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Dylan Cruess Featured in NEREJ Industry Leaders Spotlight

New England Real Estate Journal’s May 27th issue features an Industry Leaders Spotlight with 11 professionals from numerous industries, including TFMoran’s Chief Operating Officer, Dylan Cruess. Dylan gives his perspective on how the first half of 2022 is going in the engineering field. Check out the full article here or continue reading below.


Despite Economic Challenges, Development Remains Resilient

New England Real Estate Journal
Industry Leaders Spotlight – Engineer

This has been quite a year thus far!  I started my article off last year with the exact same sentiment.  Many of the same growth factors and uncertainties from last year are still present now.  Despite many economic challenges we are experiencing, including the continued rise of construction costs, the availability of building materials, and now rising interest rates, development in Southern New Hampshire and Northern Massachusetts remains incredibly strong and resilient. The pent-up demand from not building during the height of the pandemic, changing consumer demand for housing and entertainment, and the large amount of private and public capital available in the market has fueled new developments in just about every sector. 

Over the past few years, New Hampshire has seen a huge in-migration of the population as people have moved out of major cities seeking a more rural or suburban lifestyle.  This in-migration population has caused the demand for housing and other services to increase, which in turn has led to a huge increase in new multifamily and single-family housing developments throughout the southern part of the state and the upper valley.  Northern New Hampshire has also seen an incredible increase in demand as people are purchasing second homes.  Along with increased housing demand, we are seeing rapidly rising housing and rent prices which are leading to an affordability crisis for many people.  In New Hampshire, there is a very strong push for affordable housing projects and there are many available sources of public funding to help with the economic viability of having below-market rental rates.

Another sector that we continue to see very strong demand for in New Hampshire is warehouse and manufacturing projects.  International supply chain problems have led to a noticeable trend of companies bringing their distribution, product storage, and even their manufacturing back to the United States, and more specifically New Hampshire.  We are seeing new facilities being proposed across many different sectors including aerospace, defense, construction materials, and food processing, among others.  Warehouse and manufacturing projects often require infrastructure improvements such as increased electric capacity or the availability of municipal water and sewer. These requirements may limit where facilities can be located, resulting in projects concentrated around the suburbs close to larger municipalities that already have the necessary infrastructure in place.

From a design and permitting point of view, one of the largest challenges we are seeing to development projects moving forward is the unpredictable length of time it will take to obtain all the necessary permits.  We are often asked by our clients how long it will take to go through the permitting process so they can set timeframes in their Purchase and Sale Agreements or plan for construction. With new environmental regulations for wetlands impacts and stormwater runoff requirements, we are often unable to give a definitive timeline for permits.  We have been recommending to our clients that they substantially increase the time for permitting or have multiple extension provisions in their contracts with Sellers to mitigate the impact of permitting delays. 

In conclusion, even with the many economic uncertainties the economy is facing including inflation, rising interest rates, and supply chain disruptions for construction materials, we continue to see very strong activity for development projects going forward across many different sectors of the economy.  The demand for new housing, warehouses, manufacturing facilities, and other projects continues to be greater than the uncertainties and challenges that developers are facing when considering new projects.  Hopefully, this trend continues through all of 2022 and beyond!  

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Robert Duval’s 2022 Forecast Spotlight Published in New England Real Estate Journal

New England Real Estate Journal’s January 29th issue features a Forecast Spotlight with 17 professionals from numerous industries, including TFMoran President, Robert Duval. Bob gives his perspective on how the construction industry has been reinventing itself over the past few decades.

More and more, the construction industry needs people with training in digital controls and software engineering that was once exclusive to the electronics industry. These new design and construction jobs demand more skill and training than ever. Trade schools and community colleges across the country need to recognize this education gap and offer more relevance in their training programs so that young people get the training they need to become a productive part of the construction industry. When they see that construction careers can be as creative and rewarding as any other industry, we will start to see some progress in the skilled labor market.

Robert Duval

To read Bob’s full forecast spotlight article, click this pdf link or continue reading below.

