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Industry Insights

Industrial Construction Best Practices

By Industry Insights

Industrial Construction Best Practices

Manufacturing projects posted significant gains from 2022 to 2023, and construction activity is predicted to continue increasing in 2024, according to consulting firm FMI.

Despite unpredictable material prices, labor shortages and high interest rates, a certain volume of manufacturing and industrial building projects will likely be driven by federal funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) and the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) Act.

The following are best practices for successfully delivering these large, complex projects.

Selecting a Site

When embarking upon an industrial construction project, it’s important to identify a suitable location as site work typically comprises a significant percentage of the cost.

Firstly, project teams need to evaluate how clean the site and soil is. With many brownfield sites near urban centers, some type of ground remediation is required. If the building site requires excavation or bringing in fresh soil, this can be quite costly.

In addition, the soil’s strength capacity must be evaluated as this will impact the design of the foundation and its requirements for supporting the structure.

Project teams should make sure that the site is accessible to trucks. The best sites are located in close vicinity to highways, major roads and trucking docks. It’s also beneficial if the site provides access to the general population, customer base and suppliers, and that there’s room for expansion.

Another feature to look for is a nearby body of water or room to build a retention pond as it’s much more affordable than installing tanks underground.

Also, the building owner will need the ability to bring in enough electricity and gas to power the facility.

Choosing the right site is best achieved when the building owner and design team brings in the contractor early on while the project is being budgeted.

Other Considerations

A number of other variables about the project’s features will impact the industrial design and construction.

For example, will the building be all dry storage or will it be a cold storage facility, in which case freezers need to be installed.

Will the building be used as a distribution facility? If so, the design must ensure a proper flow from production to the packing lines.

Some projects incorporate a showroom and nice offices, thereby requiring air conditioning systems. And for some clients, LEED certification is important, which will influence the design and selection of materials and systems.

With all these considerations, the contractor’s early involvement will yield the greatest efficiencies and savings in project planning and construction.

Building the Foundation

For industrial projects, tilt-up construction with a streel structure is most commonly used.

At the start of construction, it’s extremely important that the slab on grade is installed properly as this can make or break a successful, properly functioning building.

The structural engineer evaluates the concrete design strength and determines the type and quantity of reinforcing steel/rebar. The slab should also be designed to support racks in warehouse applications.

Prior to pouring the foundation, the subgrade must be properly prepared. The contractor should take into account concrete shrinkage and verify all saw cut joints per the specification prior to the pour. In addition, a laser guided screed should be used for concrete placement.

For the finished floor, a ride-on power trowel with float pans is very effective.

Future of Industrial Construction

Despite challenges like fluctuating material prices and labor shortages, the manufacturing and industrial construction sectors are expected to see continued growth in 2024, fueled by federal funding initiatives. Key to success will be adhering to best practices, starting with site selection, considering factors like soil condition and accessibility.

Early general contractor involvement is vital for optimizing efficiencies and cost savings. Attention to project-specific features such as cold storage requirements or LEED certification will guide design and construction decisions. Finally, ensuring properly installed foundations will be critical for the functionality and longevity of industrial buildings.

To tap into Summit Design + Build’s deep bench of knowledge and expertise for your next industrial design project, reach out to our preconstruction team.

construction contract review

Construction Contracts 101

By Industry Insights

Guide to Construction Contracts

Along with the excitement and anticipation surrounding the design and construction of a new
addition, building or a campus, every project begins with a construction contract.

There are several types of contracts available, each with its pros and cons, so it’s important to evaluate which approach is going to work best for the project at hand.

Factors to consider include the project’s scope, schedule, including the time you have to get the
project started, budget and the parties involved. These variables and the selected contract will significantly impact the project’s delivery and often profit margins.

The following is an overview of the five most common contracts used in the commercial construction industry today.

Cost-Plus Contract

With this type of contract, all construction-related expenses are covered by the owner. This includes labor, materials, supplies, etc. In addition, overhead costs like insurance, gas mileage, construction trailers, etc., are accounted for as well.

Expenses are reported as they occur and contractors run a low risk of losing money in materials.

This type of arrangement is well suited for projects where the scope is not well defined and/or it’s difficult to provide a thorough estimate of the work. Also, if there is not ample time to move forward with other types of projects. That said, it will fall on the contractor to track expenses and submit them for reimbursement.

The cost-plus contract can also include incentives for coming in under budget and set caps on expenditures. Consequently, both owners and contractors are motivated to manage the project costs.


With design-build, a project’s design and construction is combined into one contract. With this project delivery approach, construction may commence before the design is completed. This fast tracks the construction and supports greater collaboration between the design and construction teams.

