Thursday, August 10, 2017

Managing Details | Consultancy


One of the most valued aspect of a property consultancy firm is the maintainance of relationships developed with stakeholders and to make a point of nurturing these relationships. The main key when providing a full or partial property-consulting service is your involvement in the project which ranges from sourcing suitable development sites to arranging local authority approvals, managing the professional team or providing a complete project management service. Property consultant have to understand the complexities and challenges of the construction industry in order to be successful in overcoming the risks faced by clients and infrastructure providers. With years of experience under my belt, I have gained confident when coming to delivering projects on time, saving money and assuring clients of a high quality product.

All projects start with a schedule or some basic milestone dates and meeting these dates is the simple, strategic goal of any project. Keeping the project on that schedule and hitting each and every milestone along the way is the hard part. Keeping a job on track is not that difficult; however, a project planner must make certain weekly and daily processes second nature in order to consistently achieve success. Sounds simple, right? If this process is so straightforward, then why do so many projects run into problems? This is a great question, and the answer might surprise you. One problem is most training courses on scheduling typically focus on strategy because it's difficult for an instituion of higher learning to charge large fees for a class to teach its student how to manage details, it's far flashier for these institutions to make a course, give a speech, or write a book about the big-picture, strategic issues. Although strategy is obviously important, the devil really is in the details when it comes to project management. If you pay closer attention to details, you can almost guarantee improved performance on future projects. As a property consultant, I learned that even the grandest construction projects can depend on the smallest of components for success, it's therefore important to visualize a systematic approach.

Finding the right property consultant, one who will save money and provide the benefits of returns-on-investment which requires a little more understanding of property cost of ownership. As a property consultant, I have acquired specialized knowledge in some facet of the security industry and I also work with vendors while providing intergrated project planning services. Security is made up of hundreds of individual disciplines, all of which must fit carefully together like pieces of a large jigsaw puzzle. Unfortunately, no one can be an expert in all of the related topics. My services include planning perimeter fences, exterior access control, emergency planning, end-user training, video surveillance, logical access control, intrusion detection, systems integration, key management, building door and window hardware, and environmental design, commissioning and installation. Some projects require a team to ensure the proper depth of knowledge in each critical subject area. When putting together a team, Consultants with great breadth of knowledge are valuable in seeing the overall picture, identifying all of the puzzle pieces and figuring the best way to fit them together. Consultants with depth of knowledge may be better at providing specifications for specific electronic hardware that will best fit the property requirements and compatibility needs. Therefore, Finding a specialist with relatively good general security knowledge can be a real plus. Not all property consultants offer these advantages, but they are all possible when the right consultant is selected.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Property Economy | Services



Superhosting Listings.....
There is perhaps no greater example of how lucrative the sharing economy can be than Airbnb. In the years since its launch the website that lets anyone rent out their property has propelled its founders—Brian Chesky, Nathan Blecharczyk, and Joe Gebbia—onto Forbes billionaires list with estimated fortunes of a couple of billion each. That’s to say nothing of the company’s rumored valuation in the billions, partly due to the fact that Airbnb now has over one million listings in 190 countries. But Airbnb isn’t just aiming to make its shareholders rich; it’s also making plenty of money for its hosts too—especially the ones at the top of the hospitality supply chain whom the company refers to as “Superhosts". These superhosts have a response rate of at least 90%, have hosted at least 10 trips, do not cancel, and have at least 80% five-star ratings. In 2009, the company first launched the program to recognize the early superhosts who helped set a high standard for hosting on Airbnb. The Airbnb community has grown considerably since then, but it’s just as important now as it was in 2009 and the company continues to showcase the top-performing hosts in its community. Commercial property owners are also striving for this status becuase it looks good and increases bookings—so since introducing it the bar is constantly being raised when it comes to using the site and hosting guests. The site has reportedly welcomed over 40,000 Superhosts since the program began in 2009. For some of these Superhosts, Airbnb rentals can mean revenue in the five or six figures. While much of Airbnb’s business is based on “regular” residential property owners who are offering extra rooms or beds, these highly profitable outliers—often hosts with multiple listings or whole homes for rent—have become the subject of controversy. An analysis of global Airbnb listsings showed that hosts offering multiple listings made up over 40% of the company’s business. At one point in 2013, a study illustrated that nearly 30% of Airbnb’s offerings in major cities were from hosts with multiple listings. Commercial property owners are now considering the services of property consultants because they have invested in the luxury multiple residences or even whole apartment to rent which requires an Airbnb management service at their disposal to increase their listing status.



