Our Exclusive ILMA Interview with Rosario Mannino @RSMannino

Rosario Mannino was born and raised in New Jersey.  He holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Florida Atlantic University and a Professional Certificate from New York University in Construction Project Management. Eight years after graduating from FAU, Mannino founded the Architect-Led Design-Build company RS|MANNINO Architecture + Construction.  RS|MANNINO builds on our diverse professional and construction backgrounds to provide a balanced and thoughtful approach to our clients’ projects. Together with our trusted network of professionals, trade and supplier resources, we bring the expertise and hands-on experience in architecture, design, engineering, construction trades, and project management necessary to make every project we take on a success. They approach everything we do with a commitment to an integrated design and construction process.  For more information visit them online FacebookTwitter; LinkedInWebsite

ILMA INTERVIEW

When did you first become interested in Architect-Led Design-Build?

I knew I wanted to be an architect from a very young age.  Growing up around construction, I was so intrigued by the entire process.  I loved being on the job site watching the architectural plans unfold into a beautiful home or building.  I always thought I had to decide on which path to pursue: architecture vs. construction/office vs. jobsite.  I had been exploring the idea of both disciplines from a very young age, and it grew into a focused research project for me by the time I reached high school.  I don’t think there was ever this “ah ha” moment.  It was a passion that I had from the start.

Can you describe the process of ALDB?

As the Architect, we contract with the owner both to design and to construct a building, and we procure the construction services by contracting directly with the various construction trades.

Can you walk us through a typical project?

In ALDB, we start our projects very similarly to a traditional method.  We start with a budget and scope.  If the budget and scope are approved, we start to design.  Once we complete our schematic design, we provide an updated preliminary estimate.  Once we confirm we are within budget, we continue to refine the design and the cost estimates.  We want our clients to be informed and included throughout the entire process.   This factor creates a trusting relationship between our firm and our clients.  With our method, the clients only need to communicate with us.  There are less parties involved making communication much more efficient.

How are the fees structured?

Depends on the complexity and size of the project; some are hourly design fees with the Construction documents set at a fixed fee which is determined after Schematic Design.  Most of our projects are defined well enough that we can provide a professional fee plus reimbursable expenses.  Our Construction Management fee is a fixed fee which also includes a pre-construction management fee.  Occasionally we will perform Construction as a fixed price.

What are some of the risks and rewards of ALDB?

If a problem arises, there is only one place to point the finger.  In the traditional design-bid-build method, miscommunication between Architect and Contractor can cause unnecessary tension.  With ALDB, the entire process is much more cohesive creating a team-like environment. The clients also feel a sense of comfort when only having to communicate with one entity.

What are the three greatest challenges with ALDB process?

Higher Insurance premiums – This is one of the main reasons why we separate our business entities, having separate insurance for both entities and separate contracts for the client.

Most Architecture firms can take on smaller projects if the work load is slowing down, and most builders have very small overhead to compensate for the slower times. With ALDB, you need to have separate staff for both Architecture and Construction; it’s a bigger machine to feed.

Training new staff is much more of an investment because overall, they are becoming much more knowledgeable about our whole profession. There is even more training involved because new staff must learn both Architecture and Construction. It is extremely gratifying to educate Architects to think in a different way.

What are the three greatest advantages of ALDB?

One of the best advantages of being an ALDB firm is that we get to work directly with the craftsmen themselves to discuss how we can make improvements to the project; it is a learning experience for both of us. We appreciate this close relationship, and I am certain our craftsmen enjoy working in close contact with the designer. The designer and the craftsman work directly together.

As the Architect, we take on a role that allows better control of project budgets, schedules, and overall project quality, including the quality of design.

It’s so much fun. I think it’s so much fun because we are truly going back to being Master builders. As Architects we love to problem solve; that’s what we do all day long, but now it’s even more in depth and more dynamic.

Do you see ALDB as a way for Architects to take back “control” of the design and construction process?

