June 2020 - Sachse Construction

AIA Releases Strategies and Illustrations for Reducing Risk of COVID-19 in Senior Living Communities

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) is releasing strategies and illustrations today that can help senior living communities mitigate risk of COVID-19.

These resources were developed by a team of architects, AIA’s Design for Aging knowledge community, public health experts, and engineers, to assist with pivoting communities toward a more sustainable set of strategies that can reduce risk for residents and staff while creating a more comfortable way of life that is supportive of overall wellbeing.

In addition to the 3D model—produced by RLPS Architects—the team’s findings are detailed in a report for administrators, design professionals, and public officials.  These strategies are meant to work in tandem with AIA’s other tools that can assist senior living communities with mitigation measures to safely resume activities and reopen closed spaces.  These tools include a seven-step Risk Management Plan for Buildings for assessing hazards and applying strategies that reduce risk and the AIA’s Re-occupancy Assessment Tool, which provides a framework of strategies for making buildings safer.

Developing mitigation strategies is particularly critical for senior living communities, where risk is amplified. The primary risk of transmission is currently considered to be close personal contact, which could occur among residents, staff, and visitors predominantly in gathering areas, such as dining rooms or common areas, and during group activities. Visit AIA’s website to access the full report.

Resources were developed from a wide range of expertise and research using a virtual charrette workshop—a method used to study specific issues in a limited time frame using an intense brainstorming session.

As part of the sessions, a group of public, environmental, and occupational health experts and physicians provided an independently developed 90-minute briefing on SARS-CoV-2 infectious disease transmission, epidemiological models, and insights into the most current research of the virus as of May.

For more detailed information on public health hazards and considerations in senior living communities, see AIA’s COVID-19 emerging research and public health data.

Visit AIA’s website for more COVID-19 resources for architects.

Largest Contractors in Metro Detroit Ranked by 2019 Revenue

26500 American Dr.
Southfield 48034
2019 Revenue: NA
2018 Revenue: $1.9B
Regional Employees: 2,200
Top Local Executive: Ryan Maibach, president

185 Oakland Ave., Ste. 15
Birmingham 48009
2019 Revenue: NA
2018 Revenue: $1.5B (estimated)
Regional Employees: 1,950
Top Local Executive: Sheldon Yellen, CEO

777 Woodward Ave., Ste. 300
Detroit 48226
2019 Revenue: NA
2018 Revenue: $1.34B
Regional Employees: 1,000
Top Local Executive: John Rakolta Jr., chairman and CEO

4260 N. Atlantic Blvd.
Auburn Hills 48439
2019 Revenue: NA
2018 Revenue: $367M
Regional Employees: 187
Top Local Executive: William Pettibone, chairman

2525 Clark St.
Detroit 48209
2019 Revenue: NA
2018 Revenue: $270M (estimated)
Employees: 400
Top Local Executive: Frank Venegas Jr., chairman and CEO

535 Griswold St., Ste. 152
Detroit 48226
2019 Revenue: $247M
2018 Revenue: $206.5M
Regional Employees: 87
Top Local Executive: David J. Kelly, vice president and general manager

1528 Woodward Ave., Ste. 600
Detroit 48226
2019 Revenue: $208M
2018 Revenue: $213M
Regional Employees: 170
Top Local Executive: Todd Sachse, CEO and founder

65 University Dr.
Pontiac 48342
2019 Revenue: NA
2018 Revenue: $190M
Regional Employees: 92
Top Local Executive: Vincent DeLeonardis, president and CEO

3031 W. Grand Blvd., Ste. 624
Detroit 48202
2019 Revenue: NA
2018 Revenue: $145.7M
Regional Employees: 120
Top Local Executives: Joseph DeMaria Jr., CEO; Anthony DeMaria, president

26711 Northwestern Hwy., Ste. 255
Southfield 48033
2019 Revenue: $71.3M
2018 Revenue: $63.2M
Local Employees: 19
Top Local Executive: Aaron Walsh, general manager

*The list, the most comprehensive available, was compiled through individual interviews with each respective company. For list purposes, the region includes Wayne, Oakland, Macomb, Washtenaw, and Livingston counties. For company headquarters based in the region, total revenue is listed. For companies with headquarters outside the region, revenue is based on projects in the region. Many did not respond due to the COVID-19 situation.

