The 7 Dimensions of Building Information Modeling

It has increasingly become crystal clear that BIM represents the opening of the architectural design community and construction industry to interoperability. There is no doubt that it’s a long and tedious way to being fully developed, however, important steps have been made during the last decades and the future of construction looks brighter day by day.

What is BIM?
3D-House

Building Information Modeling (BIM) is the process of creating information models containing both graphical and non-graphical information in a Common Data Environment (CDE) (a shared repository for digital project information). The information that is created becomes ever more detailed as a project progresses with the complete dataset then handed to a client at completion to use in the building’s In Use phase and potentially on into a decommissioning phase.

When we talk about BIM maturity we are essentially talking about the supply chain’s ability to exchange information digitally. The maturity levels from Level 0, through Levels 1, 2, 3 and beyond are often visualized via the maturity ‘wedge’ diagram conceived by Mark Bew and Mervyn Richards. Our article on BIM Levels Explained is a good place to start if you’re looking for more information.

BIM dimensions are different to BIM maturity levels. They refer to the particular way in which particular kinds of data are linked to an information model. By adding additional dimensions of data you can start to get a fuller understanding of your construction project – how it will be delivered, what it will cost and how it should be maintained etc. These dimensions – 4D, 5D and 6D BIM – can all feasibly (but not necessarily) occur within a BIM Level 2 workflow.

In this blog post we explore what it means to add different dimensions of information to a BIM process and explore what this looks like in practice and what benefits might be expected.

7D BIM

3D (The Shared Information Model)

3D BIM is perhaps the BIM we are most familiar with – the process of creating graphical and non-graphical information and sharing this information in a Common Data Environment (CDE).

As the project lifecycle progresses this information becomes ever more rich in detail until the point at which the project data is handed over to a client at completion.
4D (Construction sequencing)

4D BIM adds an extra dimension of information to a project information model in the form of scheduling data. This data is added to components which will build in detail as the project progresses. This information can be used to obtain accurate programme information and visualisations showing how your project will develop sequentially.

Time-related information for a particular element might include information on lead time, how long it takes to install/construct, the time needed to become operational/harden/cure, the sequence in which components should be installed, and dependencies on other areas of the project.

With time information federated in the shared information model planners should be able to develop an accurate project programme. With the data linked to the graphical representation of components/systems it becomes easy to understand and query project information and it is also possible to show how construction will develop, sequentially, over time showing how a structure will visually appear at each stage.

Working in this way is enormously helpful when it comes to planning work to ensure it is safely, logically and efficiently sequenced. Being able to prototype how assets come together before ground is broken on site allows for feedback at an early stage and avoids wasteful and costly on-site design co-ordination and rework. Showing how projects will be constructed visually is also handy when engaging with stakeholders, giving everyone a clear visual understanding of planned works and what the finished construction will look like with no surprises.

Adding sequencing information can be extremely useful, not just in the design phase, but earlier too, allowing for the feasibility of schemes to be assessed from the off. At tender stage this kind of information can allow initial concepts to be explored and communicated to inspire confidence in the team’s ability to meet the brief.

It’s important to note that working with 4D information doesn’t negate the need for planners who remain an integral part of the project team. Rather than creating programs as proposals develop, as is the case in traditional workflows, in a digital workflow planners can now influence and shape proposals from a much earlier stage in a project. Indeed, by being closer to the wider project team and providing feedback earlier in the process, there is the potential for planners to add significantly more value to a construction project.

3D-Guggenheim-Model5D (Cost)

Drawing on the components of the information model being able to extract accurate cost information is what’s at the heart of 5D BIM.

Considerations might include capital costs (the costs of purchasing and installing a component), its associated running costs and the cost of renewal/replacement down the line. These calculations can be made on the basis of the data and associated information linked to particular components within the graphical model. This information allows cost managers to easily extrapolate the quantities of a given component on a project, applying rates to those quantities, thereby reaching an overall cost for the development.

The benefits of a costing approach linked to a model include the ability to easily see costs in 3D form, get notifications when changes are made, and the automatic counting of components/systems attached to a project. However, it’s not just cost managers who stand to benefit from considering cost as part of your BIM process. Assuming the presence of 4D program data and a clear understanding of the value of a contract, you can easily track predicted and actual spend over the course of a project. This allows for regular cost reporting and budgeting to ensure efficiencies are realized and the project itself stays within budget tolerances.

The accuracy of any cost calculations is, of course, reliant on the data produced by multiple teams and shared within the Common Data Environment. If that information is inaccurate, so too will be any calculations that rely upon it. In this respect using BIM to consider cost is no different to more traditional ways of working. It is for this reason that quantity surveyors and estimators still have an important role to play, not only in checking the accuracy of information but also in helping to interpret and fill information ‘gaps’. Many elements of a project will still be modelled in 2D or not at all. There’s also likely to be differences between models in how things are classified and the cost manager will need to clarify and understand the commonality between what at first feel like disparate things.

An information model is likely to contain three types of quantity. Quantities based on actual model components (with visible details) which you can explore through the model are the most obvious. Quantities may also be derived from model components (such as moldings around windows) that aren’t always visible. The third kind of quantity is non-modeled quantities (these include temporary works, construction joints etc.). Unless the construction phase is modeled then the design model will show, graphically, design quantities but not the construction quantities. A cost manager is likely to be skilled in picking up the quantities that aren’t solely based on model components.

One of the advantages of extrapolating cost from the information model is the fact that the data can be queried at any time during a project and the information that feeds cost reports is regularly updated. This ‘living’ cost plan helps teams design to budget and because cost managers are engaged from the start of a project this allows for faster, more accurate reporting of costs at the early stages of a project. Compare this to a traditional approach where a cost manager’s report may be updated a few times during the early stages of a project with completed designs only fully costed at the end of the project team’s design process.

The cost manager may have to get used to working earlier and more iteratively than in a traditional process but has just as important a role to play in overall project delivery.

3d-perspective-section-cardigan-street6D BIM (Project Lifecycle Information; Sustainability)

The construction industry has traditionally been focussed on the upfront capital costs of construction. Shifting this focus to better understand the whole-life cost of assets, where most money is proportionately spent, should make for better decisions upfront in terms of both cost and sustainability. This is where 6D BIM comes in.

Sometimes referred to as integrated BIM or iBIM, 6D BIM involves the inclusion of information to support facilities management and operation to drive better business outcomes. This data might include information on the manufacturer of a component, its installation date, required maintenance and details of how the item should be configured and operated for optimal performance, energy performance, along with lifespan and decommissioning data.

Adding this kind of detail to your information model allows decisions to be made during the design process – a boiler with a lifespan of 5 years could be substituted with one expected to last 10, for example, if it makes economic or operational sense to do so. In effect, designers can explore a whole range of permutations across the lifecycle of a built assets and quickly get an understanding of impacts including costs. However, it is at handover, that this kind of information really adds value as it is passed on to the end-user.

A model offers an easily-accessible and understood way of extrapolating information. Details that would have been hidden in paper files are now easily interrogated graphically. Where this approach really comes into its own is in allowing facilities managers to pre-plan maintenance activities potentially years in advance and develop spending profiles over the lifetime of a built asset, working out when repairs become uneconomical or existing systems inefficient. This planned and pro-active approach offers significant benefits over a more reactive one – not least in terms of costs.

Ideally the information model should continue to develop during the In Use phase with updates on repairs and replacements added in. Better yet, a myriad of operational data and diagnostics can also be fed in to inform decision making still further.

