Blog Archives

The Role of the Spec Writer

Reading recent grumblings by specifications (spec) consultants, I started thinking back over the roles of the spec writers at firms where I have worked since I began my architectural career in the 1960s. Spec writing and related technologies have changed

Posted in Construction Documents, Design, Practice Management, Project Administration, Project Management, Specifications

Learning from Building Envelope Failures

Recently, I had the pleasure and honor of delivering a 1-hour HSW continuing education presentation on “Learning from Building Envelope Failures” to the Vermont 2014 ACX, a collaborative event organized by Vermont Chapter CSI and AIA Vermont. The presentation included

Posted in Building Repair, Construction Administration, Construction Documents, Design, Project Administration, Project Management

In-House Design Project Management and Communication

Many years ago I was part of the 11th hour construction documents staff that was added to a hospital renovation design team to meet an out-to-bid deadline. The project, then internally behind schedule, had not been well organized or adequately

Posted in Construction Documents, Design, Practice Management, Project Management

Constructability Reviews: From The Ground Up

The Whole Building Design Guide (a program of the National Institute of Building Sciences) has published an informative guide to constructability reviews: Performing Efficient and Effective Constructability Reviews by Jason G. Smith. Smith’s Top Five Rules for constructability reviews include

Posted in Construction Documents, Project Administration, Project Management, Site Work, Specifications

Anticipate Requirements That Can Expand Project Scope

It can be difficult to limit the scope of a renovation project. Unexpected conditions and requirements can add to project scope. I recall an example of this related to a small residential renovation. A neighbor was converting the attic of

Posted in Codes, Project Administration, Project Management

Design-Build Risks for Architects

When an architect is a sub to a contractor leading a Design-Build team, the architect’s primary allegiance is typically to the contractor and not to the owner. The Design-Build contractor is likely to control the architect’s scope of services and

Posted in Construction Administration, Design, Practice Management, Project Administration, Project Management

SIP Building Performance Depends on Effective Moisture Management

Structural Insulated Panels (SIP) have enjoyed growing popularity as interest in building energy conservation has increased. With its large, prefabricated, factory insulated panels, SIP construction offers nearly continuous insulation, fewer joints than conventional frame construction with stud-cavity insulation, and possibly

Posted in Construction Administration, Construction Documents, Design, Practice Management, Project Management, Specifications

QA and QC inform each other

Until I recently studied for the CDT exam*, I had considered QA (Quality Assurance) and QC (Quality Control) as synonymous – the same thing with different names. They are different, but they are closely related. Considering construction, QA establishes the

Posted in Design, Practice Management, Project Administration, Project Management

Who Should Answer This Question?

Architects are faced with questions all the time. Clients ask questions. Consultants ask questions. Contractors and subcontractors ask questions. The list goes on. Architects generally want to be helpful, they like to be asked questions, and they want to have

Posted in Construction Administration, Design, Project Management

A Catch 22 Product Specification

Specifications occasionally include unintended contradictions, and in some instances they are related to schedule. Not long ago, I reviewed a specification for roofing that included a requirement for a particular “ice and water shield” product and allowed no substitutions. The

Posted in Construction Administration, Project Management, Roofing, Specifications


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