The Importance of Health in Chicago’s Building Code

In the midst of Chicago’s craze to meet the goals set forth by its Climate Action Plan, health standards have taken a backseat. Housing conditions have a huge impact on the health of individuals, particularly for children. Yet, very little is done about it at either the federal, state or local level. The United States is the only major nation that has not adopted the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children (CRC). Chicago did adopt the standard in 2009, but precious little action has been done to make it a reality.

Old homes and buildings are the biggest culprits

Improving health conditions in Chicago’s homes is a major challenge. The majority of the buildings are old and unhealthy conditions are more prevalent in older homes. Such homes are also disproportionately occupied by the city’s poorest and most vulnerable residents, so it essentially turns into a vicious cycle. Lead contamination is particularly prevalent in homes constructed in the early 90s and before, and lead contamination has been definitively linked to problems such as lower IQ scores, behavioral issues, and learning disabilities, all of which are more likely to affect children than adults.

Radon in old homes can be particularly detrimental as it can cause lung cancer in non-smokers. Carbon monoxide exposure arising from poor standards governing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems is linked to brain damage and even early death. Untreated pets and molds that are left alone for years are capable of leading to asthma and other allergies, and they make the problem worse for people who already have such conditions. In addition, there are several other environmental toxins found in old homes that are capable of adversely impacting health.

The Chicago Building Code needs to be updated

Judy Frydland, the commissioner of the Chicago Department of Buildings, sometimes feels like she has her hands tied when the DOB attempts to use the Chicago Building Code to protect residents from substandard housing conditions. The owners possess a great deal of power in this regard, and the DOB requires an owner’s consent to carry out an inspection and more often than not, DOB officials need to jump through several hoops to obtain the necessary consent. Something along the lines of having a mandatory inspection every six months to a year could become a part of the code, but such a requirement seems unfeasible at this moment.

The DOB has some authority

The Chicago Building Code does provide the DOB with some level of authority when it comes to lead and asbestos exposure. There is a provision in the code that allows that DOB to govern public nuisances that can be considered to be detrimental to health. However, another problem arises in this context.

Numerous building owners just do not have enough capital to make the necessary improvements, and the city cannot fund everyone who needs to make an improvement. This is now being dealt with in a retrospective manner as any building that needs to be renovated or constructed in Chicago today has to meet stringent green standards. Also, it would be helpful if the Code was updated to give the DOB the authority to respond to other housing-based health hazards.

In addition, there is another level of complexity. The DOB and the Department of Public Health (DPH) are responsible for different types of violations in the context of health hazards in buildings. This system is not exactly archaic but there is a lack of coordination between the two departments, which has periodically led to confusions over who is responsible for what. Making small changes with respect to power sharing between these departments is essential to improving health standards in homes.

How is Chicago’s Approach to Renewable Energy Faring?

Chicago certainly has ambition, we’ll give it that much. On April 9, 2017, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in tow with numerous municipal agencies, announced that the City of Chicago is now committed to transitioning all of its public buildings to 100% percent renewable energy usage by 2025. This is a particularly huge commitment, as building emissions are projected to account for about 70% of the city’s emissions. Chicago aims to be the first major American city to supply all of its public building with 100% renewable power.

Unlike most nearby Mid-West cities such as Indianapolis, Springfield, and Des Moines, Chicago will need to rely on solar power rather than wind turbines to meet most of its energy needs. In addition, it is very important for the city to maximize the federal investment tax credit for solar energy as it drastically reduces the cost of installation of solar panels. The tax credit will expire soon, and it can be used to create a litany of community solar programs that will allow energy to be shared by numerous buildings, homes, and other institutions. Cook County has also aggressively moved forward to implement community solar projects.

How does the city achieve its stated goals?

When he made his announcement, the mayor was joined by officials from Chicago Public Schools (CPS), Chicago Park District, Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), and the City Colleges of Chicago. Together, all the agencies represented accounted for around 8% of electricity consumption in Chicago and this is equivalent consumption of 295,000 Chicago homes. We have yet to see how city officials plan on making their promise come true. Several nonpartisan critics allege that the statements were made to counter the federal administration’s regressive stands on renewable energy.

