Benefits of Using Digital Twins for Construction

Technologies like augmented reality in construction are emerging to digitalize the construction industry, making it significantly more effective.

What if we could have instant access to all the information about a construction site, down to smallest details about every person, tool, and bolt? What if we could always be sure about the final measurements of a beam or that soil volumes in the cuts are close to those of the fills? What if we could always track how fast the supply of materials runs out, and re-order supplies automatically?

All this is achievable with a digital twin — a concept of having a real-time digital representation of a physical object.

The following are some real-time digital twins applications on construction sites.

3d-model

Automated Progress Monitoring

Progress monitoring verifies that the completed work is consistent with plans and specifications. A physical site observation is needed in order to verify the reported percentage of work done and determine the stage of the project.

By reconstructing an as-built state of a building or structure we can compare it with an as-planned execution in BIM and take corresponding actions to correct any deviations. This is usually done by reconstructing geometry of a building and registering it to the model coordinate systems, which is later compared to an as-planned model on a shape and object level.

Often data for progress monitoring is collected through the field personnel and can be hugely subjective. For example, the reported percentage of work done can be faster in the beginning and much slower close to the end of the project. People are often initially more optimistic about their progress and the time needed to finish the job.

Hence, having automated means of data collection and comparison means that the resulting model to as-designed BIM models is less liable to human error. Digital twins solve the common construction process problems.

As-Built vs As-Designed Models

With a real-time digital twins, it is possible to track changes in an as-built model — daily and hourly. Early detection of any discrepancies can lead to a detailed analysis of historical modeling data, which adds an additional layer of information for any further decision-making processes.

The project manager can then reconstruct the steps that led to the error and make changes in the future work schedule in order to prevent any similar mistakes from occurring. They can also detect under-performers and try to fix the cause of the problem earlier in the project or plan the necessary changes to the budget and timescale of the whole project.

Resource Planning and Logistics

According to the Construction Industry Institute, about 25% of productive time is wasted on unnecessary movement and handling of materials.

Digital twin technology provides automatic resource allocation monitoring and waste tracking, allowing for a predictive and lean approach to resource management. With digital twin technology companies would avoid over-allocation and dynamically predict resource requirements on construction sites, thus avoiding the need to move resources over long distances and improving time management.

Safety Monitoring

The construction industry is one of the most dangerous sectors in the world. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics in the United States, more than four thousand construction workers died on-site between 2008 and 2012.

The real-time site reconstruction feature digital twins allows the industry’s companies to track people and hazardous places on a site, so as to prevent inappropriate behavior, usage of unsafe materials, and activity in hazardous zones. A company can develop a system of early notification, letting a construction manager know when a field worker is located in dangerous proximity to working equipment and sending a notification about nearby danger to a worker’s wearable device.

Microsoft recently shared a great vision of how AI combined with video cameras and mobile devices can be used to build an extensive safety net for the workplace.

Quality Assessment

Image-processing algorithms make it possible to check the condition of concrete through a video or photographic image. It is also possible to check for cracks on columns or any material displacement at a construction site. This would trigger additional inspections and thus help to detect possible problems early on.

See an example of how 2D images using 3D scene reconstruction can be used for concrete crack assessments.

Optimization of Equipment Usage

Equipment utilization is an important metric that construction firms always want to maximize. Unused machines should be released earlier to the pool so others can use them on other sites where they are needed. With advanced imaging and automatic tracking, it is possible to know how many times each piece of machinery has been used, at what part of the construction site, and on what type of the job.

Monitoring and Tracking of Workers

Some countries impose tough regulations on how to monitor people presence on a construction site. This includes having a digital record of all personnel and their location within the site, so that this information could be used by rescue teams in case of emergency. This monitoring is another digital twins application. Still, it is better to integrate digital twin-based monitoring with an automatic entry and exit registration system, to have a multi-modal data fused into a single analytics system.

