Our virtual jobsite experience using OpenSpace

Posted by Skyline Construction on Jun 26, 2020 10:27:58 AM

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It’s no secret that the construction industry has carried a reputation for being antiquated and behind the times with new technology. It’s time to dismantle that stereotype. For years, Skyline has actively invested in the tools to streamline jobsites and provide the best client experience. We focus on hiring staff with diverse perspectives, and make it a priority to invest in technologies that make our business run efficiently.

While COVID-19 has presented new challenges to our industry, having a running start on the latest technology allows our teams to seamlessly work on projects from remote locations. One of the most useful technologies we use is OpenSpace. Amid concerns regarding exposure and social distancing, OpenSpace provides a virtual platform to conduct job walks and involve multiple stakeholders while keeping everyone in-tune with the progress of the project from remote locations.

Our in-house technology training team worked side by side with OpenSpace long before Shelter-in-Place (SIP) began, developing best practices for our teams. When we needed to temporarily step away from the jobsite due to SIP orders, our partnership with OpenSpace allowed us to keep projects running smoothly and on-time while giving great visibility to our clients and project partners. OpenSpace has reported a surge in business over the past few months; having this tool already weaved into our process allowed us to skip the start up, training and implementation and transition into our “new normal” with ease.



OpenSpace is a virtual jobwalk platform that captures the site and maps images to project plans automatically. A 360 degree camera is mounted to the top of a hardhat and a member of our team walks the site. It turns construction field notes and raw video data into a complete, easy-to navigate video walk-through of the jobsite. Images are automatically time-stamped, mapped to floor plans, and made searchable, so it’s easy to see side-by-side comparisons of specific areas over time. The software creates a browser based virtual jobsite (accessible via mobile or desktop) that gives our project partners total site transparency and allows them to follow the progress of their space at any point in time through an interactive, easy to use platform.

Skyline project teams report that the software saves them at least an hour per day using OpenSpace compared to the traditional method, which involved a time-consuming manual task of taking photos, uploading, naming and mapping each photo onto project plans and distributing to the right parties. The software allows the team to create detailed reports with the click of a button.

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OpenSpace has transformed the way we document jobsites and has proven to be a great asset to us, our clients and project partners. Here are a few of the tangible benefits we have seen:



When stay at home orders went into effect and jobsites were temporarily shut down, our teams continued working on projects remotely. Because many of our jobsites utilize OpenSpace, we kept projects on track using the most recent captures of their site to conduct pricing exercises, site surveys and material procurement.



OpenSpace’s virtual walkthroughs reduce or eliminate the need for in-person site visits, reducing risk and exposure to COVID-19 on the jobsite. Virtual walkthroughs also provide insight into progress for anyone not geographically located near the project itself. Our team also utilizes OpenSpace jobwalks during the bidding process, allowing us to get subcontractors involved early without the need for additional people onsite.



Image data keeps teams aligned and identifies issues early. OpenSpace enables field teams to thoroughly capture the project to provide a single source of ground truth, avoiding expensive change orders and disputes. The software allows stakeholders the convenience of viewing what they want, when they want. 

The 360 degree documentation gives a full picture of the entire site from ceiling to floors and eliminates static progress photos. This expanded view catches areas and items that standard progress photos may miss, which can solve unanticipated problems before they arise. The software has allowed us to preemptively solve issues that typically would not have been seen until a final punch walk.



Construction moves fast and questions often arise. OpenSpace provides a layer of accountability by giving users and clients a time-stamped visual of jobsite conditions, keeping everyone accountable for their performance on-site. In turn, this helps prevent budget overruns due to rework and change orders, and allows us to better control risk and liability. This ensures the best quality during and after construction for the life of the space. It also allows subcontractors to validate concealed work without opening walls, slabs, or ceilings. By documenting the site completely, subcontractors are able to do in-wall inspections from anywhere, and verify work without time consuming and expensive destructive verification.



The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us all that being proactive pays off and you can never be too prepared. Our partnership with OpenSpace has allowed us to continue delivering our best while keeping communication with project partners productive and transparent. We are constantly evolving and looking forward to the future of our industry.


To view our work, visit https://www.skylineconstruction.build/work

To learn more about OpenSpace, visit here

Topics: COVID-19, jobsite

Continuously Improving COVID-19 Work Plans to Save on Costs

Posted by Tim Lally on Jun 15, 2020 10:48:41 PM
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Jobsite set-up and construction activities in the field have changed significantly as a result of COVID-19.  With projects underway across the country, our construction think tank is continuously evaluating and implementing the most efficient ways to manage safe jobsites. In turn, all Skyline jobsites are utilizing these best practices and standard implementation methods consistently. This eliminates delays created by cumbersome protocols, streamlines subcontractor’s ability to access jobsites and perform work, and ultimately results in time and money saved for clients. 

Below we uncover a few of the top COVID-19 challenges faced on construction jobsites industry-wide, along with a variety of creative and innovative solutions to overcome these obstacles using LEAN principals.