ENR 2020 Top 50 Program Management Firms

1 AECOM, Los Angeles, Calif. 4118.1
2 JLL, Chicago, Ill. 3085.2
3 JACOBS, Dallas, Texas 2826.1
4 PARSONS, Centreville, Va. 1853.8
5 CBRE, Los Angeles, Calif. 1489.2
6 BECHTEL, Reston, Va. 971.0
7 SNC-LAVALIN INC., Tampa, Fla. 311.2
8 HDR, Omaha, Neb. 270.5
9 WSP USA, New York, N.Y. 243.3
10 CDM SMITH, Boston, Mass. 113.5
11 BURNS & MCDONNELL, Kansas City, Mo. 112.9
12 ARCADIS NORTH AMERICA/ CALLISON RTKL, Highlands Ranch, Colo. 105.0
13 TURNER & TOWNSEND, New York, N.Y. 90.7
14 KLEINFELDER, San Diego, Calif. 74.0
15 ANSER ADVISORY, Orlando, Fla. 68.9
16 SEVAN MULTI-SITE SOLUTIONS LLC, Downer Grove, Ill. 61.2
17 GILBANE BUILDING CO., Providence, R.I. 50.3
18 APTIM, Baton Rouge, La. 49.1
19 MG2, Seattle, Wash. 47.5
20 BLACK & VEATCH, Overland Park, Kan. 44.2
21 STANTEC INC., Irvine, Calif. 44.0
22 HPM, Birmingham, Ala. 42.8
24 TETRA TECH INC., Pasadena, Calif. 40.0
25 NEWMARK KNIGHT FRANK, New York, N.Y. 39.1
27 HILL INTERNATIONAL INC., Philadelphia, Pa. 35.7
28 CSA GROUP, New York, N.Y. 34.2
29 LEA+ELLIOTT INC., Grand Prairie, Texas 34.0
30 DESIGN SYSTEMS INC., Farmington Hills, Mich. 33.2
32 BRAILSFORD & DUNLAVEY INC., Washington, D.C. 31.2
33 CAROLLO ENGINEERS INC., Walnut Creek, Calif. 30.0
34 CORDOBA CORP., Los Angeles, Calif. 27.7
35 CARDNO INC., Lone Tree, Colo. 25.8
36 PMA CONSULTANTS LLC, Detroit, Mich. 25.3
37 ON-BOARD ENGINEERING CORP., East Windsor, N.J. 25.0
38 KITCHELL CORP., Phoenix, Ariz. 25.0
39 MARKON SOLUTIONS, Falls Church, Va. 24.0
40 LABELLA ASSOCIATES, D.P.C., Rochester, N.Y. 24.0
42 GAFCON INC., San Diego, Calif. 23.2
43 ALPHA CORP., Dulles, Va. 23.1
45 SKANSKA USA, New York, N.Y 22.7
46 PFES LLC, Western Springs, Ill. 21.8
49 GREELEY AND HANSEN, Chicago, Ill. 17.9
50 THE WEITZ CO. & AFFILIATES, Des Moines, Iowa 16.6

