Multifamily Residential Construction Trends

| March 25, 2015 | 0 Comments

by Ken Woodward

Ken Woodward

Ken Woodward

Bitcoin, Snapchat, hashtags . . . all of these are continuing to characterize and define a society of constant change and innovation. What do these mean for construction, though? They are all being adapted by Millennials, or Gen Y, the industry’s next target market in the world of residential development.

Here’s an outline of the newer trends in design and construction that need to be considered when building and designing multifamily residential projects in today’s market.

Bigger Isn’t Better

Millennials are getting married later, and Time Magazine predicts that 25% of Gen Y will never tie the knot according to a report from Pew Research.* There is also an increasing large trend toward city living and diminishing distance between work, play, and home.  With expenses such as student loans, this data highlights that expansive space and single family homes will no longer be as desired as this generation gains buying power in the market. Living units are now being designed with smaller square footage and include a more efficient use of space.  The smaller unit size does not translate to a smaller building overall, though. The balance of space comes with the increased size of amenity areas like:  larger community rooms, larger fitness areas, and Internet cafés where residents can collaborate on their tablets, smartphones, laptops, and smart watches.

Green Machines

It is important to Millennials that they live and are engaged in a community that values sustainability and resources. The Energy Star program guarantees these efficiencies which result in lower utility bills, enhanced performance with increased comfort, and environmental protection (using less energy to operate MEP systems, etc). Pendant and LED lighting is a must.  The vast availability of architectural styles of lighting seems limitless and energy efficient. Seeing that not every new development or renovation has the financial backing to fulfill the LEED certification checklist, here are some of the important features of Energy Star-certified projects that can fulfill a similar environmentally friendly approach:

  • The building envelope meets specific insulation/R-value requirements and is resistant to air infiltration.
  • Appliances are Energy Star-certified, meaning they use energy in the most efficient ways possible to complete the task they are designed for.
  • Plumbing fixtures with high-low water consumption are incorporated into the design.
  • Mechanical systems are designed with equipment that uses less energy, operates at lower noise levels, and come with extended warranties.
  • Light fixtures and light bulbs are Energy Star-certified. Energy use is reduced and life span is increased.

Wag More. Bark Less

Being an active generation that aims to incorporate health and wellness into their everyday schedules, Millennials value the outdoor areas that surround their homes. For example, outdoor gathering areas are being designed with high-end barbecue grills and gas fire pits. Millennials are also extremely pet friendly. In the past, the majority of multifamily communities prohibited pets. Now, the demand means that animal friendly living spaces are designed with finishes that are “pet friendly.” Popular upgrades have included eliminating carpet for luxury vinyl tile, and site amenities are now designed with doggie stations, grooming centers, doggie playgrounds, and parks where pets can roam off their leash.

Exterior Architecture

Curb appeal has dramatically improved to become more aesthetically pleasing at lower costs as a result of new materials and technology. Thin stone and thin brick today resemble authentic textures and give the impression of an expensive selection of materials. There are still many other materials that are extremely prevalent, including vinyl and cementitious siding, but the ability to upgrade is no longer as much of a financial burden compared to prices in the past.

Ken Woodward is the director of preconstruction services and estimating at The Associated Construction Company located in Hartford, Conn. He is a nationally certified professional estimator with over 30 years of experience in the industry, and is also Energy Star certified. 

Associated Construction has completed more than 6,000 units of multifamily residential projects throughout its 72-year history and has been involved in 2,000 units over the last three years.

*Luscombe, Belinda. “Why 25% of Millennials Will Never Get Married,” Time, Sept. 24, 2014.

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Category: All, Multi Residential, Trends and Hot Topics

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