We completed the branding for our entire complex and named it the Cowichan Nest. Each building will be named after a local bird.
Steel versus Wood Frame
When putting a project of this size together, there are so many factors to consider. One of the first decisions is should we build it out of wood or steel?
Who knew that this was going to be one of the hardest decisions to make. As we have 6 buildings to consider, some being only 3 stories, while others we hope will be 6 stories based on zoning approvals, we all realized that wood was the cheapest option. However, after considerable research, those that build with wood have little intention of holding onto the apartment complexes for an extended period of time, so are looking for the best ROI when selling.
While wood has its advantages in cost savings during construction, so does steel. Steel framing improves design efficiency, saves construction time which reduces costs while providing significantly greater strength. Insurance is 6 times more on a wood construction than steel due to fire and water damage, mold, bacteria and insects among just a few things. Factoring in that long- term expense for insurance almost makes the price comparable to the extra expense of an initial steel construction.
“Wood construction can substantially reduce building costs, while giving developers and designers more options”
In the event of an apartment fire, wood that gets wet, must be dried completely and can warp or if moisture is trapped, it can mold or rot. In the case of steel, the panels can be taken out and replaced and the water or fire damage is better contained, which would result in less of an insurance claim, hence the price difference for insurance. With steel, you can fabricate offsite according to the set specifications as well, which reduces wastage, and saves a considerable amount of time in the construction
It is also greener, as no forests are being destroyed. Steel frames last longer than wood frames and add value to the property and the quality is impeccable. And if well maintained, steel frames have an extremely low life-cycle cost.
Sounds like a good argument for steel, right, well, not so fast! There are more and more wood frame constructions than Steel for good reason. Wood is considered warm, and also a renewable resource. Wood construction can substantially reduce building cost too. They are also prefabricating wood walls in factories as well, so it can be more efficient and just as quick to put up. It is a difficult and big decision. We have spoken to developers that won’t work with steel and others that won’t work with wood for a variety of good reasons. This decision will have a huge impact on our construction costs and valuations and it isn’t an easy one to make.
We will let you know next issue what we decide!