The Gold Coast Builders Association continues to spotlight the best of our Members who have won a prestigious PRISM Award.
Our spotlight is on the HSQ Group, LLC and Zachary Todd for the Pine Ridge Project, Suburban Land Planning and Engineering. Todd discusses the project, highlights HSQ Group and reveals the company plans to enter PRISM 2024 competition with....
You will have to listen to discover right along with your Host Sam Yates.
The Gold Coast Builders Association Builders Spotlight Podcast is produced by Yates & Associates Public Relations & Marketing, providing exceptional marketing, public relations, and crisis communications for businesses of all sizes throughout Florida and the nation. For information contact your Builders Spotlight Podcast host Sam Yates Sam@YatesPRO.com.
Content may be used and rebroadcast with permission from the Gold Coast Builders Association https://www.gcbaflorida.com.
Hello everyone and welcome to another exciting and interesting episode of the Gold Coast Builders Association Builders Spotlight Podcast. News You Can Use and news discovered just for you no matter whether you're a builder and associate or a future homebuyer. Let's find out who's in the builders spotlight today with your podcast host who nails it every time. Sam Yates Hello everyone and welcome to another exciting edition of the Gold Coast Builders Association builders spotlight. And this episode is going to be shared with the Florida Business Forum Podcast as well because we have a special opportunity to continue saluting the Gold Coast Builders Association PRISM winners for 2023. Now you might be going huh? What is prism? Well, it stands for professional recognition in sales and marketing the PRI S M. And one of the honorees is here with us today, H SQ group, an engineering planning and survey company, well known throughout South Florida and it's my pleasure today to welcome Zack Todd from HS q to the program today. Zack, welcome to the program. Thank you. Appreciate you having me on. My pleasure. You know, I always like to start at the very beginning of the program to learn a little bit about two things. One, the the person that's here on the program, and then a bit more about the company itself, but tell me about yourself first.Zachary Todd, HSQ Group:
So, Zachary Todd here. Born and raised in South Florida, probably a rare breed third generation Floridian my parents are from Doug glade moved over to West Palm in 75 I think so born and raised went to Palmy Central High School right there on forest so Boulevard, not too far from Pine Ridge we want to prison ward for so currently living in Palm Beach County not too far from where I grew up. So been doing engineering for 11 years now went to University of Floridafrom 2008 to 2012. Some pretty good years there. So been doing various projects from commercial you know, when I started in 2012, a little bit more commercial than it was now. Now we're leaning into more of a multifamily residential. So seeing a wide variety of projects in those 11-12 years.Sam Yates:
Well, Zach, I have to share with you that you have now just met another native Floridian so nice. It's It is rare that we run into native Floridians and so we just sort of have to point that out but awesome. Know exactly the area that your hometown was in and it's up in the the area towards Fort Pierce. So we're both on the same locale.Zachary Todd, HSQ Group:
So I'm really happy to have you here. Awesome. Now, tell us about H SQ. HSQ aastarted in 2004 by three individuals, Antonio Cubetto, Nora shatta. And Jay Huebner started in 2004. They we cover a wide variety of, you know, scope, including roadway civil engineering, including photometrics. Design, drainage, lift station development, government projects, private work, you know, pretty much anything in the realm. I started here personally and the today's actually my three year anniversary from 2020 When I moved over here, then kind of carrying that on doing a wide variety of multifamily projects, a little bit of government work, lift stations, etc. So it's, you know, I don't know if there's any questions to expand upon that. But we'll, we'll wander into some of those areas. Yeah, definitely.Sam Yates:
You know, I have to say congratulations on your anniversary. Thank you. That's a nice milestone in a career. So Anniversaries are special. I hope to speak to some folks there. Maybe they'll take you out and celebrate but definitely should be celebrated. And so, you know, I just as an aside, I also do a podcast for the Florida Engineering Society and your name recently came up with glowing remarks. So you know, good the the former president that of the Florida Engineering Society speaks very highly of you just want you to know that.Zachary Todd, HSQ Group:
Oh, nice. That was, yeah. 2019 seems like forever ago. Yeah, it's to two kids ago, which makes it seem like that's that's an interesting way to put it. You know, we've marked time in our lives by certain milestones. But, you know, we want to talk about the project that brought the book award. And certainly, that was for suburban land planning and engineering in the five acre and up category was poor, as you mentioned, a project not too far from, from where you live now called Pine rich, tell us about the project. So the project, it's in unincorporated Palm Beach County, which, you know, Palm Beach County covers a humongous area here, which is something you don't know even growing up here, you know, the the municipal breakup of the county. So palm has got its unincorporated Palm Beach County, it's on Southern Boulevard, just east of jog road. Probably, I would say five minutes from where I grew up. So I probably driven passive site my entire life, but started working on it in 2020, which means the site plan and probably been going on from 2019. But the 288 unit, workforce housing project, 100% workforce housing, which it's a huge push within Palm Beach County, and you know, South Florida in general right now. Some of them break down to 70%, you know, lesser percentage. This was 100%. It was, you know, a client called Pine Ridge, it's their kind of model for how they're doing it. We're doing another project, kind of right up the street on Okeechobee Boulevard and the turnpike that just got site plan approval six months or so ago. So we're in permitting for that as well. But this project in particular, it's on Southern and Easter jog Northwest first street. That particular challenges is similar with any Palm Beach County project is the you know, how tight it is. As well as the neighboring community. So it's on Northwest First Street, obviously, there's some existing residential there. So they kind of come out, Hey, what's going on, you know, what's going on in my backyard, and I think we're able to work out with them. We've provided some parallel parking spaces up updated Northwest First Street, to kind of get through that, as far as like land approval in terms of drainage, which I'm sure will cover drainage more on this podcast. But for this particular project, we had to use, I would call it a rather larger dry detention area to meet water quality, again, water quality we'll touch on later on the bog, so I'm sure but to meet water quality of this. So with that larger detention area, we were able to meet the water quality requirements. But with how tight the site was, we had to and I think it's pretty rare in Palm Beach County, and but it's happening more and more as we, you know, move forward, combined to the recreational area with the functional, dry detention area. So we're providing water quality storage and the strata tension, as well as providing a recreational area, you know, for for kids to play in the community. So that was one of the tougher challenges was drainage from that standpoint, meeting the site plan requirements, open space requirements, recreational requirements, while providing drainage functionality on the site. We also had, you know, to tie into existing 30 inch water main within Northwest forestry coordinate mot with Palm Beach County, which has become a big thing with residents, you know, adjacent to the site that are wondering whether streets block so that was some of the challenges. We also we provided sidewalk connectivity, we provided stabilized emergency access based on coordination with Palm Beach County Fire to southern Boulevard. So those were a few of the challenges but as well as the typical closeout process, you know, that we go through on almost every project but oh no, the great project was good opening. Great experience. Again, it's right down the street from my old house right down the street from my current house. So you know it was neat just to have that experience of, again a site that I've driven past my probably my whole life probably never noticed sitting there vacant. And same thing with Okeechobee site that I'm working on now. You know, that's that's got to be a good feeling being from that area, you've seen the property, you know, the area. And to have it dedicated to workforce housing is critically important. Yep, out throughout South Florida, for anyone that may not know, describe workforce housing. So workforce housing, and I don't know, if I can go into the full specific breakdown, if it changes, but, you know, essentially, it's to bring in, you know, residents that might not be on the upper echelon, you know, from a yearly income basis, so you're able to apply with your, you know, urine income, and get a certain rate to live in the, to live in that community, though, it's very important, you know, as we have a lot of companies running within the area we live on for 41, there's things that are functioning day in day out that obviously need employees to work there. Yep. And I think it's become a, you know, a bigger situation in South Florida, in general, the the rents going up, the cost, housing is going up, and people need places to live. So that's where it's very important. I'm doing some more in Broward right now. But the workforce housing kind of gives people a nice, nice place to live. And the importance of it, you know, from more of a even architectural standpoint is we don't want to just build something and have it, you know, be a room to live in, you know, we try to make these nice facilities that that look great, that have great architectural features, recreational facilities, basketball courts, you know, pools, etc. You know, that look like luxury accommodations, you know, with providing, you know, availability to live for, you know, someone who might not live on Palm Beach Island, you know, to put it bluntly, yep.Sam Yates:
amAnd I think that, you know, that is, and we are even as an organization, the the G CBA, firmly committed to making sure that we have the opportunity to make housing available for, for our first responders, for our, our teachers, for those in the community that, you know, are workers, but they also need to be able to afford the housing. You know, I want to say that we've seen a lot from throughout the Treasure Coast, all the way down to Miami Dade, particularly hearing from those in your industry, about water quality, and water quality increasingly coming to the forefront, your clients and your company dedicated to water quality.Zachary Todd, HSQ Group:
Yeah, 100%, it's even in my 11 years, it's become, you know, it's it's always been in the manual, but it's become increasingly important. From a criteria standpoint, you know, we've always provided water quality on site, now we're looking a little bit more into nutrient loading BMPs, you know, really taking that into account, holding water on site, even more, so detaining it prior to discharge. So it's, it's created a little bit more of a challenge from a, you know, routing standpoint, attenuation standpoint, when we're having to hold water on site. But as well, we don't want to keep it restricted within the detention area. So we're running a little bit more of groundwater modeling to make sure it's percolating into detention areas, through the trench, etc, while providing attenuation. But meeting the nutrient loading, so that's become a bigger thing. And we have projects from South Florida Water Management District of the St. Johns River Water Management District, same idea, same practice that we're dealing with. So I think what was it being considered a 90% at one time at 80, or 80, or 90%. So, yeah, that was something you know, I don't do too much in Palm Beach County, because you know, especially in unincorporated they require legal positive alcohol as part of their code. But if you go into Broward, Miami Dade, you know, we're doing 100% on site retention sites, where you kind of from a from a sensibility standpoint, it's like I don't know why we're required to meet this because we're keeping everything on say we're doing our own part. You know, we're holding it everywhere. We're not done causing creating issues for anyone else, you know, obviously, we have discharge, you want to, you know, look at what we're doing. So that's become more of a challenge, especially with vacant sites, especially heavily wooded sites, on top of what we all already coordinate with in terms of wetlands mitigation, etc. So it's kind of become an added step. From a drainage calculation standpoint, for sure. And I'm going Oh, lordy, how in the world do I know about that? Whenever it did, but it is something you know, when you're in the industry, it is something that people are are talking about. And so it is important and average John Q person may not have that as part of their inner time discussion, but within the industry, people do keep an eye on on water quality significantly.Sam Yates:
And, and I think another area is condos and aging buildings. How does that play into the HS Q arena? I don't know if aging buildings, if we delve into that too much. From a structural standpoint, or anything like that, we typically are from, you know, building out. So typically, and dad back maybe to the introduction, what I should have said, you know, talking about HS Q, one of the biggest things we do is, you know, due diligence, we have people, you know, clients reach out, Hey, I got a particular site I'm looking at, whether it's vacant, whether it has, you know, older buildings on it, you know, vacated, etc. We look at it from zoning, planning, engineering, drainage, water sewer standpoint, and say, Hey, this is what this is, what can be done, these are the challenges ahead of it. Obviously, incorporating more of the water quality, we were just speaking about the drainage challenges. So as far as you know, your original question, we don't look too much into the, you know, building itself. If it's, you know, older, I know, probably it's getting looked at more in South Florida because of I believe Surfside it was with the condo collapsing that's probably become a little bit more of a talking point around recent projects. But as far as the building itself, H SQ doesn't dive too deep into that. But from a a point of starting a project making that project turnkey, that obviously is a consideration in in the overall operation when something is turnkey, that it's got to be done right the first time so that it doesn't fall down and have to be redone. 