Wednesday, March 23, 2011

5 - The IGCC is totally unnecessary - It financially rewards those who promote its "necessity"

As a preface to my commentary on the IGCC, let me address all “single-family residential architects / designer”: Don’t get smug! Once the IGCC (for commercial projects) is formally adopted, the next matter of “green-code” business is formulation of the International Green Residential Construction Code (or some derivation of the name). So don’t think that what I’m reviewing won’t impact you. This is only a foretaste of what’s coming “to your neighborhood”.

Forging ahead:

To continue my commentary on the International Green Construction Code (IGCC), I lambast the lack of neutrality inherent within the IGCC. Generally, codes are “neutral” – no-one makes or loses money based upon a code’s implementation. Not so with the IGCC. Adoption of the IGCC will facilitate a group of financial winners and one specific financial loser – after I list both, I’ll concentrate on my primary concern – architects. Here’s the list of winners and the loser (FYI: PCHC stands for Public Comment Hearing Committee):


· ICC (International Code Council) - big winner – another code to update every three years – a continuing stream of “business”, plus, sales of reference and interpretive guides will increase due to the complexity of compliance – represented on the PCHC by the following members:

ICC / Code Enforcement and Development:
ICC Project Staff
Project Managers
Tom Frost, AIA — Senior Vice President
Mike Pfeiffer, PE — Deputy Senior Vice President
Rebecca Baker, CBO
Director of Building Safety - Jefferson County - Golden, CO

· Commissioning Agents (Mechanical Engineers) - big winners – the IGCC has numerous requirements for pre and post commissioning – now it’s in the code – and Cx fees will be allowed to increase because the work-scope isn’t voluntary – it’s mandatory – represented on the PCHC by the following AIA member.
A. Vernon Woodworth, AIA
Associate Principal, R.W. Sullivan, Inc. - Boston, MA

· ASHRAE (see above - support for continuing updates to standards) - represented on the PCHC by a consulting engineer.
Carol Marriott, P. Eng.
Representing ASHRAE – Owner, Carol Marriott Consulting, LLC - Maple Grove, MN

· USGBC - LEED gets codified – ensuring a steady stream of supportive work; however, with LEED codified, the golden goose could be threatened – why would someone want to pay more for 3rd-party certification if the building is required to be “green”; however, I’m certain that the USGBC will sell classes on “code-compliance” in addition to becoming an “accredited professional” – represented on the PCHC by a code advocate / consultant.
John Hogan
Representing USGBC - Senior Code Development - City of Seattle DCLU

· Architecture schools - what better way to increase your teaching load than to increase the requirements for graduating students – plus, what about those grants and research dollars needed to determine the life-cycle benefits of systems, materials, and practices – represented on the PCHC by an AIA member.
Dennis A. Andrejko, FAIA
Representing AIA - Associate Professor of Architecture - Universityat Buffalo, Department of Architecture

· ASTM - think of all those products that require testing – to verify the “greenness” toward compliance – plus, life-cycle analysis of building materials, etc. will be very lucrative – represented on the PCHC by an AIA member, who is a principal in a MEP engineering firm.
Dru Meadows, AIA, CCS, FCSI
Representing ASTM International - Mathis Consulting Company - Asheville, NC

· Environmental Consultants - how will most owners navigate the requirements without a specialized environmental consultant? – represented on the PCHC by an environmental consultant, and an M-arch holder working with a MEP engineering firm.
R. Christopher Mathis, SMArchS
President, Mathis Consulting Company - Asheville, NC
Kimberly Wagoner
Representing EPA WaterSense Program - Environmental Eng. - Eastern Research Group, Inc.Chantilly, VA

· Stakeholders - no liability or effort – just opportunities galore – represented by three members of the PCHC.
Richard C. Morgan, PMP
Austin Energy/City of Austin, TX - Austin Energy Green Building Manager
Maureen Guttman, AIA
Representing AIA - Executive Director, Governor's Green Gov. Council -Pennsylvania Department of Environment Protection id=23222535&authType=name&authToken=mv1l&pvs=pp
Robert (Robin) White, LEED AP
Product Manager, Marketing Retail Sales and Development - Alabama Power Company - Birmingham, AL

· Lawyers - big winners - so many more ways to sue design professionals – now, for non-compliance with the building code – no representation on the PCHC; however, considering their “win”, you’d think they ran the committee.