At the same time, it can be more challenging to estimate costs, plus the fact that there’s no competitive bidding in certain areas beyond the project’s onset. That said, the highly collaborative aspect of design-build contraction and the expedited speed to market often more than compensates for this.

Guaranteed Maximum Price

With a guaranteed maximum price (GMP) contract, the maximum amount the owner will have to pay the contractor is capped. Consequently, the building owner’s risks are lowered as the general contractor takes acts as the construction manager at risk (CMAR).

The contract includes costs for labor, materials, overhead and a percentage of those costs to generate a profit. This structure makes budgeting easier and can help expedite the lending process. Project plans are often finalized before construction, so change orders are minimized.

GMP requires careful review and analysis of expenses, which can be particularly time-consuming for large, multi-phase projects. In many cases, a shared savings clause in introduced, which allows any leftover funds to be spent by the contractor should the scope be missed during contract buyout. Further, the contractor must carefully price the project or risk paying out of pocket.


In the lump-sum contract, a total price is named for the entire job. This comprises all the time and materials, regardless of any changes or setbacks. Because the contractor is taking on a lot of risk, the cost is often set a little higher. This can be done on GMP and others as well.

This approach works well for projects with a well-defined scope.

Administration and cash flow estimates are easier and the contractor is freed up to focus on quality, materials and output.

For this type of contract to really pay off, contractors need to do a good job of estimating the project’s schedule, materials, labor costs, overhead costs and profit margins.

Integrated Project Delivery

With large, complex projects, integrated project delivery (IPD) can be a good choice. Like design-build, both the design and contract is included in one contract.

The owner, designer and building are motivated to work closely together, often applying lean principles, as they share risk. A lump sum profit is then divided amongst the owner, designer and builder in a financially successful project.

On the downside, IPD contracts are relatively new in the industry and some contractors might find it challenging to secure funding.

About the author

Barbara Horwitz-Bennett is a seasoned architectural journalist, covering the design and construction industry for the past 25+ years. She writes for numerous industry magazines and creates content for AEC firms, product manufacturers and industry associations.

Construction workers on job site

Preconstruction Best Practices

By Industry Insights

Preconstruction Best Practices

Just as the foundation of a building must be strong, robust and precise in order to support the highest quality, long-standing structure, the same applies to the construction process itself, starting with preconstruction.

Beyond simply gathering bids for different aspects of the work, a project’s initial pre-construction phase should be a thorough and thought through process, beginning with establishing team communication.

This includes setting up the frequency of meetings, how documents will be transferred and determining the building team’s preferred communication styles.

Post-pandemic, the convenience and efficiency of platforms like Microsoft Teams and Zoom are well established. To optimize these online meetings, screen sharing is highly recommended.

Overall, the preconstruction phase establishes the project’s direction and allows for the designers and contractors to share ideas. When this process is organized, moving forward and on schedule, it will be the most effective.

Bid Management

During the bid management phase, the contractor identifies trade packages and creates clear scopes of work.

Experienced contractors often utilize master scope sheets developed over time. Reviewing past project scope sheets, change orders and sub quotes for different trades will help best inform the current scope document.

Through this process, it’s important to identify gray area items and address constructability to make sure that all material, equipment and labor is covered in the scope.

Prior to inviting subs to bid on the project, apps like TradeTapp is a useful way to  prequalify subcontractors.

A bid and award schedule is then developed and bid packages are electronically released to a broad range of vendors and trade subcontractors through tools like SmartBid and BuildingConnected. The latter platform, in particular, is quite popular amongst subcontractors and is therefore an effective way to solicit bids.

The contractor then conducts pre-bid conferences and answers subcontractor questions during the bid process.

Next, the bids are received and evaluated. This includes an in-depth bid review process to minimize uncertainties and hidden contingencies. Post-bid interviews are conducted with potential subs and then the contractor issues award recommendations and contracts.

Design Analysis and Constructability Review

The construction team then performs design analysis/reviews, identifies project constraints and performs constructability reviews. Contractors can lend their expertise in providing input on materials and product specifications, and assessing options for value engineering.

The contractor also develops a cost model and provides estimates as the design evolves. Once the cost model and budget are established, a budget tracking system is implemented to monitor any issues or changes in scope that put pressure on the budget.

To the extent that the team is organized and establishes regular lines communication and collaboration, the fewer surprises will arise down the road. This reduces the risk of project conflicts and delays, and increases opportunities for project savings.

Along these lines, team are encouraged to establish risk management strategies and examine all “what if” scenarios.

A recommended best practice is establishing a Master Schedule to identify long-lead time items, critical path items, occupancy and closeout. For example, equipment like elevators, electrical gear, HVAC units and generators tend to require longer lead times for delivery.

