Building Chicago 2011 - (Page 13)
COLLABORATION: The Key to Green
Contractors, Designers, Find New ways to Build Better
BY LEON LAJEUNESSE, Custom Contracting and UJJVAL VYAS,Alberti Group
f it’s true that almost every challenge comes with an opportunity, why should green and high-performance buildings be any different? As a contractor involved in delivering buildings of all types, and especially interested in delivering high-performing green buildings, we see an opportunity to remake the relationship between designers and constructors in this brave new world. For too long, architects and contractors have been mired in a world of distrust. Although understandable, it is always disruptive to the ultimate job at hand: delivering a quality building project to the owner. It will take a great deal of hard work to build trust between the traditionally separated worlds of design and construction, but the coming of integrated project delivery and integrated design at the same time as the growth of green, provides an opportunity to hit the reset button. As designers and contractors, we are facing new and different sustainability challenges every day from every direction. The public-atlarge is clamoring for it; government seems to think that legislating green is a good idea; owners of all types see the marketing value and, when done correctly, a building performance beneﬁt; and ﬁnally, from within our own ranks, designer and contractor associations are actively engaging in sustainability or green programs. For designers, the legal and technical challenges of sustainability have been widely discussed, but it is also important for designers to have a sense of the challenges contractors face and how they can be turned into opportunities. Good contractors are crucial allies in delivering the best outcome for the owner. The contractor can excel in their traditional roles of providing quality work, attending to detail, anticipating
issues before they become problems and ensuring that problems are resolved at the appropriate level. Architects that develop and nurture relationships with highly-competent contractors, large and small, provide owners with a real beneﬁt. In a green, high-performance world, how can design professionals of all stripes create the basis for integrated project delivery? Most importantly, architects, engineers, contractors and sub-contractors should use green or high-performance buildings as the chance to change the traditional adversarial roles, providing a better bottom line for all involved. Bridges have to begin somewhere and what better place than sustainability?
but also of the sustainability objectives of the speciﬁc projects on which we are engaged. Because the deﬁnition of green and high-performance construction is still being debated, staying current may require a bit of sleuthing and vigilance. But putting in the extra effort simply makes good business sense. Design professionals and constructors can help each other in separating the wheat from the chaff of green building claims.
Doing our homework
The ambiguity surrounding standards is no excuse for less than our most conscientious efforts when it comes to the green or highperformance goals of a speciﬁc project at hand. Design professionals should request more information from green consultants to make sure they aren’t just repeating marketing claims or poorly-researched conclusions. This is something architects and engineers are particularly well-positioned to do. For contractors, requesting copies of the contract documents, studying them carefully and asking questions or raising red ﬂags up front, not only helps prevent problems later, but signals a concern with limiting future problems, a quality that should be valued and rewarded.
Keeping our own houses in order
On green projects, we must all minimize the impact of our own methods and materials on the environment and adhere to standards and regulations that directly affect us. This is not new, but the opportunities for us to contribute to our sustainability goals on the projects we work on continue to increase when we look to our own practices ﬁrst. Looking closely at the design speciﬁcations that have sustainability implications is part of the designer’s task, but when contractors are brought to the table early in the process, they can give some real-world guidance that could make implementing sustainable practices easier. Design professionals can also actively engage contractors in discussing construction practices that may have negative consequences.
As high-performance initiatives gain momentum, innovative projects and high-tech materials continue to come on line faster and in more forms. Specifying these products or materials requires special due diligence on the part of designers. As a baseline, contractors must ensure compliance with the manufacturer’s warranty requirements for handling and installing these materials, so they perform properly and achieve their goals, both Building Chicago 2011 • 13
In general, both designers and contractors must develop a sound working knowledge of the meaning and goals, not only of the accreditation and certiﬁcation programs that affect us,
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Building Chicago 2011
Building Chicago 2011
A Message from the Builders Association President
The Green Path to Collaboration
What is The Builders Association?
Economic Incentives of Safety
Index of Advertisers/ Advertisers.com
Building Chicago 2011