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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

When green goes bad | Growth | NashvillePost.com: Nashville Business News + Nashville Political News (and a special little rant for my 2D visitors)

Below is an excerpt from an article I just came across from a Tweet. It looks like the USGBC and lawyers are getting serious about system design, compliance and functionality.

While I don't profess to know all of the answers, I do try to study all of these topics every day to help provide some insight into helping you avoid these pitfalls.

So, what are your options? A few come to mind.
Hide
Close your business.
Tell every owner that LEED will raise the price of the building 25%
Refuse to ever work on a LEED project.

Or the positive:
Accept reality that energy efficiency is going to be required on every new building, retrofit and renovation.
Start using products like Revit Architecture and Revit MEP so you can accurately do green building performance analysis
Start talking to your engineers and find out when they will start learning these products.

Yes, I know, "our engineers won't move to Revit" and "it's too expensive" and "we only do 2D, we don't do 3D" and "our owners aren't asking us to do projects in Revit".

I had this exact conversation with an architect yesterday who has AutoCAD Architecture 2006. He had heard about the promotions and wanted to know what it would cost to upgrade his license. We spoke for about 25 minutes. I told him I'd upgrade his ADT 2006 to the Revit Architecture Suite for $200 more than just AutoCAD Architecture. He went into the whole story of he's a small firm, why does Autodesk make him pay money every year, he doesn't use the features, his engineers only use older version of AutoCAD, he had seen Revit a few years ago and it wouldn't work for his business, and went on an on about all of the reasons that he couldn't switch to Revit.

We're talking about $200. I told him I'd be happy to have him add Revit later for $1295 and happily make more money, so why was I so insistent on him getting it now? Because the minute the recession ends it's going to be the same story of "we're too busy with projects to start learning Revit now". Yes, you know, the same story everyone said before the recession. Now during the recession, it's we can't afford to training our people or pay to upgrade the software. Looks like an endless cycle that I'm trying to help people break.

A friend of mine who's recently unemployed from a national firm, went to visit his old firm last week. The managing principle said, "I should have listened to you and switched to Revit 3 years ago. You were right and now we don't know how we're going to be able to afford to train our entire staff."

I was the person who gave that firm their Revit presentation 3 years ago. What did they say then? "We just invested in upgrading to AutoCAD Architecture and we're going to train our staff on that product. We're not going to buy another Autodesk product right now. We'll readdress it in 2 or 3 years". Well, we all know how that story ends. Massive layoffs and the inability to bid on federal projects that require BIM. Any Revit users reading this, skip to the next paragraph. Ok, for the rest of you, "What the hell is wrong with you people? Do you think you're going to win this battle? Do you think you're going to outsmart Autodesk and not pay them money for software? Do you think you can get away with 2D drafting for the rest of your lifes? Get over it. BIM is here for good. You have no choice but to switch." It's not just me saying this, it's the entire AEC industry. You lost, BIM won. Revit's not that expensive to switch to and the training is pretty quick and painless. If you can't afford it, finance it and let's move on to sustainable design already.

OK, now for my happy Revit users. We're doing everything we can at our company to provide you tech support and services to expedite the efficiency of LEED calculations and helping you do it economically so you can make even more money than your 2D cousins. If you saw my last post on Solar Radiation software, there's lots more of that coming down the pike to help you win more work and capture all of the Green business coming your way.

The point of this post, as we'll get to in the exerpt below is it's time to engage us with Ecotect and IES to help you and your engineers lower your liability and accurately design the systems to meet and exceed the ASHRAE requirements and kick ass on LEED buildings. We'll continue this conversation in a bit, but for now, read this, call your engineers and scare the heck out of them, and please, have a wonderful 3D BIMtiful day.

The exerpt from http://www.nashvillepost.com/news/2009/7/13/when_green_goes_bad

For example, if an engineer designs an HVAC system and it's installed properly, yet the system fails to achieve the desired reductions, fault is likely with the design team. However, if on paper the design is flawless, but a problem occurs in the installation, contractors will be targeted.

"Potential suits against design professionals are likely breach of contract or malpractice cases, professional liability cases," King said. "There [are lots] of questions as to whether the existing professional practice liability policies of some of these professionals cover these particular risks."

The insurance companies are currently crunching numbering to calculate the potential coverage they can offer the building industry and the appropriate premiums. But without a court decision to solidify the issue, the companies are holding back from committing, King said.

Communication is key

The key to successfully pulling off a LEED project is clear communication between all elements of the team involved, according to Stephen Rick, a LEED AP (accredited professional) with Street Dixon Rick. Having hit LEED qualifications for all the structures it has aimed to certify, included the LEED Gold Vanderbilt Commons, Rick's firm has experience translating a LEED design to the construction phase without issue.

"Like any other project, the key is managing goals and expectations, a clear understanding of what you're doing and to make sure everyone understands the impact of decisions" Rick said. "Probably, if there are some expectations that are not being met, it's because somebody didn't understand something along the way."




When green goes bad | Growth | NashvillePost.com: Nashville Business News + Nashville Political News: "For example, if an engineer designs an HVAC system and it's installed properly, yet the system fails to achieve the desired reductions, fault is likely with the design team. However, if on paper the design is flawless, but a problem occurs in the installation, contractors will be targeted.

'Potential suits against design professionals are likely breach of contract or malpractice cases, professional liability cases,' King said. 'There [are lots] of questions as to whether the existing professional practice liability policies of some of these professionals cover these particular risks.'

The insurance companies are currently crunching numbering to calculate the potential coverage they can offer the building industry and the appropriate premiums. But without a court decision to solidify the issue, the companies are holding back from committing, King said.

Communication is key

The key to successfully pulling off a LEED project is clear communication between all elements of the team involved, according to Stephen Rick, a LEED AP (accredited professional) with Street Dixon Rick. Having hit LEED qualifications for all the structures it has aimed to certify, included the LEED Gold Vanderbilt Commons, Rick's firm has experience translating a LEED design to the construction phase without issue.

'Like any other project, the key is managing goals and expectations, a clear understanding of what you're doing and to make sure everyone understands the impact of decisions' Rick said. 'Probably, if there are some expectations that are not being met, it's because somebody didn't understand something along the way.'"

2 comments:

antman July 15, 2009 at 7:19 PM  

I concur. 2D lost, BIM won. Energy efficiency and BIM are headed the route of being required (where they are not already).

That said, I do not agree that AutoCAD Architecture is not BIM. Sure, it appears that Revit has some nicer modeling and analysis tools (and full support of the Autodesk marketing team), but the research I have done shows ACA winning the "I" category of BIM.

Richard July 28, 2009 at 2:39 PM  

Ditto on "let's move on to sustainable design already" Sustainable design is what's practical these days. We all need to jump on the bandwagon.
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