Bottlenecks created by manual check-in processes

The construction industry has traditionally lagged behind other industries in its implementation of technology, especially when it involves tradespeople in the field. Manual, hand-entry processes will slow the process and are now seen as unhygienic as a result of shared pencils, pens, paper and supplies.

Collaborate over technology

Construction has always been a collaborative process, but the use of technology can streamline communication, eliminate waste and create wonderful efficiencies on and off the jobsite. Here are some recommended ways to use technology to stay safe and collaborative, while not over-complicating the process.Tablet

  • Use a digital sign-in
    Host your daily health check questionnaire online using apps, online forms, or a fillable PDF to seamlessly gain access to jobsites. This also eliminates the need for communal paper and pens. Check out Meridian personal management, a new seamless entry option that takes temperatures and assesses important info before entering a space. 

  • Digitally reviewing plans and schedules
    Gone are the days of 5 or 6 people huddling around a set of construction plans. Now tradespeople can use Procore or any other cloud based project management software to review all construction documentation in one place in real time.

  • Virtual jobwalks
    Use OpenSpace, Holobuilder, Matterport or any other video and image based software to document daily jobsite progress. This limits exposure on-site and also encourages coordination between all parties.



Maintaining social distancing in elevators causes major delays

This is arguably the toughest hurdle to maneuver while adhering to social distancing. In high rise buildings with limited freight elevators, getting crews and materials on-site has taken some general contractors upwards of two hours depending on the size of the project and the number of other projects running concurrently in the building.  The average freight elevator wait time should be minimal subcontractors will begin charging for in-efficiency.

Modify process

  • Staggered work shifts
    This involves trades beginning and ending work at varying intervals to limit bottlenecks at check-in which can include completing a daily health questionnaire, temperature readings (not required but often requested by clients) and elevator wait times.

  • Additional elevator use
    When possible, work with building management to obtain access to tenant elevator use during pre-scheduled non-peak business hour time frames.

  • Stairway access
    Work with the building to obtain staircase access as an additional method for building entry and exit. Workers will often opt to take the stairs over elevators if offered.

  • Dividing barriers within the elevator
    As a creative solution for narrow elevators, try installing a divider curtain within the elevators as illustrated below. This allows the elevator capacity to double while creating safe separation.

Compliance enforcement 
A level of enforcement of elevator rules is necessary for all visitors. Work with the building management team to hire additional security as needed.





Sequencing trades to comply with social distancing guidelines

It is no longer realistic to schedule multiple trades working in small spaces concurrently, or to cram 8-10 tradespeople in one conference room to work at once.  With social distancing requirements, scheduling of trades and logistics plans for the jobsites need to be reviewed in great detail and adjusted to keep all parties safe and in compliance.

Modify your logistics plan

Similar to staggering start time shifts by trade, it’s important to modify logistics plans to avoid crossover of trades and overcrowding in small areas. Divide each floor into quadrants and sequence work within those quadrants, creating “micro schedules” for each. Creating micro schedules also sets expectations and deadlines to optimize productivity. This strategy is important for jobs over 20,000 sq. ft. where a larger amount of workers are on-site.  Large jobsites will designate floor marking of safe zones for lunches and breaks, a path of travel throughout the jobsite, and 6ft markers to maintain proper distance. 


Staying creative and nimble is the best way to navigate these uncertain times. We have seen some great ideas in these past few weeks including Plexi-glass cutouts to protect each party during check in to scan temperatures quickly and safely. Hanging signage from the ceiling when no walls exist and demarking designated lunch areas on the ground before finishes go in to direct workers onsite. Our goal is to maintain productivity as best as possible amidst these added protocols, thinking outside of the box to mitigate the risk of additional cost to our clients and sharing our lessons learned with the industry to pool collective solutions within our community.




Topics: COVID-19, safety, jobsite, touchless


Posted by Skyline family of companies on May 21, 2020 1:59:21 PM



The construction industry is ripe with conflicting information about supply chain interruptions and delays.  Some sources indicate that the supply chain outlook is positive and nearly back on track, while others predict significant delays for the remainder of the year.  Our construction teams continue to monitor manufacturers and suppliers to understand the true impact on construction schedules. The truth is, supply chains are simply changing.  There is unpredictability created by a number of factors including regional COVID hotspots, outbreaks in manufacturing facilities, varying regional SIP regulations, health/safety concerns and workers’ hesitation to return to factories. 

The biggest factor however, creating unpredictable supply chain delays, is actually not manufacturing or production, but shipping and freight.



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The entire shipping system is impacted by the surge in activity since the onset of COVID.  From Amazon to Shutterfly and everything in between, shipping delays are happening in every industry and construction is no exception.  The main reason for this interruption, as it relates to construction materials, is the reduction in air freight. Historically, up to 50% of traditional air freight comes from cargo space within passenger airline holds.  The number of commercial flights has reduced significantly, therefore creating less capacity and slowing delivery times.