2022 Forecast Spotlight

The construction industry has quietly been reinventing itself over the past few decades

Labor shortages, rising prices, and regulatory delays. No sector of the economy seems to be immune to these problems, although the construction sector seems to be among the hardest hit. “When will things return to normal” is no longer the question – the new normal is all around us. Although these problems may have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, they began long before January 2020.

Many of us in the construction industry have been concerned for years about the shortage of young people choosing careers in the design professions and construction trades. In part, this is because young people have been turning away from careers in the construction industry, which many see as less glamourous and less rewarding than careers in the medical and high-tech industries.

However, the construction industry has been quietly reinventing itself over the past few decades, moving away from hand tools to automation and prefabrication. Today, blueprints are replaced by virtual 3D models. These digital models are fed into automated fabrication shops that measure, cut and assemble parts that may never be touched by human hands until they reach the job site. And at the jobsite, buildings can now be erected by giant “3D printers” as the technological challenges are solved one by one. Even the bulldozers almost run themselves as they move tons of earth across a site with on-board computers that make adjustments automatically to the contours dictated by a 3D site model.

More and more, the construction industry needs people with training in digital controls and software engineering that was once exclusive to the electronic industry. These new design and construction jobs demand more skill and training than ever. Trade schools and community colleges across the country need to recognize this education gap and offer more relevance in their training programs so that young people get the training they need to become a productive part of the construction industry. When they see that construction careers can be as creating and rewarding as any other industry, we will start to see some progress in the skilled labor market.

We have all seen regulatory delays increasing for many years now due to the expanding scope and complexity of environmental regulation. Driving the many new and expanded rules are heightened concerns over threatened species, plants as well as animals, even in densely developed areas. Concerns over migratory birds, for example, attach to extremely wide regions. These considerations can affect timeframes for certain activities, require protective radii around certain habitats, and impose other significant restrictions.

There is also a new emphasis on historic structures, potentially including any structure over fifty years old, and potential archeological sites, now considered almost any site near a waterbody or other landscape that may have attracted early settlements. Much attention has been paid recently to “emerging contaminants”. This includes traces of chemicals at levels that would have been undetectable even a few years ago, but are now established as regulatory limits.

These and other similar concerns are being raised at a pace that outstrips the ability of the administrative rule process to keep up. The result has been an increasing subjectivity, lack of clarity, and a dramatic stretching-out of the review process in the last few years.

So how do we manage project delivery times and costs in the face of these challenges? It beings with the understanding that projects cannot be addressed the same old way. It takes a team of experts who know their way through the regulatory jungle; who understand the high-tech nature of today’s construction. Above all, it takes careful preparation, flexible scheduling, and the ability to react quickly and effectively to this changing world.

Robert Duval, PE, LEED AP, is president/chief engineer of TFMoran, Bedford and Portsmouth, NH.

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NEREJ Project of the Month: Nashawtuc Country Club

TFMoran Structural Engineers worked with Maugel Architects and Dellbrook | JKS to complete a 55,000 s/f clubhouse renovation at Nashawtuc Country Club. The recently completed project located in Concord, Massachusetts, is featured as Project of the Month in New England Real Estate Journal’s December 2021 issue.

“Special attention was given to improving clubhouse circulation by creating clear and distinct paths for visitors and members. Public and private event spaces were strategically arranged to connect to essential food service areas while providing privacy for member-only areas.”

Maugel Architects

Prior to the renovation, food service supplies and preparation areas were located on separate levels. The newly centralized kitchen was designed with staff efficiency and member experience in mind. In addition to new food service and dining areas, the renovations included a 3,500 s/f fitness center and a 1,000 s/f fitness studio set to offer a variety of classes.

The project team also included CSL Consulting and Precision Fitness Equipment.

Check out the full article.

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New England Real Estate Journal names two TFMoran projects as “2021 New England Top Projects in Construction, Design & Engineering”

Bio-Techne Corporation in Devens, MA and NH SportsDome In Hooksett, NH were recently featured in the December issue of New England Real Estate Journal (NEREJ) as “New England Top Projects in Construction, Design & Engineering”. TFMoran is proud to be a part of two project teams in providing engineering design services.

