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  • Writer's pictureBuild Forward


Updated: Apr 4

Join us for an interview with Javier Montalvo, the project's construction manager and Build Forward's CEO, as we gain insight into the challenges and successes of completing the construction portion of this commercial project.

A man at a construction site underneath some equipment. There are stairs and doorway arches beside and behind him.
Javier overseeing construction at Betsy + Iya

Welcome back to the Betsy + Iya blog series! This is the 3rd and final installment of this series, where we will be going over the highs and lows of bringing our designs into the construction phase. In a bustling city like Portland, commercial construction projects often face a myriad of challenges, from navigating city regulations to implementing innovative designs last minute. For this blog, I had the opportunity to sit down with Javier, our CEO and the construction manager for the Betsy + Iya project, to delve into the details of completing a commercial remodeling construction project (on a strict deadline nonetheless!). Here’s a glimpse into the journey:

Q: Walk me through the beginnings of the construction process of this project that is based on a very tailored design.

A: Build Forward embarked on this project in January 2023, aiming for completion by September of the same year. However, like many projects, the road was not without its obstacles. A significant setback came in the form of a month-long delay from the City of Portland in approving permits, pushing our timelines back and necessitating quick thinking to keep the project moving forward.

Q: What were the key challenges encountered during the construction process?

A: Three major challenges stood out during this project. Firstly, dealing with permit delays tested our patience and forced us to pivot our approach. Despite this setback, we capitalized on the time by tackling non-permit-dependent tasks, such as installing a custom-made vault. This presented its own logistical puzzle, requiring on-site assembly due to its size, but ultimately showcased our team’s adaptability and coordination skills.

Secondly, framing the intricate arches designed for the space posed a unique technical challenge. With meticulous attention to detail and collaboration with experts like Octavio, our wonderful Head Carpenter, we overcame this hurdle while ensuring compliance with commercial ADA codes.

A construction worker at a construction site, waving. There equipment and wooden planks on the floor, with an unfinished staircase to the side.
Octavio welcoming us to the construction site!

Lastly, implementing Parisian plaster for certain areas introduced the necessity for a new artistic dimension to our work. Our Head of Marketing, Dawn, helped us with achieve this with her expertise as an Art History major, which proved invaluable in mastering this technique. Her time and dedication to implementing this technique for us resulted in stunning, velvety walls that truly set the space apart.

Q: How did you navigate these challenges and ensure project success?

A: The key to navigating this lay in open communication and a collaborative spirit. Close coordination with the client allowed us to adjust timelines and address evolving needs on the fly. Additionally, our integrated design-build approach facilitated swift resolution of design issues, minimizing delays and maximizing efficiency.

A construction site with unfinished wooden panels leaned against the back wall and a lot of wooden planks stacked around. A woman is to the side with construction plans directing tasks.
Annette, our Head Designer, navigating design details on site

Q: What were the final stages of the project like, and how did you ensure a smooth transition to completion?

A: As the project neared its conclusion, we worked tirelessly to meet dual deadlines for a soft opening and grand opening. Feedback from the soft opening informed final touches, underscoring the importance of flexibility and responsiveness in our approach. Ultimately, witnessing the project come to fruition at the grand opening, surrounded by delighted clients and our team, was immensely rewarding and served as a fitting culmination of our efforts.

Q: Reflecting on the project, what were the highest and lowest points for you?

A: The lowest point undoubtedly stemmed from the anxiety of permit delays, which threatened to derail our carefully laid plans. However, the highlight came in a simple yet profound moment of camaraderie with our valued client over a beer, where mutual understanding and appreciation of the effort we put into this project reaffirmed the bonds forged throughout the project.

A shop window from the outside. There are jewelry display cases inside with people surrounding them on either end. There are plants in the frame as well.
A snapshot of the hustle and bustle at the grand opening

In the realm of commercial construction, every project presents its own set of challenges and triumphs. Through perseverance, collaboration, and unwavering dedication, Build Forward navigated the complexities of this project, emerging with not just a completed project, but a testament to the power of teamwork and shared vision. Interested in exploring the remodeling possibilities for your commercial space? Reach out to us here or send us a message at to get started today.

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