Symposium Aims to Increase Life-Cycle Savings

Natl Inst of Building ScienceSmart buildings and building analytics are increasingly of interest within the facility operations and maintenance community. The National Institute of Building Sciences Facility Maintenance and Operations Committee (FMOC) was founded to develop the information exchange standard known today as the Construction Operations Building information exchange (COBie) and to support the adoption of COBie as a standard practice within the building industry.

Today, the need for additional information exchanges is apparent. During the Facility Maintenance and Operations Committee (FMOC) Symposium: Improving Life-Cycle Savings through Intelligent Building Data, to be held Wednesday, January 8, 8:45 am – 11:45 am, as part of Building Innovation 2014: the National Institute of Building Sciences Conference and Expo, attendees will become acquainted with activities that provide a solid foundation for communication and analysis. Speakers will present and then converse in a moderated panel about three related areas in which FMOC members are engaged: OmniClass tables, equipment inventory standards and building sensor information exchange standards.

OmniClass tables emerged from the realization that a common classification of objects was needed to better support communication and use of project information. The presenters will explain how a number of legacy classifications and information standards fed into the development of the OmniClass tables; the process used to create these new standards; and practical applications and benefits to users; as well as provide an early view of several new tables being submitted to the nation’s building information modeling (BIM) standard, the National BIM Standard –United States®,as well as other tables that are being revised.

Smart buildings typically involve periodic monitoring and comparing to some static benchmark. COBie organizes the static product information provided by the manufacturer and installer; the equipment inventory organizes the data within the maintenance management system; and automated control systems and other inspection methods provide the periodic data. Presenters will discuss developing standard information exchanges pertinent to sensor systems, as well the benefits of having a complete and comprehensive equipment database.

Speakers include:

  • Chris Bogen, Computer Scientist, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • William Brodt, Chair, Facility Maintenance and Operations Committee
  • Greg Ceton, Director, Technical Services, CSI
  • Alan Edgar, Workgroup Program Manager, Open Standards Consortium for Real Estate
  • Robert A. Keady, Jr., CEM, FMP, Facility Manager, Author

Register to Attend
Register now to attend Building Innovation 2014 and the FMOC Symposium and save. Online registration rates end 12/31/13.

E-book version of NBIMS-US available for $5

Natl Inst of Building ScienceThe National Institute of Building Sciences buildingSMART alliance has officially released the e-book version of the National BIM Standard-United States® (NBIMS-US™) Version 2 (V2), the first-ever consensus-based standard governing building information modeling (BIM) for use in the United States. It was first released in spring 2012 as a free, online standard. With this new release as an eBook, the Alliance helps the NBIMS-US V2 advance the art and science of the building life cycle by making the standard that much easier to reference anywhere, anytime.

Developed in response to requests for an off-line and portable form of the standard, the eBook contains the fixed content of the NBIMS-US™ V2, as well as internet-accessible links to reference supporting material online. NBIMS-US™ V2 covers the full life cycle of buildings—from planning, design and construction to operations and sustainment. Part of an international effort, the standard is serving as the kick-off point for a number of other countries around the world to adopt as their own BIM standard, as well as the basis of NBIMS-US™  V3, which is currently under development here in the United States.

The standard is arranged into three main categories: reference standards, information exchange standards (which are built upon the reference standards) and best practice guidelines that support users in their implementation of open BIM standards-based deliverables.

The Alliance, which is both a council of the Institute and the North American chapter of buildingSMART® International, is working with several other nations on BIM standard development. The United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada, Korea, Australia and New Zealand are all using the NBIMS-US™ V2 as the basis for their own standards. The NBIMS-US™ V2 eBook is compatible with MAC and PC devices, Android Tablets, Kindle and Nook eReaders, and related formats. The application is available online through the Institute Store for just $4.99. Download the NBIMS-US™ V2 eBook now.

Aluminum sustainability white paper is available for free

American Architectural Manufacturers Assn.The Aluminum Material Council (AMC) of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA) has released a new white paper on aluminum’s sustainability, strength and efficiency entitled, Aluminum: The Total Solution for Sustainable, Strong and Efficient Commercial Building Design.

“The overall goal of the AMC white paper is to encapsulate the many strategic advantages when incorporating aluminum extrusions into today’s commercial fenestration products,” says Brent Slaton (Keymark), chair of AAMA’s AMC Marketing Committee. “These advantages include energy efficiency, recyclability/sustainability, cost advantages, freedom of design, strength to weight ratio and the plethora of colors and finishes available in the marketplace. Throughout this white paper, it’s easily understandable as to why aluminum extrusions have been used by design professionals for decades.”