For certain markets, yes.  I have had the pleasure of working on projects with unlimited design budgets, having total control of the project as the Architecture firm.  In reality, not every client is going to have an unlimited budget.  The client relationship in ALDB is far greater than in a traditional design-bid-build method.  We have found our clients to be so much more appreciate of our talents on our design-build projects vs. our design only jobs.  Some of our design jobs have a 2-3 month duration, followed by phone calls and quick site meetings.  In design-build, we have a much closer relationship with our clients; most of them feel like family before the project is over!

Why do you think that most Architects, Clients and Contractors shy away from ALDB?

For Architects, it is not necessarily something they ever thought about because they weren’t introduced to it.  We are trained in (most) schools to be Starchitects with grand budgets.  After school and our internship is completed, most architects find the niche they are most comfortable in.  I cannot say that ALDB is easy nor is it for everyone to pursue.  There is a more executive and dynamic role; there is a much more entrepreneurial mode to ALDB as opposed to running a boutique design firm.  You can be a one-person design firm, but to do design-build you need to build a solid team.  The daily tasks of designing, managing the office, managing the sites, and keeping finances in order is not for everyone, nor can one person do it all.  It requires a great team, and we are fortunate to have that.

I have not yet met a client who shied away from ALDB. However, we do work on design only jobs.  This usually happens when the client already has a relationship with a contractor.  We are agreeable to this because we can only build so much, and we want our clients to be comfortable with who they are working with.

For contractors, there is a sense of losing the market.  Good builders and contractors should not be concerned.  They may choose to adapt, but to be honest I do not think this will be some sweeping trend in the AEC industry.

What are some of the tools you use (from AIA, NCARB, Insurance Company, Other Professional Organizations) to help you manage your firm’s performance and reduce risk?

I have read a lot of literature on ALDB; the AIA has a few great articles as well as a book on ALDB.  There is an organization specifically for design-build called Design Build Institute of America (DBIA).  This organization is geared more toward government and large-scale projects.  There are also a few attorneys who have published articles on ALDB that have been very helpful.

My research has lead me to separate my design and construction contracts, but each project is unique.  I treat each project differently.  I cannot really say I have a set method because our scale of work differs so greatly, spanning a large spectrum.  On one end, we have worked on small kitchen renovations, and on the other end we have done new construction on vacant lots.

What is the percentage of ALDB your firm is currently working on – what are the major differences between traditional project delivery vs ALDB projects?

Being recently engaged in a few large multi-family developments, we’ve found that we are providing more than the basic services on those scale projects.  This is due to our experience.  Developers are taking advantage of our management and construction background.  Our role is much more than just producing design documents.   I would say we are about 60% design only and 40% ALDB projects.

Is there anything you would like to see to make the ALDB even better for future projects?

I hope to see more architecture schools incorporating some type of design-build programs.  If Architects played a larger role, communities would greatly benefit.  It would be nice if ALDB gained more popularity so that clients can learn to appreciate Architects playing a larger role.

For more exclusive ILMA interviews click here.

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

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

 

Advertisements

Our Exclusive ILMA Interview with Caterina Roiatti of @TRAstudio

Who is Caterina Roiatti?

Caterina Roiatti received her Doctor in Architecture Degree from the IUAV Istituto Universitario di Architettura di Venezia in Italy, she is a Fulbright Scholar and received in 1985 her Master in Architecture from Harvard, where she attended both the GSD, and the Harvard Business School. Prior to founding, in 1995, TRA studio together with her Partner Robert Traboscia, she worked in the modernist offices of Peter Forbes and Pei Cobb Freed and Partners, gained large scale experience at Kohn Pedersen Fox and worked on interiors and identity projects at Vignelli Associates.

She began her own practice in 1995 following a five year association with Mathias Thoerner Design where she was the project architect for several flagship stores worldwide and the coordinator for the branding programs. Having worked in fashion, she understands how, like couture, a well designed interior can empower and improve the user’s self-esteem. TRA studio Architecture pllc, founded in 1995, is the New York based firm led by Caterina Roiatti, AIA, an architect originally from Venice, and Robert Traboscia, an environmental designer and an artist.

