Adaptive Reuse_Hotel Architecture_by Russell and Dawson

Adaptive Reuse and Repurposing Buildings Structures

Adaptive Reuse and Repurposing Buildings Structures_Blog_by Russell and Dawson

Ability to collaborate remotely and do businesses online have changed the way how organizations work, and this pattern was expedited in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, the demand for some building types has diminished, and numerous properties are currently empty. This likewise addresses an opportunity that structures can be repurposed into property types that are currently in demand.

Repurposing a structure is fruitful when it may be changed over into a more rewarding inhabitance. For instance, an empty mall can offer warehousing services in business spaces that were recently utilized for retail, or a lodging experiencing low demand can be changed over into a high rise.

The requirement for affordable housing is continually developing, particularly in enormous cities. Simultaneously, the increased adoption of web-based business is additionally leading to more interest for warehousing services. As organizations grow their online presence, they need server and data centers to host their platforms, data and applications. The demand for medical structures has likewise increased, since COVID-19 has crushed the current limit.

Here is a current example executed by Russell and Dawson Inc of an adaptive re-use project at East Street which is a vital landmark in downtown Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Pittsfield is a gateway city that is known to be an industrial city. With the growth of Pittsfield and being the heart of Berkshire county, it has very low availability for new apartment offering. The property consists of about 20,000 SQFT area as well as the original wood structure with parking available for the masses in a central downtown setting which is being converted to 26,210 SQFT of housing. The redevelopment of Eastview Apartments also accomplishes the goals of the Community Preservation Act by providing community housing. Formerly, 235 East Street was known as the Reigning Love Church and before that, it was Jewish Community Center and now we are converting into multifamily apartments.

Russell and Dawson has provided Architectural Design Services, MEP and Engineering Services for the redevelopment and Conversion of the original wood structure of 20,000 SQFT into 26,210 SQFT. The services included Demolition and Construction of Masonry structure into Loft-style apartments unit, including Electric, Plumbing, HVAC, General Conditions, Concrete, Masonry, Metals, Carpentry, Thermal and Moisture Protection, Openings (Doors & Windows), Finishes, Equipment, Furnishing, Fire Protection and Site work.

East View Apartment_ Schematic Design Services_by Russell and Dawson

Repurposing for current needs

In 2020, numerous organizations reduced their actual presence in stores while expanding their online presence. A few organizations have set their online presence for the first time while some businesses have expanded the existing online platforms. This pattern has decreased the interest for retail spaces, however the requirement for warehousing and server centers is on the ascent.

Repurposing shopping centers into stockrooms and data centers can be a practical methodology for real estate business, particularly on the off chance that they are experiencing low inhabitance. Nonetheless, proprietors should know that each repurposing project has various necessities:

  • Repurposing empty stores into stockrooms is moderately basic, since spaces utilized by product shelves can be now storage racks.
  • Cold storage and data centers bring an extra test, since empty spaces need a sufficient refrigeration framework, cooling and ventilation with a comparing redesign for the electrical establishments. A few clients may have their own refrigeration system and insulated panels, requiring just an electrical establishment upgrade from the landowner.

Repurposing hotels into apartments

The drop in the travel industry and business travel has reduced the demand for hotel rooms. However, the design and establishments of hotels are appropriate for apartments. This procedure is likewise reasonable for building proprietors who have empty private workplaces, which can become condos without radical changes.

Hotels and private workplaces have highlights that are valuable for condos, like autonomous lighting, HVAC frameworks and plumbing establishments. By and large, the primary challenge is adding the essential establishments for a kitchen and laundry.

Since numerous representatives are working from home now, there is more prominent interest for condos with areas that can be utilized as workplaces. Empty private workplaces are as of now planned this way, and it would just be important to add rooms and missing services.

Lodgings as of now have their own mechanical, electrical and plumbing establishments, which are autonomous from those of adjoining rooms. At the point when a hotel rooms are transformed into an apartment, there is no compelling reason to supplant parts like lighting installations, HVAC units and washroom fixtures. An adaptive reuse project turns out to be more costly as the quantity of required changes increases, yet this is negligible when hotels become apartment complexes.

At the point when hotels turn into an apartment complex, numerous services are not required and this lessens working expenses for the proprietor. For instance, hotel visitors anticipate in room dining services, every day room cleaning, and so on. Nonetheless, these services are not typically offered in high rises. Likewise, high rises regularly charge their inhabitants for utility services, while hotels don’t charge their visitors directly (all expenses are packaged in the room cost). When the hotel rooms already have kitchen in each room, it becomes all the easier to repurpose the structure.

Ventilation is a vital prerequisite while adding kitchen establishments to hotels. Construction standards ordinarily require air extraction in two key areas for private residential structures: restrooms and kitchens. While hotels as of now have extractors in their washrooms, another is essential while adding a kitchen.

Hotels additionally need individual metering for power and water utilization. At the point when they become lofts, one alternative is parting service charges equally among all rooms, yet this may not be reasonable for certain occupants. For instance, an individual who works from home all the time will utilize considerably more power than somebody who is away all day. Accordingly, it is important to add submetering to hotels prior to changing over them into condos.

