Key Design Considerations for Multifamily Construction Projects

The demand for multifamily housing is booming across the United States, and northern New England is no exception. As more people seek community-oriented living environments with plenty of amenities, it’s crucial for engineers and architects to prioritize thoughtful features when undertaking new multifamily construction projects to attract today’s renters.

At Ganneston Construction, we understand that creating lasting and meaningful spaces is more than just bricks and mortar; it’s about creating living environments that appeal to a diverse range of residents. In this blog post, we’ll discuss some key features to consider for your next multifamily construction project.

Optimizing Space in Multifamily Living

Making the most of space is essential for designing multifamily housing that seamlessly blends practicality, comfort, and modern living. As a commercial contractor, we understand the importance of striking the right balance between functionality, comfort, and catering to the needs of today’s residents.

Efficient Unit Layouts

When designing individual units, it’s crucial to maximize living space without sacrificing comfort. Whether you’re targeting young professionals with studios or families with larger units, it’s important to pay close attention to creating smart floor plans that meet the specific needs of your target demographic.

Here at Ganneston Construction, we can help you achieve:

  • Spacious yet functional living areas
  • A blend of aesthetics and practical storage solutions
  • Strategic window placement to allow for natural light
  • Promotion of indoor-outdoor flow, whenever possible

Shared Spaces

Shared areas play a vital role in fostering a sense of community within multifamily developments. A well-designed emphasis on shared spaces is not just a luxury, but a necessity, especially for apartments and condominiums. Versatile spaces like fitness centers, lounges, and courtyards encourage interaction among residents.

Amenities for Enhanced Living Experiences

Selecting the right amenities is a crucial design consideration that adds significant value to multifamily projects. A significant number of today’s multifamily residents seek communities that foster a sense of connection, convenience, and overall well-being. At Ganneston, we work closely with engineers, architects, and designers to incorporate amenities that cater to the specific needs and aspirations of their target demographic.

Some examples of popular amenities to integrate into a multifamily project include:

  • Community-focused amenities. Fitness centers, lounge spaces, rooftop terraces, and courtyards all play a vital role in fostering a sense of community and encouraging resident interaction. These spaces provide opportunities for residents to connect with neighbors, build relationships, and enjoy shared activities.
  • Convenience-oriented amenities. Business centers, package lockers, and co-working spaces cater to the needs of busy professionals and families. These amenities can help residents streamline their daily routines and enhance their overall living experience.
  • Wellness-inspired amenities. Gyms, yoga studios, swimming pools, and walking trails can promote a healthy and active lifestyle for residents.

By carefully selecting and integrating the right mix of amenities, you can create a multifamily space that not only meets the functional needs of your residents but also fosters a sense of community, convenience, and well-being. This will ultimately set your project apart from the competition and attract residents who are looking for an enriched living experience.

Exterior Design: Creating a Lasting First Impression

In the world of multifamily housing, a building’s exterior serves as the first point of contact for potential residents, forming a lasting first impression. Crafting aesthetically pleasing exteriors that also reflect the unique character of your development and cater to the needs of your target demographic can set you apart from other buildings in your area.

Crafting a Welcoming and Secure Environment

Prioritize designing welcoming entrances and public areas that foster a sense of security and belonging. This includes designing well-lit and accessible entryways, incorporating secure building access systems, and providing designated areas for package delivery and resident pick-up/drop-off.

Elevating Curb Appeal and Building Identity

Beyond functionality, selecting high-quality finishes, materials, and architectural details that align with the overall design aesthetic of your project are all important. Pay close attention to “articulation,” the intentional use of design elements to create visual interest and break up monotony across the building’s exterior. Strategic use of lighting further enhances the exterior ambience and adds a touch of sophistication.

An outstanding exterior goes beyond aesthetics. We believe in creating a strong sense of identity for your development, ensuring the exterior design reflects the vision and values you want to convey. This can involve incorporating specific architectural elements, utilizing landscaping that complements the building’s style, and even integrating public art installations, if desired.

Where a Commercial Contractor Comes In

By working closely with an experienced team, you can create a multifamily development with an exterior that not only makes a strong first impression but also sets the tone for the vibrant community within. 