For more information: Web Site  ; Facebook Page ; Instagram ; Twitter ; LinkedIn

ILMA INTERVIEW

When and why did you decide to become an Architect? 

My whole family were architects, as hard as the profession looked, they all loved it.  

What were some of the challenges of achieving your dream?

This profession presents a new challenge every day, but you get more confident with experience, in the beginning, it is much more difficult to believe that you will find the solution for the project you are working on. Architecture requires endurance, when you are young it is easier to panic.

Any memorable clients or project highlights? 

Always the first “big”, (or bigger), client: the New York Academy of Arts, after eighteen years they are still our Client!

How does your family support what you do? 

I work with my family, my husband is my partner.

How do Architects measure success?

Surviving first, followed by feeling in control, followed by having fun working.

What matters most to you in design? 

Longevity of our projects, timeless design.

What do you hope to achieve over the next 2 years? 5 years? 

I always think I will design a skyscraper, but really all projects are a challenge, so they are all good.

Who is your favorite Architect? Why? 

I like to look at Herzog de Meuron projects, they approach restoration and adaptive reuse with the same surprising solutions they employ when designing new buildings, yet they remain respectful of the context and historic structures. To me preservation/adaptive reuse is not a specialty, it is simply another aspect of design.

Do you have a coach or mentor?

I think you have to mentor yourself first, but my partner is really my most important mentor.

What is your favorite historic and modern (contemporary) project? Why? 

The last project we are working on, favorites come and go, depending on what I am preoccupied with at the moment.

Where do you see the profession going over the next few decades? 

My partner and I often marvel at the fact that architects are more and more needed, technology, sustainability, safety requirements, regulations make the profession more complex, which in turn gives responsibility but also control to architects. Other professions are becoming kind of obsolete, everybody can to a certain extent be their own photographer or graphic designer.

What type of technology do you see in the design and construction industries? 

We cannot design anything without 3D modeling, I think programs like Revit will be the norm soon for all disciplines.

Who / what has been your greatest influence in design? 

The eye of my partner Robert Traboscia, nothing goes out without his approval! In general, I am very curious and I look for new information and inspiration everywhere.

Which building or project type would you like to work on that you haven’t been part of yet? 

All, we do everything and get into all challenges. It is amazing how quickly you can become an expert in a new building type, but you always need great consultants. 

How do you hope to inspire / mentor the next generation of Architects? 

I would tell them that it can be exciting every day, not many professions can offer that, but if you want to make any real money you have to try to be part of the development process and invest in your own projects. Right now we are trying to get our first development project going, it is very exciting.

What advice would you give aspiring architects?

Study all subjects, you will need to know a little of everything.

What does Architecture mean to you? Lifestyle What is your design process? If you could not be an Architect, what would you be? What is your dream project? The next  What advice do you have for a future Executive leader? 

Executive thinking

What are three key challenges you face as a leader in business today and one trend you see in your industry? 

The first challenge is always to keep the studio financially healthy, we owe it our staff, the second is to recognize bad clients and the most important never do excellent work, not work you might not want to show! 

What one thing must an executive leader be able to do to be successful in the next 3 years? 

It takes longer than that to be successful 

What are some executive insights you have gained since you have been sitting in the executive leadership seat – or what is one surprise you have encountered as the world of business continues to morph as we speak? 

We are still a small studio, although we have been in business many years, we do learn every day, may be the most important lesson we learned is always strive for more control, not less. More involvement in your projects makes you more essential and, frankly, creates more opportunities for financial reward.

Final Thoughts on How to Be Successful? 

Are we that old that people see us as successful just because we have been around a long time? I always think someday we will grow up and truly finally be…

For more exclusive ILMA interviews click here.

