionally, Spencer helped with panel and embed layouts for a concrete tilt-up alongside John. 

Spencer commented that Perlo’s internship program improved year over year, with a significant focus on ensuring the interns had a consistent community, continuous learning environment and immersion in the company.

“All of the feedback from last summer was taken and implemented, showing how even interns have a voice.” 


Seattle University

Civil Engineering


Oregon State University

Construction Engineering Management

Working under Senior Project Manager Jacob Leighter, Zach worked in the office and on the field, expressing that he appreciated the office work more than he anticipated. He worked side by side with our project management teams and enjoyed the learning opportunities, including seeing concrete pours and panel tilts. 

Zach said that Jacob was “intentional and precisely what you would want in a mentor” and was surprised about how much time was invested in him. 

Coming to Perlo from a background as a firefighter, Zach was able to suggest resources for projects that drew on his past experiences. He expressed that people were still willing to listen when he didn’t feel he had a lot to offer. Zach said, “I learned how to take bad news and turn it into something positive or a benefit to Perlo and/or our client. Managing relationships is an art, and many people here do that well, so I’m glad to be able to listen in.”

“As an intern, I thought I’d be getting coffee for people. The culture here is so great. Everything is collaborative, so even when there are issues, a whole team is around to help. It was more of a learning environment than I ever expected.”

Aria worked primarily under Project Manager Forrest Gregg on the Vancouver Service Center project. A hands-on learner, she appreciated that so much of her work involved doing, not just watching. She learned a lot about effective communication and how to stay calm when tensions rise. “It surprised me how effective a simple phone call can be over an email.” She also noted that as the summer went on, she felt more and more comfortable speaking up and asking questions. 

Aria’s learning included change proposals, billings, safety audits, meeting minutes and more. She enjoyed the onsite visits to see concrete pours and tilt panels.

“Forrest was a great teacher. I felt like he wanted to help me understand, and honestly, we learned together at times, and he was so humble and honest. He wanted me to learn.”


University of Arizona

Construction Engineering Management


Oregon State University

Construction Engineering Management

Caden worked primarily with Senior Project Manager Jordan Peterson. A ‘great fit’ as Caden’s mentor, Jordan quizzed and tested him regularly to keep him on his toes, helping him earn his learning instead of simply giving him the answers. He also noted that the internship surprised him. “I know people who have done CEM internships and heard many horror stories. I wasn’t expecting the culture aspect – it’s so positive! It feels like I am important here.” 

With previous experience working as a laborer in the field, Caden said he enjoyed working in the office and liked it more than he thought he would. The relationships within the office while still having close interactions with the field were appealing to him. 

“One of the main skills I learned was watching Jordan and Jean lead meetings, talk to owners, discuss the projects, etc. At school, you’re pushing to please the teacher to get the grade, but it’s nice to see the real-life side of things here at the office.”

Connor spent his summer working with Senior Project Manager Drew Carter, on various project types, including an elementary school, industrial projects, and several others. Connor noted that he’s generally shy but was encouraged by Perlo to open up, try new things and come out of his shell. 

Connor spent time working with estimating and project management, completing take-offs, helping with punch list completion, change orders and more. He felt his mentor really trusted him to be involved in his projects, learn new things, and contribute. He noted that his prior experience included working for a restaurant and a shipping company, so this was a significant, positive change and eye-opening. 

Connor, we’re so glad you joined us and look forward to seeing where your career heads from here! 

“The atmosphere here makes it easy, even for someone shyer, to engage. Getting to be on the job site was great. I loved being able to talk to the subcontractors.”


Oregon State University

Mechanical Engineering


Oregon State University

Construction Engineering Management

Jimmy worked with many mentors this summer, including Senior Project Manager Jacob Leighter and Senior Estimator Broc Van Vleet, and across various project types. “The variety helped me compare projects, and it kept me on my toes all summer learning,” said Jimmy.

With time in the office, Jimmy learned the importance of effective communication via email and phone. Jimmy appreciated working with so many project managers to observe their work styles and project types. Some were more experienced, some less, and some more intense than others, and he liked all of that.

