Beacon Consulting Group News - Jan. 2018


Beacon Consulting Group, Inc. will be attending these upcoming industry events:

  • March 1, 2018, Chicago Surety Claims Assoc. Luncheon
    Featured Speaker: Matthew D. Holmes, Ernstrom & Dreste LLP
    Chicago, IL (Click Here For Meeting Info)

  • May 9-11, 2018, ABA Fidelity & Surety Law Spring Conference
    Santa Fe, NM (Check ABA website for info)

  • June 20-22, 2018, Surety Claims Institute Annual Meeting
    Beaver Creek, CO (Check back soon for more info or Contact Beacon)

  • September 5-7, 2018, The Pearlman (25th Anniversary)
    Woodinville, WA (Check back soon for more info or Contact Beacon)

  • More Industry Events: See List of More Industry Events >


Run The Monuments With Us!
ABA Attendees - Join Beacon’s Team for a
Fun Run, Jog or Stroll Along The National Mall

If you are in Washington D.C. For the ABA Surety & Fidelity Committee Mid-Winter Meeting, please join the Beacon team for a fun Jog / Run / Walk along the National Mall on Thursday at 12 noon. We will be taking advantage of the good weather to get some fresh air, exercise, and take in the historic sites of The National Mall, such as the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial.

We will be meeting at Thursday 1/25/18 at 12 noon in the Lobby of the JW Marriott Hotel.

This Week: Beacon's Team is Headed To Washington D.C.
For The ABA Fidelity & Surety Committee Midwinter Conference

If you will be in Washington D.C. this week for the ABA's Fidelity & Surety Committee Mid-Winter Conference, we look forward to seeing you there.

Some of the key members of Beacon's Medford, MA and New York City project teams will be on hand to participate in the conference and get together with our partners and clients. The weather looks mild and the government is open for business—so it should be a great week!

This year's conference is being held at the JW Marriott Hotel, located on Pennsylvania Avenue, just a short distance from the National Mall, the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial and the many other great attractions, buildings, museum's and historic sites of our Nation's Capital. Beacon's staff looks forward to the ABA Midwinter conference every year, not just for professional development reasons and getting together with important clients and partners—it's also a great opportunity for our project teams, who are often working on separate projects in various states, to come together to share lessons learned, exchange ideas and plan for the year ahead. Our staff will be connected and available during the conference. We hope to see you there!

Beacon Project Profile:
Construction Loan Monitoring & Consulting for Luxury
Residential Renovation in NYC's SoHo Neighborhood

Beacon was retained by a national real estate investment fund to provide Construction Consulting services related to a large construction loan being made to a NY-based developer. The financing was being used by the developer to help fund the renovation of two adjacent apartment buildings in the exclusive SoHo area of New York City. The buildings were being completely renovated to create luxury condominiums.

Beacon's team has extensive experience providing project evaluation and construction loan consulting / monitoring services to banks and other stakeholders involved in construction project financing.

Beacon's role on this project included:

  • Reviewing & evaluating the developer's construction plans and documents, including cost and schedule review
  • Providing ongoing Project / Construction Loan Monitoring services during the renovation process
  • Helping the lender to minimize financial risk, by tracking ongoing progress compared to the planned schedule

The construction project undertaken by the developer consisted of the renovation of two adjacent apartment buildings and conversion into luxury condominiums in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan. The project included the complete gut / rehab of a 5-story apartment building and renovation of a 3-story building next door.

View Full Project Profile >

Beacon Surety Consulting Profile:
MBTA's Assembly Station Helps Accelerate
Smart Growth & Revitalization in Somerville, MA

Early last year, Beacon completed a construction consulting engagement at MBTA's Assembly Station, located in Somerville, MA. The new train station is located approximately 4 miles Northwest of downtown Boston, on MBTA's Orange Line (one of MBTA's four major commuter rail lines serving the area).

Beacon was originally retained by a leading Surety company to help assess the status of the project, estimate the reserve required (and cash flow) for its completion, and assist the General Contractor in working through outstanding claims and the completion of the contracted work. Beacon provided a variety of surety / construction consulting services on the project, including:

  • Prepared the cost to complete summary
  • Helped resolve subcontractor liens, and disputes
  • Coordinated the completion of the Project with the Owner and Surety

Most recently, Beacon provided contruction consulting and project management services related to the completion of approximately $2M in electrical remedial work. During the course of the work, Beacon's team worked closely with the MBTA's project team to provide constant communication regarding all aspects of the project.

