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1256 <p>Many millennials and other young people walking through Somerville’s vibrant squares and neighborhoods would be surprised to know what it was like in the 1960’s and 70’s.<br></p> <p></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="100" alt="Print" src="" height="48"></a> <p><b>Powered by JM Electrical Company, Inc.</b></p><p><br></p><p>Many millennials and other young people walking through Somerville’s vibrant squares and neighborhoods would be surprised to know what it was like in the 1960’s and 70’s. Boarded up store windows. Dangerous crime levels. Houses in decay. Middle class flight to the suburbs. A city on a downward spiral.<br></p><p></p><p>Today, Somerville is one of the hottest restaurant, nightlife and real estate markets in the state – the envy of many cities around the state.</p><p></p><p>What happened? While many factors came into play (Cambridge residents getting priced out of the market; an overall shift to urban centers; improved city government and services), nearly everyone acknowledges the key: the arrival of the Red Line in Davis Square.</p><p></p><p>When Somerville was added to the region’s mass transit system, making downtown Boston a short 15 minute subway ride away, the city began to bloom. And today, the Davis Square area is in full flower.</p><p></p><p>Infrastructure spending is the key to economic development here and across the country. When we invest in our roads and bridges, our trains and subways, we see development money unleashed, which in turn leads to growth in jobs, housing and population. And the need for improvement in our country’s infrastructure is an issue that has long been debated in Congress — truthfully, it may be one of the few current political topics with bipartisan agreement.</p><p></p><p>In fact, recent reports out of Washington suggest the Trump administration may produce an infrastructure bill soon, in order to gain a victory on an issue both Democrats and Republicans can agree on.</p><p></p><p>Both the President and the Democrats agree the dollar figure for this investment is at least a trillion dollars. That’s a steep price, but it’s a small price to pay to fix our roads, bridges, water systems and other infrastructure, while creating jobs and stimulating the economy.</p><p></p><p><b>Where will the funding come from?</b></p><p></p><p>Because President Trump is adamant about steering clear of taxpayer dollars, his solution is to fund these infrastructure projects through a mixture of public and private capital. Nevertheless, he would rely most heavily on private-sector investments — and these investments would be incentivized through tax cuts that can later be used to earn these companies money; for example, charging a toll for a repaired bridge or road.</p><p></p><p>Democrats, however, resist privatization of public infrastructure and favor mostly public spending. On the one hand, it could be a big victory for bipartisan success. On the other hand, it could get bogged down in partisan disagreements about how to pay for it. We’ll know more in the coming weeks.</p><p></p><p><b>Effects from the local perspective</b></p><p></p><p>Few states need infrastructure infusions as much as Massachusetts. <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Forty-two</a>&nbsp;percent of our roads are in poor condition. On top of that, <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">483 of our total 5,171 bridges</a>&nbsp;are considered structurally deficient. And major expansion projects hang in the balance.</p><p></p><p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Upon recent approval</a>, Somerville and Medford’s Green Line Extension, which will help revitalize Union Square and other parts of the two cities, now has its $2.3 billion funding intact – even without a huge infrastructure bill.</p><p></p><p>However, other transportation projects are not as fortunate. For example, South Coast Rail, an extension that could bring a commuter rail to New Bedford and Fall River, might not be so lucky. Amtrak receives a substantial amount of federal funding, which Trump has proposed severe cuts to. Such would affect all of Amtrak’s long-distance train lines, in turn affecting the 500 communities served by the transit agency.</p><p></p><p>Additionally, the North-South Rail Link, which would connect North and South stations, would most likely need federal funding to become a reality. Just to conduct a study on the rail link and its cost and benefit to riders, will cost up to $2 million.</p><p></p><p>Few states could use infrastructure spending more than Massachusetts, a state that relies to a great degree on 19th century subway system and early 20th century roads and bridges. Let’s hope the President and members of both parties in Congress can finally come together and agree on one important issue. If they can, revitalizations like the one that occurred in Somerville can spring up across the state.</p><br><p></p> Trump Budget Proposal: What it Means for Development Projects in 2017 Show Edit Destroy