Repurposing Offices into Apartments

Converting commercial buildings into apartments can be challenging since the existing installations are often shared by larges spaces unlike hotel rooms.

Modular walls can be valuable while changing over an open office space into individual apartments. There are soundproof dividers available, which give privacy while separating the accessible floor space. Additionally, dividers can be pre-assembled with MEP segments to ease the project execution. A mezzanine configuration can likewise be helpful while changing over huge office spaces into apartments. Office places with high roofs can be utilized all the more productively by adding an intermediate floor, and the MEP installations for the mezzanine level can be added with ease.

The primary electrical feeders are already installed for offices, and they can uphold home machines. The greater part of the work will comprise of wiring individual electrical boards and circuits for each home.

Plumbing installations will require more changes, since open workplaces will in general have enormous territories sharing bathrooms, while singular apartments need their own funneling.

Private offices can also be turned into residential apartments. However, you should add a room, shower, kitchen and pantry. The main changes will be to make provision for additions for shower in the bathroom and changing over a suitable area into a room. There are presently compact washer and dryer sets that needn’t require lot of space.

Similarly, Russell and Dawson recently delivered Architectural Design, MEP, Structural and Engineering Design Services for the building which was constructed in East Boston in 1912 with an original use as a factory for the Engel-Cone Shoe Company. As the surrounding neighborhood evolved with each new wave of arrivals, the building transformed from a shoe factory to Stern Can Company to Sterling wear Co. making peacoats for the US Navy. Throughout its history, the building has been a gateway to East Boston for the local community, and it will remain a gateway in its latest transformation as a hotel (Boston Hotel or Indigo by IHG).

Boston Hotel_Architecture and Engineering Services_by Russell and Dawson


Working remotely has been a social distancing measure against COVID-19, however, numerous organizations are perceiving the advantages of utilizing remote collaborations forever. However, this has likewise brought down the demand for workplaces and other business spaces, and there are presently numerous empty structures in big commercial cities. The hotel business has likewise been affected since COVID-19 has diminished both the travel industry and business travel.

If you are intending to repurpose a hotel or place of business into apartments for high-rise buildings, a professional expert assessment of your MEP frameworks is suggested which can be done by an MEP Design Firm. A versatile reuse project is quicker and more affordable when the current establishments can be utilized with negligible changes.

Top Trends adopted by Multi-Residential Architectural Design Firms_Blog_Russell and Dawson

Top Trends adopted by Multi-Residential Architectural Design Firms

Multi-residential Mayfield Place Project By Russell and Dawson

Best in American Living Awards 2020 features unique design plans trending among home purchasers which they would wish to see in their homes in the near future. Society overall is advancing towards social responsibility and structural patterns, as a social sign.  New designs are trending along with the commitment towards sustainable development.

Architectural Design Firms are continuously working on many small- and large-scale projects with outcomes that are hard to forecast. Frequent changes in the requirement disrupt the normal course of activities, and the design teams must be able to align at all times. Most of the changes are due to fundamental economic and demographic development along with technological innovations. Optimizing the current design and engineering the model becomes difficult, compelling teams to put in extra hours and efforts for achieving the deliverables.

With the urban population expected to be double in next two decades, architectural and engineering design teams should be ready to innovate the rapid, massive scale architect design changes. Many design firms have boundaries in terms of ability and team scalability for delivering A&E housing projects. However, we at RDAEP have overcome the barriers by delivering 10000+ residential projects with Architectural and Engineering Design Services catering to the latest trends in the industry.

Below are the cutting-edge trends in residential architectural design that impact our everyday lives and society at large.

Up-gradation of overall style:

Modern styles are dominating the current design trends; however conventional or traditional parts are being added frequently to add legitimacy to the design plan. A combination of contemporary and transitional plans actually amaze the home purchasers. The two styles are more refined than in past years. The conventional plan turns out to be less particular and rigid.

Outdoor living and Spaces building human connections

Due to the pandemic, home buyers are most interested in houses that have multifunctional outdoor living. They are designed in a way that is adjustable to external weather conditions, social gatherings and activity. Outdoor balconies have proven to be a paradise if they are appropriately equipped and livable. Unplug zones” are trending after much time at home. Suites include spa-like subtleties and finishes. Open-air living offers comfortable and garden-like spaces, for example, depressed fire pits, trees and warm materiality.

The architectural designs of our multi-residential project Mayfield Place (luxurious, multi-family, residential development with 340 apartment units 660,000 SQFT, Enfield, CT) has created an ideal environment for easy living with exceptional outdoor modern amenities consisting of a fitness center, coffee bar, swimming pool, patio, clubhouse, library, etc.

Outdoor Space Pool_Gym_Top Trends adopted by Multi-Residential Architectural Design Firms_Blog_by Russell and Dawson
Gym Amenities_Top Trends adopted by Multi-Residential Architectural Design Firms_Blog_by Russell and Dawson

Attractive Streetscapes

Architects and designers are continuously emphasizing on the importance of designing public spaces. They have a deep understanding of designing front yard gatherings and pedestrian experience prioritizing neighbor’s safety and pedestrians over cars. The multi-residential apartment residents are keener on the community amenities.

