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News2019-10-21T15:43:59+00:00

New York Trying to Find Labor and Construction Volume Balance

October 27th, 2020|

BY LEHRER CUMMING OCTOBER 27, 2020 9:18 AM As the world continues to move forward with the uncertainty of the new normal and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, New York City is proving to be as resilient as ever. The New York building market, currently feeding off the current workload and backlog, remains on top as the largest national construction market months into this challenging time. While the current workforce seeks to find a balance with current and projected construction volume, the sectors themselves are also seeing some dramatic changes. Hospitality, commercial office, high-rise residential, retail, and higher education have been negatively impacted since the pandemic started. “Projects that are moving forward in these challenging times are benefiting from a very competitive bid environment,” said Gavin Middleton, chief operating officer at New York City-based project management firm Lehrer Cumming. “Subcontractors are keen to secure additional backlog for 2021 and beyond, and we are seeing a lot of competition for contracts and some compelling award numbers.” Offsetting these industry contractions, however, are other sectors that are demonstrating significant growth, including [...]

New Generation of Airports Starting to Take Off as the Industry Exits Turbulence

September 21st, 2020|

BY LEHRER CUMMING SEPTEMBER 21, 2020 2:02 PM In 2018 and 2019, airports across the country and the globe were fast-tracking major upgrades to their terminals to increase capacity and satisfy the growing number of passengers, marking an aviation development and construction boom not seen in nearly 30 years. Fast forward to 2020, and the impact of Covid-19 on air traffic and the dramatic overnight decline in passengers has forced the deferral or outright cancellation of many of these scheduled construction programs. While this could be seen as a negative result of the pandemic, the current climate offers project owners and stakeholders the opportunity to revisit and revamp their aviation capital programs in a way that benefits all involved parties while improving the airport experience to meet new needs and standards. Back in April, domestic passengers were barely 4 percent of the same-day numbers in 2019, and, today, that has picked up to approximately 30 percent of what it was one year ago. While domestic travel has picked up and the U.S. air travel industry is starting to see some [...]

How the Construction Industry Is Adapting to the New Normal

August 17th, 2020|

BY LEHRER CUMMING AUGUST 17, 2020 9:58 AM As we approach the three-month milestone since the official restart of construction in NYC, it is an appropriate time to observe how the construction industry has responded to the required workplace health changes and what contract changes may need to be addressed in the future. While the construction industry has always considered safety to be paramount, wider public health practices have been introduced and incorporated on job sites, enabling most to return to full operation. Across the city, all participants in the construction process have been tasked with reconsidering all aspects of their daily activities. The need to move adequate tradespeople and materials vertically throughout the job has led to the introduction of staggered starts to allow for social distancing compliance not only within the hoist, but in wait areas at grade and on landing areas throughout the site. Increased job site hygiene, as well as enhanced health screening requirements and the recording of all individuals on-site, have been embraced by an industry that has always adapted to continue through times of [...]

Job sites and workplaces of the future with Lehrer Cumming

July 1st, 2020|

June 29, 2020 05:00 AM As New York City continues Phase 2 of reopening, the design, construction and development industries are mapping out how the future workplace will look and how buildings, regardless of their age, will need to change. To gather greater insight, Crain’s Content Studio spoke with Gavin Middleton, chief operating officer at Lehrer Cumming, which advises owners planning or already involved in large-scale construction projects. It focuses on new building construction, major adaptive reuse and complex developments. Middleton is a design and construction executive with 25 years’ experience in North America, the Caribbean and Europe. His expertise is in managing logistically complex mixed-use programs from inception to final delivery and closeout. Lehrer Cumming has 120 team members across five offices, working on behalf of clients undertaking more than $25 billion worth of construction in the academic, cultural, commercial, residential and health care fields, as well as in the hospitality, retail and infrastructure sectors. It is a division of Cumming, a global project management and cost-consulting company. CRAIN’S: Projects that were shut down or slowed in the spring [...]