According to the AAMA/WDMA 2011/2012 Study of the U.S. Market for Windows, Doors and Skylights, in 2011, aluminum accounted for nearly 40 percent of the nonresidential entry door market and 24 percent of the nonresidential interior door market. Aluminum framed skylights were the dominant (87 percent) configuration on the market in 2011.

Aluminum: The Total Solution for Sustainable, Strong and Efficient Commercial Building Design is available for free download in AAMA’s online Publication Store.

24 students win awards in ACSA/AISC design competition

Amer Inst for Steel Construction.Twenty-four architecture students from universities around North America were honored in the 2012-2013 Steel Design Student Competition. Administered by the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA) and sponsored by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), the program challenges architecture students, working individually or in teams, to explore a variety of design issues related to the use of steel in design and construction. A total of $14,000 in cash prizes was awarded to the winning students and their faculty sponsors.

Students submitted designs in two categories that required steel to be used as the primary structural material and with special emphasis placed on innovation in steel design. The Bridge to Building category challenged students to design a pedestrian bridge that would enrich its location and provide a vital spatial connection, as well as include an ancillary function - a small pavilion - that supports the cause for the crossing. In the Open Category, students were given the opportunity to select a site and building program that included at least one long-span steel structure.

The award winners in each category are:

Category I - Building to Bridge

  • First Place: “Stream_Line”
    Students: Christopher Garrow, Heather Martin and Kaitlin Shenk
    Faculty Sponsors: Donald Dunham, Brian Johnston, Thomas Kirchner, Lisa Phillips and Barbara Macaulay
    School: Philadelphia University
    “Real-world issues require more inclusive and interdisciplinary strategies - strategies that can help craft sustainable real-world solutions,” commented Dunham. “Giving our students real-world frameworks through international and national competition forums allows them to test new knowledge patterns in the most competitive, creative and intellectual environments.”
  • Second Place: “Adaptive Connections”
    Students: Vahe Markosian, Andrew Maier III, Mark Pothier and James P Stoddart
    Faculty Sponsors: John C Cerone and Adam Modesitt
    School: Columbia University
  • Third Place: “Building [Equilibrium] Bridge”
    Student: Javier Bidot-Betancourt
    Faculty Sponsor: Jose Lorenzo-Torres
    School: Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico

Category II - Open

About 250 project submissions from more than 1,000 students were received during this year’s steel design competition, and nearly 100 faculty members served as student advisers for the competition. In total, 48 universities from across North America took part.

This year’s competition jurors were: Terri Boake, professor of architecture at the University of Waterloo, Canada; Phillip Anzalone, director of the laboratory for applied building science at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University; Peter Weismantle, director of supertall building technology at Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture (AS+GG) in Chicago; Jeremy Ficca, associate professor of architecture and founding director of the Digital Fabrication Laborary [dFAB] in the School of Architecture at Carnegie Mellon University; Patricia Kucker, associate professor of architecture at the University of Cincinnati; and Kirk Martini, associate professor of structural design at the University of Virginia School of Architecture.

 For additional information about the ACSA/AISC Steel Design Student Competition, visit or

Adaptive reuse project wins architecture and engineering award

A 400,000-sq.-ft adaptive reuse sports facility in Stamford, Conn., has earned national recognition in the 2013 Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel awards program (IDEAS2).

Opened to the public in the summer of 2012, Chelsea Piers Connecticut features two NHL regulation ice rinks, enormous turf fields (for soccer, lacrosse, football, field hockey, softball, and baseball), a 20,000-sq.-ft gymnastics center, an aquatics center with an Olympic-sized pool, seven tennis courts, 12 squash courts, a trampoline center, a baseball/softball training area, childcare/preschool, food service, pro shop, catering and party/special event spaces.

Chelsea Piers sports facility

This sports facility used to be a Clairol factory that produced Herbal Essence shampoo.

The building housing this state-of-the-art sports facility is a 45-year-old manufacturing plant previously used by Clairol as the facility for manufacturing Herbal Essence shampoo. The adaptive reuse saved the old building from being demolished and ending up in a landfill; Clairol maintained the building well, keeping it in excellent condition.

Although the building square footage met the project’s requirements, the lack of large column-free spaces created a potential roadblock. Professional quality sports facilities such as swimming pools, hockey rinks and tennis courts require large column-free areas in excess of a 100 ft wide. This criterion required the removal of 23 columns from the building in order to achieve the column-free zones. Determining an economical method for removing the existing columns while leaving the entire roof structure in place was the principal challenge. The solutions selected by WSP Cantor Seinuk were extremely creative, economical and highly sustainable, resulting in reuse of the existing roof structure, limited demolition and limited use of new materials.