Indoor-Outdoor Connections

Homebuyers are more inclined towards design plans which have more openings such as doors and windows for natural light and proper ventilation. Taking this into consideration, the architects place the windows which open to a view and improves the space. However, the architects tend to reduce the number of windows due to budget constraints.

Depth in Architecture & Design

The housing communities are displaying new layers to the design plan. Designs are cautiously curated making it more purposeful. Authenticity is an essential objective in all parts of the design plan and is accomplished through embracing existing landscapes, altering cautiously and focusing on materiality, proportions and subtleties.

Home Offices

After the lockdowns and quarantines, the need for home offices has gained momentum. New homes and homes under renovation are using the forgotten corners to build flex areas and desks. With work from home and online schooling for children, the need for these spaces has risen. Architects are now taking advantage of these corners to build separate workspaces for the family.

Top Trends adopted by Multi-Residential Architectural Design Firms_Blog_by Russell and Dawson


Currently, most of the housing apartments and residential spaces are undergoing renovation and remodeling since they are not ADA compliant or do not have accessibility for all. Accessible designs ensure that the homes and surrounding areas are easily accessible by the dwellers. Different instances of architecture that accentuates accessibility are homes intended to oblige senior members. Hosing authorities of all the states that provide space for people battling with mental health issues and vagrancy likewise center around the manners by which architecture can give positive arrangements on an individual and societal level.

Our recent Architectural Design for multi-family residential project – Eastview Apartments, Pittsfield, MA has created an attractive opportunity for 235 East Street to add new market and affordable rate housing to the wonderful community located in the heart of downtown Pittsfield along with accomplishing the goals of Community Preservation Act

Top Trends adopted by Multi-Residential Architectural Design Firms_Blog_by Russell and Dawson

We observe that the efficiencies are not only to be found in the architectural design plans but also in the materials used for home building. The importance of using renewable and low maintenance material has allowed contributing towards increasing building efficiency. Using recyclable materials, structures that are independent, and establishments of various sorts that respect the planet are getting more continuous. However residential design trends have been changing all these years and will keep changing throughout but the one trend which is not likely to change is the incorporation of the green mindset to achieve sustainable architecture, healthy interiors, and elevated living environments.

Architecture and Engineering Design Services_By Russell and Dawson since 1965

Architectural Design & Engineering Services Since 1965

Architecture, Design & Construction Trends in 2018_by Russell and Dawson

As per the recent insight shared by IE School of Architecture and Design, the urban population is expected to double in the next 40 years, forcing cities to undertake a holistic and sustainable transformation of their model. One of the most significant challenges in architecture is to optimize its current capacity for developing denser metropolitan cities and areas to offer residents a better quality of life.

Architectural and Engineering Design Firms typically work on many small and large number of projects with outcomes that are hard to predict. Frequent changes in the requirement disrupt the normal course of activities. The design teams must be able to align at all times. Optimizing the current design and engineer the model becomes difficult. Forcing teams to put in extra hours for finishing the deliverable.

Russell and Dawson is one of the longest-serving architectural and engineering firms in the history of Connecticut, USA. It has overcome the design optimization challenges by delivering customized services across various industries. Founded in 1965, we provide integrated architectural and engineering services in New England and the Northeast regions.  Our design and engineering services include structural, HVAC, electrical, and plumbing engineering; sustainable design, and interior design.

We follow multi-disciplinary, client-first approach that makes us the A&E firm of choice in the states where we practice, as proved by our higher than 90% client retention rate. RDAEP comprises of various experienced and expert teams covering in-house architects, engineers, consultants, and technicians. Making us the one-stop destination for different architectural and engineering services.

With the urban population expected to be double in next two decades, our team is ready to innovate the rapid, massive scale architect design changes. Many design firms have limitations in-terms of capability and team scalability for delivering A&E projects. RDAEP has overcome such barriers by gaining experience and delivering 10,000+ A&E solutions to industries and sectors like Hospitality, Community, Office, Retail, Residential, Industrial, and Planning.

RDAEP’s A&E services include Architecture Design, Construction Management, Engineering, Sustainable Design and Interior Design Services. RDAEP also offers quality centric design services in line with the industry standards using modern technical knowledge and deliver client-specific solutions.

RDAEP has successfully helped marquee clients like Hyatt, CBRE, Broward County, Marriott, Hilton, Starwood Hotels and more. Some of our A&E projects include:

  • HVAC by upgrading the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport Terminal Chiller Plant. Including the addition of one chiller and one cooling tower plus replacement of two existing cooling towers while the airport continued to function.
  • Structural Design of South Regional Courthouse Parking Garage structural beam repairs. It included the restoration of 30 structural beams and Broward County Downtown 1200 Car and 350 Car Parking Garage.
  • Interior Design of City of Lauderhill Sadkin Community Center including 20,000 square feet of interior renovations and complete building exterior envelope repair.

We have been a reliable partner, helping esteemed clients to develop considerable value in architecture design and engineering. Speed up your delivery schedule with innovative designs and solutions to increase productivity and efficiency with RDAEP. Call us on (860) 289-1100 or Contact Us for your A&E needs.