The MBTA Assembly Station is a very important part of the economic development taking place in Somerville, MA and Boston. The station makes it possible (and easy) for many commuters and shoppers to reach the recently developed Assembly Row Office / Retail / Residential complex.

View Full Project Profile >

Beacon Surety Consulting Update:
Substantial Completion Achieved For
Dayton Manor BOP Project (Brooklyn, NY)

As reported in previous E-news updates, Beacon Consulting Group, Inc. was selected to provide construction consulting / surety consulting services related to the completion of various construction projects at Dayton Manor, a 116-unit apartment building located in Brooklyn, NY. The apartment complex is owned by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) and provides residential housing for federal employees (and their families) who work at two correctional facilities located in Brooklyn.

In November of 2017, Substantial Completion was achieved for the construction work that Beacon was helping to manage (and expedite) on behalf of the Surety. Given the complexity of the overall project, it is worth noting that Beacon was able to help ensure that the completion contractor finished all work successfully, with no punchlist items being idenitifed (or required) by the owner upon the final project walk-through and review of work. The owner's represenatives (and residents of Dayton Manor) were pleased with the improved aesthetics of the exterior following renovations done at the site, which included:

  • Site grading work and landscaping
  • Restoration of exterior walkways
  • Installation of outside seating and picnic tables
  • Restoration of a children's playground area
  • Installation of fencing

View Full Project Profile >



President's Message - 12/2017
A Note From Dennis O'Neill

As 2017 draws to a close, everyone here at Beacon Consulting Group, Inc. would like to sincerely thank our many valued clients and partners in the Surety, Insurance, Financial, and Construction Consulting areas. This year, we have had much to be thankful for. We consulted on, helped manage, and helped turn around a wide range of Surety & Construction Consulting projects—from a cutting-edge multi-use university building (Rutgers CCB) to high-profile mass transit / rail projects (MBTA), to roadways & bridges, parks, public housing, schools, and residential and commercial high-rise buildings.

We also took on a number of other consulting assignments for financial institutions, insurance companies, and in our growing construction defects practice area. This year, we welcomed some highly talented new staff members. We are planning to further recruit and build our project teams in the weeks and months ahead to keep pace with our growing list of diverse assignments across the U.S.

Last Friday (12/8/17), Beacon Consulting Group held its annual meeting in Boston, MA. Meeting highlights included some great presentations and case histories covering Beacon's Projects from 2017 and a panel discussion with Surety Claims experts. It was a great opportunity for all of our professional team members to bond and share lessons learned, strategize about new projects, and learn about new project management solutions. The photo below shows some of Beacon's team members and guests enjoying an evening tour of Sam Adams Boston Brewery and R&D center—a highly recommended activity for craft beer lovers or any visitor to the Boston area who would like to learn about a great American business success story.

So, Happy Holidays & Best Wishes to All for a successful, healthy and prosperous New Year! We look forward to seeing many of our friends, partners, and clients next month in Washington D.C. at the ABA Fidelity & Surety Committee Midwinter Conference. Make sure to register if you have not already! (ABA Site / Registration Page).

Dennis O'Neill, President
Beacon Consulting Group, Inc.

Dealing With A Difficult Owner?
Top 5 Tips For Resolving Problems
& Finding The Win-Win Solution

By James Bruno, LEED AP, PMP

Tip #1 - Be professional. Difficult owners are often frustrated and quick to get into arguments. Simply being sure to act in a professional manner can ease that frustration and avoid useless arguments. A few tips on staying professional:

  • Practice self-control and patience, keep a soft voice and use carefully selected wording.
  • Smile and be as polite and empathetic as possible throughout the conversation
  • Communicate clearly and track all your correspondence accurately. Failing to do this can result in frustrating misunderstandings and disagreements later.

Tip #2 - Listen. It is very easy to have a tough time working with an owner if you lose their trust or confidence. Being sure to listen to their side of the story is a critical step in building that trust. If the owner doesn’t feel like you are listening to them, they will also likely feel that you aren’t interested in trying to understand their situation or finding a way for them to win. A few tips on listening to owners:

  • Do not interrupt, hear the Owner out. They are more likely to think you understand their story, if they know you listened to it.
  • Repeat back the commitments for action and be clear of the expectations regarding work product and expected delivery dates.
  • Sometimes Owner issues can be political, or the issues needs to be framed in a certain way for them to move forward with a resolution. This can also give you an idea of what issues are sensitive topics to the owner and what their priorities are.