ENR 2020 Top 100 Construction Management-for-Fee Firms

1 2 AECOM, Los Angeles, Calif. EA 4118.1
2 1 BECHTEL, Reston, Va. EC 3227.0
3 4 JLL, Chicago, Ill. CM 3085.2
4 3 JACOBS, Dallas, Texas EA 3061.0
5 5 PARSONS, Centreville, Va. EC 2396.5
6 6 CBRE, Los Angeles, Calif. CM 1747.7
7 9 SNC-LAVALIN INC., Tampa, Fla. EC 378.9
8 8 HILL INTERNATIONAL INC., Philadelphia, Pa. CM 376.4
9 10 ARCADIS/CALLISON RTKL, Highlands Ranch, Colo. EA 302.0
10 38 WOOD, Houston, Texas EC 293.9
12 16 HDR, Omaha, Neb. EA 270.5
14 ** GARDINER & THEOBALD INC., New York, N.Y. CM 243.7
15 7 WSP USA, New York, N.Y. E 243.3
16 11 THE LIRO GROUP, Syosset, N.Y. EA 230.1
17 13 CUMMING, Los Angeles, Calif. CM 200.6
18 17 TURNER & TOWNSEND, New York, N.Y. CM 155.3
19 28 STANTEC INC., Irvine, Calif. EA 145.2
20 47 ANSER ADVISORY, Orlando, Fla. CM 137.9
21 14 THE TURNER CORP., New York, N.Y. C 130.5
22 19 KLEINFELDER, San Diego, Calif. EA 114.6
23 71 LENDLEASE, New York, N.Y. C 114.2
24 21 CDM SMITH, Boston, Mass. EC 113.5
25 18 BURNS & MCDONNELL, Kansas City, Mo. EC 112.9
26 15 BLACK & VEATCH, Overland Park, Kan. EC 102.9
27 20 MWH CONSTRUCTORS INC., Broomfield, Colo. C 100.8
28 25 GILBANE BUILDING CO., Providence, R.I. C 93.7
29 22 MICHAEL BAKER INTERNATIONAL, Pittsburgh, Pa. EA 92.9
30 26 CAROLLO ENGINEERS INC., Walnut Creek, Calif. E 92.0
31 24 VANIR CONSTRUCTION MGMT., Sacramento, Calif. CM 91.9
32 23 KITCHELL CORP., Phoenix, Ariz. C 67.0
33 34 CORDOBA CORP., Los Angeles, Calif. E 63.7
34 31 SEVAN MULTI-SITE SOLUTIONS, Downer Grove, Ill. CM 61.2
35 27 THE VERTEX COS. INC., Weymouth, Mass. CM 59.2
36 76 SACHSE CONSTRUCTION & DEVELOP., Detroit, Mich. C 58.0
37 40 MARK G. ANDERSON CONSULTANTS, Washington, D.C. CM 51.2
38 35 KRAUS-ANDERSON CONSTR., Minneapolis, Minn. C 50.0
39 ** APTIM, Baton Rouge, La. EC 49.1
40 36 MCDONOUGH BOLYARD PECK INC. (MBP), Fairfax, Va. CM 47.9
41 32 MG2, Seattle, Wash. A 47.5
42 37 PMA CONSULTANTS LLC, Detroit, Mich. CM 47.3
43 66 HPM, Birmingham, Ala. CM 42.8
44 39 BOWERS + KUBOTA CONSULTING, Waipahu, Hawaii EA 41.8
45 ** CHINA CONSTRUCTION AMERICA, Jersey City, N.J. C 40.0
47 77 TETRA TECH INC., Pasadena, Calif. E 40.0
48 43 NEWMARK KNIGHT FRANK, New York, N.Y. CM 39.1
49 ** TECTONIC ENG’G CONSULTANTS., Mountainville, N.Y. E 39.0
50 53 EISMAN & RUSSO INC., Jacksonville, Fla. CM 38.2
52 62 GREENMAN-PEDERSEN INC. (GPI), Babylon, N.Y. E 37.8
53 51 OAC SERVICES INC., Seattle, Wash. EA 35.0
54 55 GHIRARDELLI ASSOCIATES INC., San Jose, Calif. CM 34.7
55 60 PSOMAS, Los Angeles, Calif. E 34.5
56 49 CSA GROUP, New York, N.Y. EA 34.2
57 42 LEA+ELLIOTT INC., Grand Prairie, Texas EA 34.0
58 29 MARKON SOLUTIONS, Falls Church, Va. CM 33.7
59 ** SKANSKA USA, New York , N.Y. C 33.4
60 70 DESIGN SYSTEMS INC., Farmington Hills, Mich. E 33.2
61 54 BRAILSFORD & DUNLAVEY INC., Washington, D.C. CM 31.2
62 45 HARRIS & ASSOCIATES INC., Concord, Calif. E 31.2
63 ** LABELLA ASSOCIATES DPC, Rochester, N.Y. EA 30.0
65 56 BOSWELL ENGINEERING INC., South Hackensack, N.J. E 28.6
67 ** CLARK CONSTRUCTION CO., Lansing, Mich. C 27.0
68 ** PAXON ENERGY & INFRA., Pleasanton, Calif. E 26.0
69 50 GAFCON INC., San Diego, Calif. CM 25.9
70 52 CARDNO INC., Lone Tree, Colo. ENV 25.8
71 65 ON-BOARD ENGINEERING CORP., East Windsor, N.J. EC 25.0
72 75 KS ENGINEERS PC, Newark, N.J. E 25.0
73 ** BCC ENGINEERING INC., Miami, Fla. E 24.7
74 ** SAVIN ENGINEERS PC, Pleasantville, N.Y. E 24.0
75 48 MCKISSACK & MCKISSACK (WASH.), Washington, D.C. A 24.0
76 61 ALPHA CORP., Dulles, Va. CM 23.3
77 46 METRIC ENGINEERING INC., Miami, Fla. E 22.4
78 ** PFES LLC, Western Springs, Ill. CM 21.8
79 86 AFG GROUP INC., Herndon, Va. CM 20.7
80 ** GREELEY AND HANSEN, Chicago, Ill. E 20.7
81 58 HARGROVE ENGRS. + CONSTRUCTORS, Mobile, Ala. EC 20.4
82 64 HUNT, GUILLOT & ASSOCIATES LLC, Ruston, La. E 19.6
83 91 O&G INDUSTRIES INC., Torrington, Conn. C 18.8
84 ** BROADDUS & ASSOCIATES, Austin, Texas CM 18.5
85 ** OTAK INC., Portland, Ore. EA 18.2
86 88 SWINERTON, San Francisco, Calif. C 18.1
87 69 THE WEITZ CO. & AFFILIATES, Des Moines, Iowa EC 18.1
88 ** SKENDER, Chicago, Ill. C 18.0
89 93 JAMES R. VANNOY & SONS CONSTR., Jefferson, N.C. C 18.0
90 ** AOA, Winter Park, Fla. CM 18.0
91 82 CPM, Guaynabo, P.R. CM 17.3
92 67 COTTER CONSULTING INC., Chicago, Ill. CM 16.5
94 99 O’CONNOR CONSTRUCTION MGMT., Irvine, Calif. CM 15.9
95 ** GROUP PMX LLC, New York, N.Y. CM 15.9
96 95 CRB, Kansas City, Mo. EC 15.8
97 92 MOCA SYSTEMS INC., Boston, Mass. AE 15.7
98 ** SHIEL SEXTON CO. INC., Indianapolis, Ind. C 15.4
99 94 CRAWFORD CONSULT. SERVICES, East Pittsburgh, Pa. CM 15.3
100 87 CHANEN CONSTRUCTION CO. INC., Phoenix, Ariz. C 15.1