Evolution of Hospitality Industry_Blog_by Russell and Dawson

Evolution of Hospitality Industry

In the year 1980, the United Nations World Tourism Organization announced the day of September 27 as “World Tourism Day”. The idea of this celebration is to bring sustainability to the tourism sector all around the world. UN World Tourism Organization defines tourism as “Activities of persons traveling to and staying in different places for not more than a consecutive year for leisure, business or traveling purpose.” The inception of traveling is as old as mankind. Our ancient civilizations traveled great lengths in search of food and shelter. Over the period of time, the purpose of traveling changed. The mere act of traveling has now become a giant industry. The tourism industry is a collage of various services like transportation, food, and beverages, lodging, travel agencies, entertainment, etc… Back in the old times, land and water were the only means of transportation. And they were often considered risky. But as the innovations gave birth to more convenient and safer ways of transportation, the tourism industry saw humongous growth in the number of travelers all around the globe. The tourism industry that we see today is the product of evolution in the hospitality sector, Innovations in transportations, advancements in communication technology, etc.

The idea of hospitality is what lies in the center of the tourism industry. The term Hospitality has been derived from a French word “Hospice” which means “Taking care of the travelers”. In Old times, locals used to let the travelers rest on kitchen floors or other extra spaces during their journey. There were no purpose-built resting facilities for tourists until monasteries decided to build one. This gave birth to lodging services. In the late 1700s, Inns came into being. Inns were nothing but a shelter by the road where travelers can stop to take rest and get some food. They would also take care of traveler’s horses while they rest. This is the time when the seeds of the modern hospitality facility were planted. What we see today is the growth of the past two millennia. Here’s how the lodging facilities evolved with time.


In the early 1800s, “Inns” were the only lodging facility available for the tourists. A lot of Inns were established prior 19th century. But, lodging was not just about bedding and resting facility anymore. They started providing food and drinks to the travelers. And soon the element of luxury started to blend in. This gave birth to hotels. Hotels emerged as more sophisticated facilities which provided better rooms and dining areas. The year of 1829 is considered as a landmark in the timeline of the American hospitality industry. It was the year when an American architect Isaiah Rogers designed and constructed the first luxury hotel “Tremont Hotel” in Boston, Massachusetts. It was the first hotel with private attached bathroom and lock on the doors. It used a steam-powered pump to lift up water to the storage tank on the roof. “Tremont Hotel” had set a benchmark for the luxurious hotels in those days. The hotels and Inns then on started giving more importance to services to stand out different than other hotels. They kept improving their services and facilities. At the later stage, hotels started to have bars. And soon the bars became an important selling point for the hotels. The architecture and aesthetics of the hotels were improving alongside. There were more multistory hotels and they had the beautiful exterior to stand out different from other hotels. Soon it was a trend for well-decorated ceilings and beautiful crystal chandeliers.


Hospitality, which was rather a part of the culture, emerged as a huge business opportunity. A lot of people are approaching Architectural Design Firm to change the Hotel Design Architecture by incorporating more and more facilities. Innovations in transportation systems enabled more and more people to travel. Some people saw the opportunity and jumped into the hotel business. That is why in the early to mid 20th Century, a lot of giant hotel chains started doing their business. The industry had become more competitive than ever. In the year 1919, Conard Hilton opened his first hotel in Texas. Later on, Conard also bought the Ellsworth Statler’s chain of hotels in the year 1954. Marriot (est. 1927), Sheraton (est. 1937) and Hyatt (est. in 1957) also emerged as giant players in the industry.

There is an interesting story behind why Kemmon Wilson started Holiday Inn series of hotels and inns. Once Kemmon Wilson had gone for a holiday to Washington DC with his family. He had to pay extra for his five children in all the hotels they stayed in. Kemmon found the accommodations very expensive and uncomfortable for families. So he decided to start his own hotel. That is how the first Holiday Inn started in the year 1952. Holiday Inn went on to set better hospitality standards. Their main focus was to build family-friendly hotels. With their first hotel built in 1952, Holiday group went on to build its 1000th Holiday Inn in the year 1968. It was indeed a phenomenal growth for any hotel brand in those days.

MGM-Grand-Vegas-Evolution of Hospitality Industry_Blog_Hotel Architecture Firms_by Russell and Dawson

Cars became extremely popular in the mid 20th century. Intercity traveling became more convenient because of the well-connected network of roads. These factors favored the growth of Motels. The word motel is made up of “Motor and Hotel”. Motels were small 10×10 Ft wooden cabins for the travelers to take rest during the night journeys. These motels were built alongside the main highways to host more and more people who might want to take rest for a few hours or stay overnight during their journey. The concept of the motel was well received and they grew exponentially in numbers in a later stage. The motels were affordable and convenient and that is the reason why the concept of Motels was well received.