Getting Data for Digital Twins

Some ways to gather data to be used for digital twins includes the following:

  1. Smartphone Cameras
  2. Time-Lapse Cameras
  3. Autonomous UAV and Robots
  4. Video Surveillance Cameras
  5. Head-mounted Cameras and Body Cameras

Image data processing algorithms for digital twins can be created with the following methods:

  1. 3D Reconstruction: Conventional Photogrammetry
  2. 3D Reconstruction: Structure from Motion
  3. Object Detection and Recognition
  4. Localization
  5. Object Tracking

(Source: https://www.intellectsoft.net/blog/advanced-imaging-algorithms-for-digital-twin-reconstruction)

From an Investor’s Viewpoint

On projects to date, this approach has proven to save time, reduce waste and increase efficiencies.

From a Standardization Proponent’s Viewpoint

Open, sharable information unlocks more efficient, transparent and collaborative ways of working throughout the entire life-cycle of buildings and infrastructure.

From a Solution Provider’s Viewpoint 

While the digital twin is needed initially for planning and construction, it’s also intended to provide the basis for building operations moving forward.

(Source: https://www.siemens.com/customer-magazine/en/home/buildings/three-perspectives-on-digital-twins.html)

The vision of “construction 4.0” refers to the 4th industrial revolution and is a fundamental challenge for the construction industry. In terms of automated production and level of digitalization, the construction industry is still significantly behind other industries. Nevertheless, the mega-trends like Big Data or the Internet of Things offer great opportunities for the future development of the construction sector. Prerequisite for the successful Construction 4.0 is the creation of a digital twin of a building. Building Information Modeling (BIM) with a consistent and structured data management is the key to generate such a digital building whose dynamic performance can be studied by building simulation tools for a variety of different boundary conditions.

Along the total life cycle from design to construction, operation and maintenance towards remodeling or demolition, the digital twin follows all modifications of the real building and dynamically readjusts itself in case of recorded performance differences.

Thus, for the whole life span of the real building, performance predictions generated with the virtual twin represent an accurate basis for well-informed decisions. This helps to develop cost-effective operation modes, e.g. by introducing new cyber-controlled HVAC systems. The digital twin may also analyze the building’s dynamic response to changes in occupation or energy supply; it also indicates the need for building maintenance or upgrades.

The digital twin follows all modifications of the real building and dynamically readjusts itself in case of recorded performance differences.

(Source: https://www.bau.fraunhofer.de/en/fieldsofresearch/smartbuilding/digital-twin.html)

Gartner-digital-twin-best-practices-to-tackle-challenges

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


New Project Under Construction Designed by @FC3ARCHITECT

Dear Readers,

We are sharing a recent project we completed the design and it is currently under construction.  As you can see it is quite an expansion to a modest home.  We are happy to see it is on schedule and on budget and should be completed this summer.

IMG_0612IMG_0616IMG_0611IMG_0610IMG_0614IMG_0615IMG_0613IMG_0618IMG_0621IMG_0619IMG_0617IMG_0620IMG_0609IMG_0608We 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!

FRANKCUNHAIII


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.


Under Construction: Hurricane Sandy Rebuild #JerseyShore #Residential Designed by @FC3ARCHITECT

* * * UNDER CONSTRUCTION * * *

This home was impacted by Hurricane Sandy.

The repairs and alternations will include aesthetic enhancements and updates.

Click Here for more info.

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*** All Photos Taken & Provided by Homeowner ***

Architect:   FC3 Architecture + Design

Builder:   Fortis Developers

Budget:   Withheld at Owner’s Request

Location:   Linden, NJ

Linden - Ranch Transformation

EXISTING ELEVATIONS:

linden - existing

PROPOSED ELEVATIONS:

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1302 Horta Residence - 545 Birchwood Road Linden NJ

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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

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in CT, DC, DE, FL, MD, NJ, NY, PA.


Restoration to a Custom Home – Currently Under Construction (Northern NJ) Designed by @FC3ARCHITECT

FC3 Architecture + Design LLC was brought on board as the design professional to address the damage to this existing home due to plumbing failures.  This large four-bedroom suburban home located in Northern NJ (approximately 5,690 square feet) is in the process of being completely restored — just about every square inch of the home was damaged, repaired, and restored.  This presentation chronicles the “before” and “during construction” photographs.  We hope to upload the photos of the final project in the near future.