Bio-Techne Corporation – Devens, MA

TFMoran provided structural engineering design and construction administration services for a 26,000sf addition to the corporate headquarters of Bio-Techne Corporation located in Devens, MA. The new single-story addition provides a combination of manufacturing and warehouse space for the life sciences company.  TFMoran worked with project architect Maugel Architects and construction manager Connolly Brothers to provide the new space broken into three areas: an extended shipping area, storage and warehouse, and manufacturing.  Two new interior mezzanines were provided, one each in the warehouse and manufacturing areas respectively. Existing gas and fiber-optic utilities within the construction footprint required a custom foundation to allow for continuous operation of the utilities during construction.

The main structure was constructed with a combination of exterior wall types including cold-formed steel studs with masonry veneer and insulated metal panel exterior.  The addition is constructed with a structural steel frame. Lateral systems consist of HSS steel chevron braces.  Both mezzanines are constructed of concrete on a composite steel deck supported by open web steel joists.  The warehouse mezzanine is supported by load-bearing concrete masonry shear walls.  The manufacturing mezzanine is supported by structural steel moment frames.

This project was also featured as New England Real Estate Journal‘s “Project of the Month” in February 2021. Check out the full story here.

NH SportsDome – Hooksett, NH

TFMoran provided survey, site/civil design, structural design, local, state, and federal permitting, landscape architecture, traffic engineering, and construction phase services for the NH SportsDome, located in Hooksett, New Hampshire. The indoor sports field is used by both youth-based sports teams and adult teams for turf sports such as soccer, field hockey, baseball, softball, lacrosse, football, etc.  The “dome” structure was inflated on January 9th and measures approximately 80,500sf and encloses one (110-yard by 70-yard) turf field with the ability to split the field into two smaller training fields available for use year-round.

 The Farley Group provided the air-supported dome structure. Capital Construction, LLC was the General Contractor. Severino Trucking Co., Inc. was the Site Contractor. The facility opened in February 2021.

This project was also featured as “Project of the Month” in April 2021. Check out the full story here.

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Dylan Cruess’ Mid-Year Engineering Review published in New England Real Estate Journal

New England Real Estate Journal’s July 30th issue features a Mid-Year Review Spotlight with 18 professionals from numerous industries, including TFMoran’s Chief Operating Officer, Dylan Cruess. Dylan gives his perspective on how the first half of 2021 is going in the engineering field. The good news is “So far in 2021 the positive factors outweigh the economic uncertainties.”  Dylan writes about challenges of the rising costs of construction materials and supply delays that our clients are facing in their development projects, along with more strict environmental regulations, plus approval and permitting delays. Additionally, there is a high demand for new construction of affordable multi-family housing and warehouse distribution facilities, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall, the first half of 2021 has been strong despite these uncertainties and many of TFMoran’s clients are optimistic about the future. The engineering and construction industries are as busy as ever.

To read Dylan’s full mid-year review article, click this pdf link NEREJ Mid-Year Review Spotlight 2021

New England Real Estate Journal
Mid-Year Review Spotlight – Engineer

So far in 2021 the positive factors outweigh the economic uncertainties.

This has been quite a year so far! Many aspects about the economy seem counterintuitive and unpredictable thus far which historically should cause a reduction in new development projects, but my firm, and the construction industry as a whole, are as busy as ever. Continue Reading →

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TFMoran Project Featured in New England Real Estate Journal’s Project of the Month

The New England Real Estate Journal has chosen Bio-Techne Corp. as the February project of the month. Construction was recently completed on the 26,000 s/f addition to the corporate headquarters located in Devens, Massachusetts.

TFMoran provided Structural Engineering and Construction Administration services for the project, and worked closely with Connolly Brothers, Inc. and Maugel Architects. The single-story addition provides more manufacturing and warehouse space for the life sciences company.

Check out the full article here.