As a result, manufacturers are reluctant to offer “quick ship” options (fee-based services) in order to hit tight procurement timelines.  Manufacturers’ quick ships were critical for buying lighting and mechanical equipment within the fast-paced tenant improvement market and it is unclear when their prevalence will return.



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Extra time in both preconstruction and construction is necessary right now, in order to efficiently procure materials, sequence trades and meet project schedules.  General contractors need to be mindful of this and add up to an additional 6 weeks of preconstruction to the schedule to allow for a more robustly planned procurement process. Every item being sourced for the project, from high end finishes, mechanical equipment and lighting, down to fasteners, bolts and screws, must be mapped out in detail to understand the source of origin, manufacturing lead times and shipping timeframes.  

Currently supply chain and manufacturing disruptions are causing maximum variances of 8-10 weeks vs. pre-pandemic timelines. Meaning, a custom light fixture with an original lead time of 8 weeks is now likely to arrive in 16 weeks.  Other similar products may be completely unaffected.  By allowing additional time in preconstruction, construction teams can account for the expected shipping delays and sequence the schedule accordingly.

On-site construction schedules will benefit from an additional 1-2 weeks of schedule contingency to account for supply chain delays, lost productivity due to social distancing guidelines, an infection on the jobsite or any other COVID related circumstances.  It’s important to plan for unpredictable delays that will surface throughout construction.



Final Map Web

While supply chain and shipping information differs from product to product and week to week, here is a consolidated list of some of the major lead times and hot bed areas to monitor closely as of May 21, 2020.

  • Electrical supplies and lighting: There is looming potential for a shortage of 1900 junction boxes that go behind every electrical device. Additionally, electrical panels, which took less than a week to get prior to COVID-19, are now pushing 6-8 weeks. Custom fabricated light fixtures are experiencing double the normal lead times from 8-12 weeks up to 16-20 weeks.

  • Architectural Products out of Italy: With the large infection rate in Italy plus shipping delays and a backup of orders, expect to see significant lead times from imported tile and stone from Italy and other parts of Europe.

  • Items Made or Assembled in Mexico: Mexico is home to many manufacturers in the automotive and electromotive industries. HVAC vendors like Trane and Carrier assemble many of their products there. In recent weeks they have seen a spike in infections, resulting in temporary factory closings and production loss. Quick ships, as mentioned above, are no longer available as a standard option.

  • Items Made or Assembled in China: By and large the supply chain from China is still moving but shipping delays are to be expected.

  • Construction influx from USA: Construction restrictions have been lifted in many major metropolitan cities within the US including the Bay Area, New York and Boston.  With these major markets coming back online, demand for materials to re-boot projects will surge, putting significant strain on manufacturing output and shipping capacity. 

The most impactful thing a general contractor can do to plan a construction project is over-communicate with vendors and suppliers; create a procurement log and track changes daily and keep owners abreast of all changes and stay nimble.  Everyone is juggling the inconsistencies in supply chain and shipping delays as the industry navigates through this unpredictable time.


Reach out to us for help here:

Contact Us


Topics: COVID-19

13 Ways to Prepare your Office Space for Re-Entry during COVID-19?

Posted by The Skyline Family of Companies on May 6, 2020 8:03:41 AM



As everyone anxiously waits for the Shelter in Place orders to be lifted, companies are working to understand the challenges associated with returning to work while maintaining social distancing. Questions of how to reconfigure office space will arise in order to provide a safe and healthy environment.

There are numerous options to consider ranging from simply removing conference room chairs all the way to installing motion-activated doors. Companies with high-density workstations and open bench seating may need reconfigure their furniture. Employers may consider staggering work hours, or alternating days of the week in order to reduce workforce density. Some companies may consider creating a designated path of travel within their office to avoid people “bumping into each other” in the halls.

Below are many potential solutions to help reconfigure office space needs for re-opening.



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    De-densify open benching systems, and reconfigure existing workstations to provide adequate distance. This seemingly simple task comes with power, data, carpet patching and other minor modifications.

    Add physical vertical separators between workstations to create a barrier or shield from germs. Options exist that prevent damage to existing workstations and there are a wide variety of shapes, sizes and designs including acrylic, glass and fabric panels. As simple as it may seem, there are many factors that need be accounted for in this solution – line of site, sit stand functionality, durability, maintenance, cost, architectural details, and lead-times.

    Convert in-person huddle rooms to virtual collaboration areas so in-office employees can collaborate with their WFH counterparts. This may require additional video conferencing / AV capabilities and could warrant changes to window treatments, acoustic installations, data, electrical, drywall, furniture, etc.

    Reduce conference room density by limiting the occupancy count in each room. Furniture reconfiguration is a simple way to do this. For large meeting-based companies this may lead to the need for additional conference rooms.

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    Convert narrow or high traffic spaces such as corridors to become one directional, or widen and adjust existing walkways to maintain social distancing requirements. Consider an office protocol that allows employees to move through the space in a predetermined, well-marked traffic plan to help maintain social distance. This can accomplished creatively through wayfinding signage, carpet tile designs, wall graphics, window film, lighting and more.