As of now, city officials have stated that these ambitious goals will be met through a combination of renewable energy credits, on-site generation capabilities, and utility-supplied renewable energy. However, such statements are more or less completely vague in nature, and we only know that Illinois’ Renewable Portfolio Standard will account for the utility-supplied energy. Initial purchases for this endeavor are expected to commence by 2018 and early 2019. We can only expect that city officials are drawing up detailed plans that will be released to the general public in the months ahead.

Green energy is a necessity for Chicago

According to the World Health Organization, almost 90% of all individuals who reside in populous urban settings such as Chicago breathe air that exceeds dangerous levels, and at least half of the global urban populace breathes air that is around 2.5 times greater than the WHO limits. This is one of the major reasons why Chicago completely eliminated its use of coal energy. The number of jobs in the city grew by 12% between 2010 and 2015, and it witnessed a 25,000 increase in population levels. However, it managed to reduce carbon emissions by 7%.

The city’s population is only going to increase over the coming years as more and more Americans head to urban centers. Renewable energy programs need to match population growth levels and emissions need to continue to decrease at a rapid pace. Chicago residents are further encouraged to install solar panels in their homes as the state of Illinois has one of the best net metering programs in the country. This will allow residents to qualify for energy credits where they generate surplus energy, and it will further decrease the costs of energy. People fail to realize that Chicago actually has a lot of usable sunlight and the time to take advantage of it is now.

Energy Efficiency Standards for Commercial Buildings in Chicago

Chicago and the state of Illinois are widely famed for having some of the strictest energy efficiency standards in the nation. The Chicago Energy Conservation Code (CECC) requires all commercial and residential buildings to comply with stringent energy efficient measures. Illinois has in place a stringent code based on the International Energy Conservation Code (IECC) to deal with commercial constructions; the code was established in 2009.

In Chicago, buildings typically account for around 70% of all citywide emissions, and the city has been striving to reduce emissions by making buildings more energy efficient. This involves using different materials for construction, lighting, heating, and other critical aspects of a building’s infrastructure. In addition, the city is now encouraging residents to take low-cost and easy steps that will further dilute the level of CO2 emissions,

The Chicago Climate Action Plan is now in full swing

In 2012, the city announced a plan to lower the amount of energy used in commercial buildings to reduce citywide emissions by 1.3 million metric tons by the year 2020. In order to achieve this blueprint, at least half of all commercial buildings in the city would need to be retrofitted or modified in some way, which translates to around 9000 buildings. This commercial building initiative put forth by the city government brought together technical experts, building owners, managers, entrepreneurs, and numerous peer-to-peer consultation opportunities that would create a good environment of collaboration.

The initiative places particular emphasis on large buildings that are bigger than 20,000 square feet as these buildings provide the greatest opportunity and potential for reduction in energy consumption. A list of 14 leadership buildings was created, and these buildings started working with city officials, utility providers, and technical professionals to identify the avenues through which energy consumption could be reduced.

What small steps can buildings take to meet or even surpass 2020 expectations?

You cannot underestimate the impact of small steps on emission reductions, and if every building in the city adopted these steps en masse, the city would easily exceed its current goals by 2020. Lighting fixtures are a prominent area where energy can be conserved, and trading in old incandescent bulbs and even CFL light fixtures for more energy efficient LED lights can lead to huge savings. It will drastically reduce a building’s emissions, and appliance trade-in programs have soared in popularity in recent times.

Water conservation is another overstated but important step. Increasing water use efficiency is good from an emissions perspective as it reduces the energy required to heat for various purposes such as cooking, heating, and air conditioning. Another important step the city is taking involves increasing the number of rooftop gardens on a citywide scale to at least 6,000 by 2020. The plan is to plant at least a million trees and this is expected to lead to a reduction of around 0.17 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.