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TFMoran President Robert Duval in New England Real Estate Journal’s “2021 Forecast Spotlight”

TFMoran President Robert Duval shared his point of view on recent construction and real estate industry trends in The New England Real Estate Journal‘s “2021 Forecast Spotlight“. Industry trends he predicts will linger include a shortage of skilled labor due to the misalignment between education and the needs of employers. He goes on to state “applicants with degrees from well-known schools have only rudimentary training in the software that they will need on the job from day one”. Strict regulations are another setback for the industry, with the permitting process, rather than design controlling the project delivery date. “Nearly all commercial projects these days are required to submit studies of items once considered to be only for ‘major projects’. Bob goes on to say “another thing that won’t be changing in the year ahead: it will take a team of skilled experts working together from the earliest possible moments to deliver a successful project on time”.

Read the full article:  NEREJ-2021 Forecast-Engineering Expert.

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TFMoran’s President, Robert Duval in Panel Discussion at NEREJ Summit

TFMoran President Robert Duval recently attended The New England Real Estate Journal Nashua/Manchester/Bedford N.H. Summit at the Courtyard Marriott in Nashua. Robert was included in a panel discussing engineering, construction costs, and architecture. Check out the article in the pdf link NEREJ May 2019 Issue NH Summit  or read the text below.

New England Real Estate Journal Hosts Nashua/Manchester/Bedford N.H. Summit

by Jennifer Tempesta, New England Real Estate Journal

NASHUA, NH The New England Real Estate Journal held their Nashua/Manchester/Bedford N.H. Summit on April 25th at the Event Center at the Courtyard by Marriott Nashua, 2200 Southwood Dr. Over 100 people were in attendance.

The first panel was held from 9 – 10 a.m. and was moderated by Chris Norwood of NAI Norwood Group. Speakers included: Patrick Brady of Cornerstone Realty Capital; Megan Prieto Giokas of Granite Commercial Real Estate; Melanie Sanuth of the Manchester Economic Development Office; and Greg Bryant of Bedford Cost Segregation.

Topics for this panel included: Development of opportunity zones, new development updates and cost segregation.

The panel began with Sanuth speaking about new developments that are up-and-coming in Manchester. She mentioned how this will be the year of hospitals. Other new developments include the Red Oaks Apartments and The Factory on Willow, a mixed-use development.

For the Bedford area Giokas mentioned the new Market and Main, which is a 16-acre, class A mixed-use retail development.

On the private side of development, Brady spoke about the challenges with return on equity. “The high cost of land and the high side of construction is certainly the reason why there isn’t as much deal flow as maybe there was in 2014 and 2016,” he said.

In regards to the challenges regarding identifying properties that are available and have appreciation opportunities, Giokas said, “People are trying to identify opportunities, but until the final regulations come into place, it is difficult to tell their investors ‘let’s do this’ the way the rules keep changing.”

Bryant spoke on the finance side of appreciation. He mentioned the Tangible Property Regulations as of 2014. “What those regulations did was they gave you some guidance in terms of whether you are able to capitalize or expense certain incoming assets.”

Norwood asked the panel what they are seeing for pricing on new construction. Brady responded, “The only way to make money in this market is to be adding value.”

Sanuth is seeing more opportunities in public/private partnerships, and feels positive about the future in New Hampshire.

The second panel was held from 10 – 11 a.m. and was moderated by Philip Hastings of Cleveland, Waters and Bass, P.A. Speakers included: Greg Stewart of Jewett Construction Co.; Robert Duval of TFMoran; and Laura Homich of Prellwitz Chilinski Associates. Topics for this panel included: Engineering, construction costs and architecture.

Hastings opened the panel mentioning how financing and land is available, but the cost of construction is so high. Duval expressed how there are challenges, especially in the wetlands areas. He said, “There is going to be a tightening down of regulations, to the point where it will become increasingly difficult to develop sites.” He notes to get involved early and do your homework upfront to help with the process.

Next, on the topic of construction costs, Stewart noted that one of the biggest factors is the shortage of labor. “Right now what is driving all costs is the shortage of labor, whether it is construction, manufacturing or technology,” he said.

Stewart mentioned the need to start educating the youth, schools and parents, because there is a high level of opportunity in the construction field.