    Review the entry and exit points within your space and understand the flow of traffic for both employees and visitors. Increase the distance between visitors upon entry by marking the floor with decals and reduce furniture in waiting areas. Consider a possible alternate exit for employees to ensure distancing.

    Prepare for an increase in office and kitchen related storage. If offices move towards shifts with multiple people sharing desks, additional storage or locker systems may be necessary to store personal items. As communal snacks and shared food items diminish from kitchens, expect a rise in individually packaged items and more people bringing their own meals.

    Evaluate air quality standards within office buildings. Depending on the age of a building and the density of space, it may make sense to bring in additional outside air or to install filtration devices. Higher tech solutions exist for Ultra Violet disinfection and the creation of negatively pressurized spaces. For companies adopting multiple shifts or staggered work schedules, an important consideration will be the cost to run the building’s cooling system after hours vs supplemental air systems installed directly in a tenant’s space.  Check your lease agreement and have a contractor do an analysis to understand what makes the most sense.


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    Add hand washing and disinfecting stations throughout the workspace in addition to existing restrooms and kitchen areas. This may include replacing large communal gathering areas like cafes with a higher quantity of smaller break areas and pantries.

    Automate high touch objects and areas like soap dispensers, doors, kitchen appliances, coffee machines, paper towel and soap dispensers, trash cans and other office devices to prevent the spread of germs.

    Update janitorial cleaning standards and frequency of routine office cleaning. This routine cleaning can be supplemented with periodic fogger-applied spray disinfectants.

    Evaluate security requirements including the potential for touchless fingerprint or facial recognition readers. Advanced options exist to determine body temperature and presence of a mask. 

Ensuring that your employees feel safe and excited to come back into the office should be of top priority. We are here to provide your team with the reassurance that their work environment is well thought through and ready for their safe return.

We will assist in evaluating your feasibility, budget and schedule needs, and then manage the necessary changes in an organized and safe manner.  Please reach out with questions. We are here to help.

Reach out to us for help here:

Contact Us


Topics: Construction Trends, COVID-19, Construction Predictions

PREDICTIONS ON HOW COVID-19 will change construction

Posted by The Skyline Family of Companies on Apr 8, 2020 9:06:51 PM

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The COVID-19 outbreak has brought the construction industry to a screeching halt in regions like CA, WA and NY, while creating significant supply chain and material lags in other cities.  Regardless of location, the entire construction industry has been forced to pause, pivot and jump into crisis mode to assess the current situation and plan for the future.

Developing contingency plans, finding alternate delivery solutions, assessing costs and keeping an eye on what’s going on with the supply chain has become our new normal. What we’re trying to do is answer the lingering question: what does the future of commercial office design and construction look like once COVID-19 is behind us?

We gathered a taskforce of the industry’s top minds to share their insight into the changing landscape of the construction industry.  Together, we grappled with the following questions and scenarios for what our industry should anticipate post COVID-19:

  • How will office design trends change?
  • Will space needs diminish if the WFH model proves successful?
  • Will any trades or service lines see an increase in demand?
  • What will the new standard of jobsites and field work become?

While no one has a crystal ball, and we are all navigating uncharted waters together, the outcome of our discussion led to many sound predictions on the changing nature of the industry.

Below we are sharing our top 6 predictions for the future office space needs, design trends and construction post COVID-19.


1.  Healthy office spaces 
The heightened awareness of hygiene and the value of overall cleanliness will cause an uptick in demand for upgraded sanitization / disinfectant systems. We anticipate a spike in demand for touchless devices such as faucets, toilets, waste receptacles, sanitizer / soap dispensers, paper towel dispensers and automated doors. There may also be increased opportunity on the horizon for janitorial positions and potentially the creation of new roles and internal programs to fill health / cleanliness initiatives.

2.  Workstation distancing
For most, cubicle life is a distant memory as many companies have moved towards high density benching and open concept floorplans. Now that COVID-19 has imposed the value of social distancing to limit the spread of the virus, we foresee the return of cubicles, private offices and increased separation of workstations from the standard 4’ to at least 6’ apart. Open area collaboration spaces will be redesigned and reconfigured, which poses the challenge of keeping collaboration opportunities alive with closed floorplans.

3.  A tenant’s market
The realistic outlook of commercial real estate is decreased activity, leading to lower rents and higher concessions from landlords to tenants.  Concessions will likely be seen in the form of free rent, or potentially larger tenant improvement allowances.  Time will tell, but as tenant activity in the market continues to dwindle, this could be an opportunity for those looking to find the space they desire at a lower a price point with better terms.  Alternatively, this could also be the time for tenants to explore short-term lease extensions with their current landlords to provide the financial flexibility they will need as we begin to re-enter the workplace.