3D-Sydney-Opera-House7D (Operations and Facilities Management)

Studies indicate that over 90% of total building lifecycle costs are related to facility maintenance and operations. Real estate and facility managers are increasingly showing interest in using BIM in facility management.

Some of the highlights of effectiveness of utilizing BIM 7D include:

  • Preventative Maintenance Scheduling: BIM can be used to plan and track maintenance activities proactively and appropriately by using the information about the building structure and equipment used in the facility. This type of preventative maintenance activities will help improve building performance, reduce corrective maintenance and emergency maintenance repairs and increase productivity of maintenance staff.
  • Sustainability Analysis: BIM integrated with other analysis & evaluation tools are used to track building performance data, which can be compared with specified sustainable standards to identify the flaws in the building systems. Facility’s sustainability program can be improved to better match the sustainability goals.
  • Asset Management: Assets of a building consist of the physical building, its systems, equipment and surrounding environment. Asset management is essential in short-term and long-term planning for proper upkeep of building assets. The bi-directional Building Information Modeling (BIM) integration into asset management software can help in better visualization of assets and aid in the maintenance and operation of a facility.
  • Space Utilization Management: Facility professionals and department liaisons can utilize BIM to effectively manage, track and distribute appropriate spaces and related resources within a facility. BIM space management application turns out to be beneficial in planning renovation projects and future needs, allocating space for proper usage of each corner of the building and tracking the impact of proposed changes.
  • Disaster & Emergency Planning: BIM can provide critical building information to improve the efficiency of disaster response plans and minimize any risk. BIM can be integrated with building automation system (BAS) to display where the emergency is located within a building, to find possible routes to the affected area and to locate other dangerous areas within the building during such emergencies.

Sources & References:
https://www.autodesk.com/solutions/bim
https://geniebelt.com/blog/bim-maturity-levels

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

 


Not ready to start using Building Information Modeling? Try AutoCAD 2013 Free Trial

Not ready to start using Building Information Modeling?

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We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post.  We sincerely appreciate all your comments.

If you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
Frank Cunha III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

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Basilica of San Lorenzo By Filippo Brunelleschi #ilmaBlog #Architecture #History

The Basilica of San Lorenzo is considered a milestone in the development of Renaissance architecture. The basilca has a complicated building history. The project was begun around 1419, under direction of Filippo Brunelleschi, Lack of funding slowed the construction and forced changes to the original design. By the early 1440s, only the sacristy (now called the Old Sacristy) had been worked on as it was being paid for by the Medici.

In 1442, the Medici stepped in to take over financial responsibility of the church as well. Brunelleschi died in 1446, however, and the job was handed either to Antonio Manetti or to Michelozzo; scholars are not certain. Though the building was “completed” in 1459 in time for a visit to Florence by Pius II, the chapels along the right-hand aisles were still being built in the 1480s and 1490s.

By the time the building was done, aspects of its layout and detailing no longer corresponded to the original plan. The principal difference is that Brunelleschi had envisioned the chapels along the side aisles to be deeper, and to be much like the chapels in the transept, the only part of the building that is known to have been completed to Brunelleschi’s design.

The most celebrated and grandest part of San Lorenzo are the Cappelle Medicee (Medici Chapels) in the apse. The Medici were still paying for it when the last member of the family, Anna Maria Luisa de’ Medici, died in 1743. Almost fifty lesser members of the family are buried in the crypt. The final design (1603–1604) was by Bernardo Buontalenti, based on models of Alessandro Pieroni and Matteo Nigetti. Above is the Cappella dei Principi(Chapel of the Princes), a great but awkwardly domed octagonal hall where the grand dukes themselves are buried.

The style shows Mannerist eccentricities in its unusual shape, broken cornices, and asymmetrically sized windows. In the interior, the ambitious decoration with colored marbles overwhelms the attempts at novel design (Wittkower, R. p. 126). At its centre was supposed to be the Holy Sepulchre itself, although attempts to buy and then steal it from Jerusalem failed.

For more information on the work of Filippo Brunelleschi click here.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


The 10 Most Important Things I Learned from My Parents and Hope to Teach My Kids

(Original: September 24, 2011; Updated on April 20, 2020)

1. Health is the greatest wealth you will ever have.

In light of recent events this seems more profound than ever before. We take our health for granted but sooner or later when something goes wrong we seem to appreciate it as our number one gift.  Without a healthy body, mind and spirit we are faced to live a life of pain and suffering.  Living a life of health means a life of balancing.  It is fine to enjoy life but remember that we only have one body and one life.  I like to think that the body we are given on earth will be the body that we have in heaven and that makes me want to respect my body and treat it like a temple.  All the money in the world is not going to help save you if you do not have your health.

You can’t enjoy wealth if you’re not in good health.” “Happiness is the new rich. Inner peace is the new success. Health is a new wealth.

—Syed Balkhi

2. Education is the best gift we can give you; the rest is up to you.

The ability to acquire knowledge and use knowledge is a powerful weapon in today’s world filled with over-stimulation and contradictory information.  More than ever there is so much propaganda and false information that we need to really educate ourselves.  I like to learn about weird facts, history, art, science, architecture and inspirational/motivational topics.  Using formal education as a springboard life can be filled with wonder by thinking about different topics in new ways using creativity and imagination.  Now that many of us are in self isolation it is a great time to get reacquainted with an old book or some new ones.

“Our culture has become hooked on the quick-fix, the life hack, efficiency. Everyone is on the hunt for that simple action algorithm that nets maximum profit with the least amount of effort. There’s no denying this attitude may get you some of the trappings of success, if you’re lucky, but it will not lead to a calloused mind or self-mastery. If you want to master the mind and remove your governor, you’ll have to become addicted to hard work. Because passion and obsession, even talent, are only useful tools if you have the work ethic to back them up.” 

—David Goggins

Now that many of us are in self isolation it is a great time to get reacquainted with an old book or some new ones.

3. Respect Everyone – Treat Everyone the way you would want to be treated.

The world is so divided – maybe it has always been so – we need to remember that although we look at things from different perspectives we share more in common than you might think.  We all want a healthy, happy family.  We all want to help the poor and feed the hungry.  We all want to protect our loved ones.  We want there to be peace in the world. 

“We are all great. No matter if you think you’re dumb, fat, been bullied, we all have greatness. You gotta find the courage. It’s going to be hard work, discipline, and the non-cognitive skills – hard work, dedication, sacrifice – that will set you apart.” 

—David Goggins

Let’s respect the disparities that makes us unique and think about the other instead of hating our brothers and sisters for our differences.

4. Patience is a virtue (I am still working on this one).

I am (still) still working on this one.  I like to live a fast-paced life but the current situation has forced me to slow down a bit…..OK a lot.

“Throughout your day find a moment, however fleeting, to just sit and be still. Doesn’t matter where you are. Take a few deep breathes, put your phone on vibrate so there’s no chance of interruption, and just reflect on the series of events that took place throughout your day. When you’re working, be ruthlessly present.”

The Stoic: 9 Principles to Help You Keep Calm in Chaos by Paul Jun

Connecting with nature and taking regular walks between blocks of work seems to help.   

5. Slow Down – The more you rush at something, the longer it will take to complete.

It’s true.  Let’s concentrate on the matter at hand.

Let your mind focus on the task at hand, what you’re trying to accomplish, and do it with diligence, patience, attentiveness, and care. Sooner or later, you’ll realize how much of an asset this is to your creativity and overall quality of life.” 

