April, 2020 - Sachse Construction

Concrete Houses in Spain: Exploring Cement’s Sustainability Potential

It’s no secret that concrete has one of the highest CO2 emissions of all building materials, making it a focal point for architects looking to innovate and experiment with it as a way to optimize its production and application in construction while decreasing its environmental impact. This exploration of elements such as concrete’s thermal inertia, which could serve to make buildings more energy efficient, as well as its durability, which guarantees a long-lasting, zero- maintenance structure even in the most extreme of climates. The ultimate goal is to create luminous living spaces with natural ventilation while simultaneously exploring the possibility of reusing frameworks as a way of cutting costs and streamlining the building process.

In this article, we will explore 15 contemporary concrete houses in Spain and highlight their individual technical aspects.

MP House / alcolea+tárrago arquitectos

  • Year: 2012
  • Location: Sesma, Spain

“The building method, along with proportioning the framework via boards, renders a structure with no need for an additional finishing process, thus making for an efficient and cost-effective construction. The thermal inertia of the concrete along with a geo-thermal powered sub-floor heating system as well as natural light optimization makes for an energy efficient home that can withstand even the most extreme climates.”

X House / Cadaval & Solà-Morales

  • Year: 2012
  • Location: Cabrils, Spain

“The X House embodies constructional exploration via the small-scale application of a technique commonly found in bridge and tunnel construction in a bid to maximize building efficiency and to cut project costs. This mixed technique, which uses high-density concrete applied to a one-sided framework, renders a highly durable structure in less time than most other processes.”

Casa enTera / Elisa Valero Arquitectura

  • Year: 2012
  • Location: Almarza, Spain

“The hard, cold concrete exterior envelopes a warm, bright interior; a living space at one with nature. It’s a no-frills building method that centers on simplicity, efficiency, and cohesiveness. With concrete’s malleability you can carve a 20 ft skylight into your wall. With it’s durability you can let it sit until it becomes one with the terrain. It’s a common-sense way to work with whatever environment you build in.”

NH House / Marc Rifà-Rovira

  • Year: 2013
  • Location: Cantonigros, Spain

“Conceptually, it’s a mineral base structure outfitted with organic materials. The design centers on simultaneously minimizing materials while industrializing the construction process. The base structure, made of precast concrete, is accoutered with cork, wood, and even vegetation, making for a living space that is, to its heart, organic. All the materials used are untreated, leaving them to age naturally.”

Villa Boscana / OLARQ Osvaldo Luppi Architects

  • Year: 2013
  • Location: Son Vida, España

“[The villa is] A two-story exposed concrete structure embedded in the surrounding rock, forming a cantilever over a wood-based ground floor, ultimately connecting its inhabitant with the nature surrounding it. The concrete framework was shaped using eight 12.5 cm high plywood panels of varying thickness. The reusable panels made for a rapid construction process.”

Casa G / Esaú Acosta

  • Year: 2014
  • Location: El Sauzal, España

“The project aims to create spatial richness by adding an element of surprise to otherwise simple spaces, thus making for an enhanced living experience. The design centers on combining locally-sourced materials with concrete, allowing the structure to fulfill the inhabitants seasonal needs. For example, the wooden fixtures will work with the thermal inertia of the concrete to warm the house in winter while the windows will work to deflect the sun’s rays in summer.”

El Bosque Dwelling / Mano de Santo

  • Year: 2014
  • Location: Valencia, Spain

“The house is an accumulation of two structures, the first being a heavy wooden structure with exposed concrete fixtures embedded into the ground and the second consisting of much lighter pre-fabricated materials situated over the former.” Everything from the design, layout, and systems comes together to create the ultimate energy efficient living space.

Casa Cáscara de Marunys / unparelld’arquitectes

  • Year: 2016
  • Location: San Juan les Fonts, Spain

“The massive structure, situated on a hill just outside of town, seems to melt into the surrounding hillside, simultaneously blending into and highlighting the surrounding terrain. The exterior is made of perforated concrete hightlighted by a sliding glass-door patio. There is a window facing in every direction, giving the inhabitant a all-around view of the surrounding volcanic terrain.”