100% it so besides the building, I will say one thing that that we don't do the testing ourselves, but obviously examined and ties into drainage is geotechnical, you know, an environmental assessment of the soil that's become a lot bigger of a thing, especially as we are diving deeper into the nutrient loading the best management practices, you know, BMPs on the site is looking that that existing soil, doing a couple of sites now currently, where there's arsenic, environmental, you know, considerations that we have to consider when we're designing a just you doesn't do environmental assessment in house, but we coordinate with a lot of local players, you know, from a geotechnical and environmental standpoint, but that's added to a little bit more of the challenges from some of this site development is some of those challenges. So, but outside of the building aspect, we're kind of looking at the soil aspect of, you know, how well it's percolating. constructability, etc. You mentioned photometrics earlier. Yep. Talk about photometrics a little bit.Zachary Todd, HSQ Group:
and we're doing right now environmental photometrics for you know, turtles, I have a project up in Fort Pierce, near the CCL you know, where they're worried about turtles. So we're doing a full photometric analysis of, you know, not just the lights, lighting, the streets, the lights from each of the condos, townhomes, landscape lighting, anything that can have an impact on, you know, environmental considerations, wetlands, etc. We're looking for a photometric you know, FootCandles zero on there.Sam Yates:
Zack now would be a good time for us to talk about how people can get in touch with HS Q. How can they do that? SoZachary Todd, HSQ Group:
the website is H SQ group inc.com Yep. 100% The phone number is 561-392-0221 my extensions 106 The best way to get in touch with me is myself, I have 613712893. And no, I don't have an issue, putting that on a podcast. That's how most of my clients get in touch with me. It's kind of the best way really, in my mind and 2023 is just a cell phone, clients text me and call me. You know, we're, we're always trying to be responsive available, etc. Though, that would be the best way to get in touch with me. If it's a project and in Miami, I would, you know, probably relate to our Miami office, which has more expertise on that. Our office in particular we do have a Broward office who does from Miami. Probably up to you know, northern Broward County, our office here in Boca does all the way from any and river down to you know, northern Broward County. So we do do some southern Broward County but kind of you know, there's some more expertise from our Broward office will relay that to them. So those will be the numbers my email is Zachary Za, CH ar y at HS q group.net. So I would say for for anyone who's got a site or project to look at definitely give myself on a call or shoot me an email. That's that's definitely the best way.Sam Yates:
What are the questions that I hear developers land owners sometimes raising is Do I need an owner's rep for this project? What is an owner's rep for those that are considering whether or not they want to engage different types of services.Zachary Todd, HSQ Group:
I would say an owner's rep in my opinion is someone who's a little more closer tied to supposed to be closer tied to the overall various aspects of the development of the site. The projects I've had that have had an owner's rep, I usually see from start to complete finish. And they're supposed to be kind of the guiding force. We from a permitting standpoint, design standpoint, civil engineering standpoint, I don't think we would need an owner's rep to help us. From our standpoint. I mean, we try to be that person that's a phone call away to answer any questions as we go throughout the process. But I've seen it a little bit more. And I don't know if owner's rep translate translates right with permit expediter. But I've seen a little bit more with some of the building departments. And as well, some of the some of the projects are using third party providers, where it's like, but the building department still has to sign off on some of the aspects. So I've seen a little bit more with that, from a civil standpoint, we kind of run on our own in parallel throughout the entire process, I would say. So from an entitlement, and a building permit standpoint. 100% I've seen it saw some of the owners reps or, you know, some great attorneys that we work with land use attorneys that really aid the process from entitlement. But, you know, can definitely some of the billing processes can be tricky, especially with some of its online. You know, I'm going through a right now and a couple of projects where couple of the boxes are checked, they think in the system, but no one knows. So we're dealing with that where, you know, the online system is supposed to help. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't. So, from that standpoint, I don't know if there's questions that you have on that. But that's my familiarity with it is, you know, from beginning and then very end and close out definitely helps. Absolutely.Sam Yates:
You know, I know that we are continuing to see more and more people move into Florida and incredible number of people coming in every day. From your vantage point, someone coming in wanting to develop something. How long does the process take and not necessarily from the role that HQ group plays, but in the overall getting the permits and the dealing with the Governmental Organizations?Zachary Todd, HSQ Group:
It's not an overnight process. 100% If we're talking about someone moves here, developer moves here, they got a vacant piece of site, depending on where you're at. You're I would say, to get entitlement to get site plan approval. I would say at least six to nine months 100% Can we usually concurrent once we get close to dealing with city or county staff where you feel a little more comfortable to start putting in Together construction plans, which were pretty close, we started doing conceptual plans during the entitlement, we'll put more construction plans. And usually, once we're a little more comfortable with staff approval or clients will release us to start the permitting process with Florida was some of the drainage agencies to keep that move. And so I would say the overall permitting process that we're taking that separate from entitlement, I would say at least six to seven months, maybe maybe less, depending, I'd say a rough number six months. So I'd say your six to nine months on entitlement 16 months on permitting, have those overlap a little bit if you can, so I'd say a little bit over a year. Of that. From, you know, we're submitting a site plan to we got shovels in the ground, year and a half, I would say, oh, Florida is a little bit different. And it's tough. I mean, there, there's just no way of bypassing the regulations, things that have to be done have to be done. So I don't I don't know if I highlighted this in the beginning. But HS Q does do site planning as well. So we do offer that I don't know if that was included in the intro but uh yeah, we do take we do do site site planning and through engineering, so and that was where I was going with that. Burbage sorry about that.Sam Yates:
Oh, no, that's that's the perfect introduction, you know, when it comes to site planning, what point should you become involved? Me personally, or HoH sq? Yes, we me, we come in from the very beginning, we coordinate with the clients of developers, sometimes a single owner wanting to develop a piece of property, having kind of a overall sketch of what they want to do, or the they have an architect that's on board that has kind of a preliminary sketch of what they want to do. You know, sometimes it's just some building footprints. You know, here's our typical building footprint model that we like. And we look at the codes depending on the area and say, Hey, we can do this, we can do that. Here's the setbacks. Here's the layout, here's where we're gonna get access. We don't do heavy duty traffic, impact analysis, but we have done some traffic statements just to get a rough idea of, you know, what can be done? What what is going to generate? So yeah, we're on from day one from the start. There are some times the architects have a little bit further along site plan will kind of take it over and, you know, run through the access analysis again, with meet with Palm Beach County or meet with FTO t get conceptual approval for driveways, etc. So, yeah, definitely from from start to CEO to close out, yeah, we're involved. And you just hit on something that, you know, I don't think people quite put their arms around it that it is a team effort on many of the things that you do, because the authorities, the architects, there's so many different parts of that puzzle, that have to be pulled together. Is that always a challenge? 100%. And the the most important thing you Yeah, you forgot is landscaping, which is humongous. You know, there are so many older existing trees on some of these remaining sites, that we're all constantly coordinating with the landscape architect to work around those, you know, build our islands to keep some of those trees existing. So that's probably the next step. But yeah, that's 100%. You know, it's a full team coordination effort, you know, to lay out these plans. And then as even as we go through construction from, you know, coordinating with the MEP, on plumbing layout, where sewer is going to accent where water is going to enter roof drainage, coordination, you know, etc. So it's constant. It's very important. You know, we're on it now with post, post 2020. With the presence of zoom or teams, I mean, it seems like we're on conference calls. Way more often, you know, some people think it's a good thing. Some people think it's a bad thing. We used to maybe have two meetings a week now we're on, you know, meetings constantly throughout the week looking at our calendar. So it's definitely, definitely something we're, you know, it's been very important to coordinate with, especially landscape architecture, the whole nine so all this started by talking about your Prism entry that won an award. But I want to get a little inside scoop. Do you already have a PRISM project perhaps in mind for next year something that you're working on now?Zachary Todd, HSQ Group:
I think so i, if the project I kind of mentioned it earlier in the podcast, if if the project on Okeechobee kind of precedes the the rate, I think this one or even top, the one I'm working on now, from an environmental standpoint, I don't know, am I able to touch on the project itself? Or? Oh, absolutely. And I'm glad you are, because what I was gonna do was, there we go. All right. All of our members out there, we already have someone preparing for next year. Don't wait till the last minute. So loosely, yes, let's hear about it. So yeah, it's, again, it's a good show be it's has a lot of environmental aspects, which again, HQ doesn't dive into the environmental study, we coordinate, just like with landscape architects, etc. But it's a current Brownfield. So they're having a mitigate for that. Concurrent with that with part of our design, and we're calling them Florida mountains. We have existing, you know, it used to be a landfill, and it's currently going to stay elevated. Yeah, we're talking six, seven feet of elevation within the existing site, that are going to be combined recreational facilities. So we talked about how we combine the depressed areas, now we're gonna have elevated areas. So you know, being born and raised in South Florida is someone who just went to Connecticut, you know, I'm not used to dealing with elevation. You know, having contour lines on some of our plans was pretty interesting. But, you know, it's a 27 acre site that probably looks small from driving by it. Again, it's one of those sites, I've probably driven by my whole life growing up here in South Florida, but interesting challenges, list station design, you know, a lot more water, sewer challenges, environmental challenges, so off site challenges, connections, you know, good Showbie, and other adjacent roads. So I don't want to give too much of the full scoop, you know, maybe in the write up next year, who knows?Sam Yates:
Well, I'm glad I'm glad you, I'm glad you touched upon it, because that is just enough of the tantalizing details that you could say to all our other DCBA members, get audit folks. Because to be a winner, you've got to be prepared. And guess what HS Q group is preparing now to be winners again, for next year. Zach, we've covered a lot of territory, is there anything that we have left out that is important that we need to touch upon?Zachary Todd, HSQ Group:
We're just looking to, you know, grow and, you know, work on as many projects as we can provide quality work that we're used to, in a timely manner. One of the biggest aspects I try to do is, you know, be reachable. You know, it's, it's a, again, it's why I gave my cell phone, anyone can call me, you know, so that's a big, being responsive and reachable is is a big thing. It's something I try to pride myself on.Sam Yates:
So my final question, and probably the most important question, can HS Q, come back again for a nother podcast in the future? Yeah, yeah. 100%, I want to say thank you very much. And again, congratulations on the the prism award, I am so happy to hear that. You're already thinking ahead for next year. And you've got that project in mind. That says to me that the company is not one to wait around and count on success maybe happening. The company is 100% dedicated to being successful for the company, and the many clients that you represent. So great.Zachary Todd, HSQ Group:
So definitely looking forward to next year and I'm sure there's gonna be a bunch of other events sprinkled in before that. So absolutely.Sam Yates:
I'm looking forward to catching up with you myself at one of the upcoming events. And I agree, thank you very much. Zachary Todd from the HS Q group. My pleasure to have had you on the program today. We got a little bit of everything yet and this never heard the program. Well, you're gonna be surprised because we talk about anything and everything that's the that's the beauty of doing a podcast. My pleasure having you here today.Zachary Todd, HSQ Group:
Great, thanks Sam.Sam Yates:
And with that I am Sam Yates and I want to thank all of you for joining us here for another episode of the very best in podcasting when it comes to the construction business and GC be a the Gold Coast Builders Association builders spotlight till our next episode. Have a great day everybody. Thanks for listening to the Gold Coast builders spotlight. If you have a guest or a topic you would like to recommend contact your G CBA builders spotlight podcast host Sam Yates, or the Gold Coast Builders Association, the G CBA builders spotlight podcast, building relationships one podcast at a time. Have a wonderful day everyone