While it all started with providing only a place for sleeping, the traditional hospitality industry has evolved to become what we see today. Despite all the changes the industry saw, the customer has always been the center. It is consistently evolving to become more advanced. In this new century, the hotels reached the new heights, literally. Some of the tallest hotels were built in the 21st century. The technological advancements in the Engineering Design Services made it all possible. Hotel Fairmont Makkah and Burj al Arab are some examples of it.

Founded in the year 2008, Airbnb opened up a new segment in the hospitality industry. It acts as a marketplace connecting people who wanted to rent their property with those who want to rent it. Since more and more people are traveling for business or for leisure, this gives them a very convenient and affordable option. Also, there has been seen a great hike in the number of solo travelers globally. These solo travelers not much bothered about the amenities. They don’t mind sharing spaces. They love meeting and interacting with locals as well as fellow travelers. And that is why concepts of youth hostels and home-hospitality have become new trends. The Internet helps a lot to such hospitality businesses. People can see the availability, photos, and reviews from other users. Today, we can browse through all our possible option for staying in any part of the world. We can know about services and amenities. Not only we can reserve our stay but we can also pay in advance. The recent trends in the evolution of hospitality industry favor the construction of hotels which has a classic historic touch integrated with modern services.

Evolution of Hospitality Industry_Blog_Hotel Architecture Firms_by Russell and Dawson
Evolution of Hospitality Industry_Blog_Hotel Architecture Firms_by Russell and Dawson

The hotel industry has always contributed largely in terms of revenue for any healthy economy. The modern hotel industry in 1960 valued around $3 Billion, which crossed the mark of $25 Billion in the year 1990. These numbers went down due to attacks of 9/11 and recession in the early 2000s. But the industry and its people stood strong and got back its lost pace soon in the new decade. Today, the hotel industry is worth more than $500 Billion providing jobs to 4.5 million people.

About Us

We at Russell and Dawson feel extremely proud of being associated with the hospitality industry. Founded in the year 1965, Russell and Dawson is a client-first company which has been providing architecture, engineering and construction services nationally and internationally for more than 50 years now. From the first hospitality project in the year 1982, we have provided various services to more than 245+ hospitality projects so far. Russell and Dawson has worked with hotel developers/owners for the new development, conversion or renovation projects for prestigious brands like IHG(30+ projects), Marriott(15+ projects), Hilton (55+ projects), Carlson Group(4 Projects), Best Western(14 projects), Hyatt and independent brands in the northeast region and overseas – India, UAE (Dubai), Sri Lanka, Egypt, Bahrain, and Brunei.

Since 1965, Russell and Dawson have been meeting and exceeding the expectations of our clients. If you would like to learn more about the incredible benefits of our hotel design-build service and connect with architectural experts regarding your next construction project, please call or contact us online today!

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Global Hotel Industry Value
570.18bn $
US Hotel Industry Revenue
208bn $
Avg ADR of US Hotels
129.83 $
Avg RevPAR of US Hotels
85.96 $
5 Stages of Architectural Design Phases_Russell and Dawson

5 Stages of Architectural Design Process

You might have wondered what are different stages while providing Architectural Design Services. Be it hotel, residential design architecture, commercial, warehouse, storage, industrial or retail, etc. In this article, we will explain all phases that are involved in a design-build of a new construction/development project.

There are typically 5 stages of architectural design involved in a design-build of any project.

These 5 phases/stages are


The first objective is to get-together with a client and determines overall project vision and goals. There are some key areas to discuss the project – scope, features, purpose, and functionality.


In this phase, we do series of rough sketches/drawings that illustrate the basic concepts of the design. Also, initial research of local compliance and regulations are completed at this time.


This phase involves finalizing the design and specifying items such as materials, window and door locations and general structural details.


By now we have a final design. We can begin preparing construction drawings/blueprints, notes, and technical specifications necessary for bidding, construction, and permit application.


During this phase, we will build as per the design intent. Also if there are any changes, we discuss changes and options with the owner. It ensure that alterations are compatible with owner’s vision for the project.


    The first objective is to get-together with a client and determines overall project vision and goals. There are some key areas to discuss the project – scope, features, purpose, and functionality.


    In this phase, we do series of rough sketches/drawings that illustrate the basic concepts of the design. Also, initial research of local compliance and regulations are completed at this time.


    This phase involves finalizing the design and specifying items such as materials, window and door locations and general structural details.


    By now we have a final design. We can begin preparing construction drawings/blueprints, notes, and technical specifications necessary for bidding, construction, and permit application.


    During this phase, we will build as per the design intent. Also if there are any changes, we discuss changes and options with the owner. It ensure that alterations are compatible with owner’s vision for the project.


The first objective is to get-together with a client and determines overall project vision and goals. Irrespective of the industry being residential, healthcare, industrial, hospitality etc., there are some key areas to discuss the project –  scope, features, purpose, and functionality.

In this phase, we carry out

  • Client consultation
  • Existing conditions survey and documentation
  • Photographs
  • Measurements
  • Compile existing drawings if any
  • Prepare high-level base drawings
  • Statement of probable build/construction cost
  • Programming space and use
  • Code review

This phase ends with owner’s decision to move forward with a project.


In this phase, we do series of rough sketches/drawings that illustrate the basic concepts of the design.  Also, initial research of local compliance and regulations are completed at this time.

