Monday, February 14, 2011

2 - The IGCC Is Totally Unnecessary - It Costs Architects In Fees

As a follow-up to my previous two blogs “The IGCC is totally unnecessary…” I’ve continued with elaboration on my second point (stated in the blog title)… if you’ve never read the International Green Construction Code (IGCC), I hope the following information will be an eye-opener – helping you to see how the IGCC will cost architects money (in fees)…

I’ve attempted to list the submission requirements and the “professional” who’s responsible for organizing and documenting the specific code-requirement…as you review the listings, you may think I’ve ignored the “LEED consultant”, and you’d be correct in your assumption – there’s no need for a LEED consultant, unless you want to get a third-party certification…but why would an owner want that, if his building is generally codified into the LEED system…

And, therein, is the problem…my contention is simple: LEED consulting is an “adder” to the fee structure - it’s an accepted practice, since LEED consultation is not a mandatory requirement (except in certain governmental contracts – where additional compensation is still acceptable); however, complying with the “building code” is NOT an acceptable reason for increasing fees - all owners expect Architects to deliver a building design than complies with the building code, and once sustainability is codified, the desire for additional compensation will meet stiffer resistance from owners who are already feeling the pinch from a variety of sources – funding, construction, overhead, etc…

Additionally, most Architects will not know what hit them (if the IGCC is generally adopted), so their fee structure will generally adhere to a pre-IGCC scenario…not only will that “oversight” destroy the bottom line (that’s always thin on projects), that approach to “living in the past” will enable apples-to-apples fee comparisons very difficult for owners…this will enable owners to “beat-down” the fees of capable design professionals who want more fee for what “another Architect is willing to do for less”…even fixed-percentage contracts from some governmental authorities will continue to require delivery of “code-compliant” projects for the same amounts previously offered. Since the physical cost (construction) for compliance to the IGCC is minimal, the percentages tied to construction cost will not increase to cover additional documentation required in the IGCC (one of my clients actually increases the fee for LEED consultation, but not for “code compliance”)…

So here goes…take a look at the documentation requirements…see if I’ve missed or misunderstood anything; but, expect that if the IGCC is adopted (with minimal changes), the work will increase, but the fees will not…also note that I deal with total fees, as well as architect-only fees...if the total fee remains fairly constant, but the consultants fees increase, the pain is even greater…

Just to clear up any misunderstanding, with the exception of “detached one-and two-family dwellings and multiple single-family dwellings (townhouses) not more than three stories above grade plane in height with a separate means of egress; and, equipment or systems that are used primarily for industrial or manufacturing processes”:

“The provisions of this code shall apply to the design, construction, addition, alteration,
change of occupancy, movement, enlargement, replacement, repair, equipment, location, maintenance, removal and demolition of every building or structure or any appurtenances connected or attached to such buildings or structures and to the site on which the building is located. Occupancy classifications shall be determined in accordance with the International Building Code…” (101.2)

Basically, all office buildings, schools, churches, apartments, retail stores, and other “commercial buildings” are required to comply with the IGCC.

Documentation for compliance verification is based upon:

“Construction documents [that] shall be dimensioned and drawn upon suitable material. Electronic media documents are permitted to be submitted where approved by the code official. Construction documents shall be of sufficient clarity to indicate the location, nature and extent of the work proposed and show in detail that such work will conform to the provisions of this code and relevant laws, ordinances, rules and regulations, as determined by the code official. The construction documents shall contain a listing of the applicable project electives in accordance with Section 303, and shall include the applicable commissioning requirements in accordance with Section 903. Where special conditions exist, the code official is authorized to require additional construction documents.

Project Electives (if required by the jurisdiction) shall be selected by the owner. “Such project electives shall be applied as mandatory requirements to the project and shall be indicated to the code official by means of completion of Table 303.1. The submitted construction documents shall include a completed copy of Table 303.1 indicating which project electives that the owner has selected as a means to comply with Section 303.1. The total number of project electives selected shall be in accordance with the minimum number of project electives indicated by the jurisdiction in Table 302.1. The Project electives selected shall be applied and enforced as mandatory requirements.”


The IGCC submission requirements (per section), with responsible professional(s) are as follows:

· Inventory and assessment of “natural resources and baseline conditions” of the building site (402.3.1), included in the (construction) documents for permit application, - Landscape Architect and Architect
· Use and abuse of potable water (402.3.*) for irrigation systems, included in the (construction) documents for permit application, - Landscape Architect and MEP Engineer
· Required use of “reclaimed or collected rainwater” for ornamental fountains and water features (402.3.4), compliance verification included in the (construction) documents for permit application, - Landscape Architect and MEP Engineer
· Submission of a Soil and water quality protection plan (402.3.5.1)(406.6), included in the (construction) documents for permit application, additional documentation “demonstrating compliance shall be provided as part of the submittal documents and during the construction and inspection process.”- Geotechnical Engineer and/or Civil Engineer
· Limitations on “turfgrass” planting on the project site (402.3.5.7), calculations for compliance with acceptable percentage is included in the documents stated above, - Landscape Architect
· Submission of a building site waste management plan – toward recycling or salvaging 75+% of site soils, “rocks, trees, stumps, and associated vegetation” (402.3.6), actual submittal requirements are not listed; however, approval by the building official is mandatory – therefore, documentation demonstrating compliance should be included in the (construction) documents for permit application, - Landscape Architect and/or Civil Engineer
· Requirement for showering and changing facilities (if long-term bicycle parking is required in 403.3) (403.2), calculations for compliance are included in the (construction) documents, - Architect
· Requirement for long term and short term bicycle parking (chart of compliance requirements included in IGCC (403.3), “designated on the site plan by a registered design professional” – included in the (construction) documents for permit submission. - Architect
· Requirement and preference for “high-occupancy vehicle parking” (403.4.1), calculations for compliance are included in the (construction) documents, - Architect
· Requirement and preference for “low-emission, hybrid, and electric vehicle parking” (403.4.2), calculations for compliance are included in the (construction) documents, - Architect
· Submission of 10-year canopy growth of all planted trees, and canopy-contribution of existing trees – including shading calculations (404.2.3), “construction documents shall be submitted that show the planting location and anticipated ten year canopy growth of all trees and that show the contributions of existing tree canopies; and; shading calculations shall be shown on the construction documents demonstrating compliance with this section and shall include only those hardscape areas directly beneath the trees based on a ten year growth canopy”, - Architect
· Requirement for light pollution control (405.1), (where applicable), calculations are required on the (construction) documents, - MEP Engineer
· Written periodic maintenance protocol for all landscaping and stormwater management systems (406.6(3)), submitted for approval prior to construction: “A soils map, site plan, or grading plan that indicates designated soil management areas for all site soils; a written erosion, sedimentation and pollutant control program for construction activities…; and, a written periodic maintenance protocol for all landscaping and stormwater management systems”.Civil Engineer
· Building material design-life (503.2), “Not less than 55 percent of the total building materials used in the project, based on mass or cost, shall comply with Section 503.2.1, 503.2.2, 503.2.3, 503.2.4 or 503.2.5. Compliance shall be demonstrated in accordance with those sections singularly or in combination – although the specifics of “demonstrating” compliance are not stipulated, basis-of-design data would be stipulated in the (construction) documents, - Architect
· Submission of a building-service-life-plan (505), “A building service life plan (BSLP) in accordance with this section shall be included in the construction documents. The design service life shall be not less than 60 years and the BSLP shall indicate the design service life selected for the building.” Architect and MEP Engineer, or outside consultant
· Moisture control preventative measures – inspected by an “approved agency” (506.3), “inspections based on the approved pre-determined frequency schedule”– the assumption is that a schedule of inspections must be submitted with the (construction) documents.Outside consultant (building-envelope)
· Zero-energy performance index compliance (602.1), “The building shall be designed and constructed to have a zEPI not greater than the values shown in Table 602.1”. To prove compliance, this requirement will be detailed in the (construction) documents, and submitted as part of the permit process. - Architect and MEP Engineer
· Building energy simulation assignment to the “design professional” (603.5), “where it is required that documents be prepared by a registered design professional, the code official shall be authorized to require the owner to engage and designate on the building permit application a registered design professional who shall act as the registered design professional in responsible charge of building energy simulation. If the circumstances require, the owner shall designate a substitute registered design professional in responsible charge of building energy simulation who shall perform the duties required of the original registered design professional in responsible charge of building energy simulation. The code official shall be notified in writing by the owner if the registered design professional in responsible charge of building energy simulation is changed or is unable to continue to perform the duties”.MEP Engineer
· Energy metering-monitoring-reporting (604), the (construction) documents must indicate the methods that “ensure that buildings are constructed or altered in a way that will provide the capability for their energy use, production and reclamation to be measured, monitored and reported”, - MEP Engineer and Architect
· Offsite control of HVAC and lighting through Auto-DR interface (605.1,605.3,605.4), the (construction) documents must delineate compliance, MEP Engineer
· Requirement for rough-ins for “future” solar-hot-water systems (608.4), the (construction) documents must delineate compliance, - MEP Engineer
· Plug load controls (609.6), the (construction) documents must delineate compliance, - MEP Engineer
· Energy-star appliance listing (by owner) and reporting (by owner)(610.3.1), “Compliance shall be documented and verified by the approved agency designated by the adopting agency, during the commissioning or operational phase of the building”, - Owner, commissioning agent, Architect