Bringing Value

To ensure a high level of quality and efficiency through this whole process, another best practice is establishing internal budgets at the conception of the job. Working hand in hand with architects and engineers then helps confirm that the project is staying on budget.

As for selecting subcontractors and companies to work with, it’s important to rigorously scope subs and suppliers to build the best qualified building team and ultimately offer the best value.

Another best practice is planning and sequencing phasing and site logistics to best coordinate project activities and address any safety concerns.

And finally, before construction commences, all necessary construction permits must be obtained. If time is of the essence, contractors may benefit from the services of a permit expeditor.

To learn more about working with Summit Design + Builds’ expert team of contractors, visit our Let’s Build Together page.

2024 Construction Trends to Watch For

By Industry Insights

2024 Construction Trends to Watch For

With the dawn of 2024, the U.S. construction industry continues to battle high inflation and interest rates, material price volatility, a skilled labor shortage and increased labor costs.

But despite all this, the economic forecast is relatively bright with Dodge predicting a 7% increase in construction starts, led by strong growth in multi-family, hotel and manufacturing.

Along with this welcome increase in construction activity, noted trends anticipated to share the limelight are growing applications in modular construction and technology, from BIM to digital twins to AI to drones.

Building teams will also need to engage in strategic procurement practices to stay ahead of the price volatility and material shortages curve in 2024.

BIM, Digital Twins and AI

Significantly improving design and construction efficiencies, BIM is now being used extensively by U.S. construction firms. According to the 2022 AIA Firm Survey Report, 91% of firms use it for design visualization, 86% utilize BIM for presentations and renderings, 84% tap its coordinated construction documents capabilities and 80% use it for sharing models with consultants.

Mandated for federal building projects, the U.S. General Services Administration has a network of BIM technology vendors, professional associations, government agencies and research institutions supporting its implementation.

Kicking things up a notch, the implementation of BIM-powered digital twins is also expected to continue developing in 2024. A virtual model of an actual construction project, updated in real time as the project is built, a digital-twin model enables teams to simulate different scenarios, providing key insights for contractors on the most efficient ways to construct a building.

By leveraging artificial intelligence technology, this improves the accuracy of these digital twin simulations and can also help owners and facility managers predict and plan for maintenance and repairs down the line.

Drones and CMS

As drone technology, and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) continue gaining traction, they are finding more applications on construction sites. For example, site surveying and mapping is enabling teams to better plan and manage construction. And drone inspections provide a much more comprehensive overview of a project, thereby supporting worker safety. This critical information can help identify potential hazards and prevent accidents.

Drone-gathered data can also be fed into 3D modeling software to better visualize a developing project and identify potential problems.

Yet another application of drones, UAVs and robots is the delivery of materials to construction sites.

Construction management software is also expected to be adopted by more contractors in 2024. This advanced, cloud-based software acts as one source of truth, enabling subcontractors and designers to communicate and collaborate in a highly efficient manner. The end result is increased efficiencies, time savings and reduced costs. 

As construction projects continue to increase in complexity, and an increased cost of building materials and higher interest rates drive demand for more productivity and efficiencies in projects, the need for all of these technologies will increase in importance.

Modular Systems

The above-mentioned variables will also drive interest in pre-fabricated materials and systems this year.

By assembling and testing products and systems in a factory-controlled environment, manufacturers can reduce material waste and increase quality control. In turn, contractors benefit from reduced labor costs, reduced waste and shortened project schedules as the modular systems arrive all ready for installation.

As reported by the Modular Building Institute, modular construction projects have tripled since 2015. In addition to the associated cost and schedule predictability and savings, modular systems and construction supports worker safety and offers environmental advantages.

According to a recent MBI survey, 88% of general contractors and construction managers named waste reduction as a key sustainability benefit driving modular construction.

Early Procurement

Another important strategy on the rise is the strategic procurement of materials to mitigate construction risk. Early procurement is one of the best ways to soften the potential negative impact of material shortages and price escalation. When wait times are too long or too expensive, identifying alternate materials and equipment is another viable strategy.

While the supply chain continues to recover from the effects of COVID-19, the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is creating a new wrinkle. As part of the funding and tax credits currently available for energy-efficient building initiatives, qualifying projects must abide by Build America, Buy America provisions. With more projects seeking parts and materials for purchase in the U.S., this further tipping the supply and demand scale, creating additional pressure on domestic procurement with less availability.

At the same time, the IRA is incentivizing buildings to invest in energy-efficiency improvements including insulation, lighting and HVAC systems, with more than $1.7 billion plus tax credits available for qualifying projects.