In addition, he appreciated the culture and the great perks like basketball games and the gym. 

“I learned a lot about real-world business soft skills and getting comfortable on the phone. Jacob also helped me learn to diffuse tense conversations by being respectful and knowing when to loop in someone higher up.”

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 2022, 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, watch our careers page or contact us today! 

This week we’re looking at one of our recently completed projects constructed in Hillsboro, Oregon through the developer, Trammell Crow Company, for tenant GXO, a global contract logistics company that manages outsourced supply chains and warehousing. A concrete tilt-up structure with steel decking and fully insulated, this 270,000 SF building is primarily filled with racking, offices, break rooms, restrooms and conference rooms, as well as both a walk-in cooler and freezer, and electric forklift chargers. In addition, the site includes 27 dock doors, vehicular parking, electric vehicle charging stations and a large bio-swale and landscaping.

A few challenges with construction as well as unique features, however, make this structure one to talk about!  

The AutoStore System

Perlo prepared a portion of the warehouse space to receive a robotic package picking system by AutoStore, which the owner supplied to help automate warehouse operations. This custom fulfillment system was placed under a ceiling grid and on top of an extremely flat concrete floor. The area also included a beam detection fire alarm system.  

The AutoStore system operates with small robots in an aluminum framework and can continue to work 24/7. Smaller in size than a forklift and needing no room for people to move between the racks, the storage space allowed inside this system for inventory is virtually unbeatable. The robots can move between racks and pick individual packages, and the structure can be made in any shape, form or height. According to the AutoStore website, ten of these robots use the same amount of energy as a vacuum cleaner. 

Floor Flatness and Floor Levelness

To understand the unique nature of the concrete floor that Perlo installed under the AutoStore system, it’s important to discuss what Floor Flatness (FF) and Floor Levelness (FL) really mean.

Most would say that any concrete slab inside a warehouse is flat to the naked eye. However, this isn’t necessarily true. For instance, concrete has traditionally been considered ‘flat’ if it deviates less than 1/8 over 10-feet. In 1979, a system called the Face Floor Profile Numbering System was developed, which was later formalized and adopted by ASTM and ACI. Tools were created to better measure how flat a given concrete floor actually is. The following definitions describe Floor Flatness and Floor Levelness:

Floor Levelness (FL)
Applicable to slab on grade, floor levelness is based on how closely the finished floor matches the design document’s specifications for the intended slope. Higher FL numbers indicate a more level floor.

Floor Flatness (FF)
Floor flatness measures how wavy or bumpy a floor is. Floors with higher measurements are flatter than lower measurements.

For a better representation of what these measurements equate to, see the below chart from Archtoolbox:

The GXO floor was designed to have an FF/FL of 75/75, which, according to the above chart, means it’s even more flat and level than ‘Super Flat’.

For additional reference, the American Concrete Institute has provided guidance for typical FF/FL specifications depending on the use:

Huge congratulations to our teams for achieving such a flat and level floor for GXO on this project. It’s no easy feat to achieve!

“The ownership and development teams were very receptive to proactive coordination, and we had a lot of it. They even had people fly in from out of town to walk the site and make decisions. All around, the team was great to work with. GXO, Trammell, Mildren Design Group, AAI engineering, it was a really fantastic team.”

Taylor Regier
Project Manager

Construction Challenges and Schedule

In reality, most projects in today’s climate are running into material lead times. In addition, wet weather can cause less-than-ideal working conditions and potential setbacks. Here’s how we handled some construction challenges along the way:

Weather challenges:

The full construction of the core, shell and interior build-out was completed in less than 1 year, with much of the sitework underway during the wet-weather season. The team persisted in building despite having 99 days with 1/10th of an inch or greater rainfall between August and June.  To combat these conditions, they employed a variety of techniques, including:

  • Strategic planning for concrete pours to take advantage of short weather windows
  • Use of concrete curing blankets to prevent defects in the concrete
  • The use of a schedule acceleration allowance to pay for weekend work for concrete pours
  • Installation of plywood at all window openings while waiting for the aluminum frames and glass.
Permitting challenges and solutions

Just before to the issuance of the building permit, the City of Hillsboro asked the design team to relocate the building approximately 10’ away from the property line to achieve more distance between this structure and any future structures on the neighboring property. With such late notice and preconstruction efforts well underway, the team investigated alternatives to relocating the building and landed on the installing a ‘Water Wall’ sprinkler system along the South side of the building.