At Ganneston, we understand the intricate balance required between creating a welcoming environment and prioritizing resident safety and security. Whether it’s through our design build process or our pre construction services, we can help you achieve the perfect blend of aesthetics, functionality, and unique design identity for your next project.

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Ensuring Peace and Quiet: Mitigating Noise Transfer in Multifamily Projects

In multifamily living environments, maintaining a sense of peace and quiet is crucial for resident satisfaction. Unwanted noise transfer can disrupt residents’ routines and negatively impact their overall living experience. That’s why we recommend prioritizing sound attenuation principles in our multifamily construction projects.

Strategies for a Peaceful Living Environment

Our experienced team employs a comprehensive approach to mitigate noise transfer and ensure a peaceful living environment for all residents. This includes:

  • Utilizing insulated metal studs. These specialized studs effectively dampen sound vibrations compared to traditional wood studs, creating a stronger barrier between units.
  • Applying acoustical sealant. Sealing any gaps or openings in walls and around fixtures further minimizes sound leakage between units.
  • Installing double-layer drywall. Adding an additional layer of drywall with soundproofing properties provides an extra barrier against noise transmission.
  • Implementing floating floors. This technique utilizes an isolated underlayment system that absorbs sound vibrations, preventing them from transferring through to adjacent units.
  • Isolating mechanical equipment. Ganneston Construction employs best practices for isolating mechanical equipment rooms and plumbing systems, minimizing noise generated from these sources reaching resident living spaces.

The Importance of Sound Attenuation

By implementing these sound attenuation strategies during the design and construction stages, we ensure a quieter living environment for residents. This not only enhances their overall well-being but also contributes to a more desirable and marketable multifamily development.

Sustainable Solutions for Eco-Friendly Residences

Sustainability is another major priority for modern multifamily developments. An eco-friendly approach provides benefits like lower operating costs, higher property values, and a smaller environmental footprint. Most importantly, sustainable design reflects the values of today’s growing demographic of environmentally-minded residents.

Energy-Efficient Design

Integrating energy conservation strategies should be a primary focus for green multifamily projects. Measures like LED lighting, ENERGY STAR appliances, upgraded insulation, and high-efficiency HVAC not only reduce energy waste but lower monthly bills.

Optimizing solar exposure through building orientation cuts lighting costs. Smart thermostats and zoned climate control allow residents to save on utilities. Going beyond code minimums future-proofs properties against rising energy costs — a huge selling point for people looking to move into a multifamily property.

Environmentally-Friendly Materials

Choosing sustainable, non-toxic building materials promotes occupant health while reducing environmental impact. Products with recycled content minimize landfill waste, while locally sourced materials shrink the carbon footprint by reducing transport miles.

Using materials designed for durability, like resilient flooring and low-VOC paints, also enhances air quality and decreases turnover costs. We advise selecting finishes and surfaces that can withstand family living.

Technological Integration for Modern Living

Many of today’s renters expect technology-enhanced living experiences catered to their connected lifestyles. Forward-thinking multifamily design means integrating smart solutions for increased convenience.

Smart Home Features

Smart home technology allows residents to control appliances, lighting, thermostats and security systems from their smartphones. Consider implementing tech like:

  • Video doorbells
  • Smart locks
  • Voice controls

Ensuring all technology integrates seamlessly through hardwired or wireless networks is important. At Ganneston, we build flexibility into our multifamily construction plans to accommodate future smart innovations.

Connectivity Infrastructure

While behind the scenes and not always considered a part of the design process, reliable WiFi and cellular connectivity are must-haves for modern renters, and an important aspect to consider when designing a multifamily construction project. We advise installing:

  • Ethernet cabling
  • Wireless network boosters
  • Partnering with high-speed ISPs

Future-proofing means wiring for fiber optics and equipping communal spaces with charging stations to ensure residents enjoy seamless access.

Inclusive Design for Diverse Demographics

Creating housing that serves residents across generations and abilities is key for multifamily projects aspiring to foster a diverse, vibrant community. This doesn’t just open up your multifamily space to more potential residents, it also ensures a more comfortable and safe environment. Accessible design benefits all residents by enhancing navigation and usability.

Universal Accessibility

Making multifamily housing accessible to people of varying mobility should be a central consideration. Integrating universal design principles allows residents to navigate any physical limitations and still live independently.