Pricewise, the Associated Builders and Contractors reports that construction material costs increased 4.9% last year. While some materials like lumber have decreased, concrete products have increased, as have construction machinery and equipment.

Proceed With Caution

While 2024 portends to bring continued growth and opportunity, building teams are advised to increase their use of technology and closely watch and plan for constantly changing material availability and pricing.

About the author

Barbara Horwitz-Bennett is a seasoned architectural journalist, covering the design and construction industry for the past 25+ years. She writes for numerous industry magazines and creates content for AEC firms, product manufacturers and industry associations.

Summit Design + Build Veterans Day Spotlight

By Industry Insights

Summit Design + Build Veterans

This Veterans Day, we are proud to honor and recognize our employees at Summit Design + Build who have served in the armed forces. Every year we are given a day to officially recognize and thank those around us who have put their own lives in harm’s way to protect and serve our country.

In honor of Veterans Day, we encouraged our veterans to share a little bit about themselves as well as how they served our country, and we are grateful for each and every single one of them. Enjoy!

Will Eason, Project Engineer, Austin, TX

Branch of Service: US Army
Rank: E4
MOS (military occupational specialty): 19D Scout
Years Served: 5 years (2010-2015)
Description: Will served as a 19D Cavalry Scout who played a vital role in reconnaissance, supplying precise and timely reports to higher headquarters for informed decision-making. Proficient in battlefield navigation using diverse tools, he conducted reconnaissance operations on foot or in vehicles like the Bradley Fighting Vehicle or Stryker.

Rashad Callier, Assistant Superintendent – Chicago, IL

Branch of Service: Navy
Rank: E4
MOS (military occupational specialty): Boatswain Mate
Years Served: 4 years
Description: Rashad served on the USS Ingraham FFD-61 in Everett, WA, and the USS Vella Gold CG-7 in Norfolk, VA. He served as a Team Lead for SCAT and earned a Navy achievement medal, Blue Jacket of the Quarter Award, Good Conduct, and a Flag Letter of Commendation for his outstanding service.

Glenn Miles, Vice President of Project Management – Chicago, IL

Branch of Service: U.S. Army
Rank: Sergeant
MOS (Military Occupational Specialty): 11B – Infantryman
Years Served: 4 years
Description: Glenn served in the 2nd Ranger Battalion from 1982-1986 at Fort Lewis, in Tacoma, Washington. He graduated Ranger School in 1984 and was deployed to Somalia, Egypt, Honduras, Panama and several other countries in the Middle East and Central Europe.

Tom Browning, Senior Project Manager – Austin, TX

Branch of Service: U.S. Army
Rank: Captain
MOS (Military Occupational Specialty): Corps of Engineers
Years Served: 7 years
Description: Tom served as an Airborne Ranger and was stationed in West Germany supporting the German Military for 3 years. He served as Platoon Leader, all major staff positions, as well as company commander.

Thank you for your service!

Building a Healthier Future

By Industry Insights

Building a Healthier Future

Summit Design and Build’s Impactful Project for Prenuvo

In the bustling heart of Chicago, a beacon of hope and innovation has recently emerged, promising not just medical assistance, but a complete transformation of how we perceive healthcare.Summit Design + Build played a pivotal role in this ground breaking venture, constructing a state-of-the-art medical facility for Prenuvo Cancer and Disease Screening. Completed in May 2023, this project stands as a testament to Summit’s commitment to building spaces where people and businesses thrive, especially in the realm of healthcare.

Prenuvo, a visionary healthcare company, aims to shift the paradigm from reactive to proactive healthcare. Their mission revolves around early detection, firmly believing that it is the key to better outcomes, greater life expectancy, and, perhaps most importantly, peace of mind. In a world where health uncertainties abound, Prenuvo empowers individuals with knowledge – the most powerful tool in the fight against diseases. The newly constructed medical office at 1035 W Van Buren St. in Chicago, perfectly aligns with Prenuvo’s mission, providing an innovative and in-depth approach to health assessment through cutting-edge full-body MRI technology.

Summit’s expertise in constructing healthcare facilities shines through in the design and execution of this project. The 9,990 square foot build-out features three MRI imaging rooms, medical offices, changing rooms, and support space. This meticulously planned layout caters not only to the medical requirements but also to the emotional and psychological needs of the patients. Upon entering the facility, visitors are greeted by a modern, clean, and beautiful space. The ambiance is carefully crafted to evoke a sense of calm and security, essential for anyone seeking medical attention.

One of the standout features of the Prenuvo facility is its focus on privacy and comfort. Patients have access to private consultation rooms, ensuring confidential discussions with healthcare professionals. The interior design elements, such as the soothing moss wall, contribute to a relaxing atmosphere. The facility is not merely a medical office; it is a sanctuary where individuals come in feeling anxious and leave feeling rejuvenated and positive.