4.  Healthy jobsites
There are several components to ensure safe and clean jobsites to decrease exposure to illness and disease. Straightforward changes include increased or enhanced sanitization systems such as temporary hand washing stations, increased labor to clean jobsites, additional required PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and heightened standards of PPE disposal. Practices that will also be enforced include coordination with all contractors on jobsites to modify site activity in order to practice safe social distancing such as staggering work shifts and freight elevator use. Additional measures may be taken to protect the health of jobsite personnel which could be as simple as a temperature scan before entering the jobsite or thorough as a doctor-validated bill of health.

5.  Delays
Manufacturers are going to have a huge backlog to fulfill due to closures and delayed demand once work is back in full swing. Pay special attention to the supply chain on your project. The freight industry will similarly be impacted with extra pressure to transport materials. Overseas shipping trends may shift from traditional freight to airline cargo wherever feasible. To avoid delays, design trends will also shift to source locally manufactured products/fini shes in lieu of imported materials and equipment.

6. The WFH Model
As businesses and the workforce adapts to the flexibility of the WFH model, it is likely traditional workspaces will be re-evaluated. Some companies may forego traditional office space all together and use co-working solutions for collaboration as needed. Other companies will move towards more shared desks or “hoteling” workstations in their space and may be faced with the challenge of designing creative space that entices employees to come to the office to create opportunities for collaboration.


Our network floods with new information on a daily basis, which means predictions can shift quickly based on current market conditions. Our goal is to provide you with the information as we receive it to help you navigate through the changing dynamics of the design and construction industry. We’re in this together. And when this crisis ends, we can get back to building better and safer together.


Topics: Construction Trends, COVID-19, Construction Predictions

Top 10 Memorable Moments of 2019

Posted by Gianna Cary on Dec 30, 2019 4:12:55 PM

2019 was a wonderful and very busy year for all of us at the Skyline Family of Companies. As this year comes to a close and we reflect on our experiences, we want to share with you a few of the highlights.  Here are 10 of our most memorable moments that shaped 2019.

1. From one company to a family of companies with expansion in Chicago and the Bay Area

In early 2019 we expanded into new markets and added additional service lines through the creation of Skyline’s Family of Companies. Skyline Capital Builders was established to specialize in ground up, hospitality and building repositioning in the Bay Area, while ACCEND Construction specializes in commercial construction in Chicago.

Why Chicago you ask?

In this two minute video, David Hayes CEO, Jessica Carps CFO and ACCEND President Andrew MacGregor discuss why many Bay Area companies are expanding into Chicago.








2. Jessica Callahan discusses how companies use densification to combat rising costs in the Bay Area

The San Francisco Bay Area has officially passed New York as the world's most expensive place to build, leaving tenants and contractors looking for ways to adjust. Our teams have uncovered many ways to help clients densify their space, while meeting all city and building codes and keeping costs in line. Vice President of Operations, Jessica Callahan took to the podium at the Bay Area State of the Office event to discuss densification, cost savings and other trends in the market.

Read more from Jessica on the topic here: https://hubs.ly/H0kKSxg0

Callahan Bisnow Article

3. Celebrating women in construction all year long

With smart and inspiring women at all levels, and in all roles within this business, it is a wonderful time for women to enter the construction industry. In this short video, hear from Skyliners why diversity is on the rise in construction.








4. Being part of our client’s growth

There’s nothing we value more than relationships. Oracle and Skyline have partnered since 2011 to build office space throughout the Bay Area. Most recently, Oracle envisioned a refresh and modernization to their Redwood Shores campus and our team helped bring that vision to life. We were proud to unveil their new space with features and designs that were very true to Oracle’s elevated standards and culture. To read more about the project and view the gallery, visit https://www.skylineconstruction.build/oracle


5. A new kind of CEO in construction

Very few can inspire people quite like our CEO, David Hayes. David not only advocates for diversity and inclusion in construction, but he also personally mentors and empowers diverse employees in our company to elevate their careers. We’re very proud of what David is doing to spread awareness and level the playing field in our industry. Read more about his views on the state of construction, diversity and leading an employee-owned company in the Bay Area: https://lnkd.in/gaXnEPd

6. The historic building repositioning of 657 / 667 Mission Street in San Francisco

The team at Skyline Capital Builders spent this year working on a complex repositioning to a historic building downtown San Francisco, where two adjacent early 20th Century buildings are being seismically retrofitted and adjoined into one. Although it would have been quicker and easier to demolish one of the buildings and expand the other, the intent was to keep the historic integrity of the buildings in place. Learn more about the project in this quick video:








7. Jessica Carps Named Bay Area Power Woman

We’re so proud of our CFO, Jessica Carps, for being recognized as a Bay Area Power Woman by Bisnow. Jessica has made an amazing impact at Skyline since joining in 2015 and will play an integral role in our growth and success as she empowers others to propel forward.

To read more about Jessica, visit https://www.skylineconstruction.build/jessica-carps



8. Proud to be recognized as the Bay Area’s top contractor!

This year we were named among the largest general contractor in the Bay Area by both the Silicon Valley Business Journal and the San Francisco Business Times. With 75 reputable general contractors featured on the list, we are honored to be in good company. Our steady and intentional growth is attributed to hiring and mentoring the industry’s brightest and most driven team, who in turn see their role on construction projects as a true partner and advocate for clients to help them realize their vision.


