Contributed by Jake Ortego
Construction projects can be highly complex and unique endeavors. A successful project relies on each person/company performing their function as required. However, in many cases the exact roles and responsibilities of each entity is not mutually agreed upon, nor understood. Consider the following contrasts in expected functions.
Chances are that you have an opinion for each one of these examples. These examples focus on the architect, owner, and constructor. But that is only the tip of the iceberg. There are many more parties involved in the construction process and each major group can be made up of multiple professions with a wide range of functions, as well as approaches, to accomplish their scope. This includes estimators, schedulers, specifiers, owner’s reps, material reps, accountants, and legal counsel to name a few.
As you read this, you are probably thinking that you already know who does what for the entire construction process. And it’s possible that your views are shared by people within your company or some of your local professional groups. But the standards can vary between industries, geography, project complexity, corporations, and even between two people sitting next to each other. To be clear, the primary definitions of many project roles can be agreed upon. Estimators estimate, schedulers schedule, engineers engineer, and so forth. But gray areas of responsibilities do exist, and it is these areas that may be the root of disagreements that can derail a project.
So, what is the solution? A universal standard may seem to be the easiest answer. But imagine the complexities of having one standard that covers every possible industry, culture, and available resources for each project. Ideal…but probably not achievable.
Contributed by Eric D. Lussier and Michael Riscica
In early October, I had the opportunity to be interviewed by Michael Riscica for his Young Architect podcast. For those of you who don't know Michael, he contributed a fantastic piece to our website entitled "Let's Fix Mentorship", which I strongly suggest you read here.
Michael is a Licensed Architect who is passionate about helping Young Architects change the world. After becoming licensed, Michael was frustrated by the lack of support, bad advice and misinformation he had during the years between graduating architecture school and becoming a licensed Architect. In early 2014 he began blogging at YoungArchitect.com to address that problem and launched his podcast earlier this year. Cherise Lakeside of Let's Fix Construction was featured on an episode entitled 'Expanding Your Knowledge through CSI and CDT' which you can listen to here.
On his podcast, Michael and I discussed:
And of course, we discussed 'Let's Fix Construction', including:
While you await the next 'Let's Fix Construction' technical post or podcast episode, PLEASE go over to the Young Architect website and listen to 'Let's Fix Construction with Eric Lussier'
Contributed by Cherise Lakeside and Eric D. Lussier
LetsFixConstruction.com was born on a whim a little over a year ago. A glimmer of an idea based in a passion to help our industry improve. A thought that we could bring all members of our industry, from all disciplines, to the table to collaborate and share knowledge rather than to continue to complain or point fingers.
We launched this effort with no real solid plan for what it would look like or how we wanted to make it happen. We just knew that we wanted a place where we could all come together with positive, forward thinking solutions and a place to share knowledge for better understanding, resulting in an improved project delivery process and built environment. We’re presently calling it ‘visionary logic’ but we are still looking for a better phrase than ‘thinking outside the box’.
With a ‘Go Big or Go Home’ attitude, we decided to just run with it and see where it would go. We can honestly say that neither of us were quite prepared for the response. It was clear to us, from very early on, that people needed this place. People in our industry were hungry for a place to stop complaining and get better.
We started with blogs. We wrote some of them and invited friends, peers and guest bloggers to write others with a simple premise: Pose a problem you face and your perspective on how to make it better. Share your knowledge. It’s that simple. A little over a year in, our stable of guest bloggers is over 24 knowledgeable industry professionals and growing.
Somewhere midway through our first year, after seeing such an overwhelmingly positive response to the blogs, we brainstormed ways to take it even further. With two brains that are constantly in high gear and a passion to go bigger, we thought ‘What if we could take these problems that people face and get them talking about them? Face to face, at the same table.’ In the blink of an eye, our Let’s Fix Construction Workshop was born. A problem solving, interactive and dynamic event geared at getting people to openly discuss issues in our industry with people they often don’t appropriately communicate with.
We now have eight workshops under our belt with a ninth and tenth in Atlanta on November 13th. In addition, we have at least eight workshops tentatively planned for 2018 and have added a slate of other programs to our growing list outside of our namesake session. Again, the response was overwhelming. Again, we found that our industry NEEDS this environment of sharing in a positive manner, more now than ever. We hope to do these workshops and presentations all over the country. Maybe even the world!
So why did it feel like something was still missing?