Additionally, the facility’s open layout fosters a sense of community and support, emphasizing the importance of a holistic approach to healthcare. The construction of this facility represents more than just bricks and mortar; it is a lifeline for individuals seeking proactive healthcare solutions. The importance of early detection cannot be overstated, and Prenuvo’s approach, supported by Summit Design and Build’s construction expertise, paves the way for a healthier future.

Summit’s commitment to quality and precision in healthcare projects is evident in every corner of this facility. By integrating cutting-edge technology and innovative design, Summit has not only met but exceeded the expectations of its client and the community it serves.

Summit Design and Build’s recent construction for Prenuvo Cancer and Disease Screening exemplifies our dedication to building spaces that truly make a difference in people’s lives. By creating an environment where early detection, privacy, comfort, and support converge, Summit has contributed significantly to redefining healthcare experiences. The Prenuvo project stands as a shining example of how the collaboration between visionary clients and skilled builders can create spaces that not only save lives but also nurture hope, resilience, and a healthier future for all.

Author – Sylvia Miller

Best Practices for Mitigating Construction Risk

By Industry Insights

Best Practices for Mitigating Construction Risk

With continuing supply chain bottlenecks, unpredictable material and equipment costs and challenging installation site conditions, contractors have to be on top of their game to deliver quality builds on time and on budget.

Now more than ever, construction managers must possess a high level of skill, planning capabilities, connections, ingenuity and diligence to stay on top of materials and equipment procurement, consistently monitoring the arrival of materials, scheduling subs, managing long lead time items and dealing with construction logistics.

The following are key best practices for achieving just that.

Market Conditions

One of the best ways to keep material and equipment costs down is early procurement. This strategy helps to minimize the potential impact of material shortages and price escalation.

Currently this approach is particularly important with roofing materials, windows and cooler panels, but applies to many other products including all electrical equipment such as gear, meter banks, transformers, panels etc.; HVAC equipment like rooftops, make up air, residential unit systems; and elevators.

When early procurement is not executed, in most cases, more money will be spent buying those items down the line.

Another important approach is identifying alternative materials and equipment that can be utilized in the event that the preferred items are not available or prohibitively expensive.

For example, sourcing products like flooring, siding, windows, glass and some equipment overseas can lead to cost savings if the project can afford to wait the extra time for delivery.

Through this process, both domestically and overseas, it’s important to develop strong relationships with suppliers and vendors to help strengthen one’s supply chain. This can include negotiating fixed-price contracts with suppliers through the duration of the project to reduce the impact of market fluctuations.

Ultimately, it’s important to maintain a contingency budget to absorb unexpected increases in material costs.

Fast Tracking

To keep a project on schedule, a number of strategically identified tasks will need to be fast tracked.

This begins with conducting a thorough analysis of the project requirements to ensure that fast-tracking is necessary and feasible.

Next, critical path items are identified and the project team works together to develop a detailed schedule to support the fast tracking of demolition, site work and foundation work.

Through this process, a rigorous quality control process should be implemented to ensure that work is completed to a high standard.

All relevant permits and approvals must be obtained before work begins to avoid delays. Progress should be closely monitored and the schedule adjusted as necessary to avoid delays or errors.

Anticipating Long Lead Items

As noted, critical long lead items must be identified early in the project. Some critical possible examples for foundation/site work include reinforcement for deep or conventional foundations and utility items such as grease traps, storm traps, triple basins, manholes, etc.

If strong relationships have been established with suppliers and vendors, this will help ensure that long lead items are delivered on time. It’s also possible to negotiate the early release of long lead items, stored material payments or material down payments in order to secure material pricing and keep the project on schedule.

In the event of unexpected delays with the delivery of long lead items, it’s important to maintain a contingency budget and a back-up plan to make up for unexpected delays in the delivery of these long lead items.

Site Constraints and Logistics

For best practices in working around site constraints and logistical challenges, a thorough analysis should be conducted to identify potential issues and then a detailed plan should be developed.

This includes working closely with the local authorities to ensure that all permits and approvals are obtained before work begins. It may also be possible to secure permission to use public space, if needed.

By establishing clear lines of communication with all stakeholders—including local residents and businesses—this will help minimize disruption. In addition, subcontractor input is a must.

Finally, the Implementation of a robust health and safety plan will help ensure that all workers and visitors to the site are protected.

Successful Execution

Contending with some of the most unpredictable supply chain issues, lead times and price escalations in modern history requires the skill and savvy of an experienced contractor.

To learn more about how Summit Design + Build can bring your next project to fruition, contact us here.