166 <p>Initiated in 1973 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the month of May is observed as National Preservation Month across the United States. Events that work towards promoting heritage, tourism and the cultural and economic advantages of preserving historic places are held throughout the month co-sponsored by local preservation groups.</p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="78" alt="image1" src="" height="100"></a> <p></p> <p>By <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Haycon</a></p><p><br></p><p>Initiated in 1973 by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the month of May is observed as National Preservation Month across the United States. Events that work towards promoting heritage, tourism and the cultural and economic advantages of preserving historic places are held throughout the month co-sponsored by local preservation groups. These events help create awareness about historic places and monuments in and around the city.</p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="640" alt="image4" src="" height="480"></a> <p>The reading room of the Boston Public Library’s McKim Building in Copley Square, built in 1895.<br></p> <p><br></p> <p>There are 57 properties and districts that have been designated the title of National Historic Landmarks in Boston, including the Boston Naval Shipyard, the Boston Public Library, the Boston Athenaeum and the African Meeting House. There are several reasons why historic properties should be preserved and cared for. Historic properties have intrinsic value; they tend to be built using high quality materials such as rare hardwoods and wood from forests that no longer exist, making these properties rare and exquisite. Furthermore, the architecture of old buildings is more intricate and customized compared to many buildings built now, making them a delight for local residents and tourists alike.</p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="640" alt="image2" src="" height="387"></a> <p>The intricate interior of a historic South End row house restored by Haycon.<br></p> <p><br></p> <p>Boston’s historic properties evoke the city’s culture and complexities and help tell the rich story of our legacy and heritage. Boston’s historic buildings are a straight representation of our heritage and culture, and preserving these buildings represents our commitment to remembering and learning from the past and continuing to build a sustainable future. Restoring historic properties and ensuring their continued contribution to the local economy can be a powerful tool for sustaining local commerce, creating jobs and generating capital. Preservation is also an effective method for promoting sustainability and avoiding wastage of energy. When a historic building is demolished, the community loses the value of materials, resources and labor used to build it. In many cases, restoring and redeveloping historic buildings uses less energy and materials and is more cost-effective than demolishing the building and building from the ground up.</p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="640" alt="784-Tremont-1" src="" height="566"></a> <p>The exterior of 784 Tremont Street, a historic South End row house restored by Haycon.</p> <p><br></p> <p>The government recognizes the importance and sustainability of preserving historic buildings; the Federal Historic Preservation Tax Incentive encourages the private sector to invest in the restoration and redevelopment of historic buildings and offers a tax credit in return, reducing the amount of tax owed. The government issues a 20% tax credit for the rehabilitation of certified historic properties that have the potential to produce income, and a 10% rehabilitation tax credit that equates to 10% of the total amount spent on rehabilitation of a non-historic property built before 1936.</p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="640" alt="1902-1904-Washington-1" src="" height="460"></a> <p>The exterior of 1902-1904 Washington, a historic&nbsp;South End mixed-use building restored by Haycon.<br></p> <p><br></p> <p>Hiring an expert general contractor with experience in historic preservation is the key to a successful restoration and redevelopment project. Such a general contractor will help evaluate a property’s suitability for renovation and the appropriate methods through which restoration can be executed using approved replacement construction materials and cutting down on unnecessary costs. An experienced general contractor will also be well-versed in obtaining necessary approvals for modifications to historic properties, which are protected by a number of official regulations.</p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="558" alt="117-Centre-1" src="" height="640"></a> <p>The exterior of 117 Centre Street, a historic Roxbury home restored by Haycon.</p> <p><br></p> <p>There are various criteria and specific standards for rehabilitation of any property listed as historic. The current condition of historic features will be evaluated to determine the appropriate level of intervention needed, and which characteristics should be kept and which are insignificant. Replacement of intact materials or repairable historic material, or alteration of features, spaces and spatial relationships that are primary characteristics of a property, must be avoided. Distinctive materials, features, finishes and construction techniques or exemplary examples of craftsmanship that characterize a property will be retained and preserved, in addition to any later changes to a property that have acquired historic significance.</p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="626" alt="image5" src="" height="640"></a> <p>The exterior of the 1887-built Philip Munroe Residence in Cambridge, restored by Haycon.<br></p> <p><br></p> <p>Recently, the State of Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs started the #ThisPlaceMatters social media campaign, encouraging people to take pictures with buildings and properties of historic value to increase awareness and gather public support for preserving various properties. The #ThisPlaceMatters campaign is educating the public about the importance of preserving and restoring historic properties in a way that honors of the property’s history and background. Historic properties endorse a sense of belonging and familiarity that locals can associate with and are a proud symbol of the city we have built, and hence should be restored and redeveloped in a way that ensures this familiarity and pride does not disappear.</p> <p><br></p> <blockquote><p>Boston World Trade Center, home to .<a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">@NESEA_org</a> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">#be16</a> , will stand for centuries. Amazing masonry! <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">#thisplacematters</a> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""></a></p>— Dwayne Fuhlhage (@DwayneFuhlhage) <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">March 9, 2016</a></blockquote> <p>A #ThisPlaceMatters tweet noting the intricacy of Boston’s historic World Trade Center in the Seaport District</p> National Preservation Month: A celebration of Boston’s rich architectural heritage Show Edit Destroy
1256 <p>As housing prices skyrocket and more and more neighborhoods become gentrified working and middle class people are feeling the squeeze.<br></p> <p></p><p>As housing prices skyrocket and more and more neighborhoods become gentrified working and middle class people are feeling the squeeze. &nbsp; Today, median monthly rent in Boston is nearly <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">$2,500 per month</a>, a rate that requires annual income of $100,000 to live comfortably. &nbsp; Meanwhile, the 2015 median household income for Boston was just under <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">$80,000</a> – and that includes the increasing number of wealthy neighborhoods, from Back Bay to the South End to parts of South Boston, Jamaica Plain and West Roxbury. In other less affluent neighborhoods, rents remain high but wages are far less than the $80,000 median. </p> <p>Greater Boston faces a real crisis, not just of homelessness (though that has more than doubled in Massachusetts during the <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">past 9 years</a>), but of people simply paying too much just to keep a roof over their heads.</p> <p>Recent events in Somerville, for instance, illustrate the problem. Once a blue-collar community, the cost of even a condo in the city now nears a million dollars. Median rents for a three bedroom condo have reached <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">$3,400</a>.</p><p><br></p> <a data-flickr-embed="true" data-footer="true" href="" title="Maxwell&#x27;s Green in Somerville"><img src="" width="520" height="310" alt="Maxwell&#x27;s Green in Somerville"></a><script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> <p><br></p><p>The city’s housing pressure cooker finally boiled over in 2016, when the Board of Aldermen, seeking a quicker fix to the lack of reasonably priced homes, increased the number of affordable units that residential developers needed to build in their large projects from <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">12.5 percent to 20 percent</a>. Developers of many large-scale projects, especially those building at Assembly Row and Union Square, protested, saying that the requirement was too draconian and not financially viable. The result: a compromise at Assembly Row, at least, in which Federal Realty Investment Trust, agreed to make 16 percent of their units affordable ones – some at Assembly, others in key parts of the city. As part of the negotiation, the developer agreed to pay the city $10.3 million to finance the remaining units elsewhere in Somerville.</p><p><br></p> <a data-flickr-embed="true" data-footer="true" href="" title="Montaje at Assembly Row in Somerville"><img src="" width="640" height="461" alt="Montaje at Assembly Row in Somerville"></a><script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> <p><br></p><p>The Somerville story is a cautionary tale for developers, who in the months and years ahead are likely to find increasing pressure to build affordable units with their developments. &nbsp; Fortunately, some state and local efforts are easing the pressure in some communities. </p> <p>Chapter 40B, an affordable housing rule that has been on the books since 1969 but has been used even more aggressively in recent years, has yielded approximately <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">80 percent</a> of Massachusetts’ affordable housing developments outside the major cities, with nearly 60,000 units built in the Commonwealth since the law’s enactment.</p> <p>In Boston, the city has awarded <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">$22 million</a> in new funding for ten affordable housing developments in Greater Boston. The funding followed the mayor’s Boston 2030 housing announcement, outlining his goal of creating 53,000 new units of housing, including <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">6,500</a> new units of affordable housing, in the city by 2030 as well as supporting “Boston’s Way Home,” his plan to end chronic homelessness by 2018.</p><p><br></p> <a data-flickr-embed="true" data-footer="true" href="" title="The Beverly in Bulfinch Triangle"><img src="" width="640" height="379" alt="The Beverly in Bulfinch Triangle"></a><script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> <p><br></p><p>One example of Boston’s headway toward this goal is <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">The Beverly</a>, currently under construction, which will be Boston’s first all-affordable apartment complex in more than 25 years. Set for completion in January 2018, the development will be located in downtown Boston, and 100 percent of the units will be for households earning between 30-165 percent of Boston’s median income.