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PROJECT COST:
Withheld

HOME OWNER:
Withheld

CONTRACTOR:
QUALITY CONSTRUCTION & DESIGN, LLC
17 New Hampshire Street
Newton, NJ 07860

ARCHITECT:
Frank Cunha III, AIA, NCARB, LEED Green Assoc.
Principal / CEO / Registered Architect
Licensed in CT, DE, FL, NJ, NY, PA
Website: http://www.frankcunha.com

ARCHITECTURE FIRM:
FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335
Hamburg, NJ 07419
Tel. (973) 718.4640
Fax. (973) 718.4641
Email: fcunha@fc3arch.com
Website: http://fc3arch.com
Blog: https://fc3arch.wordpress.com/about-frank

I.LM.A. Team
I Love My Architect – Facebook


Under Construction (Wyckoff, NJ) Designed by @FC3ARCHITECT

Our Latest Addition Under Construction – Family Room and Workshop

More before and after photos to follow….

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Photo credits: General Contractor, JTS SERVICES LLC

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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

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.


How Can Architects Produce More Effective Construction Documents? by @FrankCunhaIII

Ask the Architect


by Frank Cunha III

What are some inherent problems with producing Construction Drawings?

  • Some details are not build-able.
  • Budget.
  • Schedule.
  • Inaccurate references and/or dimensions.
  • Missing information.
  • Coordination (or lack of).

How can we make the construction process better?

  • Make better CDs (drawings and specifications) upfront instead of waiting for a problem in the field to solve later.
  • Make drawings sufficient. Do not keep adding drawings, but coordinate the ones you have – in other words know when to say when. The drawings will never be as complete as you would like, but do not compromise the coordination of the drawings.
  • Remember: the drawings have to be sufficient to meet the required “standard of care.”
  • As time goes on the cost of a mistake rises (exponentially). It is important to avoid mistakes early on preferable before bid or construction phase.
  • Quality Control (QC) is too late at the end of CD phase or Construction phase.

What are some goals during the Construction Document phase?

  • Productivity (design with standards for efficiency when ever possible).
  • Thorough, user friendly (for the code officials, general contractor, and subcontractors).
  • Sufficient information.
  • Good coordination.
  • Consistency (look and feel of drawings).

How can Architect, Engineer, or Designer manage information more efficiently?

  • Have standard sheets and details (cover sheets, partition types, toilet details, window details, door schedule and details, finish schedule, millwork/casework schedule and details, sealant schedule, miscellaneous metals schedules, etc.)
  • Focus on “atypical” details.
  • Show dimensions, quantities on a single drawing to avoid conflicts. Do not repeat similar notes. Put all of typical notes on one detail and refer other details back to typical detail.
  • Follow principle of single statement – reduction of redundancy.
  • Be frugal: use time and resources wisely.
  • Avoid using similar scales (i.e., 1/8” and 1/16” OR 1/4” and 1/2”) whenever possible because information will be similar. Jump up or down at least 2 scales to avoid redundancy.
  • How are words and #’s perceived? Reference with words rather than #’s. Keep key notes straightforward and simple.
  • Wall section should be a “road map” like a plan where vertical dimensions and details are referenced. Avoid referencing typical conditions where possible.
  • Think of CDs as a story board (i.e., “defrag” your working drawings like you “defrag” you computer). Begin with the end in mind!
  • Include a schedule and instruction system at the front of the set to make it easier for the contractor to reference. Do not split up details that are related (i.e., keep plan, details, section details together not on ‘standard” sheets 20 drawings away from referenced drawing; keep references close, preferably on the same/next sheet when possible). This will make the subcontractor’s work easier and the construction process more efficient.
  • Save time by creating schedules for sealants and miscellaneous metals so you do not have to include them in every detail.
  • Coordinate, cross-reference, and remove redundancies from construction drawings and specifications.

How can an Architect, Engineer, or Designer save time on Typical Details?