All building renovations must meet green standards

The Chicago Sustainable Development Policy now ensures that any building now up for renovation must meet the latest green standards unless the building owner or manager proves that it is financially impossible or structurally impossible to do so. For example, an office building that doesn’t have any financial assistance needs to meet a 50% green roof standard and must exceed the ASHRAE standards related to heating and air conditioning. Based on the type of commercial buildings in question, there are different standards to be met, and the standards are particularly strict for commercial buildings over 10,000 square feet. All the details have been posted on the City of Chicago’s website.

Chicago’s Fulton Market District is Witnessing Rapid Changes

For generations, Fulton Market has had one word associated with it- meat. Mention Fulton Market and you would immediately remember the sketchy smell that would emanate from the lovable neighborhood. The meatpacking district has long been considered as one of the city’s signature attractions. Now, however, the old Fulton Market is on the verge of ‘extinction’, it has essentially been on the chopping blocks for a while now. Fulton Market has long been one of the city’s working class neighborhoods and a sanctuary for immigrants. The current death spiral of Fulton can almost be expertly traced back to the opening of the Publican restaurant in 2008.

Today, a rising majority of food processors continue to move out of the area as Fulton Market is turning into a commercial hub. A large number of wholesalers are still present in the West Loop, but the growing foot traffic from nearby offices, homes, and restaurants is prompting a shift in the character of Fulton Market. There are very few zones in the neighborhood where offices and residential buildings cannot come up, such as the Kinzie Corridor Planned Manufacturing District. Food packers and distributors have dominated this locality since the 1880s, but they could be non-existant in this area soon enough.

The district is attracting a slew of businesses

The Fulton Market District has seen a spike in office and residential developments due to the neighborhood’s central location and historic character. Google was one of the first major firms to move to this area and the company now occupies the former Fulton Cold Storage building at 320 N. Morgan Street. Several other major firms are expected to follow.

One of the biggest developments is happening at 1330 West Fulton. For years, a partially completed building dominated the skyspace, and now, developer Sterling Bay has taken over and is constructing what it dubs as ‘Fulton West’. This building will be a nine-story office building that will soon be home to famed tenants such as Dyson and Glassdoor. The building will have over 290,000 square feet of office space, and it will have a booming rooftop terrace complete with a host of newly planted trees. No other building in the locality will represent the new Fulton like Fulton West will.

West Loop is also witnessing construction galore

McDonald’s won’t be left behind, the global fast food chain is relocating its corporate workforce to West Loop. The massive 600,000 square foot home of McDonald’s is being constructed at the old home of Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Studios production company. Once again, Sterling Bay is the developer for this project which is expected to dominate the street.

Business developments, both small and big, are booming rapidly in West Loop. As downtown Chicago overflows, West Loop and the surrounding areas have become a preferred area for residents, restaurants, and businesses. At 1035 W. Van Buren, an upcoming apartment building is already towering over the Eisenhower Expressway. Labeled ‘Landmark West Loop’, this 30-story apartment tower is expected to open this August and it features 300 units. The project is incredibly modern and all the units feature a dizzying array of tenant amenities.

Hotels are also aplenty in this region

In West Loop, two hotels are being constructed right now and a third is expected to begin construction soon. The Nobu Hotel in West Loop is one of the city’s most anticipated developments, foundation work at the site is finally underway. The 1-story building is expected to contain 119 guest rooms and it is being designed by Modif Architecture. In addition, Ace Hotel and Hoxton Hotel are also being constructed now and both the hotels are expected to open soon.

The Hoxton Hotel Being Built in Fulton Market is Up and Coming This Summer

There is a construction boom in Chicago, which faces a new addition with the Hoxton Hotel, coming up at 844W. Lake Street. Even before the foundation permit was ready, the crew and equipment could be found at the site – ready to gear up for action as soon as the documentation came in. A project that was originally announced in  the month of January in the year 2016, the renowned developers Shapack Partners are responsible for the up and coming hotel. Shapack Partners are also behind the Soho House hotel as well as private club in the area, and also theParker Fulton Market rental tower that is of 227 Units.

It has been planned that the Hoxton Hotel would be twelve storeys tall, and contain have 175 guest rooms. In the building, two levels will be used as office space, there will also be a retail area in the ground floor and a terrace on the roof. On top of this, the Boka Restaurant Group, this is the same Group that gave you places to eat like Momotaro, Girl and the Goat, and Swift and Sons, will be opening a bar cum restaurant in the Hoxton Hotel.

