General Contracting

An epiphany struck you for a new business in an untapped niche. It’s too good to ignore and you set up a meeting with your local design-build firm, hoping to strike while the iron is hot. Settling into the comfortable chair in their office, you ask the first question on your mind: “How quickly can you start building?”

You want a project that started yesterday, and you’ve researched the fastest construction methods. Pre-engineered metal buildings offer an attractively quick build time, and you chose a design-build contractor to make it even faster and more cost-effective. While delayed gratification often results in a better outcome, it’s an elusive skill, and you’re not here for that.

So, with your funding secured and your rough sketch on the back of a napkin, you smile across at the builder. He smiles back and says, “I get asked that question often, and these are the top…”



How long will it take? When do I get to hold the shovel and take a photo? Excitement is natural, and expected, at the onset of a large project. These considerations are essential to a realistic perspective of the current construction environment, but this is not a complete list:

  1. Design time
  2. Permitting time
  3. Time of year/weather constraints
  4. Long lead time material/equipment deliveries
  5. Subcontractors’ availability

Design Time

Automation improves many aspects of life, but building design is not necessarily one of them, and choosing a pre-engineered metal building still requires a design professional. Luckily, this is another area a design-build contractor speeds up the process. In the traditional method, an owner employs a design professional for the plans, then needs to secure a separate contractor. Imagine how much extra work is involved when a plan, inevitably, doesn’t go as originally designed. The change orders quickly add up and can slow a project to a debilitating halt.

In contrast, a will help you decide on a layout within the constraints of your budget, timeframe, and site needs. This is when your dreams and ideas start to take form. Whether you envision a sparkling, window wall and lush, pothos-filled lobby or an insulated metal-paneled cold storage food processing facility, the design team actively plans the project with you.

A design-build firm harnesses the wide berth of skills offered by experienced construction professionals, while keeping it all “under one roof.” Instead of going back and forth between businesses, communicating on several different schedules, your design-build contractor will be with you the whole way, seamlessly communicating with their established team.

Once the layout of your next project is decided, your build team acquires a set of plans to accommodate that layout. All plans are prepared by licensed design professionals and are meticulously reviewed and approved by your team before any work is started. Finally, with these plans in hand and a solid crew behind you, you can trudge through the quagmire of permits.

Or, if you’re not using a design-build contractor, are you still trying to find a construction manager?


Permitting Time

Permits vary widely from one state to another, and through various localities within each state. A seasoned builder can confidently guide you through these processes. Wielding knowledge and connections to know (or find out) what is needed at every turn, they provide an edge in what can be an exceptionally long game. To add to the terror, an inexperienced contractor can lead to missing permits or incorrectly filed paperwork that completely stops forward progress.

What types of permits are usually needed? Zoning permits and their requirements, like these examples from Philadelphia and Ferguson, PA, are what first pops to mind. In truth, there are so, so many types, like:

  1. Special exceptions
  2. Stormwater management
  3. Department of Environmental Protection permits
  4. Foundation permits
  5. Structural component permits
  6. Energy code permits
  7. Americans with Disability Act Accessibility permits
  8. Separate plumbing, HVAC, Electrical, permits

And this is not an all-inclusive list. As you can imagine, it’s also best if an experienced hand is coordinating all these permits with construction schedules. One failure here, like a game of Jenga, causes a domino effect of lost time.


Seasonal weather constraints

For conventional or pre-engineered construction, you cannot build in a lightning storm, a blizzard, or a hurricane. This makes construction during certain seasons particularly challenging in much of the world. So, what can you do to minimize weather constraints on your next project?

As Metal Construction News notes, “metal buildings… have shorter construction durations because of their ability to be erected in less-than-ideal weather conditions.” Pre-engineered metal building components arrive ready to assemble, rather than being fabricated on-site like with conventional steel construction. Pre-punched assembly holes and components tested and designed to fit together assure speedy building erection, but the weather can still slow movement.

Though pre-engineered metal buildings can offer quicker build times in some scenarios, the next consideration can quickly remove any gains in your timeline. How can you start if you don’t have your supplies?


Long lead time, material/equipment deliveries

Two waves are about to crash in the sea of building construction. One wave carries the high demand for steel and its slowly increasing supply going into 2022, and the other wave bears a backlog of projects and newly energized future owners waiting to begin.

Deliveries of everything from toilet paper to construction equipment and machinery are slower than normally expected. Much like that package you’ve been waiting for, expected delivery dates are also sometimes changed. Prudently preparing for these possibilities can affect the entire timeline of a project in today’s environment.


Subcontractors’ availability

Masters of masonry, concrete and cement craftsmen, and woodworking virtuosos often work as independent subcontractors — the finest skilled at their craft also have full schedules. Long standing contractors build relationships with these artisans, though this does not always assure availability.

While the demand for skilled tradesmen has been high for some time, a lack of people entering these fields has further stressed the issue. Planning around the availability of subcontractors and optimizing these schedules to coincide with your start date needs to be integrated into the larger project plan.



Deciding your start date requires consideration of several crucial factors. Preparing yourself for a reasonable outcome, rather than expecting to jump right in, can properly align your expectations. Regardless of the context, correctly aligned expectations lead to an easier build for you.

If you are interested in a consultation for an upcoming project, please give us a call at 717-776-6337. We would love to help.




Construction Process

Top construction trends in 2022

Throughout the course of 2021, the construction industry saw some significant challenges, as well as new opportunities. As much as we were all hoping the pandemic would subside and America would return to a sense of normalcy, we managed to charge through 2021 even with its challenges. Staff shortages, inflated material costs, and COVID-19 regulations were just a few of the top pain points for the industry; however, not everything was an uphill battle. Technological advancements, like the use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, increased automation, and a shift to modular construction, has begun to pave a new road for the industry. Here are the twists, turns, and ups and downs you can expect in 2022.