9. A beautiful renovation for the Olympic Club

A valued client since 2010, we were honored to partner with the Olympic Club again this year to provide building upgrades to their women’s locker room and fitness center, which turned out more gorgeous than we could have imagined. See some of the photos here: https://www.skylineconstruction.build/olympic-club

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10. Andy MacGregor discusses trends in Chicago’s construction industry with Crains Chicago Business

Over the past 20 years, Andy MacGregor, President of ACCEND has established a name for himself in the Chicago construction market, building some of the region’s largest, most complex and creative spaces. He recently shared his thoughts on the evolving and booming Chicago construction industry with Crains.  Catch what he had to say here…https://hubs.ly/H0lCK5l0






Topics: 2019 Memorable Moments

Simplifying the baaqmd permitting process for generators

Posted by Craig Jones on Aug 28, 2018 10:00:00 AM

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The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), otherwise known as the “Air District," is tasked with regulating stationary sources of air pollution in the nine counties that surround the San Francisco Bay: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, southwestern Solano, and southern Sonoma counties. The Air District's mission statement is to, “create a healthy breathing environment for every Bay Area resident while protecting and improving public health, air quality, and the global climate” and strives to achieve these objectives through:

  • Reducing and eliminating health problems caused by air pollution.
  • Achieving and maintaining air quality standards for all criteria pollutants.
  • Creating high-quality, relevant regulatory programs and ensure they comply with federal, state, and local laws.

Most of the equipment that emits to the atmosphere to be installed and operated in the Bay Area will require Air District permits which are documents that authorize the permit holder to install this type of equipment (“Authority to Construct”) and/or operate this type of equipment (“Permit to Operate”).  Air quality permits are required by law and are needed for:

  • Any equipment that may cause air pollution.
  • Modification to existing permitted equipment or their permit conditions.
  • Permitted equipment that is moved to a new location.
  • Transfer of permitted equipment to new owners
  • Installation of equipment used to control emissions.

NOTE: Depending on the type of equipment, its installation or use may also require separate local jurisdictional permits.
(e.g., in the case of an Emergency Standby Diesel Generator Set, a generator permit(s) will be required by the local jurisdiction for the installation of the GenSet and fuel system; a BAAQMD Authority to Construct permit will be required to fuel and commission the generator; and then a BAAQMD Permit to Operate permit will be required to operate the generator.)

We have created a summary flowchart that shows the usual steps to be followed for the Air District permitting of an Emergency Standby Diesel Generator Set (the most common requirement that we have experienced with our clients and the BAAQMD) based on the Air District’s requirements and Skyline’s extensive experience with the installation and commissioning of this type of equipment.  Depending on the other stationary equipment to be permitted, the steps, timing and application deliverables may vary.  Although this infographic is a simplified depiction of the generator permit process, the application documents and process can be quite complicated. I you require assistance, our Skyline team can provide additional clarification to the permit process related to specific equipment installation or operation and can further explain the detailed BAAQMD application requirements (or any additional permit requirements from other parties) including Form P101-B “Authority to Construct/Permit to Operate; Location Map; Facility Map; HRSA Map; Form ICE Internal Combustion Engine; Form HRSA; Specific Generator Specifications based on actual engine to be used.




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Topics: general contractor, air quality, generator, BAAQMD, air district, permit

Controlling Cost on Your Construction Project

Posted by Craig Jones on Mar 20, 2018 8:00:00 AM

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I’ve worked as a general contractor for over 30 years and the number one question I get asked is, “How can we reduce project costs?” Over time, I have learned that although there are things that we (your contractor) have no control over, there are still several creative ways we can help, and better yet, there are factors that you (the client) can control yourselves to reduce your final bill. So what are they? 

We've partnered with The Bridge Group to offer 2 perspectives on how to save money on your next construction project. The Bridge Group offers tips to Construction Managers, Facility Managers and Operation Teams to lower construction costs in their blog post, Three Simple Ways to Control the Cost of your Next Construction Project.

Alternatively, I've outlined these 3 key cost contributors below, and how you (the client / end user) can take matters into your own hands to reduce costs.

Cost driving factors that your contractor has NO control over

  • Commodity prices are rising making the cost to produce and ship materials for your project higher.
    • Copper is up 47%
    • Crude oil is up 34%
    • Metal studs are up 20% and projected to increase 20% - 30% more
    • Drywall is projected to increase another 5%

  • Assembly Bill 1701 went into effect on January 1, 2018, which now makes general contractors (GCs) financially responsible for any subcontractor who fails to pay their employees, even if the GC has paid the subcontractor for the work completed. This requires GCs to assume liability for unpaid wages, fringe and other benefit payments or contributions, including interest owed by subcontractors to their employees. Ultimately, this new law will likely lead to higher construction costs.

  • The new OSHA Silica rules have caused subcontractors to implement new procedures and safety measures on their projects to comply with such rules, which has the potential to increase project costs.

