An Introduction to the Architecture of the Italian Renaissance By Classical Architect and Artist ‪@FTerryArchitect ‬#RIBA #Architecture #Education #ilmaBlog

Earlier this year UK-based Francis Terry MA (Cantab), Dip Arch, RIBA Director, gave his office a wonderful presentation I would like to share with my audience:

Francis is part of a new generation of classical architects who have recently gained a reputation for designing high quality works of architecture. Francis’s pursuit of architecture grew out of his passion for drawing and his love of historic buildings. He studied architecture at Cambridge University qualifying in 1994. While at Cambridge, he used his architectural skills to design numerous stage sets for various dramatic societies including The Footlights, The Cambridge Opera Society and The European Theatre Group.

Terry along with his colleague also talk about classical architecture in modern times at a recent TEDx Talk:

More Information available by clicking here. Not only does his website display great examples of classical architecture but he has a great blog with interesting writings and videos.

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


Prototyping Future Worlds with Futurist Architect Filmmaker @Liam_Young featured on Mind & Machine Podcast with Host @AugustBradley #Technology #Art #Film #ilmaBlog

Earlier this week I heard a great podcast on Mind & Machine, hosted by August Bradley I wanted to share with you.
MIND & MACHINE: Future Technology, Futurist Ideas (Published on Apr 9, 2018)

Liam Young, Speculative Architect, Futurist, Sci-fi Shaper, Extreme Explorer, Provocateur, Technology Storyteller, who uses his design background combined with experience in crafting environments to prototype new worlds — worlds that reveal unexpected aspects of how we live today and how we will live in the future. Liam teaches speculative architecture and world building at Sci Arc, a leading architecture school. He founded Unknown Fields, a nomadic studio documenting expeditions to the ends of the earth, exploring unusual forgotten landscapes, and obsolete ecologies. And Liam has co-founded Tomorrows Thoughts Today, a futures think tank envisioning fantastic speculative urban settings of tomorrow.
Podcast version at: https://is.gd/MM_on_iTunes

More about and from Liam at:

http://www.propela.co.uk/liamyoung
MIND & MACHINE features interviews by August Bradley with leaders in transformational technologies.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/augustbradley
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/mindandmachine
Website: https://www.MindAndMachine.io

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

 


Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Architecture via @EntreArchitect

A few weeks ago I heard a great podcast on EntreArchitect about Artificial Intelligence and the Future of Architecture.

Find Duo online at DuoDickinson.com and check out his blog Saved by Design or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.

FREE DOWNLOAD AUDIO

(Source: https://entrearchitect.com/podcast/artificial-intelligence-and-the-future-of-architecture)

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


Design by Architectist @FrankCunhaIII #Architect #Artist

Thank you for all the support and encouragement over the years.  Here are some of our favorite blog posts about the design process related to the field of Architecture:

  1. Architecture Shall Live On (My Architecture Manifesto) by @FrankCunhaIII
  2. Timeless Architecture – Saying Good Bye to a Teacher/Mentor is Never Easy by @FrankCunhaIII
  3. Architecture in Motion by @FrankCunhaIII
  4. X Factor of Design by @FrankCunhaIII
  5. Creating High Performance Buildings through Integrative Design Process by @FrankCunhaIII
  6. Frans Johansson: “Act & Collaborate to Drive Change” by @FrankCunhaIII
  7. SPACE & PROCESS by @FrankCunhaIII
  8. Order, Formulas, and Rules by @FrankCunhaIII
  9. Mixing My Work With Pleasure (Design-Build, Modern House Using Legos) by @FrankCunhaIII
  10. The Blind Design Paradox in Architectural Design by @WJMArchitect
  11. Architects Vs. “Sculptor” Architects based on a conversation btw @WJMArchitect and @FrankCunhaIII
  12. Ophiuchus: The Serpent Bearer (Playing With Numbers) by @FrankCunhaIII
  13. From Paper and Pencil to Reality Through Collaboration by @FrankCunhaIII

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


ROART Inspired Photographic Artwork by @FrankCunhaIII

Photographs taken on a field trip in New York City with ROART design studio.

The Gottesman Library, Yeshiva University, Amsterdam Ave #5, New York, NY 10033, designed by ROART and 57 WEST, 629 W 57th Street, New York, NY, designed by BIG | Bjarke Ingels Group.

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


Artificial Intelligence

AI-01

Moving from the abstract to the actionable is always a challenge. When it comes to AI, it starts with data. Artificial intelligence is the application of data—data is what machines learn from—and in the AEC world there is no shortage of opportunities to obtain it. From billing analysis and construction-site safety to building products and performance, the data sets available to collect seem infinite. (Source: https://www.aia.org/articles/178511-embracing-artificial-intelligence-in-archit)

Danil Nagy, New York-based designer and researcher  says “AI can benefit all human endeavors by making us more efficient and allowing us to focus on those aspects of ourselves that make us most human – such as intuition and creativity.”

Computers have changed the way we design our buildings and understand their urban contexts, with tools such as parametric design altering the way we formulate design problems and arrive at new solutions. Now, Machine Learning gives the possibility of going beyond directed, top-down computation, allowing computers to learn patterns and gain new understanding directly from supplied data. Among the many opportunities given by this new paradigm, such a system can allow designers to gain a deeper understanding of the relationships between the physical reality of the city with our personal and emotional responses to it. The Data Mining the City cluster will explore these new opportunities by prototyping custom hardware to simultaneously gather both physical and personal data about the city, and then using Machine Learning algorithms to discover patterns and correlations between the physical realities of the city and our personal experiences of it.

Additional Resources:

https://www.smartgeometry.org/data-mining-the-city

http://futurearchitectureplatform.org/news/28/ai-architecture-intelligence

https://archpaper.com/2017/08/architecture-profession-automation-big-data

https://archpaper.com/2017/11/architects-adapt-coming-ai

https://archinect.com/features/article/149995618/the-architecture-of-artificial-intelligence

http://www.futurearchi.org/t/artificial-intelligence-ai-in-architecture-what-are-the-practical-applications/364

AI-02

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


Smart Cities

Smart-City-in-a-BoxSmart cities use data and technology to create efficiencies, improve sustainability,
create economic development, and enhance quality of life factors for people living and
working in the city. It also means that the city has a smarter energy infrastructure.