Design-Build Popularity

One of the largest trends we will see in 2022 is the continued growth of design-build popularity. This is when a single contract is in place for both the construction and design of the build. Many clients opt for this for a few reasons. First, it encourages a fluid approach of the project, from beginning to end. Second, there is a single source of responsibility. This means there’s reduction in communication issues, and a boost in steady workflow. Finally, as a result, projects can be completed faster, benefiting not only the construction business, but most importantly, the clients they serve. Learn more about the Galbraith difference and how we provide the design-build difference.

New Technologies

The development and implementation of new technologies are making a significant impact on the construction industry. The limit of these new advancements is rather nonexistent. From 3D printing opportunities to provide scaled displays of projects and materials, to using drones to facilitate site surveys, the industry is seeing great opportunities to increase efficiency and business abilities. Additionally, the increase in smart-home technologies has caused a substantial change in the construction of homes themselves. Being cognizant of the digital transformations within households is a massive change that one cannot expect to slow down anytime soon.

Sustainable Construction Methods

Another emerging trend within the construction sector we have seen over the course of 2021, and is projected to continue in the construction industry, is sustainable construction methods. Although many clients may believe this is simply renewable energy options like solar, there are options that go beyond traditional solar panels. We’ve seen an increase in green roofs within commercial designs, allowing for excess water to be absorbed within the soil, effectively watering the plant life growing from the building roof. Beyond a unique aesthetic, air quality is also increased. Furthermore, many builders are opting for green building materials like clay or recycled glass and steel.


Additionally, in the Midwest, we experience a variety of weather conditions throughout the year, with temperature swings of 100 degrees or more. In order to maintain consistent production, the construction industry has also seen an uptick in modular construction. Modular construction is the construction of an entire building, or some of its pieces, in a controlled environment. This is done off-site and outside of the elements, allowing for continued construction that otherwise may be difficult due to extreme weather conditions. After the off-site construction is complete, the build is moved to its location.

Improved Safety Measures

As we progress through 2022, we can expect to see an increase in safety measures. In 2021 the biggest emphasis with construction safety seemed to gravitate toward COVID-19; however, as we move into 2022, we’ll see them expand beyond disease control.


According to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary, posted in December 2021, construction related fatalities accounted for almost half of all occupational deaths in 2020. We, as an industry, must do better. This includes an increase in employee safety training, health screenings, completion of accident reports, and safety inspections. In addition, safety trends are also going to be shifting to follow-ups. Meaning, completing the safety checks and accident reports are important, but it should lead to a follow up action based on the results.


For instance, if there is a significant percentage of safety checks failing in a certain area, there should be additional training for the crew that is responsible for those specific duties. Similarly, if there are accident trends showing accident and injury types, training should take place to educate employees to reduce the risk of these accidents to prevent injury in the first place. Follow up will be a major safety trend in the construction space in 2022.


The final construction trend we’ll see in 2022 is the use of automation. Truth be told, automation has been a part of the construction industry for years. Whether it was the implementation of vehicles to transport, or the use of cranes to move materials, automation has been evolving for some time now. With the growth in technological advancements, the use of automation will continue to expand. Although this will increase productivity, one of the looming fears is how this will impact the workforce.


With surveys being released stating millions of workers will be displaced within the next 35 years, due to the rise in automation, many are left feeling uncertain. There is no doubt automation can increase efficiency and reduce project times; however, the need for physical workers will always be present, especially at Galbraith Construction.


If you are interested in a consultation for an upcoming project, please give us a call at 717-776-6337. We would love to help.



What is Modular Construction?

Modular construction is the construction of an entire building, or some of its pieces, in a controlled environment. This is done off-site and outside of the elements, allowing for continued construction that otherwise may be difficult due to extreme weather conditions. After the off-site construction is complete, the build is moved to its location.

What is Design-Build?

This is when a single contract is in place for both the construction and design of the build. Many clients opt for this for a few reasons. First, it encourages a fluid approach of the project, from beginning to end. Second, there is a single source of responsibility. This means there’s reduction in communication issues, and a boost in steady workflow.

Why Should Safety Measures be Improved in 2022?

According to the Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries Summary, posted in December 2021, construction related fatalities accounted for almost half of all occupational deaths in 2020

Contractor Safety

6 Tips to Better Manage Your Winter Construction Projects

Given the choice, most contractors prefer summer for construction projects and consider winter to be their slow season. After all, summer means more hours of daylight and better weather. On the other hand, winter construction projects face shorter days, weather unpredictability, moisture, and cold and freezing temperatures that hinder all aspects of a job from fuel costs to worker efficiency. But does construction stop during the winter on your job sites just because it’s harder? Probably not. That’s why proper planning and tools are essential to stay ahead of construction issues caused by winter conditions and keep your crew steadily working year-round. These 6 tips are a good place to start when building out your budget and timeline. 

Realistic Budgeting For Successful Winter Construction

In most construction contracts, builders are not allowed to recoup costs due to weather delays unless they are truly unforeseeable. That means that good budgeting during the bid process becomes even more important for construction in winter. One of the most valuable tools you should have is a good project manager who can look at bids and estimates with a critical eye. Because cold weather increases costs of each step during a building project and also slows down machinery and your crew, building in budget items that take those issues into account is key. 

It is also important to look at historical data on temperatures and snowfall so you can more accurately plan for how many days your crew might not be able to work and what your contingency and/or general conditions budgets should look like. By placing these potential budget impacts into the contract from the beginning, you can save yourself from unexpected financial hits when weather takes a turn for the worse. Of course, planning does not solve everything and unanticipated issues do sometimes arise, which is why you should always keep excellent records in case there are opportunities to recoup incurred costs if you happen to experience a surprisingly intense season.

