Sustainable Building Design From Start to Finish (Week 4)

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. The Design is done and the contractor is starting to build our project. Things are happening fast and furious and the next step is critical for the success of the project.  

Stage 5: Mobilization and Construction

The design and its implementation are finalized during the Design Development  and Construction Documents phases. So, construction contract administration is primarily a quality control and cost monitoring function. Designers and other members of the team must remain fully involved. Decisions previously made may require clarification, suppliers’ information must be reviewed for compliance with the Contract Documents, and substitutions must be evaluated. If changes affect the operation of the building, it is especially important to involve the user/client in the review. User requirements may change, too, and enacting those alterations requires broad consultation among the consultants and sub-consultants, new pricing, and incorporation into the Contract Documents and the building.

The design team is depended on to assure the building meets the requirements of the Contract Documents. Meanwhile, success at meeting the requirements of the original program can be assessed by the construction management team or third parties in a process known as Commissioning. A full range of functions in the building is evaluated and the design and construction team can be called upon to make changes and adjustments as needed.

Stage 6: Occupation and Post Occupation Evaluation.

The integrative process does not end when construction is complete and occupants have moved in. The process seeks to enhance the entire life of the building through effective maintenance and operation, measurement and verification, re-commissioning, and building performance evaluation. The post construction portions of the process provide. To ensure reliability the final documents for third party verification are submitted at this stage. Feedback loops, which facilitate continuous optimization of the building’s performance, are necessary in keeping the vision and project’s goals on target. After the building is fully operational, it is often useful to conduct a Facility Performance Evaluation (this may be known as a post-occupancy study, although FPEs are considered to be more rigorous.) to assess how the building meets the original and emerging requirements for its use. Such information is especially useful when further construction of the same type is contemplated by the same user. Mistakes can be prevented and successes repeated.

For the last four weeks we have investigated what it takes to build a sustainable or green building from start to finish. Next week we will go into depth some tools that team may use to assist in the integrative process.

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