(Source: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_city)

  • Emerging trends such as automation, machine learning and the internet of things
    (IoT) are driving smart city adoption.
  • Smart transit companies are able to coordinate services and fulfill riders' needs in real time, improving efficiency and rider satisfaction. Ride-sharing and bike-sharing are also common services in a smart city.
  • Energy conservation and efficiency are major focuses of smart cities. Using smart sensors, smart streetlights dim when there aren't cars or pedestrians on
    the roadways. Smart grid technology can be used to improve operations, maintenance and planning, and to supply power on demand and monitor energy
    outages.
  • Using sensors to measure water parameters and guarantee the quality of
    drinking water at the front end of the system, with proper wastewater removal
    and drainage at the back end.
  • Smart city technology is increasingly being used to improve public safety, from
    monitoring areas of high crime to improving emergency preparedness with sensors. For example, smart sensors can be critical components of an early warning system before droughts, floods, landslides or hurricanes.
  • Smart buildings are also often part of a smart city project. Legacy infrastructure can be retrofitted and new buildings constructed with sensors to not only provide real-time space management and ensure public safety, but also to monitor the structural health of buildings.
    Singapore Financial District skyline at dusk.
  • Smart technology will help cities sustain growth and improve efficiency for citizen
    welfare and government efficiency in urban areas in the years to come.
    Water meters and manhole covers are just a couple of the other city components
    monitored by smart sensors. Free and/or publicly available Wi-Fi is another perk smart cities often include.
  • San Diego installed 3,200 smart sensors in early 2017 to optimize traffic and parking
    and enhance public safety, environmental awareness and overall livability for its
    residents. Solar-to-electric charging stations are available to empower electric vehicle use, and connected cameras help monitor traffic and pinpoint crime.
  • Often considered the gold standard of smart cities, the city-state of Singapore uses
    sensors and IoT-enabled cameras to monitor the cleanliness of public spaces, crowd
    density and the movement of locally registered vehicles. Its smart technologies help
    companies and residents monitor energy use, waste production and water use in real time. Singapore is also testing autonomous vehicles, including full-size robotic buses, as well as an elderly monitoring system to ensure the health and well-being of its senior citizens.
  • In Dubai, United Arab Emirates, smart city technology is used for traffic routing, parking, infrastructure planning and transportation. The city also uses telemedicine and smart healthcare, as well as smart buildings, smart utilities, smart education and smart tourism.
    Smart City Barcelona Spain
  • The Barcelona, Spain, smart transportation system and smart bus systems are complemented by smart bus stops that provide free Wi-Fi, USB charging stations and bus schedule updates for riders. A bike-sharing program and smart parking app that includes online payment options are also available. The city also uses sensors to monitor temperature, pollution and noise, as well as monitor humidity and rain levels.

(Sources: https://internetofthingsagenda.techtarget.com/definition/smart-city and https://www.engadget.com/2016/11/03/singapore-smart-nation-smart-city/)

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


What Can Architects Do To Design Safer Classrooms For Our Children? Part 4: Safety Guidelines For Schools

ILMA Classroom 11.pngPhoto Source: The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)

The Following is Based on the Final Report of the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission

School Site Perimeter Standards

  1. Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) is a crime prevention strategy that uses architectural design, landscape planning, security systems, and visual surveillance to create a potentially crime free environment by influencing human behavior and should be applied when appropriate.
  2. Fencing, landscaping, edge treatment, bollards, signage, exterior furnishings and exterior lighting may be used to establish territorial boundaries and clearly delineate areas of public, semi-public, semi-private, and private space.

Access Control

  1. School boundaries and property lines shall be clearly demarcated to control access to a school facility and shall clearly delineate areas of public, semi-public, semi-private, and private space.
  2. Where a school is a shared use facility that serves the community, internal boundaries shall be clearly defined to establish a distinct perimeter for both the school and the shared use facilities with separate and secure access points that are clearly defined. Boundaries may be defined by installing fencing, signage, edge treatment, landscaping, and ground surface treatment.
  3. The number of vehicle and pedestrian access points to school property shall be kept to a minimum and shall be clearly designated as such.
  4. Directional signage shall be installed at primary points of entry to control pedestrian and vehicular access and to clearly delineate vehicular and pedestrian traffic routes, loading/unloading zones, parking and delivery areas. Signage should be simple and have the necessary level of clarity. Signage should have reflective or lighted markings.
  5. A means shall be provided to achieve and enforce identity authentication and entry authorization at locations and areas established by school operations protocols.

Surveillance

  1. The design shall allow for the monitoring of points of entry/egress by natural and/or electronic surveillance during normal hours of operation and during special events.
  2. At minimum, electronic surveillance shall be used at the primary access points to the site for both pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
  3. All points of vehicular entry/egress shall be adequately illuminated to enhance visibility for purposes of surveillance.
  4. Designated pedestrian and vehicular traffic routes shall be adequately illuminated to reinforce natural and or electronic surveillance during evening hours.
  5. Locate access points in areas of high visibility that can be easily observed and monitored by staff and students in the course of their normal activities. Natural surveillance may be maximized by controlling access points that clearly demarcate boundaries and spaces.
  6. Video surveillance systems may be used around the site perimeter to provide views of points of entry/egress and as a means to securely monitor an area when natural surveillance is not available.
  7. Lighting should be sufficient to illuminate potential areas of concealment, enhance observation, and to provide for the safety of individuals moving between adjacent parking areas, streets and around the school facility.
  8. Consider the design of video surveillance systems which have the ability to be used locally (on site) by emergency responders and viewed off-site at appropriate locations.

