G&M Blog

Useful information and news from Greenwood & Moore

Storm Water Control – A Critical Part of Commercial Development

Storm Cloud for Blog for WebsiteStorm Water treatment requirements are somewhat new to commercial development, especially to remodeling. They deal with the need to treat (clean) and meter (control) the quality and flow of water off of a site.

If a commercial project creates or disturbs impervious surfaces (buildings, sidewalks, paving, etc.) in excess of 5,000 square feet then you may need to install treatment and flow metering devices as part of the project. This is relevant to site accessibility upgrades because, for some projects, the construction could trigger these requirements.

The costs and delays associated with this item can be very high! If these requirements apply, you will want to know as soon as possible. Storm Water treatment requirements are a critical part of the commercial development research phase.

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Subdivide Your Property

If you are a residential or commercial property owner looking to increase the value of your property by subdividing, you will be required to go through an extensive “Land Subdivision” process.

Even for what appears to be a simple project, this process can be complicated and a bit overwhelming!

Greenwood & Moore (G&M) will walk with you through its’ eight-phase development process. We will discuss common California development issues, make you aware of potential pitfalls, and more importantly, we will provide SOLUTIONS to hasten your project through your local municipality’s requirements.

Click here for a flowchart that identifies the 8-phase process

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Disabled Accessibility - A Headache for Property Owners

disabled accessibilityDisabled accessibility issues are often a major cause of LIABILITY, UNANTICIPATED EXPENSES, and HEADACHES for Property Owners, Developers and Community/Facility Managers.

If you are considering a commercial tenant improvement, remodel or expansion project, you will be required to comply with various State and Federal accessibility requirements.  For these types of projects, accessibility issues are particulary complicated because:

1.  The extent of accessibility upgrades is often unclear at the beginning of the project.

2.  The cost of the accessibility upgrades is often expensive relative to the cost of the proposed remodel.

3.  It is often unclear who is responsible for some of the accessibility upgrades, i.e., either the owner or the tenant.

Contact us to learn more about disabled accessibility compliance requiements.



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Design and Development Approval Process

If you are considering a new commercial, industrial or residential construction project, tenant improvement or expansion, you will be required to go through some type of “Design and Development Approval Process.”  ...And, If you are not familiar with this procedure, it can be a bit overwhelming!

Even for what appears to be a simple project, Local, State and Federal bureaucracy makes the Design and Approval process complicated.  However, by selecting the right design team that will help you understand how the process works, you can greatly increase the chances of success for your project.

Contact us  to learn more.  We are here to help you through the Design and Development Approval Process for your project. 

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Knowledge is Power

knowledge is powerThe old saying that “Knowledge is Power” is true in the design and engineering fields too!

Local, State and Federal bureaucracy makes the Design and Approval process complicated and there is no way around this fact.

One of the best ways to increase the success of a project is to be knowledgeable about the design and approval process.

In order to assist our Clients in this area, we have developed the following flowcharts that illustrate the complexity of the process.

1. Design and Development Process Flowchart

2. Land Subdivision Process Flowchart

3. Land Use (Entitlement) Approval Process Flowchart

4. Tentative Map Approval Process Flowchart 

Please contact us if you are interested in understanding the process for your project.

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Commercial Design and Development = Research • Research • Research! + Preparation of Initial Budget

commercial design and development“Inadequate or incorrect research is probably the single most common cause of frustration, unnecessary design fees and time delays associated with commercial development!”

The goal of providing research as the first step is not to develop a fancy report; instead, it is to offer information that can be used in the preparation of the initial budget. Research – followed by preparing an initial budget – are the two tasks that go hand-in-hand. From a practical standpoint, Developers and Facility Managers require a budget in order to determine the economic viability of their projects.

The first step in the research process is to collect all available data. We will meet with a Developer or a Facility Manager to review existing documentation and discuss the initial goals for the project.  Before we can perform any design work on a project, research must be performed to identify the specific development requirements. Many municipalities throughout the state have similar approval processes; however, the specific development requirements can change substantially from one City/County to the next. This is why it is vitally important that we research the specific development requirements for each particular project.

When our staff performs research for a project, we contact some or all of the following departments/agencies, depending upon the size, complexity and location of the project:  Planning/Zoning Department. Fire Department, Building Department, Public Works Department, Building Department, and other Agencies and Departments as/if required.

Initial Budget
When all of the required research is complete, the initial budget is then preparate.  We have created a Budget Report that will assist you in the preparation of your initial budget.  Contact us to help you prepare your initial budget.

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Budgeting: Hugely Important and Often Overlooked!

budgetingWhether you're a developer, facility manager, commercial property owner, homeowner, or contractor you will want to avoid wasting time and money on any proposed development project.

The very first thing that you need to develop for any successful project is a plan to control your costs.

With over 20 years of experience in all types of development, G&M has found that no matter the size or complexity of the project, there is one question that everyone wants answered before they spend a lot of time and money. It is, of course:

How much is this project going to cost?
The answer to this question comes from the proper development and use of a budget. It is not difficult for most people to understand the importance of having a good budget at the beginning of a project. What is often difficult is determining how to get an accurate initial budget without spending a fortune doing so!

It is important to understand that budgeting is not a one-time task. Rather, it is an on-going process throughout the life of a project. Most projects end up developing several budgets.

The initial budget is probably the most important and difficult to create for the following reasons:

1. The initial budget is normally used to request money for a project. If you get this budget wrong, you may need to request more money at a future date and that is no fun!
2. It is most often prepared with the least amount of information. Detailed construction drawings are not usually available when an initial budget is prepared.

These reasons create a fundamental problem; it is sort of a chicken-or-the-egg thing.

Most people want an accurate initial budget without spending a lot of time and money. They don't want to waste money on design fees if they cannot ultimately afford the project. The dilemma is how can you prepare an accurate budget without detailed plans?

So, given these challenges, how do you develop an initial budget? There are three common options:

1. The do-it-yourself method. This involves using whatever resources that you have and preparing the budget yourself. Unless you do this all of the time, this approach can take a lot of time and effort.
2. Go to a contractor and ask for a price. This could work, but if the contractor doesn't have accurate drawings, how will they know how to prepare your budget?
3. Find a design professional or construction manager who has the ability to prepare detailed and accurate initial budgets at a reasonable price without needing a lot of drawings.

What should a good budget include?
To be effective, a good initial budget should include the following key features:

• A detailed scope of work
• Cash flow requirements
• Costs with and without financing
• Construction phasing options
• Up to date pricing
• Scheduling information

The advantages of this type of budgeting system are:
• Minimal initial cost
• Rapid access to accurate budget data
• Easy to modify
• Confidence in the data! A detailed format will show you exactly how the costs were derived.

To find out about how G&M approaches the budgeting process, I invite you to visit Budget Reports.

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