At the end of this phase, we deliver

  • Floor plans of all levels with generic openings and plumbing fixtures
  • Exterior building elevations with representative openings and finishes
  • Building cross-section
  • Typical wall section

And we move to the next phase with the owner’s approval.


Design development collects the results from the schematic design phase and takes them one step further.

This phase involves finalizing the design and specifying items such as materials, window and door locations and general structural details.

At the end of this phase, we deliver

  • Floor plans with a proposed basis of design openings and plumbing fixtures
  • Overall dimensions
  • Structural grid dimensions
  • Interior wall dimensions
  • Exterior elevations with a proposed basis of design openings and finishes
  • Additional building sections
  • Wall sections at all typical conditions
  • Typical details
  • Additional details to establish a basis for design products

Now we have given shape to project ’s vision through drawings and written specifications.


By now we have a final design. We can begin preparing construction drawings/blueprints, notes, and technical specifications necessary for bidding, construction, and permit application. Construction contractors will use these detailed drawings and specifications to prepare for the construction.

In this phase, we deliver

  • Floor plans fully annotated
  • All dimensions
  • Room, wall, door, and window identification
  • Section and detail indicators
  • General notes and detailed notes
  • Exterior elevations fully annotated
  • All building sections required for construction
  • Wall sections at all conditions
  • Details fully annotated
  • Structural plans, details, and notes
  • Plumbing plans, schedules, details, and notes
  • HVAC plans, schedules, details, and notes
  • Electrical power and lighting plans, schedules, details, and notes

And we move to the final phase


Construction Administration Services by Russell and Dawson for Hotel Development

Finally, the construction is underway.

During this phase, we will build as per the design intent. Also if there are any changes, we discuss changes and options with the owner. It ensure that alterations are compatible with owner’s vision for the project. This is the last phase and at the end of this phase, a project is ready for the use/occupancy.

Feel free to reach out to us on if you are planning a new construction project. Check out the latest Hotel construction trends in Northeast of USA.


Architecture, Design & Construction Trends in 2018

Architecture, Design & Construction Trends in 2018_by Russell and Dawson

As we say goodbye to 2017 and head into a new year, let us understand the trends that will be impacting architecture, design and construction industry. As you read further, you will find that some of the trends shared below are not brand new, but their relevance is of utmost importance in current “latest” trend. Other construction trends are further out in the future, and may never materialize. Take a few minutes and ask yourself some simple questions:

  • “How can my company effectively respond to this trends to remain competitive and even gain a competitive advantage?”
  • “Will this trend impact our industry?”
  • “Will this trend specifically impact my company – or my clients?”

Top 5 Architecture Design & Construction Trends in 2018

1. Prefabrication and Modular Construction become Mainstream

The previous trend was about the need to improve construction productivity. Prefab and modular construction are an excellent way to do this. One of the classic example of this trend is The Great Pyramid of Giza. Where its outer limestone blocks were cut ten miles away and were transported upriver, making prefabrication popular since ancient times. However, in recent years this trend has been picking up in use and acceptance. Case in point: a mechanical contractor that has adopted a manufacturing-style approach, utilizing prefabrication and modular construction to build much of a given mechanical system in their shops, and then transport the modules to the project site.  Electrical contractors and drywall installers have seen the benefits of this approach. They are now regularly asking the mechanical contractor to incorporate conduit piping and drywall hangers into their assemblies.

2. BIM (Building Information Modeling) Continues to Evolve as Firms Integrate 4D, 5D, but 6D Remains Elusive

As per a recent survey, in the last three-quarters, every A/E/C firms have been involved with at least one BIM project. But the reality is that many mid-sized construction firms still have no BIM experience. They may have be “involved” in a BIM project; by outsourcing to RDAEP for designing in Revit, but then went old-school with 2D drawings and specs. There was no use of implementing the building model during construction phase. The concept of owners integrating building models for Computer Aided Facilities Management (CAFM) is still not mainstream. The primary reason is not having a qualified staff. Companies don’t understand the value of the model post-construction.

RDAEP helps such companies by providing Architectural Design Services and developing models using AutoCAD and engineering software. To respond to the growing prevalence of Building Information Modeling, many countries are seeking to implement national standards. In the United States, a number of organizations, firms, and government agencies have partnered to develop the National BIM Standard-United States (NBIMS-US).

3. Protecting Coastal Cities Becomes Priority

The New York Times recently published an article about investors shying away from coastal real estate, like in areas of Florida facing increasing king tides. An article in the Scientific American noted that the sea level rise over the coming century could be the highest in human history, with the east coast of North America baring much of the brunt. Some scientists have revised their sea rise forecasts upward, and are now projecting that by 2100 many coastal cities will be abandoned.

Now the question to ask is How will governments respond? How will they protect such heavily populated cities like New York and Miami?  Where will the funds come from? With many recent natural disasters happening worldwide, the trend of safeguarding coastal cities has gaining priority. But as time passes, its importance recedes like the tide. Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy brought this trend to the forefront of the national consciousness. New natural disasters like Autumn hurricanes stir new fears.