Parking Areas and Vehicular and Pedestrian Routes

  1. At the minimum, electronic surveillance shall be used at the primary access points to the site for both pedestrian and vehicular traffic.
  2. Designated pedestrian and vehicular points of entry/egress and traffic routes shall be adequately illuminated to reinforce natural and or electronic surveillance.
  3. Signage shall be posted at all vehicular access points and in delivery zones, parking areas and bus loading/unloading zones with rules as to who is allowed to use parking facilities and when they are allowed to do so. Signage should be simple and have the necessary level of clarity. Signage should have reflective or lighted markings.
  4. Parking areas shall be adequately illuminated with vandal resistant lighting.
  5. Parking shall be prohibited under or within the school building.
  6. Adequate lighting shall be provided at site entry locations, roadways, parking lots, and walkways from parking to buildings.
  7. Gas service rooms, exterior meters/regulators shall be secured.
  8. External access to school facilities shall be kept to a limited number of controlled entrances. Vehicular circulation routes shall be separated and kept to a minimum of two routes per project site for purposes of separating service and delivery areas from visitors‘ entry, bus drop-off, student parking and staff parking. Circulation routes shall be separated, clearly demarcated, and easily supervised. Provide vehicle interdiction devices at building entries to preclude vehicle access into the building.
  9. A drop-off/pick-up lane shall be designated for buses only with a dedicated loading and unloading zone designed to adequately allow for natural and/or electronic surveillance and to avoid overcrowding and accidents.
  10. Design entry roads so that vehicles do not have a straight-line approach to the main building. Use speed-calming features to keep vehicles from gaining enough speed to penetrate barriers. Speed-calming features may include, but are not limited to, speed bumps, safety islands, differing pavement surfaces, landscape buffers, exterior furnishings and light fixtures.
  11. Signage text should prevent confusion over site circulation, parking, and entrance location. Unless otherwise required, signs should not identify sensitive or high risk areas. However, signs should be erected to indicate areas of restricted admittance and use of video surveillance.
  12. Parking areas should be designed in locations that promote natural surveillance. Parking should be located within view from the occupied building, while maintaining the maximum stand-off distance possible.
  13. Locate visitor parking in areas that provide the fewest security risks to school personnel. The distance at which a potentially threatening vehicle can park in relation to school grounds and buildings should be controlled.
  14. Consider illuminating areas where recreational activities and other nontraditional uses of the building occur. If video surveillance systems are installed, adequate illumination shall be designed to accommodate it.
  15. Consider blue light emergency phones with a duress alarm in all parking areas and athletic fields. If utilized, blue light emergency phones shall be clearly visible, readily accessible and adequately illuminated to accommodate electronic surveillance.
  16. Review vehicle access routes to the school and the site civil design with emergency responders to address their incident response requirements.
  17. Design walkways from all parking areas so that they can be observed from within the school by appropriate school staff.

Recreational Areas – Playgrounds, Athletic Areas, Multipurpose Fields

  1. The design shall allow for ground level, unobstructed views, for natural and/or electronic surveillance of all outdoor athletic areas, playgrounds and recreation areas at all times.
  2. Pre-kindergarten and kindergarten play areas shall be separated from play areas designed for other students and physically secured.
  3. Athletic areas and multipurpose fields at elementary school buildings shall contain a physical protective barrier to control access and protect the area.
  4. Playgrounds and other student gathering areas shall be located away from public vehicle access areas, such as streets or parking lots by a minimum of fifty (50) feet unless prohibited by site constraints.
  5. Consider a physical protective barrier around athletic areas and multipurpose fields at secondary school buildings to control access and protect the area.
  6. Locate access points to recreational areas in areas of high visibility that can be easily observed and monitored by staff and students in the course of their normal activities. Natural surveillance may be maximized by controlling access points that clearly demarcate boundaries and spaces.
  7. Pre-K and K play areas should be designed so that they have visual sight-lines to school staff. Fencing should not diminish this visual connection.
  8. Review the design of these areas with emergency responders to address their incident response requirements.

Communication Systems

  1. All classrooms shall have two way communications with the administrative office.
  2. All communication systems shall be installed in compliance with state building and fire code requirements.
  3. Emergency Communication Systems (ECS) and/or alarm systems shall have redundant means to notify first responders, supporting agencies, public safety officials and others of an event to allow for effective response and incident management. Alarm systems must be compatible with the municipal systems in place. These systems may include radio, electronic, wireless or multimedia technology which provides real time information (such as audio, visual, mapping and relevant data) directly to first responders. Points of Broadcast input for these systems shall be reviewed with emergency responders.  A minimum of 2 shall be provided.
  4. Emergency Communication Systems (ECS) shall be installed and maintained in accordance with NFPA 72, 2010, or the most current fire code standard adopted by the local/state construction code authority. ECS may include but is not limited to public address (PA) systems, intercoms, loudspeakers, sirens, strobes, SMS text alert systems, and other emerging interoperable resource sharing communication platforms. The design of these systems shall be reviewed with emergency responders.
  5. All new buildings shall have approved radio coverage for first responders within the building based upon the existing coverage levels of communication systems at the exterior of the building. The system as installed must comply with all applicable sections of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) Rules for Communication Systems and shall coordinate with the downlink and uplink pass band frequencies of the respective first responders. Perform a radio audibility and intelligibility test and modify system design accordingly.
  6. All in-building radio systems shall be compatible with systems used by local first responders at the time of installation.
  7. Call buttons with direct intercom communication to the central administrative office and/or security office should be installed at key public contact areas.
  8. Develop a strategy and “security team” and equip them with hand-held radios so they can be effective participants in the radio communications system.

School Building Exterior – Points of Entry/Egress and Accessibility

  1. Points of entry/egress shall be designed to allow for monitoring by natural and/or electronic surveillance during normal hours of operation and during special events.
  2. At minimum electronic surveillance shall be used at the primary points of entry.
  3. Lighting shall be sufficient to adequately illuminate potential areas of concealment and points of building entry, and, enhance natural and/or electronic surveillance, and discourage vandalism.
  4. Consider blue light emergency phones with a duress alarm along the building perimeter as needed to enhance security. If utilized, blue light emergency phones shall be clearly visible, readily accessible and adequately illuminated to accommodate electronic surveillance.
  5. Consider the use of forced entry resistance glazing materials for windows and glazed doors using laminated glass and/or polycarbonate to significantly improve forced entry delay time beyond standard glazing techniques. A five (5) minute forced entry solution should be the design standard.

