28
Apr

1

Sustainable Building Design from Start to Finish (Week 3)

For the last few weeks we talked about the conventional building project and the reasons for using a more integrated approach. We have built a business case and have justified the project, have identified and documented the needs, and have appointed a person or a team to head up the project and have hired a multi-disciplinary team that is ready to put pen to paper and we can start building right?

Stage 3: Design Development

Gradually a design emerges that embodies the interests and requirements of all participants, while also meeting overall area requirements and budgetary parameters. At this stage, schematic designs are produced. They show site location and organization, general building shape, orientation, distribution of program, and an outline of components and systems to be designed and/or specified for the final result. Depending on the size of the project, it is often useful to create a cost estimate performed for the design at this point.

Design Development enlarges the scale of consideration. Design Development is a time to firm up and validate choices. It concludes the WHAT phase of the project. During this phase, all key design decisions are finalized. Detailed Design under the integrative process comprises much of what is left to the Construction Documents phase under traditional practice, thus the Detailed Design phase involves significantly more effort than the traditional Design Development phase.

Greater detail is developed for all aspects of the building, and the collaborative process continues with the architect or prime consultant facilitating the various contributors. The conclusion of this phase is a detailed design on which all players agree and may be asked to sign off. During this phase, effort shifts from WHAT is being created to documenting HOW it will be implemented. Careful proofing and identifying of items such as building systems and cost implications should be done before proceeding with final materials, colors, and finishes.

Stage 4: Tender trade contracts

The development of contract documents involves interpreting the design development information into a format suitable for pricing, permitting, and construction. The goal of the contract documents is to complete the determination and documentation of how the design intent will be implemented, not to change or develop it. No set of contract documents can ever be perfect, but high quality can be achieved by scrutiny, accountability to the project goals, and careful coordination among the technical consultants on the design team. Decisions continue to be made at this stage, but changes in scope will become more expensive once pricing has begun; changes to the contract documents also invite confusion, errors, and added costs, although technologies like Building Information Modeling (BIM) or Automated Building Systems are beginning to align references for all design team members. The Integrative process assumes early involvement of key trade contractors and vendors, so buyout of work packages they provide occurs through development of prices throughout the design phases, culminating at the conclusion of implementation documents. Accelerated project definition during Schematic and Design Development allows early commitment for procurement of long lead, custom, or prefabricated items. The Integrative “Bidding” phase is much shorter than under traditional delivery methods, since most work is already contracted for. Third party verification can begin at this stage and can validate the assumptions the design makes regarding how  sustainable the project will be. A tool that can be used here would be LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). Next week we will further investigate what it takes to build a sustainable or green building from start to finish.

14
Apr

1

Sustainable Building Design from Start to Finish (Week 2)

Last week we talked about the conventional building project and the reasons for using a more integrated approach. The first step was for a business to justify the project and identifies that they have a need. The second step is to document the business case and the needs of the business. The next step is to appoint a person or a team to head up the project.

Stage 2: Appoint the integrative project team and hire any outside consultants.

The client updates the preliminary business case and strategic brief to reflect the comments from the internal team and collates the pre-design and  pre-construction information, ready to issue a consultant team. The client will need to appoint a consultant team and other advisers such as an integrative project facilitator, an architectural team, construction manager, an independent client adviser, and a cost estimator. It is imperative that the Owner’s Project Requirements are thoroughly and clearly articulated during the pre-design or discovery phase.

This is also an opportunity to establish collaborative practices and agree on a program.  For significant projects, a construction manager and an architect should be engaged to conduct the needs assessment; it may also be appropriate for this team to produce a master plan that places individual design activities in context and sequence of delivery. This team will need to work with the client to aid the internal team in developing the strategic brief. Regardless of a project’s scope, research and programming is a crucial first step in developing a successful design. Criteria for the selection of the consultant team may include the client’s affinity for a specific architectural philosophy, the consultant’s experience with the building type, or, with sustainability requirements, a candidate’s ability to achieve high environmental performance in historic or new buildings.