Tackling Ground Freeze on Project Sites

If you are experiencing a mild winter where the sun comes out during the day, then you might not have to deal with the ground freeze issues that prolonged, sub-zero temperatures can bring. But if you are in an extremely cold environment, frozen earth will make excavation harder and will require the ground to be thawed before you begin pouring foundation in winter. Preventing ground freeze is the easiest and least expensive option to making sure you are still able to dig in the winter. Pay close attention to the weather and, if you are anticipating weeks of below-freezing temperatures, take steps to protect the ground. Materials such as straw or insulation blankets can help keep the earth pliable and also keep your tools and equipment safe. If insulation efforts fail then you’ll need ground heaters, heating blankets, or heated enclosures that will thaw out the ice before you can move forward with construction in winter. 

Laying Concrete in Cold Weather

Pouring foundation in the winter means building in precautions to prevent freezing both before and after you plan to lay the concrete. If you have insulated your excavated site, then you’re already ahead of the curve. It is not possible to effectively pour a safe foundation if the ground is frozen so if your insulation efforts failed or if you didn’t plan for insulation, you will have to thaw your site with heaters before proceeding. 

Before you get started, you should also ensure you are using a weather-appropriate concrete mix and that you are storing your dry mix and tools in a warm place before use. Once your foundation is poured, you’ll still need to keep the concrete from freezing for at least 24-48 hours. The concrete curing process is temperature-sensitive and failing to keep your new foundation from freezing will permanently damage the strength and durability.  

Account for Increased Fuel costs

Warmth on a winter construction site is vital for success and maintaining that warmth often means specialized heaters that will increase your fuel usage. In fact, fuel can be the biggest expense when it comes to heating a jobsite, and your fuel usage might also increase in other equipment, such as concrete mixers, during cold snaps. Don’t underestimate the impact this can have on your budget and make sure you factor in expenses due to decreased fuel efficiency in existing equipment or higher fuel demand for winter-specific equipment during the bid process to limit budgetary surprises for both you and the client. 

Think About Snow Removal

Always plan ahead for snow storms. Not building snow removal plans into the budget or waiting until after a snow storm to come up with a plan will put your project behind schedule and increase costs. Simply thinking through what specific conditions should be met to warrant snow removal can help strike the right balance between keeping you moving forward with construction in the winter and meeting budget. For some snow removal, crew members can likely be trained to safely clear the site but it may be worth considering an outside snow removal company for particularly bad snows or if your crew doesn’t have the expertise or equipment to manage it in-house. No matter how you address snow removal, snowy sites increase safety risks and OSHA offers some best practices that will help prevent cold-weather injuries.

Cold Weather Construction Time Costs

Cold weather slows everything down: your crew will have fewer daylight hours, layers of clothing mean reduced movement, cold hands reduce dexterity, commutes can get snarled, supply deliveries may be delayed, and equipment can be sluggish. None of these delays mean that you can’t be profitable during the winter—after all, slower work is better than no work—but advanced planning, building in longer timelines for winter conditions construction, and thinking through scheduling can mitigate delays. If possible, plan for parts of your project that are less impacted by moisture and cold to be completed during the months where inclement weather is likely. If that’s not possible, stay aware of the many small ways cold slows down equipment and people and how they could impact your project delivery timeline. 

If you’re looking for a partner who values relationships with their clients and understands best practices in moving projects forward, even in less-than-ideal conditions, contact GALBRAITH/Pre-Design, Inc today. We look forward to working with you on your next commercial, industrial, or institutional design-build project.



How do you budget for a winter construction project?

Look at historical data on temperatures and snowfall so you can more accurately plan for how many days your crew might not be able to work and what your contingency and/or general conditions budgets should look like. By placing these potential budget impacts into the contract from the beginning, you can save yourself from unexpected financial hits when weather takes a turn for the worse.

How to lay concrete in cold weather?

If you have insulated your excavated site, then you’re already ahead of the curve. It is not possible to effectively pour a safe foundation if the ground is frozen so if your insulation efforts failed or if you didn’t plan for insulation, you will have to thaw your site with heaters before proceeding. Before you get started, you should also ensure you are using a weather-appropriate concrete mix and that you are storing your dry mix and tools in a warm place before use. Once your foundation is poured, you’ll still need to keep the concrete from freezing for at least 24-48 hours. The concrete curing process is temperature-sensitive and failing to keep your new foundation from freezing will permanently damage the strength and durability.  

How to deal with snow in a winter construction project?

For some snow removal, crew members can likely be trained to safely clear the site but it may be worth considering an outside snow removal company for particularly bad snows or if your crew doesn’t have the expertise or equipment to manage it in-house.

Construction Hiring

How to attract millennials and Gen Z to work in construction.

Talk about worker shortages have hit national news the past few months with many businesses scrambling to staff up to meet demand. But for construction, this is nothing new. The construction industry has been battling a skills and worker shortage for decades and estimates show the industry will need to hire 430,000 construction workers this year and 1 million more over the next two years in order to keep up.

The push toward college over the past generation and the drastic drop in trades offered in high school made recruiting a real challenge for years—but the tides are turning. Millennials in construction are now aged between 25-40 and it’s time to turn our attention to the next wave of workers who do not want debt, care about the environment, and are values-driven. The good news is that the construction industry already checks these boxes and many more.

Here are some tips on how to recruit Gen Z into construction and build out your pipeline for skilled workers.

How to Recruit Gen Z? First, Get Into Schools

Exposure to trades in high school is not only important for solving the low workforce in construction, it’s incredibly valuable to students. It lowers drop out rates and offers options for what comes next, especially for students who know that a traditional 4-year degree isn’t right for them. Trades are less frequently offered as classes than they once were but many schools and teachers are still open to creating opportunities for professionals to visit classrooms and share their experiences. Additionally, think about ways you can connect to students outside of school by offering events that demonstrate what construction work actually looks like and having industry veterans share their stories.

While high school is a critical time to reach prospective employees, don’t leave out college students. Job fairs, networking events, and campus groups are a great way to get in front of young people who are looking for their next step. Consider bringing along one of your younger employees who may have recently graduated to speak on why they chose this path and the benefits it offers.