  • Several natural disasters have also impacted costs: Hurricane’s Harvey and Irma resulted in $200 billion in damage and the Northern and Southern California wildfires increased our already taxed housing situation which all cause further stress on construction materials and labor.

Areas your general contractor can help reduce costs

  • Understand city plan check and inspection lead times to factor into the schedule and avoid overtime labor costs

  • Prepare effective schedules during pre-construction to sequence the workflow and maximize efficient manpower usage

  • Involve AV, IT, cabling, and security subcontractors (and the Owner stakeholder for these trades) early in pre-construction so that design is final and priced into the project to eliminate change orders during construction

  • Set realistic construction schedules - if the schedule is too short, subcontractors will price labor higher to meet schedule demands

  • Order materials early on projects so that no overtime is necessary for installation

  • Work closely with the design team to select readily available materials and products

  • Hire key subcontractors early to coordinate with the design team and existing building conditions to eliminate pricing contingencies

  • Use new technology to streamline the design and construction process. Some examples of new technology are mobile applications and cloud storage for quick access to important documents; laser scanning to help capture accurate space conditions and drones to help survey the space from a different vantage point.

  • Use modularization and prefabrication when possible to reduce field labor costs

How YOU can control your own costs

There are ways that you can take costs into your own hands while selecting and conceptualizing your space. We’ve created a tool called the Bay Area Cost Comparison to help guide you towards a less expensive project. This white paper will give you an idea of what an average project might cost in your area, what factors drive cost escalation, and what cost saving measures to look for.

Here are the most important factors that you can control to reduce your own construction project:

  • Pay attention to the existing conditions while selecting your space. The current condition of things like restrooms, drywall, floors, window shades, etc. can either save, or cost you a lot of money.
  • Mind the 3 F’s: fixtures, finishes and features. Work closely with your contractor to determine material cost and availability when selecting finishes like millwork, flooring, ceiling and special features like stairs, Audio Visual or kitchen appliances. Light fixture type, lighting distributors, control systems and existing wiring will also drive your costs.

  • Examine your HVAC system’s existing condition to check the condition of the  medium pressure loop, VAV boxes, ductwork and controls. Replacing any of these elements can be costly.

Tips for Construction Managers & Facility Management professionals

The Bridge Group outlines their tips for construction professionals to strategize cost saving measures for their clients in their blog post, Three Simple Ways to Control the Cost of your Next Construction Project.


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Topics: Construction costs, costs, schedule, plan check, Silica, controlling costs, OSHA, reduce cost, construction regulation, budget, general contractor, AB 1701

Why is the US not fighting equally hard for families?

Posted by David Hayes on Mar 13, 2018 1:15:22 PM
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International Women’s Day inspired me write about women in construction, but that sent me on a different path that encompasses not only women, but families as a whole, and the support system that our country provides to keep highly skilled and intelligent individuals in the workplace.

The US government hasn’t decided to prioritize and invest in its own citizens who want an equally prosperous life – families. Families with children have to choose between not returning to work or paying exorbitant childcare costs. Why?  The US government offers a measly $5k child credit in the new tax law. Big deal, $5k buys you childcare for one or two months only.  Why not offer $24k-$30k per child in credit or make childcare costs 100% deductible?  Let’s invest in our most educated resource – our workforce.  A tax credit means you have to earn money to get it, and both women and men want to work, thus will earn more, pay taxes and can use the credit.

Did you know 57% of students in college and graduates are women?  Yet after having a child, many families must make the difficult choice for one of the parents (in most cases, women) to stay home over returning to work due to the cost of childcare. This means we have a country where around 50% of our highest educated people are leaving the workforce.  If the key to a balanced and successful country is getting its citizens educated and contributing to the economic engine, why are we forcing families to remove one educated job participate from the economic machine? Why are we forcing them out of work when we need all the talent we can get?

Laws have improved giving both mothers and fathers more time off to bond with their babies but more can still be done. We need tax laws that support women, men and families and make the financial burden of childcare costs go away.  If we do not push our legislatures for it, we will continue to lose our highest educated resources.


Women in Construction

When I became a partner at Skyline in 1996, it was a newly-founded company. There were no women in our project management department. ZERO.  22 years later, 25% of our project management group and 40% of our leadership team is comprised of women.  We are about to appoint our first woman to our board of directors, Jessica Carps, and we are a better organization because of this depth and brain power.


What are we doing at Skyline to foster women in construction?

Twice per year we evaluate the salaries of employees to ensure that women at Skyline are consistently compensated with their male counterparts and make necessary adjustments to level the field when discrepancies appear. Last year, the Skyline Women’s Network was created to promote and support inclusion within our organization.  We are also trying to take matters into our own hands in terms of supporting our talent pool by developing a “menu” of benefits that allows every employee to select the options that are pertinent to them based on their stage of life–this includes providing financial aid to offset childcare costs.

