Contributed by Julia Mollner
Imagine a construction site where material waste is minimized or absent; where any excess usable material is intentionally set aside; where project teams collectively choose to reuse.
The Useful Waste Initiative was conceived with this idea in mind; the idea that preemptive intentional action can divert excess construction waste and better serve the community. As a program of Portland State University’s Center for Public Interest Design, this initiative aligns with its mission to aid underserved communities while working within the typical construction workflow. The intent of this initiative is to redefine what is considered waste, and to utilize an overlooked material resource - construction mock-ups - by re-purposing them while responding to pressing social needs.
Mock-ups play an integral role on the construction site by demonstrating and establishing high quality procedures for building systems, sequencing, and installation. Project teams use the structure to perform tests, understand material compatibility, and demonstrate design aesthetics. It is used for quality assurance and a demonstration of design. Yet, as mock-ups act to save time and money with building installation errors, these mock-ups are seen as temporary structures and typically end up at landfills, which create the opposite output: waste and emissions.
Backtrack two years ago, when the Kenton’s Women Village in Portland, Oregon was going through the development process. This village is based on other local villages such as Right 2 Dream Too, Dignity Village, and Hazelnut Grove, which have their own communal governance. The village-model provides what living on the streets often cannot - privacy, personal safety, property safety, a quiet space, access to clean drinking and bathing water, and cooking facilities. Villages are comprised of small sleeping rooms, also called “sleeping pods”, which are built by individuals or village residents to house one or two people. These sleeping pods create a communal village of residents under a self-governance. With Portland in a State of Housing Emergency, these villages started a local mindset shift. Although these “sleeping pods” do not have electricity or plumbing, they serve a critical purpose - housing first.
After my participation in the Kenton Women’s Village construction and alongside my own professional construction contract administration experience, I began questioning what purpose a mock-up could serve after use on a construction site. Do these structures - similar to tiny homes - need to go to the landfill?
Contributed by Liz O'Sullivan
I’m going to say it again: If something is required by the Specifications, it’s required by the Contract.
A procedure or item specified in the Specifications is part of the Contract, just as much as if the procedure or item were specified in the Agreement. (The Agreement is what many people usually think of as the “Contract,” because it’s the particular document that gets signed by the Owner and the Contractor, and it has the Contract Sum indicated in it. But the Agreement is only ONE PART of the Contract.)
The Contract is made up of the Agreement, the Conditions of the Contract, the Drawings, the Specifications, etc. AIA Documents state this requirement most clearly; Owner-generated Agreements and Conditions of the Contract sometimes fall short of being explicit about this. (This is one of many good reasons to use AIA Documents instead of Owner-generated documents.)
This requirement is SO IMPORTANT that it makes up ARTICLE ONE of AIA Document A101-2017 (Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Contractor where the basis of payment is a Stipulated Sum), a very commonly used Agreement.
“The Contract Documents consist of this Agreement, Conditions of the Contract (General, Supplementary and other Conditions), Drawings, Specifications, Addenda issued prior to execution of this Agreement, other documents listed in this Agreement and Modifications issued after execution of this Agreement, all of which form the Contract, and are as fully a part of the Contract as if attached to this Agreement or repeated herein.” – from Article 1 of AIA Document A101-2017
I don’t think I can say this any more clearly.
But somehow, there are a number of Contractors out there who don’t seem to realize that the Specifications are part of the Contract, and there are even a few Architects out there who don’t seem to realize that the Specifications are part of the Contract that they are supposed to be administering during construction. An Owner agrees to pay a Contractor a certain sum, the Contractor agrees to provide the Owner with certain things indicated by the Drawings and Specifications and other Contract Documents, and, in a separate Agreement, the Architect and the Owner agree that the Owner will pay the Architect a certain sum, and the Architect will administer the Contract between the Owner and the Contractor. We all have contractual obligations during construction, and we all need to understand, and follow through on, all of those obligations.
Remember, if it’s in the Specs, it’s in the Contract.