Lead with Values for Strong Construction Hiring

Generation Z wants to work for companies and industries that match their values and are doing good in the world. Here are some ways you can align with this aspect:

Highlight the ways you’re giving back and get your workers involved. Chances are, your company is already heavily involved in the community. It’s important to showcase that, but there are other ways to let your younger team members get some skin in the game. Consider encouraging suggestions for volunteer opportunities or fundraising events and then letting the person who suggested it drive that effort. Not only will you create a sense of ownership and connection, but it will help younger workers build leadership skills.

Lean into green construction. This industry historically has contributed to pollution and is a huge consumer of resources, but green construction techniques are changing that. For a generation so heavily concerned about the environment, the construction industry is an option for work that can truly make a difference in long-term sustainability.
Highlight technology. Whether you’re using drones to map a construction site, modeling a project with BIM, or conducting virtual trainings, technology is finding a home in construction and that’s important to attracting Gen Z workers.

It’s Not (Only) About the Money

Generation Z wants financial stability and a path to advancement. Of course, salary is an important part of that. But don’t get tripped up by thinking that simply increasing compensation is the way to attract and keep this new generation of workers. The pay is already good—averaging well above minimum wage across the country—and workers don’t have to go into huge amounts of debt to get there. Instead, focus on mentorship and career advancement.

Pair your younger workers with someone who can help them navigate your company and industry. In addition to hands-on training, offer feedback and development opportunities for softer skills like communication, leadership, and teamwork.
Build a path forward. Simply taking the time to understand what new hires are looking for and working with them to develop and achieve learning goals and a path to advancement is a great step. You will benefit from an internal pipeline of skilled-up workers, and your team will benefit from adding tools to their toolboxes.

Get Online

Recruiting Generation Z means you might need to step out of your construction hiring comfort zone and log on. Gen Z is aged between 6-24 and they expect to be able to find jobs, make connections, and learn about a potential employer online.

Check your online presence. Make sure you’re highlighting your values, what you have to offer, and ways to connect in your online content.
Consider adding social media. Construction is dynamic and interesting, but most people don’t have an accurate picture of what a career in construction would look like. You can use social media to highlight your workers, show what it’s like to actually work on a project, and dig into how construction is evolving through technology.
Let your team recruit for you. Both good and bad experiences get amplified online because this generation is not afraid to share. Happy Gen Zers will help recruit their friends when they enjoy what they do.

The bottom line is that the construction industry offers rewarding jobs with opportunities for advancement, and careers are accessible without acquiring huge amounts of debt. Most importantly, construction workers are happy, making this industry a great fit for Generation Z.

As a family-owned business with deep roots in our community, we prioritize excellence and relationships on all of our projects. If you’re looking for a partner for your next project, contact GALBRAITH today.

General Contracting

Construction project management tips

The construction industry is no stranger to inconveniences, delays, and other operational challenges. From budget inaccuracies to legal agreements, a project can quickly go off course without the proper leadership and management in place. Many builders are opting to hire project managers to help the company gain control of how long a project takes to complete as well as how much money it costs. 

We’ve summarized the responsibilities of a project manager and the many benefits of utilizing construction project management for a new building project. Keep reading to learn all about the importance of construction project management. 

What Does a Construction Project Manager Do? 

A project manager has a wide range of responsibilities. In a nutshell, their job is to keep a building project on budget and on time by planning and closely monitoring each step of the process. The following are common duties of construction project managers. 

Planning and Organizing

Construction project managers, or CPMs, work with both clients and internal teams in the pre-construction phase of development on a project. They create detailed plans and sort out the logistics for the building sites. CPMs also provide clients with price estimates and budget requirements.

Contract Management

Project managers oftentimes decide which workers to assign to a job. They coordinate and negotiate contracts while also supervising the work done by subcontractors. They also oversee contracts with the clients. 

Setting Deadlines 

For builders, the longer a project lasts, the more it is going to cost. A project manager is responsible for project scheduling and identifying an accurate project timeline. They monitor progress, set deadlines, and ensure a project is on track during construction.


One of the greatest responsibilities of a CPM is anticipating problems in the project management process and dealing with them proactively. Project managers closely monitor the construction site’s progress to catch issues early and foresee delays. Ensuring the project is properly defined from the beginning can help prevent delay-causing changes down the line.

Managing Construction Budgets

One of the main duties of a CPM is managing a project’s budget, making cost efficiency a priority. Managers must deliver accurate costs to the client and actively track where money is going. 

Improving Safety

On any construction worksite, safety must be taken seriously. Project managers ensure workers are taking the proper precautions to avoid unnecessary accidents. They actively identify and address potential problem areas, making sure everything complies with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines.

Complying with Legal Requirements 

In conjunction with contract management, a CPM needs an understanding of applicable laws, permits, and contracts for proper planning. Only with legal requirements in mind can a builder begin work on-site. 

Evaluating the Finished Job

Even after a project is complete, a construction project manager’s job is not done. Once finished, the CPM will evaluate both how efficiently the job was completed and what areas could use improvement on future worksites. 

The Benefits of Having a Construction Project Manager 

With the responsibilities of a construction project manager in mind, one can already see some of the benefits of working with one on a building project. In the same way that oil lubricates a machine, CPMs keep a building project running smoothly and increase the chances of completing a project successfully.

Construction as an industry can be complex—there are a lot of moving parts. Having a central person or team to manage the building process can influence a more effective project completion. The following are three of the top benefits of working with a construction project manager.

Save Costs

Did you know that nine out of every 10 construction projects will go over budget? Projects typically go over budget when plans are not created with accurate figures or when other unforeseen changes occur during the building process. Project management is a very important part of saving costs. This is especially true because small, uncaught errors in the building process can lead to major expenses. 