What is a Water Wall? Essentially, it is fire sprinklers mounted on the exterior of the building that is triggered to engage in the event of a fire. The idea is to prevent fires from spreading between buildings. These systems are installed by the Fire Protection subcontractor and are tied into the fire alarm and electrical systems, requiring significant coordination for successful installation.

“Once again Perlo has proven they are the best in the business with their dedication and hard work on the GXO project. This project was not easy and Perlo achieved TCO quicker than anyone expected.”

Louis Fontenot
Trammell Crow Company

Materials Lead Times

As is true on most projects in today’s climate, the GXO project experienced challenges with materials lead time, with the largest problem related to the tenant required back-up generator, electrical gear and Automatic Transfer Switch (ATS). The back-up generator, in particular, continued to be delayed, and despite consistent communication with the manufacturer, it became clear that the generator would not be onsite in time to open the building.

After months of communication between the manufacturer, ownership teams, jurisdiction, design team and electrician, it was determined that we could switch to battery backup systems in order to achieve substantial completion and still provide backup power for the facility. Once the generator arrives at some point in the future, the teams will coordinate to install the ATS and backup generator.

Additionally, the electrical gear was shipping and landed in a port in Washington State, but labor challenges meant that it would not be shipped from the port to our site for an unknown length of time. Our electrical trade partner, Current Electric, acted immediately, travelled to the port, loaded the gear, and delivered it to the jobsite. Following this, they worked over a weekend to install it and received approval the following Monday. These kinds of extra efforts from our loyal trade partners help projects succeed.

Underground Clay Tile Drainage

While the site was relatively uncomplicated, the Geo report suggested that clay tile drainage systems may be present, and our teams did indeed found them. To remedy this, the team used cameras to scope the tiles to determine the extent of their locations. The excavator then completed pot-holing to allow them to be filled with grout. 

Final Thoughts

The GXO building is a testament to great project management and excellent onsite coordination despite of some less-than-ideal conditions and materials delays. The inclusion of higher-tech storage and fulfillment systems, as well as electric charging stations on the interior and exterior, help make this industrial facility anything but boring. We are grateful to the ownership, development and design teams, along with our Trade Partners, for their work with us. 

As a large part of the construction market, concrete manufacturing makes up more than $60 billion in revenue across the United States, so research is ongoing to provide the best means and methods to produce it. Perlo has been known for decades as the ‘Tilt King’ because of the immense number of concrete tilt-up projects we perform. Concrete work takes place on almost every commercial project, at least as part of the foundation work, if not as part of the entire structure. Today we explore both the art and the science of concrete.

What is concrete?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, concrete is:
“A hard, strong building material made by mixing a cementing material (such as portland cement) and a mineral aggregate (such as sand and gravel) with sufficient water to cause the cement to set and bind the entire mass.”

Importantly, there is a distinction between concrete and cement: cement is an ingredient used to make concrete, along with sand, gravel, and water.  Concrete is the finished product. 

When completed properly, concrete is a solid, strong surface or structure that forms foundations, walls, sidewalks, mezzanines, columns and a variety of other building elements or walking surfaces.  It can be decorative or functional or a combination of both. 

Unlike some building materials, once concrete is poured and cures, it’s relatively permanent.  Aside from minor patching, if concrete is not installed correctly, the process to replace it includes saw-cutting and removing the damaged area and replacing it.  This involves significant time and expense. It’s best to leave concrete work to professionals with extensive experience to avoid costly mistakes.    