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

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook


Our Exclusive ILMA Interview with @Collier1960 Collier Ward

Collier Ward is a registered Architect, an aspiring novel and short story writer, an acknowledged construction industry influencer, and a follower of Jesus, who thrives on communication and community.

“One of my long-term career goals is to see more books, movies, and television shows about architects and architecture. For years I have said “Architecture Holds a Thousand Stories” and it remains an untapped source for dramatic content. If you are in charge of story development in the entertainment industry I would be glad to discuss the comedy and drama embedded in my profession. If you have interest in any of these subjects, I’d be pleased to connect with you.” -Collier Ward

Connect with Collier Ward on LinkedIn or  Twitter.

ILMA INTERVIEW

When and why did you decide to become an Architect?

As a child, I’m not even sure how old I was, I saw my older brother drawing a floor plan. I didn’t understand the series of rectangles and asked him what it was. He informed me that it was our house. To me, a house was depicted by the archetypal image of a simple box with a door, a sloped roof, and a chimney with a swirl of smoke. I told him it was an awful drawing. He explained that it was what we’d see from above if we took the roof off and looked in from above. Then I saw it! The bedrooms, the kitchen, the carport were just as they should be. Although I considered art teacher, artist, cartoonist, and ad man as possible careers, this childhood revelation of architecture proved to be my origin story.

What were some of the challenges of achieving your dream?

Other than a few financial struggles and loan debts (which don’t even compare to today’s students’) my schooling and internship were fairly typical. From the first day I walked on campus (Auburn University, 1979) to the day I became registered in North Carolina was just under a decade.

Any memorable clients or project highlights?

As an intern, I worked on the College of Architecture building at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The design architect was Gwathmey Siegel (I worked for the local firm that produced the Construction Documents.) I had the pleasure of detailing the three monumental stairs in the main gallery, based on concepts by Charles Gwathmy. Since then I’ve worked with many Architects who climbed those stairs and pulled all-nighters in those studios.

How does your family support what you do?

My wife and I were married in my third year of school. If there were awards for architects’ spouses Celese would have several by now. She has supported, humored, and encouraged me to this day.

Who is your favorite Architect? Why?

As a student, I had two architects (one past, one current) that inspired and influenced me most; both for their writings as well as their designs. I think it’s interesting that both Alvar Aalto and Robert Venturi practiced with their wives.

What is your favorite modern (contemporary) project? Why?

Having grown up in St. Louis, MO, the Gateway Arch (as much sculpture as a building) has always been a favorite landmark for me. It was a source of pride – we took visitors up when they came to town. It was also a link to my fascination with Finnish architecture.

Where do you see the profession going over the next few decades?

Our profession has transformed very little over the past three decades. Groups within the profession push for change (improved education, environmental sustainability, employment diversity, etc,) but to the rank and file architect (and the clients we serve) I’m not sure much has changed. Nevertheless, I have hope for future.

What does Architecture mean to you?

“True Architecture exists only where man stands in the center, his comedy and tragedy both,” said Alvar Aalto. When all is said and done, architecture is the stage upon which we live the stories of our lives.

If you could not be an Architect, what would you be?

This is my favorite question. I will always be an architect, but I hope to reach more people with my other passion – writing. For years I have said, “Architecture holds a thousand stories.” Our profession is a closed book to most people. I believe well-written stories will reveal to the population at large what Architects can do. Every other profession has its TV shows, books, and movies; why not Architecture?

What is your dream project?

Per my previous answer, I would like to be the story consultant for a movie or TV series that accurately portrays what architects do – and can do – for our society. I want a wide audience to know the joy and drama that is embedded in every work of architecture.

Final Thoughts on How to Be Successful?

As cliché as it sounds, hard work is essential. But not hard work and long hours for the sake of fulfilling a stereotype; hard work toward a personal goal. I quote Daniel Burnham; “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably themselves will not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work…”

For more exclusive ILMA interviews click here.