The Stoic: 9 Principles to Help You Keep Calm in Chaos by Paul Jun

Measure twice and cut once…Isn’t that what they say?

6. Seize the Day – Take each day at a time.

I have been working on trying to focus on each day as it comes while also taking time to look at the long view of what is coming so I can work towards those items as well so as not be overwhelmed.   I try to deal with each day’s problems as they come instead of worrying about the future.  99% of the things that you worry about will never occur.

7. Be Kind – It doesn’t take any longer to be kind.

When I told this someone they said “it actually does take longer, but it’s still worth it.”  I guess they are right, it does take some thought and some action.  It’s those small moments of acknowledging others or empathizing with their situation that makes connect with people.  Passing people by without a friendly gesture of hello seems cold and heartless to me although sometimes I am scared to wave in fear of not being reciprocated.  I must also learn to be strong and fearless and do the right thing despite the reaction from others.

“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”

—Mahatma Gandhi

8. Be the Best you can – (truly) do the best you can.

“When you think that you are done, you’re only 40% in to what your body’s capable of doing. That’s just the limits that we put on ourselves….[When we think we have] “reached our absolute limit, we still have 60 percent more to give! That’s the governor in action! Once you know that to be true, it’s simply a matter of stretching your pain tolerance, letting go of your identity and all your self-limiting stories, so you can get to 60 percent, then 80 percent and beyond without giving up. I call this The 40% Rule, and the reason it’s so powerful is that if you follow it, you will unlock your mind to new levels of performance and excellence in sports and in life, and your rewards will run far deeper than mere material success. The 40% Rule can be applied to everything.”

—David Goggins

9. Family & Friends – The bonds of a family and true friendships are precious.

With regards to family and loved ones, now more than ever we are able to learn about each other’s strengths, weaknesses, personalities and flaws, since we are all living together 24-7 during self-isolation.  We try to accept each other unconditionally because we love each other.  No one is perfect, and our faults make us who we are.  It’s funny that the things that annoy us most about our loved ones are things that remind us of ourselves.

“I’ve listened to someone as young as 14 and someone as old as 100 talk about their close friends, and [there are] three expectations of a close friend that I hear people describing and valuing across the entire life course.” They are: “Somebody to talk to, someone to depend on, and someone to enjoy.”

—William Rawlins, the Stocker Professor of Interpersonal Communication at Ohio University

10. The 99% Rule – Most people are good, only a few are not.

If you give people a chance you will see that most want to do you no harm.  You always have to be careful about the 1% but generally speaking most people have good intentions.  With the bombardment of social media and twisted ideological politics it’s hard to image that 99% are good – shouldn’t that number be much, much lower, right!?  Wrong! 

The definition of “divide and conquer” is to make a group of people disagree and fight with one another so that they will not join together against one.

Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2020.

We must remind ourselves that the news media shows the 1% over and over again.  Let’s look for sources where we can see people doing good.  People want to help each other and not hurt each other.  Do not let those in powers divide and conquer us.  For example:

“The vast majority of people, when faced with simple, clear ethical choices, choose good over bad and even good over neutral.  Imagine a stranger’s baby is about to fall off a chair next to you. You would try to catch it, right? Intuition tells you that you can count on nearly everyone else to try to catch that baby, too. Empathy is an evolutionary gift, an instinct that extends in concentric circles from the self, to loved ones, to community to countries and, for the enlightened, all of humanity — a concept dating to the ancient Greek Stoic Hierocles. Everyone is capable of widening one’s circle.”

—David G. Allan, CNN

Conclusion:

Original Post:

  1. Health is the greatest wealth you will ever have.
  2. Education is the best gift we can give you; the rest is up to you.
  3. Respect Everyone – Treat Everyone the way you would want to be treated
  4. Patience is a virtue (I am still working on this one).
  5. Slow Down – The more you rush at something, the longer it will take to complete.
  6. Seize the Day – Take each day at a time.
  7. Be Kind – It doesn’t take any longer to be kind.
  8. Be the Best you can – (truly) do the best you can.
  9. Family & Friends – The bonds of a family and true friendships are precious.
  10. The 99% Rule – Most people are good, only a few are not.

Original Post: The 10 Most Important Things I Learned from My Parents and Hope to Teach My Kids

Further Reading:

207 Inspirational David Goggins Quotes On Success and life

7 Pieces of Wisdom That Will Change the Way You Work

10 Productivity Lessons From Benjamin Franklin

Who Knows What’s Good or Bad? – David Allan – Medium

 We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


Production & Productivity: Part 4/12 of the 12 P’s–– A Guideline of Design for Architects and Other People Who Want to Save the World and Design Like an Architect #ilmaBlog #Architecture

A 12 part series on the 12 P’s Doctrine: A Guideline of Design for Architects & Other People Who Want to Save the World and Design Like an Architect; developed by Frank Cunha III, AIA, NCARB, MBA.

PART FOUR

Project Resource Allocation and Resource Management 

The resources of an organization consist of people, materials, equipment, knowledge and time. Organizations typically have limited resources; therefore, tradeoffs on what project resources are expended and when are made every day within organizations. A resource allocation plan is an important tool in effective management of scarce resources. The timing of the need of those resources can be and should be determined within the project schedules. A resource plan, which describes the type of resource needed and the timing of that need, is critical to effective resource management. As the project schedule changes, the resource plan must also be flexible enough to adjust as these changes occur.

Production – During Design

Construction drawings are produced by the design team, and go through several drafts during the design phase before the final draft becomes part of the contract, which is then sent out to be bid on by contractors. The winning contractor is bound by all of the contract documentation, including the construction drawings (click here for more information).

Construction Drawings:

  • Represent the building as a whole as designed
  • Are produced by the design team
  • In a traditional construction environment, are created before the project is bid on
  • Are official contract documents
  • Are subject to mark-ups, change orders, and redlining throughout the project

Shop Drawings:

  • Represent building components as designed
  • Are produced by the contractor and subcontractors
  • In a traditional construction environment, are created after the project is awarded and before construction begins
  • Are not usually official contract documents
  • May be subject to mark-ups, change orders, and redlining

As-Built Drawings:

  • Represent the building as a whole and all its components as actually constructed
  • Are produced by the contractor and subcontractors
  • Are produced after the project is complete
  • Are sometimes mandated by the contract but are not part of the contract documents
  • May be subject to change during later renovations, but represent the final documents upon completion of initial construction

Production – During Construction

Lean Project Delivery

  • Lean construction is a method of production aimed at reducing costs, materials, time and effort.
  • Minimize the bad and maximize the good.
  • The desired outcome would be to maximize the value and output of a project while minimizing wasteful aspects and time delay.
  • Beneficial for general and subcontractors
  • Communication drives the project
  • What goals should the project team be working toward?
  • What goals can be achieved reasonably?
  • What commitments has each last planner made?
  • Has each contractor or supplier met their schedule promises?
  • How has each company performed, and what could be changed or improved if any member of the project team fails to meet a milestone?