This post originally appeared on Liz O'Sullivan's website as "If It’s in the Specs, It’s in the Contract"
(Editor's Note: The CSI (Construction Specifications Institute) Construction Document Technologist (CDT) Certification is an ideal resource for this core knowledge of project delivery. Want to learn more about the CDT and the Study Groups offered for the Spring Testing window? Please visit here.
Contributed by Lisa Wetherell
Light is important for creating that warm feeling you get when you step into a building or home. It’s also important for boosting productivity and keeping everyone safe and happy. Not to mention, lights are a big part of the architectural creation and can make a huge difference when used right.
In fact, there is an entire niche dedicated to how we use light to enhance spaces, and it’s called architectural lighting design. Specialists in this niche can tell you that there are different categories of lighting and that the color, type, and even light source are of tremendous importance.
However, even though there are plenty of options available, more and more architects and interior designers lean towards LEDs. Have you wondered why?
If you have, below you can get the answer and learn why LEDs are indeed the best artificial light sources one could use in their projects.
While all spaces need artificial light, we must consider the level of energy consumption. This becomes even more important when we’re talking about commercial and office spaces, where the amount of energy consumed by the lighting system is significant.
LED lights are among the most energy efficient artificial sources because they use 80% of the energy to create visible light and only lose 20% as heat. When you compare this with incandescent lights, where 90% of energy is wasted through heat, you can see why so many architects and designers choose this option.
Further, LEDs don’t break easily because they don’t contain glass and they don’t need a lot of energy to create light. Moreover, LEDs come in a wide range of shapes and fixtures, and they can be recycled (which is no true about incandescent lights)!
One of the reasons why LEDs are favorite in commercial and architectural application is their long life. LED lights have an expected lifetime of up to 50,000 hours and they don’t break if left on for a long time (since there is no heat and glass to deteriorate). According to specialists, if left on 8 hours a day, seven days a week, it will take about 10 years for an LED light bulb to burn out.
LED lights are expected to last 25 times longer than halogens and incandescent lights, which is why they are used for difficult to reach places or commercial settings where lights need to on at all times.
Contributed by Brian M. Fraley
To automate or not to automate? That is the question many AEC firms face when it comes to social media. Like everything else in life, there are pros and cons.
My assessment is that the cons outweigh the pros for most AEC firms. This blog; however, will attempt to objectively lay out both sides and allow you to draw your own conclusion.
What is Social Media Automation?
Social media automation may sound intimidating if your AEC firm hasn’t even mastered social media itself, but have no fear. It’s simply the use of a software or app to pre-load, schedule, and post social media content. You can also monitor relevant topics, review performance metrics, and more.
Bundle Posts and Save Time
One of the greatest benefits of automation is the ability to log in and front load multiple posts for the coming day, week, etc. Instead of logging in repeatedly and struggling to come up with content, you can sit down in a more intentional way, chunk your work, and get back to designing.
Less Interruptions, More Flow Work
Staying active on social media is disruptive to your schedule. When you’re immersed in a project, the last thing you want is to break your concentration by logging in to LinkedIn, unless your brain needs a rest, that is. For those that subscribe to the belief that interruptions stymie productivity, automation is a godsend.
Stay Social When You’re Off the Grid
Consistency is key on social media. Letting your social accounts go dormant for days or weeks can cause followers to drop off. Social media automation can allow you to post when you’re traveling or consumed by a time-sensitive project for an extended period of time.
Use Multiple Platforms
Automation software and apps are usually designed as a control center for all of your social media activity. You can connect multiple accounts and see things like retweets, mentions, new followers, and inbox messages on a single dashboard. This obviously saves time because you don’t have to log into multiple accounts.
Contributed by Eric D. Lussier
Unless you've been living in the 2000's and not the present day, you've undoubtedly heard the word CONTENT and the importance of it. Whether building a website or your personal brand, the name of the game is now content, and it is everything when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO) and how you, as a business or brand, is found in the modern day.
