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Project News & Information from F.L. Hoffman Corporation                                                                    Winter 2000

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The Christmas season is always a special time, but this year it takes on even greater significance as we enter the new millennium. Think of how few people in the history of the world have alive to experience such a an event.

It's a wonderful time for a number of other reasons, too. Our country's prosperity continues to exhibit steady growth, which began in the mid-80's. Technology has opened vast new worlds to us and created opportunities never before available. But for those of us at F.L. Hoffman Corporation, the real blessings of the holidays and the coming of the year 2000 are our hardworking employees, building team partners, corporate friends, and of course, our clients. All of you are the reason for our success. We wish each of you a happy and safe holiday, a new year filled with all the promise a new millennium can offer, and a bug-free Y2K.

How Long is That Trip?

A recent survey showed that the typical airline passenger spends almost an hour waiting at various stages of his or her trip.

  • Check-in counter: 11 minutes waiting in line and getting processed
  • Waiting to board; 16 minutes past the scheduled flight time to begin boarding
  • Sitting on runway; 13.5 minutes from boarding to takeoff
  • Baggage claim; 18.5 minutes waiting for luggage.

The Skinny On Skin

  • Each square inch of human skin has 19 million cells, 60 hairs, 90 oil glands, 19 feet of blood vessels, 625 sweat glands and 19,000 sensory cells.
  • If the skin of a 150-pound person were spread out flat, it would cover about 20 square feet.
  • The average person's skin weighs about six pounds.
  • Seventy percent of house dust is made up of dead skin flakes.

A Lot Of Hot Air

An electric fan does not cool a room. It actually increases the air temperature because of the heat released by the motor. What makes the room seem cooler is increased air circulation over the skin, which speeds evaporation of moisture.

Not Such A Goofy Concept!

Walt Disney once defined success as: "Doing something so well that people will pay to see you do it again."


In The Beginning, There Was...An Estimate

The key to a successful pre-construction period is the development of a project budget early in the project. This can most easily be accomplished though a preliminary cost estimate listing all construction and "soft" cost. This establishes cost guidelines for each aspect of the project and provides the various design professionals (civil engineer, architect, structural, mechanical and electrical engineers, interior designers etc.) a clear understanding of the allowable costs relating to their portion of your project.

We've found that many design professionals prefer cost guidelines, since they virtually eliminate subsequent redesign or value engineering (a.k.a. "Architecture").

Oh, What a Site!

Aside from a few overly zealous design/engineering firms ("Whadaya mean, 'budget?"), site concerns rank up there as the leading cause of delays in purchasing or developing property. Developing a poorly chosen site can be costly in both time and money. Some issues to consider include:

  • Wetland. Are there any on-site? If so are they in a to-be-developed area? You can only fill 1/3 of an acre without a lengthy approval.
  • Hazardous materials. Has the site been inspected for PCBs, illegal dumping or other contaminants?
  • Rock, peat or other unsuitable subsurface conditions. Soil borings and analysis will determine the condition of the subgrade. Solid rock will be expensive to remove. Spongy conditions will require over-excavation, spread footings, piles or some other form of stabilization, depending upon the severity of the condition.
  • Municipal water and sewer. Is there a public water supply and sanitary sewer system available? If not, you'll need more acreage to develop on-site systems. The approval process will be longer, as the planning board/town engineer analyze system requirements and potential impacts to adjacent properties.
  • Setback requirements. Do you have the space needed for the project? If not, you will have to seek a variance from the town. This takes time and may trigger a public hearing. Once parking, utilities, building area and traffic flow are evaluated, it's surprising how much areas is needed for a well-designed site.
  • Zoning. Is the property zoned for the use you intend (B4, C6.2, etc.)? If not, a special use permit will be required and must be granted by the town.
  • Cut and fill. Obviously you'd like to build on a relatively flat site, but they're few and far between. Excessive excavation or large amounts of imported fill may delay constructions, can become expensive, and depending on adjacent conditions, may necessitate additional stabilization, retaining walls and storm water management.

The development of a typical, well-chosen site should run about 10% of your overall construction cost. On a fixed budget, a poorly chosen site, though usable, will effectively reduce funds available for construction.

What Makes Us So Smart?

One of the many benefits of Construction Management is the review of plans prior to bid. During these reviews, we not only apply our more than 37 years of construction experience, but also an arsenal of codes and references, including the NYS Fire Prevention and Building Code, BOCA codes, National Fire Protection Association guidelines, ADA, CABO/ANSI guidelines and more.

This coupled with our cost estimating and design references, provides a pretty foolproof analysis of your project before the big bucks are spent. This is one of the many reasons that Construction Management is gaining popularity worldwide.

The Design/Build Approach

There's an old saying, "The only real opportunity to save money on a construction project is during the planning phase; beyond that point, money can only be spent." The key is a good planning team. Design/Build is an outgrowth of modern Construction Management methods. It applies the efficiency and control of good business organization to construction.

Too Much Of A Good Thing?

We're not known for providing too little of anything. Until recently, this included information available on our website. We tried valiantly to produce our own site to ensure it addressed the needs of our clients. However, feedback indicates that we should stick to Construction Management and leave the web design to the professionals. So that's just what we did.

If you've visited our site in the past and found it way too informative, give it another shot. We think you'll find the new layout faster, easier to navigate and much more user friendly. We've also included some links that you may find useful and interesting. Please drop us a line and let us know what you think of the new layout--we'd love your imput.

For those of you out there who just can't live without all the details, feel free to contact us for a free copy of our Contruction Management Approach publication.

Continue Part 2 of Winter '00 Newsletter

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Neither Mary nor Frank Hoffman receive any salary from either organization.