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

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

 


My Portfolio Highlights in B&W


Creating High Performance Buildings through Integrative Design Process

The “High Performance by Integrative Design” film by RMI includes examples of how design teams collaborate in new ways to integrate high-performance design elements, such as daylighting, energy efficiency and renewable energy, for optimal performance. Viewers experience charrette discussions and see the design process unfold on projects such as the Empire State Building retrofit, Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Phipps Conservancy in Pittsburgh, the Desert Living Center in Las Vegas, Willow School in New Jersey and Chicago Botanic Gardens.

Typical Design & Construction Process

Conventional planning, design, building, and operations processes often fail to recognize that buildings are part of larger, complex systems. As a result, solving for one problem may create other problems elsewhere in the system.1

Integrative Design & Construction Process

Collaboration leads to innovation

An integrated design process (IDP) involves a holistic approach to high performance building design and construction. It relies upon every member of the project team sharing a vision of sustainability, and working collaboratively to implement sustainability goals. This process enables the team to optimize systems, reduce operating and maintenance costs and minimize the need for incremental capital. IDP has been shown to produce more significant results than investing in capital equipment upgrades at later stages.2


As discussed in a previous post, the integrated process requires more time and collaboration during the early conceptual and design phases than conventional practices. Time must be spent building the team, setting goals, and doing analysis before any decisions are made or implemented. This upfront investment of time, however, reduces the time it takes to produce construction documents. Because the goals have been thoroughly explored and woven throughout the process, projects can be executed more thoughtfully, take advantage of building system synergies, and better meet the needs of their occupants or communities, and ultimately save money, too.3


Considerations and Advantages of an Integrative Design Process:

  • ID&CP processes and strategies can be implemented to varying degrees depending upon the complexity of a project and an owner’s project goals.
  • A project team must be carefully assembled very early on in the process to ensure success.
  • All key participants must subscribe to the collaborative effort of establishment clear goals.
  • All project stakeholders must be involved and remain involved in the project, and must communicate openly and frequently.
  • Key participants must employ appropriate technology to foster collaborative design and construction.

Similar to the Construction Management at Risk approach to project delivery, the owner can benefit from the following IPD advantages:

  • Owner receives early cost estimating input, sometimes as early as conceptual design.
  • The owner can take advantage of special services such as:
    • Feasibility studies
    • Value engineering
    • Life cycle costs
    • Identification of long-lead items and their pre-purchase
  • Significant time can be saved because the design effort is emphasized and completed earlier in the process, and because construction can begin before the design is fully complete.
  • Architectural and engineering fees can be reduced by the early involvement of the specialty contractors.
  • Construction costs are minimized by incorporating constructability reviews into the process, and by the designers incorporating materials, methods, and systems that the team knows are more cost effective.
  • Operating costs can be reduced by providing opportunities to greatly affect long-term energy and resource use through design.
  • Capital costs can be reduced, thanks to clearer and better coordinated construction documents, which should minimize the incidence of change orders that impact both cost and time.
  • Misunderstanding between the parties is minimized when the IPD Team works together during the planning stages of the project.
  • The owner’s risk is minimized as the IPD Team approach tends to focus on early identification of potential conflicts and issues through the utilization of modeling tools. This early identification results in timely problem solving and resolution of issues through the use of models, as opposed to problem solving in the field and constructed environments.


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

Gift Ideas from ILMA


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

Who is Jeff Venezia, AIA?

Jeff holds a Bachelor of Science in Architecture from the University of Virginia and has practiced in New Brunswick since 1981. He is presently a Principal Owner and President ofDIGroupArchitecture, a 32 person firm specializing in K-12 Education, Higher Ed, Senior Living and Healthcare. He heads the design and marketing efforts of the firm as well as the Academic Studio which includes K-12 and Higher Ed.

About the Firm

DIGroupArchitecture is a process-centric architecture and design firm. We work tirelessly with our clients to understand their priorities, evaluate the physical and budgetary constraints, and communicate potential options. As a result we create distinctive design solutions that help our clients achieve their vision, with unwavering attention to detail at every scale.

