General Contractors, Subcontractors, Builders: Who should I hire?

When constructing a new home, deciding who to hire can be a time-consuming process. You want to be sure you hire someone who is trustworthy, does quality work, and sticks to budgets and timelines. But who exactly do you need?

General Contractors

General contractors (GC) can be an individual or an entire company, and oversee the entire construction site. They are hired for both residential and commercial projects. The first responsibility of a GC is to make an estimate of the entire project including the cost of materials, labor, and any subcontractors that will be needed. From there, a project manager will oversee the project, communicate with the homeowner, ensure materials are ordered and delivered on time, and oversee subcontractors. A big benefit to hiring a general contractor is they already have built a pool of subcontractors they trust. In addition, subcontractors will often consider projects for a contractor as a priority over a job for a homeowner. To learn about Horton Group as a general contractor, click here.

Subcontractors

Subcontractors are typically skilled in one specific trade, such as tile, drywall, insulation, or roofing. Subcontractors fill their contract directly with the contractor, so you do not need to worry about hiring each different subcontractor if you have a general contractor. If you are only updating one part of a room, such as installing new tile flooring, you may want to hire a subcontractor to complete the job.

Builders

A builder, like a general contractor, will see the project through from start to finish. The difference is that a builder often has a crew to complete the construction work, from foundation to roof, subcontracting only for specialists like electricians and plumbers. They also manage the project and communicate with the homeowner throughout the process.

No matter who you hire, you are entrusting another person or company to carry out your vision. Be sure to communicate your vision, budget, and timeline clearly so the outcome is what you want.

Commercial Grade Elevators – What is best for your building?

Horton Group has built and renovated many commercial buildings, including offices, banks, and retail shopping centers. We put an emphasis on Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards in all our projects. Commercial buildings with more than one floor generally require an elevator according to ADA standards.

Depending on the size of the commercial building, there are different types of elevators that may work for your building. Passenger elevators and LULA elevators are what you see most often in commercial buildings.

Passenger Elevators

Passenger elevators are what you typically think of in high rise buildings. As the name suggests, these elevators are designed for carrying passengers. Most passenger elevators have up to a 5,000lb weight limit, although they can hold up to 10,000lbs. Passenger elevators can be in-ground hydraulic, hole-less hydraulic, or MRL.

LULA Elevators

LULA stands for Limited Use/Limited Application. LULA elevators are similar to full-size passenger elevators in design, with two sliding doors as an entrance. They can typically hold up to 1,400lbs, travel up to 25 feet high, and have up to 18 square feet of floor space. LULA elevators are a good option in a low rise commercial or residential building, as they save both space and money.

Consider how many floors in the building, as well as the number of people who will utilize the elevators each day when choosing which elevator to use in your commercial project.

What is a Triple Net Lease?

Looking to lease a property? If so, it is vital to understand the difference between a standard (gross) lease and net lease. These two types of leases distinguish between the responsibilities assumed by landlords and tenants.

When leasing a property, expenses typically have to do with property taxes, building insurance, and maintenance. If a landlord chooses a standard lease, that means he/she bears responsibility for all of the aforementioned expenses. A net lease means one or more of the expenses falls on the tenant’s shoulders.

At 350 Goose Lane Office Park, our ongoing commercial development in Guilford, we offer tenants a triple net lease. A triple net lease means that the tenant is responsible for all expenses (property taxes, building insurance, and maintenance). These are also typically signed for a long period of time and have rate increases built in.

Triple net leases offer significant benefits for both landlords and tenants. For landlords, triple net leases can be ideal. A long-term lease agreement without the threat of random expenses allows for a constant and sustainable stream of income. Likewise, tenants can also benefit. It is likely that rent under a net lease agreement will be lower than that of a standard lease as landlords could subtract the estimated expenses from the rent.

In essence, triple net leases are mutually beneficial leasing options for all parties involved. Considering the quality and efficiency with which we continue to build the office park on Goose Lane, tenants can expect extremely low expenses.