Prefabricated Construction

  • Material Management and Installation
  • Formal Quality Program
  • Efficient Coordination of Work
  • Diligent Supervision of Work
  • Standardized Internal Inspection and Tests
  • Third Party and Consultant Reviews
  • Improved Communications
  • Experienced Teams and Worker Skills
  • Quality Culture
  • Prefab rooms allow for simultaneous progress
  • Easy assembly for large projects
  • Streamlining onsite labor processes

Types of Prefab:

  • Panelized Wood Framing
  • Timber Framing
  • Concrete Systems
  • Steel Framing
  • Modular Systems

Benefits of Prefab

  • Eco-Friendly
  • Financial Savings
  • Consistent Quality
  • Flexibility
  • Reduced Site Disruption
  • Shorter Construction Time
  • Safety

Technology and Automation

Subscribe to our blog for updates on each of the 12 doctrines established by Frank CunhaIII, AIA, NCARB, MBA.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

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Architecture of the People for the People: Part 3/12 of the 12 P’s–– A Guideline of Design for Architects and Other People Who Want to Save the World and Design Like an Architect #ilmaBlog #Architecture

A 12 part series on the 12 P’s Doctrine: A Guideline of Design for Architects & Other People Who Want to Save the World and Design Like an Architect; developed by Frank Cunha III, AIA, NCARB, MBA.

PART THREE

Architecture of the People for the People

Culture of Stakeholders: When project stakeholders do not share a common culture, project management must adapt its organizations and work processes to cope with cultural differences.

The following are three major aspects of cultural difference that can affect a project:

  • Communications
  • Negotiations
  • Decision making

Communication is perhaps the most visible manifestation of culture. Architects, owner representatives, project managers, and contractors often confront cultural differences in communication in language, context, and candor. Language is clearly the greatest barrier to communication. When project stakeholders do not share the same language, communication slows down and is often filtered to share only information that is deemed critical.

The barrier to communication can influence project execution where quick and accurate exchange of ideas and information is critical. The interpretation of information reflects the extent that context and candor influence cultural expressions of ideas and understanding of information. In some cultures, an affirmative answer to a question does not always mean yes. The cultural influence can create confusion on a project where project stakeholders represent more than one culture.

Some tips for effective communication

(based on the 10 Tips for Effective Communication by Liz Kingsnorth):

  1. An intention for connection.
  2. Listen more than you speak.
  3. Understand the other person first.
  4. Understand needs, wishes and values.
  5. Begin with empathy.
  6. Take responsibility for your feelings.
  7. Make requests that are practical, specific and positive.
  8. Use accurate, neutral descriptions.
  9. Be willing to hear “No”.
  10. Ways we communicate other than words.

Without the people on a project a great building will never be built.  We need to empathize with all the workers and consultants that help make a project a reality and see things from their perspective and find common ground to develop solutions that work for the overall good of the project. 

If you are dealing with toxic individuals consider the following advice:

  1. Set limits. Take it from me, toxic people do not do well with boundaries.
  2. Pick your battles wisely. It’s tricky to balance being cordial with not wanting to normalize someone’s emotionally abusive behavior.
  3. Recognize and distance yourself from their behavior.
  4. Focus on the positive.
  5. Utilize your support system.

More advice on tackling problematic individuals is available by clicking here.

The skills which are needed to take on task-focused team roles include:

  1. Organizing and Planning Skills. Being organized is essential to getting tasks done.
  2. Decision-Making.
  3. Problem-Solving.
  4. Communication Skills.
  5. Persuasion and Influencing Skills.
  6. Feedback Skills.
  7. Skills in Chairing Meetings.
  8. Conflict resolution.

Who is Going to Use the Architecture You Create?

Finally, and most importantly it is important to consider the occupants who will be using the space.  As most of the work I do is in the public realm, I always consider how best to create spaces that are accessible and inclusive to everyone.  It is important to always focus on the people who will be using the spaces that you design and create.

Hopefully, the analysis provided in this post will help you start to think about ways that working with others can help you build a strong team to help you accomplish your project goals.  Without people, architecture cannot be designed or constructed on a large scale.

Subscribe to our blog for updates on each of the 12 doctrines established by Frank CunhaIII, AIA, NCARB, MBA.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

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Some Ideas to Help Aruba Become the Greenest and Happiest Island #Sustainability #Planning #Architect #Island #Eco #Green #ilmaBlog

Having recently visited Aruba earlier this year, and have fallen in love with the island, I would like to take this moment to reflect on ways that the little island nation can achieve its sustainability goals over the next several years.  Over the past few years it has come a long way but there are still many things left to be addressed if it is to be the greenest happiest little island in the Caribbean as it has set out to do.

One Happy Island

Some background information before we begin — Aruba contains 70 square miles (178.91 square kilometers) of happiness and a population of 116,600 (as of July 2018).

The tiny island gem is nestled in the warm southern Caribbean with nearly 100 different nationalities happily living together. We welcome all visitors with sunny smiles and a warm embrace.

Aruba is an island and a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the southern Caribbean Sea, located about 990 miles (1,600 kilometers) west of the main part of the Lesser Antilles and 18 miles (29 kilometers) north of the coast of Venezuela. It measures 20 miles (32 kilometers) long from its northwestern to its southeastern end and 6 miles (10 kilometers) across at its widest point.

Together with Bonaire and Curaçao, Aruba forms a group referred to as the ABC islands. Collectively, Aruba and the other Dutch islands in the Caribbean are often called the Dutch Caribbean. Aruba is one of the four countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with the Netherlands, Curaçao, and Saint Maarten; the citizens of these countries are all Dutch nationals. Aruba has no administrative subdivisions, but, for census purposes, is divided into eight regions. Its capital is Oranjestad. Unlike much of the Caribbean region, Aruba has a dry climate and an arid, cactus-strewn landscape. This climate has helped tourism as visitors to the island can reliably expect warm, sunny weather. Fortunately, it lies outside Hurricane Alley.

Aruba’s economy is based largely on tourism with nearly 1.5 million visitors per year, which has contributed to Aruba’s high population density.

Despite having one of the world’s smallest populations, Aruba does have a high population density at 1,490 per square mile (575 people per square kilometer), which is more than New York state.

During the Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012, the island announced it aim to cover its electricity demand by 100% renewable sources by 2020. In the same year, Aruba together with other Caribbean islands became member of the Carbon War Room’s Ten Island Challenge, an initiative launched at the Rio +20 Conference aiming for islands to shift towards 100% renewable energy. The benefits of becoming 100% renewable for Aruba include: reducing its heavy dependency on fossil fuel, thus making it less vulnerable to global oil price fluctuations, drastically reducing CO2 emissions, and preserving its natural environment.

(Sources: https://www.100-percent.org/aruba/; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aruba; http://worldpopulationreview.com/countries/aruba-population)

Some of the areas where Aruba seems to be excelling includes their recent ramp up of wind power – capitalizing on the constant wind that keep the tiny island habitable.

Other areas that they can improve on include the following:

Electric Vehicles

A whopping 87 percent of the entire power generation in the Caribbean comes from imported fossil fuels, and because so much of the region’s fuel comes from faraway sources, electricity costs are four times higher than they are in the United States. The economies of these islands are basically at the whim of global oil prices

The Caribbean has some other reasons to be enthusiastic about electric cars powered by a solar electric grid. The islands, on the whole, are small and low in elevation. The vast majority of islands in the Caribbean are smaller than 250 square miles and are fairly flat, with isolated peaks at most. 

This combination makes them ideal for electric vehicles in ways that, just for example, the U.S. is not. Most electric vehicles have limited ranges, with some only offering a hundred miles or less per charge. The higher-end vehicles can go further; the Nissan Leaf boasts 151 miles per charge, the Chevy Bolt 238 miles, and the Tesla Model S 315, but with still-long waiting times for a full charge, that’s about all you’re getting in an individual trip. That’s not great for hour-plus-long commutes from American suburbs, but for smaller islands with fewer hills to climb, that sort of range is just fine.