Main Entrance / Administrative Offices / Lobby

  1. Main entrances shall be well lit and unobstructed to allow for natural and/or electronic surveillance at all times.
  2. The design shall allow for visitors to be guided to a single control point for entry.
  3. The main entrance assembly (glazing, frame, & door) shall be forced entry resistant to the project standard, with a forced entry time rating as informed by local law enforcement response timing.
  4. Plans shall carefully address the extent to which glazing is used in primary entry ways, areas of high risk and areas of high traffic and the degree to which glazing is installed or treated to be bullet, blast, or shatter resistant to enhance the level of security. The district‘s priorities for the use of natural surveillance, electronic surveillance, natural light and other related security measures may affect this decision and the overall level of security.
  5. Main entrance doors shall be capable of being secured from a central location, such as the central administrative office and/or the school security office.
  6. Video surveillance cameras shall be installed in such a manner to show who enters and leaves the building and shall be monitored at locations which are attended whenever the school is occupied.
  7. The design shall allow for providing visitor accessibility only after proper identification.
  8. The use of vestibules with forced entry resistant doors and glazing to the project standard should be the design standard.
  9. The central administrative offices and/or security offices should have an unobstructed view of the main entrance lobby doors and hallways. If feasible, administrative offices abutting the main entrance should be on an exterior wall with windows for natural surveillance of visitor parking, drop off areas, and exterior routes leading to the main entrance.
  10. Walls, forced entry resistant to the project standard, should be hardened in foyers and public entries. Interior and exterior vestibule doors should be offset from each other in airlock configuration.
  11. Use vestibules to increase security. The entrance vestibule shall have both interior and exterior doors that are lockable and controllable from a remote location and be designed to achieved enhanced force entry performance as identified to the project forced entry standards.
  12. When possible, the design should force visitors to pass directly through a screening area prior to entering or leaving the school. The screening area should be an entrance vestibule, the administration/reception area, a lobby check in station, an entry kiosk, or some other controlled area. This controlled entrance should serve as the primary control point between the main entrance and all other areas of the school.
  13. Control visitor access through electronic surveillance with intercom audio and remote lock release capability at the visitor entrance.
  1. Restrict visitor access during normal hours of operation to the primary entrance. If school buildings require multiple entry points, regulate those entry points with no access to people without proper identity authentication and entry authorization. Consider an electronic access control system for authorized persons if multiple entry points are utilized during normal hours of operation.
  2. Install a panic/duress alarm or call button at an administrative/security desk as a protective measure.
  3. Proximity cards, keys, key fobs, coded entries, or other devices may be used for access control of students and staff during normal hours of operation. The system may be local (residing in the door hardware) or global (building or district- wide). Prior to installing a customized door access control system refer to the local authority having jurisdiction for compliance with state building and fire code.
  4. Consider sensors that alert administrative offices when exterior doors at all primary and secondary points of entry are left open.
  5. Consider radio frequency access control devices at primary points of entry to allow rapid entry by emergency responders. Review this technology with the emergency responders which serve the school facility.
  6. Where “forced entry” required construction is required, the forced entry delay time shall be based on the ERTA, and have the forced entry designs informed/validated by a licensed architect, professional engineer or qualified security consultant.
  7. Provide closers on these doors so that they automatically return to a closed, latched, and locked position to preclude unauthorized entry.

Exterior Doors

  1. The design shall allow for the points of entry/egress to be monitored by natural and/or electronic surveillance during normal hours of operation and during special events.
  2. Lighting at these entry points shall be sufficient to illuminate potential areas of concealment, enhance natural and/or electronic surveillance, discourage and protect against vandalism.
  3. Tertiary exterior doors shall be hardened to be penetration resistant and burglar resistant.
  4. All exterior doors shall be equipped with hardware capable of implementing a full perimeter lockdown by manual or electronic means and shall be numbered per the SSIC standards.
  5. All exterior doors shall be easy to lock and allow for quick release in the event of an emergency by authorized personnel and emergency responders.
  6. All exterior doors that allow access to the interior of the school shall be numbered in sequential order in a clockwise manner starting with the main entrance. All numbers shall be visible from the street or closest point of entry/egress, contrast with its background and be retro-reflective.
  7. Doors vulnerable to unauthorized access may be monitored by adding door contacts or sensors, or may be secured through the use of other protective measures, such as delayed opening devices, or video surveillance cameras that are available for viewing from a central location, such as the central administrative office and/or security office.
  8. Specify high security keys and cylinders to prove access control.
  9. Provide closers on these doors so that they automatically return to a closed, latched, and locked position to preclude unauthorized entry.

Exterior Windows/Glazing/Films

  1. Windows may serve as a secondary means of egress in case of emergency. Any “rescue window” with a window latching device shall be capable of being operated from not more than forty-eight (48) inches above the finished floor.
  2. Each classroom having exterior windows shall have the classroom number affixed to the upper right-hand corner of the first and last window of the corresponding classroom. The numbers shall be reflective, with contrasting background and shall be readable from the ground plain at a minimum distance of fifty (50) feet.
  3. Plans shall carefully address the extent to which glazing is used in primary entry ways, areas of high risk and areas of high traffic and the degree to which glazing is installed or treated to be bullet, blast, or shatter resistant to enhance the level of security. The district‘s priorities for the use of natural surveillance, electronic surveillance, natural light and other related security measures may affect this decision and the overall level of security.
  4. Design windows, framing and anchoring systems to be shatter resistant, burglar resistant, and forced entry resistant to the project forced entry standards, especially in areas of high risk. Whenever feasible, specify force entry resistant glazing on all exterior glazing.
  5. Resistance for glazing may be built into the window or applied with a film or a suitable additional forced entry resistant “storm” window.
  6. Classroom windows should be operable to allow for evacuation in an emergency. Review with the authority having jurisdiction and fire department to balance emergency evacuation, external access, and security requirements.