Contributed by Sheldon Wolfe
In the last few years, it has been proposed that owners might benefit from hiring specifiers directly; it has even been suggested that specifiers might help owners choose architects. Specific aspects of these ideas, and of related issues, were addressed by member presentations at the Construction Specifications Institute's (CSI) annual convention over the last handful of years.
In 2014, at the convention in Baltimore, several Institute directors and interested members met to discuss a report that had been submitted to the Institute board by Ujjval Vyas, PhD, of the Alberti Group. This report, titled "The Risk Management Value of Specifications," was prepared at the request of CSI. The report's Executive Summary noted conditions that would surprise few specifiers: Specification software is beginning to replace activities traditionally done by a specifier; contractors are becoming more involved in specifications, especially in design-build projects; and specifiers suffer from the Rodney Dangerfield syndrome - their value often is not appreciated by their employers, with commensurate effect on stature, compensation, and opportunity for advancement.
What will happen to specifiers in the next decade? Will they be replaced by software? Will they shed the grunt work of word processing and become even more valuable, devoting their time to product research, coordination of documents, and adding intelligence to the building model? Or will they simply fade away?
Just as has happened with drawing - we moved from linen to vellum to digital images, and we moved from drafting to CAD to building modeling, yet all of these options remain in use - all of the above possibilities for specifiers will exist in some degree, and it's possible someone will continue using a typewriter to write specifications. But which of these possibilities, or what combination of them, will be most common?
What I see suggests the answer won't be to the liking of most specifiers. Specifying software will get better, it will extract more information from the building model, it will get easier to use, it will further automate editing of specifications, and it will be seen as a replacement for specifiers. Contractors will continue to increase their importance during construction, and designers will continue to lose credibility with clients. Will specifiers soon find themselves in the unemployment line?
What happens, both to specifiers and to specifying as a career, will be affected by what specifiers do to influence the discussion. If they do nothing, they will be further marginalized, and though they might not be laid off, they may not be replaced when they leave. Based on what I've seen, that is the likely course.
Contributed by Lori Greene
This issue continues to arise on a regular basis, so I’m hoping to clarify it once and for all. The sections entitled “Access-Controlled Egress Doors” – present in both NFPA 101–Life Safety Code and past editions of the International Building Code (IBC), have led some to believe that all doors equipped with access control readers must comply with these sections of the model codes. Although the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) has the final say on matters of code-compliance, it’s not the intent of the model codes for these sections to apply to all access-control doors or to all doors with electrified hardware.
The requirements of the model codes specific to access-controlled egress doors are essentially the same, but in the 2015 edition of the IBC, the section title was changed to Sensor Release of Electromagnetically Locked Egress Doors. The reason for the change was to help avoid confusion about when this section should be applied. The corresponding section in NFPA 101 is still called Access-Controlled Egress Doors, but the two sets of requirements are very similar despite the differing section titles.
What’s an access-controlled egress door?
These two sections apply to electrically/electromagnetically locked doors, where the lock is released by a sensor detecting an approaching occupant. The most common type of lock that is used in this application is an electromagnetic lock (AKA mag-lock), but the section could also be used for other types of locks that are released by a sensor – for example, a power bolt. The key is that the section only applies to locks that are released by a sensor which detects an approaching occupant and unlocks the door. Most other types of electrified hardware – electromechanical locks, electrified panic hardware, electric strikes – are released by “normal” means, like turning a lever or pushing on the touchpad of the panic hardware. These are not access-controlled egress doors.
What about mag-locks released by other means?
Not all doors with electromagnetic locks are released by a sensor or required to comply with these sections of the model codes. Both the IBC and NFPA 101 also include separate sections that apply to electrically/electromagnetically locked doors that are released by door-mounted hardware incorporating a switch to release the electrified lock. Many locks used for access control are released without the use of a switch, but because mag-locks require a separate release device – a sensor or a switch in the door-mounted hardware – mag-lock applications are typically released by one of these two types of switches. In NFPA 101, the section for mag-locks released by a switch in the door-mounted hardware is called Electrically Controlled Egress Door Assemblies. In the IBC, this section is currently called Electromagnetically Locked Egress Doors, but beginning with the 2018 edition of the IBC, this section will be called Door Hardware Release of Electrically Locked Egress Doors.
What are the requirements for each of these applications?
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.
Get blog post notifications here