Customers who drive electric experience common benefits.

  • Charging up with electricity will cost you less than filling your tank with gas. Clients are experiencing savings of up to 50 percent on fuel costs and very low cost of maintenance.
  • Produce no-to-low tailpipe emissions. Even when upstream power plant emissions are considered, electric vehicles are 70 percent cleaner than gas-powered vehicles.
  • “Fuel” up with clean, Aruban-produced electricity and help our island achieve more energy diversity.
  • Drivers enjoy electric vehicles’ silent motor, powerful torque and smooth acceleration.

Although “solar” vehicles would be even better for this region, the ability for the island to “leap frog” ahead of other counties by building in an electric fueling infrastructure would help set it apart from other island nations.

(Sources: http://nymag.com/developing/2018/10/more-like-electric-car-ibbean.html; https://www.elmar.aw/about-elmar/sustainable-energy-and-electric-cars)

Solar Power

Although solar has come down over the past decade I was surprised that not more individuals capitalize on the sunny region with solar roof panels.

The recently constructed government building, Cocolishi, is one of the first buildings on Aruba with a solar roof. The solar panels provide 30 kW of renewable energy.

On the rooftops of the Multifunctional Accommodation Offices (MFA) in Noord and Paradera solar panels are installed. The MFA in Noord is an energy neutral building, this means it produces the same amount of energy as it consumes. The surplus during sunny days will be added to the grid.

Previously, solar panels were installed on the Kudawecha elementary school. These panels produce 175.5 kW solar energy.

The largest school solar rooftop project is installed on the Abramham de Veer School elementary school. This rooftop project produces 976 kW renewable energy.

The Caribbean’s first solar park opened in 2015 over the parking lot of the airport in Aruba. This solar park provide 3.5 MW solar energy and is one of the first renewable energy projects making use of the Free Zone of Aruba.

In Juana Morto, a residential area complex, solar panels are installed on the rooftops of different houses. Together the solar panels generate 13 kW of green energy.

Elmar, the electricity provider of Aruba, installed solar panels on the roofs of their offices. These buildings together provide 9.8 kW solar energy.

There are different decentralized solar projects on Aruba. Together they consist of 5 MW solar PV part and 3 MW rooftop schools & public buildings PV systems. Once built per the 2017 plan, the installation will provide an additional 13.5 MW providing power for approximately 3,000 households.

Given the amount of sunshine this island receives, expanding their solar portfolio seems prudent.

(Source: https://www.freezonearuba.com/business-opportunities/solar-projects-aruba/)

Wind Power

Wind Park ‘Vader Piet’ is located on Aruba’s east coast in the Dutch Caribbean, this wind farm consists of 10 turbines with an actual capacity of 30 megawatts (MW). Aruba’s current wind power production represents about 15-20 percent of its total consumption, which places it fourth globally and still some way behind Denmark, the current global leader, which produces 26 percent of its power from wind. But today, with a second wind farm about to be deployed, Aruba is set to double its wind energy output, placing it firmly in first place.

It’s hard to believe that just a few windmills are able to produce an output of 30 megawatts of energy, suppling 126,000 MWh of electricity to the national grid each year, displacing fossil fuel-generated energy and supporting the island’s transition towards renewable energy sources.

Given that the wind is a constant, exploiting this resource seems like a profitable and intelligent thing to do.

(Source: https://www.utilitiesarubanv.com/main/embracing-the-winds-of-change/)

Off-Roading

I love that the island has embraced off-road vehicles (ORV); it is a great way to experience the beauty around us in a challenging and fun way adding to the experience.  However, it would be very wise to develop designated areas for off-road vehicles to eliminate (or at least minimize) the human impact on the beauty of this island.  Because it’s greatest commodity is the natural beauty – Sun, ocean, nature and wildlife; Aruba (and other island nations) need to consider how to balance the fun aspect with some regulations that will preserve the beauty of the natural world for future generations.

As you may already know, the use ORV’s on coastal beaches is an activity that attracts considerable controversy amongst beach users.

ORV driving is considered as main contributor to land degradation in arid regions.

The most obvious physical impacts of ORV on vegetation include plant crushing, shearing, and uprooting. Such destruction of vegetation in arid ecosystems can lead to land degradation and desertification. Desert plant species exhibit varying degrees of vulnerability to vehicle use intensity, which results in changes in vegetation composition, height, biomass, reproductive structures, cover and seedbank.

(Sources: https://serc.carleton.edu/vignettes/collection/35397.html; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1319562X18301153)

I also notice that many locals and tourists park their vehicles on the shorelines which are inhabited by indigenous plants and animals of all varieties.  This too should be lightly regulated through education or ordinances so that leaky old (or new) vehicles do not stain the natural shorelines that not only belong to us but to our grandchildren’s grandchildren as well.  We need to educate people to be more responsible and not disrupt the natural world with our cars , especially when it can be easily avoided with very little cost impact to the planning of the island.

Stormwater

Following up on vehicle management along the shorelines, another thing I noticed was stormwater runoff; which is not much but should be managed now to avoid a small accumulation over time.  It is still early enough to employ best practices and manage any future problems by building a robust infrastructure now before things get worse.  Because the island is so small it looks like much of the run off drains directly into the ocean.  Following best practices will ensure that the clear waters stay that way long into the future for the benefit and enjoyment of future generations.

Circumstances alone should prompt islanders to manage stormwater runoff:

  • Traditional community boundaries often centered on natural drainages (e.g., Hawaiian ahupua’a and Samoan village structure), so residents are aware of how land use changes can affect watershed hydrology.
  • Local economies rely on clear waters, healthy reefs, and robust fisheries; thus, BMPs designed to eliminate sediment plumes offer immediate, visible results to resource users.
  • In some locations, rainfall is the primary source of freshwater, so using BMPs like cisterns or storage chambers to collect runoff for potable and non-potable reuse makes water supply sense.
  • Tropical vegetation is fast-growing and plays a huge part in the water cycle, so stormwater management approaches that take advantage of canopy interception and evapotranspiration to reduce runoff have a high chance of success.
  • Island infrastructure is subject to big storms, rising seas, and tsunamis; therefore redundancy within the stormwater system improves resiliency.

Things that should be considered as the island faces increased development includes the engagement of “low impact development” which is an approach to land development that meets the following conditions:

  1. Avoids disturbance of existing vegetation, valuable soils, and wetlands to the maximum extent possible (e.g., minimizing site disturbance and maintaining vegetated buffers along waterways);
  2. Reduces the amount of impervious cover and, thus, stormwater runoff generated on a site through careful site planning and design techniques; and
  3. Manages runoff that is generated through structural and non-structural practices that filter, recharge, reuse, or otherwise reduce runoff from the site.

(Source: https://horsleywitten.com/pdf/Feb2014_IslandBMPGuide_wAppendix.pdf)

Desalinization

Tasked with providing water for a population which more than quadruples with tourists throughout the year, the Caribbean island of Aruba is building a new 24,000 m3/day (6,340,130 gallons) desalination facility to process seawater from beach wells. Paul Choules & Ron Sebek discuss technical details of the installation, set to replace older thermal desalination units.

