Contact Us

The Best Way to Build?

Los Angeles

Finding the best construction methodology is almost like deciding whether the beginning of the toilet paper should go above or below the roll. It's all personal preference, so we asked what top market experts liked best at Bisnow's Construction & Development Summit last week.

It varies by product and even within product type, we learned. Take multifamily mixed-use specialists Brian Winley of Century West Partners and Related California's Gino Canori (flanking Sonnenblick Development's Bob Sonnenblick and Panattoni's Mark Payne). While Brian says GMP is his preferred method, Gino likes cost-plus. Bob notes the timing of when contracts are signed also is important—he signs his at 3% drawings (that's industry lingo for 3% done... but you all knew that).

Our panelists also discussed the labor side: Should they be concerned about aging superintendents leaving the industry? Gino says you still need that gray-haired guy who’s been around for 30 years, because there's always field conditions. Hensel Phelps' Andy Millar says the younger generation will be fine because they've been mentored by the best. But instead of tape measures and hammers, they have iPads. (When you've got an iPad, everything looks like a nail.) That said, with a lot of markets coming back, he's worried about the labor supply in 2015.

Our event drew nearly 200 to the JW Marriott at LA Live. On the panel, Mark likened industrial development to handmaking a suit. Modularization will have a big impact. "You can do a lot more napkin deals because you're taking it from a custom prototype to more of a templated process. (Even in the industrial sector, they like to be tidy.)

Among the famous faces in the crowd, we snapped architect Richard Keating, who says his firm Keating Khang is working around the world (think South Korea, Morocco...) from the firm's HQ on Bunker Hill. While he's known for his high-rise office buildings, the firm recently has expanded into resorts and high-rise condos, having just finished the Beverly West project on the Westside.

We couldn't put on great events without our sponsors, like Saunders Construction. Before the program, we snapped its Steve Saunders and Amber Zamora. The company's been in business for 34 years and did LA's first seismic retrofit in 1984. Steve says a lot of the problems we have in SoCal, especially with concrete tilt-up buildings, stem from condensation. Luckily, there are easy remedies if caught early. (And big headaches if not.)

Here's Streit Lending's Auriel Streit chatting with Chicago Title's Claudia Queen. Streit's a family office with a bridge and construction lending platform. The family’s been in real estate for 30 years and owns a large portfolio of apartment buildings.

We also took this of Virtual Guard security consultant Jude Hen. The company provides high-tech and intelligent, interactive monitoring of sites.