The mobile office gets a makeover….Amazon-conditioned customers want everything delivered to their door

13 03 2018

For years, mobile office trailers came in one flavor: ugly grey boxes.  Most of them sat on construction sites or had another temporary use.  A new era is upon us.  Millennials and retirees alike are seeking simpler lives with more freedom and choosing to live in “tiny homes on wheels”.  The tiny home trend is now making its way into the business world.  Many business owners are giving up their expensive office leases to take their services on the road.  And they want to not only distinguish themselves with an attractive structure that represents their brand, but they also want a functional and beautiful interior space that they and their clients can enjoy.  There aren’t many designers or builders creating these custom “tiny businesses on wheels” yet, but Santa Barbara architect, Elisa Garcia, is leading the way with her company Zen Den.   Because of her 30 years as an architect on commercial projects, Elisa’s experience is unique in the tiny house industry.  Not only are most tiny houses not designed by architects, they aren’t designed by architects who are branding experts.   Elisa wants to encourage entrepreneurship.  It’s easier to start and maintain a small business when there’s no expensive lease or building permits needed for an office build-out.  A business on wheels is relatively easy and fast to build compared to a traditional building.  Moreover, in this Amazon economy, customers these days want everything from their groceries to their paper towels to their psychotherapy delivered to them.  Zen Den recently sold one of it’s units to a pyschotherapist in rural northern California who gave up her office space to take her services to her clients, many of which are elderly.

Larger corporations, too, are jumping on the tiny house bandwagon, and creating an experience for customers through custom-designed, branded tiny houses on wheels that connect their customers with their brand.  They’re taking their shops and businesses on tour across the U.S. or even across town to attract new customers, and get a feel for what locations might be right for building a permanent store, bank, or office.

There’s been a lot of talk about the mobile economy in the past 10 years, and this concept takes mobile to the next level.

(http://www.zendentinyom.com/businesses-on-wheels)

ZenDen_Elemental01_Chopra_Daytrip3 copy

 

 

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Architect Designs Tiny Meditation Studio on Wheels

13 03 2018

When Elisa Garcia was 15 years, she read Frank Lloyd Wright’s autobiography and these words spoke to her: “I put a capital N on Nature and call it my church.” Soon after, she started a career in architecture.   Very interested in new age spirituality at the time, she started wondering how to combine spirituality with architecture, and in college, designed small meditation retreats for imaginary clients.  But then she got sidetracked for about 20 years with earning a living and climbing the corporate ladder at large well-known firms and eventually her own architectural practice.

Elisa started questioning her priorities and seriously considering that there was more to life than money and status when she had to face mortality and undergo multiple surgeries. She would say to herself after working another 60-hour work week: “If only I had some free time, that’s ALL I want.” After lots of inner work to change learned beliefs about success, she learned out how to prioritize with a flexible schedule, time with loved ones, time to herself, and a simpler lifestyle.

She decided to revive her college love of designing meditation studios, not for imaginary clients, but for herself this time.  Yet she wanted it to be more than a stationary studio, she wanted to take it to Nature.  So she created Zen Den, a unique tiny house on wheels specifically designed for tranquility, reflection, and travel.  It’s something she created for herself since there was nothing like it on the market, and it turns out, a lot of other people were into the idea as well. You can check it out at http://www.zendentinyom.com.

 





Small business owners jump on the ‘tiny house’ bandwagon for their mobile practices

13 03 2018

Visit us at:  http://www.zendentinyom.com/businesses-on-wheels or email us at: info@zendentinyom.com

Are you an innovator looking for a fresh way to market your business and get work done? Consider a custom, branded ‘tiny house on wheels’ for business use.

Tiny houses are relatively easy and fast to build compared to buildings on a foundation, and can move from place to place.  From therapists to photographers, all kinds of sole proprietors are going ‘tiny’, not for tiny living, but for big business.

MOBILE OFFICES

Put the ‘mobile’ back into ‘mobile office’. No building permit or expensive lease required. With off-grid power, your business on wheels is perfect for travelling to your clients’ home or office, construction sites, or office complexes.

CORPORATE MARKETING UNITS

Stand out from the crowd and delight your customers with a one of a kind ‘tiny house’ travel trailer that conveys your brand better than an Airstream, boxy shipping container, or standard food truck ever could. We integrate your brand, creating an emotional experience that connects you with your customers.