</p><p><br></p> <a data-flickr-embed="true" data-footer="true" href="" title="Ink Block in the South End"><img src="" width="640" height="377" alt="Ink Block in the South End"></a><script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> <p><br></p> <p>But even as these efforts are yielding more units, Boston itself has forced developers to include more affordable units. All of the Boston Housing Authority’s luxury apartment complexes are required to include at least 13 percent of their residential units as affordable. High-end complexes such as Millennium Tower, Avalon North Station and Ink Block Apartments (all of which are JM Electrical projects) were required to have affordable units.</p> <a data-flickr-embed="true" data-footer="true" href="" title="Avalon North Station in Bulfinch Triangle"><img src="" width="640" height="424" alt="Avalon North Station in Bulfinch Triangle"></a><script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> <p><br></p> <p>As Greater Boston’s many neighborhoods work to reach their affordable housing requirements, developers will be expected to do more and more to meet these ambitious goals. While it may come at some substantial cost for builders of buildings large and small, it may be the only way Boston and the surrounding area will maintain its middle class, a goal nearly everyone agrees is worth pursuing.</p><p></p> With Housing Prices Rising, Developers May Be Under Increasing Pressure to Address Affordable Housing Need Show Edit Destroy
166 <p>When undertaking a building development in the expensive Boston real estate market, ensuring construction methods are at their most efficient is a critical aspect to maximizing return on investment.<br></p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="78" alt="logo" src="" height="100"></a> <h5>By Haycon</h5> <p><br></p> <p>When undertaking a building development in the expensive Boston real estate market, ensuring construction methods are at their most efficient is a critical aspect to maximizing return on investment. Utilization of wood framed construction for mid-rise buildings, typically constructed from steel or concrete, is on the rise. Literally. Current building code allows building a six story building with a base platform of steel or concrete, which typically means one story of concrete or steel and up to five stories of wood framing. As soon as this month, the new IBC (International Building Code) guidelines are anticipated to allow a change whereby a two-story steel or concrete platform is used to support an additional five stories of wood framing, totaling seven stories. Some developers have had success in the Boston area obtaining zoning variances presently given the impending change. The impact for developers looking to value engineer construction costs and maximize return on investment should prove significant.</p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="640" alt="1065Tremont" src="" height="334"></a> <h5><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">1065 Tremont Street</a>, a newly constructed wood-framed building built by Haycon.</h5> <p><br></p> <p>Overall, the changes in regulation allow for more agile and expedient construction using wood framing. Generally, wood frame construction is faster and less expensive, as product is readily available. Wood is lighter than steel or concrete, and allows for more nimble platform design. A wider subcontractor base in the Boston area allows for cost comparison and lowered risk of schedule delays due to subcontractor availability.</p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="640" alt="PortsideAtEastPierTwo006" src="" height="425"></a> <h5><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Portside at East Pier Phase Two</a>, a new wood-framed development under construction on the East Boston Waterfront.</h5> <p><br></p> <p>Advances in construction technology further contribute to efficiencies in building Type 3 construction. For example, the increased availability in panelized floor and wall assemblies offers many benefits to developers. Pre-fabrication allows for higher quality control in a factory setting, not subject to weather delays. Panelized construction also reduces waste of material and results in less clean-up time on site.</p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="640" alt="40FisherAve001" src="" height="425"></a> <h5><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">40 Fisher Avenue</a>, a wood-framed building under construction in Mission Hill.</h5> <p><br></p> <p>Of course, no construction method is without some limitation. Use of wood framing in mid-rise construction lessens the amount of ‘clearspan’, or clear open space without structural columns or supports, versus the use of steel or concrete. This is less of a concern in residential applications. Further, close attention must also be paid to the Fire Rating of materials to meet stringent fire code requirements. Finally, insulation between floors should be carefully planned to limit noise transmission between units. </p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="640" alt="Landing-53-Luxury-Apartments-Downtown-Braintree-MBTA-Commuter-Rail" src="" height="426"></a> <h5><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Landing 53</a>, a wood-framed building under construction in Downtown Braintree.