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New LEED Rating System

New LEED Rating System

We encourage you to check out this article on current trends in sustainability: http://www.constructiondive.com/news/new-leed-guide-targets-efficiency-in-historic-buildings/111651/

Cost Corner – M&H Cost Analysis Approach

Cost Corner – M&H Cost Analysis Approach

by Mike Dwyer, Principal, M&H Cost & Review Group Optimism prevails among architects and engineers as new construction planning appears to be increasing. The Architectural Billing Index (ABI), an indicator of construction work entering the pipeline due to active projects on the boards of architectural offices, is rising steadily and shows the strongest growth since 2007. Improved design coordination and competitive pricing by prospective contractors bode well for budgeting of construction projects. At Merritt & Harris, analyzing a construction budget goes much deeper than just analyzing the numbers. Each trade line item is reviewed based upon the plans, specifications, and… Read More

Cost Corner – Hotel and Retail Demand

Cost Corner – Hotel and Retail Demand

by Mike Dwyer, Principal, M&H Cost & Review Group Construction Outlook Improving? The design and construction industry seems to have mixed views on the outlook for the remainder of 2012 and 2013. An increase in demand for industrial facilities so far this year, along with sustained demand for hotels and retail projects, factors into what projects to be a modest (5%+/-) rise in spending this year for nonresidential construction projects. Construction costs through 2012 have increased. Material prices have steadily increased throughout the year, pushing contractor margins (fees) lower to be competitive. With increased technology, such as BIM, there is… Read More

The Celebration Continues

The Celebration Continues

On the first night of M&H Days, the principals of the firm hosted a 75th Anniversary cocktail party and dinner at The Ketch Restaurant in Manhattan. The gala celebration provided an opportunity for staff members of the three offices to mingle and get to know each other in a relaxed and upbeat atmosphere.   President & CEO, Manny Kratsios, spoke briefly and thanked all of the employees for their efforts in contributing to Merritt & Harris’ 75 years of providing exceptional consulting services.  Sylvia Cowie, who has been with the firm the longest (33 years), holds the anniversary cake in the… Read More

Barclays Center Opens

Barclays Center Opens

On September 28th, 2012, the billion-dollar Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., opened with a Jay-Z concert and lots of hoopla. The rapper is an enthusiastic promoter of the borough of Brooklyn and a minority owner of the Brooklyn Nets, the NBA team that was relocated from New Jersey. By all accounts the arena and the evening were a big success with many stars among the wild and excited audience. Jim Cockinos, AIA, M&H Sports’ Senior Associate, who served as our Project Manager during construction, was in attendance. Barclays Center is the 34th professional sports facility monitored by M&H Sports to… Read More

The Celebration Continues

The Celebration Continues

Continuing its year-long celebration of its 75th Anniversary, Merritt & Harris, Inc. sponsored a gathering of its alumni and current employees on May 24, 2012 at Ryan Maguire’s Ale House in Manhattan’s Financial District.  Manny P. Kratsios, President & CEO, welcomed those who once worked at M&H, thanking them for their contributions to the long-term success of the firm.  Many of the “old-timers” now contribute the experience learned at M&H as employees of other construction consulting firms or with lending institutions.  Mr. Kratsios asked those in attendance to share in a moment of prayer in remembrance of the firm’s past… Read More

The Top US Cities for New Home Construction

The Top US Cities for New Home Construction

We encourage to check out this article on current trends in residential construction: http://www.citylab.com/housing/2012/05/top-us-cities-new-home-construction/1935/

Florida Office Gets New Manager

Florida Office Gets New Manager

M&H President & CEO Manny Kratsios has announced the promotion of James Mako, P.E. to Senior Associate and his appointment as the new Branch Manager of the firm’s Deerfield Beach, Florida office.  Mr. Mako holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from Florida Atlantic University and is a registered Professional Engineer in Florida.  Jim joined M&H in 2007 as Project Manager after closing his own firm.  He has performed as the construction consultant on several significant M&H projects including the Dallas Cowboys Stadium and the Scrub Island Resort in Tortola, BWI.  Mr. Mako succeeds Michael J. Dwyer, Principal,… Read More