This is so awesome and could become a really great way for Aruba to expand its market into other emerging countries that are facing water issues.  Abruba could use its extensive knowledge to help other arid climates deal with lack of drinking water, taking Aruba to the next level as a global leader in this realm.

(Source: https://www.waterworld.com/international/desalination/article/16201943/desalination-plant-profile-aruba-the-pearl-of-the-caribbean)

Cogeneration of Power

Justin Locke is director of the island energy program at the Carbon War Room, an international nonprofit. He said it makes sense for islands to switch to clean power.

“Islands currently pay some of the highest electricity prices in the world. At the same time, they also have some of the best renewable energy resources,” added Locke. Aruba’s plan includes building new solar and wind farms, converting waste to energy, and working to increase energy efficiency.

Aruba has set the ambitious goal of becoming the first green economy by transitioning to 100% renewable energy use. Currently, Aruba is at 20% renewable energy use.

Aruba is known for being sunny all year long and its cooling trade winds. By capitalizing on these natural resources, the island can generate renewable energy. The island is lowering its dependence on heavy fuel oil, lowering CO2 emissions, and reducing environmental pollution.

By steadily continuing its momentum with its green movement and implementing cogeneration of power production it will help the island become sustainable and resilient.

(Source: https://www.netherlandsandyou.nl/your-country-and-the-netherlands/united-states/about-us/aruba-and-you/sustainability-in-aruba)

Conclusion

Although Aruba has promised to become green it is not absolutely clear that it will be able to achieve its aggressive 2020 goals.  However, the future is bright if Aruba is able to continue on its path and starts to take these issues into greater consideration making it a premier destination for people to enjoy.  Becoming the world’s greenest island will ensure that tourism continues to flourish and that the country will continue to thrive in an environmentally-friendly way that will help restore and maintain the attributes that has made it what it has become famous for – a place for people from all over the world to come and enjoy the natural world away from the hustle and bustle of city life and experience the world in a way that seems to be reminiscent of a simpler time and offers us a chance to connect with something much larger than ourselves.  As temporary stewards for the environment it is up to us to protect that which does not belong to us so that future generations can also appreciate these valuable experiences.

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


Eco Soft-Wash Shirts #Eco #Recycle #Fashion #ilmaBlog

We think this is pretty cool

  • Made with 45% REPREVE recycled polyester (made from post-consumer plastic bottles). 5 plastic bottles per shirt!
  • Made exclusively for Banana Republic Factory

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


@FrankCunhaIII Speaking at EAST COAST GREEN on June 21, 2019 About Sustainability at College Campuses #UniversityArchitect #Campus #GreenArchitect #Eco #ilmaBlog

Network, Learn, & be Inspired by the Living Building Challenge certified Willow School, hosting AIA-NJ’s 9th annual East Coast Green conference 6/21.

Want to see a rainwater catchment system that flushes all toilets, solar energy that provides 100% of a building’s power, healthy materials, design for optimal daylight and fresh air and a sustainable managed site that includes a man-made wetland to treat all waste onsite and a lush variety of gardens instead of lawn?

4 Education tracks in Energy, Human Experience, Materials, and Certifications provide continuing education credits throughout the day. Join us and mingle with Architects, Interior Designers, Engineers, Building Owners, Contractors and related industry professionals.

Local/organic breakfast, lunch and evening reception with open bar (beer/wine) included! www.eastcoast-green.com Sponsorship and registration available!

Click on the links below for more information about East Coast Green

Speakers: https://eastcoast-green.com/speakers 

Schedule of Events: https://eastcoast-green.com/schedule/


Ask the Architect: What is Sustainability? #Green #Architect #ilmaBlog

What is sustainability?

Sustainability has become a “buzz” word which has been used to describe conservation and protection of the environment we live in. 

Due to the fact that the general public (through old and new media platforms) has become increasing knowledgeable about climate change and pollution (from print news articles, online websites, documentaries and films that focus on the wrongdoings of companies), they are holding companies accountable and voting amongst industry competitors with the dollars they spend on goods and services.  An Inconvenient Truth is a 2006 American concert film/documentary film directed by Davis Guggenheim about former United States Vice President Al Gore’s campaign to educate people about global warming. The film features a comprehensive slide show that, by Gore’s own estimate, he has presented over a thousand times to audiences worldwide.  Films like “An Inconvenient Truth” can shed light on the way that people and companies play a part in the world we live in.  Because we live in a world of limited resources it is important that we focus not only on ourselves, but the earth and all its eco-systems (plants and animals included, not just human beings).  Human beings have the greatest impact on the planet and need to be accountable for how we live our lives.  Companies and organizations need to do the same.

How can we make sustainable development a reality?

This response focuses on a world driven by economics: Impact from “Corporations” & “Organizations” are two of many ways to help materialize sustainability because they shape the lives we live through community, what we buy, where we learn, where we work and how we choose to spend our income.

The European Commission (2010) defines corporate social responsibility (CSR) as ‘‘a concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns in their business operations and in their interaction with their stakeholders on a voluntary basis.’’ A common definition in the management literature comes from Davis (1973, p. 312), who defines CSR as ‘‘the firm’s considerations of, and response to, issues beyond the narrow economic, technical, and legal requirements of the firm to accomplish social [and environmental] benefits along with the traditional economic gains which the firm seeks (Source: The benefits and costs of corporate social Responsibility” by Geoffrey B. Sprinkle, Laureen A. Maines) .”

In creating and distributing CSR Reports, companies not only share their reports with their customers and their employees, but in the process, they are able to reflect on what they are doing and how they can make improvements.  In the words of W. Edwards Deming, “Measure of productivity does not lead to improvement in productivity.”  However, by recognizing attributes that make the organization unique help move it forward.  By identifying key metrics that impact the business the organization will be able to better address the financial, social, and environmental benefits, commonly referred to as the Triple Bottom Line.

Customers need to be aware of companies that may be using “greenwashing.”  There are times when organization may not want to directly promote their activities through advertisements because it may appear like “pinkwashing” or “greenwashing.”  Savy customers may be turned away by marketing tactics.  More important is to do the right thing, keep employees motivated and focused on the organization’s values, and report in their annual CSR report (Source: Marquis, Christopher, Pooja Mehta Shah, Amanda Elizabeth Tolleson, and Bobbi Thomason. “The Dannon Company: Marketing and Corporate Social Responsibility (A).” Harvard Business School Case 410-121, April 2010. (Revised September 2011)).

How sustainability can be measured?

Because I have focused the past 20 years of my career primarily in the higher education industry I will focus my response on what I know, instead of tackling this problem from a larger more global perspective like I have in the responses above.  However, it is with much thought and consideration that I share these insights because I strongly believe that other industry sectors can prosper from this information.  This is by no means an end to all measurements of sustainability but it certainly is a good start to put a dent in this massive undertaking!

For the past few years APPA/NACUBO has compiled a survey of institutions of higher education.

The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) is a membership organization representing more than 1,900 colleges and universities across the country. (https://www.nacubo.org) APPA is the gathering place for educational facilities professionals, dedicated to the ongoing evolution of the profession.  Although their name has changed over the past 100 years their mission remains: “To support educational excellence with quality leadership and professional management through education, research and recognition (https://www.appa.org).”

APPA/NACUBO provides an annual survey on the self-reported information submitted by their constituents which is comprised of: (1) Community Colleges; (2) Small Institutions; (3) Comprehensive/Doctoral; and (4) Research Institutions (High and Very High Research Institutions). 