Casa CONCRETUS / SINGULAR STUDIO

  • Year: 2016
  • Location: Valencia, Spain

“Taking into consideration access, orientation, views, terrain, privacy, and the sloped dimension of the land, we ultimately decided on an “L” shaped structure. Thanks to the synchronization of cross ventilation, thermal mass, solar protections and a detailed study of the property’s natural shade, we were able to achieve an energy efficient living space.”

Casa Guarnón / Fresneda & Zamora Arquitectura

  • Year: 2017
  • Location: Granada, Spain

“The project started out with a focus on tradition and ended with a modern house highlighted by a courtyard. By taking the economic route, we were able to create two living spaces totaling 85m2 by using concrete and wood. The combination of artificial and organic is best observed in the textures and shadows of the space, when the light hits just right.”

House in Madrid / DL+A De Lapuerta Campo arquitectos asociados

  • Year: 2017
  • Location: Madrid, Spain

“The project is a total investment in energy efficiency. The exterior is made up of white concrete walls with wood detailing. Inside, everything seems to center on the back garden thanks to the massive glass windows, fully equipped with solar protection. The smooth, white concrete gives the impression of stucco upon first glance.”

Retina House / Arnau estudi d’arquitectura

  • Year: 2017
  • Location: Santa Pau, Spain

“In order to make the house fit on the terrain, we had to create a meadow. Features like the garage, walkway, and rear sloping wall come together to form a level surface which serves as the foundation for the concrete mass that hosts all of the household functions in one open space. To the south of the house, you’ll find the living, dining, and resting spaces while at the north end, separated by a thick wall, the bathrooms and entrance.”

CASA MM / Sergio Sebastián Franco

  • Year: 2018
  • Location: Leciñena, Spain

“The house is built using reinforced concrete that striates upwards, giving the house its own topography. The private patio extending outside adds to the spatial continuity of the house. The walls are divided into sheets to avoid heat loss and are beveled to accommodate the entryways and exterior furnishings.

Casa Aire / ariasrecalde taller de arquitectura

  • Year: 2018
  • Location: Granada, Spain

“The house is designed to work with the terrain surrounding it while taking full advantage of the views and natural light. It’s concrete body allows it to stand out without completely forsaking its natural surroundings. It’s built to let the air circulate through it, giving its inhabitants a respite from the unforgiving Granada heat.”

Frame House / NOMO STUDIO

  • Year: 2018
  • Location: Menorca, Spain

“We chose to use concrete in situ because of its low-maintenance and ability to age well even with Menorca’s extreme climate. The house’s white concrete surface compliment the ochre and terracotta colors of the surrounding landscape. All the materials used in the project were chosen for both their quality and price.”

* These texts are extracts of descriptions given by each architect about their design.

Michigan Chamber Compiles PPE Resource List as Businesses Start to Reopen

The Michigan Chamber of Commerce has compiled a list of companies that supply personal protection equipment in preparation for another surge in demand as businesses around the state begin to reopen.

The 30 companies listed on the chamber’s website manufacture or distribute PPE including face masks, hand sanitizer, sneeze guards, clear partitions, gloves and other items.

“Governor Whitmer’s Executive Orders make it mandatory that businesses provide employees with the proper safety equipment to reopen operations,” chamber COO Bob Thomas said in a news release. “Finding PPE will be the hardest part for small businesses that do not have access to a supply chain.”

Since the coronavirus outbreak began last month, PPE has been in short supply across health care systems and in stores. Companies across the state have stepped up to address the shortage, from distilleries making hand sanitizer to automakers manufacturing ventilators.

Last week, Whitmer required all people to wear face coverings within enclosed public spaces, including food and retail employees. There is no criminal penalty for not wearing face masks in stores, however.