About the author

Barbara Horwitz-Bennett is a seasoned architectural journalist, covering the design and construction industry for the past 20+ years. She writes for numerous industry magazines and creates content for AEC firms and product manufacturers.

Perfecting A Common Construction Strategy

By Industry Insights

Perfecting A Common Construction Strategy

Multi-Story Building Stick Frame Wood over Concrete Podium Lessons Learned

A well proven construction strategy for multi-story buildings, podium construction offers long-term durability, low maintenance and fast-track site erection.

Providing cost efficiencies in labor and materials, these types of buildings offer greater design flexibility, less environmental impact and a more efficient construction process.

The following is a step-by-step guide for successfully building a stick frame wood over a concrete podium multi-story building, on time and on budget.

1) Constructability Review

Prior to ground breaking, if not sooner, the superintendent carefully reviews the architectural, structural and civil engineers plans, checking for areas which cannot be built as designed, or that could become issues down the road. This review may include dimensions/layout, framing methods, code constraints, material usage and any conflicting designs between the architect and engineers.

2) Framing Book

The completion of a framing book helps the framers and inspectors easily access information on the framing throughout the building. This should include: floor and roof truss layout; door/window rough openings; headers; jack/king studs; baring walls; shear walls; bracing for cabinets, bathroom accessories/ADA handrails, TV mounts, shelving and hold downs/uplifts.

The book should identify the location and sizes of each item with unit plans, floor plans and engineer- required structural drawings, along with relevant shop drawings/submittals and Requests for Information (RFIs).

The team should review the structure’s construction types above the roof deck, i.e., elevator overrun, stair overrun, etc., and consider questions such as whether the framing needs to be fire treated and whether the interior underside of the roof needs a fire rating.

3) Assurance & Quality Control

For both the podium pre-pour and wood framing, there are a number of important quality control measures which should be taken.

Regarding the former, the carpenter should lay out all the walls on concrete plywood deck. Then the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) engineers can use the wall layout for sleeving.

The embeds/sleeves/openings must then be verified, located and installed correctly. This includes the framing hold down system, guardrail/handrail and brick relief angle embeds; fire suppression, HVAC, plumbing and electrical sleeves; and floor boxes. The trash chute opening should be accurately located and installed, as should the future rated chase shaft opening.

Quality assurance for the wood framing should involve checking the headers; shear/bearing/exterior wall studs; window rough openings and ensuring the correct heights; checking the door rough openings; ensuring the jack/king studs are properly located and sized; checking that the sheathing and bracing are installed as required; and that the hold downs/uplifts are per the plans/RFIs.

Other areas to review are the MEP rough in for fire stopping and if there are balconies, making sure the framer leaves adequate space for the steel sub to install balcony steel and make welded connections.

4) Inspections

Once the building is built, the project team must pass a number of inspections.

Third party inspections include:

  • Concrete/concrete masonry unit – soil/compaction, rebar, post-tension slab cables installation/tensioning and concrete/grout testing
  • Metal –welding joints at the stairs, embeds and structural steel
  • Framing – shear wall sheathing, exterior sheathing and nail patterns

City/county inspections are performed for:

  • Framing –headers, jack/king studs, floor trusses, uplifts/hold downs, fire caulking, shear wall framing and bearing wall framing
  • MEP rough-in and fire sprinkler inspections are completed before the insulation and drywall is installed.
  • Insulation – netting/blown in, rock wool and batt insulation, channel installation, fire-rated walls, chases and ceilings
  • Drywall – channel installation, fire-rated walls, chases and ceilings

Inspections for the building envelope may include mockup Inspection:

  • Window/exterior door installation
  • Flashing and sealing
  • Water proofing
  • EIFS – insulation, installation and joints
  • Masonry veneer
  • Metal panels-  installation and caulk/sealing
  • Roofing

Lessons Learned

If at all possible, it’s important to start the county inspection process for the framing and MEP/sprinkler as early as possible. Inspectors may only be able to spend a limited amount of time per day doing the inspections, which then spreads out the process over a longer period. This then makes it very difficult to continue with insulation and drywall in a timely manner.

Make sure to stay on top of corrective work called out in the RFIs, observations and architectural reviews. If necessary, bring these issues to the subcontractors’ attention. It’s important that these corrections are made in a timely manner and if needed, seek direction from the architect or engineer to approve corrective modifications.

Another key best practice is taking the concrete pre-pour checklist seriously. Once it’s poured, it costs thousands of dollars each day to scan the concrete for rebar and post-tension cables. This can be largely avoided by taking pictures with tape measure during the pre-pour, noting the concrete clear cover and location of the photo.

