Student Housing Business

MAY-JUN 2018

Student Housing Business is the voice of the student housing industry.

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CONSTRUCTION TRENDS May/June 2018 66 Early engagement is also criti- cal for contractor Construction Enterprises Inc. (CEI). "It is real- ly important nowadays to make sure that you bring the designers and contractors to the table early," says CEI executive Vice President Giny Knudsen. "This helps avoid the extra time and frustration caused when pric- ing comes back over budget and wishful items later have to be removed in the value-engineering process. I would say just about every project we have in house right now is working under the scenario where we're brought onto the team early to work with the designers, consultants and owners to make sure the design process keeps the project in bud- get. We are often able to guide the owner toward other options that may be more cost effective while giving them the look they want to achieve." Knudsen cites Archive Oxford as a prime example of a successful collaboration among the owner, Homestead Development Part- ners, architect, Charlan Brock & Associates, and CEI, the general contractor. The 790-bed property in Oxford, Mississippi, opened in May. "The team worked together from the early stages of design and successfully produced a project that is state-of-the-art in all respects while incorporating smart building techniques that enabled the owner to stay within budget," Knudsen says. The project features a beach- entry resort-style pool with caban- as, poolside jumbotron TV, out- door summer kitchen, automated package lockers, elevators, WiFi throughout the property, state-of- the-art fitness center, clubroom with coffee bar and interactive social space. The units feature quartz countertops, stainless-steel Energy Star appliances, electronic energy-efficient thermostats, and designer lighting and plumbing fixtures. "And best of all, the project delivered on time and on bud- get despite the challenges of inclement weather, subcontractor struggles and material delivery," Knudsen says. Planning for the Worst Not delivering on time can be dramatic and can cause such a reputation blow to a property's ownership that several safeguards are now being built in from the management side. Madison Meier, vice president of business development for Cam- pus Advantage, published a white paper in 2016 that outlines the company's five steps to address- ing a delayed delivery. Campus Advantage accepts four brand new developments to manage per year. Of those four, typically one of those properties experiences some sort of delay, whether it's a delay in the club- house opening or a residential building. Meier says Campus Advantage has fortunately not managed an entire site delay for the past two years. The five steps induce all parties to — communicate, be realistic, accommodate, incentivize and connect. If students are unable to move in, and if they are unable to cancel their lease (as they may be able to do in select states), owners are obliged to pay for hotel or other living accommodations. Beyond that, the developer can also face other expenses such as providing a shuttle bus, meal per diems, a gym membership since students may not yet have access to the on-site fitness center, and the list goes on. Managing all those responsibili- ties makes good communication the most important piece of the five-pronged plan. "Because of the way students vent on social media, we always recommend an owner hire a pub- lic relations firm that can commu- nicate about a delay and constant- ly message about it," Meier says. "The communication strategy is the most important piece. If you Homestead Development Partners collaborated with architect Charlan Brock & Associates and Construction Enterprises Inc. on the 790-bed Archive Oxford property in Oxford, Mississippi. MADISON MEIER Vice President of Business Development, Campus Advantage

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