Borehole Investment.....
Low rainfall and drought conditions have left South Africa with eight out of the nine provinces declared disaster areas earlier this year. In addition, the cost of water in South Africa has continued to increase over time, primarily due to inflation and shortages in water supply. The problem has further been aggravated by the recent low rainfall in South Africa. Johannesburg Water has for instance entered into a partnership with the Borehole Water Association to encourage residents to use borehole water to mitigate the ongoing drought and to relieve the pressure on surface water demand. Groundwater resources have always played a critical role in meeting the water demands of traditionally water-scarce areas of the world, but what about the cost of having a borehole drilled and equipped? According to a 2005 case study, South African households with piped water and with stand sizes larger than 500sqm, often use up to 46% of their water consumption on irrigating the garden. Using municipal water for the purposes of garden irrigation is quite frankly a waste of potable water. By using groundwater for irrigation, property owners can potentially save money on their water bills, while decreasing the demand on the municipal water supply. Municipalities use tariff rates that increase in proportion to usage. This has a significant impact on the water bill at the end of the month. Given the cost of installing and maintaining a borehole, is the potential saving in water really worth it? To answer that question, we have to look at the costs involved in installing and maintaining a borehole in an office block with a garden and then in a typical residential property. Briefly, groundwater use is governed by the National Water Act, 1998 (Act No. 36 of 1998) (NWA) and permitted for private use in terms of Schedule 1. Where water is used for domestic purposes only and less than 10m³ per day is used, no registration is required. But where more than 10m³ per day is being abstracted on a property, a registration with the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) is required.

Consultative Approach.....
I operate a property consulting agency that maximizes both the relationship and technical management of my client's projects by applying a unique approach. My agency jointly explores the best options to prevent or reduce loss by offering a single point of contact for clients with a team of consultants who handle all questions and concerns as well as overseeing the property survey and inspection schedules. Documan Consulting also works as liaison between the client, architect, engineer, contractor, fabricator, vendor and local authority including performing a comprehensive field survey to help identify exposures that could affect a clients' property performance as well as in the event of unexpected losses or service interuptions. I developed a state-of-the-art project assessment methodology which ensures consistency for each property performance and I also deploy a team of professionals who are matched through industrial or technical experience with the projects and property under evaluation. While my agency utilize the National Building Regulations and Standards as default, my consulting team is also familiar with other internationally recognized standards. As a property consultant, I do not believe in summary reporting unless that is what our client specifically requires. Consequently, I believe in providing a fully comprehensive report because I work with a team of property consultants who have different trades and are skilled in the testing and commissioning of systems. My agency provides best practice recommendations for the improvement of any building's performance and I work with clients to ensure that planned projects are tracked and completed in the most cost-effective ways. I have also offered detailed building service interruption studies as well as technical knowledge transfer to other consultants.

Planning Services | Consulting



Property Planning......
Planning applications frequently attract objections and representation from affected parties and as a results, a property consultant with technical planning knowledge and experience is required to represent the interest of the developer during town planning or appeal hearing. We also assist mining companies in acquiring land and determining complaince with land use legislation where mining licenses have been granted. You also need to have extensive knowledge in managing the process of turning agricultural based land into township land. As property consultants, we are also involved in urban planning which refers to the process of allocating and rezoning land for urban establishment. The process includes consideration regarding the environment, bulk infrustructure (water, electricity and sanitation) and distribution networks, Preparation of technical drawings, maps and illustrations, conducting surveys, measurements and analyzing other data, including working with architects, engineers and engineering technologists. As a property consultant with draughting background, I drew different types of maps such as cadastral, topographical and meteorological. I also copied final drawings and arranged completed drawings to be reproduced for use as working drawings. I have also been involved in a number of community-based development projects, undertaken applications of consolidations and subdivision of land, site development planning, electronic mapping and draughting.


Property Services.....
I'm commonly asked what differentiates the services of a property consultant from that of a real estate agent or property manager. It’s a difficult question to answer on the face of it, because we are also regulated by the Estate Agency Affairs Board and the Property Practitioner Regulation. We also have listings of properties with well worded description, site reports as well as professional photos. The difference would be the type of information included in the listings which consist of business analyses, building performance, etc. We do work closely with real estate agents when identifyimg sites or advertising the properties using signs, the internet and other marketing tools. We analyse the properties while conducting feasibility studies and present those to prospective property owners. We also evaluate sites for development including compiling an extensive property research as well ensuring that the property documentations are in compliance with legislation. We also assist property owner wiih the appointment of competent professionals in the planning and management of properties (i.e town planners, architects, engineers, contractors, etc) while carrying out periodic inspections, Reviewing rental levels, Arranging repairs and maintenance, including structuring and payment of bulk infrustructure services ( electricity, water, sanitation, etc).