The Science of Concrete

Similar to baking a loaf of bread, concrete is made up of a specific list and ratio of ingredients and mixed together into a malleable form, which then ‘bakes’ into a more solid form.  The baking in this case is actually a chemical reaction, known as ‘hydration’, which causes the cement, water and aggregate ingredients to harden and strengthen over time. The process of hardening is known as curing, and sufficient time must be provided to the concrete for it to turn into the hardened state that is desired.    

The ratio of ingredients is adjusted depending on the desired strength and finished look the concrete requires.  Let’s look at a typical ratio of ingredients:

Aggregates (sand and gravel)
60 – 75 %

15 – 20%

10 – 15%

Entrained Air
5 – 8%

These ingredients may be adjusted to hasten or slow the concrete curing process. Admixtures are chemicals or additives included in the mix to adjust the cure time in response to environmental factors.  For instance, on cold days, water might be added to the mix at a warmer temperature to keep the ingredients from freezing as the concrete cures.  Adjustments to the raw materials ratios and added chemicals are also made to increase or decrease the strength of the finished product. 

The ingredients to make concrete can be hand mixed, such as when an individual wants to use a bagged concrete, mix it with water and pour it into a fence post hole.  There are also portable concrete mixers for smaller batches of concrete that needs to be mixed onsite.  For larger commercial projects, however, the materials are typically mixed at a local batch plant, loaded onto one, or many, concrete trucks and driven to the site, where it is either dumped directly from the back of the truck, or pumped to its final location. 

Concrete Placement Types

Concrete can be mixed, poured and cured on the actual jobsite, or in an offsite manufacturing space. Let’s look at the definitions that create the distinction between these two methods:

Concrete that is placed in liquid form and cures on the actual jobsite. 

Concrete that is cast offsite at a manufacturing facility and then transported in hardened form to the site for final installation.  Pre-cast items are typically things like walls, columns, decorative pieces, wheel stops, or barriers. This can be particularly helpful in challenging climates where excessive cold, heat or moisture make pouring concrete outdoors challenging.   

What are the standards for quality of concrete?

When placing concrete for flat surfaces like a slab, contractors must consider Floor Flatness (FF) and Floor Levelness (FL).  These measurements are what helps an architect specify how flat and level the floor slab needs to be and provides a way for all parties to set expectations and then verify that those were met.  More information on these definitions and how they were developed can be found here.    

In addition, items like texture and strength play a large role in the cost and time involved in placing concrete.  Slabs, walls, footings and columns will all vary in terms of size, thickness and strength and the finished surface may appear rocky, grooved or flat and shiny.  How the finished product should look must be determined prior to pouring the concrete so that the correct method for placement can be applied.  

Structurally, the strength of the concrete mixture once it has cured must be specified. Measured in pounds per square inch, or PSI, a rating such as 3000 PSI indicates that the concrete should be able to support up to 3000 pounds per square inch before cracking or failing.  For slabs or walls that need additional strength, the mix design can be adjusted to attain a higher PSI.     

The Art of Concrete

Placement of concrete is both a science and an art. Even with so much in the way of research and science going into concrete, there is still an element of creating a great finished concrete product that involves a stroke of luck and a lot of experience. When asked how long it takes to be an expert in concrete, long time Perlo superintendent Gary Lundervold says, ‘A lifetime.  You’re always learning about concrete and how to get the best result. You have to know the science but reading a book won’t make you an expert.  You need time working with it to really start to know it.’ 