  • Create a default: Select the most common type of door and state that is the typical door unless otherwise noted. Try to minimize the documentation of exceptions by creating different typical conditions. This way you only have to document the exceptions or atypical situations and avoid redundancy.
  • Try to figure out what is different that the default and illustrate those conditions.

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

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.


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

By Bill Martin

A well documented project drawing set has a big impact on construction cost.

Less detail in the plan means more extra cost during the construction.

A well documented project gives the client maximum negotiating leverage with contractors during competitive bidding, this saves much more than the cost of the architects fee, reducing the total construction cost by thousands.

Listing out all of the fees and expenses and pushing to minimize each expense will not result in the lowest possible total cost.

There is an inverse relationship between construction cost and architects fee.

A well documented project drawing set may require more for an architects fee, but has a big impact on reducing total construction cost.

Learn more by clicking Bill’s website: WJM Architect

 

WJM PICT0008C

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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

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.


On the Boards and Under Construction (Cranford, New Jersey) Designed by @FC3ARCHITECT

Our latest project is a new BBQ Restaurant located in the center of town.  Wish us luck!

Click here to see more projects.

Rebel BBQ on Facebook.

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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

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.


The Freedom Tower (Under Construction)

One World Trade Center (1 World Trade Center), more simply known as 1 WTC and formerly known as the Freedom Tower, is the lead building of the new World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan in New York City. The tower will be located in the northwest corner of the World Trade Center site, and will occupy the location where the original 8-story 6 World Trade Center once stood. The north side of the tower runs between the intersection of Vesey and West streets on the northwest and the intersection of Vesey and Washington streets on the northeast, with the site of the original North Tower/1 WTC offset to the southeast. Construction on below-ground utility relocations, footings, and foundations for the building began on April 27, 2006. On March 30, 2009, the Port Authority confirmed that the building will be known by its legal name of ‘One World Trade Center’, rather than the colloquial name ‘Freedom Tower’. Upon completion, One World Trade Center will be the tallest building in the United States, standing at a height of 1,776 feet (541.3 m), and among the tallest buildings in the world. It will be completed by the end of 2013.

Along with One World Trade Center, the new World Trade Center site will feature three other high-rise office buildings along Greenwich Street and the National September 11 Memorial & Museum. The construction is part of an effort to memorialize and rebuild after the original World Trade Center complex was destroyed during the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Upon completion, One World Trade Center will become the tallest all-office building in the world.

The following photo by Frank Cunha III was taken from the Empire State Building.


Project Under Construction (North Arlington, NJ) Designed by @FC3ARCHITECT

Private Residence – North Arlington NJ

This residential project designed by FC3 Architecture + Design, LLC (Rudy Martinez) is currently under construction in North Arlington, New Jersey.

The client’s were looking for a tasteful modern aesthetic in this “fixer-upper” home that would blend nicely with the surrounding neighborhood.

The entire home was redesigned/renovated from top to bottom and a modern kitchen and living room addition were added to the existing structure.

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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

FC3 ARCHITECTURE+DESIGN, LLC
P.O. Box 335, Hamburg, NJ 07419
e-mail: fcunha@fc3arch.com
mobile: 201.681.3551
direct: 973.970.3551
fax: 973.718.4641
web: http://fc3arch.com
Licensed in NJ, NY, PA, DE, CT.


Why Is Green Design and Construction Important?

"Man And Nature" by Agim Sulaj

 

A “green” building is one that has been designed and constructed (or renovated) to incorporate design techniques, technologies, and materials that lessen its dependence on fossil fuels and minimize its overall negative environmental impact.

One of the greatest benefits of green buildings is their decreased energy demand, which in turn helps reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, buildings account for:

  • 36% of total energy use and 65% of electricity consumption
  • 30% of greenhouse gas emissions
  • 30% of raw materials use
  • 30% of waste output (136 million tons annually)
  • 12% of potable water consumption

An increase in the adoption of green building practices could reduce this energy consumption significantly. Additionally, building occupants will benefit from healthier indoor environments as well as higher productivity levels.