· Insurers (E & O) - not at first, but they’ll discover how to increase deductibles and write policy exclusions for many of the IGCC inclusions – as with “mold-liability”, they’ll discover how to eliminate and/or reduce coverage – no representation on the PCHC, but they’re aware of the issues and are formulating policies accordingly (according to my “friendly” insurance insider).

Winner / Loser (borderline):

· Municipalities - maintaining records of required submissions for performance, etc. – enforcement requirements – personnel training – expense of more qualified personnel to administer; however, I can already see the “checklists” being generated that throw the responsibility and requirements on the “design professional” – after all, the city has no real liability – by law – so they need someone to accept the responsibility (blame) – represented by three members of the PCHC.
Ken Kraus
Los Angeles Fire Department
Anthony C. Floyd, AIA, LEED AP
Green Building Program Manager - City of Scottsdale, AZ
Rebecca Baker, CBO
Director of Building Safety - Jefferson County - Golden, CO


· Practicing Architectsbig loser - more effort, more liability, more reporting, and more responsibility – all for the same fee – supposedly represented by two to four members of the PCHC; however, none of the representatives truly acted in the interests of AIA members (see my discussion below).

The Public Comment Hearing Committee (PCHC) includes four members of the AIA – but whom are they really representing?

A. Vernon Woodworth, AIA
“Representing AIA “- Associate Principal, R.W. Sullivan, Inc. - Boston, MA W. Sullivan is a large MEP / Fire Protection Engineering firm. Commissioning Agents (aka mechanical engineers) are large “winners” in the IGCC, so I can’t imagine that an “associate principal” in a MEP firm could represent architects.

Dennis A. Andrejko, FAIA
“Representing AIA” - Associate Professor of Architecture - University at Buffalo, Department of Architecture
Teacher first – practitioner second…Architecture schools are also “winners” in the IGCC, so I can’t imagine that an associate professor of architecture could fully represent architects that depend on their practices as the sole means of support.

Dru Meadows, AIA, CCS, FCSI
“Representing ASTM International” - Mathis Consulting Company - Asheville, NC
This one’s easy. This AIA member represents ASTM International. ASTM is also a “winner” in the IGCC, so forget AIA representation through Mathis Consulting.

Maureen Guttman, AIA
“Representing AIA” - Executive Director, Governor's Green Government Council - Pennsylvania Department of Environment Protection Bureaucrat first – AIA second – governmental agents have no liability whatsoever. There’s no way that a bureaucrat will look out for the interests of practicing architects. Their responsibility is to look out for their employer – in this case, the state.

So, even though (at least) four AIA members serve on the IGCC Public Comment Hearing Committee, none REALLY represent the interests of AIA members – all represent other interests…so, it’s no wonder that practicing architects are getting the “short-straw”.

What possessed the AIA – allowing it to totally ignore the practicing professionals, who comprise the core of its membership?

I can certainly understand why the ICC doesn’t want practicing architects making policy (If questions like mine were asked during the IGCC-formulation process, the code might not have been where it is now); but the AIA?

So here’s the real issue: is the AIA so concerned about its sustainability “mission statement” that it’s afraid of what its constituency might say – that practice matters might overrule “progressive” matters? And, how can the AIA rationalize supporting the onerous requirements within the IGCC that impact the financial health of every practitioner? Those are questions that every practicing architect should ask their national, state, and local AIA directors, and that’s the basis of my next article:

6 - The IGCC is totally unnecessary - A practical guide to fighting back against the IGCC.

BTW: LEED is a trademark of the U. S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating system.

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