The following key performance indicators are measured, compiled and reported by APPA/NACUBO based on the one of 4 categories listed above:

  • Energy Use Intensity (measured KBTU per square foot)
  • Electrical (measured kW per square foot)
  • Water daily (measured average gallons per FTE student enrolled)
  • Recycled waste (measured in pounds annually per FTE student enrolled)
  • Garbage waste (measured in pounds annually per FTE student enrolled)
  • Carbon footprint (measured in metric tons CO2 per FTE student enrolled)

The report illustrates the year-over-year comparison of results from the survey, as well as comparisons by type of institution. APPA/NACUBO encourages the academic institutions of higher education to explore these findings as a starting point to better inform their campus decisions.

It is vital that each institution look at similar organizations (community colleges, small institutions, comprehensive/doctoral, and research universities). The survey reports raw data by gross square feet (GSF) and by student full-time equivalent (SFTE). The raw data can be used to evaluate and reduce consumption.

Further Reading:

https://www.nacubo.org/Topics/Facilities-and-Environmental-Compliance/Key-Facilities-Metrics-Survey

https://ilovemyarchitect.com/category/green/

https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Frank_Cunha/answers

We would love to hear from you on what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


University Architect @FrankCunhaIII Earns #ExecutiveMBA from @BizFeliciano at @MontclairStateU

On May 21, 2019, Frank Cunha III, graduated from the Executive Masters in Business Administration program at Montclair State University, where he has served the students as an outside consultant from 2001-2007 and as an employee in the Facilities department since 2007. Most recently Frank has served as the University Architect at the institution which is the second largest public university in the state.

Frank Cunha III, University Architect, has been with the University Facilities team since 2007. Since graduating from the New Jersey Institute of Technology School of Architecture in 1998, he has obtained licenses to practice architecture in 9 states. 

Frank is passionate about strategic planning, architectural design and constructing of complex projects in a challenging and ever changing environment. He considers the environment, energy, and the health and wellness of the occupants during all phases of the project while addressing the programming needs to ensure the stakeholder’s program requirements are met and align with the organization’s mission, vision and values. 

Frank has led various teams over the past 20-years, both with the American Institute of Architects, serving on local, state and national level committees; he has worked on various charity projects over the years; Through collaboration and enhancement of his expertise as a Registered Architect through practice, research and innovation he has dedicated his life to serving others. 

With the assistance of his design and construction teams, Frank has been responsible for many projects of various size and scope around campus. Some project highlights include: Student Recreation Center, Center for Environmental Life Sciences, Cali School of Music, School of Nursing, the Center for Computing and Information Science, Sinatra Hall, School of Business, Schmitt Hall and historic renovation and addition to College Hall, to name a few.  Click Here for more information.


University Architect @FrankCunhaIII Leads Architectural Walking Tour of @MontclairStateU’s Campus for Architect Guests, @AIANJ AIA Newark Suburban #AIA #University #Architect

On May 18th, AIA Newark Suburban held a campus walking tour of Montclair State University led by fellow member, Architect Frank Cunha III, AIA.  The tour addressed the history of the campus and the way it has been designed and constructed to protect and promote the health, safety, and welfare of the occupants of the buildings and grounds.

Building on a distinguished history dating back to 1908, Montclair State University is a leading institution of higher education in New Jersey.  Designated a Research Doctoral University by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, the University’s 11 colleges and schools serve more than 21,000 undergraduate and graduate students with more than 300 doctoral, master’s and baccalaureate programs. Situated on a beautiful, 252-acre suburban campus just 12 miles from New York City, Montclair State delivers the instructional and research resources of a large public university in a supportive, sophisticated and diverse academic environment. University Facilities currently manages 70 buildings and approximately 5 million gross square feet of space on our campus. More information available: https://www.montclair.edu/about-montclair

Frank Cunha III, AIA, University Architect, has been with the University Facilities team since 2007.  Since graduating from the New Jersey Institute of Technology School of Architecture in 1998, he has obtained licenses to practice architecture in 9 states.  Frank is currently completing his Masters in Business Administration at Montclair State University and expects to graduate in May 2019.

Frank is passionate about strategic planning, architectural design and constructing of complex projects in a challenging and ever-changing environment.  He considers the environment, energy, and the health and wellness of the occupants during all phases of the project while addressing the programming needs to ensure the stakeholder’s program requirements are met and align with the organization’s mission, vision and values.

With the assistance of his design and construction teams, Frank has been responsible for many projects of various size and scope around campus. Some project highlights include: Student Recreation Center, Center for Environmental Life Sciences, Cali School of Music, School of Nursing, the Center for Computing and Information Science, Sinatra Hall, School of Business, Schmitt Hall and historic renovation and addition to College Hall, to name a few.

We would love to hear from you about what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,

FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


New Project by @FC3Architect is Almost 100% Completed (Teaneck, NJ) #BeforeAndAfter #CustomResidential #Home

One of the things we enjoy doing is: Helping People Make Their Dreams Come True!!! Here is another example of a successful transformation we helped imagine for the homeowners.

One of our projects is nearly completed. We more than doubled the size of the existing residence by creating a dynamic link that opens up the garden into the home with a connecting link. This “knuckle” becomes a link from the old home (which serves as the existing den and existing kitchen on the lower level) to the new home which includes a new dining area and family room. Upstairs, the addition boasts a master suite allowing us to increase the size of the existing bedrooms. Click here to read the original post about this project.

We would love to hear from you about what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

To see more projects by FC3 Architecture + Design, please click here.

Sincerely,

FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


Ask the Architect: Why Does Indoor Air Quality Matter?#LEED #WELL #Health #Wellness #Safety #Architect #ilmaBlog

Simply put, indoor air quality matters because human beings are spending more and more time indoors. It is becoming more important than ever to make sure that the buildings that we design, construct and occupy are suitable and safe for the occupants. The following article will draw on both research and experience in the design and construction of high performance buildings to help elaborate on this simple response.

Interesting Facts To Consider About Indoor Air Quality:

  • Indoor air often contains 4X to 10X the amount of pollutants of outdoor air.
  • Many studies have linked exposure to small particles (PM 2.5—defined as airborne particles smaller than 2.5 microns) with heart attacks, cardiac arrhythmias, strokes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, worsened symptoms of asthma, and an increased risk of respiratory illness.
  • The World Health Organization says that particulate matter contributes to about 800,000 premature deaths each year, making it the 13th leading cause of death worldwide.

The built environment around us plays a fundamental role in our overall well-being, particularly the indoor spaces that we inhabit to live, work, learn, play and pray, since most of us spend about 90% of our time indoors.  The buildings that we as Architects design and construct have a distinctive capability to positively or negatively impact our health and wellbeing. The air that we breathe inside a building can have a greater consequence on our health.  Unfortunately, many contaminants are not visible in the air, so we might not know that they are there.  Inhaling air or poor quality can lead to a number of health conditions, including but not limited to:  allergies, respiratory disorders, headaches, sore throat, lethargy and nausea.

Sick Building Syndrome

According to the EPA, sick building syndrome (SBS) is used to describe a situation in which the occupants of a building experience acute health- or comfort-related effects that seem to be linked directly to the time spent in the building. No specific illness or cause can be identified. The complainants may be localized in a particular room or zone or may be widespread throughout the building.

