ENGINEERING TECH

HFA Architects and Engineers, LaFreniere Architects Form Strategic Alliance

HFA Architects & Engineers | June 17, 2022

Strategic Alliance
HFA Architects and Engineers and LaFreniere Architects are joining forces to help clients seize new opportunities in mixed-use and multifamily residential development.

The strategic alliance combines HFA's fully integrated approach to architecture, engineering and construction with LaFreniere's expertise in designing apartments, condos, hotels and other buildings that encourage engagement. LaFreniere Architects was founded by John LaFreniere, AIA, NCARB, Principal, who studied sociology at Cornell University before earning his master's degree in architecture from Harvard.

Services include:

  • Full service architectural and interior design
  • Development feasibility studies
  • Site planning and 3D modeling
  • Structural and MEP/FP engineering
  • Permitting assistance
  • Construction administration

Collaborating on multifamily projects in New England has already been an immediate win-win for both firms, said Ed Damphousse, an HFA Client Partnerships Lead based in Franklin, Massachusetts.

HFA has been able to rapidly accelerate its growth into the mixed-use and multifamily markets, with existing and new clientele, by elevating its expertise through its alignment with LaFreniere Architects. HFA provides LaFreniere with additional horsepower, integrated in-house engineering, and the ability to pursue larger projects in an expanded geography. Working together has been seamless and we are extremely excited about what the future holds for this collaboration."

Ed Damphousse, an HFA Client Partnerships Lead based in Franklin, Massachusetts

The two entities will continue to operate independently, but their collaborative work will run through HFA's 50-person studio in Franklin, Massachusetts, under the guidance of Aksel Solberg, HFA Development Design Studio Lead, AIA, NCARB, and John LaFreniere, who is based in Cambridge. Additional key team members include HFA's James Owens, Vice President, AIA, NCARB, and Giancarlo Botazzi, Discipline Lead / Sr Structural Engineer, P.E., SECB; as well as LaFreniere Architects' Sadmir Ovcina, a veteran architectural designer. 

The multidisciplinary collaboration stands to help developers cope with one of their biggest challenges—rising construction costs, LaFreniere noted. "When you work with a close-knit team with broad-based expertise, you're more likely to have well-coordinated design and construction documents, fewer change orders and a faster process," he said.

Integrative collaboration is even more critical now that complex housing engineering systems are set to play a more prominent role, the architect explained. In the Northeast and around the country, tough new building codes call for fresh-air ventilation, unified heat pump systems, extensive building insulation and other changes. "Efficient, integrated engineering has become much more important—you have to make sure these new systems aren't fighting each other," LaFreniere said. "There's a staggering amount of detail that must be thought through during the design process."

In addition, the alliance builds proactive cost-containment strategies into the planning process from the outset, Damphousse said. "Right out of the gate, the HFA and LaFreniere teams see these projects as business challenges, not just architectural ones," he said. "The goal is to design the building to the requirements of the pro forma, not 'value engineer' late in the game."

But multifamily and mixed-use properties also need to stand out in today's highly competitive marketplace, marked as they are by rooftop decks, hotel-like lobbies, open-floorplan coworking spaces and more, LaFreniere notes. "Today, granite countertops, open kitchens and high-end fixtures are becoming the norm even in entry-level housing," he said. "And in general, common areas need to be much more inviting. We are constantly looking for ways to enliven these experiences and create community. We're also learning valuable lessons about how to execute these strategies cost effectively."

Spotlight

Since the advent of technology as a vehicle to accelerate business performance within organizations, risk management has often been perceived as a foundational, yet sometimes burdensome, the pillar that has frequently been sidestepped since inception. For example, during the early 1980s, spreadsheets and databases collectively referred to as end-user computing (EUC) began to multiply at an astonishing pace due to their ease of use, functionality and powerful insights that could be gleaned at record speed.