4. Profitability Continues to be Thin for Many Firms

PSMJ Resources just reported that based upon their 2016 Circle of Excellence data, the top A/E firms are exceeding 35% profit.  But a lot of design and construction firms still struggle with low margins. There are scattered anecdotal evidence of A/E/C firms working for cost to keep staff busy.  Certainly, things are better than they were during The Great Recession. Those areas heavily dependent upon the energy industry and fracking, the past few years haven’t exactly been boom time. Third-party facilities management are increasingly bidding out professional services. Productivity, New delivery models and Innovation are the three important pillars to become profitable.

5. Evolution of Project Delivery

According to this article by McKinsey, manufacturing productivity gains have outpaced construction productivity gains by 1.7 times since 1994. Furthermore, construction productivity has slightly declined during this time. The article refers to several factors for this: poor organization, inadequate communication, flawed performance management, contractual misunderstandings, missed connections, poor short-term planning, insufficient risk management, and limited talent management. Any of that sound familiar?  In recent years, very few A/E/C firms have been directly involved with PPP (Public-Private-Partnership) funded projects. Still there’s a lot of work to be done. With IPD (Integrated Project Delivery), an interesting concept that combines having a fully-integrated team with risk/reward sharing on a given project, has been gaining huge acceptance in the coming years.

There’s a lot of Architecture Design & Construction trends out there to follow, and these are but a few. Contact RDAEP, a full-service Architectural and Engineering Design and Drafting Firm to help you align to the trends. We offer services like 2D architectural drafting, 3D drafting projects, Design-Build Construction. If you are looking to outsource engineering and 2D drafting, then have a look at some of our projects to understand the scope and range of our services. Call us on (860) 289-1100 or Contact Us for your Design Engineering requirements.


How to choose an architecture and engineering design company?

Mechanic Street Rendering_Best Architect and Engineering Design Firm_Russell and Dawson

Every construction project starts with a vision and real need is to transform that vision into a reality. One of the most important decision is about choosing an Architectural Design Firm fitting both project needs and at the same time making financial sense. The most methodical way is to formulate a RFP and send out RFP to all architectural design companies/firms and evaluate their responses based on following three criteria.

1. Experience

The most important aspect when selecting an architectural and engineering design firm. Experience speaks a volume, how long they have been in the business and how many projects they have executed. The architecture company having diverse project experience and credentials will do the job for you. There were times when decisions were taken to hire a big firm but not any more, now who can do the job or fit against the needs.

The most important aspect when selecting an architectural and engineering design firm. Experience speaks a volume, how long they have been in the business and how many projects they have executed. The architecture company having diverse project experience and credentials will do the job for you. There were times when decisions were taken to hire a big firm but not any more, now who can do the job or fit against the needs.

2. Expertise

What you need to make sure is firm’s expertise and how well that specific expertise fits into your needs. The firm providing comprehensive services will show you their past and ongoing project works and will provide customer references for you to talk to them.

3. Effectiveness

You need to discuss and evaluate following with company, you need to make sure how good is the company in their deliverable

  1. Schematic design
  2. Design development
  3. Construction documents
  4. Selection or complete management of sub-contractors
  5. Bidding or negotiation
  6. Construction Administration

What are some of the questions you should ask, here is a brief list

    • What types of services do you offer? Are you open to providing a la carte services that I need?
    • Will you design to a budget?
    • What is your experience with energy-efficient design, green building, affordable design etc.?
    • What kind of collaborative tools that you use for client communication?
    • Do you assign a single point of contact (SPoC) for every project?

Having a checklist table in RFP covering all key aspects of your needs and evaluating all responses against this checklist would be a simple process to shortlist.

Contact us and let us be your partner, we are an architectural company and Engineering Design Services firm based out of Hartford, Connecticut, USA having experience of executing over 10,000 projects across commercial, residential, hotels, industrial, community, and government. We have been in the business since 1965 and have worked with various customers in last 50+ years. We offer comprehensive or a la carte A & E services to our customers.


Transforming Construction Process with Lean Construction


Lean construction is derived from the concepts of lean manufacturing, and it combines operational research and practical construction design development. Many lean manufacturing practices and principles for end-to-end design are implemented in the lean construction process. To simplify, lean construction is about managing and improving construction process to satisfy customer needs and achieve quality, schedule delivery, safety and profitability.

Why Lean Construction?

There are three key priorities in any construction process:

  1. Keep the work flowing so that the workforce employed are always productive
  2. Reduce inventory of tools and materials
  3. Reduce waste and inefficiency inefficiency

To simplify, optimal usage of materials, time and efforts are crucial in the construction process for generating value in the process. Moreover, for any project, the system needs to collaborate business owners, AEC, contracts, facility managers, workers and various other teams at the early project stage. Lean construction identifies the gaps and aims to benefit the overall construction plan.

Lean construction follows the lean production approach, but it is differently perceived during practical implementation. Various workflows are integrated into the construction planning process to align the supply chain to maximize the value and minimize the waste. Toyota and other such companies have pioneered the lean model using TQM, SPC, and Six-Sigma to meet customer demands and improve business profitability.