Having a project manager can help by monitoring costs throughout the entire process, identifying where expenses can be reduced or eliminated. Keeping a close eye on budget information can mitigate unnecessary spending so builders can align efforts closely with estimated costs. 

Improve Communication

With the help of a CPM, clients and internal team members can better communicate with each other, leaving less room for costly miscommunication mistakes. Project managers are the main point of contact for construction clients and often maintain the primary interactions with the client. One of the most important duties of a project manager is communicating project specs clearly with stakeholders and workers. 

A project manager collects feedback from workers to further efforts towards efficiency. They lead the team, delegating and assigning workers to specific tasks. Great communication skills are a must for a project manager. They utilize these skills to keep construction teams on task and give stakeholders a transparent look at how the process is going as well as how much it will cost. 

Stay on Schedule

A CPM must keep projects on schedule as best they can, despite some delays being unavoidable. Construction project delays can have several causes, including the following:

  • Inaccurate budgets
  • Scheduling conflicts with subcontractors
  • Labor shortages
  • Slow approvals
  • Miscommunication
  • Severe weather
  • Supply chain disruptions or delays
  • Legal hiccups

While project managers cannot control obstacles such as weather or raw material shortages, they can manage other common delay causes. By abiding by legalities and closely monitoring logistics, having proper project management and project scheduling will enhance productivity and keep teams on track.

Trust GALBRAITH and Butler Manufacturing with Your Next Construction Project

GALBRAITH measures the success of a project by customer satisfaction. We have expertise in numerous sectors ranging from food processing services to concrete construction. And with over 25 years of experience, we have the systems in place to complete projects within the confines of both your time frame and budget! 

The GALBRAITH team also proudly partners with Butler Manufacturing to not only provide a holistic construction experience, but ensure the highest quality of materials is used. Using pre-engineered steel building systems from Butler allows us to provide the most efficient and effective construction method in the low-rise construction marketplace.

We’ve completed projects in fifteen different states and have familiarized ourselves with local regulations. Plus, we pride ourselves on adapting to your schedule. With GALBRAITH, your project can be completed around your working hours and at your convenience.  

Request a free consultation for your next construction project and experience the Galbraith difference today!

Commercial Design, General Contracting, Multi-Family Structure

Building and Maintaining Multifamily Structures

Back in June, a condominium collapsed in Surfside, Florida, resulting in the death of 98 people. The Champlain Towers was a 12-story condominium complex with 136 units built in 1981. On June 24, the South Tower collapsed at 1:25 AM, causing an underground fire—an additional obstacle for emergency responders on top of accounting for all the residents in the building. This “unexpected” collapse prompted an investigation as to what caused this catastrophe.

This multi-family structure was due for its 40-year recertification inspection this year, but the warning signs that this structure was unstable emerged years ago. A report released back in 2018 identified issues with the concrete at Champlain Towers South, such as cracking and exposed rebar. Additionally, the pool deck caused significant damages to the building’s overall structure. According to Frank Morabito, the engineer responsible for the 2018 report, an issue prevented proper water drainage in the pool. Despite the costly repairs and disturbance for the residents, Morabito suggested a complete reconstruction. On the other hand, the responding building official claimed the condo was in good condition, so repairs were not immediately needed. Following the report, no repairs were made to the building partially due to the lack of urgency from Morabito and lack of support from building officials.

An estimated $15 million in repairs, expected to start in April 2021, was approved for the building’s 40-year recertification process.

Based on a study reported by USA Today in 2020, between the years 1993 and 1999, evidence showed the building was sinking around 2 millimeters a year. Yet, officials claimed any previous warning signs were not enough to cause the condo to collapse.

Following the condo collapse, investigators discovered water damage along with structural corrosion. Federal investigators released a video last month that showed proof of extensive corrosion and overcrowded concrete reinforcement. The video indicated steel reinforcement in different parts of the building was densely packed.

These red flags should have been enough reason for The Champlain Towers to implement preventive and routine maintenance. Yet, they waited until the 40-year recertification to make any effort in the building’s upkeep. 

What is the lesson learned for the construction industry? It is vitally important to find contractors who will prioritize the highest quality, structural integrity, and safety in all construction projects while acting with a sense of urgency.

The Role of Contractors

At GALBRAITH, we specialize in commercial, industrial, and institutional construction. We prioritize integrity, honesty, and value engineering, ensuring the highest level of quality with a favorable bottom line. To combat building inspection and code compliance issues, we use our resources to provide safe worksites and emphasize safety by adhering to strict safety standards to minimize risk.

Our team is experienced with building maintenance, especially in multi-family structures, to prevent the need for emergency repairs or, worst-case scenario, unimaginable disasters such as the one mentioned previously. By thoroughly inspecting each building, we can determine the necessary repairs while working around your business needs.

As construction experts, preventative problem-solving is essential to identify potential issues before they arise and to anticipate any unexpected changes. Contractors need to be familiar with the construction materials and the environment in which they are building, while also being proactive in making recommendations to prevent further issues.

GALBRAITH provides top-rated concrete construction services, and we mix our own concrete to keep projects on schedule. Through expertise and experience working with concrete, we understand the factors that need to be considered for successful construction.

The Surfside condo collapse shows that our responsibility as contractors is to provide job site safety and ensure that the project is on-time while meeting the necessary code compliance on all facets.

Why a Maintenance Schedule is Important

A regular maintenance schedule is essential to ensure that a building’s structure or any equipment is maintained correctly, so it causes minimal disruption to its operations. Additionally, scheduled maintenance can save money due to costs associated with productivity. When a building’s structure or equipment breaks down due to lack of care, more time is spent trying to resolve the issue, leading to a loss of productivity.

Here are some items to include in a maintenance schedule:

Preventative Maintenance 

Preventative maintenance implements the necessary processes or guidelines to predict and prevent failures before they happen. Regular maintenance involves ensuring that everything is in proper condition before it breaks down, including inspection or servicing.