Self Storage Less Vulnerable to Economic Disruptions

With continued demand and improving street rates, March proved to be a positive month for the storage industry. After several consecutive quarters of negative rent performance, national street rates for the 10×10 non-climate-controlled units remained unchanged year-over-year at $116. Street rates for 10×10 climate-controlled units, however, declined by 1.4 percent on an annual basis. Las Vegas was the best-performing metro in terms of rent growth—over the past 12 months, rates were up 2.9 percent for the standard climate-controlled units and 1.9 percent for non-climate-controlled units of similar size.

Although the coronavirus outbreak has burdened the economy and all the facets of the real estate business, self storage, compared to other asset types, appears to be less vulnerable to economic disruptions. RENTCafé data shows that the amount of weekly storage listing views, for the week of March 15, increased 81 percent compared to the first week of 2020, showing potential interest in self storage. According to Beyond Self Storage, demand for storage units was underscored by the abrupt closing of colleges and universities, urging students to move out. Nonetheless, the full impact of the outbreak on all the aspects of the storage industry, from the operations side to development to consumer demand, will be clearer in the coming months.

Nationally, units under construction and in the planning stages accounted for 8.9 percent of existing stock, representing a 30-basis-point growth month-over-month. However, the COVID-19 crisis is likely to cause a slowdown in development, as projects under construction and in the planning stages are expected to experience delays due to nationwide lockdowns. Yardi Matrix forecasts deliveries to drop by 40 percent over the next five years.

In an Uncertain Environment an Analyst Counts the Reasons for Optimism

Uncertainty.

That is the key word for those watching the real estate market in the current COVID-19 world. As those in real estate – including regional malls, strip centers, freestanding such as gyms and banks, health care, apartments, industrial and hotels – manage the best they can in uncertain and anxious times, those that follow the real estate market say there is a reason to be optimistic.

“Generally, I’m an optimist while, at the same time, real estate is a derivative of society,” said Michael Gorman, managing director REITs, Equity Research of the New York City and San Francisco-based BTIG.

BTIG, a full-service financial institution with about 600 employees worldwide, has been giving its hundreds of client weekly research reports titled “Real Estate in a Post COVID-19 World.” To date, BTIG has published three of 27 weekly issues.

Gorman said those watching the difficulties of the real estate market play out in real time, “should keep in mind that, right now, the state of real estate is very uncertain. There are a lot of things going on now in scale and process that are unprecedented.”

Gorman, in an interview Tuesday with GlobeSt.com, said e-commerce is having an effect on many aspects of the real estate world. That, he predicts, will continue even after the pandemic dies down.

“Some big areas in real estate to think about are what will happen to retail, which encompasses strip malls, regional and some free-standing?” Gorman asked.

While there are many unknowns, Gorman did say, “There is definitely a lot of e-commerce use. E-commerce was growing before COVID-19. The question is ‘does the shift come back a little bit or is e-commerce going to be permanent at the levels we are seeing today?’”

Many, because of the pandemic, are using e-commerce, or online sales, for the first time, Gorman said. “There will definitely be a bounce back for essential retailers that are holding up well in the current situation, those like grocers, pharmaceuticals, dollar stores and fast food restaurants,” he said.

Gorman believes entities like restaurants and bars “will also come back pretty quickly. Then, though, there are challenges with things like entertainment concepts; places like movie theatres and bowling alleys and indoor entertainment. There could be a challenge there until people feel comfortable to visit them again. It might not be until we get a vaccine or a therapeutic cure to COVID-19. You’d also have to take part in social distancing, and that can be its own challenge.”

Another area that’s been talked about with regard to the impact of coronavirus, Gorman said, has been on hotels and the hospitality business.

“Hospitality is really struggling,” he said. “A lot of hotels are either severely limited in their offerings or it’s completely affected their business.”

Gorman continued: “The bigger names in the hospitality business have better balance sheets and are more durable. But, at the same time, small boutique operators have a flexible cost structure, so they can survive.”