Features like zero-step entrances and wide halls allow hassle-free movement for those with mobility aids or strollers. Grab bars, curbless showers and adjustable storage increase ease of use for senior residents.

Above all, ensuring universal accessibility enables people of all ages and physical abilities to interact and participate fully in the housing community. It promotes inclusion, independence, and overall wellbeing for residents.

Planning ahead for accessibility accommodates both current and future residents as physical abilities evolve over time. Our team can advise on amenities and layouts that discretely integrate accessible solutions.

Prioritizing Safety Without Compromising Community Atmosphere

We believe that creating a safe and secure environment for residents should never come at the expense of a welcoming and inviting community atmosphere. You can achieve this by implementing a strategic approach to multifamily security that prioritizes both aspects.

Layered Security for Comprehensive Protection

We recommend a layered approach to security, incorporating various elements to deter crime and ensure resident safety. This may include:

  • Access control systems. Gated entries, controlled-access foyers, and secure building access systems restrict entry to authorized individuals, minimizing unauthorized access to communal areas and individual units.
  • High-definition surveillance cameras. Strategically placed cameras in common areas and building perimeters act as a deterrent to criminal activity and provide valuable footage for investigation purposes, if necessary.
  • Secure residential unit access. Secure entry points to individual units, such as deadbolt locks and reinforced doors, further enhance resident safety and peace of mind.

Technology for Seamless Security

Be sure to partner with a construction team able to accommodate technologically-forward and security-focused designs. Sophisticated keyless entry systems, smart locks, and strategically placed lighting offer robust security without compromising the aesthetics of the space. These modern solutions provide convenient access for residents while deterring unauthorized entry.

Striking the Right Balance

By carefully selecting and integrating these security measures, we create properties that prioritize resident safety while fostering a welcoming and inviting atmosphere. We understand that feeling secure in your living space is essential, and we work diligently to build facilities where people can feel safe and comfortable.

Understanding the Multifamily Market In New England

The New England region represents a major and growing market for multifamily construction. Recent statistics point to rising tenant demand amid low vacancies and increasing rents across the six states.

  • Over 15,000 new multifamily housing units were completed in New England in 2021 alone. Massachusetts and Connecticut lead with the highest number of new rentals.
  • Multifamily construction stats increased more than 50% year-over-year from 2020 to 2021 as developers rushed to meet demand.
  • The multifamily vacancy rate in New England dropped to just 3.7% in 2021 — one of the lowest nationwide. This signifies exceptionally tight supply.
  • Average rents across the region grew 10% from 2020 to early 2022 to reach $1,750 per month. Experts predict continued growth in the coming years.

Understanding the Multifamily Move

Driving this trend is the rising cost of single-family homes across New England. Median sales prices for existing homes have increased over 15% in just the past two years across much of the region. This rapid appreciation is pushing homeownership out of reach for many residents.

Instead, young professionals, families, and downsizing seniors are turning to more affordable multifamily rentals. New England’s population growth in expensive metro areas adds to the high demand.

With single-family homes in short supply and prices continuing to rise, multifamily properties are becoming the long-term home of choice for many New Englanders. In light of this, developers must cater to this demographic shift through thoughtful, livable design.

Are Multifamily Units Considered Commercial Facilities?

While multifamily properties play a significant role in real estate and contribute to the economy, their classification can be nuanced and depend on various factors. 

Here’s a breakdown to clarify their status:

Generally, multifamily units with fewer than five units are not considered commercial facilities. These are typically categorized as residential properties and are subject to different regulations and financing options compared to commercial buildings.

However, multifamily buildings with five or more units often fall under the umbrella of commercial real estate. This is primarily due to the income-generating nature of these properties, where they are managed and operated with the intention of producing rental income. Additionally, the scale and complexity involved in managing and maintaining larger multifamily developments often necessitate a more commercial approach compared to smaller residential buildings.

It’s important to note that local zoning regulations and specific definitions can vary depending on your location. 

Ganneston Brings Ideas to Life

At Ganneston Construction, we help engineers, architects, and designers by turning blueprints into built-to-last facilities. Our collaborative approach and focus on innovation ensures your project accommodates both current and future residents.

We invite you to contact us for a personalized consultation. Our team is ready to bring your development vision to life.

How Can We Help Make Your Project A Success?