4 Keys to Community Engagement in Urban Construction Projects

Exterior shot of a Seven Eleven gas station, built by Crain Construction.

Commercial projects are often long-term investments. A project that is well-received and integrated into the community is more likely to thrive and attract customers, tenants, and sustainable business opportunities over time. That’s why it’s important for commercial developers and contractors to recognize the importance of “being a good neighbor” and to proactively engage residents, businesses, and public entities before construction begins, especially in a growing city like Nashville. 

Let’s be honest: working or living near a construction site isn’t ideal. Inconvenience, noise, and changes to daily routine are real challenges that neighbors face during a construction project. However, the goal is to create an end result that will enhance the neighborhood and the lives of those who live and work there. That’s the way we try to approach the urban development projects we’re involved with at Crain

4 Keys to Community Engagement in Urban Construction Projects

Over the past 90 years, we’ve learned how to improve the construction phase to mitigate short-term disruptions and enhance the positive impact a project makes in the community for decades to come. Here’s how we do it: 

1. Imagine how the project might impact the district’s daily routine. 

When it comes to construction, no one likes surprises. That’s also true for people living and working near a commercial construction project. Start pre-construction by recognizing how your project might impact someone’s daily life. Then, collaborate with all stakeholders to formulate a plan that will mitigate these inconveniences.  

Project Example: 

Our 800,000 sqft. Aerston project is located in the heart of Midtown, a few blocks away from Vanderbilt Medical Center. During excavation and foundation, we worked closely with the hospital and surrounding condominiums to plan the best time for blasting and concrete pouring. “Just-in-time” delivery was implemented for all materials, with most deliveries made between 4-5 a.m. to ensure that access to the hospital’s emergency room and existing area businesses remained clear.

2. Be proactive when communicating with neighbors. 

Good communication is an important part of any commercial construction project, including communication with neighboring businesses. Once you recognize the potential impact, you can develop a plan to keep everyone informed and help them prepare for any inconveniences. At Crain, we design a communication plan for every urban development project, which includes automated email updates for businesses and even personal phone calls when appropriate. 

Project Example:

The Hilton Garden Inn, Home 2 Suite, and parking garage are located on Music Row — home to dozens of world-famous recording studios. The last thing we wanted was for our construction efforts to impact the time and investment their artists were spending on recording. During construction, we proactively communicated with the studios to keep them informed about various noise-related construction activities so they wouldn’t be caught off guard. 

3. Implement traffic flow solutions and noise reduction tactics to mitigate inconveniences.

Construction traffic and noise are two of the most common inconveniences of urban projects. For most of our urban projects in Nashville, we’ve worked closely with city officials to develop a traffic plan for our project. Additionally, our team has also implemented several creative tactics to reduce noise during construction beyond meeting the OSHA standards for noise pollution.

Project Example:

Located on a bustling corner of the 12South neighborhood, the Chelsea condominiums are bordered by residential homes on three sides, a public alley, and a major thoroughfare. We tailored worksite schedules and implemented a variety of noise mitigation tactics to be respectful to neighbors and area workers. We also worked with Metro to ensure that all sidewalks around the parameter remained open to pedestrians during construction.

4. When in doubt, treat people the way you want to be treated. 

As a company that puts relationships first, we believe in following the Golden Rule and treating others the way you want to be treated. This includes the businesses that surround our projects. Over the years, our team has invested time and resources to be a good neighbor to others. We’ve also developed a relentless commitment to doing the right thing, even for individuals and organizations who aren’t directly involved in a project. 

Project Example:

Our TownePlace Suites project was located on a main urban corridor directly beside a local car lot. During construction, we recognized that the wind might blow dirt or debris in the direction of the lot. Our team proactively built a canopy over nearby cars and even paid to wash cars that collected dust from the site.

Build a Legacy to Be Proud Of

Being good neighbors is an important topic for us at Crain. After 90 years of building in Nashville, we have a presence on almost every street. As an employee-owned business, our team members care about our city and are invested in the community. The neighbors your business shares are also our neighbors. We want the local community to be excited when they see our Crain logo on the fence wrapping. 

As one of Nashville’s top commercial general contractors, we are here to add value to your business and our city landscape as a whole. Learn more about our process or connect with our team to discuss your next project. 

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