Whitmer to Reopen Michigan Construction Industry May 7

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer plans to reopen Michigan’s construction industry May 7 after a six-week shutdown caused by the deadly coronavirus outbreak.

The governor will sign an executive order Friday loosening her stay-at-home order for the construction industry, Whitmer spokesman Zack Pohl confirmed Wednesday.

The news of the May 7 restart was first reported Tuesday night by the Lansing newsletter MIRSnews.com.

Whitmer said Monday that construction and other outdoor enterprises are at a lower risk of spreading COVID-19 and that she would likely reopen the construction sector “in the next week or two.”

“No one should be surprised that the governor would open a lower risk field like she has said at previous press conferences,” Pohl said Wednesday morning in a statement.

Commercial and residential construction in Michigan came to a standstill March 24 when Whitmer deemed that part of the sector nonessential during the coroanvirus pandemic. Road building and construction of critical infrastructure such as health care facilities have been allowed to continue during the shutdown.

“We are excited to see that she is considering reopening construction and hopefully it’s across the entire state when it happens,” said Ron Staley, senior vice president of Southeast Michigan operations in the Detroit office of Lansing-based general contractor The Christman Co.

Staley said his company, which has its Detroit office in the Fisher Building in the New Center area, has been planning a return to work for the last several weeks and matching its protocols with those from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“The sites all pretty much require different separation and access for workers coming and going, whether it’s new construction or a renovation project, and those are the details that each person on our team are reviewing right now with all the subcontractors on those projects,” Staley told Crain’s. “It’s a complex startup process. It’ll start out a little bit slow, but hopefully we can get everybody up and working pretty quick.”

The reopening of construction work sites is welcomed news for Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan, a trade group representing about 1,000 companies in the residential and commercial construction business.

“We’ve been ready to get back to work for some time now,” said Jeff Wiggins, state director of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan.

The Construction Industrial Safety Coalition, a national coalition of 25 construction associations, has created a best practices guide that ABC’s members plan to use to increase sanitation and safety on work sites, Wiggins said.

For example, Wiggins said, the sharing of tools will be eliminated or minimized to prevent spread of COVID-19.

“If you are going to do it, obviously sterilization is key,” he said.

Construction and outdoor jobs were identified by the Michigan Economic Recovery Council — a group of business, labor and health care executives advising Whitmer— as lower risk compared to service industry jobs where workers directly interact in close proximity to customers.

Ryan Maibach, president and CEO of the Southfield-based construction giant Barton Malow, served on the advisory group co-chaired by DTE Energy Co. Executive Chairman Gerry Anderson and Nancy Schlichting, the former CEO of Henry Ford Health System.

“We’ve been working with everyone from home builders to contractors to road building to put best practices in place that ensure worker safety,” Maibach told MIRS. “We’re looking forward to getting back to work and building a better Michigan.”

— Crain’s Detroit Business reporter Kirk Pinho contributed to this report.

4 Next-Gen Technologies that are Changing Construction Today

For most of the last decade, emerging technologies designed to transform the built environment weren’t much more than fun toys to play with. They lacked sophistication and the ability to promote true efficiency and accountability or analyze data.

Not anymore. Yesterday’s toys have become today’s tools.

New, data-driven technology has finally given rise to construction efficiencies. New software and gadgets are advancing timelines, improving project team integration and collaboration, reducing costs and enhancing overall building quality.

According to the Boston Consulting Group, when technology permeates construction, there’s an almost 20% reduction in a project’s total life cycle cost as well as substantial improvements in completion time, quality and safety. The study estimates that the use of technology cuts construction costs for commercial office buildings by 12%, lifetime operations costs by 18% and reduces the construction timeline by 30%.

Take a look at the top four technologies Skender is currently using to break down industry productivity barriers and push the envelope beyond what construction was capable of just yesterday.

— Laser scanning. Attached to a tripod, a laser scanner looks like most land survey equipment – except it doesn’t just measure a single point at a time. It collects 28 million points in three minutes, with accuracy within 1/16 of an inch.