Another factor for construction costs is the weather, living in New England. Need to start planning for the trends away from the typical calendar of seasons.

The panel agreed the way to value engineering and save on construction costs is to use everybody’s skill set throughout the design process, including the construction, design, engineering and owner’s teams.

On the topic of new innovations to help manage these costs, Stewart spoke about prefabrication. “Prefab systems allows for a less skilled labor. All the components are being built in a shop, which is a team environment. It also cuts down on waste at a job site, so innovations, such as prefab is something that I can see as a real future to cutting costs down the road.”

Homich discussed the innovations she sees on the structural side includes cross-laminated timber.

Duval noted that structural systems are always evolving. There are composites being used now. “Hire professionals that are keeping up with the market.”

Software innovations include: • 3-D modeling such as Revit, which helps with seeing conflicts in projects; • Virtual reality; and • Procore for construction management.

These all help owners and developers in the design process and with permitting.

At the end of the panel, Duval said, “In any sizeable development, consider mixed-use if at all possible. You are making much more efficient use of the space, you can increase the density of development and you can reduce the traffic, because there are multi-purpose trips.”

Homich said, “Ultimately, what we are trying to do on any circumstance, especially when it comes to mixed-use in the town and master planning, is to create a place where it enables people to have a great time.”

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TFMoran featured as “Company of the Month” in June issue of New England Real Estate Journal

TFMoran is very excited to be selected as New England Real Estate Journal‘s Company of the Month in the Retail Trends & Development section of the June 22-28, 2018 issue! The full page article focuses on the Company’s 50 years as a leading consultant to the land development industry, and features the staff of nearly 70 professionals, plus current high-profile projects in southern New Hampshire. And, we made the NEREJ cover, check it out TFMoran on NEREJ Cover June 2018 To view the printed article click on the following pdf link TFMoran is NEREJ’s Company of the Month for June 2018 or read the text below.

 

June 22-28, 2018       New England Real Estate Journal

Retail Trends & Development

Company of the Month

PRACTICE AREA EXTENDS THROUGHOUT N.H., MASS., MAINE, VERMONT, N.Y., PENN. AND N.J.

TFMoran celebrates 50 years as a leading consultant to the land development industry

BEDFORD, NH The year 2018 marks 50 years of service for TFMoran, Inc., a leading consultant to the land development industry, offering civil, structural, and traffic engineering, land surveying, landscape architecture, construction support, and environmental permitting services. Originally a local firm based in southern New Hampshire, TFMoran’s practice area now extends throughout the state and into Mass., Maine, Vermont, N.Y., Penn., and N.J.

Since its inception in 1968, TFMoran has been a leader in bringing innovative land planning and smart development practices into the marketplace. According to the firm’s current president, Robert Duval, “TFMoran has been designing sustainable sites long before it became a buzzword. By their very nature, good designs reduce impacts to the natural environment, harmonize with their surroundings, make more efficient use of infrastructure, thereby saving our clients hard costs, as well as simplifying the approval process.”

The current ownership team has been in place since 2013, including: President and chief engineer, Robert Duval, PE; chief operating officer, Dylan Cruess; and senior vice presidents Jeff Kevan, Paul Sbacchi, PE, and Corey Colwell, LLS, all long-term employees with decades of hands-on experience.

Cruess said, “The shared goal of the new ownership team from the outset has been to build on the strong corporate brand that TFMoran has created over the past fifty years, always seeking innovative ways to deliver best-in-class client service. We must be doing something right, because in 2016 we were named Business NH’s Business of the Year in the Real Estate, Construction and Engineering category, and we have also earned a statewide ‘Best of Business’ award for the last six years in a row.”

Consistent with its focus on sustainable development, Duval points out that TFMoran has built a strong reputation for successful redevelopment of underutilized urban and industrial land.