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CONSTRUCTION

Capital Construction Holdings Partners with Options Exteriors

Capital Construction | August 30, 2022

O2 Investment Partners is pleased to announce that its portfolio company Capital Construction Holdings, a premier provider of roof replacement and repair and other exterior restoration services to residential customers across the U.S., has partnered with Options Exteriors. Founded by Aaron and Christina Bible, Options Exteriors is a leading provider of residential roof replacement and repair services across the Midwest. The business is headquartered in Eden Prairie, MN, with three additional locations serving customers across Minnesota, Iowa, and surrounding states. “We are extremely excited about the tremendous growth that our company has seen over the past several years, and we believe that partnering with Capital Construction Holdings and O2 Investment Partners is the right move to take the business to the next level.” -Aaron Bible, CEO of Options Exteriors. Andy Oakes, CEO of Capital Construction Holdings, commented Aaron and the team at Options have quickly established themselves as one of the top roofing companies in the Midwest. We couldn’t be more thrilled to link arms with them as partners moving forward. They bring a strong sales engine that will be a tremendous help as we continue to add scale and build out a national footprint. “Options Exteriors has established itself as a premier roofing contractor in the Midwest and we couldn’t be more excited for them to partner with us at Capital Construction Holdings. Options is a crucial addition to the platform as we endeavor to expand our footprint and build a best-in-class residential roofing company.” -Mike Cotant of O2 Investment Partners. About Capital Construction Holdings: Capital Construction Holdings is a provider of roof replacement and repair and other exterior restoration services to residential customers across the United States. Capital is headquartered in Burnsville, MN. About Options Exteriors: Options Exteriors is a leading provider of residential replacement and repair services across the Midwest. Options is headquartered in Eden Prairie, MN, with additional locations in St. Cloud, MN, Des Moines, IA, and Cedar Rapids, IA. About O2 Investment Partners: O2 Investment Partners is a Midwestern based private equity firm that seeks to acquire majority interests in lower middle market B2B services, technology, and select industrial companies. The firm invests in businesses with earnings growth potential and a clear path to the creation of shareholder value. O2 invests with a view toward partnering with management to build and grow the business and take it to its next stage of development. This requires not only a clear vision and strategic plan to create shareholder value, but a close partnership and alignment of interest with management.

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ENGINEERING TECH,CONSTRUCTION

Sensormatic Solutions by Johnson Controls Expands Its Computer Vision Offering to Address Retail’s Most Pressing Challenges

Johnson Controls | September 16, 2022

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Computer vision automates tasks and derives meaningful information from video footage in real time, helping to strengthen loss prevention efforts, provide insights on shopper behaviour and maintain safe environments for shoppers and assistants. The flexible architecture of this solution allows retailers to tailor systems to their unique needs. Computer vision analytics can be used to address a wide range of real-world challenges, including customer engagement, stocking, labour allocation, loss prevention, shopper satisfaction and much more. Current capabilities include: Shelf Sweep Detection: monitors shelf activity for large-scale removal of items so that in-store personnel can take pre-emptive measures to mitigate theft. Alerts assistants of low stocks and tracks the movement of high-value items that are taken from shelves. 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Our intelligent digital operating platform – Sensormatic IQ – combines the full Sensormatic Solutions portfolio, including third-party data to deliver unmatched insights into shopper experience, inventory intelligence, loss prevention and operational effectiveness with advanced technologies, like AI and Machine Learning. This enables retailers to act on prescriptive and predictive data-driven outcomes to confidently move into the future.

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PERSPECTIVES,ENGINEERING TECH

Digital Engineering Growth Fuels Rush for Talent in Europe

ISG | June 30, 2022

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ENGINEERING TECH

Exadel Announces New Acquisition of Motion Software

Exadel | July 13, 2022

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Spotlight

Since the advent of technology as a vehicle to accelerate business performance within organizations, risk management has often been perceived as a foundational, yet sometimes burdensome, the pillar that has frequently been sidestepped since inception. For example, during the early 1980s, spreadsheets and databases collectively referred to as end-user computing (EUC) began to multiply at an astonishing pace due to their ease of use, functionality and powerful insights that could be gleaned at record speed.

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