LEED Requirements

As more buildings are LEED certified, here are some things to consider about your next project:

To contribute to the comfort and well-being of building occupants by establishing minimum standards for indoor air quality (IAQ) after construction and during occupancy, USGBC LEED v4 requires that the project meet one of the following:

  • Minimum indoor air quality performance: Option 1. ASHRAE Standard 62.1–2010 or Option 2. CEN Standards EN 15251–2007 and EN 13779–2007.
  • Indoor air quality assessment: Path 1 Option 1. Flush-out, or Path 2. Option 1. During occupancy, or Path 2. Option 2. Air testing – Note: these cannot be combined.

Occupants are increasingly paying more attention to the conditions of their work environment as it relates to health and wellness. This is especially the case for researchers and their lab environments. We see surging growth in universities adopting lab design programs such as Smart Labs which places an emphasis in the indoor environment quality of the lab and through certification programs as:

We need to have a real-time measurement of the all contaminants of inside air and match that with real time control of the outside air coming into the environment. Ideally, we need to design and build facilities that:

  • Bring in lots of outside air—but only exactly where and when we need it.
  • Measures and controls more than just temperature and CO2.
  • Displays the ventilation performance for the building’s occupants.

Health and Cognitive FunctionPerformance Enhancements

Cognitive functions encompass reasoning, memory, attention, and language and lead directly to the attainment of information and, thus, knowledge. United Technologies and The Harvard School of Public Health prepared a study that was designed to simulate indoor environmental quality conditions in green and conventional buildings and evaluate the impacts on an objective measure of human performance—cognitive function.  The findings of the report concluded that the impact of the indoor air quality on the productivity of the occupants which revealed the following benefits:

  • Lowering the levels of CO2 and VOCs resulted in their participants scoring 61% higher on cognitive function tests compared with those in conventional offices.
  • There was a 101% improvement on their cognitive function tests when the ventilation levels were doubled above the standard ASHRAE prescribed levels.
  • Information usage scores were 299% higher than conventional offices when the ventilation rates were doubled.

The conclusion of this study is very clear: verified ventilation performance will increase employee and student performance.

Sources & References:

Is Your Building Ventilated Like It’s 1978? By Tom Kolsun

USGBC V4 Requirements for indoor environmental quality

Further Reading:

EPA – An Office Building Occupants Guide to Indoor Air Quality

#IAQmatters

EPA – Indoor Air Quality

We would love to hear from you about what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

For More Questions and Answers please check out:
Architects @WJMArchitect And @FrankCunhaIII Respond to ILMA Fan’s Questions “ASK THE ARCHITECT”

Sincerely,

FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


Architect’s Follow Up on the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris and Creating Safer Work Environments #UnderConstruction #Safety #Design #Architecture #LessonsLearned #SafetyFirst #Design #Build #Architect #ilmaBlog

Follow Up on the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris and Creating Safer Work Environments

A few weeks ago on April 15th, 2019, a fire destroyed the roof and wooden spire of the Notre-Dame de Paris.

One of the most famous timber frame fires started just after midnight on the 2nd September 1666 in Pudding Lane. After burning for three days it destroyed nearly 90 percent of the inhabitants of London’s homes.

Getty Images

Possible Causes For Blaze

Although officials say that the investigation could last several weeks and nothing can be ruled out at this time, there is much suspicion that the blaze may have been started by a short-circuit near the spire.

The short circuit may have been possibly caused by electrified bells, or negligence by construction workers carrying out the ongoing renovations, a theory fueled by the discovery of cigarette butts.

Typical Sources of Ignition

Not related to the fire, but for a matter of reference, sources of ignition during construction may generally include: (1) Hot works – cutting, grinding, soldering, hot pitching; (2) Faulty electrical equipment – damaged sockets and equipment, service strikes, temporary supplies and halogen lighting; (3) Arson – works in high crime rate areas, protests and objections to the scheme, disgruntled employees or contractors; (4) Reactive chemicals; (5) Fire Loading; (6) Fire Spread – The Offsite Risks; (7) and Constrained sites.   It will be interesting to see what the investigators are able to uncover in the following weeks.

André Finot, the cathedral’s spokesman, pointed out traces of damage. “Everywhere the stone is eroded, and the more the wind blows, the more all of these little pieces keep falling,” he said. (Photo Credit: Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times)

Ongoing Renovations

Fallen stones on the cathedral’s roof. Experts say that the building has reached a tipping point and that routine maintenance is no longer enough to prevent rain, wind and pollution from causing lasting damage. (Photo Credit: Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times)
Masonry that has broken away or that was taken down as a precautionary measure has been piled up on a small lawn at the back of the cathedral. (Photo Credit: Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times)

According to the New York Times, the biggest renovation at the cathedral took place between 1844 and 1864 when the spire and the flying buttresses were rebuilt.  The most recent overhaul, however, was meant to be understated. “The idea isn’t to replace every single stone. I don’t want to give this cathedral a face-lift,” said Philippe Villeneuve, the chief architect behind the project.  The renovations, which are estimated to cost $150 million euro ($169 million) were still ongoing when the cathedral caught fire.  Most likely something to do with the renovations of the cathedral led to its temporary demise.

Design Input

The event, which occurred during holy week sparked an intense national debate on how the 856-year-old cathedral should be rebuilt.  The French public will get a say on how the fire-ravaged Notre Dame cathedral will be rebuilt, officials say. 

FYI: In a separate blog post, ILMA plans to do a write up on the current designs that are being suggested by Architects and designers around the world.

Construction Workers – Risk Management

As a matter of course, this heartbreaking occurrence give us pause to consider the threats that can occur during construction.  Some risks to workers that need to be managed during construction and renovations include the following: (1) Working at Height; (2) Slips, Trips and Falls; (3) Moving Objects; (4) Noise; (5) Manual Handling; (6) Vibrations; (7) Collapses; (8) Asbestos; (9) Electricity; (9) Respiratory diseases. (Sources: Top 10 construction health and safety risks) and OSHA’s Top Four Construction Hazards); From the perspective of keeping the building safe during renovations and/or construction and saving lives, the following should be considered:

Building Safety – Risk Management

  1. Installation of sprinkler systems and fire detection systems early on in construction
  2. Availability of standpipes
  3. Commissioning the sprinkler system
  4. Access to fire extinguishers
  5. Make sure your fire detection and warning systems work
  6. Maintaining means of egress; Building compartmentation and protected fire routes in as the building is constructed
  7. Protect emergency escape routes
  8. Secure the site against arson
  9. Protect temporary buildings and accommodation
  10. Store equipment safely
  11. Design out hot works
  12. Keep the site tidy
  13. Keep project site and equipment safe
  14. No smoking
  15. Increase security for the site – CCTV, Full height hoarding, signage
  16. Engagement of local fire departments – to assess water pressure and accessibility
  17. Proper fire risk assessment that considers fire loading and fire separation distances

Learning From the Tragedy of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris

As timber is becoming increasingly more popular in high rises it is important to consider the past when managing the risks of projects utilizing wood framing.  Although there are many studies and test on modern day timber/wood designs, it is still important to consider the risks that are present on any jobsite.  Spending the money to do construction the right way will help reduce the inherent risks with construction – both to safeguard people as well as the buildings that we cherish.

For more information on my take on what happened at Notre Dame, please consider checking out the original articles: Personal Reflection on the Tragedy of April 15, 2019 at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris and What Makes Notre Dame Cathedral So Important as a Work of Architecture?.

Additional Reading:

We would love to hear from you about what you think about this post. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please share it with friends. And feel free to contact us if you would like to discuss ideas for your next project!

Sincerely,

FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook