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Apex Project Consulting assists Donor Network West's relocation of their corporate headquarters to San Ramon

Apex Provides Project Management for Donor Network West’s New Corporate Headquarters

Donor Network West, a federally designated procurement agency for organ donations, has relocated its corporate headquarters from Oakland to San Ramon. Out of several project management firms interviewed, Donor Network West confidently partnered with Apex Project Consulting to successfully oversee the architectural, engineering, on-site construction, furniture and move management.

The final touches on the 41,000 square-foot space on Alcosta Blvd. were completed in June of this year. The approximately 160 employees were relocated in phases, with the most recent phase finishing in early July. An open-house to showcase Donor Network West’s beautiful new facilities is scheduled for late July.

In addition to delivering full-service, tenant representative project management, Apex was called upon to contribute to the real estate transaction and lease negotiations with the developer, Bishop Branch.

According to Cindy Siljestrom, CEO, Donor Network West,

“Apex Project Consulting provided full service project management; including architectural design, engineering construction, as well as move management, furniture selection, and finishes.  Apex got involved and immediately represented us with the landlord. 

Apex’s expertise was invaluable and saved us tens of thousands.” 

Donor Network West’s mission is to save and improve lives through organ and tissue donation and transplantation. Donor Network West is a non-profit organ procurement organization that works in close partnership with families, doctors, nurses, and coroners to connect organ and tissue donors to recipients.  “We are proud to be affiliated with the wonderful folks at Donor Network West and to help them in some small way to fulfill their life saving mission.” Tom Conzelman, President, Apex Project Consulting, was quoted as saying.

In addition to Donor Network West’s corporate headquarters, Apex has been entrusted with the project management of DNW’s future clinical and warehouse space. This critical AATB-compliant, state-of-the-art facility will be used to provide the surgical instruments and medical supplies, as well as, the clean rooms needed for life-saving organ and tissue recovery procedures.

Apex Project Consulting, Inc., (www.apexpjm.com) is based in with California with offices in the San Francisco and Orange County areas, provides one-of-a-kind, full-spectrum project management leadership across a wide variety of project types, including both ground-up and tenant improvements, throughout the U.S. as well as internationally.  Apex has managed over eleven hundred projects, from due diligence and design through construction, including commercial, industrial, office, clean rooms, life science, labs, manufacturing, and specialized environments.

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Logomark Electrical System Improvements

Apex Project Consulting Completes Major Improvements to Newest Logomark Facility

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE -June 15, 2015 Apex Project Consulting, Inc., successfully completed comprehensive electrical system improvements, including a massive 400A to 2,500A electrical service upgrade for newest Logomark’s production facility in Santa Ana, CA.

The new, approximately 10,000 SF facility gives Logomark expanded, cutting edge capabilities to produce their own high-caliber printed materials. This humidity controlled, highly sophisticated facility demanded an exponential increase in the electrical service size.

Apex Project Consulting was called upon to provide comprehensive project leadership; from electrical engineer selection, contract drafting, SCE liaison, electrical design input, electrical contractor selection and on-site construction management.

“This project was extremely complicated.” commented Apex Project Consulting President, Tom Conzelman. “Not only was Apex tasked with the full spectrum and responsibility of a complex electrical system upgrade, we had to design a temporary power solutions to ensure Logomark’s mission-critical operations continued without interruption.”

According to Josh Beaty, Vice President of Production, “Apex Project Consulting has helped Logomark avoid many unnecessary costs as well as risks we didn’t know we would encounter.  Apex Project Consulting’s expertise gave us the extra added boost – from finding and hiring the right engineering team to ensuring that we received the best value from the contractor we hired.”

Founded in 1993, Logomark is a premier supplier of personalized gift and promotional products for the North American and global advertising specialty market. A multi-award-winning supplier of personalized promotional products, Logomark’s clients can choose from more than 3,000 top quality; personalized in vibrant full color using innovative and easy-to-use digital tools.

