Workshop for Construction Inc. (WFORC) is a construction company that specializes in building architecturally unique and technically challenging designs at the scale of new construction and renovations. WFORC grew out of the success and experience of Workshop for Architecture LLP (WFORA), an award-winning architectural firm based in New York City. Together or individually, the people in our companies offer clients a resourceful mindset that understands how to appreciate great design, understand its realities and build it with intelligence and rigor.
With the execution of each construction project, we aim to build the client’s design with care and respect while tightly managing and supporting our team of tradesmen who comprise the foundation of our work. We understand that construction is not just bricks, mortar and money but more importantly people and communication. While meeting the specific demands of the project, we stress the importance of the right people knowing the right information at the right time. In this way, we can achieve our goal to use smart management to create fresh, interesting designs.
On site at the Richardson Townhouse, a three-story, total renovation and roof project
As a means to ensure this quality, at WFORC, we have established our own understanding and intentions regarding the following aspects of our business:
As an organization comprised of architects, construction managers and skilled tradesmen, WFORC brings together a unique team that informatively unites design and building. Every project is staffed with the architectural designer who developed the project as well as a construction project manager. From the early design phases, both team members discuss the demands and parameters of the project, from aesthetic details to overall execution. By doing this, miscommunication that often occurs between architects and GCs in a traditional bid-build approach is avoided from the beginning. This preemptive attitude towards information flow reduces the amount of time wasted during construction.
Our team works intelligently to communicate on every aspect of a project to ensure clarity, efficiency and quality
Budgets are either in the foreground or background of every discussion of a construction project. To ensure everyone on our team understands the ramifications of design to dollars, the architectural team works with the construction managers to understand not only the dollar value of specific design intentions but also ‘what’ and ‘why’ determines those values. As architects understand better the reasons for cost, they understand better how to provide less expensive options if needed. Every project undergoes moments of ‘value engineering’, when the cost of the work must be reduced. WFORC aims to positively assist in these moments by providing information that helps maintain design quality while negotiating dollars.
Budgets are thoroughly researched and frequently reviewed to ensure the highest quality product for each aspect of the design
Many approaches exist in the construction industry for establishing profits and fees for the general contractor including the traditional ‘stipulated sum’. We prefer to simplify this condition by using an ‘open book’ accounting system in which all subcontracts and product bids are revealed to the client under a ‘cost plus fee’ contract. In this approach, we present more than one subcontractor bid for a specific trade, and make recommendations to the owner based on cost, references, availability, and quality of workmanship. After the owner approves a bidder, our profits and operating costs are then added to the bid as a simple fixed percentage. In this approach, the owner understands the rationale behind the selection and the expectations of a specific subcontractor or supplier.
Our up front accounting system reveals the realities of costs so there are no fears of hidden profits
One of the key elements in determining the success of a project is the efficient scheduling of construction work. We implement three key scheduling benchmarks with all subcontractors: Pre-Award Timeline, Pre-Start Timeline and Daily Work Timeline. We become part of the management team to monitor and maintain project efficiency. We require all subcontractors to fully describe the inner-workings of their company, as well as their sources for supplies and delivery. Through these types of discussions we are better able to adhere to schedules and uncover unrealistic timelines provided by subcontractors and suppliers.
Understanding the hidden meaning behind schedules is the key to making sure the design is completed on time
While our senior staff members run all daily activities, we encourage our younger employees to spend time on-site, whether they are involved in that specific project or not. WFORC and WFORA believe the connection between studio experience and on-site experience is a critical part of making meaningful architecture. Too often this relationship is disconnected as one side tends to oversimplify the importance of the other. Even though technology and the internet allow our people to better find and use information, this is all simulation. For our purposes, there is nothing more informative than walking through a construction site and absorbing the incredibly complex dynamics of constructing a design from scratch. Factors like weather, momentum, drying time, trade coordination, etc. cannot be understood in absentia. By exposing our younger staff to these less evident elements, we are nurturing a more thorough team of professionals.
We cultivate an experiential work culture, one where interns and new employees are exposed to every aspect of the design-build process