January 9, 2014
Contact: University Relations
Contractors and developers now have an online subscription service available to track development projects in the pre-planning stages: "The Pipeline," a service recently launched by the University of Baltimore's Jacob France Institute in partnership with the Baltimore chapter of the Association of Builders and Contractors, tracks development projects in the pre-planning stages. Now, contractors and developers from across the region can efficiently plan and track the status of projects as early as possible in the developmental stage.
The subscription-based Pipeline service offers an accurate, timely database and visualization platform that tracks development projects through the review process and documents the status of a selected project prior to obtaining a building permit. Commercial contractors and other related firms generally pay a subscription fee to "lead services" such as Dodge Reports, Reed and others services for information on project news. While these outlets may be adequate for some jobs, officials from the ABC Baltimore Metro Chapter say the new Pipeline tool offers a viable alternative.
"We've heard from our members that there is a reasonable degree of dissatisfaction among general contractors, architects and other design/construction professionals with these services on the timeliness and completeness of the projects," said Mike Henderson, executive director of the chapter. "We wanted to be able to provide a service here in Baltimore that was as early in the [design and build] pipeline as possible."
The partnership between ABC and the Jacob France Institute enlisted support from UB students from the Merrick School of Business Real Estate and Economic Development program to serve as research assistants. Students track development-review public hearings, real estate news outlets and other local information sources. The database of projects is then made available on an online mapping tool at www.baltimorepipeline.com, where subscribers can search projects by type, date and developer/architect. Subscribers also get a weekly email of new projects.
Seema D. Iyer, associate director of the Jacob France Institute at the University of Baltimore's Merrick School of Business, oversees the project and mentors the students involved in it, and said the database and website have been an excellent educational experience and research tool.
"With the data that the students have compiled, we can answer some of the key real estate questions in the region, such as how long the development review process takes and what kinds of development are going on in the region," Iyer said.
The University of Baltimore is a member of the University System of Maryland and comprises the College of Public Affairs, the Merrick School of Business, the UB School of Law and the Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences.