0 Developers Move to Luxury to Offset Escalating Labor Cost

Construction laborers work on an office building in Boston

Credit: Boston Business Journal

Due to the great recession we have fewer skilled labor working in the construction trade industry and as a result that cost has increased significantly. On a sampling of construction projects, the cost of labor could account for 40 – 60 percent of the overall project cost.

According to Bizjournals, “the result is a shortage in the supply of skilled labor in the building trades, a trend that’s enabled everyone from mechanical contractors to steel manufacturers to punch their ticket when it comes to selecting the most attractive jobs at the most competitive rates. That in turn is turbo-charging the cost of construction and, in turn, a preference among developers to favor big, luxury projects to better recoup their costs and lock in attractive returns.”

Additional information is available on the BBJ’s website.

0 The Role of Acoustics in Commercial Design

Meter to meaure acoustics of office space

Credit: Boston Globe

The average rentable square feet occupied per person has dropped as more companies offer an open work environments with break out rooms for meetings an personal calls.  This has resulted in a new market for sound engineers trying to create the delicate balance of sound mitigation.  Too many hard surfaces wont absorb sound so the engineers use technology to assist with this.

This is where a company like Acentech Inc. can help. A Cambridge acoustics consulting firm that was once part of the famed tech pioneer BBN Technologies, Acentech uses sophisticated computer-generated audio simulations called “auralizations” that make it possible to hear a building before workers ever break ground.

“Auralization is acoustic rendering,” said Matthew Azevedo, an Acentech engineer. “An architect would never tell a developer ‘Here’s the floor plan, just imagine what it’s going to look like.’ Well, we feel the same about acoustics.”

“Architects love these big, open spaces with lots of glass and exposed steel and all these wonderful hard surfaces,” Azevedo said. “Our job is to make it behave acoustically like a theater.”

You can read more about Acentech and acoustic engineering in Boston office development on the Boston Globe.