Apex Project Consulting, Inc., completes comprehensive electrical system improvements, including a massive 400A to 2,500A electrical service upgrade for Logomark’s Santa Ana production facility.  Apex managed the engineering, permitting, SCE approvals and on-site construction for a service change out that resulted in a 6x increase in the electrical service size. Watch the 60 second video to see how it was done.

“Apex Project Consulting managed and delivered our last project with zero change orders. None.  I have seen personally, firsthand, how Apex lives up to their guarantee of no change orders. They made it happen on our project.” Josh Beaty was quoted as saying.

Apex Project Consulting, Inc., (www.apexpjm.com) is based in with California offices in the San Francisco and Orange County areas, provides one-of-a-kind, full-spectrum project leadership across a wide variety of project types, including both ground-up and tenant improvements, throughout the U.S. as well as internationally.  Apex has managed over a thousand projects, from design through completion, including commercial, industrial, office, clean rooms, labs, manufacturing, and specialized environments.

Download a free copy of “Protect Your Project. Six Things You Can Do NOW to Avoid Busted Budgets, Relentless Risks and Design Defects”

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Six Things You Can Do NOW to Avoid Busted Budgets, Relentless Risks and Design Defects

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Scope is more important than terms and conditions

Attorneys Are Overrated

Thank you, Captain obvious.

In all seriousness, when it comes to drafting contracts, for design, engineering and construction services, the input of attorneys is extremely overrated.

Not too long ago I was catching up over drinks with a friend of mine from law school. The conversation gravitated to various legal topics. At some point in our chat, he mentioned to me that he had recently helped a client with a construction contract. In retrospect, I should’ve simply nodded appreciatively and moved on to a different topic. However, I didn’t.

Instead, I offered, from my years of experience, that he probably didn’t help his client as much as he thought. I assumed, erroneously, that all attorneys would acknowledge that maximizing profits, or more importantly minimizing risks of change orders and other budget busting surprises, was NOT related to legal craftsmanship.

After all, isn’t the point of all business transactions to generate profits and minimize risk? Maybe not, if you’re on the attorney side of it. I started the defense of my position with something I thought we both could agree to.

Money matters. If money matters, then the measuring stick for success or failure of contracts for architectural, engineering and or general construction has to be money — the money saved by avoiding change orders.

It’s all well and good that contracts for design and construction satisfy the necessary legal standards. However, doing so is an expenditure that is essentially overhead. It doesn’t generate the lion share of savings.

The finest and most sophisticated contract will never do more for a client to save money and or prevent risks than a well crafted scope of work. An insufficient, sloppy, incomplete, or worst-case, a vendor-drafted scope of work will result in an almost boundless amount of change orders. It doesn’t matter how much fancy word-smithing you wrap around a crappy deal, it’s still a crappy deal. That’s why the legal part doesn’t mean jack.

It doesn’t matter if you correctly articulate or memorialize the indemnification provision, the waiver of subrogation, choice of law, insurance, and/or arbitration provision, etc. While all of these are swell, clients in this industry don’t lose money necessarily because the parties agreed to arbitration versus litigation. It’s all about the scope.

To paraphrase Bill Murray’s famous line in Meatballs, “IT JUST DOESN’T MATTER” how cleverly you drafted the indemnification clause – or any other provision – if you screw up the scope.

To no one’s surprise but my own, this argument had little affect on my attorney friend’s position. A little anxious that I might be challenging his abilities, I pressed ahead nonetheless.

Change orders are the most expensive “repeat offender” in the real estate improvement process. The uninitiated or unrepresented client or tenant can “bank” on change orders generating hundreds of thousands in additional costs (BTW: your vendors are counting on this, too).

I’m sure that the design and construction industry generates plenty of litigation. However, whether a client is hit with change orders from the architect, engineer or contractor, is almost exclusively a function of the scope. A poorly drafted scope (or worse, use of the vendor’s agreement) guarantees change orders. Change orders equal money. Big money.