What makes concrete so difficult to know? The variables that go into placing concrete are extensive, and include but are not limited to:

  • Environmental factors such as heat, cold, wind and humidity
  • Admixtures, or the additives included to speed up or slow down the curing process
  • Condition of the subgrade
  • Geographical location
  • Available crew size
  • Available concrete supply
  • Specified thickness and strength

In addition to the concrete itself, there are several entities involved in properly placing and finishing concrete:

Engineering consultant: providing subgrade and reinforcing design

Geotechnical engineer: verifying grades and compaction of subgrade

Special Inspectors: providing testing and reporting to owner and local jurisdiction

Excavation: Proper preparation and grading of the surface where concrete is to be placed

Rebar fabrication and installation: providing materials and installation of the reinforcing steel inside the slab

Concrete supplier: providing the raw materials and transportation to the site

Concrete pumping: providing equipment and manpower to operate the pump that delivers concrete from the truck to the final placement location

Placement, finishing and curing: includes the form work, placement and finishing to desired finished product

Coordination of so many parties involves an extensive amount of planning ahead of time, and supervision by an experienced superintendent to adjust as needed to in-the-moment circumstances.  While the pre-planning is extensive, we can’t ultimately control things like the weather, traffic or suppliers, and all those factors can lead to calling off a concrete pour within hours or even in the middle of placing concrete.

Once concrete is poured and finished, there are still several steps that require expertise to achieve a quality finished product. For instance, slab joints are cut into the concrete following the pour.  This work is risky in that if it’s done too early or too late, problems can arise.  Additionally, the curing process needs to be controlled so that the concrete doesn’t set up too quickly or too slowly.  Heating blankets and cooling blankets in addition to the utilization of hot water, cold water, or water baths are used to help control the temperature of the slab as it cures.

With such a wide variety of variables involved in the process, every concrete pour will be different from the last, even if only slightly.  This is where the trade becomes less of a science and more of an art.

Concrete over Time

Concrete does require some maintenance to remain solid over time, particularly if it is exposed to abrasive materials, forklifts or vehicular traffic, or freezing weather. It’s critical to keep debris out of the slab joints.  When wheeled forklifts or automobiles drive over slab joints with debris inside, it can cause the joints to deteriorate.  While these can be repaired when small, if neglected they can cause significant damage that requires cutting out and replacing large sections of slab.

Damaged control joint
Repaired control joint

Similarly, tilt walls should be maintained if they are to be expected to last for decades.  Re-caulking the panel joints and re-painting buildings at approximately 5 year intervals and repairing any cracks that may occur will increase the lifespan of the concrete.

Final Thoughts
This blog simply brushes the surface of the intricacies of concrete and the complexity involved in the process of producing a quality product. If you’re contemplating concrete work for your commercial building, we encourage you to call our experienced team members to discuss your options and how we can help you.

In today’s construction industry, reducing energy consumption continues to gain popularity as both a guiding vision and a goal. Renewable energy and the incorporation of green construction are increasingly familiar tools to help improve buildings’ sustainability and resiliency. We recently sat down with Amy Haddox, an outreach manager for Energy Trust’s New Buildings Program, to learn more about Energy Trust and how their work is helping to keep energy costs as low as possible, create jobs and build a sustainable energy future for over 2 million utility customers in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

What is Energy Trust of Oregon?

Energy Trust is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping utility customers benefit from saving energy and generating renewable power. Energy Trust provides services, cash incentives and energy solutions to help participating customers of Portland General Electric, Pacific Power, NW Natural, Cascade Natural Gas and Avista save more than $4.6 billion on energy bills. Energy Trust is funded by the Public Purpose Charge that you see on your utility bill, which helps fund energy conservation in a wide range of buildings and projects throughout Oregon. They work closely with a variety of participating utilities and other government agencies, to serve the public with the best possible energy solutions.

How Does it Work?

Energy Trust is a valuable resource for architects, engineers, builders and designers working on new construction and major renovation projects, tenant improvements, additions, expansions and more. We learned about the ins and outs of Energy Trust and how they can help by talking to Amy, who is responsible for coordinating various major renovation projects and ensuring customers are able to access the financial incentives available to them.

The New Buildings program provides incentives for commercial projects, as well as technical guidance to help incorporate energy-efficient measures into new buildings or renovation projects. A variety of commercial equipment types are also eligible for cash incentives, including HVAC, lighting, water heating equipment, commercial cooking equipment and more.

According to Amy, Energy Trust is working to dispel the myth that receiving cash incentives is complicated. One great place to start is to hold