With off-grid power, your businesses on wheels is perfect for travelling to special events, fairs, exhibits, or trade shows.

USES

Shops

Store Window Displays

Personal Offices

Recruitment Offices for Job / College Fairs

New Accounts Offices for Banks

Art Galleries

​Art Installations

Wine Tasting Rooms & Bars

Beauty Salons

​Fitness Studios

Massage Studios

Yoga & Meditation Studios

Art & Design Studios

Photography Studios

Construction Trailers

Non-Profit Outreach

Church & Spiritual Center Outreach Offices

​Doctor’s & Dental Offices

​Meeting Rooms

Adjunct Spaces for Events

3-Dimensional Sculptural Billboards

Eco-Resorts & Nature Retreats

Visit us at:  http://www.zendentinyom.com/businesses-on-wheels or email us at: info@zendentinyom.com





Corporations Take Advantage of the ‘Tiny House on Wheels’ Trend for marketing purposes

13 03 2018

Visit us at:  http://www.zendentinyom.com/businesses-on-wheels or email us at: info@zendentinyom.com

Tiny houses are relatively easy and fast to build compared to buildings on a foundation, and can move from place to place, a fact not lost on corporate marketers who have jumped on the tiny house bandwagon as well. SPAM, NESTEA, Google, State Farm and Taste of Home all have used them within the past six months.

Are you an innovator looking for a fresh way to market your business and get work done? Consider a custom, branded ‘tiny house on wheels’ for business use.

MOBILE OFFICES

Put the ‘mobile’ back into ‘mobile office’. No building permit or expensive lease required. With off-grid power, your business on wheels is perfect for travelling to your clients’ home or office, construction sites, or office complexes.

CORPORATE MARKETING UNITS

Stand out from the crowd and delight your customers with a one of a kind ‘tiny house’ travel trailer that conveys your brand better than an Airstream, boxy shipping container, or standard food truck ever could. We integrate your brand, creating an emotional experience that connects you with your customers.

With off-grid power, your businesses on wheels is perfect for travelling to special events, fairs, exhibits, or trade shows.

USES

Shops

Store Window Displays

Personal Offices

Recruitment Offices for Job / College Fairs

New Accounts Offices for Banks

Art Galleries

​Art Installations

Wine Tasting Rooms & Bars

Beauty Salons

​Fitness Studios

Massage Studios

Yoga & Meditation Studios

Art & Design Studios

Photography Studios

Construction Trailers

Non-Profit Outreach

Church & Spiritual Center Outreach Offices

​Doctor’s & Dental Offices

​Meeting Rooms

Adjunct Spaces for Events

3-Dimensional Sculptural Billboards

Eco-Resorts & Nature Retreats

Visit us at:  http://www.zendentinyom.com/businesses-on-wheels or email us at: info@zendentinyom.com

 





A couple of A&E cost-saving tips

10 07 2013

MEP Engineering vs. Design/Build:

For small tenant improvement projects under $1 million in a space for which no MEP as-built drawings are available, it’s much more cost-effective to go with a design/build approach in lieu of hiring MEP engineers to field verify and engineer the project. Instead MEP engineers can create a performance spec/bridging document for the design/build contractors to design to, and also perform a review of the design/build drawings.

Client Changes in the Construction Document Phase:

Many clients want to make minor changes to the scope of a project in the Construction Document phase. Changes to the CD’s are very time consuming, thus expensive, and can cost a client a ton in Additional Services fees. One minor changes affects multiple sheets of drawings, so this is to be avoided and is the purpose for the methodical step-by-step process of the previous phases (programming, conceptual design, schematic design, design development).





When and How to Competitively Bid Construction Projects

21 03 2013

Many clients assume that competitively bidding construction projects saves money, and, therefore, all projects should be bid. It often does save money, but, if it’s not done correctly, it’s a set-up for accomplishing just the opposite.

If contractors know they are competing for a job, they will propose the cheapest approach they can get away with in order to win the project. This leads to a low-quality project and/or many unforeseen and unbudgeted change orders during construction. If a contract is negotiated with one contractor, even if the scope is not well defined, the contractor will ask the right questions of the owner in order to provide pricing that achieves the desired quality. They will typically NOT do so in a competitive bid scenario, because this approach will result in a higher bid and a job loss. When we try to competitively bid projects without good scope documents, we are shooting ourselves in the foot. This applies to bidding both general contractors and subcontractors.

