Lawyers say integrated-project-delivery documents have come a long way, but caution is still in order. It may seem unusual to find lawyers agreeing with each other, but there seems to be unanimity on one important issue: Before architects embark on integrated-project-delivery (IPD) projects, they should have their contracts closely scrutinized by legal and insurance professionals. IPD proponents believe collaboration instead of competition within the design/construction team results in better, faster, less-expensive projects. But risk-averse, adversarial relationships are so habitual in the U.S. construction industry that legal structures, insurance policies, and much else needs to change to accommodate these new ideas.
Making the worst task slightly easier for all Countless times last year, architects were called into a principal’s office and told they were being laid off: the depressed economy brutalizing the blameless. That thousands of professionals have lost their jobs is bad enough, but the psychological harm to the firm and those lucky enough to remain can also be damaging. With the possibility that more layoffs will occur this year, how can firm principals make staff cuts less painful? To what extent can and should you delay the inevitable? When everyone knows the ax is about to fall, how do
If the new federal stimulus package fulfills one of its promises—greening the built infrastructure in the United States—it will generate a huge amount of work for architects. Even while the depressed economy means fewer new construction projects, there will be meaningful work in building assessment and subsequent renovation, especially in the public sector. Much of the energy analysis of existing buildings will relate to HVAC systems and therefore be more in the domain of engineers than architects. But owners may still see architects as their first point of contact for any work related to their facilities. And architects can deploy
According to Batshalom, most firms that have already begun greening themselves have still not internalized the “all-green-all-the-time” philosophy she espouses. “They’re getting their staff LEED accredited,” she says, “but they don’t understand the management ramifications or the internal commitment they need to make as company in order to do it efficiently and cost-effectively.” The 80-person Portland, Oregon, firm SERA is approaching the “all-green-all-the-time” goal. About 80 percent of its projects are now aimed at LEED certification. In addition to working with mechanical engineers early in design, the firm has hired one to work in-house. According to SERA associate principal Clark
Slumps in the construction economy are good times for firms to rethink many things, including the philosophies that underlie their design work and the way they collaborate with consultants. One strategy that potentially accomplishes all of these things, according to consultant Barbra Batshalom, executive director of the Boston-based Green Roundtable, is to “green” your practice. Many U.S. firms are already encouraging staff to earn LEED certification and research sustainable materials, but she believes this is not enough. Truly greening your firm requires a substantial restructuring of firm culture and design processes. Illustration ' Edel Rodriguez The economic slump may allow