Topics: women in construction, workforce, childcare, cost of living, costs

Why you need to be a millionaire to survive retirement

Posted by David Hayes on Jan 17, 2018 9:21:09 AM














Some people say, “I love where I work.”

I say, “Great, but does your work love you back?”

How does a company show love?  They look after your current and future financial well-being. If the love was truly mutual, your company would offer great pay and benefits AND take care of you into your retirement years by creating a long-term compensation plan. In most cases, the truth is that the love is not mutual, because such a plan equals money out of the owner’s pocket.  It’s simple old-fashion greed, and you will feel the wrath of that greed once it’s time for you to retire.

Planning a Future Beyond Survival

To retire and live a comfortable and healthy life, the conventional wisdom is that you will be living on 70-80% of your current income and you need to have a total nest egg of about 10 -12 times your current salary—which basically means, yeah, you’re going to need to be a millionaire to retire comfortably.

National surveys recently shared in the Orange County Register demonstrates that only 8% of the population has a net worth of $100,000.

And only 2.5% of the population has a net worth over $1 Million.

Avoiding some tragic event, you will turn 50, you will turn 60, you will turn 70, 80, 90 and hopefully 100 years old. The reality of the situation is that once you pass age 65, staying employed is tough. So for most of us, ages 65 -100 is a time in our lives where we must have reserve funds to survive because it’s unlikely we’ll be able to earn.  If you’re not planning for this at 25, 35, 45 and on, you’re crazy!

But for most humans, ages 25 through 45 is simply about survival: paying the bills, saving for a home, paying off student loans, getting married, having kids, saving for college, and more. Retirement saving during these years usually consists of a 401k and any match your employer offers, but guess what?  It will NOT be enough, even with normal compounding of annual returns and even if social security continues (fingers crossed). You will need more, a lot more. So where can you get it? Well, a second job would help or the far better option is to find a company that offers a long term retirement plan for its staff, paid for and vested by the company.

The ESOP Way (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) VS. Everything Else

Skyline and a handful of others in the construction industry are ESOP companies, which are 100% employee-owned and issue company stock to our employees. This is important for your future because it serves as a supplemental retirement fund at no cost to you. It’s FREE MONEY.

I’ve worked for privately held S corporations & LLC’s for the majority of my life, sitting in both the employee’s seat and the executive’s seat. Believe me when I tell you that it’s extremely rare that these types of firms give a damn about your retirement. They’re offering retirement benefits to check the box and to remain competitive. They’re not evil, just greedy. After all, it’s their own money keeping the company alive and they pay big taxes on the profits, so they want to keep whatever profit is leftover.

When I became CEO at Skyline, my plan was ESOP or bust. I’d rather make 100 people millionaires, than make 4 partners worth over $25M each. This is simply better for society, and we’re in need of some strategic social financial thinking these days to solve long-term problems. Our employees enjoy ESOP stock, 401K contributions with a $6,000 company matching plan and annual profit sharing that ALL goes into a long-term, tax-deferred retirement plan. The company provides 3 extra buckets of funds to help prepare for future retirement. This is how we share the wealth and show our employees that the” love is mutual”.

The average construction field or office worker makes between $60,000 - $150,000, depending on their position, years of experience, etc. At Skyline, our employees make those same competitive annual base salaries with the ADDED benefits of ESOP stock, profit sharing and 401k matching. That means over the span of one’s career, the average Skyline employee is making anywhere from $500,000 - $1.8 Million MORE than the average construction worker working elsewhere. Those not working in an ESOP company could potentially be missing out on a financially secure retirement. It’s costing people a fortune to work at a privately-held company and they just don’t realize it.

The Reality of Our Situation

I hear all the time from entrepreneurs and executives that “greed is good”, it drives the engine of capitalism. I agree, it does. But when supporting that greed means citizens are left behind financially and we, the taxpayer, have to support them, eventually it will crush capitalism in the form of super taxes. The United States is now in the phase of social capitalism, where companies can be greedy but must take care of their employees long term. Basic terms, we are back to the days where companies must help employees formulate a robust pension / retirement fund as part of their employment and it has to go way beyond a 401k match.

$1 Million to survive retirement. And only 2.5% of the population is there now, which means the remaining 97.5% of us will have long, hard, golden years ahead after working our butts off for the majority of our lives. This is why having something like an ESOP is so valuable.  It is an extra bucket of funds, on top of your 401K, social security and any other savings, so that you have a comfortable retirement.

The Million Dollar Question

So, will you be a millionaire? If you happen to work for an ESOP company, all signs point to YES.

Skyline has been an ESOP company for 12 years. Today, about 10% of our staff have retirement balances over $1 Million through a combination of ESOP stock, profit sharing, and 401k + company matching; 30% of our people have retirement accounts over $200,000; over 60% have accounts over $100,000 and the others are well on their way.  That’s over 70 people just at our company alone who fall in the top 8.5% of the United States.  

Can your company make this claim? If not, maybe the love isn’t mutual after all.


Topics: jobs, career path, career advice, construction career, Construction Real Estate, retirement, ESOP, salary