M&H Honors Company Veterans

M&H Honors Company Veterans

Each year during the holiday season, it is customary for Merritt & Harris, Inc. to honor employees for their length of service to the firm in increments of 5 years. At the firm’s Holiday Party in New York and at a special luncheon for the honorees, Manny P. Kratsios, President & CEO, recognized Mary Anne Brennan, Proofreader, and Tom Richard, AIA, Principal, Director of Marketing and former President & CEO, for 30 years of service. He, also, honored William J. Doody, Principal and CFO, for 25 years of service; William McCallion, AIA, LEED AP, Manager of Quality Control & Training… Read More

M&H Honors Company Veterans

On the Road to BIM and IPD

By William McCallion, AIA, LEED AP, Manager of Quality Control & Training The emerging technology of BIM (Building Information Modeling) holds the prospect for a paradigm shift in the way buildings are designed and built. Enabled by the increasing availability of greater and cheaper computing power, Designers and Contractors are more empowered to record their visualizations to greater and greater degrees. BIM is one of the outcomes. Simply put, BIM is a virtual 3-D model of the building; however, it doesn’t stop there. In addition, there is, also, 4-D and 5-D, which is basically attaching information such as scheduling and… Read More

M&H Honors Company Veterans

Finally – An Expert

by Tom Richard, AIA A few years ago, in anticipation of an upcoming executive retreat, the facilitator distributed questionnaires to the would-be participants. One of the questions was, “What would you like to be known for in your industry?”   I remember my response was, “I’d like to be known as an expert in something – anything.” One day during my tenure as the President & CEO of Merritt & Harris, Inc., I received a phone call from a person purporting to be an employee of the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) radio. The person informed me that the talk show he… Read More

M&H Honors Company Veterans

Cost Corner and Rental Apartment Construction Costs

by Michael J. Dwyer, Principal, Cost & Review Group Leader New construction has not seen the recovery that was hoped for this year, but there is a bright spot emerging. Rental apartment buildings are anticipated in a number of larger cities, and the demand for these apartments is growing. There are many indications that rental apartments will be in demand over the next three years as the housing crash has caused displaced homeowners to look for other living arrangements. The appeal of homeownership has, also, lost its luster, because of the “recession” and many would-be buyers are seeing rentals as… Read More

Mexico’s Growing Need for Business-Oriented Hotels

Mexico’s Growing Need for Business-Oriented Hotels

We encourage you to check out this article on current trends in Mexico’s hospitality industry: http://www.hvs.com/article/5328/mexicos-growing-need-for-business-oriented-branded-hotels/

Mexico’s Growing Need for Business-Oriented Hotels

Spring Cost Corner – Office to Residential Conversion

by Mike Dwyer, Principal Office to Rental Residential Trade Unit Cost Unt % of Total Demolition $3.98 Total Bldg. SF 4.4% Exterior Enclosure $17.53 Exterior SF 10.7% Interior Finishes $32.76 Bldg. Equiv. SF 33.0% Elevators $7,500 Elevator stops 0.8% Plumbing $9.96 Bldg. Equiv. SF 10.0% HVAC $10.07 Bldg. Equiv. SF 10.1% Fire Protection $3.30 Bldg. Equiv. SF 3.7% Electrical $16.23 Bldg. Equiv. SF 16.3% General Cond. And Fees $0.11 % of Total 11.0% Construction costs are starting to increase primarily due to the cost of materials. Material costs from steel shapes to aluminum and copper are seeing year over year… Read More

Mexico’s Growing Need for Business-Oriented Hotels

Formula 1 Texas Style

by Tom Richard, AIA, Principal The United States will finally get its first purpose-built Formula 1 race track.  Named “Circuit of the Americas,” the 3.4 mile circuit and its associated architectural and entertainment facilities are beginning to take shape on a 970 acre site in southeast Austin, Texas.  After an absence of five years, an official United States Grand Prix will be held at the track in 2012.  Formula 1 United States, the race track’s developer, has, in fact, secured the rights to conduct the US Grand Prix until 2021 from the FIA, the sport’s international sanctioning body. The developer has… Read More

Mexico’s Growing Need for Business-Oriented Hotels

Design Without Borders

We encourage you to check out this article on current trends in real estate: http://nreionline.com/content/design-without-borders

Mexico’s Growing Need for Business-Oriented Hotels

The Construction Consultant’s Role on the Workout Team

The “W” word is one that lenders would rather not utter.  But the reality of the recent economic morass and its effect on uncompleted construction projects, and, therefore, their underlying loans, is that workouts are inevitable as more projects  become troubled.  Construction lending carries a considerable amount of risk.  Distressed and troubled properties, of course, differ in the nature of their problems and, consequently, in the construction lender’s path to hopefully salvaging some portion of return.  The reasons for the troubles during construction are myriad, including poor management and significant schedule extensions; inadequate contract documents (which can lead to a… Read More