Industry Spotlight: Q&A With Lehrer Cumming’s Gavin Middleton

June 5th, 2020|

BY PARTNER INSIGHTS JUNE 5, 2020 12:58 PM Lehrer Cumming, a division of Cumming, is an owner’s advisory firm providing project and cost management, and strategic guidance to owners, developers, and institutions in and around New York City, New Jersey, Boston, Washington, D.C., and South Florida. Commercial Observer’s Partner Insights team sat down with Gavin Middleton, Chief Operating Officer at Lehrer Cumming to discuss how he got started in the industry as well as the impact of women in the industry. Commercial Observer Partner Insights: Who has had the greatest influence on your career, and why? Gavin Middleton: My father. He was a well-respected electrician who installed fire alarms and security systems for as long as I can remember growing up. One evening after work he taught me how to read blueprints and from that moment on, I was intrigued by the world of construction. With this early interest in construction, I soon realized how fortunate I was to grow up in Glasgow, Scotland, a city with a long-standing tradition of producing some of the best architects and builders, and [...]

Preparing Workplaces for the Future

May 26th, 2020|

BY LEHRER CUMMING MAY 26, 2020 10:45 AM As projects that were shut down start back up and as workers go back to their jobsites and offices, much of the current focus is on the immediate return to work. That’s understandable; we are all eager to get back to work and need to do this as safely as possible. Our attention will rightfully continue to be focused on short-term adjustments as we react to changing events and new information. The more interesting question, however, is what happens post-pandemic? Even in the midst of dealing with the immediate issues, it is important to think about what workplaces will look like in the long term. What will be the new normal six months from now, a year from now, five years from now? “One thing for certain is that we will see a flurry of experimentation,” said Gavin Middleton, Chief Operating Officer at Lehrer Cumming. “These efforts, successful and failed, will offer important findings for companies that stay current. There is unlikely to be one pattern that works for every firm, but [...]

On CO Panel, Port Authority Chief Says There’s 97 Percent Decrease in Ridership

April 30th, 2020|

Transit planners discuss the future of NYC transit post-coronavirus at Commercial Observer's virtual transportation conference. BY REBECCA BAIRD-REMBA | APRIL 29, 2020 11:06 AM As the tri-state region considers life after the coronavirus pandemic, transit agencies are dealing with huge declines in ridership and revenue that will affect their ability to operate service and work on major infrastructure projects once people start traveling and commuting again. The Port Authority of New York & New Jersey saw a 97 percent decrease in passengers at JFK, LaGuardia and Newark Airports, 95 percent ridership decline on the PATH trains, and a 60 percent decline in traffic on its bridges and tunnels, the agency’s executive director, Rick Cotton, said during yesterday’s Commercial Observer transportation forum. The agency’s ten-year, $37 billion capital plan will require billions in federal funding to get back on track, in order to cover the shortfalls from the farebox and airport revenue. “The dramatic decline in passenger traffic across our facilities is just extraordinary,” Cotton noted during his keynote address. “Our revenue is highly dependent on facility volumes and associated tolls [...]

Construction in the post-Covid-19 environment

April 27th, 2020|

April 27, 2020 05:00 AM To gain insight into Covid-19’s impact on construction and where the market is heading in light of the pandemic, Crain’s Content Studio spoke with Gavin Middleton, chief operating officer at Lehrer Cumming, which advises owners planning or engaged in large-scale construction projects, with a focus on new-building construction, major adaptive reuse, and complex developments. Middleton is a design and construction executive with 25 years’ experience in North America, the Caribbean, and Europe. His expertise is in managing mixed-use programs from inception to final delivery and closeout, with a focus on logistically complex projects. Lehrer Cumming is a division of Cumming, a global management and cost consulting company. Its 120 team members work across five offices on behalf of clients undertaking more than $25 billion in construction in the academic, cultural, commercial, and residential sectors, as well as in healthcare, hospitality, retail, and infrastructure. CRAIN’S: New York City was experiencing one of its largest building booms in a quarter-century before Covid-19. Where do you see building heading in the next year? What do you expect to [...]