GREEN LINKS

    1. 13 Examples of Green Architecture
    2. Materiality and Green Architecture: The Effect of Building Materials on Sustainability and Design
    3. Green Glass at Corning Museum
    4. @babfari Recognized for Green Architecture and Design
    5. 10 Simple Steps To Living Green Tips
    6. Who or What is the US Green Building Council
    7. Why Is Green Design and Construction Important?
    8. High Performance Building Design
    9. Passive Temperature Control and Other Sustainable Design Elements to Consider
    10. You Know LEED, But Do You Know WELL?
    11. Creating High Performance Buildings through Integrative Design Process
    12. Awesome LEED Project in NJ ::: “CENTRA” by @KohnPedersenFox
    13. Contemporary Mediterranean Home With a “Breathing” Eco-Façade
    14. What is a High Performance School?
    15. Exclusive #EcoMonday Interview with Architect Bill Reed with host @FrankCunhaIII (Part 1 of 3)
    16. Exclusive #EcoMonday Interview with Architect Bill Reed with host @FrankCunhaIII (Part 2 of 3)
    17. Exclusive #EcoMonday Interview with Architect Bill Reed with host @FrankCunhaIII (Part 3 of 3)
    18. Team New Jersey To Make Precast Concrete Solar House Reality and @RutgersU and @NJIT Compete in 2012 Solar Decathlon
    19. The 2030 Challenge for Planning @Arch2030
    20. What is The 2030 Challenge? @Arch2030
    21. Sustainable Cities
    22. Cool Concrete Home in Jersey 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


    Glossary of Green Terminologies

    The following is a quick reference guide to get you started understanding the jargon associated with green design and construction. We hope you find it useful.

    1,000 ppm

    One thousandth parts per million is the minimum disclosure threshold. Manufacturer measures and discloses all intentionally added ingredients and residuals that exist in the product at 1000 ppm (0.1%) or greater. These may  trigger a GreenScreen Benchmark (BM-1 or LT-1) or Possible Benchmark 1 (BM-P1 or LT-P1).

    10,000 ppm (As per MSDS)

    Manufacturer discloses all intentionally added ingredients and residuals that exist in a product. This is the threshold that is required by current MSDS standards

    100 ppm

    One hundred parts per million is the ideal disclosure threshold. Manufacturer measures and discloses all intentionally added ingredients and residuals that exist in the product at 100 ppm (0.01%) or greater. These may trigger a GreenScreen Benchmark (BM-1 or LT-1) or Possible Benchmark 1 (BM-P1 or LT-P1).

    Accessory Materials

    Used for the installation, maintenance , cleaning and operations materials; including materials recommended by warranty. For example, if a carpet requires a specific type of adhesive. The adhesive would be the accessory materials.

    Assessment

    the evaluation of the toxicological properties (hazards) of chemicals; evaluates exposure and risk assessment in relation to both environmental and human health scenarios.

    Associated Hazard

    disclosure of the health hazards associated with each ingredient; Portico uses a minimum set of authoritative chemical hazard lists against which ingredients are screened for human health and environmental hazards.

    Asthmagen

    Asthmagens are substances that are known to cause or exacerbate asthma. Asthma is a complex disease, and there is not enough evidence to point to any single cause. Public health agencies often report dust, pet dander, environmental air pollution, tobacco smoke, respiratory infections, mold, exercise, and stress as common triggers of asthma attacks.

    Health organizations have also identified a number chemical asthmagens, including many that are commonly used in building materials, such as floorings, insulations and cabinet substrates. These chemicals include: formaldehyde, toluene, styrene, BPA and certain phthalate plasticizers.

    Despite better management of asthma through medication, improved outdoor air quality and a dramatic decline in tobacco smoking, the incidence of asthma has continued to rise, especially in children — and in particular among children who are living in poverty.

    Authoritative chemical hazard lists

    a list of chemicals and their association to human health or environmental hazards. These lists are created by an expert assessment of scientific evidence by a recognized authoritative body.

    Biobased

    “Biobased” is a term used in the marketing materials of many types of products. While biobased technically describes a product made from a living material (soybean oil, wool, etc.) marketing materials may stretch this definition to include minerals or other naturally occurring materials that aren’t renewable, or suggest that an entire product is made of biobased materials, when in fact only a small percentage of the product is.

