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Video Recap of Bisnow's San Francisco Construction & Development Summit

Raymond M. Buddie served as moderator

 
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Automation—design, prefabricate, and assemble—is the industry keyword these days. Over 300 attendees learned how panelists are making projects more efficient during our second annual Construction & Development Summit last week.

Rodney FongSan Francisco Planning Commission head Rodney Fong (also president of Fong Real Estate) says the planning department will be addressing formula retail stores and incentivizing small business to open shop in parts of town that need revitalization. He also mentioned a new permit tracking system. Rodney's bullish because of projects like Pier 70 and the relocation of the Exploratorium to Piers 15 and 17. What else does San Francisco need? More hotel rooms to make the Moscone Center competitive.  

Eric FosterFor Swinerton Builders EVP and regional manager Eric Foster, apartments are the hot market in San Francisco. It has three projects totaling 1,400 units under construction. Eric sees a lot of Downtown rental product coming down the pipeline, and with a 22-year-old daughter at home, he says that's just what the city needs. But with a shortage of high-quality laborers like electricians and plumbers in the Bay Area, we need to encourage young people to go into the trades.

Jim SowerbrowerAs Cal State University's senior chief of construction management, Jim Sowerbrower has been at the forefront in shifting the system's projects to a "best value" type of procurement. Jim says CM-at-risk is CSU's preferred method for more complex projects requiring lots of collaboration. The university is now allowing subcontractors to be brought in during the design phase; if it works out, those same contractors can follow into the construction phase. He notes that best value still offers competitiveness, but also quality, past performance, team composition, and how issues will be addressed—the way it's done in the private sector.

Rich HenryNorthern Pacific Division president Rich Henry said McCarthy is getting ready to kick off an expansion of UC Berkeley's Sproul Hall and Stanford's replacement hospital in Palo Alto. Keep an eye on public agencies buying buildings, renovating them for their own use and, with the excess space, becoming landlords. A project that McCarthy is doing for the transportation authority is a case in point. It'll house a number of transportation groups under one roof, and create several hundred thousand square feet of excess space so that private companies working with them can locate close by. 

Eric LambDPR Construction EVP Eric Lamb says 70% of the firm's build-out work over the past two years has been for tech companies. With the likes of Facebook, Apple, and Google running buses from San Francisco south to their campuses, technology is the driving force behind the need for housing downtown. Internally, DPR has gone from zero to 200 tablets in the field over the past 18 months.