50 Beyond: Now We Build!

18 November 2019
  • With Dyer Brown’s 15-year lease at One Winthrop Square coming to an end, the discussion and research was in full-force on whether we remain in our existing building or relocate (spoiler alert: we stayed!).
  • The design team held various office-wide visioning sessions to gain consensus and feedback from our entire staff, helping us to generate a concept that would support all work modes, styles and preferences.
  • We packed up our entire office and temporarily moved into a vacant ‘swing space’ suite next door. As grateful as we were to be able to stay in the building we’ve worked in for the last 15 years, the layout and aesthetic was not necessarily reflective of our culture, aesthetic and work modes.

Now that you’re up to speed, let’s tell you all about the construction process. The good news (and bad news 😊) for us and Commodore was that we were located right next door and could pop over at any point of the day to answer questions, check in, etc. The Construction Administration (CA) phase was entirely the same as every other project – the process and submittals – except we were the client and the architect, which brought both challenges and opportunities.

Acting as both the tenant and architect, we wore many hats during this process. Because of this, we had to be extra attentive to all logistics and details to ensure we stayed on schedule. From a construction standpoint, this started with the swing space process. Temporarily moving into a space that wasn’t built for us required work! From making sure everything was moved out on time in order for the scheduled construction to begin, to working with the GC and our vendors to make sure our swing space was equipped for business (i.e. mounting TVs for conference room, providing sufficient power and tel/data, and building a demise wall to separate the swing space from the construction zone). Having our teams work in Revit over a Wi-Fi connection would not be possible for our 3+ month stay, so we had to pull temporary data cabling for the 3-employee shared offices. Additionally, we ordered folding tables as temporary workstations, which we later donated.

As the tenant, we also needed to carry and coordinate all tenant-provided scope and items. For the swing space, this included the design, coordination and installation of temporary signage. At our new office, this included any design, purchasing, selecting, and measuring for items such as environmental graphic design elements, kitchen appliances, furniture, and accessories. During this we had to mindfully take account for quantities and, more importantly, appropriate lead times.

Being stationed next door to the construction was an obvious plus – we were available during most of the day, helping to streamline any questions that the GC had. We were also able to tour potential new hires through the space so they knew that working on a folding table wasn’t the norm!

We also had just recently brought on a new IT support team, and with that came new processes and software improvements. Fortunately, the timing of that implementation worked out well with the office renovation/expansion. While we didn’t realize just how many IT meetings were needed during CA, we were grateful to have the expertise from our new IT group to inform the GC and subcontractors of our AV/IT requirements.

Overall, there were many lessons learned from the construction process – giving us more well-rounded insight as we approach future projects – allowing us to be a valuable partner to the design/construction team and our clients.

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Dyer Brown Architects

Dyer Brown Architects

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