Site Inspection......
What was previously a difficult and expensive task for property consultants is now being achieved in a much more cost-effectively way using a theodolite or remotely piloted aerial systems when conducting building survey and inspections of green fields, roofs, steel or timber structures, etc., but sometimes the inspections and survey would require the services of a rope access technician or the use of scaffolding. As a property consultant, I also rely on a series of high resolution images or high definition video of most hard to reach structures. I monitor the footage being gathered on the remote ground station screens to make sure I am getting exactly the images I require. And there’s no longer the need for anyone to leave the ground so the project is obviously much safer. As a property consultant with draughting including mechanical and electrical skills also called a "millwright" technician, I am often asked to inspect sites that are either too hard or too expensive to reach by conventional means. They also happen to be the type of sites which are just too dangerous for everyone else to get close to. Over the years I’ve photographed everything from factories to aircraft hangers and office buildings to schools including mining operations. I usually supply the site reports including footage in ultra high definition, 4K video format to clients, architects, engineers, real astate agents and contractors. I compile site reports which would typically show a small selection of the types of work that I've been commissioned to carry out as a consultant by the property owner. As a property consultant, I also compile site analysis and building condition reports which containing details of the condition of the fabric of the building and these are not a structural engineers reports but it is a comprehensive inspection of the property. These reports will advise clients on the condition and state of repair of the visible parts of the property. They also describes the method of construction where visible, detailing any defects which are apparent at the time of inspection and indicating the need for remedying such defects including areas requiring future maintenance, repair or further inspection will also be highlighted. Proposed alterations will also be included during the consultation prior to survey and inspection.

Business Properties......
Most business owners who own commercial real estate acquire those properties under separate holding companies, so it’s easy to treat the sale of those properties (i.e retail store, workshop, factories or manufacturing facility) differently than the sale of the operating business. Many buyers looking to purchase these businesses may prefer to rent, so even if the operating company owns a property, the owners may prefer selling the property separately or as an option. A real estate agent is a valuable contributor, whether it be on a commission basis during a sale offering, or on a fee-for-service basis as a consultant on how to approach the sale of the commercial property. However, when it comes to preparing an operating business for sale, and managing the transaction process to closing, hiring a real estate agent may not be the best approach. You see, an operating business is far more complex than a structure and land. A business has many dynamics that influence its performance and valuing such a business fairly, for both seller and buyer, is extremely complex – at least when it’s done correctly. I often see such businesses listed in the real estate sections of my local publication and wonder how an owner and the real estate agent could attract a client to buying such a business. As a property consultant, I want to see detailed income statements, balance sheets and cash flows for the past three years as well as a prospectus on the business that covers the history and the future, including detailed financial projections; Non-tangible assets; for example, I want to compare industry information and conduct a competitive analysis including a list of owner benefits; costs that the business absorbs, but benefits the owner on a personal level, such as vehicles etc; Employee performance histories and compensation levels. I’d also want to discuss terms, an asset sale versus a share sale, and explore areas where there may be risks for future litigation, i.e land claims, etc. just to name a few.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Database Management | Consulitng

Documan Consultitng offers database management services which addresses the needs of archivists and librarians that do not primarily collect architectural records, but who need to know how to arrange, describe, house, store, and provide access to one or several collections of architectural records under their care. In addition to project office files, architectural collections contain a variety of oversized drawings-and possibly even scale models-that document the stages of a project from initial sketches through final as-built drawings. Because of the vagaries of architectural office record-keeping practices, what is transferred to an archival repository may include all documentation for a project, or only the drawings. Whether the collections are historical or contemporary, archivists need to know what to expect to find in a collection, how to identify the records, what is important to keep, and how to preserve the records through proper storage and handling. Contemporary architectural offices increasingly generate electronic records, in the form of CAD (computer-assisted design systems). Although a discussion of CAD is included here, the arrangement, description, and preservation of historical paper documents is the primary focus of this leaflet. Architectural records serve different functions depending upon the repository. Museums house them as artistic expressions, historical societies collect them to document the local built environment, institutional archives retain them as building records, and government archives preserve them for their regulatory history. Regardless of their final uses, architectural records present particular needs for care and handling. These documents share four characteristics: physical fragility, unwieldy scale, massive bulk, and, for twentieth century records, electronic fluidity. Drawings created before 1920 rarely present problems of volume or duplication. After World War 11, however, the exponential growth of construction, mass reproduction capabilities, and increasing need to retain documents for liability and regulatory requirements fostered an explosion of architectural records that requires a carefully thought-out documentation strategy. Beginning in the 1960s, architectural firms gradually replaced paper with computer files. Beginning with e-mail and word processing for textual files, architects added digital images, digital drawing files, and three-dimensional models created on computer-assisted systems during the 1980s. The computer programs allowed them to eliminate many traditional working and shop drawings. With the digital model as the definitive record of the design, the architect rarely retains the interim plots and printouts. Backup and file storage present problems for archivists because of the changing nature of the medium (e.g., floppy disks, tapes, hard drives), the software required to read them, and the requisite hardware to run them.