</h5> <p><br></p> <p>As developers continue to incorporate green building techniques into Boston mid-rise construction, it is important to note the benefits of wood framing versus steel, concrete and masonry, which have a higher carbon footprint. In fact, timber construction has been touted by the Department of Agriculture as a “climate-change mitigation tool.” Wood is a renewable resource and, with responsible forestry methods in place, is a more sustainable product.</p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="640" alt="Portland-Wood-High-Rise" src="" height="487"></a> <h5>A 148-foot-tall wood-framed high-rise coming to Portland, Oregon.</h5> <p><br></p> <p> For all these reasons, wood framed construction is on the up and up. Industry innovators in Architecture and Engineering are proposing more high-rise designs utilizing primarily wood framing. Just recently in Portland, Oregon, a 148-foot wood framed building was issued building permit, with many more wood high rises under consideration for future endeavors all over the United States and around the world.</p> Maximizing ROI: Achieving Added Height with Wood Framing is on the Up and Up thanks to New Building Code Show Edit Destroy
1256 <p><b></b>As the Boston Globe recently observed, the awarding of the 2028 Olympics to Los Angeles reminds us of our own tumultuous and controversial bid for the 2024 games.<b></b><br></p> <p><img width="460" alt="side_walshjpg" src="" height="307"></p> <p>Above: Boston Mayor Marty Walsh</p> <p>As the Boston Globe <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">recently observed</a>, the awarding of the 2028 Olympics to Los Angeles reminds us of our own tumultuous and controversial bid for the 2024 games. &nbsp;One of the benefits of that bid is our city would have been pushed to rethink how to make better use of key parcels throughout the city. As the Globe noted, there is certainly no reason why we can’t engage in such a process anyway, which is what Mayor Martin Walsh is trying to do with his ambitious Imagine Boston 2030 plan.</p><p><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">Imagine Boston 2030</a> is a program designed to reach out to residents across the city of Boston and gather input on how to expand opportunity for residents, sustain a dynamic economy, enhance quality of life, and put actions in place to prepare for climate change.</p> <p>Some 15,000 residents have participated over the past two years, and the final plan was released last month. It represents Mayor Walsh’s vision for the city of Boston over the next decade as it accommodates more jobs and a larger population. The plan encompasses a range of topics including affordable housing, education, jobs and the economy, health and safety, energy and the environment, and open space, among others.</p><p>The plan has several elements that are critical for developers and builders, notably its call for investment in six neighborhoods: Sullivan Square, Fort Point Channel, Suffolk Downs, Readville, Beacon Yards and Newmarket and Widett Circle, which had already been marked for redevelopment had the Olympic bid gone through. It also includes substantial plans for the Shawmut Peninsula, Fairmount Corridor and the waterfront. </p><p>The major themes in each case were to capitalize on public transit, create more open space and encourage walking and biking by improving upon the streets, as well as develop additional mixed-use buildings and strengthen industrial uses. At the same time, the plan is an attempt to anticipate a population boom in the city, as it is expected to rise from its current population of <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">656,000 up to 724,000 by 2030</a>.</p><p>The Imagine Boston plan includes a commitment by the city to invest $2.08 billion in capital over the next five years to key development initiatives. &nbsp;About 77 percent of the city’s funds are already allocated for projects already underway, but much of it is still for the six neighborhoods targeted in the report. </p><p>For example, the Shawmut Peninsula will receive $20 million for improvements to make the area more walkable and bikeable. Sullivan Square will see a $14.8 million investment for a redesign of Rutherford Ave addressing climate, transportation and congestion, and a $165 million investment for the North Washington Street Bridge. Fort Point Channel will be allocated $4.2 million for the South Bay Harbor Trail to connect parts of the city. Readville will see a $1.4 million investment for Wolcott Square traffic signal improvements. And $7 million will go toward Martin’s Park to invest in open spaces for kids and families on the waterfront.</p><p>Not only that, but Widett Circle, which had been in the plans for redevelopment in preparation for the Olympics, is also in Mayor Walsh’s plans in Imagine Boston 2030. Part of his vision for this area is to preserve its critical industrial uses and enhance its connection to neighboring areas through housing growth and transit-oriented jobs.</p><p>Though the city is no longer in the running for an Olympic bid, it is still possible to accomplish many of the infrastructure changes that would have come with it. With the structure put in place outlining the key areas to be addressed from now until 2030, Boston is poised to continue its development into a dynamic economy with an enhanced quality of life for all residents.</p><p></p> Imagine Boston 2030: Walsh’s Impact on the Future of the City Show Edit Destroy
