We are excited to present a series of interviews with persons of interest in the Kansas City construction community. This series is going to discuss changes in materials, trends, and challenges that 2020 has presented in their market segment of KC Construction.
Q: What new color trends are you seeing?
A: I really like that some flooring mills are coming out with more bold and bright colors. That is great for elementary school design. Dull colors just feel dated, going bold is definitely better. The high contrast between darks and lights are great, too. Glad that is taking hold in the commercial market.
Q: Are there any new types of materials now being avoided?
A: LVT is really popular, and I don't avoid it; however, I am nervous that it won't hold up over time, at least in commercial environments, due to the heavy furniture being moved around. I prefer a polished concrete or resilient; although, they also have drawbacks, like higher pricing. Personally, I would like to see linoleum used more again.
A: It's had a really big impact. We were at the tail end of design development on my project, and had to immediately stop having on-site meetings, and then moved to zoom calls. Half of us were presenting and half were watching the client's facial expressions. It is much harder to read clients in virtual meetings, which makes it difficult, too. Also, instead of having normal meetings every two weeks that lasted a few hours, we started having them a couple of times a week, and they were shorter. Therefore, it took up more of our time. Collaboration is harder, as well, even though technology has come so far. We are now using MS Teams a lot and I feel it will be used from now on.
Q: Is there an impact on material selections?
A: Not yet. At least not on my current project. I started using Material Bank (MB) a lot more because it was easier. I can also easily send back to MB versus the reps. We do like made in the USA now more than ever because of COVID issues and delays.
Q: What is the most difficult thing about designing for schools today?
My current client seems to be working to make sure school can resume “normally” in the Fall; however, I think there are a lot of behind-the-scenes discussions taking place about the reality of our current situation, and how to keep our kids and teachers safe as school resumes. Likewise, we don’t have as much access to the facilities due to COVID, and there are additional hoops to go through to get on site. Add it all together and it becomes a more challenging process.