The laser scanner creates a point cloud for each measurement to be used as the base model for BIM coordination. Laser scanning is useful for project measurements that require precise detail, like floor leveling. Human error and guessing are eliminated, and costs are reduced when flooring subcontractors use the laser scanner to determine slope and elevation, and therefore, the amount of preparation and materials that are actually required for the job.

A point cloud created by the laser scanner can be analyzed to create a heat map of the floor plan, where cooler colors are the floor’s higher elevation points and hotter colors represent the lower points.

Case in point: On a recent project, a quick laser scan revealed that the architectural drawings were slightly off in measurement compared to the physical space. The laser scan was uploaded to the project BIM model, and the architect was able to correct the CAD model. When glass fronts were ordered for offices, we were confident they would fit the space. Had the materials been ordered when the offices were measured at difference of four inches, we would have waited an extra six weeks for new glass, installation and completion of offices. Together, these seemingly small changes shaved off significant time and money from the project.

— 360-degree photo documentation. A small piece of consumer equipment typically used by YouTubers and Instagrammers, the 360-degree camera is easily accessible and relatively inexpensive. Most importantly, it captures an entire room in a single image. Add software like StructionSite and now you can place these photos directly into a facility’s 2D digital floorplan and client communication.

Instead of having to take eight to 10 photos to capture a room, 360-degree photo documentation allows contractors to capture more data in one photo, providing a significant time savings and comprehensive visual update. As with laser scanning, sharing the 360-degree images with subcontractors is another more efficient way to determine the amount of materials required.

TIP: Capturing 360-degree photos once a week during construction can provide a lifecycle view of the facility for a remote owner.

— Drones. Taking images of a job site from the ground up (no matter which iPhone you’ve got!) can’t compare to what a flying drone can capture in a three-minute land survey. Employed ideally on large site surveys, drones can easily capture progress photos and videos from 400 feet in the air. With the ability to pre-plan the route and desired documentation of the site via software, drone automation promotes ease of use and time savings.

Case in point: A recent job had a batch of soil that needed to be removed from the site, but it was impossible to determine how much until the team actually arrived to dig. Deploying Skender’s drone provided a precise measurement of soil on the ground, which allowed the team to plan for and accurately price out its removal.

— Augmented/mixed reality. While augmented or mixed reality has been around for a couple of years, Microsoft’s second iteration of the HoloLens propelled the technology from a toy to a useful construction tool. A headset device worn like glasses, the HoloLens 2 provides an immersive experience for its users.

Uploading a project’s BIM model into the HoloLens 2 makes it possible for owners, end users and other stakeholders to strap on the device and physically walk through the job site, “feel” the final finishes, and view them in real time as digital objects on top the existing building structure. HoloLens 2 provides users with the ability to touch and even “move” building elements and furnishings while walking through the physical core and shell space. A self-contained computer with Wi-Fi connectivity, the HoloLens 2 is a game changer for construction.

NEW TECHNOLOGIES BRING NEXT GEN BUILDINGS CLOSER

Efficiency, data-driven analysis and productivity are paramount to the financial success of any construction project. New technologies like these streamline project management and the construction timeline, reducing waste and ultimately delivering a more precise project to the owner—every time.

Co-Living Was Built Around Sharing Living Spaces with Strangers. Will It Survive Through a Pandemic?

Before the coronavirus hit, co-living projects were attracting more and more investor money. Now, as public officials continue to encourage social distancing, questions are rising about whether residents in co-living buildings can even follow these guidelines, as they share communal spaces and sometimes even bedrooms. NREI spoke with Gregg Christiansen, president of Ollie, a co-living operator, about the state of the co-living industry and how the sector has been responding to the pandemic.

This Q&A has been edited for style, length and clarity.

NREI: How has the coronavirus outbreak impacted the sector?

Gregg Christiansen: I think it’s a little too early to tell. What we saw so far in our assets at Ollie, where we focus on long-term leases and institutional quality buildings, we initially saw a pick-up in occupancy in the first few weeks. I think that was really due to the ease of moving into one of our co-living units. So, when all the universities shut down their student housing buildings, we saw an influx of people wanting to move into an Ollie property. So, that was a good thing, I think that was a positive.

