An Apartment State Of Mind
December 2, 2021
When you see a brand-new apartment community, do you ever wonder how it all got started? Where once a piece of land or an old building stood now stands a thriving community? Perhaps a look at the freshly painted structure, a view through the windows or doors into the courtyards, a walk through what will one day be someone’s new home, or a tour of the various amenities invites an interest in how things are built. To give you an inside look at Fairfield’s construction development process, we interviewed Executive Vice President of Development Tommy Brunson and Senior Vice President of Construction Rob Salkovitz.
A significant aspect of Fairfield’s fully integrated national multi-family services platform is new construction development. Before designs, drawings and plans of any Fairfield development project take place, a great deal of groundwork is laid. But who does that groundwork and how is it accomplished?
Fairfield projects come to life inside Fairfield’s Development department. There, you will find many Fairfield associates involved in a vibrant turnkey operation. From land purchase to entitlements, design, permits, construction, all the way through to property management and leasing or sale, Fairfield’s Development and Construction departments turn the vision of a project that will provide individuals and families across the United States exceptional living experiences into a reality.
“The development process takes a lot of people, and there are many opportunities within Fairfield for people to participate in this process. It takes great teamwork and communication to begin a project and see it through to fruition.”
– Tommy Brunson
Development and construction efforts go hand-in-hand and are integrated departments throughout Fairfield’s development process. As such, you will find many backgrounds, skills, and talents amongst Fairfield associates in these departments across the United States. This spans a variety of positions, including vice presidents, development managers, liaisons, coordinators, financial analysts, asset managers, project coordinators, administrators, design professionals, marketing experts, and even consultants. Then there are superintendents, contract administrators, project engineers, design managers, construction technicians, interior design managers, accountants, estimators, and due diligence directors, not to mention the extensive labor positions required.
From conception to completion, development projects include many phases and require a vast array of talents and skills.
Across these Development and Construction roles, many associates started their careers in brokerage or acquisitions to gain relevant experience. It’s also helpful to have a background in managing assets. Hands-on project management experience is always a plus.
In the development process, land acquisition comes first. Developers set out to identify parcels of land and consider their potential use. Fairfield strives to find sites that can become multi-family projects.
Once the site is under contract, the pre-development phase begins. Entitlement, feasibility, and due diligence take place first, because developers must make sure their vision is feasible. From sewer, water, and utilities availability to environmental impacts, land use, zoning, access, and many other processes, all possibilities and risks must be taken into consideration.
Next, a public process ensues. Public notices are posted. City planners, land use attorneys, planning commissioners, and city councilpersons may also weigh in on the development vision.
The design process begins once it is determined what the city will allow. Working plans are drawn up, and architects, engineers, and designers are involved at this phase.
All before the construction phase begins, you’ll find Fairfield team members evaluating site and government constraints and opportunities, obtaining financing, seeking permit and land-use approvals, and creating site plans. –. Each type of development, whether large-scale, master-planned, mixed-use, or mixed-income communities or urban infill developments, requires much thought and planning to proceed.
Once this part of the development process is completed, the project is turned over to the Construction department. As a matter of fact, even the property management team is involved in the design phase.
“Fairfield’s role as general contractor commences with preconstruction services and lasts through project completion, managing all construction activities. Success starts with preconstruction activities, which includes working closely with Fairfield’s Design team and network of external consultants who collectively shape the projects design, logistics, schedule(s), etcetera. We collectively plan the work and then work the plan.”
– Rob Salkovitz
Once design and constructability are approved and permits pulled, the construction team must lock in on a budget and a schedule that accommodates it.
As of this writing, Fairfield has 25 active projects nationwide with more to begin by the end of this year. When you consider some of the many aspects of the construction phase of the development process – estimating, scheduling, procurement of equipment, materials and labor, grading, excavating, site conditioning, pouring concrete, framing, roofing, interior and exterior finishing, plus quality control, safety and compliance, punch lists, certificates of completions, final inspections, return of equipment, and clean-up, to name “a few” — you realize all this cannot be accomplished without a robust, experienced, tight-knit team.
As the project materializes and units are developed, Asset Management and Property Management take over.
The picture painted here is a very elementary sketch of an exciting, lengthy, detailed, and rewarding process that involves many people, talents, and skillsets —far too much information to describe in one blog article. The point is that aspiration and inspiration lead to innovation here at Fairfield and growth is baked into our culture. Opportunities for fulfilling careers in our construction development process abound. Apply now! If you or someone you know would like to join our team in construction development, or in any corporate or property management function, we look forward to meeting you.