Quiet, private space or collaborative work areas? Hotel rooms or Airbnb style rental units? Inside or outside? The prediction for buildings: there is no more “either, or.” The spaces of our future will be built to flex.
See You at the Office?
Here’s hoping this McKinsey & Company prediction comes true: 2021 will be the year of transition. Barring any unexpected catastrophes, individuals, businesses, and society can start to look forward to shaping their futures rather than just grinding through the present.
So what exactly does the future hold? The emerging mantra for construction—and, well, everything—flexibility!
Constructing for Togetherness—with Distance
As Construction Dive reports, contractors across the industry are rolling up their sleeves on building features meant to maintain social distance and create safer living and working environments. Spaces where people congregate—like offices and hotels— create some of the biggest challenges. In fact, the whole purpose these types of places is being redefined. According to the McKinsey Global Institute:
More than 20 percent of the global workforce could work the majority of its time away from the office—and be just as effective.
There are two important challenges related to the transition to working away from the office. One is to decide the role of the office itself, which is the traditional center for creating culture and a sense of belonging….Returning to the office shouldn’t be a matter of simply opening the door. Instead, it needs to be part of a systematic reconsideration of what exactly the office brings to the organization.
Interesting ideas about the future of office spaces are popping up around the country. For example, a principal at the Atlanta office of architectural and design firm Perkins+Will, Lesley Braxton, suggests:
I think everybody is thinking of the home as the private office…and then the office as the place you go for collaboration. So, I don’t think it’s going to get more compartmentalized. I actually think it’s going to get less compartmentalized.
In Chicago, the developer of the $26 million, 90,000 square foot Fulton East office building which opened this past summer, points to some of the flexible features designed to safely allow for togetherness:
Each floor of Fulton East has only three columns, enabling flexibility in office design to easily accommodate social distancing guidelines, including two distinct wet column areas providing the opportunity for two separated cafes and kitchens. Corridors and restrooms are not shared among tenants….
Other health, safety and wellness enhancements include nonshared 9-by-27-foot private outdoor balconies on each floor, a hands-free elevator system and an airPHX air and surface sanitization system that the company claims reduces viruses, bacteria and mold on surfaces and in the air.
As contractors across the country juggle percolating projects and bids, they often need a little flexibility—and better financial intel. That’s why, leading national surety bond expert, Colonial Surety Company offers a unique Partnership Account®. Apply and pre-qualify for a surety-line of credit that can help your business grow.
It’s easy to apply with Colonial’s efficient new online system—and all companies that apply receive, for free, Dun & Bradstreet scores.
Contractors who pre-qualify for a surety line of credit, go on to upload a few more documents that help Colonial better understand their operation and underwrite the Partnership Account®.
Get Ready To Retrofit!
Of course flexibility applies not just to new building but to make changes in existing structures—like hotels.
Like everyone, the hospitality industry is re-thinking business as usual, putting increased emphasis on health and safety. Experts at the architecture firm Leo A Daly predict that contractors could be very busy with retrofit work:
For example, a full-service Marriott or Hyatt with carpet in rooms will need solid flooring that feels and looks cleaner. Getting rid of shower curtains and going to glass doors is another consistent change.
Leo A Daly experts also offer this suggestion to hospitality contractors:
Put together “coronavirus retrofit packages” for various levels of hotels. Those retrofit packages might also cover flooring in hallways and public spaces, replacing countertops and built-ins with antimicrobial and antibacterial finishes, along with adding high-tech filters to HVAC systems. Materials typically used mostly in health are facilities and commercial kitchens — stainless steel, porcelain, solid surfaces, glass — will become common in hotels…so source vendors of those types of materials now.
Indoor/outdoor dining or gathering spaces with air curtains to moderate climates for guests will also take on a new importance….We see the definition of even more public spaces including a curtain wall that opens them up to the outdoors and brings more fresh air inside.
Pursue New Opportunities
In pursuit of new business opportunities, contractors across the country are using Colonial’s Partnership Account® to:
- Gain control of bidding and bonding, online and in real time.
- Utilize powers of attorney to seal and issue their own bid bonds—in minutes.
- Compete with fast, confidential bid bonds—no middleman.
- Order performance and payment bonds easily from a customized digital dashboard.
- Track bids and work on hand in real time with free management reports.
- Speak directly with Colonial’s lead underwriter as new opportunities emerge.
- Leverage data on a private Owner’s Dashboard to view surety lines, adjust work on hand, analyze bids—and grow.
Founded in 1930, Colonial Surety Company is a leading direct seller and writer of surety bonds and insurance products across the USA. Colonial is rated “A Excellent” by A.M. Best Company and U.S. Treasury listed.