I think there has been some criticism, or at least people thinking and starting a little bit too early of a debate, in my opinion, around densification and urbanization. There’s some debate starting to happen on whether urbanization is going to be a thing in the future and whether densification is going to be a bit more criticized than it has been in the past, given that COVID is a virus that transfers to people in close quarters. So, the question is if the government is going to demand spaces to be bigger where people live. If that’s the case, I think there’s going to be a lot of people pushed out of the cities, because the cost of those units is going to be much more expensive to build. So, I think there’s a little bit of a double-edged sword right now in some of the arguments.

What we’ve seen from a positive standpoint as well is our residents have actually appreciated being around roommates and not feeling like they are living in a studio or a one-bedroom apartment all by themselves. So, they actually have the ability to interact with their roommates. So, we view that as a positive from some feedback that we’ve seen. But there’s going to be a debate around apartment buildings and “are people going to be more inclined to live in the cities or not?” That’s a much broader discussion to have, so we’ll see what happens.

NREI: Do you think the outbreak might affect the co-living sector the same way it affected the co-working sector?

Gregg Christiansen: No, I think it’s going to be much more resilient. So, co-working [operators basically have] little one- and two-person glass wall rooms that break up a floor plate and stuff as many people into the smallest square footage as possible for the co-working operator to be able to justify the economics to themselves, and a lot of those leases are set on 30-, 60-, 90-day type of structures. Some of them are longer term, but for the most part, they’re pretty short-term leases, with a majority of tenants being small business or entrepreneur-type of individuals. So, in a COVID-19 world, where entrepreneurship is going to be put on pause, you’re going to see a lot of small businesses probably not make it. So, filtering back to the co-working space, the co-working space is going to be the first line to really get hit pretty hard. [It’s going to be] anybody really with short-term lease structures, so you take the hotel industry, the short-term stay industry, co-working industry, and they’ve been probably the hardest hit right out of the gate because of COVID-19. If everybody stops paying rent, people are going to try to get out of their office leases.

The thing about co-living is it’s where people live. It’s where you go home every night. It’s your place of being. It’s where your friends and family know you’re at. So, we’ve actually seen co-living be much more resilient than co-working because those are two very different industries. They get associated with each other a little bit because of the ‘co’ and the sharing economy concept, but when it comes to where someone lives, I think that they take it much more personally and it requires us as a co-living operator to really treat them with the dignity they deserve.

NREI: Has the technology co-living operations use been able to help solve the need for social distancing?

Gregg Christiansen: As we were building out our platform earlier, there were a couple things that we saw as a need to communicate and interact with our resident population, but also to make the ease of living much more accessible. We created an app, it’s called the Ollie Living app, and in that, we have the ability to send out notifications, residents can turn on or turn off services, they can ask for maintenance requests, pay the rent, they can sign up for our social calendar.

Immediately after COVID-19 hit, what we had to do as a team, and something I was very proud of with our team, was create a virtual social network where everybody is allowed to go on and sign up for events. Our Ollie social events would typically be in the building, or a local cooking class, or at a yoga studio, but we’ve transitioned our social calendar into more of a virtual social concept. We have cooking classes now online and we do yoga through Instagram. So, we try to still create the feeling of our social calendar, just through our technology that we’ve created. I think that’s actually been extremely beneficial to have that available for our residents, and we’ve actually seen a pretty good participation rate with our residents staying at home.

NREI: Any guidance you can provide on occupancy rates and move-in rates? Is there a concern around those metrics if the lockdown persists?

Gregg Christiansen: I don’t think we have enough data yet to be able to see if there is going to be a concern. We have four different existing assets that are open and operating, we have two more that are under construction, and so, what we’re seeing in New York is we’re still seeing people sign leases. We have the ability to do virtual tours. All of our applications are all on the internet. You can go on and sign a full lease just through the website and do a virtual tour and never have to ever touch a property. So, that’s great. What we have also been able to develop is a roommate-matching software platform that allows people to find other people to live with. So, even if they are not able to go to the property, they’re actually able to create and form a household on our roommate platform virtually.