    Blowing Agent

    A class of chemicals that can generate foam in materials, such as those used in insulation, which later harden or solidify into long-lasting structures. Many are known to possess extremely high global warming potential; chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) have been mostly eliminated from new production since the 2000s, but hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) are still prevalent. Blowing agents, as a class of products used in building product manufacture, are in an active transition toward healthier and more environmentally friendly options.

    CAS Number

    chemical abstract service number is a unique numerical identifier for every chemical described in open scientific literature of elements, chemical compounds, polymers and other substances.

    Carcinogen/Cancer

    Can cause or contribute to the development of cancer.

    Characterization

    identification and disclosure of ingredients and all hazards associated with ingredient components in the product/material formulation.

    Common Product Profile

    A profile of a generic, non-manufacturer-specific product type that contains: a brief description of the product type, the expected composition of the product based on publicly available sources, and corresponding health hazards inherent to this composition. Common Product Profiles (CPs) developed as part of the Quartz Project include additional information about the life cycle of the product, such as its contribution to global warming. See http://www.quartzproject.org/ for more information on CPs.

    Developmental Toxicant

    Can cause harm to a developing child, including birth defects, low birth weight, and biological or behavioral problems that appear as the child grows.

    Disclosure Threshold

    the level at which all intentionally added ingredients and residuals in the product/material formulation are disclosed (1,000 ppm, 100 ppm, or other). Different standards require specific disclosure threshold. MSDS (Materials Safety Data Sheets require minimum of 10,000ppm.

    Endocrine/Hormone Disruptor

    Can interfere with hormone communication between cells which controls metabolism, development, growth, reproduction, and behavior (the endocrine system). Linked to health effects such as obesity, diabetes, male reproductive disorders, and altered brain development.

    Environmental Attributes

    this information can be found in an EPD, LCA, or other studies of global warming impact, carbon content, and embodied energy. We recommend providing this information (when available) because it will be helpful for LEED and LBC regional credit documentation and carbon accounting.

    Flame Retardants

    Flame retardants are chemical additives to building products that reduce their flammability. They are commonly found in textiles, plastics, coatings, finishes and foams. Halogenated flame retardants – those made with chlorine or bromine – are particularly toxic to human health, and the planet.

    Flue-Gas Desulfurization (FGD)

    Flue-gas desulfurization is an environmental control technology installed in the smokestacks of coal-fired power plants designed to remove pollutants from the air. These controls are also called “scrubbers”. Once the scrubbers are full of sulfur dioxide, they are often used to create synthetic gypsum. FGD gypsum can be used in drywall, but also in concrete and other applications where mined gypsum can be used. FGD can contain heavy metals such as mercury that can be released into the air when it is incorporated into these products.

    Formaldehyde

    Formaldehyde is a colorless gas used as a preservative and disinfectant in the building industry, and in the manufacture of polymers. Formaldehyde is carcinogenic, irritates the eyes, nose, and lungs, and is known to react with other atmospheric chemicals to produce the deadly gas carbon monoxide. Formaldehyde is used in some paints and adhesives, in some fabric treatments, and, significantly, in the manufacture of polymeric binding resins used in a wide variety of building products. Phenol formaldehyde, urea formaldehyde, and melamine formaldehyde are all known to release formaldehyde over time long after product installation in residential and commercial spaces.

    Global Warming

    Can absorb thermal radiation, increasing the temperature of the atmosphere and contributing to climate change.

    Global Warming Potential (GWP)

    Known as “greenhouse gasses,” certain gasses have the ability to warm the earth by absorbing heat from the sun and trapping it the atmosphere. Global Warming Potential is a tool that allows scientists to compare the severity of greenhouse gasses based on how much heat they can trap, and how long they remain in the atmosphere. By using carbon dioxide for each comparison, a larger GWP number, the more a gas warms the earth, and contributes to climate change.

    Look for GWP data on Environmental Product Declarations, and learn more about interpreting these numbers at http://www.epa.gov/ghgemissions/understanding-global-warming-potentials.