1256 <p>Recently, the state Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced that it had concluded public hearings on a proposed new edition of the state building code.<br></p> <p>Recently, the state Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced that it had concluded public hearings on a proposed new edition of the state building code. Over the past several weeks, residents and local professionals from across the state weighed in on proposed changes, creating the ground rules for developers, homeowners, architects and property managers to abide for the foreseeable future. And now, the feedback from hearings and over 200 pages of public amendments are has been reviewed by the Board of Building Regulations and Standards (BBRS). Once filed with the Secretary of State, projects will be expected to comply with the ninth edition code effective January 2, 2018.</p><p>While the new building code may not generate big headlines, updating the code is a critical public service, and essential to any community’s growth and development. Almost always, these updates are intended to improve standards for important issues such as the structural integrity of buildings, the quality of water systems, and the required levels of energy conservation. For anyone working or living in Massachusetts, a build code has quiet imprints on our quality of life.</p><p>Building codes also offer a unique perspective regarding a region’s development. One glance at the skyline underscores the obvious: the Boston development community is in the midst of one of its largest building booms. From examples like Fenway’s Pierce Boston to the upcoming General Electric headquarters in Innovation Point, the latest iteration of the state building code aims to sustain the current growth, while ensuring safety will continue to be prioritized. &nbsp;</p><p>Today, the International Building Code (IBC) is in use or adopted in all 50 states, setting basic guidelines to protect buildings, people and property from fire, storms, earthquakes, and other natural disasters. Nevertheless, most states produce their own &nbsp; codes to complement the IBC. And, generally, the ninth edition reflects a consensus that – increasingly – there are fewer occasions to supplement the IBC. Still, there are a few pending examples where the latest local code updates should make life easier for developers and Massachusetts construction industry.</p><p>Coastal A zones are areas designated as special flood hazards. The Seaport – with its close proximity to the Boston waterfront – is an example. Previously, the higher likelihood of wind and storm activity limited the options for development in Coastal A zones. The updated code reassesses that, tapering the code’s previous caution and making it more palpable for development.</p><p>The new state code will now also reflect the IBC’s cues on podium construction, as well as tall wood structures. Podium construction—or pedestal/platform construction—refers to multiple levels of light-frame construction over a level of fire resistant base. (Think of parking garages or retail.) In Massachusetts the current code is based on an older version of IBC and does not allow two story podiums. Recent changes in the IBC code allow six and seven story structures to be constructed in wood, as opposed to strictly concrete.</p><p>Likewise, recent advancements in fire prevention and technology have enabled heavy timber to be used over steel and concrete frames, a welcome change for builders who often favor wood because it is lighter, stronger, and less expensive. The Massachusetts building code will now follow the guidelines set in the 2015 edition of the IBC, to maximize the number of stories, and – hopefully - lower construction costs.</p><p>Boston’s recent building surge is unique for several reasons, including the growing, statewide emphasis on sustainability. Last year, Massachusetts was named the <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">most energy efficient state</a>&nbsp;in the nation for the sixth consecutive year, and during this time the state had <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="">136 properties</a>&nbsp;spanning 24.4 million square feet that were LEED certified, including the recently completed Serenity Apartments overlooking Olmsted Park. With an updated building code, Boston should anticipate higher standards for sustainability.</p><p>BBRS members have now convened inside One Ashburton Place in downtown Boston to –approve final contents of the state’s building code. With a new code now firmly in place for 2018 and beyond, it should provide a helpful set of guidelines that promoter innovation and growth in our state without losing sight of the need to promote public safety.</p><p></p> Massachusetts Building Code Updates' Impact on Local Development Show Edit Destroy
1256 <p>Earlier this summer, Governor Baker doubled down on the state’s tremendous success in the life sciences by asking lawmakers to approve a new five-year, $500 million life sciences investment. Since the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center was launched with an initial 10-year, $1 billion initiative in 2008, Massachusetts solidified and enhanced its reputation as a major hub for research and development. The state now has nearly 1,000 life sciences companies, with roughly 68,000 workers. Of the Commonwealth’s 12 initial public offerings last year, all but three were in the life sciences sector.<br></p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="50" alt="JM-Electrical-logo" src="" height="50"></a> <p><b>Powered by JM Electrical Company, Inc.