The hotel was designed by Morris Adjimi Architects from New York, along with the GREC, based in Chicago playing the part of an architect on the record. In December, a demolition permit was created for the auto shops and meat packaging buildings in the area, and the location has been cleared and prepared for construction. This project is currently one of three hotels being constructed in the West Loop neighbourhood. 

With the building permit finally coming is, it was time to get ready working on the construction project. This area was once occupied by an auto mechanic and meat packer, but the vacant site towards the end of Lake and Green street will soon sport a Hotel, complete with everything you need to settle down in a new location. The other boutique hospitality offerings in the area include the opening soon Ace Hotel, and the Nobu Hotel. Together, these hotels are expected to transform the once industrial area of West Loop into a trendy location where you can work, stay as well as eat. It is expected that the Hoxton Hotel will be ready to open in the first quarter of 2019.

Jeff Shapack had initially revealed details about the project to the residents of the area, telling them what they can expect from the new Hotel. Someone who is well versed in the realm of hospitality, having previously constructed other major projects in the area, he said that they are trying to fill in those spaces, which they believe could gain from density. He continued to say that he believed that hospitality was one of those sectors that stood to contribute a lot to the area. Fulton Market is slowly developing from an industrial food wholesaler to a centre for entertainment and hospitality. The addition of the Hoxton Hotel only adds fuel to the fire, by introducing a new building that could bring in more people to the area.

Plans from AvroKo, a design firm, showed that there would be a 275 seater bar and lounge on the first floor, just opposite the lobby entrance of the hotel. On the rooftop, there are plans for a 2,300 square foot bar, terrace as well as pool. Daybeds and fireplaces have also been planned for the location. One more 1,540 square foot bar has been planned for the Hotel’s basement. An exciting new project that is coming up in the Fulton Market area, the completion of the Hoxton Hotel is eagerly awaited for.

How Does Chicago’s Sustainable Development Policy Affect Commercial Construction?

The landmark Chicago Sustainable Development Policy, adopted by the Second City in 2004, has allowed it to become one of the leaders in the nation with respect to sustainability. The Windy City won the National Earth Hour Capital title in 2014 among several other awards. Sustainable building practices have been at the core of the city’s Climate Action Plan from 2008 and Sustainable Chicago 2015 plan. Chicago has power LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) certified buildings than any other city in the United States.

The Climate Action Plan aims to improve buildings

Improving the energy efficiency of the city’s buildings is a key aim of the plan as the city seeks to reduce emissions by at least 25% below 1990 levels by 2020. According to the city’s Public Building Commission, buildings account for a staggering 70% of all emissions in the city. The current aim to encourage private owners of residential and commercial buildings to reduce their energy consumption by 20% in five years and the Retrofit Chicago program is providing engineering support to make this a reality.

The plan has had a positive impact on the state of Illinois which has been ranked first among all US states in terms of the amount of energy conserving buildings. Conducted by the US Green Building Council, it ranks states by a per-capita basis. In 2015, the state added 161 renovated and new projects to its ever increasing list of buildings with the Good Housekeeping seal of approval. Under this rating system, buildings score points for factors such as reducing water consumption and utilizing sustainable materials for construction.

The effect on construction

New buildings need to meet a series of stringent regulations as defined by the Chicago Building Code before they are approved as they must be energy efficient and utilize large volumes of renewable energy. They need to obtain ENERGY STAR certification, and they must exceed the 2015 Energy Conservation Code requirements by at least 5%. A building will receive more green points if it exceeds the requirements by a greater number.

Construction firms in Chicago have spent a decade adapting to the new rules due to the citywide push for green buildings. In 2015, an ordinance was passed which required any municipal, commercial, or residential building over 50,000 square feet to conduct energy benchmarking and disclose the results to the city. In addition, when a building is completely occupied, it should be able to provide some form of renewable energy onsite at least 3% of the total modeled energy usage.