The definition of content has changed so much in the last handful of years that definition c. from Merriam Webster is "the principal substance (such as written matter, illustrations, or music) offered by a website. Moving further down the definitions of content brings us to 3. which is "the matter dealt with in a field of study". While I personally frown upon using the term expert, especially given how rapid the world is changing, I feel that everyone has a specialty. Whether that is knowledge on CrossFit, baseball cards, baking or indoor sports flooring, you have a skillset that is unique to you. Now, you may not be an expert baker, or have that stash of 1952 Mickey Mantle's in your closet, but you have information and CONTENT, inside of you that is unique.
Tomorrow I "celebrate" thirteen years of experience as an indoor sports flooring product rep and subcontractor. If I have done my job properly over those thirteen years, I will have absorbed years of unique experiences that have built up to January 23, 2019. Now, there is that chance that I've been doing something wrong for those thirteen years, but chances are that I've been doing some things right over these last thirteen years too. While I don't consider myself an expert on indoor sports flooring by any means, I do consider myself a specialist and an information provider.
Information gathered is absolutely no good unless it is information shared."
If you have had the opportunity to sit through the Let’s Fix Construction workshop, I hope you took home the mantra to share your knowledge. If you didn’t take that home with you, I apologize. We do our absolute best to reiterate the fact that we are unable to better the construction industry if we go to the grave by holding in our lessons learned aka our knowledge aka our CONTENT. We implore attendees of our workshops to share their insight and their experiences. Even after practicing architecture for 45 years, I don’t expect to hear a firm principal to say they’re an expert at design. Technologies and building materials are changing along with our world and in order to be an expert, in my opinion, you need to know all. No one knows all.
But you do know something. You may make an incredible souffle, have an incredible eye for the next great New York Yankees prospect, or have a personal insight into your niche of the construction industry; and this last component is where I implore you to share your content. It may be on LinkedIn, on your personal website or blog, at an AIA accredited box lunch, here on the Let’s Fix Construction blog or at CONSTRUCT, but please, SHARE YOUR CONTENT.
Don't have a blog or website? Start one. It's easy. Look it up on YouTube. Share your messages on a video platform, like Instagram, Facebook or YouTube. Perfect your pitch and get out of your office and speak to more companies and firms. Use your LinkedIn for good and not evil. Or better yet, speak at a conference attended by your industry peers.
And a great opportunity for you to speak at a peer-attended conference and for you to share your knowledge and content is at CONSTRUCT 2019. The deadline to speak is here and I implore you to step out of your comfort zone and submit. You have a personal perspective on something within construction – and face it, if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be this far in this article – and what good is hoarding that perspective?
Much like this website, CONSTRUCT provides a platform for exploring and refining innovative solutions to solve complex problems facing the AEC industry today. It is truly a conference where industry leaders converge with a common goal of educating and inspiring for the betterment of the industry. This year CONSTRUCT will be held October 9-11 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland (right across the bridge from Washington DC) and the deadline to submit your proposal concept is THIS FRIDAY, January 25, 2019.
I know firsthand as a presenter at the last few CONSTRUCT shows that you don’t need all your ducks in a row when you submit your pitch. Get a catchy title, come up with a good synopsis and your learning objectives and that is all you need. And don’t get caught up on if your niche in construction is truly a niche – as a member of the Education Advisory Council, we are looking for topics that are unique and aren’t canned, nor offered at every conference in the industry.
I implore you to look within and challenge yourself in 2019 to share your content. CONSTRUCT is an amazing opportunity to do so and you’ll leave National Harbor on October 11th glad that you took my advice.
To learn more about speaking at CONSTRUCT, please visit the CONSTRUCT show website here.
For additional assistance, contact Jennifer Hughes, Sr. Education Manager at 972-536-6388 or email@example.com
Let's Fix Construction is an avenue to offer creative solutions, separate myths from facts and erase misconceptions about the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry.
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