11 Tips on How Best to Install EV Charging Stations in Multifamily Housing

Electric vehicle adoption is expected to grow at a 25% annual clip over the next five years. That’s going to make the installation of electric charging stations a must at apartment communities in most major real estate markets. Having EV stations on your property can lift its value, help you retain residents, and give your marketers another plus to attract prospective renters in competitive multifamily markets.

For advice on how best to install EV charging stations in multifamily enterprises, we turned to Pete Zadoretzky, LEED AP O+M, Vice President – Sustainability, Bozzuto Management Company. The company owns and manages more than 250 apartment communities, about two-thirds of which have EV stations. Bozzuto recently was named Energy Star’s Partner of the Year–Energy Management for the fourth year in a row—the only 100% multifamily management company to do so.


1. Start thinking now about EV charging stations.

Nearly half of respondents (48.6%) to our exclusive Multifamily Design+Construction “Amenities Survey 2019” said they had installed EV chargers in multifamily projects, up from 42.0% in our 2017 survey. That means most multifamily developers and their project teams have yet to install EV charging stations.

“It used to be, developers would ask, How much? And when they saw the price, it was, Thanks, but no thanks,” said Zadoretzky, a Fitwell Ambassador. (A 2016 study in San Francisco found that the cost of installing 12 PV ports in a 60-space parking lot was about $860/port, $2,370/port for a retrofit.) According to Zadoretzky, sticker shock has all but evaporated as the cost to install and operate EV stations keeps coming down.

2. Do your homework early in the planning process.

Apartment owners and investors must take the pulse of local market EV demand. Zadoretzky said his company’s preferred charging-station provider, ChargePoint, helps him track the number of EV vehicle registrations at a given time in a given market. “You’ll find a big difference between the number of EVs in, say, suburban Pennsylvania compared to Northern Virginia,” where it’s much higher, he said.

3. Determine the right number of EV charging ports for your property.

“For new construction, it’s important to be thinking strategically about what makes sense when the property first opens and what, when, and how you will be able to increase your capabilities at that property as it matures,” Zadoretzky said.

There was a time when two ports were enough, he said. “Now, we have apartment communities delivering with dozens of stations,” said Zadoretzky. “You don’t want to lose a single lease because there aren’t enough charging stations.”

There’s no perfect yardstick, but the “Guide to EV-Ready Communities” suggests that about 10% of all parking spaces in multifamily housing complexes should be dedicated to charging electric vehicles.

4. Check out the plentiful equipment and supplier options.

“Plug in America,” a resource site for all things EV, lists more than 50 manufacturers and installers; Energy Star profiles about 20. Blink Charging, ChargePoint, and SemaConnect are the best-known full-service providers for multifamily and mixed-use communities. Electrify America, EVGo, and Volta Charging are more common for the retail-facing side of mixed-use communities. Tesla has its own proprietary stations.