Green buildings are only going to increase in number

Chicago and the state of Illinois have become leaders in North America with respect to green building practices. The city currently has over 350 buildings with green roofs and over 250 LEED-certified buildings as of 2014. A lot of the changes over the last decade have been aimed at encouraging buildings to make simple changes such as replacing energy intensive appliances, conserving water via retrofitting, increasing the number of rooftop gardens, and completely retrofitting existing buildings.

Taxpayers in the city have been subsidies to boost transformation efforts, and the measures have created thousands of jobs in the construction industry. Now, the city has committed to constructing only LEED-certified buildings for municipal purposes, and it is only a matter of time before it is applicable to all new buildings. The city has extensively used Tax Increment Financing to enforce green buildings in the face of wider federal inaction. As the years progress, commercial buildings in Chicago are expected to continue leading the nation in green building practices.

How Is 3D Printing Changing Building Construction?

While there has been a widespread development of massive skyscrapers, humungous structures and extensive bridges in the recent times, the construction industry hasn’t witnessed any groundbreaking transformation in the last century until now. When it comes to technology and innovation, the one cutting edge breakthrough in the construction industry that has inevitably taken the world by a storm comes in the form of 3D printing.

So, what exactly is 3D Printing?

An innovation limited to the research and development test labs, 3D printing is about to bring a drastic transformation in the way we design and build structures. Within the last couple of years, 3D printing has moved out of the restrictive walls of the engineering labs and emerged as a revolutionary tool that promises to change the way architects design and quality check buildings in a never before way.

Also known as Additive Manufacturing or AM, 3D printing is a computer regulated sequential layering of materials in order to create a three dimensional structure or shape. Extensively used for the manufacture of geometrically complex elements, metalworking, aerospace engineering, product design, tool manufacture and prototyping, 3D printing has now found effective application in the construction industry as well.

A Major Breakthrough

Over the last couple of years, there have been extensive efforts by several engineering research teams to employ the use of 3D printing in constructing the various components of commercial buildings and even residential units, through lab experiments. The basic premise being the same, 3D printing in construction employs the use of ‘super sized printers’ that can be used for designing with a special composite and concrete mixture. The primary reason behind incorporating this special composite mixture is that since it is more viscous as compared to the regular concrete mixture, it sets quickly providing support to the entire 3d structure.

So why exactly is everyone in the construction industry raving about the new 3D printing technology? The answer is simple. It is the numerous design constraints that are encountered in a typical design format that the 3D printing successfully overcomes. For instance, the typical design format utilize the rectilinear forms given the cost and process constraints of their curvilinear counterparts. Studies indicate that rectilinear or rectangular forms that are extensively used for the construction of our buildings are probably the weakest and least durable designs ever. On the flipside, the curvilinear design of say an egg combines the efficiency of a consistent curve, minimal material and no pointed edges to create one of the most robust and sturdy structural forms in nature. The incorporation of 3D printing technology in construction is now making is possible to create curvilinear designs for structurally strong and more efficient designing of our buildings.

How is 3D printing beneficial for the construction industry?

  • 3D printing of the structural components of the buildings makes use of substantially less amount of construction material as compared to what might be required for the conventional concrete forming technique.
  • 3D printing allows great flexibility to the architect when it comes to contour crafting and makes it feasible to produce stronger and more efficient buildings that will last longer.
  • Apart from using lesser raw material for construction, 3D printing also allows the constriction project to be executed using less labor.
  • Since there will be lower raw material and labor costs, 3D printing technology promises to provide inexpensive housing for and fulfilling the dreams of millions of people who currently reside in sub-standard living conditions.

Although, we still have a long way to go in the 3D printing becoming an everyday reality in construction, it is safe to say that the technology is exceedingly promising and has the power to change the construction industry forever.

Is Your Commercial Building Compliant With The ADA?

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 is a federal civil rights law that outlaws discrimination based on diability. It offers the same protections to Americans with special needs that were afforded to minorities with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

One of the main tenants of the ADA was to revamp how commercial buildings were to be constructed and how buildings constructed before 1993 would be renovated in the future. It requires all employers to provide ‘reasonable accommodations’ to workers with disabilities. It also required all public accommodations constructed here-forth to have strict accessibility requirements.