School Building Interior

  1. Interior physical security measures are a valuable part of a school‘s overall physical security infrastructure. Some physical measures such as doors, locks, and windows deter, prevent or delay an intruder from freely moving throughout a school and from entering areas where students and personnel may be located. Natural and electronic surveillance can assist in locating and identifying a threat and minimizing the time it takes for first responders to neutralize a threat.
  2. The design shall provide for controlled access to classrooms and other areas in the interior that are predominantly used by students during normal hours of operation to protect against intruders.
  3. All interior room numbers shall be coordinated in a uniform room numbering system format. Numbering shall be in sequential order in a clockwise manner starting with the interior door closest to the main point of entry. Interior room number signage shall be wall mounted. Additional room number signage may be ceiling or flag mounted. Interior room number signage specifications and installation shall be in compliance with ADA standards and other applicable regulations as required.
  4. Record documentation drawings shall be kept which include floor plans with the room numbering system. These drawings shall be safeguarded but available for emergency responders. Review opportunities for emergency responders agencies to have these drawings as well.
  5. Review design opportunities to create interior safe havens with forced entry resistant walls and doors. These may be libraries, auditoriums, cafeterias, gyms or portions of school wings or blocks of classrooms.
  6. Establish separate entrance and exit patterns for areas that have concentrated high- volume use, such as cafeterias and corridors, to reduce time required for movement into and out of spaces and to reduce the opportunity for personal conflict. Separation of student traffic flow can help define orderly movement and save time, and an unauthorized user will perceive a greater risk of detection.
  7. Consider intruder doors that automatically lock when an intruder alarm or lockdown is activated to limit intruder accessibility within the building. If installed, intruder doors shall automatically release in the event of an emergency or power outage and must be equipped with a means for law enforcement and other first responders to open as necessary.

Interior Surveillance

  1. An intrusion detection system shall be installed in all school facilities.
  2. If video surveillance systems are utilized, the surveillance system shall be available for viewing from a central location, such as the central administrative office and/or the school security office, and at points of emergency responder incident management. Review these locations with emergency responders in the design phase.
  3. Consider electronic surveillance in lobbies, corridors, hallways, large assembly areas, stairwells or other areas (such as areas of refuge/safe havens) as a means to securely monitor those areas when natural surveillance is not available.
  4. The design of a school facility should allow for the designation of controlled hiding spaces. A controlled hiding place should create a safe place for students and personnel to hide and protect themselves in the event of an emergency. The controlled hiding space should be lockable and readily accessible. A controlled hiding space could be a classroom or some other designated area within the building.
  5. Design interior hallways and adjacent spaces to provide situational awareness of hallway conditions from these rooms, but also provide means to eliminate vision into these rooms as activated by room occupants.

Classroom Security

  1. All classrooms shall be equipped with a communications system to alert administrators in case of emergency. Such communication systems may consist of a push-to-talk button system, an identifiable telephone system, or other means.
  2. Door hardware, handles, locks and thresholds shall be ANSI/BHMA Grade 1.
  3. All classroom doors shall be lockable from the inside without requiring lock activation from the hallway, and door locks shall be tamper resistant.
  4. Classroom door locks shall be easy to lock and allow for quick release in the event of an emergency.
  5. Classroom doors with interior locks shall have the capability of being unlocked/ released from the interior with one motion.
  6. All door locking systems must comply with life safety and state building and fire codes to allow emergency evacuation.
  7. Provide doors between adjacent classrooms to provide means of moving classroom occupants from one classroom to the next as a means to relocate students and teachers from an impending hallway threat. Provide such doors with suitable locking hardware to preclude unauthorized tailgating.
  8. Provide closers on these doors so that they automatically return to a closed, latched, and locked position to preclude unauthorized entry.
  9. If classroom doors are equipped with a sidelight, the glazing should be penetration/forced entry resistant to the project forced entry standard.
  10. If interior windows are installed to provide lines of sight into/out of classrooms or other populated areas, certain factors should be taken into consideration relating to the size, placement and material used for those windows, including:
  11. Minimizing the size of windows or the installation of multiple interspersed smaller windows with barriers in a larger window area to deter intruder accessibility.
  12. Placing windows at a sufficient distance from the interior locking mechanism to prevent or make difficult the opening of a door or lock from outside.
  13. Concealing or obstructing window views to prevent an assailant‘s ability to ascertain the status or presence of persons inside of a classroom during lockdown.
  14. Hardening window frames and glazing to the project forced entry standards to lessen window vulnerability.

Large Assembly Areas (gym, auditorium, cafeteria, or other areas of large assembly)

  1. Points of entrance and egress shall be clearly demarcated and designed to meet the project forced entry standards.
  2. Lighting shall be sufficient to illuminate potential areas of concealment, enhance natural and/or electronic surveillance, discourage vandalism and protect against vandalism.
  3. Electronic surveillance should be used in large assembly areas and at all exit doors to securely monitor those areas when natural surveillance is not available.

Shared Space or Mixed Occupancy (library, BOE, mixed use or other community service)

  1. Shared space shall have separate, secure and controllable entrances.
  2. The design of shared space should prevent unauthorized access to the rest of the school.
  3. The design of shared space shall allow for the monitoring of points of entry/egress by natural and/or electronic surveillance during normal hours of operation.

Roofs

  1. The design shall allow for roof accessibility to authorized personnel only.
  2. Access to the roof should be internal to the building. Roof access hatches shall be locked from the inside.
  3. If external access exists, roof ladders should be removable, retractable, or lockable. Screen walls around equipment or service yards should not provide easy access to the roof or upper windows.
  4. Provide adequate lighting and controls for roof access means and roof access points into the school.

Critical Assets/Utilities

  1. Screens at utilities, such as transformers, gas meters, generators, trash dumpsters, or other equipment shall be designed to minimize concealment opportunities and adequate to preclude unauthorized access. Installation of screens at utilities shall be compliant with utility company requirements.
  2. Access to building operations systems shall be restricted to designated users with locks, keys and/or electronic access controls. Secure all mechanical rooms with intruder detection sensors.
  3. Loading docks shall be designed to keep vehicles from driving into or parking under the facility.
  4. Spaces with critical systems shall be provided appropriate graphics to be recognizable to emergency responders.
  5. Gas meter/regulator rooms shall be provided with forced entry resistant doors and to the project standards.
  6. Gas leak detection systems/sensors shall be installed wherever gas metering or appliances are installed.
  7. Shipping and receiving areas shall be separated from all utility rooms by at least fifty (50) feet unless prohibited by site constraints. If a site is determined to be physically constrained from reasonably meeting the fifty (50) foot separation requirement, maximize the separation distance between the receiving area and the utility room to the greatest extent possible. Utility rooms and service areas include electrical, telephone, data, fire alarm, fire suppression rooms, and mechanical rooms.
  8. Critical building components should be located away from vulnerable areas. Critical building components may include, but are not limited to:
    1. Emergency generator;
    2. Normal fuel storage;
    3. Main switchgear;
    4. Telephone distribution;
    5. Fire pumps;
    6. Building control centers;
    7. Main ventilation systems if critical to building operation.
    8. Elevator machinery and controls.
    9. Shafts for stairs, elevators, and utilities.