The New York City Construction Market

April 1st, 2020|

April 01, 2020 10:40 AM As COVID-19 continues to spread, markets worldwide are feeling the effects. The construction industry in the United States is no exception, with impacts on material deliveries, project funding, and the ability of workers to remain on site all under extreme strain. Prior to COVID-19, New York continued the trend as the largest and most dominant construction market in the United States, with an estimated value of $62.2 billion of new construction put in place. That’s almost $20 billion more than Los Angeles and Dallas, which were the second- and third-biggest markets, respectively. Activity in New York City was already slowing down but this has been expedited with COVID-19. The economic effects on construction are highly dependent on how quickly and comprehensively the virus continues to spread. New York’s recent decision to halt all non-essential construction takes the industry into unchartered waters. That said, the construction industry is an agile one; already, design teams and consultants are utilizing work-from-home options and online meetings to keep business moving along with as few disruptions as possible. The biggest [...]

Hospitality industry hums, especially five-star sector

February 11th, 2020|

February 10, 2020 05:00 AM New York City has long been a destination for tourists around the world, and its hospitality sector is vital to keeping it that way. In recent months, the five-star sector has thrived and providers of mid-range accommodations have had to raise their game to stay relevant. To gain insight into where the sector is heading, Crainʼs Content Studio recently spoke with Nicky Unkles, vice president of Lehrer Cumming, the East Coast project management division of the international project and cost management firm Cumming. Unkles has been a leader in project management services within the construction industry for more than 15 years. In addition to managing major projects in New York City, he has led hotel developments in South Florida, the Caribbean and the UK. As vice president, Unkles is responsible for aligning with hotel brands and operators to drive all facets of the design and construction process – from planning and feasibility, to scheduling, cost estimating, permitting and closeout. Crainʼs: What key trends have you seen in New York Cityʼs hospitality market during the past [...]

Protecting Development Projects Now From the Next Economic Downturn

February 10th, 2020|

By Lehrer Cumming | February 10, 2020 8:49 am With many economists and industry publications discussing a potential downturn in the coming months, it is worth considering how you can protect your project from a declining economy and ensure that it stays on track for a successful completion. How do we know we are headed for a downturn? In short, we don’t — not with full certainty. It could well be the case that the economy continues to chug along for the rest of 2020 and beyond, despite expert predictions. However, those expert predictions are based on a number of historically reliable indicators, two of which are becoming more and more evident in the NYC market. “There is an increasing number of foundation subcontractors seeking work, and we are seeing better-than-expected responses to check pricing requests across all trades,” explains Gavin Middleton, chief operating officer at NYC-based Lehrer Cumming. “These are reliable indicators that the market is slowing.” Based on these and other recent trends, more and more economists and industry-watchers agree that a downturn is likely in the near [...]

Delivering on the Promise of Design-Build

January 15th, 2020|

BY LEHRER CUMMING NOVEMBER 11, 2019 8:43 AM BY LEHRER CUMMING JANUARY 13, 2020 11:46 AM The Office of the New York Governor has embraced the design-build delivery method for construction, and now a number of large projects are proceeding under this approach for agencies such as the New York State Department of Transportation, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the Empire State Development Corporation. The largest of these, and one of the few which is a building project, is the $1.6 billion expansion of the Javits Convention Center, which is currently progressing on schedule and within budget. Although the design-build methodology is a fairly new concept in the New York building market, it has proven quite successful in other locations and looks to become even more popular going forward. With this in mind, it’s worth taking a closer look at this alternative delivery method. The reason for design-build’s growing acceptance is simple: It offers the opportunity for a fast-track schedule with less risk to the owner, and it encourages the builder to plan ahead to [...]

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