Coordinate the drywall and finish schedule with the subcontractors. This includes the scheduling of MEP rough ins and drywall installation.

A possible time saving/value engineering option is to pitch the roof structure with trusses in lieu of tapered insulation as it requires a longer lead time and is more expensive. Then the roof trusses can be fully insulated with the architect’s approval.

Ultimately, bringing in a skilled and experienced contractor is the best assurance for a successful multi-story building stick frame wood over concrete podium build.

Contact Summit Design + Build to see how we can support your next multi-family project.

About the author

Barbara Horwitz-Bennett is a seasoned architectural journalist, covering the design and construction industry for the past 20+ years. She writes for numerous industry magazines and creates content for AEC firms and product manufacturers.

Meet the 2023 Interns

By Industry Insights

Meet Our Construction
Management Interns

An internship with Summit Design + Build is a great opportunity for college students to learn first-hand what a career in construction is all about! Our internship program is designed so that our interns gain the most valuable, impactful experience while having fun, in the hopes that they come back to grow their careers with us. From day one our interns are immersed in our active construction projects, working side-by-side with our project managers, project engineers, estimators, and superintendents. Over the course of their internship, Summit Design + Build interns also get to conduct multiple site visits followed by intern team lunches at Chicago’s hottest spots. Interns also participate in intern happy hours, lunch and learns, Summit social gatherings and Summit team-building events!

Get to Know Our Interns

We sat down with three of our interns to get an inside scoop of what it is like to intern at Summit Design + Build. We spoke with Sahil Patel (Majoring in Civil Engineering with a primary in Construction Management at the University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign), Painton Jeppe (Majoring in International Affairs at University of Colorado-Boulder), and Jake Duerr (Majoring in Finance and minoring in Engineering Technology at the University of Dayton), who is back for his third consecutive summer! We sat down with our interns to learn what intrigues them about the construction industry, what makes them thrive, and what their future construction goals are.


Why did you decide to intern with Summit Design + Build?

Sahil: “I enjoyed speaking with the recruiters at the career fair and their portfolio of impressive projects caught my attention. I wanted to work for a smaller general contractor who focused on their interns, and Summit does exactly that. I know that interning with Summit would provide me with invaluable hands-on experience and the opportunity to work with a team of industry experts.”

Painton: “Summit is a smaller general contractor that is doing big gc work. Also, it is a very inclusive and encouraging work environment.”

Jake: “What made me decide to intern with SDB was the experience I have gained from my previous internships and the people I have been able to work with. Each summer I have learned something new whether that be working in Cost Estimation, Pre-Construction, or On-going Construction.”

What are you looking forward to most during this internship?

Sahil: “During this internship, I am most excited about collaborating with professionals who share my passion for sustainable design. I look forward to being involved in the entire construction process, from initial concepts to the final stages of project completion. I am eager to learn from the best in the field and gain practical knowledge that will enhance my skills as a project engineer.”

Jake: “What I am looking forward to most during this internship is to learn more about the different aspects/details that go into each specific trade.”

Painton: “To be working on-site and seeing the projects develop from start to finish.”

What has been your favorite thing so far?

Sahil: “One of the coolest things about this internship has been the chance to visit construction sites and witness the transformation of architectural plans into physical structures. It’s truly amazing to see how each detail and decision made during the design phase comes to life. I find it incredibly fulfilling to be a part of such a dynamic and creative process.”

Painton: “To be working on-site and seeing the projects develop from start to finish.”

Jake: “My favorite thing about my internship has been the ability to be on-site for the 718 Main St project multiple times a week.”

Favorite Chicago sports team?

Sahil: “Chicago Bulls”

Painton: “Cubbies”

Jake: “Chicago Bears”

Best part of Chicago Summer?

Sahil: “The best thing about Chicago summer is the outdoor festivals, concerts, and beach days along Lake Michigan. The warm weather is probably my favorite since it allows me to explore the city, enjoy outdoor dining, and go biking along the Lake Shore.”

Painton: “Spending time at the beach.”

Jake: “My favorite thing about Chicago Summer is attending the outdoor festivals/concerts that are going on throughout the city.”

Favorite Chicago pizza?

Sahil: “Giordano’s”

Painton: “Barnaby’s”

Jake: “Phil’s Pizza”

What is your go-to joke?

Sahil: “Why don’t scientists trust atoms? Because they make up everything!”

Painton: “What’s a dentist’s favorite time of day? Tooth Hurty”

Jake: “How do you make a tissue dance? Put a little boogie in it.”

Favorite TV show of all time?

Sahil: “My all-time favorite TV show would have to be Breaking Bad., The compelling storyline, complex characters, and gripping suspense make it a truly unforgettable series.”