The solution is to ensure that all of the contractors are bidding on the same exact scope. This means developing comprehensive scope documents such as drawings and/or specifications produced by an architect, MEPS engineers, and an experienced construction manager. Without a good bid package, there are too many variables in methodology, products, and level of finish that a contractor can propose. Moreover, without a bid package, there is no way to argue change orders. A bid package becomes part of the construction contract, and is used as protection against change orders.

The problem with developing a good bid package is that the cost to develop it is often more than the amount saved by competitively bidding the project, especially on small projects. Therefore, on small projects, it is less expensive to simply negotiate with one general contractor who can help define the scope and provide accurately pricing that will not result in a ton of change orders later on or low-quality work.





What Exactly is a Construction Project Manager?

11 03 2012

There are many definitions of a Construction Project Manager or Construction Manager.  Sometimes, it is someone at a construction company who manages the superintendents and subcontractors.  Other times, it is an employee of the client or “Owner” who oversees construction projects at their company, perhaps a real estate development company, office building landlord, or a large corporation that leases a lot of retail or office space.  And other times, it is a consultant or employee of a consulting company like CBRE or JLL referred to as an “Owner’s Representative” who oversees the construction projects for the Owner.  This is a fairly new role, a role that used to be filled by architects probably not more than 30 years ago.  Today, many architects, like me, have traded in their architect hats to be on the owner’s side of the table.  Similarly, many ex-contractors with a proficiency in contracts and management have done the same.  In addition, there those that obtained degrees in construction management and went directly into the field from college.

Often times, when I’ve told people that I’m a construction manager, they envision me in a tool belt and hard hat.  They become somewhat less enthusiastic when I’ve explained that I wear a suit to work just like they do.  “So what do you do?” is often the next question.  “I’m what is called an Owner’s Representative,” is often my first reply.  Blank stares follow.  I go on to explain, “In general, an Owner’s Rep. hires and oversees the architects and general contractors.”  That is usually where I leave it.  But there is, of course, a much more detailed answer to the question.  Below is a list of some of the tasks us Owner’s Rep. Construction Project Managers do.

  • Develop and implement a standard project management process that enables efficiency in pricing, schedules, and quality.  This customized process is unique to a specific client’s internal structure and processes.
  • Interview and pre-qualify architects, general contractors, and other vendors and consultants such as cabling, signage, and security contractors not included in the general contractor’s contract, as well as telecommunications and I.T. consultants.
  • Develop a master agreement template for the various contractors and consultants to bid on.
  • Negotiate and execute master agreements with the selected contractors and consultants. Unit pricing is often part of a master agreement so that price negotiations for each individual project can be as minimal as possible.  Master agreements are typically re-bid every two to five years.
  • Negotiate and execute sub-agreements for each specific project as they are originated.  Review and approve changes to scope and fees throughout each project.
  • Coordinate the work of the various vendors as well as the client’s internal stakeholders (property manager, building engineer, I.T. department, procurement and accounting departments, etc.) for each project.  Hold regular project meetings and walk the job site regularly to keep informed of the projects’ progress.
  • Provide cost estimates and feasibility reports for potential projects.
  • Complete paperwork and enter data for client’s reporting and accounting protocols.
  • Make decisions on behalf of the client, as authorized.
  • Analyze large real estate portfolios to determine possible consolidation, acquisition, and disposition scenarios.
  • Assess properties being considered for acquisition.
  • Develop standard specifications so that products can be purchased with bulk agreements, and there is product consistency within a building or portfolio.
  • Negotiate bulk agreements with product manufacturers for lighting, flooring, doors, furniture, windows, window coverings, paint, etc.
  • Develop the annual “Capital Plan” – a list of construction projects slated for the next year with cost estimates – for the client’s management approval.

Construction managers should have technical knowledge specific to the projects they oversee.  Some typical specializations are healthcare, K-12 education, higher education, office tenant improvements, retail bank branches, industrial, strip malls, ground-up residential towers, tract homes, senior housing, etc.  So although many construction managers may perform similar services, construction managers may differ in the type of projects for which they perform these tasks.