Routine Maintenance 

Routine maintenance involves scheduling ongoing maintenance tasks to diagnose any issues before it leads to equipment failure. Unlike preventative maintenance, routine maintenance consists of smaller tasks that do not require much skill or training and takes less time.

Fire Code Safety 

Fire code safety is necessary for any building maintenance, especially multi-family structures. Creating a fire-resistant building can aid in saving lives by reducing flammability. Fire safety also includes the necessary warning or detection systems to prevent fire from spreading throughout the building.

Remedial Work Schedules 

Remedial work schedules plan for any defects in a building that may come up from inspection after construction is already completed. If remedial work is included in construction agreements, contractors can quickly dive in and fix any defects. Remedial work costs time and money since it is important to perform the repairs without adding further damage.

Maintenance Checklist

In order to ensure the reliability of buildings or equipment, it’s essential to have a maintenance checklist to determine the basic routine and preventative actions to help businesses achieve their goals by monitoring all the tasks required for regular maintenance.

Developing Relationships with Contractors You Trust

While there are many factors that come into play when it comes to the condominium collapse, we can see the lack of support from building officials in the reconstruction as suggested by Morabito led to this traffic event. When it comes to your business, developing a relationship with a team you trust is vital. You won’t have to second guess their recommendations and can rest assured that they’re working with you and your customer in mind.

How GALBRAITH/Pre-Design, Inc. Can Help Your Business

At GALBRAITH/Pre-Design, Inc., we value the relationships we have with our clients. Originating with pre-design services, we have grown to become an award-winning small family business that maintains the highest quality—with one of our areas of expertise being multi-family structure development, maintenance, and renovation.

We have over 25 years of experience, and we perform all phases of a project with our own crews to guarantee the closest attention to detail as we strive for customer satisfaction. We look forward to working with you on your next project!

Schedule a free consultation for your next project today!

Construction Process, Contractor Safety, General Contracting

Safety in construction

With longer daylight hours and warmer weather, summer is the prime building season across the country. You don’t have to combat the constant rain of spring or the frozen ground of winter. It’s also a time for construction companies to find more interested seasonal workers to hire larger teams to accommodate for larger construction projects.

However, longer hours in the sunlight and rising temperatures means your team will be working for extended periods of time in the heat, increasing the hazards that come along with summer weather. Heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke are all significant dangers that construction foremen, supervisors, and managers need to be aware of to keep all employees safe.

Outdoor Construction Workers are at a Higher Risk for Heat-Related Illnesses

Due to the nature of the job, employees working at outdoor job sites are exposed to the elements. For most of the United States, the warmest days of the year occur sometime between mid-July and mid-August. That’s right in the middle of many building projects. 

With the extent of the physical labor required at the job site in combination with the temperature, humidity, sunlight exposure, and in some cases, lack of wind, thousands of workers suffer from heat-related illnesses each year. Roofing projects in particular are dangerous with temperatures on these surfaces reaching higher than 150°F. 50%-70% of outdoor fatalities occur in the first few days of working in hot environments due to the body’s need to build a heat tolerance gradually.

Monitor Outdoor Construction Workers for These Heat-Related Disorders

It’s essential to be aware of the risks for the heat-related disorders that are up against your employees. Below are the top three.

Heat Stroke

Categorized as the most serious heat-related disorder, heat stroke occurs as a result of prolonged exposure to or physical exertion in high temperatures, increasing internal body temperatures to 104°F or higher. This heat injury requires emergency treatment. If untreated, heat stroke can damage the brain, heart, kidneys, and muscles, sometimes resulting in death.

Symptoms of heat stroke include: 

  • High body temperature
  • Altered mental state or behavior
  • Alteration in sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Flushed skin
  • Rapid breathing
  • Racing heart rate
  • Headache

If you believe one of your employees is suffering from heat stroke, call 911 and take immediate action to cool the overheated person. You can bring them indoors where there is A/C or move them to a shaded area. Remove excess clothing and cool the person with whatever means available, whether that is with ice, cool water from a hose, or pouring cold water bottles onto towels and laying them on the person’s head, neck, armpits, and groin.

Heat Exhaustion

This mid-level heat-related injury occurs when the body overheats due to high temperature exposure (sometimes combined with high humidity and physical exertion). Without proper treatment, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke, mentioned above.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include: 

  • Cool, moist skin
  • Heavy sweating
  • Faintness
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Weak and rapid pulse
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nausea
  • Headache

If someone on the job site is experiencing heat exhaustion, have them stop all activity and rest in a cooler location (like a shaded area or indoors with A/C). Have them drink cool water or a sports drink. If symptoms worsen or don’t improve within one hour, seek immediate medical attention and follow the steps above for heat stroke.

Heat Cramps

Because of the high level of physical activity on a construction site, workers may experience painful, involuntary muscle spasms—more intense and prolonged than your typical nighttime charley horse. Fluid loss due to high temperatures and electrolyte loss due to intense exercise contribute to heat cramps.

If you suspect your construction workers are experiencing heat cramps, have them briefly rest and cool down. They should drink clear juice or an electrolyte solution like a sports drink. Massaging the cramping area also helps the affected muscles. The employee should not resume strenuous activity for several hours after the heat cramps occur. If symptoms do not improve within one hour, they should call their doctor and make an appointment to be seen.

Improving Outdoor Construction Safety

Workers who are not fully acclimated to the hot weather, 65 years of age or older, are overweight, have heart disease or high blood pressure, or take certain medications are all at a greater risk for one of the heat-related illnesses above.