Painton: “Avatar the Last Airbender, or Parks and Recreation”

Jake: “Peaky Blinders”

If you could be on-site of any construction project, what would it be?

Sahil: “If given the opportunity, I would love to be on-site for the construction of a futuristic sustainable skyscraper. It would be amazing to be part of a project that pushes the boundaries of sustainable design and incorporates advanced technologies.”

Painton: “Binghatti Tower. The new Jacob and Co luxury apartment complex in Dubai. It’s going to be the tallest residential building in the world.”

Jake: “The one construction project I would want to be on-site for is the new Chicago Bears Stadium at the old Arlington Race Track.”

What has surprised you the most working at Summit?

Sahil: “One of the most surprising aspects of working at Summit is the company’s unwavering commitment to fostering a collaborative and inclusive work environment. I love how attentive they are to the interns, making sure we truly want to be here and getting the most out of our time. There is a genuine dedication to nurturing talent within the organization.”

Painton: “How everyone in the office has made it a priority to teach me how each one of my tasks with help/affect the actual projects.”

What are your future goals/aspirations?

Sahil: “My future goals revolve around becoming an accomplished project engineer who combines sustainable practices with innovative design concepts. Long term, hopefully open up a civil engineering firm alongside some of my friends.”

Painton: “Travel the world, start a family, and eventually retire and open a bar-restaurant.”

Jake: “My future goals/aspirations are to gain as much experience in the construction industry as possible, improve on certain skills in the workplace I find myself weakest at, and eventually have the chance to work on projects that revolve around professional sport’s stadiums/arenas.”

People Thrive @ 1111 W Addison.

By Industry Insights

Summit Design + Build: Building Spaces Where People Thrive

People Thrive @ 1111 W Addison

Summit’s key proposition is “building spaces where people & business thrive.” We know the buildings we have erected tell part of our story, but we want to dive deeper into how our spaces positively impact those who use them.

As the second in Summit’s series of blogs that explore how our spaces are enriching the lives of those who occupy them, we are focusing on 1111 W Addison. This recent project near the intersection of Addison and Clark Street features a 59,000-square-foot, four-story, ground-up commercial construction project with retail on the ground floor and a fitness and bouldering center on the third and fourth floors.

Summit transformed this site from the old Wrigleyville Taco Bell (no need to fret, there is a new Taco Bell in the ground-level retail space of the new building) into a fresh space that serves its community through movement.

Movement Wrigleyville includes three floors wrapped around a central atrium that hosts 11,000 square feet of bouldering, a yoga studio, locker rooms, numerous spaces with fitness equipment, and a support office. The weights and cardio areas have their own floor overlooking the climbing spaces. These spaces provide ample opportunities for individuals to engage in physical activities that promote health and well-being. The abundance of natural light, spaciousness, and well-designed layout contribute to a welcoming and inspiring environment.

Just steps from Wrigley Field, the location of this modern building is prime for all Chicago residents and visitors. With easy walkability, residents now have access to a brand-new 41,895-square-foot climbing gym.

This space contains multitudes. The yoga studio provides a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of Chicago with an assortment of yoga classes offered daily, ranging from a standard Flow to Acro Yoga to Yin and more. Fitness classes include but are not limited to H.I.I.T., strength, and mobility classes. You can also find climbing lessons at Movement Gym as well as an array of children’s programs such as summer camps and lessons. Community events are another highlight of this space, with upcoming events including Queer climb night, boulders and books, sober meet-ups, and much more. You can book a free tour of this space anytime you like.

I personally visited this facility and was blown away by the accessible climbs and kindness of fellow climbers. The massive space provides ample room for climbing, with routes suitable for all, no matter your skill level. As a beginner, this was especially important to me. Equally as crucial, the sense of community was palpable. I was blown away by the support of fellow climbers, calling out words of encouragement and tips as I attempted certain routes. The accessible climbs and kindness of fellow climbers proved this space is truly for all. Whether you are looking for a solo workout, a friend group hangout, a family excursion, or a space to make new friends, 1111 W Addison has you covered. Plus, the physical benefits of engaging in such activities are extensive, including improved brain health, an extended lifespan, diminished risk of diseases and injuries, and so much more. It is evident that this space was purposefully constructed with the intention of helping people thrive and is doing just that.

1111 W Addison exemplifies Summit’s commitment to building spaces where people and businesses thrive. This facility goes beyond being a mere fitness center, providing a sanctuary for physical activity, a supportive community, and a platform for social connections. By offering a variety of amenities and programs, Summit has created a space that helps individuals of all backgrounds and skill levels thrive physically, mentally, and socially.

Author – Sylvia Miller

1111 West Addison Imagery