“We have played an integral role in many of the region’s most significant redevelopment projects, among them the SNHU Arena and the N.H. Fisher Cats Stadium in Manchester’s urban core; redevelopment of the Bedford Mall, Wayfarer Hotel, and former Macy’s properties in Bedford; the GE Aviation Plant expansion in Hooksett, conversion of several mill buildings in Lowell and Lawrence to residential/ commercial use, and a new 1,700-car parking garage at the south end of Manchester’s historic millyard, currently under construction. Just these few projects alone provide hundreds of millions of dollars of new tax base and revenues to the local community,” said Duval.

In 2014, TFMoran acquired MSC Civil Engineers and Surveyors, a well-established civil engineering and surveying firm in Portsmouth, NH. Subsequently, in 2015, TFMoran expanded its structural engineering department by acquisition of Steffensen Engineering Associates with a solid 30-year history of their own. The TFMoran team now comprises over 65 individuals, including licensed land surveyors, civil and structural en­gineers, landscape architects, wetland scientists, LEED professionals, and erosion control (CPESC) specialists.

Jeff Kevan, manager of the civil engineering group, points out that one of TFMoran’s primary strengths is taking on large projects with ag­gressive schedules. “Our team has demonstrated time and again the ability to meet challenging deadlines through teamwork and an innovative approach to the unique needs and opportunities for each project. Our reputation is built on our track record, and our record is evidence of the pride we take in what we do.”

“We have experienced strong growth over the past few years,” said Paul Sbacchi, chief structural engineer. “But growth in itself is not our goal; we plan our growth to better serve our clients. Our clients have their own tight schedules to meet, and we want to be there to help them succeed.”

Cruess is quick to point out that TFMoran is also a great place to work. “We have numerous employees with young families, and so we encourage a ‘family-focused’ culture, with accommodating work schedules, with the opportunity to work from home when need arises.”

Another pillar of TFMoran’s culture is employee safety. Cruess said, “We have made employee safety a top priority. We have a strong safety committee, with a comprehensive and up-to-date Safety Handbook, and field employees receive OSHA 10 Construction Site Safety Training.”

TFMoran strongly encourages its employees to become involved outside the workplace in professional and community organizations. “An involved person is a caring person, and a caring person fits in well at TFMoran,” said Cruess. “We strive to provide all employees the flexibility they need to serve their communities.”

Many TFMoran employees focus their outside energies in state and local government, serving on advisory committees, planning boards, zoning boards, and as elected officials. In this way, TFMoran can use its experience to help shape the regulatory environment to protect the environment and foster economic prosperity.

How would you summarize the TFMoran philosophy? According to Duval, “We want to be leaders and innovators in our industry, and active, responsible members of our communities. We want to take on projects that have a positive impact on their surroundings. And every day, we are grateful for the opportunity to provide all these things while providing superior value to our clients too.”

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Robert Duval Speaks at Northern New England State of Commercial Real Estate 2017 Summit

On Thursday, June 29, 2017 New England Real Estate Journal hosted the Northern New England State of Commercial Real Estate 2017 Summit at the Portsmouth Harbor Events & Conference Center in Portsmouth, NH. TFMoran was a Corporate Sponsor, along with Build-It Construction, Fulcrum, CBRE|Portsmouth and Hinckley Allen. PROCON and Waterstone were the Gold Sponsors and Vendor Sponsors were U.S. Pavement and KANE.

The event started out with networking during a breakfast buffet, followed by 3 sessions of topics addressing Commercial Real Estate, ending with discussions and networking between attendees and speakers. Sessions included Capital Investments & Financing Availability; Construction Projects & Trends; and Real Estate Updates & Trends. TFMoran’s president and Chief Engineer, Robert Duval, PE was asked to speak on the panel addressing Construction Projects & Trends. Some of the topics he addressed included an update on regulatory and permitting issues; a shortage of skilled labor in the workforce (specifically engineering and surveying); and new 3D technology in design and construction. Mr. Duval was one of 15 professionals who spoke on the panels. For a full list of speakers click this link NNE Commercial Real Estate Summit 2017

Nearly 150 people attended this vibrant and engaging Summit, and we are looking forward to the next one. A big thank you to New England Real Estate Journal for putting on a great event and for sharing their photos with us!