Steel. Steel. Steel.  

That’s been the key commodity during this expansion of our children’s wing and addition of our student facility. We ran into a steel shortage issue in the fall, seemingly, then a fabrication problem, then contractual snafus all centered around steel. Bottom line: We were delayed in structural steel hitting the ground. We changed vendors with the steel fabrication both in the structural side and the ancillary indoor material. But now we’re on track all the way around, and you can see the steel going up on both sides of the building.

Just so you know, a project like this is lined up way in advance. That is, we make a GANTT chart that times everything out including requisitions and the crews involved, and sequences each kind of subcontractor work so as make sure each sub can do their part, because most work on a project this size has pre-requisite parts. In other words, one subcontractor can’t start until the other one has done their bit.

Well, when an important item like steel is delayed, the subs have to be released and rescheduled, which of course is a major headache. It can result in a different price from the subs and needing to sequence the whole job again (assuming the previous subs are not assigned to other jobs outside of ours and are even available). As you can tell it gets very complicated very quickly! Not to mention expensive….

When you hear “change order” in regard to construction, think “cha-ching.” Rarely are change orders saving the project money, and these steel issues have definitely cost us, which means we’ve had to cut back in other areas. We are in the throes of value engineering the project and are pretty much set now with the final push to December (our scheduled opening month). Value engineering means we’re cutting back some of the finishes we had planned and changing some things in order to meet our deadlines and efficiencies.

While we’ve been waiting, we’ve been remodeling what we can inside the old Warehouse. In addition, all the civil engineering has been going forth in a timely matter. Currently, one-third of the steel has been here for a month or more (on the children’s wing side) and the erection crews have been putting it up and setting up decking, etc. The other side’s steel arrived mid-May and is being put up as I write this article.

At this point in time, the building is scheduled to open December 20. We were shooting for September 15 before; that tells you how much of an issue the steel has been.

Once it’s open though, the children and students will have the best facility in all of Maryland. Our building is already the focus of articles in WSX (Architecture Monthly). Obviously, we’re proud of this in that we want to do the very best we can for the Lord’s effort with Bay Area. Everywhere in the Bible we see God’s people giving the very best for the Kingdom (the temple); we’re trying to put the very best building together for the Lord to use for a long time. It should be inviting to families both of Bay Area and folks who are new.

Regarding the extra parking spots, the permitting is underway and par usual we are in wait mode for approval from the county, but we’re working through other plans that hopefully will make the parking and traffic a bit better in the near future.

If you have any questions, give me a shout at


Ed Kelley