The proposed structural system was based upon the use of king post trusses constructed out of the in-place existing roof structure. Leaving the existing beams, which formed the top compression chords of the truss, in place and using a portion of the existing columns as the king posts, only a relatively small amount of steel had to be added to form the tension cords of the truss. Upgrading of the in-place top chord members was accomplished via composite action with the new concrete slab poured on the existing in-place metal roof deck. Steel angle members were used for the tension chords of the trusses. Although the simple and basic “off the shelf” structural members remain exposed, their aesthetically pleasing form is quite apparent. The positive effect of the forms on the facility’s architecture is further testament to the economic and sustainable accomplishments achievable via innovative engineering. It is an excellent example of form following function.

The design met all the criteria – with the exception of being able to achieve a flat floor after the concrete was poured. Since the existing roof, which was supported upon the new king post trusses, was slated to become additional space for the new sport facilities, there was a requirement for a very flat floor structure. The proposed eloquent solution, calling for the cambering of the trusses prior to pouring the concrete slab, was accomplished via jacking of the existing roof structure prior to the installation of the new truss members. After the installation of the truss steel, the existing columns were cut out and removed. Upon pouring the new roof concrete the trusses deflected precisely as designed, leaving a flat surface for the tennis courts and soccer area to be located above.

Amer Inst for Steel Construction.Conducted annually by the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC), the IDEAS2 awards recognize outstanding achievement in engineering and architecture on structural steel projects across the country. The IDEAS2 award is the highest, most prestigious honor bestowed on building projects by the structural steel industry in the U.S. and recognizes the importance of teamwork, coordination and collaboration in fostering successful construction projects.

The awards presentation coincides with a day special to the U.S. structural steel industry: National SteelDay. Steel industry companies and related businesses across the U.S. celebrate the day with a variety of events taking place from coast to coast.

Volunteers improve local schools

USGBCOn Saturday, Sept. 28, the Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) brought together thousands of volunteers to participate in nearly 2,100 service projects in all 50 states and more than 30 countries for the second annual Green Apple Day of Service.

The Green Apple Day of Service, launched by the Center for Green Schools last year, is an initiative that brings together volunteers and green schools advocates around the world to take action in their communities through service projects at local schools. The Day of Service provides an opportunity for students, teachers, parents, elected officials, organizations, companies and more to transform all schools into healthy, safe, cost-efficient and productive learning environments.

Examples of 2013 projects included:

  • The Center for Green Schools hosted the Day of Service flagship event in Washington, D.C. at Payne Elementary School. Volunteers from USGBC and the local community came out to participate in activities such as planting a garden, painting rainwater barrels and making crafts from recycled materials.
  • The Utah State University USGBC student chapter partnered with the university’s sustainability council to host a booth at the Open Streets Festival. The club distributed flower bulbs in packages that provided information about USGBC, Green Apple Day of Service, and how to learn more about the organization and sustainability.
  • The students of Mohammadpur Preparatory Higher Secondary School of Dhaka, Bangladesh observed the Green Apple Day of Service by planting flowering trees and painting posters.
  • Fifth grade students of Atholton Elementary in Columbia, Md. partnered with the local non-profit Patapsco Heritage Greenway to conduct stream studies, complete a stream clean-up, and participate in a nature scavenger hunt of the clean-up area.
  • Woodland Primary School in Gages Lake, Ill. celebrated their recent LEED Silver certification.

Many of today’s schools are beset by a host of challenges that compromise our children’s health and wellness, causing everything from asthma to headaches and concentration issues. The Green Apple Day of Service is helping transform schools into sustainable and healthy places to live, learn, work and play while educating a new generation of consumers and leaders – sustainability natives – capable of driving global market transformation.

For more information on the Green Apple Day of Service, visit

Institute, DOE to develop Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines

Natl Inst of Building ScienceToday, the National Institute of Building Sciences (Institute) announced a partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to coordinate an industry-driven process to develop voluntary national guidelines for commercial building workforce credentials, known as the Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines.

Improving the operational performance of commercial buildings requires highly skilled and qualified workers, particularly as building technologies become more advanced. Yet the lack of national guidelines for energy-related professional credentials represents a major barrier to the quality, consistency and scalability of this workforce. The Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines will initially address commercial building workforce training and certification programs for five key energy-related jobs: energy auditor, commissioning professional, building/stationary engineer, facility manager and energy manager.

The purpose of the Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines is to reduce the confusion and uncertainty around workforce credentialing; lower costs; and support better credentials, better workers and better buildings. The guidelines will set an industry-validated Job Task Analysis (JTA) for each job title, as well as certification schemes (blueprints) and learning objectives for training programs.