Tip #3 - Be Fair, Honest, and Reasonable.

Perhaps the most effective way to make progress with difficult owners is to stand out as the voice of reason. If you can establish yourself as someone the Owner can trust to be fair, they are much more likely to cooperate and try to resolve the issue. A few tips to help establish yourself:

  • Address their concerns. Providing additional backup documentation or letters describing a situation can show that you are able and willing to help the owner by providing honest information to them.
  • Be firm and confident in the facts. Even if the owner feels that your motives are in good faith, you may still lose their trust if you aren’t informed on the issues. You want the owner to be confident that when you present a solution, you have considered all the information.
  • Accept responsibility for any errors or delays on your part. If you make a mistake and try to pin it on others or make shallow excuses, the owner will likely feel that your motivation to protect yourself is stronger than your motivation to maintain a reasonable perspective.

View Full Article, Including Tips 4 & 5 >

Beacon Provides Bank with Project Review,
Construction Loan Monitoring Services For 11-Story
Condo Project in Chelsea Neighborhood of Manhattan

Throughout 2017, Beacon has been providing construction consulting and construction loan monitoring services to a leading international bank, to help the bank track progress on a luxury residential construction project taking place in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. Among the services Beacon has provided on the project are:

  • Project Pan & Cost Review. Starting in 2016, Beacon provided "Plan & Cost Review" services which provided the lender with a high-level, independent review of the developer's construction plans and schedule;

  • Construction Loan Monitoring. Beacon's ongoing Construction Loan Monitoring services include providing monthly reports to help the bank to track the construction progress and ensure that the bank's scheduled loan payments to the developer are tracking with progress on the project.

Beacon's NYC area VP John Yeung is the lead consultant on the project, which includes periodic site visits and monthly project tracking reports. The project is an 11-story residential condominium (which includes some commercial space as well). The project is being built on West 19th Street, near the "High Line" (now one of New York City's most popular attractions). The site was previously occupied by a single-story warehouse, which the developer reportedly purchased for more than $22 million. The project includes a total of 10 planned luxury residences and more than 27,000 square feet of total space. The architect on the project is Paik Architecture.

Over the past decade, Beacon has provided Construction Consulting, project monitoring and funds control services to financial institutions, insurance industry clients and project funding partners across a wide range of residential, commercial, public and public/private projects.

For more information about Beacon's services for Financial Institutions
and other Real Estate Project Investors, Contact Beacon Consulting Group, Inc.


Beacon Surety Consulting Project Profile:
United House of Prayer (Harlem, NY)

The United House of Prayer occupies 100,000 square feet of space in a historic neighborhood of Harlem, just up the block from the world-famous Apollo Theater. The House of Prayer Building includes a 20,000-square-foot sanctuary that seats 1,200 people and features high ceilings, skylights, and balconies. Across the hall from the sanctuary is a large dining room where church members dine. There is also a social hall, a small chapel, and a snack bar. The goal of United House of Prayer's renovation was to bring the church up to date as a multi-use building serving a large congregation.

Beacon’s Role & Services: Beacon was retained by a leading Surety company to help move the project forward. Services provided by Beacon included:

  • Review project & summarize work status
  • Perform cost-to-complete analysis
  • Assist with funds control
  • Provide Construction Management expertise

Beacon began to manage the construction renovation of the church in May of 2017. In this role, Beacon coordinated the remaining work with existing subcontractors (for many aspects of the project), but also engaged new subcontractors for specific tasks. Some of the major remaining work to complete when Beacon was retained included:

  • Trespa wall paneling system (in main lobby)
  • Masonry block & metal cladding exterior
  • Vinyl flooring installation
  • Various Mechanical/Electrical/Plumbing work
  • A punchlist of miscellaneous other items

For more information about Beacon's Construction Management Capabilities, Surety Claims Consulting Expertise, and related professional services, Contact Beacon Consulting Group, Inc.

Nov. 11, 2017 - Happy Veteran's Day & Thank You
To All Veterans of The U.S. Armed Forces

To all of the brave men and women who have served or are actively serving in our country's Armed Forces:

Thank you for your service to our country, your bravery, commitment and sacrifice.