Do your homework, advised Zadoretzky. “Looking back on Bozzuto’s history with EV stations, we learned the hard way that not all equipment is created equal,” he said. “You get what you pay for.”

Zadoretzky said his company chose ChargePoint because it offered an open platform, fully integrated with Bozzuto’s property management software. The ports’ LCD screens and messaging functions are user friendly.

The stations are open to the public. EV drivers can locate a charging station by searching and getting alerts via the ChargePoint EV app or the PlugShare app, which lists more than 140,000 charging stations in the U.S. and Canada. Retail guests patronizing the mixed-use complex’s restaurants and stores can charge their EVs while they dine and shop; they pay via the ChargePoint app. “Apartment management companies love having cars visiting the property because it brings prospective residents onto the property,” said Zadoretzky.

A second option—at roughly one-third the price—provides an assigned space, one port per customer for the term of the lease, as long as the lessee has an electric vehicle. “It’s a stripped-down version,” Zadoretzky said. “It’s more efficient, but only one car can use it.”


5. Dig into the physical demands of installing EV charging stations.

Initial costs should be baked into your project’s electrical contracting scope of work and budget. A lot of questions have to be answered, said Zadoretzky: How close will the EV spaces be to the electrical room? Will you have to run a lot of conduit? Will you need to expand the size of the nearest electrical panel from the original design loads? If it’s a retrofit in, say, a garden apartment community, how much trenching needs to be done to lay the conduit? How deep will you have to dig? Will you have to dig through established landscaping? Through asphalt? If you’re installing the EV stations in a structured parking garage, will the installers need to x-ray the concrete?

As for the cost of installing EV chargers in existing apartment properties, Zadoretzky offered these crystal clear guidelines: “You can analyze numbers all you want, but we know for sure that it can cost three times or even five times more to build EV ports on an existing property compared to new development.”

6. Determine your operating costs.

“There’s no blanket answer to operating costs,” Zadoretzky said. Among the many variables to consider: Will the EV stations be installed in a  mixed-use project or a 100% residential one? Is parking assigned to the residents, or is the lot first come, first served? Is there a monthly parking fee for an assigned space? Is there a shortage of parking spaces in the complex? Will parking spaces have to be removed to make way for the ports’ electrical equipment? Will the EV chargers be located on the property or in an adjacent area?

Zadoretzky described a property Bozzuto manages in Boston. Its six ports consumed 19MWh over a 12-month period, at a rate of $0.135/kWh. “That’s about $2,550 for the year, or about $425/port,” he said. “A lot for a building amenity for sure, but a drop in the bucket of the overall building’s energy use—and a non-issue in most cases, as we are recouping the cost of electricity directly from our EV-charging residents.”

7. Look for financial subsidies and incentives.

Government subsidies at the federal, state, and local level can significantly reduce first costs.

“You need to check out any state subsidy programs and combine those with incentives from utility companies for real savings,” Zadoretzky said. “The subsidies vary from state to state, and they are constantly changing. Right now, Massachusetts has one of the best around—not quite 100%, but pretty close. Maryland has excellent state and utility incentives.” Zadoretzky said he’s been surprised that some cities, like Washington, D.C., and whole states (Florida, for example) offer no incentives at all.

According to RCLCO’s 2020 EV Charging Report, commercial incentives can be significant, often covering 50–100% of an EV charger’s hardware, make-ready, ongoing service costs, and station/infrastructure installation. For example, Colorado provides rebates to multifamily property owners for up to 80% of charging station costs. Hawaii will subsidize 100% of the cost of installation.

A 2018 industry survey by CleanTechnica revealed that about 16% of charging station installations obtained government subsidies totaling more than $1,000 per connector, while another 20% received benefits of less than $1,000 per port. But in California, various jurisdictions offer incentives ranging from $3,000 per port to as high as $10,000 for ports in affordable housing communities. A Colorado program offers $9,000 per port for Level 2 smart chargers. Check cleantechnica.com for state-by-state data.

8. Think ahead about the day-to-day management of EV charging stations.

Zadoretzky said Bozzuto’s EV partner, ChargePoint, provides a customer-facing app and a management-facing dashboard that produce real-time information for both property staff and residents. If, for example, a tenant has been using the charger for too long, the dashboard will alert the property manager, who can then ask the tenant to unplug and move the car. Or, the property manager could program the dashboard not to charge a new tenant for a stipulated period as part of the lease signing.