A multidisciplinary team may include a contractor, engineers, landscape architect, environmental designer, artist, sustainability consultant, and other specialists, the architect or prime consultant will need to establish the core design goals in a collaboration with the client. The design team also may produce alternative conceptual approaches to the client’s needs, and graphics to visualize the discussion along with energy and basic environmental impacts. Refinement of research and integration with design are initiated. The project begins to take shape. Major options are evaluated, tested, and selected.

Such suggestions are meant to stimulate thought, not necessarily to describe the final outcome. It is worthy to note the importance of the team format at this stage: full involvement of team members is critical, as individual insights can prevent costly changes down the road. Continual collaboration between stakeholders also helps prevent expensive mistakes. Next week we will further investigate what it takes to build a sustainable or green building from start to finish.

3
Apr

0

Sustainable Building Design from Start to Finish (Week 1)


Green building, or sustainable design, is the practice of increasing the efficiency with which buildings and their sites use energy, water, and materials, and of reducing impacts on human health and the environment for the entire lifecycle of a building. Green-building concepts extend beyond the walls of buildings and include site planning, community and land-use planning issues as well. The growth and development of our communities has a large impact on our natural environment. The EPA has revealed that buildings account for approximately 40 percent of the total U.S. energy consumption and residential buildings account for approximately 54 percent of that total, while commercial buildings accounted for the other 46 percent. At home or at work, without a doubt buildings are a big part of our lives. The manufacturing, design, construction and operation of the buildings in which we live and work are responsible for the consumption of many of our natural resources. The planning of a project is a key component in figuring out how to go about getting a sustainable building design or a green building. Many teams use a multi-disciplinary, integrated design approach, and for the next few weeks we will outline the steps involved in producing an effective Sustainable Building Design from Start to Finish.

 

The conventional way of bringing a project to fruition which includes, design, bid, building, and operations processes often fails to recognize that buildings are part of larger, complex system. As a result, solving one problem may negatively affect other systems elsewhere in the system. In contrast, an integrative process is a highly collaborative method used for the design, construction and operations of sustainable built environments. This approach requires the whole project team to think of the entire building and all of its systems together, emphasizing connections and improving communication among professionals and stakeholders throughout the life of a project. It breaks down similar to the strategy outlined in the Integrative Process (IP)© – ANSI Consensus National Standard Guide© – Design and Construction of Sustainable Buildings and Communities to inefficient solutions. Although the term integrative design is most often applied to the planning stage of a  new construction or renovations project, it is often used interchangeably by the public with the integrative process, where an integrative process is applicable to any phase in the life cycle of a building. What it boils down to, is getting everyone who will be involved in the project, from the design phase to construction to the actual day-to-day operations, together right from the start to collaborate and trust.

 

Stage 1: The Discovery Phase

During the discovery phase a project must go through a business justification. This takes place once a business identifies that they have a need, which might result in a building project. This is where the client will define the need. The client will then explore high level options for meeting the requirements set out in the statement of need. This may include an assessment of comparable projects. Then they would prepare a preliminary business case, which is a first attempt to justify the investment required by the potential project and should include a management structure, a draft legal agreements and funding options. The client will need to develop a statement of needs, that provides sufficient information about the project to allow for the appointment of a consultant team who will carry out feasibility studies and options appraisals, prepare a project brief and develop the strategic brief.  The brief should also outline preliminary requirements of the project including any potential goals or visions or basic metrics of performance.

The initial strategic brief may include the identification of potential sites for the development. It should be noted that for particularly large projects, an environmental impact assessment may be required by the local planning authority and that this may include an assessment of alternative sites for the development. It is important to consider this when assessing potential sites. Identifying possible sites, and considering their impacts (such as the possibility of moving staff) can be a complicated process and may require the appointment of independent client advisers (such as surveyors and or civil engineers).

The client undertakes risk assessment and value management exercises, sets an initial budget for the project and considers funding options for the project. They may then revise the preliminary business case and strategic brief.

The next step is to establish an internal team. They will need to identify who will lead the project for the organization and have the organization’s best interests in mind. This can take the shape of a project director, one person, or a project board, a team of champions who would take responsibility for the quality of the project from a business standpoint. The team may include a user panel or project stakeholders.

Next week we will further investigate what it takes to build a sustainable or green building from start to finish.