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May 11, 2018
Specialty: Commercial general contractor
Partners: Jennifer Rosado, vice president of administration; George Schuchart, president; Casey Schuchart, vice president of strategy
2017 revenues: $100 million
Projected 2018 revenues: $110 million
Projects: 42,000-square-foot TI for manufacturer Romac Industries in Bothell; 26,000-square-foot office TI for DLA Piper on floors 69 and 70 of the Columbia Center in Seattle; 105,000-square-foot performing arts center for Eastside Preparatory School in Kirkland
Casey Schuchart, vice president of strategy, shared his thoughts about his company and the local construction market.
Q: Your projects range from retail to industrial. What has been strongest lately?
A: Schuchart has maintained a strong presence in the industrial construction sector, possessing nearly 30 years of experience with the Boeing Co. Mirroring national declines in the manufacturing sector beginning in 2014, we also experienced a slowdown in volume of industrial projects.
Q: In your ground-up work, what are some of the biggest challenges?
A: Seattle is in a period of rapid growth and economic success. As large numbers of companies look to establish or grow a presence in the Seattle business market, our ground-up teams are facing several challenges. Today’s successful ground-up projects involve earlier collaboration with the client to understand and develop a schedule. Given the constraints in the local workforce and long-lead times for certain materials, we work closely with the owner and design teams to plan and execute critical elements during construction.
To accommodate the region’s rapid development, Seattle and neighboring cities are considering zoning changes that facilitate new construction while mitigating emerging issues of traffic congestion, housing affordability and homelessness. Given that these zoning changes are in process, clients are uncertain as to the potential effects on their own development opportunities.
Our ground-up project delivery teams work closely with the authorities which have jurisdiction over the work to understand any potential impacts early on in the preconstruction phase of the project.
Q: Your work for tech companies is growing. What are their unique demands?
A: Our tech clients are looking to maximize collaboration and employee comfort in their build outs. All-gender, single-stall restrooms promote a commitment to diversity and inclusivity. Open office layouts reduce organizational hierarchy and create opportunities for impromptu interactions. Large self-serve and catering kitchens, cafes, and vending options offer employees a greater range of dining options. Common meeting and all hands areas with flexible seating options, and smaller huddle and breakout areas provide a variety of spaces for employee collaboration. To balance this openness, the offices also offer private phone booths, conference rooms and focus rooms with acoustical treatments and a host of technology tools.
Specific to construction delivery, we are seeing a push for accelerated construction schedules.
Q: Will higher interest rates or worker shortages slow the flow of projects?
A: While it is true that the construction market is facing challenges including labor shortages and the increasing costs of building materials, we do not anticipate a slowdown in the next three years.
Q: Is there a trend in the type of projects you are pursuing?
A: While our project pursuits may not be changing, we are experiencing projects being delivered by way of alternative contracting methods such as integrated project delivery and progressive design-build. We applaud this contracting method shift as it allows us to maximize project value through engaging teams earlier in the process, reducing risk associated with schedule and price escalation.