APPRAISAL

When advances in construction techniques increased the height of commercial buildings, large architectural firms began compartmentalizing their offices into a hierarchical division of labor to organize the design and construction of major projects. Out of this reorganization evolved a process for planning a building and the resultant types of drawings that archivists must now recognize, identify, appraise, dispose of, arrange, and describe. Understanding the chronological and physical process of creating the drawings helps appraisers make crucial decisions concerning retention and disposal. When writing a collection development policy for architectural records, consider the purpose for your collection: Documenting an individual's career, Chronicling the history of an architectural firm, Providing information about a specific building or group of buildings, and Representing examples of architectural styles. When considering retention of architectural records, archivists must ask themselves the question: is every scrap of paper containing a drawing or sketch, or every set of blueprints necessary to keep? The answer is not necessarily. The nature and scope of the collection, as well as the uniqueness of your copies, affect retention decisions. You do not need to keep copies when another repository has the original. Likewise, you can discard extra exact duplicate copies, as well as the diazo print if you have the original of the same image. The older the drawings, the more likely you will want to keep everything to document the creative process of designing the structure. More contemporary drawings, and the plethora of reproduction methods and "actors on the stage" involved in bringing structures to life, require appraisal of the collection for documentation purposes. Factor your collection development policy into your decision-making.

IDENTIFICATION

How do you determine what you have? Understanding the purpose of a drawing helps clarify the process by which it was created. The chronological development (or design phases) of a project begins with preliminary (conceptual), and proceeds through development (design), presentation, and working (mechanical, structural, and supplemental-shop or change orders), to record (as-built). In the Art 6; Architecture Tlzesaurus (AAT)~ hierarchy, the visual materials section (VC) covers visual works by medium or technique, drawings by method of 'representation, building plans, drawings by function, drawings by technique, and drawings by subject type. Appropriate terms are included within each level, and the alphabetical listing provides a succinct, yet descriptive, definition of each term. By combining the AAT terminology with identification of process in At-chitectural ~lzotore~roductions,~ you should be able to identify what the document is, determine where it fits in the continuum, and decide if it should be retained. In the preliminary design phase, architects often make spontaneous sketches on unusual media, such as envelopes, stationery, and even napkins. Since this marks the beginning of the process of conceptualization, it is imperative for archivists to recognize this stage of inspiration for its creative importance. Spontaneous sketches are not extraneous doodles. Determining the type of paper used can help date a drawing. The presence of a watermark, color, perforated edges, or imprinted stationery also can assist the dating process. Do note that not all drawings lead to construction. Conceptual drawings include student works, design contests, travel sketches for reference, and polemical drawings used to explain a premise in opposition to current trends. Architects usually sketch their development drawings on tracing paper in order to build on, refine, and delete ideas. Architects use presentation drawings, created by company or independent delineators, to convince a client to approve a project. These beautifully executed drawings, which are often tinted with watercolors, can take the form of plans, elevations, or perspectives that include human figures, nearby buildings, and landscaping. Since the 1970s, large firms have produced computer-generated presentation drawings with an axonometric view that simultaneously shows the plan, section, and interior spaces of a building. Working drawings represent an architect's final plans for a building, moving away from the artistic conception to focus on the functional construction requirements in the form of plans, sections, elevations, and detailing. Notations, symbols, and a legend to explain dimensions and requisite materials are included in the working drawings. Since the early nineteenth century, original drawings have been reproduced on paper, then linen, and now Mylar. Copying the ink on paper drawings required tracing each line with a spiked wheel. A bag of colored chalk was used to transfer the image onto a sheet of paper beneath the original. From the 1880s and into the late twentieth century, architects prepared original working drawings on sturdy linen. Most architects began working on Mylar in the 1990s. Linen and Mylar originals are reproduced photomechanically as blueprints.