What does reasonable accommodation mean?

The ADA does acknowledge the economic cost it is putting on property owners and it is applicable to the individual or group that has constructed the building. Both employees and any visitors have a basic right to reasonable accommodations which essentially means that all existing facilities employed by individuals must be available to those with disabilities.

Builders must ensure that there are no structural and architectural barriers to disabled people. Builders are required to comply with the reasonable accommodations provision unless undue economic hardship is induced. If owners are also able to definitively prove that it is structurally impossible or impractical to make the necessary changes, they will be exempt from certain provisions of the law.

How can you ensure compliance?

Failure to comply with the provisions of the law unless you are exempt otherwise can attract severe fines. Most businesses normally hire certified access specialists to check their buildings. Any specialist that is hired must be certified as an expert in disability access laws by the state unless your state law differs explicitly. The specialist(s) will be able to provide you with a proof of inspection that you can display to local or federal authorities in the event of government inspection.

Both the tenant and the owner are responsible

One of the main points of contention caused by the law is the extent to which the tenant and the owner of a building share responsibility under the provisions of the ADA. However, there is no universal answer to this question as it often decided on a case-by-case basis after such a dispute reaches court. The law does have language pertaining to the separation of responsibility as operational issues with tenant space is normally the responsibility of the tenant unless the tenant can prove so otherwise.

The owner and the tenant generally share responsibility if physical or architectural improvements have not been made, but the responsibility could fall under the tenant in certain cases. In such cases, the court determines responsibility as based on facts. Building owners are almost universally held responsible in the context of access to property and travel within the building. When any renovations are carried out, any existing barriers of accessibility must be removed unless the owner can prove that it is not financially or structurally feasible.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) enforces the ADA

The DOJ is the final authority under the ADA, and throughout the last 27 years, the DOJ has routinely ruled on what ‘reasonable accommodations’ and ‘accessible modifications’ are on a case-by-case basis. Several states have their own laws that are often stricter than the ADA and buildings in those states are ultimately subject to state jurisdiction. Certain cities have also adopted the International Building Code so builders need to conduct extensive research about the type of laws they must comply with prior to construction.

If you do not comply with the ADA either willfully or ignorantly, your business could be subject to thousands of dollars in fines. We recommend hiring a legal expert during construction to provide your firm with complete clarity over all the requirements of the law and this is applicable when you seek to renovate or modify your building as well.

Commercial Real Estate Trends That You Will See In 2017

There are several factors that are currently influencing the real estate market. These include rapid advancements in technology, significant shifts in demographics, the continuous growth of urbanization, as well as the lifestyles of baby boomers and millennials. Regulatory and macroeconomic developments also seem to impact real estate profitability. Given so many factors, there are some rising trends that you’re definitely going to witness this year.

Non-bank lenders are taking the reins

Commercial mortgage-backed securities (CMBS) has slowed down its lending in 2017 even though there are some loans that are due this year. This is giving other non-bank lenders such as Blackstone to show what they can offer. The slowdown is reportedly due to the Dodd-Frank Act which consists of a risk-retention requirement which will be implemented on December 24, 2017. This act will enable CMBS sponsors to retain 5 percent of any upcoming deal or assign that risk to a buyer. Despite this slowdown, non-bank lenders seem to be taking hold of commercial real estate lending.

Rise in interest rates

The Federal Reserve has announced that it is increasing interest rates by a quarter point. This is only the second time the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates since 2006. The economy is expected to continue performing well. Besides the Federal Reserve, the Treasury yield has also gone up by more than 50 basis points. This increase has been seen since the presidential election on November 8, 2016. Analysts are stating that growth can be expected due to economic stimulus, a planned infrastructure initiative, and deregulation. A larger deficit is also expected, which may trigger a further increase in interest rates as well as inflation. Higher interest rates normally represent a sturdy economy, which is associated with a strong and stable real estate market.