How to implement Lean Construction?

We can implement Lean construction by using CPM and work breakdown structure. Other tools and methods are also used like Last Planner System, Target Value Design, and Lean Project Delivery System.

There are also toolkits available to implement Lean construction like:

  • Lean Design: BIM, A3, Process Design, Kanban
  • Lean Supply: JIT, 6S
  • Lean Assembly: Value Chain Mapping, Visual Site, Daily Crew Huddles

The lean principles can be implemented entirely and efficiently by focusing on refining the whole construction process. It requires all teams, stakeholders to be committed, involved, and work to overcome obstacles that may arise from traditional contractual arrangements.

Each departments need to follow below guidelines:

For Construction:

  • Clear communication of project plans
  • Training the team to improve teamwork and multi-skills
  • Daily progress reporting and improvement meetings
  • A well-motivated, well-trained, flexible and fully engaged workforce

For Design:

  • Leverage Virtual Reality or 3D design to adequately visualize and define the project requirements from the customer’s perspective
  • Value Management to get better clarity and focus on client value
  • Use of integrated design and build arrangements (including partnering) to encourage close cooperation between designers, constructors, and specialist suppliers
  • Design for Standardization and Pre-assembly – both of components and processes to achieve higher quality and cost and time savings.

For Procurement:

  • Supply chain management and rationalization of the supply chain to integrate all stakeholders to contribute to delivering the overall customer value
  • Transparency of costs – elimination of waste in both processes and activities requires a clear and complete understanding of costs to ensure right decisions on customer value.
  • We must address confidentiality of expense and cash flows
  • Eliminating the boundaries between companies by partnering and getting more contribution to achieve a common goal

For Construction Planning:

  • Establish ‘best in class’ construction methods and outputs
  • Formation of a stable project program, with precise identification of critical path
  • Risk management – to manage risks throughout the project

For Logistics:

  • Just-in-time delivery of materials to the point of use eliminates the need for on-site storage and double handling

RDAEP is a full-service architectural, engineering and construction firm to help you optimize the construction process with lean principles. Our services include architecture, HVAC, plumbing, electrical engineering, interior design and structural engineering services. Call us on (860) 289-1100 or Contact Us for your design-built requirements.


Top Hotel Construction Trends

According to the year-end U.S. Construction Pipeline Trend Report(Nov 2019) from Lodging Econometrics (LE),  hotel construction market in U.S. has grown up by 6% by projects and 8% by rooms year-over-year (YOY). With the emergence of a new booming economy, the pace of global growth is building momentum in coming years. The fourth quarter earnings reports by established brands Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt all show strong RevPAR and corroborate with the latest hotel construction trends.

New hotel openings in the LE forecast for 2020 stand at 1,112 new hotels/122,702 rooms followed by 1,126 new hotels/130,447 rooms scheduled to open in 2021.

Russell and Dawson recently added construction services to its portfolio of services, here is a video of one of the ongoing A/E/C projects – Construction of Fairfield Inn & Suites at Williamstown, MA and expect few more projects to start in Q1, 2020. As an AEC (Architecture, Engineering and Construction) firm. These are the following hotel construction trends driving the US market.

1. Re-purpose History

Many of the recently developing projects are focused on converting historic properties into grand, five-star landmark hotels. Such trend is a key attraction area for guests to experience the royal historical experience. Moreover, most cities are offering additional incentives for redevelopment and historic tax credits enabling a smart investment for hotel chains.

One of our current project is about converting the building (known as gateway to East Boston for the local community) which was constructed in 1912 as a shoe factory into a hotel which will blend local and historic elements to create a familiar yet distinct hospitality offering for the area.

2. Design Renovation

One of the key strategies to staying competitive in the hotel industry is renovation by transforming existing infrastructure with modern amenities. Last year has recorded the highest number of hotel renovation projects in the U.S. Many leading brands are proactively changing their standards based on guest experience, and implementing design changes to the room layouts, guest bathrooms, and overall hospitality experience.

One of our ongoing project is about renovating and re-branding of Howard Johnson (built in 1969) to Aloft Hotel  – a five-story structure with a new retail use and site improvements such as additional parking space,  groundwater recharge, LED site lighting, energy improvements.

3. Mixed-use Development

Mixed-use development continues to be the trend since past 2 years. Hotel developers and real-estate investment firms are continue to see RFPs from municipalities to develop mixed-use project in their township or municipality. In such kind of projects, need is to combine hotel, retail and restaurants/bars since it benefits local patrons and visiting travelers as it provides a range of options.

Our Hospitality Projects includes renovation of old hotels into an upscale hotel with mixed-use development.

4. Aesthetic Integration – Patterns & Textures

Trend comes from “Showcasing Local”.  Hotels have responded by abiding town/city requirements called out by government officials to maintain town/city’s heritage or look. Fairfield Inn & Suites at Williamstown, MA changed its facade design to brick façade so it looks like a factory rather than a typical chain hotel and maintain Williamstown’s heritage as a town with brick factories and academic buildings. Russell and Dawson is a design-build contractor for this Fairfield Inn & Suites hotel project.