Mexico’s Growing Need for Business-Oriented Hotels

Residential Smart Meetings

While commercial building owners seem to be relatively well informed regarding ways in which they can save energy, homeowners are less likely to be aware of the newer means and methods they can employ.  M&H Observations staff asked Joseph Marciano, P.E., LEED AP, Senior Associate of Merritt & Harris’ Mechanical Engineering Group and its resident “green” guru, what devices are available to homeowners today that could save them significant dollars in the long run.  Joe’s response was LED lighting and smart meters.  LED lighting is covered in the lead article. Here is Joe’s explanation of smart meters: “Most people ‘run up a tab’ with their electrical utility, hoping that… Read More

Mexico’s Growing Need for Business-Oriented Hotels

Green Globe Certification

We encourage you to check out this article on current trends in sustainable construction: http://greenglobe.com/green-globe-certification/

Spring Cost Corner – Commercial Construction

Spring Cost Corner – Commercial Construction

by Mike Dwyer, Principal Office to Rental Residential Construction costs are starting to increase primarily due to the cost of materials.  Material costs from steel shapes to aluminum and copper are seeing year over year increases of 3.5-9.0%.  New commercial construction is starting to see glimmers of hope for a modest recovery, as we said in our last newsletter, but there is still no clear image of the light at the end of the tunnel. In recent months, we have been engaged to review and monitor a number of conversion projects.  Although many traditional workouts are still being classified as… Read More

Spring Cost Corner – Commercial Construction

What’s New In Green for 2011?

With the advent of LEED, Green Globe, and a myriad of other real estate-related energy conservation programs, interest in new building-applicable technology abounds.  New products continue to bombard the investor and building owner, many of which, it seems, are destined to be outmoded before they gain acceptability.  Some, however, have the potential of impacting the “green building” market for years to come.  We’ve put together a list of the new products that we at Merritt & Harris, Inc. believe have the potential of piquing the energy-conscious building owner ‘s curiosity during 2011. Solar Energy Improvements and innovations in solar energy… Read More

Spring Cost Corner – Commercial Construction

In Some Markets It’s Now Cheaper to Build Than Buy

We encourage you to check out this article on current trends in construction: http://www.multifamilyexecutive.com/design-development/in-some-markets-its-now-cheaper-to-build-than-buy-1_o

Cost Corner – Low-Rise Commercial Buildings

Cost Corner – Low-Rise Commercial Buildings

by Michael J. Dwyer, Principal, M&H Cost & Review Group Tough times for the construction industry continue to support last year’s forecasts of an overall 7 percent decline in non-residential construction spending for the United States.   Despite forecasts for a subdued economic recovery and a relative scarcity of nonresidential building construction, construction costs, year over year, have generally risen by roughly 2-3 percent.  This increase reflects the actual cost of materials and labor.  However, with limited construction activity, contractors are submitting bids at reduced rates to get work.  For a developer, this can be a good thing and some developers… Read More

Cost Corner – Low-Rise Commercial Buildings

Taylor Made in New Jersey

Sports venues often bring national attention to regional foods.  Chicago’s Soldiers’ Field is known for “brats” (bratwurst, not difficult children) and AT&T Park in San Francisco brought us garlic fries.   And what would an Eagles or Phillies broadcast be without a shot of a tailgater grilling cheese steaks?  The New Meadowlands Stadium, recently completed home of the NFL’s Jets and Giants, now serves a food product unknown beyond the borders of the Garden State – the Taylor Pork Roll sandwich.  Taylor Ham, as it’s called in North Jersey, or just “pork roll” in South Jersey, is nearly impossible to find… Read More

Cost Corner – Low-Rise Commercial Buildings

Technological Chameleon – The New Meadowlands Stadium

Finally, after four pre-season football games, a collegiate lacrosse tournament, several  Bon Jovi concerts, and an international futbol game (US vs. Brazil), the New Meadowlands Stadium opened “for real” on Sunday, September 12, 2010, with the NY Giants playing the Carolina Panthers.  The stadium then held its second “real” game in record time, with the NY Jets playing the Baltimore Ravens on Monday Night Football the very next day.  It’s good to get the regular NFL season going, because the stadium is, after all, a football stadium first and foremost.  The Giants had a happy opening, winning 31-18, while the… Read More