Airport Business

DEC 2018-JAN 2019

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34 airportbusiness December 2018/January 2019 HANGAR DEVELOPMENT By Douglas Wilson Selecting a Design Build Partner and the Pro Forma Know your market before you know when to start building a hangar. While the notion of “if you build it, they will come” made for a great cinematic experience for baseball aficionados of the late 80s- it’s the wrong mindset for justifying a hangar development project. Building hangars on spec is fraught with consequences in the aviation field. Hence, in the previous article, a series of assumptions were introduced to ensure a new hangar development is a justified business decision for an FBO. Odd though it may seem, approaching those first steps with an attitude that a new hangar shouldn’t be built, ensures the right decision is made when the analysis to proceed — not gut instinct — indicates the timing is right. With the market analysis complete and the decision to move forward made however, when in the process should an FBO select a design-build partner and create the pro forma? Asked the same question, Jon Wenrich, a corporate pilot, Airframe & Powerplant (A&P) mechanic and Director of Strategic Partnerships for Centrex, a Western-US aviation-specialist design and construction management firm answers rhetorically, “When is the best time to buy an air conditioner? The winter of course. And the worst time? The summer. As consumers, we know that waiting until the last minute to make a significant purchase means we’ll end up paying a premium. Yet when it comes to building hangars, selecting a GC [General Contractor] by putting the hangar build contract out to bid- after the architect and the civil and environmental engineers have all completed their work- is the equivalent of buying an air conditioner in the summer.” In short, and perhaps counterintuitively to some, selecting the design-build partner should be the first step in creation of the pro forma, not the last step. Unfortunately, many begin the hangar development process ad hoc, and in the wrong order — by selecting a local architect. While selecting an architect as a first step seems logical, in large hangar development projects — generally those greater than 15,000 square feet — it is not. Only a handful of architects across the country truly understand the specialized nature of designing a hangar and the majority of architects an FBO may tap to design a hangar have never designed one. A dismissive “It can’t be any different than building a big box store- just with a large door” is an all-too-familiar refrain from well-meaning architects who’ve never designed hangars. Importantly, tenants will notice the difference on move in. Returning to the pro forma, this is where the trouble starts. Virtually any architect can quote In selecting a design-build firm, the most important factor to consider is has the partner actually designed and built a hangar before. Centrex/Ryan Flood

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