    GreenScreen

    short for “GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals”, a chemical disclosure and assessment standard  developed by Clean Production Action to rank chemicals along a four point scale between the most toxic chemicals and the most benign to guide substitution efforts.

    HPD

    also known as Health Product Declaration. It is a standardized format that allows manufacturers to share contents of their products, including any hazardous chemicals.

    HPD-1

    status marked for products that have a Health Product Declaration with full ingredient and hazard listings and a hazard translator with a disclosure threshold of 1000 or 100 ppm; can contain LT-1 scored components

    HPD-2

    status marked for products that have a Health Product Declaration with full ingredient and hazard listings and a hazard translator with a disclosure threshold of 1000 or 100 ppm; can NOT contain LT-1 scored components

    HPD-Partial

    status marked for products that have a Partial Health Product Declaration and have characterization of hazards and hazard translator for ingredients; exceptions are acceptable with a disclosure threshold of 1000 ppm

    Hazard

    Hazard is an intrinsic property of a substance – its potential to harm humans or some part of the environment based on its physical structure and properties. We can assess the hazard of a chemical or material by reviewing the scientific evidence for the specific kinds of harm that a substance can cause (often called the endpoints), such as damage to the human reproductive system, or the onset of asthma. On HomeFree, hazards are displayed with a color indicating the level of concern for each one. Purple is the highest level of concern, followed by red, and then orange.

    Because very few products on the market are made with ingredients that have no hazards, you should expect to see hazards called out, even for products that are considered healthier options. The trick is to compare hazards between products, and whenever possible, prefer the product with fewer hazards.

    Health Endpoint

    A disease symptom or related marker of a health impact on a human or other organism. Examples of human health endpoints include carcinogenicity (causes cancer), reproductive and developmental toxicity, respiratory sensitization, etc. Health endpoints are due to the inherent hazards of a substance, and are determined by authoritative bodies, such as the US EPA or the National Institutes of Health.

    Information Request Sent

    this means that an email letter has been sent to the manufacturer requesting information about a specific product. This IR may ask the manufacturer to share HPD type data, a GreenScreen Assessment, or a C2C certification in order to meet Google’s Healthy Materials criteria

    Intentional Content

    each discrete chemical, polymer, metal, bio-based material, or other substance added to the product by the manufacturer or supplier that exists in the product as delivered for final use requires its own line entry and must account for over 99% of the total product. To add content you may enter it by using a CAS registry number, chemical name, abbreviations, common/ trade names, genus/species (for biobased materials), product or manufacturer name (for components)

    Inventory

    list of product contents, ingredients

    Lifecycle

    In biology, the term “lifecycle” describes the arc an organism undergoes from birth, through stages of growth and development, to its death. When applied to building products, “lifecycle”describes the arc that chemicals or materials take from the extraction of the raw materials needed for their creation, through their synthesis and inclusion in a building product, the period of time that the product is installed in a building, its eventual removal from the building, and its disposal/reuse/recycling at the end of its useful life. Products (and the chemicals and materials used to make them) often present human and environmental health hazards at any step in this lifecycle.

    Material Health

    listing the ingredients and present chemical hazards of a product and optimizing towards safer materials

    Mutagen

    Can cause or increase the rate of mutations, which are changes in the genetic material in cells. This can result in cancer and birth defects.

    Optimization

    the absence of any “chemicals of concern” in the product/material formulation.

    Ozone Depletion

    Can contribute to chemical reactions that destroy ozone in the earth’s upper atmosphere.

    PBTs

    Persistent, Bio-accumulative Toxicants; these are chemicals that are toxic, persist in the environment, bioaccumulate in the food chains, and consequently pose risks to the human health and environment

    Persistent Bioaccumulative Toxicant (PBT)

    Does not break down readily from natural processes, accumulates in organisms, concentrating as it moves up the food chain, and is harmful in small quantities.

    Portico

    formerly known as the Healthy Materials Tool; is a new portal for entering and accessing building  product data. Portico is a database that allows project teams unparalleled access to a vast selection of building products. Portico automatically screens manufacturer product information so that products are available in front of Google’s design teams right away.