We honor you for your service and your accomplishments, which help ensure our nation's safety and freedom.

President's Message
A Note From Dennis O'Neill

This summer seemed to come and go in a flash. The Solar Eclipse and other highlights from July and August now seem like distant memories. Throughout the summer, Beacon's project teams were working hard towards completing a wide variety of Surety Consulting, Construction Management, Construction Defects Assessment and related construction consulting assignments. Some highlights are below. Our project teams stand ready to take on new work. Please contact us 24/7 if you would like to discuss any new project.

Project Highlights: Beacon's Medford, MA office is closing out a major Commuter Rail (MBTA) Station construction consulting project and one Subway Station project in the Boston area. Our Medford team is also working through several construction defect claims analyses (including some on the West Coast). In Ohio, we have been working on a roadway project, helping an important Surety client during the project-relet process.

Beacon's New York City office is working on a wide range of active projects. We are nearing completion on the Dayton Manor project in Brooklyn (Surety Consulting / Construction Management for a renovation / repair project at an apartment complex owned by the Federal Bureau of Prisons). Our staff is also providing Surety Consulting and CM services for NYCHA's Amsterdam Houses (roofing / renovation at a large, 500-unit public housing complex in Manhattan), the United House of Prayer (renovation of Church in Harlem), and the Rutgers Chemistry & Chemical Biology Building, among others. We have other interesting new projects starting in the NY area, such as a CM project in Brooklyn (removal of large industrial tanks). In NYC, our team is also working on Bid Reviews. In the Fidelity area, we are assisting a client with an employee-theft claim review in Pennsylvania.

Our teams are also consulting on a number of other interesting projects around the country, such as: An Industrial Painting Project Relet, a Roofing Contactor in Baltimore, a Dredge Contractor in Utah, and a Building Contractor in New Orleans (Monitoring project). We have a number of significant projects in the close-out process. So, we welcome the opportunity to help our clients and partners with any new Construction Consulting needs.

On a serious note, our thoughts go out to the many people impacted or displaced by the recent hurricanes, as well as the severe wildfires in the Western U.S. It is great to see people from all around the U.S. (and beyond) coming together to help those affected. Our insurance industry clients play such a critical role in enabling people and businesses to rebuild and repair structures following these catastrophic events. Beacon’s team stands ready to help our insurance and Surety clients to assess, evaluate and estimate construction-related damage from these natural disasters in the weeks and months ahead.

The recent collapse of large construction cranes in South Florida (a result of Hurricane Irma's powerful winds) is a devastating reminder about the need to be vigilant about securing construction sites in preparation for extreme weather events. It also reminds us about the importance of the having adequate Construction Risk Coverage, Property & Casualty Insurance, and other types of coverage needed to mitigate risk.

Beacon Staff Profile
Andrew Lem, E.I.T., Project Engineer

Andrew Lem, E.I.T. is one of the project team members to join Beacon Consulting Group's NYC office in 2017. A native New Yorker who grew up in Northern Westchester County, Andrew is a graduate of Villanova University, where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering.

Andrew joined Beacon as a Project Engineer in February of 2017. Since then, Andrew has been working on a wide range of construction consulting assignments, serving our clients in all of the following areas:

  • Contractor Claim Analysis
  • Change Order Review & Negotiation
  • Construction Cost Analysis
  • Construction Management
  • Assisting in the preparation of bid packages
  • Communicating with the subcontractors/vendors on a daily basis
  • Reviewing construction-project-related documents
  • Assisting Project Managers with cost to complete analyses

Prior to joining Beacon's team, Andrew worked as a Staff Engineer for a Pennsylvania-based engineering / consulting firm ...

View Andrew' Full Bio >

Rutgers University CCB Building Project
Update: Exterior / Interior Work Progress

As reported in previous E-news updates, Beacon Consulting Group, Inc. was selected to provide construction consulting and surety consulting services related to the completion of a new building project at Rutgers University (Piscataway, NJ). Beacon has provided a wide range of on-site and consulting services to support the Surety on this project.

The buildings being constructed will be the new home for Rutgers' Chemistry & Chemical Biology (CCB) Department. The four adjoining CCB building(s) will house classrooms, research facilities, laboratories, conference rooms, offices, a large auditorium and other multi-use spaces. The state-of-the-art, 145,000-square-foot, multi-purpose facility is taking shape (see photos). A wide range of interior and exterior work is progressing simultaneously.

