8C — December 24, 2021 - January 20, 2022 — Industry Experts — Owners, Developers & Managers — M id A tlantic Real Estate Journal


Industry Experts

By Rick Hinson, ECS Construction Schedule Slashed in Half for Hokie Housing Project compliance inspectors.


accelerated the project con- struction schedule from 4 years to 2 years by providing third party code inspections on all five buildings and the parking garage. The team visits the site 2-4 times a week for 3-5 hours at a time, inspecting building, mechanical, plumbing, fire alarm, and fire suppression systems. Third-party inspec- tors add necessary bandwidth to project teams and munici- palities who are dealing with staffing shortages. In this instance, project ma- terials like wall board and wood are arriving at random due to shipping delays which constantly shifts scheduled installation times. As third- party inspectors, the team has the flexibility to change their schedules quickly if supply chain issues affect construction, which can help keep the sched- ule on track. Not only does the flexibility benefit the contrac - tor, but it alleviates strain on town resources and inspectors who may not be able to adjust their schedules as rapidly. Local staff also proved to be an asset. Because ECS inspectors have a thorough knowledge of local building codes and an office located within minutes of the project site, they can work directly with the town and coordinate with the project team to find workable solutions when code compliance challenges arise during construction. A well- rounded team that can provide a handful of services through one office proved to be of ad - ditional benefit, with ECS also providing Construction Mate- rials Testing. For a developer, having a one-stop-shop con- sultant provides better coordi- nated plans and construction documents resulting in faster project delivery. Despite staffing shortages and supply-chain issues, The Union Apartment Complex will open in time for next year’s incoming class. In short, third-party inspectors are an asset to project teams in need of quality work done on an ac- celerated schedule. Rick Hinson W CBO, PE serves as manager of code consulting services at ECS. He holds a professional engineer license in several states and is certified by the Commonwealth of Vir- ginia and the International Code Council as a Certified Building Official. MAREJ

he Town of Blacks- burg, Virginia, home of the Virginia Tech

The biggest challenge in this project has been maintaining the project schedule, which is of particular importance to a town in need of housing. The two factors that have affected the speed at which a project can be constructed - supply- chain issues and a deficiency of municipal building code staff to handle the volume of projects undertaken - are not just of issue in Blacksburg, but a nationwide challenge. Working for the developer and alongside Town of Blacks- burg building officials, ECS

Hokies, has unde r gone s igni f i cant development over the last f ew years . In 2014, the new pres i - dent of Vir- ginia Tech

Union Apartment Complex

Rick Hinson

in the area. The 4-story, 5 building Union Apartment Complex, currently under development near the Uni- versity Mall Shopping Center, will provide hundreds of new

units for students and a four- story parking garage to help fulfill that need. But most importantly, the project will deliver 2 years sooner with the help of third-party code

committed to growing the campus by 500 students each year, creating a commercial real-estate boom and the need for more multifamily units

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