· Minimum energy-star appliance requirement – by percentage of total “appliances” (610.3.2), Owner documentation required, - Owner, Architect
· On-site renewable power requirements – physical devices (611), “Each building or surrounding lot or building site where there are multiple buildings on the building site shall be equipped with one or more renewable energy systems in accordance with this section”. Construction document must delineate compliance.Architect, MEP Engineer
· Requirement for post-occupancy re-commissioning-repeated 18-24 months after issuance of the C of O (612.3.5), “Within 60 days from approval conducting the final mechanical inspection, the registered design professional shall provide evidence of mechanical systems commissioning and completion of the mechanical system installation to the code official and in accordance with the International Energy Conservation Code. Drawing notes shall clearly indicate provisions for commissioning and completion requirements in accordance with this section and are permitted to refer to specifications for further requirements. Copies of all documentation shall be given to the owner and made available to the code official upon request.”Architect, Commissioning Agent, MEP Engineer
· Building envelope commissioning prior to issuance of the C of O (612.4), Pre-construction documentation: “Construction and owner education documents shall indicate the location, nature and extent of the work proposed and show the functional requirements and operation of all building thermal envelope systems demonstrating conformance to the provisions of this code, relevant laws, ordinances, rules and regulations, as approved by the code official.”Commissioning Agent
· Requirement for an indoor air quality management plan (during construction) (801.2), no stipulation for when this documentation is required; however, submittal is implied as part of the permit documents, - Architect
· Requirement for indoor air quality testing (after construction) – flush-out or IAQ-testing (804.3), Since occupancy is permitted to start 7 days after start of the flush-out (or IAQ testing), documentation by a testing agency or design / commissioning professional is required, - Architect, MEP Engineer
· Entry mats required (804.4), indicated on the (construction) documents – with specifications for compliance, - Architect
· Emission limits for “glued wood products” – interior and exterior (part of the “weather covering”) (806.1), indicated on the construction documents – with specifications for compliance, - Architect
· Acoustics and acoustic submissions (interior and exterior) (807.1-.5), all exterior wall and roof assemblies must show STC ratings (for compliance) on the construction documents, - Architect and Acoustic Consultant
· Acoustics verification and testing (post construction) demonstrating compliance with the acoustic sections (807.5), “an approved agency, funded by the building owner, shall furnish report(s) of test findings indicating that the results are in compliance with this section and the construction documents. Discrepancies shall be brought to the attention of the design professional and code official prior to the completion of that work. A final testing report documenting required testing and corrections of any discrepancies noted in prior tests shall be submitted at a point in time agreed upon by the building owner, or building owner’s agent, design professional, and the code official for purposes of demonstrating compliance”, - Architect and Acoustic Consultant (with field-testing capabilities)
· Floor-plate manipulation (to enable the required percentage of interior day-lighting) (808.3), “daylit area” calculations must be submitted on the construction documents to verify compliance with the required percentages of total floor area. - Architect
· Commissioning (903), “Where application is made for construction as described in this section, the registered design professional in responsible charge or approved agency shall perform commissioning during construction and after occupancy as required by Table 903.1. Where Table 903.1 specifies that commissioning is to be done on a periodic basis, the registered design professional in responsible charge shall provide a schedule of periodic commissioning with the submittal documents that shall be reviewed and approved by the code official”.Commissioning Agent, MEP Engineer, Architect
· O & M documentation, maintenance, and education (904.1-904.4), “The operations and maintenance and building owner education documents shall be in accordance with Sections 904.3 and 904.4 and submitted to the owner prior to the issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy. Record documents shall be in accordance with Section 904.2. The building owner shall file a letter with the code official certifying the receipt of record documents and building owner education, operations and maintenance documents. At least one copy of these materials shall be in the possession of the owner and at least one additional copy shall remain with the building throughout the life of the structure. The owner shall cause to be assembled an informational document on the building, site or structure and systems and sustainable features that are covered by this code and included in the building”. - Architect and General Contractor
· Energy reporting / audits (904.1.1)(1003.3.1), “Where required by Table 302.1, a report confirming that the building is maintained and operated at the level of performance required by the approved documents shall be submitted to the code official at approved intervals. The building owner shall commission a building energy audit and provide copies of the audit report to the local jurisdiction. The audit shall be conducted by persons qualified to perform such audits, as determined by the code official. The energy audit report shall indicate the improvements listed in Sections 1003.3.2 through 1003.3.9 that the IGCC Public Version 2.0”.Owner, Commissioning Agent, Independent Testing Agency, Architect

So, there it is…more work for the same fee – just to deliver a “code-compliant” project…but, perhaps you think you’ll convince your client to increase your base-fee…well, if you’ve got some tricks up your sleeve, let me know; because, if the IGCC is adopted, we’ll all be looking for the same trick…

Next time: 3 - The IGCC is totally unnecessary - It expands (and redefines) the standard-of-care…


BTW: the numbers in parenthesis refer to specific paragraphs in the IGCC… LEED is a trademark of the U. S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system.

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