Security Infrastructure and Design Strategies

  1. The design shall include special rooms for hazardous supplies that can be locked.
  2. The design shall include secured spaces, closets, cabinets or means of protection to minimize the use of dangerous objects from shop, cooking or other similar occupancies.
  3. Egress stairwells should be located remotely and should not discharge into lobbies, parking or loading areas.
  4. Trash receptacles, dumpsters, mailboxes and other large containers shall be kept at least thirty (30) feet from the building unless prohibited by site constraints. If a site is determined to be physically constrained from reasonably meeting the thirty (30) foot separation requirement, maximize the separation distance to the greatest extent possible.

(Source: Final Report Of The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission)

Look out for our next post about “What Architects Can Do to Design Safer Classrooms for Our Children.”

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

 


What Can Architects Do To Design Safer Classrooms For Our Children? Part 3 Actions We Can Take To Promote Safe And Successful Schools

 ILMA Classroom 05.png

Photo Source: S&S Worldwide

Policies and funding that support comprehensive school safety and mental health efforts are critical to ensuring universal and long-term sustainability. However, school leaders can work toward more effective approaches now by taking the following actions:

  1. Work with School Leadership to promote, develop and establish a “Safety Team” that includes key personnel: principals, teachers, school-employed mental health professionals, instruction/curriculum professionals, school resource/safety officer, and a staff member skilled in data collection and analysis.
  2. Work with the school’s “Safety Team” assess and identify needs, strengths, and gaps in existing services and supports (e.g., availability of school and community resources, unmet student mental health needs) that address the physical and psychological safety of the school community.
  3. Assist with the evaluation of the safety of the school building and school grounds by examining the physical security features of the campus.
  4. Safety Team should review how current resources are being applied.
  5. Are school employed mental health professionals providing training to teachers and support staff regarding resiliency and risk factors?
  6. Do mental health staff participate in grade-level team meetings and provide ideas on how to effectively meet students’ needs?
  7. Is there redundancy in service delivery?
  8. Are multiple overlapping initiatives occurring in different parts of the school or being applied to different sets of students?
  9. Safety Team should implement an integrated approach that connects behavioral and mental health services and academic instruction and learning (e.g., are mental health interventions being integrated into an effective discipline or classroom management plan?).
  10. Safety Team should provide adequate time for staff planning and problem solving via regular team meetings and professional learning communities. Identify existing and potential community partners, develop memoranda of understanding to clarify roles and responsibilities, and assign appropriate school staff to guide these partnerships, such as school-employed mental health professionals and principals.
  11. Safety Team should provide professional development for school staff and community partners addressing school climate and safety, positive behavior, and crisis prevention, preparedness, and response.
  12. Safety Team should engage students and families as partners in developing and implementing policies and practices that create and maintain a safe school environment.
  13. As Architects we can assist the “Safety Team” by utilizing strategies developed by Crime prevention through environmental design(CPTED), a multi-disciplinary approach to deterring criminal behavior through environmental design. CPTED strategies rely upon the ability to influence offender decisions that precede criminal acts. Generally speaking, most implementations of CPTED occur solely within the urbanized, built environment. Specifically altering the physical design of the communities in which humans reside and congregate in order to deter criminal activity is the main goal of CPTED. CPTED principles of design affect elements of the built environment ranging from the small-scale (such as the strategic use of shrubbery and other vegetation) to the overarching, including building form of an entire urban neighborhood and the amount of opportunity for “eyes on the street”.

ILMA Classroom 06.png
Image Source: School Security – Threat and Vulnerability Assessments

Sources:

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) School Violence Prevention

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) Framework For Safe Schools

ILMA Classroom 10.pngILMA Classroom 09.pngILMA Classroom 08ILMA Classroom 07

Look out for our next post about “What Architects Can Do to Design Safer Classrooms for Our Children.”

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


What Can Architects Do To Design Safer Classrooms For Our Children? Part 1: Door Security Guidelines

 ILMA Classroom 01.pngPhoto Source: The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)

The increased number of school violence has created a growing public concern for safety in schools across North America and around the world. Each year, school administrators are faced with the challenge of finding ways of improving student safety from an active shooter situation despite budget cuts forcing them to defer costs for security upgrades. Unfortunately, these necessary improvements are put off, and only revisited after a horrific tragedy, such as a deadly school shooting. As a result of this type of reactionary response, coupled with mounting pressure from parent organizations, several states have or are considering changes to their building codes to allow for the installation of classroom door barricade devices. While these devices are perceived to provide immediate security, they have the significant potential to facilitate unintended consequences that could put students at even more risk and the school in risk of liability. (Source: “The Liability of Classroom Door Barricades” by Door Security & Safety Foundation)

Active Shooter Graph.pngModifying building codes to allow for door barricade devices might keep a gunman out of classrooms, but the unintended consequences associated with the devices could put children at even more risk and the school in liability. Yet, many states are seeking to change their codes under the false pretenses that door barricade devices are the only product that can secure a classroom. (Source: “Opening the Door to School Safety” by Door Security & Safety Foundation)

Door barricade devices in schools are intended to keep dangerous individuals out of classrooms, but what if that person is already in the room?

(Source: “Door barricade devices” by Door Security & Safety Foundation)

The National Association of State Fire Marshals “Guidelines” address door security devices, which are mandatory in many states as they are included as part of the International Building and Fire Codes and Life Safety Codes. They mandate that that locking mechanisms should be able to do the following: (1) provide immediate egress by being located between 34” and 48” above the floor, and not require special knowledge or effort, nor key or tool, nor require tight grasping, twisting, or pinching to operate, and accomplished with one operation; (2) be easily lockable in case of emergency from within the classroom without opening the door; (3) lockable and unlockable from outside the door.

Is your school secure in the event of a lockdown situation or an active shooter scenario? Safety isn’t just about closing the door; it’s also about opening it.

The National Association of State Fire Marshals recommends what classroom locking mechanisms can and should do. Follow these 3 easy steps to see if your classroom door locks meet these recommendations: (1) Opens from inside the room without requiring tight grasping, pinching or twisting of the wrist, and accomplished with one operation; (2) Locked and unlocked from the inside of a classroom without requiring the door to be opened, while still allowing staff entry in an emergency; (3) Locked automatically or have a simple locking mechanism such as a pushbutton, key, card, fob, fingerprint, etc., that can be locked from inside the classroom without having to open the door.