Again, if the agreement doesn’t operate to anticipate and mitigate design errors in the construction documents or block (non-owner requested) change orders from the contractor – then none of the legal jargon matters.

They don’t teach scope-writing in law school. Yes, it helps to be able to write and talk like an attorney. I get that. But again, there is no course or class in how to describe the architectural, engineering and construction specifications and requirements for a tenant improvement project. It strictly comes from on-the-job training, YEARS of on-the-job training.

I don’t know if I’ve had more luck convincing you than I did my good friend from law school. But I will offer you this, before you consider laying out millions of dollars on your next project, carefully consider who’s helping you with the scope of work.

If the global Fortune 1000 real estate behemoth and the project management chaperone you’ve engaged to deliver your next project doesn’t demonstrate their ability to save you money through stopping change orders, then you might want to reconsider. Start by using an experienced project management professional with both design and construction contract drafting skills as well as CM experience that will maximize your profits while minimizing your exposure to risks.

Tom Conzelman is President of Apex Project Consulting, Inc., a one-of-a-kind,  full spectrum project design, engineering and construction management consulting firm for commercial, industrial, healthcare and specialized-environment projects; both locally and across the United  States. Mr. Conzelman is a licensed electrical contractor and general contractor, LEED® AP, and a California Real Estate Broker License 01128636 (www.apexpjm.com). Mr. Conzelman graduated from Western State University, College of Law and has taught Contracts-for-Contractors. Tom Conzelman is the innovator behind the No Change Order Guarantee™ and the No-Fee Guarantee. ™

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House plan blueprints

Design Firms: How Risky Is Your Next Project?

There’s an area of business that all too many architectural design firms tend to overlook. In the excitement of chasing that project they’ve just heard about, they sometimes forget to look at the risks involved should they be awarded the job. Yet controlling is one of the most important contributors to the company’s long term profitability.

Well-run design firms follow specific strategies to keep liability claims low and infrequent. Here’s a very helpful article posted in ENR.COM that can guide you as you consider whether that next project is your masterpiece…or your financial downfall:

Project and Client Selection: Develop a Project Evaluation Checklist

Is it a good project for your firm? What do you know about the client? Does he/she have a history of suing their design professional? Is the money there? How’s the schedule? A process to evaluate prospective projects and clients can dramatically decrease the likelihood of a claim. 

Sign Equitable Contracts

If there is a problem or litigation on a project, your contract will become a source of scrutiny. A contract is supposed to lay out who is supposed to do what as well as outline terms and conditions. A well-written contract that accurately describes the intent of both parties will help prevent misunderstandings and simplify the resolution of any disputes that arise.  Well-run firms have developed contract review policies and procedures to make sure their contracts are reasonable. 

Identify Problems Early

While the definition of a claim in a Professional Liability policy is “a demand for money or services,” most Professional Liability policies also allow for and strongly encourage their policy holders to turn in “circumstances” which may give rise to a claim. I cannot emphasize how important this is. It can not only protect your insurability down the road, but the earlier you act on a potential claim, the quicker and less expensively it is generally resolved.  Educate your staff to know the warning signs of a potential claim. More at ENR.COM

The article goes on to discuss dispute resolutions provisions that you’ll want to check for in any contracts you sign. As both a project leader and a J.D. myself, I’ve always found it critical for this aspect of the negotiations to be dealt with throroughly and carefully.

All too often, contracts with design experts are a case of “you don’t know what you don’t know.” So even if you’ve got decades of experience in drafting contracts and contract scopes, it’s always a wise idea to run this past your attorney. And as quoted in the article…make sure you have the right professionals on your side, i.e. a knowledgeable attorney and specialist insurance broker. And I would also recommend a professional with expertise at drafting agreements for design and engineering work that maximize performance and reduce risk. Get this critical process right, and you’ll be on the right path to finding projects and clients with whom you can have an enjoyable, litigation-free experience.

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