Cresleigh: Changing Points of View

When a major builder, Cresleigh Homes, recently proposed a high-rise housing project at 16th and N streets, officials discovered the state’s protection act map included that site and precluded developer’s from going more than 10 stories high, even though the site is a half-mile from the Capitol dome.

“It seemed to be an anomaly, given how far it was away from the Capitol,” city community development director Ryan DeVore said.

Read more at Sacbee.com

Amazon invests in prefab startup focused on smart home tech

Today’s announcement of Amazon’s investment in Plant Prefab, a startup based in Rialto, California, comes on the heels of the company’s announcement of a new line of Alexa-enabled smart home devices, suggesting a potential new avenue of smart home development, experimentation, and expansion.

The new $6.7 million Series A funding round, which also includes investments from Obvious Ventures and other private investors, will support expansion and talent acquisition for the company, including senior hires and new factories operating on the company’s patented Plant Building System. The company current operates out of a 62,000-square-foot facility in Rialto.

Read more at Curbed.com

Housing Starts Rise Amid Ongoing Affordability Concerns

The August reading of 1.28 million is the number of housing units builders would start if they maintained this pace for the next 12 months. Within this overall number, single-family starts increased 1.9 percent to 876,000 units. Meanwhile, the multifamily sector—which includes apartment buildings and condos—increased 29.3 percent to a total of 408,000.

Read more at NAHB.org

For different types of work, people want different spaces

“Work is increasingly more fluid today,” says Christian Beaudoin, research director for JLL in Chicago. “People work from home, work from third places. Offices today are changing to meet those needs, so workplaces are necessarily becoming more fluid.”

JLL’s “2018 U.S and Canada Fit Out Guide” defines and examines three prominent styles of office space across the U.S. and Canada, compiled from data from more than 2,800 projects it managed. These styles are progressive, moderate, and traditional.

Progressive office space, which JLL calls the leading-edge office space, has an open floor plan, 100 percent of desk space outfitted as bench-style furniture, no enclosed offices, and numerous varieties of collaboration and conference spaces.

Moderate office space has 10 percent of the area allotted to private offices; the remaining space may be open with work stations, along with some conference rooms and several collaboration or multiuse spaces.

Traditional plans have 30 percent of space devoted to enclosed offices; the remainder includes an open floor plan and eight-foot workspaces, several conference rooms, and nominal collaboration spaces.

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10 Hurricane-Ready Windows, Doors, & Locking Systems

Manufacturers have developed and expanded their hurricane-rated options up to the level of “Miami-Dade certified,” or approved under the country’s strictest standards for use in Florida’s High Velocity Hurricane Zones (HVHZ), which cover Miami-Dade County and Broward County. The following cover a mix of options for hurricane-ready homes, including Miami-Dade certified products, products in testing, and products that meet other regional standards:

Read More at BuilderOnline.com

SharePoint and Project Management

We’ve had several questions in recent months about the capabilities of SharePoint for project management. By design, SharePoint is a collaboration tool and therefore lends itself naturally for team members to collaborate on a project or several projects with great clarity. The latest version of SharePoint as a project management tool is an excellent choice.

Office 365 (O365) and SharePoint combine for an even more powerful tool. Since the number of O365 companies is growing every day, it is easier than ever to take advantage of the great features below to facilitate project management.

Home Page

Your project home page can easily deliver dashboards for the team to quickly gauge how the project is doing. Your dashboard can include things like summary of work, goals, statuses, etc. This visual can be delivered in several ways, including Power BI. If you create the report to feed the dashboard with Power BI it is easy to deploy with the Power BI web-part that is native to SharePoint.

Your home page can also be built to deliver project specific news, issue tracking, etc.

Further, you can display links to common project functions in the Quick Launch menu along the left-hand side of the screen. This makes navigation clear and simple for your end users. Some suggested areas for Quick Launch might be:

  • Project Help
  • Goals
  • Contacts
  • Plan with task update capability
  • Documents
  • Risk tracking
  • Issue tracking
  • Metrics
  • Status reporting
  • Project close items such as “lessons learned”
  • Project surveys

Project Tasks

You can use an out-of-the-box task list to include dates, assignees, items, etc. This is very functional and easy for your team members to learn to update.

Better yet, you can build your project plan in Microsoft Project and then sync that plan to the SharePoint Tasks list. This would mean you only need one license of MS Project to build the plan. Then, all the remaining team members can update using their SharePoint license. This makes it very cost effective for companies and again, requires minimal training for the team. Or vice versa, you can create your task list in SharePoint and then say, “open with MS Project.” When team members make updates in MS Project their changes will be saved back to the SharePoint list for everyone’s use.

Workflows

Don’t forget about SharePoint Workflows to further streamline your project tasks. These could be used for things such as routing documents for approval or status of issues being tracked. You can use the out-of-the-box workflows or create your own. Workflows can help take the randomness out of your routine project tasks.

If the standard Workflow structure in SharePoint is not your cup of tea, you can always use SharePoint Designer or Microsoft Flow. SharePoint Designer is not for the newbie. You will need to understand some of the coding and syntax. On the other hand, Microsoft Flow has an easy graphical user interface that makes building workflows much easier for the average user. Flow is included with most versions of O365 license. They can’t make this any easier.

Templates

Rinse, repeat! Yes, once you get your SharePoint project management site the way you like it, you can save it as a template. Now it can be consistently applied to each of your projects. The same look and feel will make it efficient for Administrators and End Users alike. And of course, each project can have its own security setup.

Conclusion

The folks at Microsoft have made several updates in recent years to make using SharePoint for project management not only feasible but also a first-rate choice, especially for O365 users. MS Project and SharePoint compliment each other, allowing for better flexibility while saving both time and money.

Even tariffs might not slow multifamily construction

The continued activity despite these cost increases has been a bit of a headscratcher for the industry, lending some credence to fears of overbuilding, yet the industry shows few signs of reversing course. Perhaps the prospect of tapping the swollen demand pool for multifamily product is just too sweet to pass up for your average developer.

Read more at HousingWire.com

Read Chuck Ehmann’s RealPage article here.

Sacramento latest city to mandate local hiring

The Local Hire and Community Workforce Training Program encourages contractors doing work on projects funded by the city with budgets of $1 million or more to allot 50 percent of their total workforce hours to area residents. The ordinance prioritizes residents of the city of Sacramento, followed by residents of Sacramento County, and then residents of the surrounding counties that make up the Sacramento region.

In addition, 20 percent of the total hours worked by apprentices on the project must come from “priority apprentices,” meaning people who reside in one of 11 economically disadvantaged zip codes and are either a veteran, a prior offender, a welfare recipient, a foster youth, a homeless person or a woman. The program also will include a high school internship component.

Get ConstructiveDive.com insight on this and similar programs here.

See the Sacremento Bee article here.