Safety Concerns Associated with Door Barricade Devices:

Non-Code Compliant:

  • These products fall short of building code requirements.
  • In most cases, these devices are not tested through the formal code process to ensure that the proper balance of life safety and security are met.

Delayed Response:

  • When someone, other than the classroom teacher, who doesn’t know where the barricade device is kept or how to install it properly is required to engage the device this could result in a delay at a critical time.

Unauthorized Engagement:

  • Storing a barricade device in a classroom makes crimes easier to carry out.
  • When used by an unauthorized person, barricades have the significant potential to facilitate unintended consequences such as bullying, harassment or physical violence.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the FBI, a member of the student body is most likely to commit violence on school grounds.

Blocked Entry:

  • Because these devices are intended to serve as a barricade and prevent access from the outside, a staff member or emergency responder would not be able to enter a classroom.
  • The intruders who carried out school shootings at Virginia Tech, the West Nickel Mines School and Platte Canyon High School each used materials to barricade the doors.
  • School districts looking to install classroom door barricades devices must also weigh the possibility of an exit being blocked during an emergency.
  • In the event of a fire, these devices could delay egress resulting in fatalities.
  • Fire is one of the leading reasons, in addition to countless other tragedies, that building codes have been adopted.
  • A case could be made by someone injured in a barricaded classroom against the school district because they failed to keep him or her safe while on school property.
  • The injured party could claim he or she was trapped inside a locked classroom with no way for safety officers to enter freely.
  • School administrators should only consider traditional, tested, locking products that meet the code requirements for providing life safety in addition to security.
  • These products allow the door to be locked from the inside of a classroom without requiring the door to be opened, yet allow authorized access by staff and emergency responders in case someone inside the room intends to cause harm or injury.

(Source: The Liability of Classroom Door Barricades by Door Security & Safety Foundation)

According to testimony presented to the Sandy Hook 1 “Barricade Device? Think Twice!” Lori Greene, AHC/CDC, FDAI, FDHI, CCPR. Doors & Hardware, May 2015. Advisory Commission, there is not one documented incident of an active shooter breaching a locked classroom door by defeating the lock. Maintaining a balance of life safety and security is possible today using proven products that meet the NFPA 101 Life Safety Code. New devices being introduced may provide some level of additional security but can seriously compromise certain other aspects of life safety; that is why we have codes and standards. Unfortunately, these devices do not meet codes and may negatively affect life safety in the case of other emergencies such as a fire, which statistically is more than three times more likely to happen than an active shooter situation.  (Source: Final Report Of The Sandy Hook Advisory Commission)

What are we trying to correct if there is not one documented incident of a classroom lock being defeated?” Based on the statistics cited by the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), to allow these products to be employed when they do not meet the codes is to put the public at greater harm.

  • “In 2012, students ages 12–18 were victims of about 1,364,900 nonfatal victimizations at school, including 615,600 thefts and 749,200 violent victimizations, 89,000 of which were serious violent victimizations.”
  • “During the 2009–10 school year, 85 percent of public schools recorded that one or more of these incidents of violence, theft, or other crimes had taken place, amounting to an estimated 1.9 million crimes.”
  • “During the 2011–12 school year, 9 percent of school teachers reported being threatened with injury by a student from their school. The percentage of teachers reporting that they had been physically attacked by a student from their school in 2011–12 (5 percent) was higher than in any previous survey year (ranging from 3 to 4 percent).”

(Source: DSSF White Paper Classroom Door Security)

When considering the selection of hardware which allows classroom doors to be lockable from inside the classroom, consideration should be given to the risks and potential consequences of utilizing a device which blocks the classroom door from the inside. For example, devices which prevent classroom doors from being unlocked and openable from outside the classroom may place the inhabitants of the room in peril. In addition to the requirement that classroom doors must be unlatchable in a single motion from inside the classroom (discussed above), these doors should always be unlockable and openable from outside the classroom by authorized persons.

RealView-Emergency-trends-infographic-FINAL.jpgSchool Security – Suggested Classroom Door Checklist

The “School Security – Suggested Classroom Door Checklist” identifies many parameters which should be satisfied when selecting and installing hardware on classroom doors intended to increase security in the classroom. (Source: Fire Marshals Classroom Door Security)

  • The door should be lockable from inside the classroom without requiring the door to be opened;
  • Egress from the classroom through the classroom door should be without the use of a key, a tool, special knowledge, or effort;
  • For egress, unlatching the classroom door from inside the classroom should be accomplished with one operation;
  • The classroom door should be lockable and unlockable from outside the classroom;
  • Door operating hardware shall be operable without tight grasping, tight pinching, or twisting of the wrist;
  • Door hardware operable parts should be located between 34 and 48 inches above the floor;
  • The bottom 10 inches of the “push” side of the door surface should be smooth;
  • If the school building does not have an automatic fire sprinkler system, the classroom door and door hardware may be required to be fire-rated and the door should be self-closing and self latching;
  • If the door is required to be fire-rated, the door should not be modified in any way that invalidates the required fire-rating of the door and / or door hardware;
  • In the Suggested Classroom Door Checklist, “should” is used throughout. However, based upon building codes, life safety codes, fire codes, and federal, state, and / or local laws and regulations that are applicable to a particular school, these requirements may be MANDATORY. Always check, and comply with, all applicable building and fire codes, life safety codes, and laws, regulations and other requirements.

Look out for our next post about “What Architects Can Do to Design Safer Classrooms for Our Children.”

