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Fully Integrated Advantage

American is a fully integrated multifamily and mixed use company. On the development side, we are pioneers in very high density projects for the Echo Boomer Generation. We not only have award winning architects, our technical architecture knowledge for multifamily and mixed use projects is without peer. The Company’s construction experience involves successfully taking the most complex large mixed use building projects, and consistently delivering them with the highest quality in the industry.

Our experience with each phase of the business allows us to be of greater service to our clients, no matter which phase of service we are engaged to perform. The most successful projects are the projects that have the greatest synergy between the players in each phase. If our designer thinks a particular architectural element will look better than another, we can quickly determine the effects of this decision on project costs and then on project rents. With this data in hand, we can equate how this decision will effect the size of our target market from the demographic data we are continuously collecting, to give our clients the hard data to be able to make an informed decision.

Design Synergy

American's ability to provide its clients value is not limited to its quality construction and low pricing, which have been American's hallmark for the last 20 years. With American's staff of in-house architects, under the direction of its CEO, who has been a licensed architect and building multifamily projects for over 25 years, American has developed a full product line of innovative multifamily and mixed use products, that can be configured from garden style slab on grade to multi-story urban podium style projects, to accommodate singles, couples, families, students and seniors, in project sizes from 1 to over 100 million dollars. This product line has been individually tailored for the tax credit, affordable, market rate, and luxury markets.

American’s product line has been designed for the "New Economy," where efficiency and price will be the primary differentiators. Our product line, including American’s proprietary Pre-Value Engineered® Apartments meet these goals with great architecture. The principle behind American's multifamily and mixed use products is the use of American's inside-out design process and the use of highly repetitive elements to regain the cost advantages of site manufacturing lost to the "one-off" design process utilized during the last decade.

To showcase American's new product line, a full-sized prototype has been built and fully furnished in American's warehouse, allowing clients to walk through, touch, and feel the finished product before any design costs are incurred.

With selected Pre-Value Engineered® components from American's product lines, American's design architects configure buildings to uniquely fit each project site in a systematic way that creates an appearance of architectural diversity, with a palate of architectural styles comparable with each site's environment. This architectural treatment is added without losing the cost efficiencies of building using highly repetitious pre-value engineered components, the key to American's exceptional pricing. Our finished products, acceptable to the most discriminating city planning departments, have been designed to be at home in any neighborhood. See the Architecture pages of our website for examples. American’s design services are available independently or as part of American’s design/build delivery system.


Highest Quality

Where American has the opportunity to provide the design, as well as construction, we are in the position to control the selection of materials and detailing to ensure they provide the best finish appearance and durability through the years. Where American has not been engaged to do the design, our approach during pre-construction is best described, as "design assist." In this role, we work to help guide the Owners consultant team to use the right materials and equipment to provide a quality product that meets both visual and functional requirements, not only initially but through the test of time. Our plan review Architects work with the pre-construction team to help produce final plans and specifications that are complete, correct, coordinated, and include details that work. Frequently, the design assist process includes design/build mechanical, electrical, plumbing and fire sprinklers.

We then further detail and translate key elements of the plans and specifications into vehicles that help us ensure full compliance. These include shop drawings (to further define elements of the projects) and detailed trade scopes, to further clarify the specifications and to state our quality standards.

The final step of quality is execution. Our focus on quality execution is orchestrated by our independent quality control program, which organizationally reports directly to our President, and has the mission of completing the work in accordance with our plans, specifications and the further detailing we have provided. To achieve this goal, we employ proactive procedures to ensure there is a clear understanding of our expectations prior to commencing production work for each element of the project. We then follow through on a programmed basis to ensure that the established standards are maintained.

Lowest Cost

The opportunity to save money on a construction project diminishes from the first line drawn on the project's design. By the time the plans and specifications are complete, the opportunities for the largest savings are gone. And in fact, if the plans and specifications contain significant mistakes, the opportunity for cost increases far outweigh the opportunities for cost savings. It is the early "broad strokes" that have the greatest potential for savings, and by the time the process gets to the selection of material and equipment, on a percentage basis the largest opportunities for savings have evaporated. Unfortunately, in too many instances the "broad strokes" are done at the early entitlement stages where the project's success is still unknown and the appetite for spending design dollars to get the most cost effective project is small.

Where American has not been engaged to do the design, we work with the remaining tools to control project cost. The principal component of cost at this stage is subcontractor work. Creating an environment in which our subcontractors can perform efficiently and can make the same or greater profit working for us, at a lower cost than they can for our competitors, is the key to obtaining the best pricing at this stage. This involves a four-pronged process: creating an environment which allows our subcontractors to get in and out quickly; providing a production environment in which our subcontractors can achieve a high level of productivity; providing the right type of training at the right time that allows our subcontractors to build it right the first time, minimizing the amount of rework; and creating an environment in which our subcontractors are paid on a timely basis.

In providing an environment where subcontractors are able to get in and out quickly, we need plan and specification problems worked out to the best of our ability before construction starts. We accomplish this with our in-house architects and staff involved in the plan review process. Bringing the problems out of the plans and specifications is key to containing cost and the cost of lost time. We use state of the art, centralized scheduling and utilize the latest web-based version of Primavera’s P5 software, which is updated on a weekly basis. All schedules are then reviewed by our Executive Committee each Monday morning, with appropriate action taken immediately.

We are in the site manufacturing industry. To this end, we have adopted a number of manufacturing practices which have allowed us to consistently provide the highest quality product at the lowest cost. These manufacturing processes include centralized estimating, purchasing, scheduling, quality control, and cost accounting. We work from the beginning of the pre-construction effort to try and guide the development of the plans and specifications to utilize our site manufacturing processes. We have an extensive subcontractor selection process which is audited on a quarterly basis by the Zurich Insurance Company, our Subguard insurer. With our site manufacturing focus, we select only subcontractors who truly understand this site process in addition to having the financial strength to meet our other requirements.

To achieve our goals of producing the highest quality at the lowest cost, it demands that we get work done right the first time. Rework and extensive pick-up all cost money and take time, which subsequently gets built into subcontractor pricing. We work through a disciplined program of proactive training and timely follow-through to ensure that there is very minimal rework and pick-up.

Getting our subcontractors paid on time is a total team effort, which involves our subcontractors, our field personnel, our accounting department, our client Owners and their lending institutions. This involves getting subcontractor change orders processed quickly so they can bill for work on a timely basis, getting the Owner’s pay applications prepared properly and submitted on schedule, and closing out each of our projects quickly so we can achieve full payment within 35 days of Certificate of Occupancy.
 

Repeat Clients

Completing our projects on budget, on time, and ensuring all of our dealings with our clients include the highest level of professionalism are the keys to our business philosophy, of designing and building the highest quality neighborhoods at the lowest cost.

With American's focus on maintaining repeat clients, taking control of design was an inevitable step. Our biggest frustrations through the years have been dealing with problems in mostly "one-off" plans and specifications. Solving these problems during construction has cost American and its clientele money. Through the years, we have worked proactively to mitigate the problems resulting from consultant errors and omissions by hiring in-house architects to do plan review and to help catch as many problems as possible during the plan design process.

Not only has the "one-off" design process robbed American and its clientele many of the cost efficiencies of site manufacturing, with its differentiations rather than consistencies, it had also significantly undermined the quality of plans and specifications. With each project different from the last, there was little opportunity for lessons learned in either the design or the construction processes.

With this realization, American developed the concept of "repetitious diversity." Recognizing that to reduce the costs of construction, it would be necessary to recapture the full cost efficiencies of site manufacturing, which can only be gained by the repetitious use of the same elements. American also recognized that it had to use this same repetition in the design process, to significantly reduce the number of errors and omissions in plans and specifications. With the further recognition that the movement to architectural diversification was deeply rooted in planning criteria, planning department opinions, and in public opinion (however, we believe to a lesser degree), American needed to design a product line of pre-value engineered components that would also have an appearance of diversity.

American has completed the development of this product line, giving us a significant additional tool to help manage its clients' profit goals. Whether engaged to do the design or not, American recognizes that a major component of our success is completing the work within our client's budget.

Completing projects within budget has six essential components. These components involve: (1) establishing a detailed budget; (2) consistently revising the budget as the situation changes, ensuring that all participants and stakeholders are aware of when the budget is changed and what the alternatives to changing price are; (3) ensuring that the budgets and buyout are complete; (4) selecting the right subcontractor; American has a highly disciplined subcontractor selection process which is monitored by Subguard to help ensure we have no subcontractor failures (the score is 4 in 20 years); (5) helping reduce the time and subsequent cost lost to errors and omissions in the plans and specifications discovered during the construction process. To do this, American employs in-house architects to review plans and specifications; and (6) completing projects on time. Our focus of completing projects on time involves carefully establishing a completion schedule based on our history and with major subcontractor input on the uniqueness of each project. We update each of our schedules weekly and review the progress of each updated schedule at the Executive Management level on a weekly basis. Most important is maintaining a discipline at all levels throughout the organization that schedule dates must be met.

We have learned through the years that effective client relations involves five key tenets: (1) no surprises, proactively leading all of our clients through each problem; (2) recognizing that perception is reality, and appearances as well as substance counts; (3) understanding that trust is fragile, it is hard to earn and easy to lose; (4) managing expectations, writing, selling and delivering a creditable script; and finally, (5) recognizing that aftertaste is everything. Our goal when a project is completed is to allow all of the participants and stakeholders to be able to sit back and appreciate the success that the Team has accomplished and not to be bogged down with the inevitable problems that occur as projects progress. This requires dealing in proactive and timely ways with all issues as they occur, putting them behind us and moving ahead swiftly.

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