You can be directly responsible for keeping your outdoor contractors safe by:

  • Increasing the number of workers per task need at the job site
  • Offering air-conditioned/cooler areas for recovery times
  • Having all foremen, supervisors, and managers trained in identifying heat-related symptoms
  • Providing adequate amounts of cool, drinkable water
  • Encouraging workers to hydrate frequently to the point of never becoming thirsty
  • Telling contractors to wear light-colored, loose-fitting, breathable clothing as well as UV protected glasses and brimmed headwear
  • Planning for those on the job sites to do the hardest work in the morning when it’s coolest
  • Implementing a buddy system where co-workers keep an eye on each other to identify early symptoms of heat-related illnesses

By educating yourself and your employees on the causes and symptoms of heat stroke, heat exhaustion, and heat cramps, your team will be more prepared to identify and prevent these heat-related illnesses from occurring on your job sites. In turn, this makes outdoor work for your contractors safer, allowing you to beat the heat.

If you’re looking for a partner who values relationships with their clients as much as you value the safety of your employees, contact GALBRAITH/Pre-Design, Inc today. We look forward to working with you on your next commercial, industrial, or institutional design-build project.

Construction Process, Green Building

Most Popular Green Building Techniques for Sustainability

78% of people are more likely to purchase a product that is clearly labeled as environmentally friendly. 96% of people feel like their actions, such as their buying power, can make a difference. It’s no wonder larger brands like Amazon, McCormick, HP, and Pratt & Whitney are moving sustainable business practices to the top of their priority list. 

In 2018 alone, the construction industry produced about 60 million tons of waste in the United States, which begs the question: What are you doing to reduce waste and become more sustainable in the construction industry, and have you considered green building?


Green Building Continues Its Ascent in the Global Marketplace

Green building is a resource-efficient method of construction that produces healthier buildings that have less impact on the environment and cost less to maintain. This sustainable approach to construction accounts for a building’s entire life cycle: siting, design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation and demolition.

Client demands largely trigger the growth of green buildings, which as we’ve seen from the consumer to the commercial level, doesn’t seem to be slowing down.


Green Building Techniques Increasing in Popularity

Clay Plaster and Brick

Clay material is extremely versatile and can be used in many different ways in construction. Clay plaster can be used in place of regular plaster as well as paint as it doesn’t give off any harmful toxins during and after application and installation. It also helps to fight humidity and indoor airborne toxins that may be found in buildings. Like clay plaster, clay brick doesn’t release harmful toxins. It can be recycled and is known for its low maintenance, permanence, and durability. Clay bricks are also energy efficient as they aid in temperature stability.

Recycled Glass

Glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly without loss in quality or purity and can be substituted for up to 95% of raw materials. Recycled glass is a great material to use when building infrastructure as it can be quite harmful to the environment when discarded. Glass produced from recycled glass reduces related air pollution by 20% and related water pollution by 50%.


Mycelium comes from the root of a mushroom and while it is widely used as an eco-friendly alternative for packing materials, it is slowly rising in popularity as a good material to use for construction. Mycelium can be made into bricks or used for insulation. The tissue of mycelium is fireproof, non-toxic, water-resistant and it has proven to be stronger than concrete. 

Reclaimed or Recycled Wood

Reclaimed or recycled wood can be used in green builds for a more natural look while still reducing an ecological footprint by using used wood instead of new wood. It also reduces the devastating impact of deforestation and has much lower emissions than the logging, transport and processing of new wood. Plus, with the rising cost of building materials, using recycled wood cuts costs.

Recycled Steel

Steel is one of the most recycled materials in the world. It’s extremely strong and durable and doesn’t lose its properties after being recycled, making it the perfect material to use for a strong, green build. In fact, steel can be recycled indefinitely and be used for green roofs. Even after incineration, steel can be recovered for recycling.


AshCrete is used as an alternative to concrete and is made out of 97% recycled material. Since AshCrete has smaller pores and requires less water in the mixture, it’s a material that’s found to be stronger than Portland concrete. The fine particles within AshCreate reduce permeability—one of the main causes of premature failure in concrete projects.

Straw Bale

Straw might not be the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about building materials (especially knowing what happens in The Three Little Pigs). In reality, straw is an excellent material to use for green buildings. The bales are made from waste products and are a less expensive way to achieve thick walls in your building. It’s renewable and has great insulation properties that can be used for temperature stability, making it energy efficient. The harvesting of straw is an environmentally friendly process and the material is 100% biodegradable when the time comes.


Due to its lightweight and elasticity, the use of bamboo as a building material is popular in areas of the world where earthquakes, hurricanes, and typhoons strike more frequently. Bamboo is one of the strongest building materials, having the same strength ratio as steel and almost twice the compression ratio of concrete. Just like straw, harvesting bamboo is an environmentally friendly process since it grows fast and reduces pollution white it grows.


Ferrock is made out of ground-up glass and recycled steel that was turned to dust. Both of these materials combined make this concrete-like material. Ferrock not only acts as a strong cement but it helps to reduce CO2 and aids in reducing pollution. Plus, Ferrock costs less in transportation and labor movement as it weighs 10-25% less than normal cement. 


Cork’s multifaceted use in green building construction is making it one of the best up-and-coming materials. It can also be used for walls, floors, and ceilings. With its 200 million air cells per cubic inch, it acts as a cushion absorbing vibrations and direct impacts. While cork is eco-friendly, it’s also water and mold-resistant. It can be used for insulation, is renewable, and can be reused without losing its properties.


Applicable Sustainable Building Practices

As consumer demand for green building and building methods increase, sustainable building practices must as well. Looking for further information on sustainable construction? Check out our blog, Sustainable Construction 101, here. And, if you’re in search of guidance on how to go green on your next construction project, give us a call today.

Commercial Design, Commercial Office Construction, Hybrid Office

The Latest Trends in Commercial Workplace Construction

It goes without saying that this past year has been hard on many companies and employees, regardless of the industry. When taking a look back to March 2020, the hot topic in most workplaces was the transition to remote work. The internet was buzzing with words like “quarantine,” “social distancing,” and the infamous “COVID-19.”