    Predicted from Process Chemistry

    Fully disclosed projected residuals based on process chemistry. This option is suggested for manufacturers without the capability of measuring actual residuals. Indicate the tool or other basis for prediction in the Disclosure Notes. The HBN Pharos tool is an example of a tool that predicts potential residuals.

    Publish

    share HPD information solely to Google, not to general public. If public, please share public URL in the transparency section

    Reproductive Toxicant

    Can disrupt the male or female reproductive systems, changing sexual development, behavior or functions, decreasing fertility, or resulting in loss of a fetus during pregnancy.

    Residual Content

    the by-product of a reaction of two or more chemicals that are used in the manufacturing process; known as trace substances remaining in the product from manufacturing steps (such as monomers and catalysts) or contaminants that come with raw materials. Residuals can be known from testing as well as estimated from process chemistry assessment. Predicted from Process Chemistry definition noted above.

    Respiratory Sensitization/Asthmagen

    Can result in high sensitivity such that small quantities trigger asthma, rhinitis, or other allergic reactions in the respiratory system. This can can exacerbate current asthma as well as cause the disease of asthma.

    Screening

    review contents against authoritative chemical hazard lists. Health Product Declaration standard uses screening as a pathway to understand and assess products for any human health hazard endpoints.

    Self-declared

    a product disclosure and screening/assessment which is created “in-house” by the manufacturer of the product, and does not utilize a third party assessor.

    Third Party Assessor

    an independent assessment body which is not affiliated with the manufacturer or the product.

    Tint

    Tints are a mix of pigments and other ingredients that give paints their distinct color. These tints can be a substantial source of VOC content in addition to whatever VOCs are in the paint itself. Darker and richer colors will tend to be higher in VOC content. Some manufacturers have developed low or zero VOC tint lines that can be used to insure that a low VOC paint product remains so even in dark or rich colors.

    Transparency

    the level of product/material formulation information (including ingredients names and associated hazards) being shared by the manufacturer with the end users (i.e. public, third party, Google).  Portico’s transparency category gives points to manufacturers who share product information (HPD) publicly rather than just to Google.

    VOC

    Volatile Organic Compound

    VOC Content

    provide the regulatory VOC content  for liquid/wet applied product in g/L; if the VOC content has not been third party certified and there is no standard for the product, indicate “none” on the VOC content line. If the product is not wet applied, indicate N/A

    VOC Emission

    emissions testing and certification for any product for which the current version of the CDPH (CA Department of Public Health) Standard Method provides emission scenarios

    VOCs

    Volatile organic compounds (VOC) means any compound of carbon (excluding carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, carbonic acid, metallic carbides or carbonates, and ammonium carbonate), which react in the atmosphere in the presence of sunlight.

    Verification

    assessments verified by an independent, third party assessor, in compliance with specific requirements pertaining to the standard at hand.

    Zero VOC

    5 g/L cutoff threshold recognized by SCAQMD for products that are Zero VOC

    ppm

    parts per million (1,000 ppm = 0.1%; 100 ppm = 0.01%).

    (Source: https://homefree.healthybuilding.net/glossary)

    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


    Top 20: Technology & Innovation Ideas For Architects

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

    1. High Performance Building Design
    2. 3-D Printing
    3. Connected Spaces
    4. Benefits of Using Digital Twins for Construction
    5. Digital Twins
    6. Drone Technology
    7. Artificial Intelligence
    8. Immersive Experience in Architecture
    9. Smart Cities
    10. Big Data in Architecture
    11. Creating High Performance Buildings through Integrative Design Process
    12. Forget Blueprints, Now You Can Print the Building
    13. The 7 Dimensions of Building Information Modeling
    14. Parametric Architecture and Generative Design System
    15. Architecture Robots
    16. Internet of Spaces
    17. Sustainable Design Elements to Consider While Designing a Project
    18. What is a High Performance School?
    19. What is BIM? Should Your Firm Upgrade? by @FrankCunhaIII
    20. Renewable Wave Power Energy

    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