</b></p> <p><br></p> <p>Earlier this summer, Governor Baker doubled down on the state’s tremendous success in the life sciences by asking lawmakers to approve a new five-year, $500 million life sciences investment. Since the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center was launched with an initial 10-year, $1 billion initiative in 2008, Massachusetts solidified and enhanced its reputation as a major hub for research and development. The state now has nearly 1,000 life sciences companies, with roughly 68,000 workers. Of the Commonwealth’s 12 initial public offerings last year, all but three were in the life sciences sector.</p> <p><br></p> <p>By now, most people can identify the underpinnings of this success: great research institutions, a quality workforce, a finance infrastructure that understands the industry’s needs. Currently, the Boston-Cambridge area represents more than one third of the industry’s venture capital funding, outpacing even San Francisco in terms of annual biotech funding from venture capital companies.</p> <p><br></p> <p>Clusters of companies working in close proximity to neighborhoods such as Kendall Square, Longwood Medical and – most recently – the Seaport have also fueled the industry’s collaboration and growth. Vertex Pharmaceuticals initially put the Seaport on the map as a life science hub after building a new world headquarters at Fan Pier in 2011. Since then, several others have followed suit, including Intarcia Therapeutics on Marina Drive, as well as Emulate, Inc. and Ginkgo Bioworks, both in the up-and-coming Innovation and Design Building on Drydock Ave. The newly-reimagined Seaport neighborhood is now the fastest growing part of Boston, stimulating significant economic growth in the city – approximately 5,000 new jobs have been created in the Innovation district, and over 200 new companies have already been formed.</p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="640" alt="Vertex" src="" height="512"></a> <p>The 1.1-million-square-foot Vertex Pharmaceuticals headquarters in the Seaport District, featuring electrical installation by JM Electrical Company, Inc.</p> <p><br></p> <p>What’s often overlooked is another key component of this success: a development and contractor community that knows how to build the lab spaces and other buildings these companies need. &nbsp;Life science spaces rely on sophisticated systems to keep labs at particular temperatures and to let technicians know when problems arise. The contributions of this region’s developers, builders, and subcontractors - who understand the precision and expertise needed to meet this industry’s special construction requirements – are quiet factors for why Greater Boston’s life science industry remains world-class. </p> <p><br></p> <p>Building biotech facilities requires specialties that the average electrical contractor or construction company in other parts of the country simply may not possess. Increasingly, companies are looking to contractors with expertise in these environments, ensuring these highly complex systems are done correctly. This includes special installation requirements, specialty lab control systems that deal with sensitive work environments and, occasionally, special protocols to complement these installations. </p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="640" alt="BU CILSE" src="" height="427"></a> <p>Boston University's new Center for Center for Integrated Life Sciences and Engineering, featuring electrical installation by JM Electrical Company, Inc.</p> <p><br></p> <p>The Boston development industry is continuing to enhance its technical expertise in this area, which enables companies like JM Electrical to keep up with the requirements of these facilities while adding to established service offerings. Particularly with increasing projects at higher education facilities, hospitals and pharmaceutical companies, the building community is experiencing firsthand the reinvigorated demands of the life science boom here in Boston, requiring increased staff as well as field personnel to ensure that all installations are done on time and on budget. </p> <p><br></p> <p>It’s important to recognize just how rare this is. Even some of the country’s most flourishing towns and cities simply lack the local talent to support an industry as sophisticated as Massachusetts’ life science sector. While many here in Boston have become experts in these projects, others areas have had limited exposure. The expertise that many in this market have should not be dismissed when developers are looking to build new life science facilities. Servicing life science facilities with our brand of sophisticated installation and technical expertise has become a touchstone for JM Electrical, and other companies in Greater Boston. And as the building boom continues, working at high-profile, multi-use developments like Pfizer at 610 Main Street in Kendall Square or projects such as Boston University’s Center for Integrated Life Sciences &amp; Engineering provides the building community with first seat access to the growing evolution of the state’s innovation infrastructure. For the next biotech building going up in the region, it’s important that all contractors possess the knowledge and experience needed for this increasingly sophisticated market.</p> <p><br></p> <a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href=""><img width="427" alt="Pfizer" src="" height="640"></a> <p>The recently completed Pfizer headquarters in Kendall Square, featuring electrical installation by JM Electrical Company, Inc.</p> Boston Development’s Edge in the Life Science Market Show Edit Destroy

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