RealtyCom represents over 200 active construction projects across the country. We understand our developer-partners have so many considerations when building a new project, and are tasked with creating a Basis of Design and reviewing engineering plans that will ensure our clients meet important objectives and deadlines for crucial milestones in regard to telecommunications.
It’s important to have a thoughtful approach on how many providers and what infrastructure you may want to install now and have a contingency plan for the future. Important deadlines for life-safety, MPOE readiness, and service activation are critical to opening your project on-time.
The most common question we receive from our clients is, “When is the right time to get RealtyCom involved?” We discussed this and other important questions with our Senior Vice President of New Construction, Phil Veletzos….
- What is the process with a client when discussing a new project?
Typically, we get engaged with clients 2-3 years before the anticipated first resident move-in date and host a kick-off call with Owner representatives. This usually takes place after entitlements and provides us with an opportunity to gather basic project information including timing, structures involved, number of units, retail/commercial spaces, common area amenity list, and any other project information that may impact telecom services or installation.
Within 30 days of our kick-off call, we prepare a Basis of Design (“BOD”) outlining the needed telecom infrastructure (telecom room sizes/location, conduits, wiring) as well as possible “future proof” infrastructure that may or may not be desired by the owner – a decision which usually rests on budgets, hold time and anticipated property demographics.
Getting involved early in a new construction project is key as it allows RealtyCom to review schematic/architectural plans for telecom spaces necessary for the probable provider(s) given the area the project is in and the desired telecom solutions of the client. Additionally, it gives us time to assist the owner with its scope/specification documents to be sure bid packages used for GMP purposes are accurate and that they dovetail with the service provider’s scope. RealtyCom’s in house design team also works with clients and their architects to be sure that sufficient space is reserved for other vendors (e.g., DAS, Fire Control, AV, IT, etc.). Similarly, our design team will review low voltage plans, specifically the Riser Diagram, to confirm they correctly reflect the project’s telecom needs.
While these reviews are taking place RealtyCom begins negotiating proposals with telecom service providers with the goal of having fully executed agreement before the start of construction. A dedicated RealtyCom project manager starts to hold periodic calls with the development and construction teams to check in on progress and highlight telecom milestones that may require attention. Our dedicated Field Engineer hosts the pre-construction meeting with the client’s project manager, general contractor, telecom service providers, low voltage design firm and select subcontractors prior to the commencement of construction. As construction starts, our Field Engineers will visit the property at critical telecom milestones (e.g., MPOE completion, start of LV wiring) to get eyes on the installation to be sure nothing has been missed in the field, and also to check on provider progress to confirm they are not falling behind.
- What are common mistakes you see and how can Developers avoid them?
There are many different issues that arise during the development process – it’s not if an issue will arise, but when. We are prepared and have dealt with all kinds of problems from antiquated architectural designs to sub-contractor agreements that do not match installation requirements. If not rectified early, these seemingly minor issues can result in costly change orders down the line. Additionally, we often see that telecom plans are not integrated with other trades (IT, DAS systems, AV, Access Control) resulting in space that previously was open may now, in fact, need to house several unrelated components.
We often find that subcontractors are not using proper methods to install critical infrastructure (staples, storage, handling), or maintain proper distances from line voltage. Fortunately, our Field Engineers are prepared to address issues quickly – regularly visiting sites and holding monthly calls to prevent complications for our client.
- Why do I need RealtyCom involved?
RealtyCom has established a sophisticated process around managing the telecom access agreement negotiation, with Low Voltage design review, project management and “boots on the ground” field engineering resources. All of these components interface on a customized database that provides actionable alerts at critical junctures, so they are not missed. Moreover, our long-term relationships with Service Providers large and small give us an ability to escalate issues and get responses that would not be possible without our involvement.