Continuing Education

Millennials are environmentally conscious people. They are known to want to create a better future, to stand up for what they believe in, and to make positive changes in the world. They are the movers and shakers of today’s generation. And although most millennials did not grow up with recycling and paying attention to their carbon footprint, news of climate change has quickly changed their mindset and the way they live their lives. The more educated millennials become on how they can make a difference and why, the more proactive they are.

Introducing LEED apartments. LEED apartments started with new developments and were most commonly found to be luxury, high end communities – communities that millennials could not afford yet. But as LEED designated communities become more common and enter the affordable housing market, the more opportunities millennials have to utilize LEED features if leasing professional are selling them to their full potential.

Reducing your carbon footprint is a selling factor that makes us feel good, but money speaks to millennials more than anything else. LEED features were created to reduce electricity and water usage, which subsequently reduces utility bills. A savvy leasing professional knows exactly what each resident can save in monthly expenses, because everyone likes the idea of saving money.

Millennials are also very health conscious. They are switching their diets to consume all natural and whole foods, and they are willing to pay more for ir. While there aren’t LEED features that improve your diet, there are features that improve your air quality, which improves health factors such as allergies and asthma.  Does your leasing team know how to sell this to the health conscious crowd?

LEED designated communities also have the cool factor that millennials gravitate toward. Pointing out features such as solar panels, programmable thermostats, and Energy Star appliances make millennials feel like they are living in an innovative community and that speaks to their creative and entrepreneurial spirits.

Lastly, and most importantly, educate prospects and residents (millennials or not) on what LEED means. Paint the picture that they should see when they read LEED designated apartment. Teach them what it means for them to live in a Gold, Silver, or Platinum designated community and how they too can make a difference in the environment just by choosing to live in a LEED apartment home.

construction-fall-prevention

Safety first is our mantra here at Shreve Land Constructors. The fatal injury rate for the construction industry is higher than the national average in this category for all industries, according to OSHA. And the number 1 reason construction workers have to go to the emergency room is due to falls. A more somber number is that 17,000 workers die from fall accidents each year.

Construction workers must do all they can to reduce these numbers. By paying careful attention to safety issues and practices, we can prevent accidents, protect our people from injuries, and eliminate disruptions, delays, and damages to equipment and property.

In doing so, we must work together to Plan, Provide, and Train accordingly – OSHA’s nationwide outreach campaign.

Plan ahead to get the job done safely. It is important to know the parameters of a project to identify the safety materials needed on the job site. When estimating jobs that require scaffolds or must be done from above, decide how the job will be done and what safety equipment will be needed. Safety equipment should be included in the job’s estimate as well as any additional necessary equipment and tools.

Provide the right equipment. Knowing the type of equipment needed will be based on factors such as the type of working being done and the maximum heights where work is being conducted. Utilize the correct equipment such as ladders, scaffolds, and safety gear to protect your workers. OSHA requires fall protections such as guardrails, personal fall arrest systems, and safety nets, if workers will be exposed to vertical drops of 6 feet or more.

Train everyone to use the equipment safely. A majority of construction falls can be prevented when a worker understands proper equipment set up and practices safe use of equipment. Provide your workers with written training information, visual aids, and demonstrations and offer refresher courses regularly.

There are approximately 252,000 construction sites across the nation on any given day. It is our job as general contractors to keep our workers safe. And by doing so, you will have a successful construction operation with a great safety record.

What safety planning or training have you found to be successful? Share your tips and feedback in the comments below.

Gentrification. It’s a polarizing topic.

To proponents, gentrification increases safety, raises real estate values, creates jobs, and makes neighborhoods more appealing. To opponents, gentrification squashes neighborhood institutions and causes tenants who cannot afford to keep up with rising rents to relocate. Love it or hate it, you’ve got to admit that gentrification is not all black-and-white.

Not all people residing in an area before it undergoes gentrification feel pressure to relocate as rents and property taxes rise. Those who remain often benefit from the new dynamism and improved safety statistics that characterize most gentrifying and recently gentrified neighborhoods.

It is true that new arrivals and entrepreneurs who set up shop early on in a neighborhood’s gentrification have much to gain. But they also have plenty to lose. In addition to risking failure, many urban pioneers are eventually priced out of the neighborhoods they help to make hip in the first place.

As for the developers who invest in boarded up and ramshackle properties in poor areas? They take serious risks. When an area in which a developer invests does not gentrify, the company must absorb the losses.

Why does gentrification take place? It is primarily a matter of supply and demand. Innovative and opportunistic individuals see potential in a neighborhood with boarded up shopfronts and rock-bottom rents. They’ve got ideas but not always an excess of cash, and ramshackle neighborhoods allow them to give these ideas a shot. Property owners, disillusioned by years of falling or stagnant returns on investment, are often more than happy to part with their holdings.