What is Facilities Maintenance?

A lot of relief comes with the completion of a residential or commercial project. But what comes next? Even after brand new construction, there is a great deal of upkeep to consider in order to maintain the quality and integrity of the buildings and grounds. Facilities maintenance ensures both general maintenance and emergencies are taken care of by experts.

Including the facilities manager during the planning and construction phases is a good idea. This allows the facilities manager to provide input, helping to decide what products and materials will hold up best for the space and foot traffic. Once the building is complete, facilities maintenance performs routine services to prevent degradation. Services of facilities maintenance may include:

  • General building repairs
  • Routine exterior painting and painting of interior common spaces
  • Implementation of operating procedures
  • Safety code compliance

In addition, if an emergency should arise, facilities maintenance has the expertise and contacts to fix the problem. Horton Group provides facilities maintenance services for both residential and commercial developments. We know quality maintenance will prolong the aesthetic appeal and product longevity of any space.

What makes a property ADA Compliant?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities. It also ensures individuals with disabilities can enjoy the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

The Annual Disability Statistics Compendium found that 12.8% of Americans are living with disabilities. This does not take into account senior citizens with decreasing mobility or those that are temporarily disabled due to events including accidents, illnesses, or medical procedures.

The ADA focuses on five different titles, or sections, to provide those with disability the right the equal opportunity. Title III (Public Accommodations) addresses “nondiscrimination on the basis of disability by public accommodations and in commercial facilities.” This includes privately owned facilities that are open to the public.

In 2010, the Department of Justice revised regulations within the original ADA of 1990. The regulations called for the 2010 ADA Accessibility Standards for Accessible Design, which set minimum requirements for newly constructed or renovated facilities to be accessible for individuals with disabilities.

There are a handful of requirements that must be made in all existing buildings and new construction deemed a public accommodation or commercial facility. A few requirements to be ADA compliant include:

  • Common use circulation paths in employee work areas in commercial work areas.
  • Accessible routes from site arrival points and within sites.
  • Alterations to primary function areas in existing buildings.

Here is the complete list of the requirements included in the Accessibility Standards for Accessible Design. For more general information about the ADA, click here.

Certificate of Occupancy: What is a CO?

Certificates of occupancy (CO) determine whether a building is suitable for living or working. The primary purpose of a CO is to:

  1. Dictate a structure’s function. Functions of a structure can include residential, retail, commercial, or industrial properties.
  2. Determine if the structure is suitable for occupancy. Structure is suitable for occupancy so long as it complies with all standards and codes related to its function.
  3. Make sure a structure complies with building codes.

While requirements for COs may vary depending on location, they are typically needed in a number of different instances, which include:

  • New construction.
  • Property conversion – when the function of a building changes. The Residences at 66 High Street are an example, as the history industrial Mill Building was turned into residential units.
  • Change of ownership.
  • Major construction – Any construction that changes the occupancy of the property or alters the entrance or exit of the property.

Certificates of occupancy are ultimately awarded if the structure passes a number of inspections, which include plumbing, electrical, fire safety, and general building.

 

What is a Build-to-Suit Property?

Are you looking for an office space or residence, but none seem just right? There is no need to compromise. Build-to-suit (BTS) developments offer extreme flexibility, as a given room or building can be shaped to meet the various wants and needs for you or your business.

Build-to-suit properties are most often commercial leases, but can also be found in residential developments. With BTS, the landlord or developer builds to a tenant’s specifications. During construction the tenant is allowed the freedom to dictate his or her future space, as long as changes do not interfere with the structural and mechanical systems. Buyers or tenants can make significant changes through the restructuring of walls, rooms, and closets. Decisions on aesthetics, including finishes, appliances, and color scheme, are also made during the BTS process.

At Horton Group, we aim to please by offering build-to-suit developments. If you’re looking for a commercial property that can be built to meet your company’s needs, check out 350 Goose Lane Office Park. Our luxury condominium units at The Residences at 66 High Street can also be altered to fit your family’s needs.

 

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