ChargePoint has a Wi-Fi–enabled solution that provides real-time diagnostic data to property management staff. It also tracks and reports carbon emissions data, which is crucial when sharing information with investors or in complying with mandated benchmarking ordinances, said Zadoretzky.

“They’re monitoring our stations 24/7/365. If something goes wrong, their team is there to support us, right away, he said. “That’s crucial.” Usually it’s just a matter of a FaceTime phone call between ChargePoint and a Bozzuto maintenance technician to fix the problem using the display screen on the port.

9. Don’t forget to play the sustainability card.

Properties can earn points toward LEED certification by providing charging stations to serve at least 2% of parking spaces. To qualify for LEED points, EV charging spots must be Level 2 or higher, connected to a network, capable of supporting demand response or time-of-use charging, and compatible with universal EV charging connectors.

10. Beef up your EV marketing and signage.

Zadoretzky said his company made a strategic decision that EV charging stations would be an extension of the apartment community’s brand, and that they must match the customer service levels residents expect from Bozzuto. The availability of EV charging ports should also be highlighted in the community’s marketing package and in the walking tour.

Zadoretzky said he’s amazed that Craigslist is the only apartment listing site that allows prospects to list the availability of EV charging ports. “At Bozzuto, we get an average of about two requests per month via searches for each of our properties that has EV stations,” he said.

At the property management level, Zadoretzky strongly recommended putting up clearly visible signage that identifies the EV ports to residents and guests. “EV owners do not want to come home to their apartment, only to find another car parked in the space with the EV charging port,” he said. “Apply penalties if you have to.”


11. Bone up on “EV-ready” building code requirements.

An EV-ready code is one that requires that a building’s electrical capacity and other infrastructure to be ready to install charging posts if and when there is sufficient demand. According to EVConnect, EV-ready codes may require a certain percentage of parking spots to have:

  • A dedicated electrical circuit with sufficient capacity for each charging spot
  • Installation of the conduit and wire necessary to run electricity to EV charging spots
  • Electrical panels labeled “EV-ready” and positioned near where tenants will park
  • Preparation for EV charging at a certain percentage of parking spots in multifamily housing

Since 2017, Atlanta has required new multifamily communities to make 20% of parking spaces EV ready. St. Louis Park, a suburb of Minneapolis (2018 population: 49,039), requires 10% of all parking in new apartment complexes to be EV ready. In 2019, Seattle started requiring apartment projects with one to six units to have an equal number of EV-ready spaces; those with seven to 25 units must have at least six EV-ready slots, and those with more than 25 parking spaces must make 20% EV ready.

In January, the International Code Council approved a provision that, if implemented by states or local jurisdictions, will require multifamily projects with three or more than units to have one EV-ready parking space if there is only one parking spot; two EV-ready slots if there are up to 25 parking spaces; and 20% of total parking spaces (rounded up, if there’s a remainder) for apartment communities with more than 25 spaces.


So, if you’re a newbie to electric vehicles, when is the right time to start installing EV charging stations in your apartment communities? “The best time,” said Zadoretzky, “is before you even know you want one.”


There are three major categories of EV chargers (sometimes referred to as EVSEs, for “electric vehicle supply equipment”), based on the maximum amount of power the charger can provide to the battery.

  • Level 1 Uses a 120-volt AC plug. Delivers 2–5 miles of range per hour of charging. Used primarily in single-family homes.
  • Level 2 Provides charging through a 240-volt (for residential) or 208-volt (for commercial) plug. Requires the installation of additional charging equipment. Can deliver 10–20 miles of range per hour of charging. The most common station type for multifamily communities.
  • DC Fast Charge Provides charging through 480-volt AC input. Requires highly specialized, high-powered equipment as well as special equipment in the vehicle itself. (Plug-in hybrid electric vehicles typically do not have fast-charging capabilities.) Can deliver 60–80 miles of range in 20 minutes of charging. Used most often in public charging stations.

Charging times range from less than 30 minutes to 20 hours or more based on the type of electric vehicle supply equipment in use, as well as the type of battery, how depleted it is, and its capacity.

How Physical Spaces May Adapt To A Post-COVID World

Lots of questions are being asked about how life will change in the wake of COVID-19. Because physical distancing is a big part of that conversation, designers of physical spaces are among those expected to supply answers.

How will social and public behaviors be impacted? How will physical spaces have to adapt? Can we look to technology to provide any transitional assistance until a new normal is achieved? And how will spaces that have traditionally been communal, high-touch, very tactile settings – think retail and high-end luxury experiences – be forced to morph as the world adjusts to new norms?