Things start to happen. New galleries, music venues, and restaurants start to flourish. Residents of other parts of town who appreciate these developments and the relatively low rents move in, driving up rents and property values. Abandoned buildings get a new lease on life. Vitality is once again recognizable in a neighborhood that long had little pulse. For better or for worse, basic economic principles suggest that gentrification appears to be a cyclical trend that is here to stay.

What are your thoughts on gentrification? Is this a topic you would like to see us write more about?

Construction is booming in the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area. The industry provides exciting, well-paid jobs that provide meaningful services. But construction is also known for its safety and health hazards. A contractor and his or her team can keep these risks to a minimum by taking the following safety precautions on each worksite they serve.

Mark Hazardous Materials
Asphalt, concrete, aluminum, steel, oil-based paints, and other materials commonly found on construction sites contain hazardous ingredients. These and other hazardous materials should be properly stored in secure containers and handled with care.

Use Safety Equipment
Face masks and goggles should be used when handling hazardous materials, but also when working with heavy equipment and on scaffolding. Hard hats, work gloves, boots, and earplugs are also recommended for many construction applications.

Perform Pre-Operation Checks
Before starting work for the day, a trained team should perform a pre-operation check to ensure that all heavy operating equipment, tools, ladders, and scaffolding is properly assembled or setup. Personal protective equipment should also be inspected for efficacy before work begins.

Be Prepared for Emergencies
Every construction site should have a fire evacuation plan, first-aid kit, and AED. If there is not a hospital or emergency clinic in the vicinity, a worksite should always be staffed by someone with a valid first-aid training certificate.

Follow All Other OSHA Standards
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has guidelines and standards that apply to construction sites nationwide. State administrations often have additional rules, all of which a contractor should abide by.

 

Make safety a priority for each job you take on, and you will have a thriving construction operation with an excellent safety record. Are you a Dallas or Shreveport area property owner, developer, or architect who is looking for a multifamily housing specialist who offers pre-construction, general contracting, project management, and design build delivery services? To work with a contractor who makes safety a priority at every worksite, get in touch with a Shreve Land Constructors representative. Call us in Shreveport at (318) 226-0056 or Dallas at (214) 706-9292.

 

We all need a little inspiration every now and then.  It’s what encourages us to innovate, problem solve, and generate new ideas. So where does a group of construction people go for inspiration?  We look at some of the most amazing structures in the world and ask ourselves, “How did they do that?”

The architecture and technical achievement of these structures is absolutely amazing.  But what we really love is how each building perfectly reflects its culture and era.  It makes us think about the future perception our current construction projects.

The slideshow shares just a few of our favorites. Enjoy and be inspired!

 

 

We are excited to share that Shreve Land is featured in the August issue of Business in Focus! We had a great time recalling our history and sharing what we think makes us special, our people.

Most of you are probably familiar with the Shreve Land story, but in case you want a peek behind the current, below is the featured article. You might learn something new like the fact that Carl started at Shreve Land as an elevator operator. Hasn’t he come a long way!

Although we’ve grown over the years, I still consider every employee a family member.

In total, the company, which handles both new construction and renovation, has built more than 18,500 multifamily units and has earned nearly $1.1 billion in cumulative construction revenues.

The company’s history stretches all the way back to 1967, when James B. Nowery started building single family homes. The business quickly expanded to include commercial work, eventually spreading to the east coast and then to Texas when the Shreveport market weakened in the 1980s. “We took on the challenge of multifamily projects for one client and it just took off from there,” recalls Shreve Land Constructors’ President, Carl Bantle.

Mr. Bantle started working for Shreve Land Constructors when he was just 15 years old, as a summer job. “I was the elevator operator for the renovation of the Travis Place office building,” he shares, “and it’s remained the same building that we’ve occupied since then.” After working in Dallas and Los Angeles in both construction and development, Mr. Bantle purchased the business. While the company has expanded dramatically, he has been careful to maintain its founding values and family culture. “Although we’ve grown over the years into a multimillion dollar general contractor, building throughout the southeast, I still consider every employee a family member.”

Integrity and honesty are still the core of the business. “Being fair, and treating people as we expect to be treated is big in my book. I instill the value of fairness in our people and our ways. It’s bothersome to me that the construction industry sometimes gets tagged with excessive change orders and/or price gouging.” The secret to accomplishing this is simple, he insists. “I imagine myself being on the other side of the table, that I’m in the owner’s shoes,” he explains. “I ask myself, ‘how would you want to be treated by your contractor?’”

This commitment to treating people fairly also extends to the company’s subcontractors, as well as clients. “We believe that it is a team effort. We have an open door policy and keep the communication open with everybody in the firm. I am always looking for good ideas from all employees, whether they are young and right out of college, experienced field hands, or have been with us for 20 years.”