Now, a whole 15 months later, we are finally seeing a light at the end of the tunnel and getting back to “normal.” The internet is now stirring with words such as “back to work” and “hybrid workplace.” As more and more employees are breaking out of their home offices and returning to the in-person workplace, there is an increasing need for workplace design and construction that encompasses safety, efficiency, and the tools necessary to collaborate with virtual teams. 

Luckily, Galbraith is specifically positioned to update your office space or build new spaces with the latest workplace aspects to accommodate our new normal. Check out our past designs here.

How many employees are expected to return to work, in-person and hybrid?

While companies and employees are talking about getting back to work, we often wonder: How many are actually getting back to the in-person workplace and how many are switching to a hybrid format? 

Lucky, Deloitte surveyed 275 clients in April of 2021 and asked these exact questions. 

Here are some key findings from the survey:

  • 64% plan to physically return to the workplace (either fully or hybrid) in 2021.
  • As employees return, 91% of clients will require masks and 89% will require social distancing.
  • For clients that have already started the process of returning to the physical workspace, 89% will return to the workspace in 2021. 
  • 67% will have enhanced health and safety protocols.

The Latest Trends in Workplace Construction

From the Deloitte survey, we know that many businesses are planning to get back to the physical workplace. This includes all employees fully returning and those that are remaining at or switching to a hybrid format. Both of these plans may come with safety protocols that need to be implemented or just a general change in how the workspace is structured. 

With that, here are some workplace design/construction trends that are happening in 2021:

  1. Sanitization procedures. Many companies are enforcing safety in the workplace and that includes keeping hands clean to prevent the spread of germs. Because of this, many workplaces have an abundance of sanitizer dispensers located throughout the space.
  2. Hot desking. “Hot desking” is when a company does not assign specific workspaces to their employees. Instead, when employees arrive for work, they choose any desk that is available to them. This has been around for a while but is making a resurgence in 2021 so that desks and chairs can be deep cleaned every night.
  3. Biophilia. Biophilia is a type of design that many companies are considering now that they’re bringing employees back to the physical space. Biophilia works with design that is centered around outdoor spaces. For companies utilizing this kind of workplace, construction is beneficial since CDC guidelines have had a trend of allowing for more people to congregate outside than inside.
  4. Dividers, Boundaries, Shielding, etc. Implementing more dividers and boundaries within the workplace complies with the social distancing protocol that companies are looking to implement. There is an upward trend in allowing employees to have separate spaces from one another to ensure proper distancing.
  5. Flexible spaces. While some companies might opt for more separation of their employees and implement dividers, boundaries and shields, others might opt to bring their employees together, but in the safest way possible. This is where flexible spaces come in. Flexible spacing includes workspace optimization so that employees have plenty of room to move around and allow for co-working spaces to still exist.

Whether you’re looking to remodel your existing space or build an entirely new workplace, our team at GALBRAITH is happy to help answer any questions you may have about the process. Contact us, and schedule your free consultation today!

Construction Process, Food Processing

Safe Food Processing Plants

It’s no surprise that safety is one of the most significant concerns for food processing plants. And today, it’s never been as essential to ensure that your food processing plant is safe and clean.

One of the most accessible and most proactive approaches to manufacturing plant safety is the facility’s construction and design. If a food processing plant’s layout isn’t optimized, efficiency and safety are at risk. Having an expert build a processing facility’s plant and implementing an efficient layout can lead to fewer safety hazards and an improved workflow.

How to Optimize Your Food Processing Plant

First, you should research the constantly changing regulations and trends in the food processing industry. 

Over the last year, workplace safety standards have changed drastically, and food processing plants have stringent guidelines they must accommodate to maintain safety standards.

Some considerations you must take into account:

  • Regulations from governmental entities, such as the Food and Drug Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture
  • Applicable local and state environmental and building permits
  • Ecological safety (food storage and disposal) and local weather conditions
  • HVAC system sanitation and odor-controlling functionalities
  • Your return on investment

It’s also important to ensure that you’re meeting the hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP) layout practices for safety and handling requirements.

Next, ask yourself what your personal needs are. Are you planning a completely new facility? Or are you renovating an existing food processing plant? Regardless, your plant layout should minimize the risk of biological, chemical, and physical working hazards.

As soon as you’ve considered the above factors, you can begin the actual pre-design phase.  If these steps are skipped in the planning phase, food hygiene issues can lead to significant financial losses and sometimes legal prosecution.

An Optimized Food Processing Plant Layout 

To build a food processing plant that increases safety and efficiency, it’s important to:

1. Take measures to reduce the possibility of microbial contamination around food items.

2. Discover which areas in the food production process are most prone to contamination.

3. Establish a plant layout that:

  • Minimizes worker traveling and food movement distance
  • Enhances production efficiency
  • Encompasses an easily accessible waste generation system

4. Determine which areas in your facility call for differing levels of temperature and humidity control.

5. Optimize the lighting in each area of your plant to reduce the risk of physical hazards.

6. Ensure that your facility is resistant to pests. 

7. Consider the placement of floor drains and proper ventilation in food processing areas.

8. Group storage spaces for food products that require refrigeration to maximize energy efficiency.

9. Create a list of the equipment in your facility that will require protective surface coatings.

10. Review the standards for cleaning and sanitizing your facility and optimize the layout to decrease the time spent on housekeeping tasks.

Make sure your team also considers where your suppliers will deliver raw ingredients to your facility and where the finished goods will leave your processing plant.

Expert Food Processing Plant Construction with GALBRAITH

If you’re still not sure where to start, don’t worry. Developing a food processing plant for safety is a task with many moving parts and considerations. The GALBRAITH team is ready to help, spending the last several decades providing the highest-quality food processing facilities for industry-leading manufacturers.

Whether you’re looking to remodel your existing space or build an entirely new plant, our team is happy to help answer any questions you may have about the process. Contact us, and schedule your free consultation today!