A logical candidate to address these issues is David Schwarz, creative leader and founding partner of the Brooklyn, N.Y.-based design agency HUSH, who for more than a decade has led a team weaving content, architecture, technology, and interactivity into the experiences it designs for major brand clients.

Touch free

Schwarz feels the design of event spaces will come under growing scrutiny in the years to come. Perhaps the construction of even moderately-sized, let alone huge, spaces will become a thing of the past. Or could it be, he asks, that at large events, there will need to be scaled-down pod-like areas housing no more than 50 people at a time to halt contagion’s spread?

Schwarz forecasts innovative advancements along the lines of touch-free gesture technology and voice-activated commands growing more commonplace in public settings until a fresh everyday world can be attained.

Interactive brand experiences will rely more often on personally-owned mobile devices supplanting touch screens to drive interactive experiences. While evidence shows phones aren’t the most sanitary of items, they’re highly familiar to users. So they may become the default remote control mechanism to help folks move through physical spaces that earlier required touch to navigate.

And Schwarz believes gloves will remain de rigueur in supermarkets for some time to come. Any high-touch communal location will need to be adjusted to new experiential expectations. It’s not so different than when hand dryers arrived in public restrooms, he argues. Over the years, they’ve grown into expected accouterments, and today bathrooms without them seem a bit offbeat.

Dual reality

Schwarz says as experienced design experts, he and his colleagues must adapt to the new conditions of the human experience. “In some cases, we help define how people engage with their environments,” he says. “In others, we have to respond to changes in that environment. COVID-19 represents a mix of both. We have to be both reactive to new norms, but also define how we can find unseen and unexplored inspiration within this new experience.”

That means design can’t simply return to business as usual, he says.

Even if the world is to quickly return to a “near normal” commonplace before the pandemic, design teams must begin to define how the future might look.

“Everything can be redesigned to consider a future where experiences have to be both inspiring and safe, functional and experimental, in-person and virtual,” he observes. “We have to design what living in this dual reality will mean.”

This next-era design challenge impacts how we see public experiences like transportation, urban space, place making, and arts, as well as commercial experiences driven by retail consumerism, paid brand experiences and entertainment. And then there’s the workplace, “where community, communication, and group efficiency will become very different,” Schwarz says.

Those at HUSH remain enthusiastic about design’s role in coming together, exploring and probing new experiences that take society beyond the four walls of their own domiciles or, as Schwarz says, “their many digital rectangles.”

He adds, “Giving up on that would represent more than a business pivot. It would be giving up on what makes us feel alive and human.”

Housing Is Hot With the Economy in the Deep Freeze

No matter how you look at it, the economic fallout from the coronavirus is going to be brutal, with a projected 6.5% decline in real gross domestic product in 2020 and an unemployment rate of 9.3% at year-end, according to the Federal Reserve. In ordinary times, and without any policy response from government, a blow of this magnitude should weaken the housing market.

Yet, what we’re starting to see is the very opposite. For various reasons, the supply of homes on the market continues to fall to record lows and home prices are, if anything, accelerating. For many homeowners stressed about the value of their biggest investment, it’s a welcome relief. But this signals one more hurdle for would-be millennial homebuyers as they age into their family-forming years.

The biggest reason we’re seeing home-price growth accelerating in the middle of a pandemic is that the disruption to the supply of housing is persisting longer than the disruption to demand — that is, would-be buyers. Wednesday’s weekly mortgage data showed that purchase applications rose for the eighth consecutive week and are approaching an 11-year high on a seasonally adjusted basis. Part of the reason for the quick rebound in demand is surely the decline in interest rates on mortgages to all-time lows, with few signs they are likely to rise for the foreseeable future.

But as is always the case in the housing market, supply doesn’t respond as quickly as demand. Single-family housing starts plunged in March and April, with the most recent report showing a 25% year-over-year tumble. Part of this decline is because construction in some states shutdown, and much more so in some regions than others. Single-family starts fell 73% in the Northeast but only 13% in the South. Even where construction continued, the pace slowed as builders adopted social distancing and other health measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Even as demand rebounds, homebuilders may be slow to acquire new construction lots and might hold back on increasing production after getting the scare they did in March and April. They may prefer to wait a while to make sure these revived levels of demand are sustainable, while they also shore up their balance sheets before beginning to build at the same pace as earlier this year.

