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Why on Earth Do I Need an Owner's Rep? 😕

Middle school students watching the construction of their new playground.

Greetings <<First Name>>,

In 2019, a family friend named Zach called me to inquire about what it would take to replace a playground at his school and with a new one. Zach is the principal at Zion Lutheran School in Brighton, Colorado. The process of getting this project designed and built was new to him. He was also just beginning his fundraising efforts. This ask would be significant for several reasons, one of which being that it was a catalyst (one of many) for Heidt and Depth's success.


An unexpected flagship

When Zach approached me, I was working at a different architecture and engineering firm. The business model at this company was designed to attract real estate developers as clients. I spoke with my coworkers at the firm to gauge their interest in taking on the project. After some deliberation, we realized that it didn’t make financial sense to take the project on. I sent Zach off with a referral for another company.

The year prior, I was convinced that God was pushing me to serve non-traditional architecture clients like Zach. When it appeared that it was in everyone’s best interest that I turn him away, I was saddened but accepted the situation.
A panoramic view of the old 0.5-acre playground.

Then a pandemic happened. The way society operated changed entirely. I transitioned away from the firm I was at to working at to focus on family and launch Heidt and Depth. Zach’s conversations with the other company stalled. Meanwhile, funding for the playground began coming in – sometimes in very large amounts!

Zach approached me again in 2021 when he heard I had changed companies. We soon had a signed contract for Heidt and Depth to serve as an owner’s representative and conceptual designer on the project!


The benefits of having an owner’s rep

Figuring out where to stage (a.k.a. set temporarily) supplies - like the beams and columns of play equipment - is an important aspect of any construction project.

Completing a construction project can be a big task, let alone trying to figure out where to start. Enter the owner’s rep. In construction, an owner’s representative is an adviser hired to help a client navigate the construction process and advocate for their best interest to all other parties. Think of it as a sports agent or a talent agent, but for construction.

In the case of the west playground at Zion, Heidt and Depth came alongside the school in the following ways:
  • Guide them in determining a budget for the project
  • Navigate the City of Brighton’s construction application process
  • Find the right people for the work they needed done
  • Negotiate pricing among 3 designers, 6 contractors, and at least a dozen suppliers
  • Coordinate logistics among all designers and contractors
  • Research products and materials to use on the project (play equipment, paint, mulch, etc.) that best fulfilled their priorities (quality, price, etc.)
  • Coordinate deliveries and staging of deliveries
A rendering (a.k.a. "concept art") of one of the play structures being installed at Zion. Designed by BCI Burke and Heidt and Depth. Photo credit: BCI Burke

By hiring Heidt and Depth to do these things, Zach is able to reduce the amount of time required of him significantly. This allows him to focus on being the school’s principal, not a capital projects manager. As if that’s not enough, for the quality of product the school is receiving, the project is being completed at a lower price than if he would have to hire it all out himself.


Concluding thoughts

Seeing this all come full circle from Zach’s and my initial conversation in 2019 has been a beautiful thing. I believe God orchestrated every step of this process intentionally. The new playground is currently under construction currently, and it is Heidt and Depth’s most ambitious construction project yet! Stay tuned for more information about the design and construction of this project in future newsletters or on our Portfolio webpage.

Thank you for taking time out of your day today to read this newsletter. Heidt and Depth would not be able to do what we do without your support, in whatever capacity that is: donors, colleagues, friends, family, etc. I hope to chat again soon! (And in the meantime, if you happen to have an idea for a construction project that would make your community a better place – like Zach did – we’d love to help you explore it! Reply to this email or click here to schedule a free consultation today! Even if you don’t purchase our services, we’d love to help you get headed in the best direction for your project.)

Yours truly,

Neal Heidt
Placemaking Strategist | Heidt and Depth | 303-519-9453

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