Occupancy for us is really stuck at above 90 percent ever since COVID-19 hit. Our Pittsburgh asset had a tick-up of about five percent in occupancy once you saw the universities shut down. Then our property in Long Island City is close to 90 percent occupancy now. So, we’re actually seeing positive movement so far.

If [lockdowns] persists for two, three, four months longer, I think a lot of multifamily projects are going to start to see some weakening in occupancy. I don’t think co-living or even standard apartment buildings are going to be completely isolated from that impact, it would be something that we would all have to rally around. But people are already talking about opening the economy again a month from now and we’re starting to see states open back up, so knock on wood, hopefully we don’t get to the point where we’re in July and August and we’re still in this isolation situation. I think the benefit of our properties is that we have long-term leases, so for the most part we have seen occupancy stay above 90 percent since COVID-19 hit.

NREI: Are co-living properties still attracting investor dollars? Is that mood changing?

Gregg Christiansen: I think it’s a little too early to tell. I think what we’re going to have to get over is the perception that densification might be more criticized than before. I think people are going to want to see that play out a little bit. What we’ve seen in the real estate industry generally is everybody has put their pencils down for the time being from buying or developing or pushing forward new investment ideas across the spectrum. Whether that’s an office or industrial or multifamily [asset, and] retail especially, people have [pressed] pause to see what the world looks like in a post COVID-19 world. I think co-living is not an exception to that rule. It was a growing niche and people were starting to give it the right attention at the end of 2019, heading into 2020. We were starting to see our pipeline really pick up. So, we were pretty excited about where things were going.

But what we are actually probably going to see is some deals and some development projects either see some issues in financing or delays or certain management companies just not survive. Some portions of businesses will have some failed launches, or some failed start-ups, and I think co-living is not going to be immune to that either. So, we’re paying attention to that a bit.

Our investors are a bit longer term investors, they’ve been supporting us really since 2017. So, we’re pretty excited about where we’re going. Co-living is a niche and niche industries are generally the first to be put on the backburner when there is a recession. I think what co-living has going for it though is we are more flexible and have leaner kinds of platforms. So, we’re actually able to jump into buildings and help out much quicker than your standard co-type of industry.

NREI: Are there any other trends developing that you feel are worth keeping tabs on?

Chris Christiansen: I think a couple of things. I think you should be paying attention to delinquencies. That’s something that we’re really watching pretty closely. Just because we have long-term leases doesn’t mean necessarily that everyone is going to pay rent. I think the short-term stays sector is really something to focus on. What we’ve seen so far is our delinquency rates in our co-living units have actually stayed at or slightly above the conventional properties that we’re operating in. So, that’s great. But we’ll obviously have to monitor that pretty closely here soon. And then looking at how governments are going to respond to densification.

ASHRAE, WELL Panels to Tackle Revising Standards to Limit Spread of Viruses in Buildings

Both ASHRAE and the International WELL Building Institute have formed panels to address how building standards could limit the spread of viruses such as COVID-19 in buildings.

ASHRAE recently formed a committee to update advice and standards that address viral infections in buildings. The task force will recommend shifts in operational practices and design standards to ensure that buildings limit the spread of pathogens, according to an ASHRAE news release.

The task force is designed to serve as a clearinghouse to handle questions as they come in, to review research and to develop guidance. In addition to guidance and position papers, the task force’s work may lead to changes in ASHRAE standards, including 62.1 (non-residential ventilation), 62.2 (residential ventilation), 55 (thermal comfort), and 170 (healthcare ventilation).

WELL’s task force will examine ways to address infectious threats through building designs, operations, and standards. Among the possibilities are changes to incentives for ventilation and air filters and incorporation of antimicrobial surfaces.

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