The Institute established the Commercial Workforce Credentialing Council (CWCC), which will consist of private and public sector industry stakeholders, to lead development of the Guidelines. By spring of 2015, the Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines are scheduled to be available to the U.S. commercial building industry, including professional certification bodies, labor union training funds or apprenticeship program sponsors; private training providers; and career and technical higher education programs.

Get Involved in the CWCC
The Institute invites industry stakeholders, including building owners, industry trade associations, credentialing bodies, energy efficiency advocates, utility program administrators, labor unions, the real estate community, and state, local and federal officials to join the CWCC. If you’re already a member of the Institute, you may join the CWCC by emailing us at with “Join CWCC” in the subject line. Non-members may join the  Institute and the Council using the discount code “CWCCJ13″ for a free one-year membership. Sign up now to become a CWCC member.Register for the Informational Webinar

DOE will host a live webinar on October 17, 2013, from 2:00 – 3:30 pm EDT, for industry professionals to learn more about the Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines and the CWCC. A live question and answer period will occur at approximately 3:00 pm, following the presentation. Space is limited. Register now. For those unable to attend, the webinar will be recorded and made available on the CWCC website.

Learn about the Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines
For more information on the Better Buildings Workforce Guidelines, visit the DOE website.

August ABI shows higher demand for design services

AIAThe August 2013 Architecture Billings Index (ABI) showed more acceleration in the growth of design activity nationally. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the August ABI score was 53.8, up from a mark of 52.7 in July. This score reflects an increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 63.0, down from the reading of 66.4 the previous month.

“As business conditions at architecture firms have improved eleven out of the past twelve months, it is fair to say that the design professions are in a recovery mode,” said AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, PhD, Hon. AIA. “This upturn signals an impending turnaround in nonresidential construction activity, but a key component to maintaining this momentum is the ability of businesses to obtain financing for real estate projects, and for a resolution to the federal government budget and debt ceiling impasse.”

Key August ABI highlights:

  • Regional averages: West (54.8), Northeast (54.4), Midwest (52.8), South (51.9)
  • Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (60.1), commercial / industrial (54.8), multi-family residential (52.1), institutional (50.8)
  • Project inquiries index: 63.0

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the index and inquiries are monthly numbers.

Construction spending hits four-year high in July

Associated General Contractors of AmericaTotal construction spending hit a four-year high in July as private residential and nonresidential activity increased while public spending declined, according to an analysis of new Census Bureau data by the Associated General Contractors of America. Association officials urged lawmakers in Washington to make infrastructure investment a top federal priority before funding runs out at the end of September.

Construction put in place in July, $901 billion, was the highest mark since June 2009, and an increase of 0.6 percent from the month before and 5.2 percent from July 2012. Totals for May and June were revised up, implying a stronger second quarter for the overall economy than the government reported last week.

Private residential spending rose 0.6 percent for the month and 17 percent from July 2012. New single-family construction climbed 0.5 percent in July and 29 percent from a year ago. New multifamily spending edged up 0.1 percent in July and advanced 39 percent year-over-year.

Private nonresidential spending gained 1.3 percent in July and 2.0 percent year-over-year. Components with substantial increases since July 2012 included lodging, up 33 percent; warehouses, up 11 percent; and the largest private nonresidential category, power—including oil and gas as well as electricity—up 5 percent. However, there were decreases in private health care construction, down 3 percent; and communication, down 12 percent, Simonson noted.

Public construction spending slipped 0.3 percent for the month and 3.7 percent over 12 months. The two largest public components both dropped: highway and street, down 1.1 percent in July and down 3.8 percent year-over-year; and educational, down 1.5 percent and 12 percent, respectively, Simonson said.

Association officials urged policy makers in Washington to enact federal spending bills by September 30 in order to avoid costly interruptions to federally funded construction projects. They said even a short lapse in appropriations could be very disruptive to construction schedules for infrastructure and building projects.

Architecture Billings Index Stays Positive in July

AIAThe Architecture Billings Index (ABI) saw a jump of more than a full point last month, indicating acceleration in the growth of design activity nationally. As a leading economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine to twelve month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the July ABI score was 52.7, up from a mark of 51.6 in June. This score reflects an increase in demand for design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 66.7, up dramatically from the reading of 62.6 the previous month.

Key July ABI highlights:

  • Regional averages: Northeast (54.3), South (54.2), West (51.1), Midwest (50.8)
  • Sector index breakdown: mixed practice (56.9), commercial / industrial (54.2), multi-family residential (53.3), institutional (50.6)
  • Project inquiries index: 66.4

The regional and sector categories are calculated as a 3-month moving average, whereas the index and inquiries are monthly numbers.