It is our unbiased approach to scale that helps us evolve in the changing climate of contemporary architecture. As many of our clients’ priorities have shifted away from ground-up architecture to renovations and adaptive reuse, our interiors studio has flourished and our graphic design studio has developed a diverse portfolio of projects in environmental graphics, signage and wayfinding, and brand identity.

80% of our business comes from repeat clients.They appreciate our “whatever it takes” approach and principal involvement at every level of every project. Our goal is to make every client a “legacy” client doing project after project and improving the experience of those who occupy the facilities we have created together as partners.

         Memorial Elementary School

         Phillipsburg High School

         Remsen Ave. Firehouse

         Jonathan Dayton High School Media Center

 

Click to Follow the DIGroup: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn

ILMA INTERVIEW

When and why did you decide to become an Architect?     

I’ve wanted to be an architect since I was about 12 years old.  I loved model building, drawing and construction and just knew from that time on what I wanted to be.

What were some of the challenges of achieving your dream?

I think the biggest challenge has always been living up to the level of trust your clients place on you to deliver a project that meets or exceeds their expectations.

Any memorable clients or project highlights?  

Most clients are memorable in their own way.  Since a lot of our work is for repeat clients we get to know them extremely well over time, both professionally and personally.  The best highlights of any of our projects is the reaction of the end users as to how we’ve improved the quality of their everyday lives.  That occurs most often in our Healthcare, K-12, Senior Living and Community Rooms projects.  One of our top highlights was having our Memorial Elementary School in East Brunswick receive the 2013 AIA New Jersey Honor Award for Excellence in Design, the first NJ public school to be recognized with that award (see photos above).

How do Architects measure success?     

We measure success by how a project meets the goals established in the very beginning, especially with regard to program, design, budget and schedule.

Good design does not have to cost more – it requires patience and commitment to doing it right.

Grow the business, develop a transition of ownership strategy, continue to focus on improving our architectural, interior and graphic capabilities.

Who is your favorite Architect? Why?  

Unquestionably Alvar Aalto.  I love the way his buildings embrace the landscape and often look to him for inspiration.

What is your favorite historic and modern (contemporary) project? Why?  

My favorite historic building would be the Pantheon in Rome.  Favorite contemporary – the Kimball Art Museum in Texas by Louis Kahn.

Where do you see the profession going over the next few decades?

We need to reverse the trend of being considered by the public as a commodity.  We need to educate the public and our clients on the value added in what we provide in the services we perform.  We are not copy or toilet paper. 

Who / what has been your greatest influence in design?      

The greatest influence on my design work was my 3rd year architecture professor who demanded only the highest quality work from me and forced me out of my comfort zone to continually strive to learn from every project, to grow and become better as an architect.

Which building or project type would you like to work on that you haven’t been part of yet?   

Airport – I love the idea of doing something at that scale.

If you could not be an Architect, what would you be?    

A National Geographic photographer.

 What advice do you have for a future Executive leader?     

Always be true to yourself, treat people fairly and conduct yourself with the highest level of integrity.  Your word should be your bond.

What are three key challenges you face as a leader in business today and one trend you see in your industry?  

Challenges:  the economy, dealing with diversity in the work place and the ever-increasing reliance on technology.  As mentioned above, the competition and lowering of fees continue on a downward spiral.

What one thing must an executive leader be able to do to be successful in the next 3 years?  

Don’t just adapt to change – embrace it.

What are some executive insights you have gained since you have been sitting in the executive leadership seat – or what is one surprise you have encountered as the world of business continues to morph as we speak?     

Take risks and have the commitment to see them through.  Be a good listener.  Show a concern and appreciation for your employees.  Be proactive in solving problems.  Never let anything fester.  Once the attorneys get involved no one is happy with the outcome.

For more exclusive ILMA interviews click here.

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

Sincerely,
FRANK CUNHA III
I Love My Architect – Facebook

Gift Ideas from ILMA


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