Modern Home Builder - Winter 2018 - 124
Fine Line Construction
Given its extensive history of building throughout the Bay
Area, Fine Line has developed long-standing relationships with many of San Francisco's best subcontractors.
However, there are many administrative barriers in
publicly-funded projects, so Fine Line is cautious to rely on
a select group of subs. "We really need to make sure that
no one subcontractor is overextended," Vice President
Emily Lin says. "Because that is not going to do anybody
Further, there are requirements on public projects
calling for hiring workers from the low-income developments themselves. Fortunately, the city of San Francisco
has launched "CityBuild," a program designed to connect
contractors with ready-to-work employees. "That program
has really been a great tool," Lin says. "It is available to all
trades, who face daily challenges in finding new workers."
The program began in 2006 as an effort to coordinate citywide construction training and employment
programs with pre-apprenticeship and construction
Fine Line Construction is uniquely qualified to work with tenants, and takes great care to
ensure their needs are met.
for tenants, we have to keep in mind the neighbors surrounding
the sites as well."
Generally, Fine Line rehabilitates units in blocks of 15-50, depending on the building configuration, to keep the number of tenants to be displaced at a manageable amount. Further, it is able to
complete such blocks within a three- to six-month time frame.
"Given the risk and cost associated with these projects," Lin says,
"It is critically important that we are phasing in them in as efficiently as possible."
The first five buildings were started in late 2015 and work began on the second five buildings a year later. Overall, the project
is being constructed in two phases. The first phase is considered
easier than the second because the second phase has more difficult
buildings in terms of size and their preexisting seismic conditions.
Phase I completed in Summer of 2017, while Phase II buildings are
scheduled to be completed at the end of 2018.
www.mhb-magazine.com Winter 2018
Completed buildings on this project tend to look anything but institutional, as they are designed to enhance their neighborhoods.
As Lin notes, this is completely by design. "The buildings are durable and the design is really timeless," Lin says. "And that is absolutely intentional. We are fortunate to have clients who value not just
affordability, but quality of life and community assets."
Lin also notes that the finished product is a result of talented and
committed design firms such as Gelfand Partners Architects, Levy
Design Partners and HKIT that design with the tenants in mind, but
also keep in mind durability issues. After all, there might not necessarily be resources available for improvements every five years.
"That's really where our quality focus comes in," Lin says.
"Nothing gives us more satisfaction than to hear someone say, 'I
didn't know that was affordable housing.'"
PRIMED FOR GROWTH
With a full pipeline of projects, Fine Line is careful to keep its
high standards and culture intact. "It's important to acknowledge
that Fine Line is really a diverse, family business," Lin notes. "We
have so much diversity not just in our office, but also in the field
That diversity is important because Fine Line serves a diverse
group of tenants in the Bay Area. And within Fine Line, there is
a major focus on maintaining a strong culture. "When a company
is intentionally growing, we have to be mindful of continuing to
build great teams," Lin says. "We really want to maintain that culture of collaboration." )