Beyond the impact on construction, a little discussed factor leading to fewer homes on the market is mortgage forbearance programs put in place by banks, states and Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. From a policy standpoint it’s great that banks and governments are helping to prevent a deluge of foreclosure as millions of people lose their livelihoods because of the pandemic. But a consequence of that policy change is that it deprives the housing market of the supply of foreclosed properties that occurs even in strong economies and solid job markets; this amounted to almost 500,000 houses in 2019.

Some homeowners may also be delaying the listing of their homes for sale because they’re sheltering-in-place, or have lost their jobs and can no longer provide income verification to buy a different home. They may also not be comfortable having potential buyers, who could be carrying the virus, walking into their homes for sales showings.

Put it all together and housing supply continues to fall. Mike Simonsen of Altos Research, who tracks real-time housing data, notes that there are only 700,000 single-family homes for sale in  U.S. compared to more than 900,000 at this time last year. Normally at this time of year the housing supply has been rising for a few months amid the traditional spring buying season, only to fall later in the year as activity slows. But that’s not what we’ve seen during the past few months, as supply continues to contract. As a result, the percentage of homes for sale with price reductions is the lowest he’s seen in his database, a leading indicator suggesting faster home-price growth in coming months.

Presumably, at some point the coronavirus crisis will pass, foreclosures will move forward again and all participants in the housing market from would-be buyers, sellers and homebuilders resume normal behavior. To the extent home prices rose too high because of supply distortions, we should see home prices leveling off or even declining. But it’s not clear that this will be a 2020 story. And in the meantime, steadily rising home prices may join steadily rising stock-market prices in the middle of a pandemic as a phenomenon that continues to flummox everyone.

America’s Structural Steel Industry Remains a Success Story

Domestic steel mills produced more than 6 million tons of structural steel last year, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute.

That structural steel supply chain has remained robust, active, and ready to build tomorrow’s landmark structures throughout the last few months.

Confusion and uncertainty regarding the availability of structural steel boil down to the generic nature of the word “steel.” When people hear that mills supplying the automotive industry are shutting down, they assume that also applies to structural steel mills.

But automotive steel and structural steel have different supply chains. Structural steel mills have been designated essential businesses in many states across the country.

“We are unaware of any current shortages in steel supply, and all of Nucor’s steel mills have continued to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Katherine Miller, director of public affairs and corporate communications with AISC member producer Nucor Corporation. “We have continued to produce steel for critical projects and to meet our customers’ needs for our products without interruption.”

The hollow structural section (HSS) sector has also carried on without interruption.

“From the beginning of the pandemic, Atlas was deemed an essential business since the steel industry was deemed critical infrastructure,” explained Brad Fletcher, a senior sales engineer with Atlas Tube, an AISC member HSS producer. “As such, all of our mills have been up and running as normal to meet our customers’ needs. We’ve cut back hours here and there based on demand, but we’ve had no layoffs—and we aren’t planning any.”

Because operations remain largely normal, lead times remain short.

“Lead times have not fluctuated due to the pandemic, and we’ve had no supply interruptions,”

Fletcher said. “We have a strong relationship with our coil producers, and there have been zero issues with our coil supply.”

Around 70% of structural steel comes from service centers instead of directly from steel mills and HSS producers. That makes service centers a particularly good barometer for steel availability, and all indications remain strong.

“There are no steel shortages—absolutely, positively not,” said Gary Stein, CEO of Triple-S Steel, an AISC member service center company with a network of approximately 30 locations. “I’ve seen headlines talking about steel mill shutdowns, but that’s not structural steel. Structural mills are all running just fine. Most structural steel flows through distribution centers like ours, and I and my competitors all have plenty of inventory.”

Safety is also top-of-mind for these companies as they continue to meet demand for structural steel.

Staying operational also means staying safe, noted Miller. “The health and safety of our teammates is our number one cultural value at Nucor, and we have implemented a number of safety measures as we operate during this pandemic,” she said. “These include social distancing, face coverings, staggered schedules, enhanced cleaning procedures for work areas, and using remote work wherever possible.”

“Our primary concerns at this time remain the health and safety of our employees as well as maintaining our quality product and service commitments to our customers,” echoed Ivonne Furneaux, director of communications and community relations with AISC member producer SSAB. “Production continues, our supply chain is intact, and we do not anticipate disruption to our service levels. However, we will continue to monitor the situation and will take appropriate measures as warranted.”

“Our plants are running routinely, though with precautionary measures, and sales and office staff have been working remotely,” said Stein. “But we’re still getting our work done. There’s plenty of steel in the supply chain every day, pandemic or not.”