The current drawing sequence is Architectural, Structural, Mechanical, Plumbing, and Electrical Drawings. Corresponding letters (A, S, M, P, E) are used as prefixes with a prescribed order for the drawings within. Prior to this systematized structure, architects grouped general tracings (floor plans, elevations, and structural and ornamental details), and consecutively numbered each sheet. They skipped several numbers and resumed the sequence with framing drawings, and then continued the pattern of skipping numbers between plumbing, mechanicals, and electricals. Record drawings, which also are called as-built drawings, of a completed project often resemble presentation drawings. Since the late nineteenth century, architects frequently photographed completed projects, and published the photographs in architectural journals.

ARRANGEMENT

Archivists who arrange collections of architectural drawings generally rely upon the same principles used for arranging manuscript and archival collections, with some distinct differences. Describe the collection by project or subject to the series and sub-series levels. Consistency in descriptive terminology prevents ambiguity and fosters accurate retrieval of information. Terminology control consists of three components: vocabulary, format, and authority. Vocabulary control regularizes the selection of terms to describe objects using generic concepts (perspective drawing, landscape, church). Format control standardizes ordering, syntax, and punctuation (McKim, Mead & White instead of McKim Mead and White). Authority control standardizes the proper names of people and corporate bodies, subjects and built works, and geographic locations. Select vocabulary control terms from a standard thesaurus relevant to the subject. A catalog description must address both intrinsic and extrinsic attributes of architectural drawings. Intrinsic attributes constitute the physical makeup of the document, including its method of representation (e.g., elevation drawing), medium and technique (e.g., ink on Mylar), and the presence of scale and/or a legend. Extrinsic attributes include the name of the person who made the drawing, corporate entity responsible for commissioning the project, subject of the drawing (church, detail of window, etc.), building name, and geographic location of the building. Catalog the subject as it is depicted, and not the actual built work. For instance, the Theater Building drawings may become the Longstreet Theater. Be sure to recognize the difference and add the appropriate subject headings. An electronic database designed to describe architectural drawings uses terminology control elements in prescribed fields to ease retrieval of specific documents. One advantage of a database is the ability to conduct Boolean searches of several keywords, dates, and concept. Using Encoded Archival Description (EAD) to describe an architectural collection provides a standardized structure for describing the components, whether at the series or item level. EAD encompasses and expands the descriptive elements of a more detailed descriptions of a finding aid.

PRESERVATION

Unlike most of the usual textual documents in archival collections, architectural drawings present special needs for storage and conservation treatment.  Protect architectural drawings from ultraviolet light exposure caused by both artificial light and sunlight. When not in use, turn drawings that may fade or discolor in light face down. Do not use cotton gloves when handling architectural drawings; they will impede ability to select and turn sheets of paper. Use an archival board cut larger than the item as a support when moving fragile drawings. Remove an entire folder from a drawer or box before attempting to retrieve a particular drawing. If the required folder is not stored on top in a drawer, remove all of the folders above that folder. Grasp the fold side of large folders with one hand, and the open side with your other hand to keep drawings from falling out of the folder. Since metal flat files, paper, and Mylar are heavy, when deciding where to place stacks of map drawers in a particular storage area, make sure the flooring is adequate for the weight-bearing load of architectural records. In addition, be sure to place the maps drawers in a storage area where you can fully open the drawers to remove folders. Architectural drawings are not as easily reformatted as other paper documents. The type of reprographic process, of which there are many, will determine the appropriate reformatting technique. You must thoroughly plan how to reproduce certain images. If you are considering scanning to create a digital copy, will the document fit on the scanner? If you want to photograph the image, will it fit on the copy stand? You might have to photograph or scan sections of large drawings, and reassemble them with a program like Photoshop. Limit the number of times you expose a document to any reformatting process. It is better to create one high-quality master image from which you can create derivative copies, rather than subject the document to repeated copying in different formats and resolutions. Since diazotypes fade easily (and off-gas alkaline vapors that are harmful to blueprints, and retain sulfur that damages silverbased prints), reformat them onto a stable archival medium before the intellectual content disappears then destroy the originals. Consider reformatting samples of pre-1930 deteriorating original drawings for informational access, while retaining the originals for their artifactual value. Write a strategic plan that identifies and lists all drawings which require conservation. Include a plan of action, budget, and timeline in your strategic plan, which will help shape reformatting priorities.

For preservation: Since microfilm continues to be the standard for archival preservation, use the microfilm as the master image from which to scan a digital copy. For reference: Drawings copied for researchers do not need to meet preservation standards. 105 mm microfiche provides excellent resolution, fits large images in one frame, and can reproduce in color. For publication: A higher-quality photograph or scanned image (at least 300 dpi) is required for reproduction in a book, journal, or exhibit.