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

 

 


What Can Architects Do To Design Safer Classrooms For Our Children? Part 2: Ideas & Safety Tips For Schools

ILMA Classroom 03.pngPhoto Source: The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP)

Safety Experts and Architects recommend that schools:

  1. Build a sturdy set of double doors at front entrance to control access.
  2. Position classrooms away from the front entrance.
  3. Install an intercom and a sturdy transaction window at front entrance.
  4. Separate and clearly mark a parent drop-off lane and a bus lane.
  5. Keep parking lot a distance away from school.
  6. Glaze first-floor windows with bullet-proof film or glass.
  7. Remove parking space signs reserved for specific people, which can indicate whether an administrator is inside.
  8. Number classrooms with signs that are visible down inside hallways and from outside the building.
  9. Install locks on all classroom and office doors.
  10. Trim shrubbery or trees that hug the building
  11. Install surveillance cameras
  12. Place bollards in front of the school building
  13. Compartmentalize after-school activities in one part of the building so the rest of the building can be secured after-hours

ILMA Classroom 04.pngImage Source: School Security – Threat And Vulnerability Assessments

Sources:

School Safety Infrastructure Council

Architecture and simple fixes can help improve school safety

Further Reading:

Door Barricades, Egress Requirements and Campus Safety

Look out for our next post about “What Architects Can Do to Design Safer Classrooms for Our Children.”

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


Start Here: Ready, Set, Go!

Welcome to by blog.  Over the past several years we have compiled knowledge from various authorities on the practice of architecture.  For those of you new to the site, we suggest you start here.  Enjoy!

Our Exclusive ILMA Interview with Jeff Venezia, AIA of @DIGroupArch

Our Exclusive ILMA Interview with Matthew B. Jarmel, AIA, MBA of @JarmelKizel

Our Exclusive ILMA Interview with Daniel D’Agostino, AIA of Plan Architecture

Our Exclusive ILMA Interview with Tim Witzig of @PKSBArchitects

Our Exclusive ILMA Interview with Toon Dreessen @ArchitectsDCA

Our Exclusive ILMA Interview with Felicia Middleton @UrbanAesthetics

Our Exclusive ILMA Interview with Enoch Sears @BusinessofArch

Our Exclusive ILMA Interview with Jenny Roets @Arch_Girl

Exclusive ILMA Interview with Kurt Kalafsky, AIA @KurtKalafsky

Our Exclusive ILMA Interview with ADA Specialist, Marcela Abadi Rhoads @Abadi_Access

Exclusive ILMA Interview with Tara Imani, AIA @Parthenon1 (Part 2)

Exclusive ILMA Interview with Tara Imani, AIA @Parthenon1 (Part 1)

ILMA Features Aspiring Architect, Ian Siegel

ILMA Features Aspiring Architect, John Fernandes

Ask the Architect: An Exclusive Interview with Architect @FrankCunhaIII

Exclusive Interview: Meet Architect Arnie Untoria of @USA_Architects

Exclusive #EcoMonday Interview with Architect Bill Reed with host @FrankCunhaIII (Part 1 of 3)

Exclusive #EcoMonday Interview with Architect Bill Reed with host @FrankCunhaIII (Part 2 of 3)

Exclusive #EcoMonday Interview with Architect Bill Reed with host @FrankCunhaIII (Part 3 of 3)

The TEN “Demandments” of Architecture by @WJMArchitect

The 10 most unusual things we’ve been asked to design so far, What About You? by @WJMArchitect and @FrankCunhaIII

The Blind Design Paradox in Architectural Design by @WJMArchitect

A well documented set of construction drawings NOW decreases additional “hidden” construction costs LATER! by @WJMArchitect

What would you say to young students thinking about a career in #Architecture? by @WJMArchitect (Part 2)

What would you say to young students thinking about a career in #Architecture? by @WJMArchitect (Part 1)

My Architecture Manifesto: “Architecture Shall Live On” by @FrankCunhaIII

We would love to hear from you on what you think about these posts. We sincerely appreciate all your comments – and – if you like this post please subscribe to our blog and 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


Bicycle Photographic Artwork

IMG_1626IMG_1627IMG_1631IMG_1622IMG_1621IMG_1620IMG_1623IMG_1625IMG_1629IMG_1624IMG_1632IMG_1628IMG_1630

Photos by FRANK CUNHA III (2015)
Media: iPhone photo
Post Edits: Snapseed App

 


What sets one construction company apart from another?

Guest post by Sarah Grey

ILMA

What sets one construction company apart from another?

With so many builders competing for your construction contract, finding the right one for your job

can be a real challenge, especially if you don’t have any direct experience in construction. From

the perspective of a professional Architect, here are some things to look out for when comparing

partners for your next big project.

A strong commitment to budget

Budget overruns are so frequent in the construction industry that they’ve almost become

a standard expectation, particularly when it comes to large commercial and civil projects.

Whilst there will always be unpredictable factors that can blow out your construction time, it’s

not unreasonable to expect that the final cost will be within 5-10% of your original contract.

Reputable construction companies will provide guaranteed fixed price contracts so you can rest

assured that your project will stay on budget.

Awards, but not just any awards…

Every industry has their own respected body that recognises and rewards industry leaders. By

the same token, there are also plenty of less knowledgeable bodies who are only in the awards

business to promote their own business instead of the industry as a whole. In the Australian

building industry, HIA is the premier industry representative. If the builder you’re considering

can show off recent awards related to your specific project, you can be quite confident that they

know what they’re doing.

After care

The law can only go so far to protect you from dodgy workmanship. It’s worth spending more

of your budget to secure a builder that offers a more extensive warranty. Be sure to check the

details thoroughly, it’s not just about the length of time, it’s also about their process for arranging

repairs or replacement of material.

Local project management

A dedicated Project Manager who regularly visits your site and is always on call is an absolute

must. Don’t settle for anything less.

Favorable Reviews

The most reputable home builders are equally liked by their mum and dad clients as they are

by architect clients. Whilst industry colleagues can provide valuable recommendations, it’s

easy to forget that many home-owner/builders are eagerly sharing their own reviews of building

companies online. Browse building company reviews on product review websites to see if there

are any client horror stories waiting to be discovered.

Specialist knowledge

An increasing number of builders are now offering ‘design and build’ services to their direct

clients. While there’s no doubt that this service offering is an inferior substitute for a professional

architect, this doesn’t mean that you should avoid working with them. The greater the

understanding your builder has of the design process and of the latest developments, the easier

they will be to work with.

Sarah Grey is a Writer and Marketer who works for a home building company.


“Art that Everyone Should Know” #3 by @SophiaFine

Friends,

I recently asked my friend Sophia Fine to compile a series of posts of artists and artwork that should be known in every household. 

This is the third in the series…Hope you enjoy it!

Sincerely,
Frank

Read the rest of this entry »