To date, Beacon has provided all of the following services on the project:

  • Developed RFP & helped secure completion contractor
  • Project oversight (Consultant for Surety)
  • Project communications & paperwork (Reports, RFIs, Submittals)
  • Beacon's team also served in an interim construction management role

As shown in some of the project photos (see link below), significant progress has been made in the past year towards the completion of this complex and important building project...

View Full Project Profile >

Beacon Sponsors Reading,
Massachusetts Fall Street Faire

Beacon Consulting Group gets involved with a number of civic and charity events throughout the year. One notable happening which Beacon co-sponsored recently is the Reading Fall Street Faire (Reading, MA).

This year's event was held on September 10th and had an estimated turnout of more than 15,000 people. The Fall Street Faire is hosted by the Reading Rotary Club and is an annual community event bringing together local restaurants, retail businesses and community groups for a fun-filled day. The range of events and activities included a 5K Fun Run, a street fair with food vendors, retailers, and local service businesses, a classic car show, live entertainment (including singers, dancers, and bag-pipers), a parade, and even a pie-eating contest.

Beacon is proud to support this fantastic event which is growing each year and provides a great way for residents and businesses of Reading to promote the local economy and build a stronger sense of community, both within Reading and with its neighboring towns in the area. For more information about Reading, MA, check out its long and insteresting history (dating back to 1644) on Wikipedia. For information about the Reading Fall Faire, Click Here.


New York City Construction Boom:
Large Projects, High Costs & Super-Tall Buildings

The New York City skyline continues to rapidly transform, with numerous large building projects underway or soon to start in the Big Apple. One notable new project is a $3.6-billion, 2.9-million-square-ft. building (50 Hudson Yards) soon to start at 34th Street & 10th Ave. While it won’t be the tallest skyscraper in the area (just under 1000 ft. tall), it will reportedly be one of the largest buildings in NYC, based on total square footage, once completed in 2022.

The construction process has also started on a super-tall building being built next to Grand Central Station (One Vanderbilt - at the corner of Vanderbilt & 42nd Street). The building will reach a height of more than 1400 feet and 59 floors when done. Scheduled for 2020 completion, the project will include 1.5-million square feet of office space on upper floors and 200,000 square feet of retail in the lower floors of the building. When done, it is expected to be New York City’s second-tallest tower (and the tallest in Midtown Manhattan).

Meanwhile in Brooklyn, construction has reportedly started on a new super-tall residential building at 9 DeKalb Avenue (downtown Brooklyn). The 70+ story structure will top 1000 feet in height and will incorporate an existing building (The Dime Savings Bank) into the base of the new tower. The building will include 500 rental apartments. Construction is expected to be completed between 2019 and 2021.

According to an article on, NYC also has the world's highest construction costs, reaching nearly $354 per sq. ft. in 2016. This information is based based on the 2017 Turner & Townsend’s International Construction Market Survey (ICMS)...

View Full Article >

Beacon Retained To Provide Construction Consulting and
Construction Management Services For Project at Robert Moses State Park

Beacon Consulting Group, Inc. was recently selected by a leading Surety company to provide construction consulting and construction management services for a project at Robert Moses State Park (Babylon, NY). Robert Moses Park is a popular beach-front recreation area, located on the western end of Fire Island, a barrier island in Suffolk County, NY.

Beacon was retained by the Surety following the default of the General Contractor (GC) that was working on sanitary system improvements at the park, including site excavation work, installation of new sanitary lines and manholes, line cleanouts, camera-inspection of lines and related site survey work. Beacon's role is to assist the Surety company to get the project back on track, by analyzing the current state of the work completed, communicating with all parties involved, and helping to move the project forward. Completing work at Robert Moses State Park in a timely manner is a high priority for the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, given that more than 3.8 million people visit the park annually.

With more than 875 acres of open space, a golf course, and 5 miles of pristine oceanfront shoreline, Robert Moses State Park is a popular destination for fishing, swimming, sunbathing, boating, surfing, bird watching, hiking, and off-road vehicles. The barrier island runs parallel to Long Island, NY, with the Atlantic Ocean on its southern side, and the Great South Bay on the northern side. Adjoining Robert Moses State Park on its eastern side is The Fire Island National Seashore and Fire Island's landmark lighthouse...

View Full News Item>

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