In return, Shreve Land Constructors’ employees are remarkably loyal and a huge asset to the company. “Our strategy is [to have] quality people,” Mr. Bantle explains. “I trust all of our employees. We have some that have been here 25 years; some of with whom I went to elementary school.”

The team also generates a diligent effort to build a solid foundation and strong relationship with clients. “Our business is all about people, both in-house and our customer base,” says Chief Operating Officer Craig Prothro. “And treating people the way we want to be treated helps us develop that relationship. We are currently building our 14th project for one client. That is the type of owner-contractor relationship that we are looking for.” That kind of recurrent business is actually the norm for Shreve Land Constructors. “Our track record of this repetitive business is something that I am very proud of. It shows how we earn the trust of our clients by supporting them through every phase of the construction process,” Mr. Bantle shares.

While the company’s primary focus is multifamily projects, the team boasts a significant versatility and a wide breadth of experience. Shreve Land Constructors’ signature commercial projects include the Bossier Parish Community College campus (BPCC), the Sci-Port Discovery Center, and IMAX Theatre. Mr. Bantle states, “Probably our biggest accomplishment was the completion of the Design-Build project at Bossier Parish Community College and our continued success with the college.”

The construction of the new Bossier Parish Community College campus was the largest state funded capital construction project in Northwest Louisiana since the construction of the LSU Medical School 44 years ago. To create the new campus, Shreve Land Constructors was responsible for constructing nine buildings covering 334,000 square feet of the 71 acre campus, at a cost of $54 million. “We continue to work with them in the development of their campus expansion,” advises Mr. Bantle.

The company’s most recent work for Bossier Parish Community College involved the construction of an advanced manufacturing training center. “Benteler Steel, a large German-based company, is building a $900 million manufacturing facility at the Port of Shreveport-Bossier,” Mr. Prothro reports. “They are helping to fund the project to train the people who are going to be running that plant in two years.” The $16 million Design-Build project was certainly a challenge, but the team pulled it off without a problem. “It was done on a very tight schedule,” Mr. Prothro remembers. “And it was completed under budget, on time, and with zero change orders.”

The team is optimistic about the future of the construction market. “Like many in the construction industry, we endured some tough times over the last few years; however, things have really picked up and we are fortunate to have established relationships with some good new clients,” Mr. Bantle remarks. “The past two years for the industry as a whole have been very strong; we are seeing a significant increase in construction revenues. There are a lot of projects out there, and for the first time in two years we have a nice backlog of work, which is desired for construction companies. I think it’s going to be pretty strong for the next three to four years, both in multifamily and commercial construction. The Gulf Coast seems to be very strong from Louisiana across to Texas. There are some new, large industrial plants along the coastline, which is helping the multifamily market, and in turn will help the retail and commercial markets.”

Of course, this upturn can create its own set of obstacles. “Unfortunately, when the market is that busy, it brings some challenge,” Mr. Prothro says. The primary concern in meeting supply and demand is two-fold. “The subcontractors are so busy that it is hard to get them to move out of certain markets,” he explains. “There is some difficulty getting sufficient manpower because everyone has so much work and the prices are escalating – and that brings challenges not only to us, but to the owners that we contract.” Shreve Land’s keen estimating team is keeping a close eye on these escalating expenses. Mr. Bantle adds, “It’s our belief that rising construction costs are going to become a problem here in the future.”

Shreve Land Constructors is focused on maintaining its profitability in the face of these challenges while simultaneously maintaining its focus on integrity, quality, safety, experience, and client relationships. Mr. Bantle declares, “We continue to update our strategic plan and work on implementing those initiatives religiously.” This plan does not aim for rapid expansion. “We don’t want to be the biggest; it is not our goal to be the largest contractor.” Instead, the goal for Shreve Land is to do the best job possible every time – for every client. “Additionally, we are pretty strict about qualifying our owners. We don’t just go to work for everybody; we are not looking for every deal out there. It’s our goal to select quality-minded owners with similar business philosophies.

As a result, slower expansion will come naturally – which is exactly what the team wants. “Our goal is slow, continued growth through the next three to four years,” Mr. Bantle summarizes. “We are looking to expand and grow on a controlled path.”

As you can see, the Shreve Land website has a new look and feel. You have also probably noticed that our bid room is a bit hidden! In addition to the site redesign, our bid room is undergoing improvements that we expect to release this summer. In the meantime, you can still access the current bid room.  Please pardon our mess while we make these exciting transitions!

BID ROOM LOCATION:

bidroom.shreveland.com/bidroom
Or, you can click the Bid Room link found in the top navigation.

bidroom

 

 

 

 

 
The bid process is one of the most critical components in the lifecycle of every construction project, so please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions.

Thanks from the Shreve Land team!