Global political and economic uncertainties

New uncertainties have surfaced after the Brexit vote. The European Union could experience more turmoil as UK Prime Minister Theresa May is pressing for a “hard Brexit.” On the other hand, recently elected US President Donald Trump has also stirred the pot in his own ways. With recent decisions made by the US, the governments of Germany, Italy, and France may start leaning toward nationalist leaders and policies. This could result in further deterioration of relationships between the US and these countries. However, global investors are showing more interest in US markets and assets. With the US appearing as a safe haven, the real estate market can see more foreign investments during the year.

Unstable energy markets

The volatility in energy markets has affected many regional US economies as well as producer nations such as Venezuela and Saudi Arabia. The year 2016 saw a significant drop in oil prices, which lasted for the major part of the year. This was followed by an increase in prices combined with substantial volatility during the last quarter of the year. Reduced demand with increased production resulted in a global decline. This had a dramatic effect on the global economy as well as the fundamentals of the property market and the commercial real estate industry.

Foreign investment

China recently announced that its real estate market and other investments are possibly on the downswing. In November 2016, the country stated that it was planning on reducing its overseas investments, including in the US. Besides this, the continued aftermath of Brexit has resulted in volatile euro and pound values. This may cause European banks to consider the stability of the commercial real estate market in the US. If they find that the exchange rate poses some risk, they may be forced to recycle whatever financing they currently have in the US.

Along with the US economy, there is much uncertainty all over the world as well. If you’re looking to invest in commercial real estate market, be sure to hold on to your seat as it looks like 2017 is going to bring you some surprises.

What Are Some of the Latest and New Trends in Commercial Construction?

There have been many changes that have taken place in the world of quintessential construction. Now it’s all about eco-friendly construction and preserving the environment while at the same time building state-of-the-art and affordable commercial buildings and complexes to allow the economy to grow and flourish.

Economists have predicted a 5-7% growth in the rate or value of commercial construction for the year 2017 along with some new trends in the arena of commercial construction. Let’s take a look at some of the latest trends expected to be seen in the year 2017:

  1. Change in the use of regular construction material – the normal or regular materials that are used in typical commercial construction like adapted sheet metal will continue to be used to attain high-quality commercial complexes. But the way in which the materials will be used will be different says architectural engineering expert, Mike Miller.

    The materials for construction will be used in a much more efficient and affordable manner in the year 2017 in order to save on costs and energy. He says that materials will be used more carefully and sparingly and lesser material will be used over a wider surface area of construction.

  2. Complexes in a single design model – in the year 2017, commercial complexes are expected to be much simpler and less complicated in design, model and structure than they were in earlier years.

    Also in the previous years, the building blueprint and other important engineering documents were created first by the builders and were then handed over to the building contractor to redraw and redesign with totally different information. This resulted in a lot of double work and confusion regarding the model and design of the building. This would also lead to a lot of wastage in time and money.

  3. Energy efficient – another new trend that is expected to be seen in commercial construction in the year 2017 are energy efficient buildings that are 100 percent eco-friendly and environment-friendly. Commercial building and complexes use up a lot of energy and let out a lot of pollution into the atmosphere too. Commercial complexes were one of the biggest contributors to environmental pollution and the release of harmful gases in the previous years but all this is going to change in the year 2017.

    Commercial buildings will now get their energy supply from occupancy sensors and heat wheels. Conference rooms in commercial buildings that are left empty and unused for weeks or months are a source of energy conservation and once there are people inside there is a lot of CO2 or carbon dioxide released into the air. This will be detected by the occupancy sensors in the room and the ventilation in the room will automatically and immediately change. This will help in energy efficiency and conservation.

  4. Long lasting structures – another trend to be observed in the year 2017 is the longevity of buildings. Commercial complexes will be built in such a way that they will last for more than 50 years and rebuilding, revamping and refurbishing will be kept to a minimum. This will help save time and loads of money for the economy. Permanent modular construction is the trend that is expected to be seen in the coming year in commercial construction.

    These structures will resemble your typical commercial buildings and will be constructed using the same types of materials – wood, cement or concrete and metal. Modular construction will also be completed in a much shorter time to cater to complexes that are in a time crunch like fast food restaurants that need to open and start their operations quickly.