Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Is Open for Public Review

Changes to the purpose and scope that reflect advances in green buildings over the last 10 years are proposed for the high performance building standard from ASHRAE, the International Code Council (ICC), the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES).

ASHRAE/IES/USGBC/ICC Standard 189.1, Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings, contains minimum requirements for the siting, design and construction of high-performance green buildings in support of reducing building energy use, resource consumption and other environmental impacts while maintaining acceptable indoor environments.

Among them is addenda o, which proposes revisions to the existing purpose and scope of the standard to clarify its intended purposes and application, and to better reflect the revisions to the standard that are being considered by the committee.

Committee chair Andrew Persily notes that the current title, purpose and scope were approved in 2006 and that much has taken place in the world of green buildings in the past 10 years.

Under addenda o, the purpose of the standard has been rewritten to focus on goals vs. strategies. For example, rather than energy efficiency, the goal of reduced building emissions is proposed for inclusion in the purpose.

A new section of the purpose speaks to the alignment of Standard 189.1 with the International Green Construction Code (IgCC), noting specifically that the standard is intended to serve as the technical basis of mandatory buildings codes and regulations for high-performance buildings.

Standard 189.1 currently is a compliance option of the 2015 IgCC, published by the International Code Council, ASTM and the American Institute of Architects. The standard will serve as the technical content for the IgCC beginning in 2018.

Other addenda open for public review until May 8, 2016 are:

  • Addendum i reorganizes the roof heat island mitigation section and adds new provisions for vegetated terrace and roofing systems relative to plant selection, growing medium, roof membrane protection and clearances. In addition, provisions for the operation and maintenance of vegetated roofs are proposed for addition to Section 10.
  • Addendum n clarifies footnote b to Table 7.5.2A. This footnote provides a method to adjust the percent reduction for buildings with unregulated energy cost exceeding 35 percent of the total energy cost. This addendum clarifies that the adjustment is to be made on the basis of energy cost, not energy use.
  • Addendum p proposes to add requirements for water bottle filling stations, which are intended to improve water efficiency and sanitation of public drinking water and to reduce the environmental effects of plastic bottles.
  • Addendum r lowers the ductwork pressure testing threshold to include 3-inch pressure class ducts, which are common upstream of variable air volume (VAV) boxes.
  • Addendum t adds new requirements for reverse osmosis and onsite reclaimed water systems in order to reduce the likelihood of excessive water use because of poor design of water treatment and filter system.
  • Addendum u adds new requirements for water softeners to reduce water consumption given the impact of the design and efficiency of these systems on water discharge water rates.

Open for public review from April 8 until May 23, 2016 are:

  • Addendum q modifies Chapters 5, 7, 8 and 11, as well as Appendices A and E, to reflect the addition of Climate Zone 0 in ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 169-2013, Climatic Data for Building Design Standards.
  • Addendum s removes the performance option for water use and moves the prescriptive option into the mandatory section.

AIA Members Sign on as Charter Members of Tax Reform Coalition

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) announced that it has signed on as charter members of Parity for Main Street Employers (PMSE), a coalition pushing for comprehensive tax reform that treats small business fairly.

Formerly called the Pass-Through Coalition, the “Parity for Main Street Employers” steering committee is made up of nine national trade groups actively representing private employers in the tax reform discussion. The group’s general membership is made up of those trade groups that have signed on to the tax reform principles letter that forms the core of the group’s advocacy efforts.

A recent iteration of that letter was released in anticipation of the hearing on Tax Reform before the House Ways and Means Tax Policy Subcommittee. The letter, which is signed by more than 100 business groups, including the AIA, calls on Congress to enact tax reform that is comprehensive, restores tax rate parity for all businesses and reduces or eliminates the double tax imposed on corporations.

“Almost 80 percent of AIA members are small businesses,” says AIA President Russ Davidson, FAIA. “Any attempt to reform the tax code must protect such small businesses and restore rate parity between corporations and so-called pass-through businesses that contribute more than 50 percent of business income to America’s economy.”

“The AIA is proud to be a part of the PMSE, as well as serve on its steering committee,” Davidson says.

The letter closes, “By embracing these broad concepts, Congress can move the taxation of business income in a direction that helps all employers, regardless of how they are organized, to invest and create jobs here in America.”

AIA Celebrates National Architecture Week

National Architecture Week is a public awareness campaign dedicated to elevating the public’s appreciation of design and to bring attention to the role architects play as a force for positive change in our communities. This year’s National Architecture Week will bring special focus on architects’ profound ability to impact communities through design and collaboration. In support of this theme the AIA will announce the recipients of the AIA/ALA Library Building Awards on April 12. As the traditional role of libraries evolves, the designs of these community spaces have changed to reflect the needs of the surrounding residence.

Throughout the week the AIA will foster discussions online around design topics, including:

  • Share photos or videos of what architecture means to you on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. Use #ARCHWeek16 and #ilookup. Share your favorite architecture quotes, buildings, models, renders, sketches and more. The AIA will post users photos and videos on the AIA National social media accounts during the next several months.
  • Participate in a special #AIAChat on Twitter. The chat will take place on Wednesday, April 13 at 3 p.m. EDT. Doug Patt, AIA, founder of How to Architect, will lead a discussion about career paths for architects that decide to practice outside of the profession. Use #AIAChat on Twitter during the chat day and time to participate.
  • Share the latest #ilookup commercial on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. Include messages about the important role architects play in shaping our communities. Watch the video.

Architecture Billings Index: Mostly Stable Conditions in Nonresidential Design and Construction Markets

Following a generally positive performance in 2015, the Architecture Billings Index has begun this year modestly dipping back into negative terrain. As an economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine- to 12-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the January ABI score was 49.6, down slightly from the mark of 51.3 in the previous month. This score reflects a minor decrease in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 55.3, down from a reading of 60.5 the previous month.

Every January the AIA research department updates the seasonal factors used to calculate the ABI, resulting in a revision of recent ABI values.

“The fundamentals are mostly sound in the nonresidential design and construction market,” says AIA Chief Economist, Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “January was a rocky month throughout the economy, with falling oil prices, international economic concerns, and with steep declines in stock market valuations in the U.S. and elsewhere. Some of the fallout of this uncertainty may have affected progress on design projects.”

Key January ABI highlights:

  • Regional averages: West (50.8), Northeast (50.4), South (50.3), Midwest (48.9)
  • Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (51.9), commercial/industrial (50.5), institutional (49.9), mixed practice (49.0)
  • Project inquiries index: 55.3
  • Design contracts index: 50.9

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

Architecture Billings Index: Positive Outlook for Construction Industry

There were a few occasions where demand for design services decreased from a month-to-month basis in 2015, but the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) concluded the year in positive terrain and was so in eight of the 12 months of the year. As an economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate nine- to 12-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the December ABI score was 50.9, up from the mark of 49.3 in the previous month. This score reflects a slight increase in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 60.2, up from a reading of 58.6 the previous month.

“As has been the case for the past several years, there continues to be a mix of business conditions that architecture firms are experiencing,” says AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Overall, however, ABI scores for 2015 averaged just below the strong showing in 2014, which points to another healthy year for construction this year.”

Key December ABI highlights:

  • Regional averages: West (53.7), South (53.3), Northeast (46.7), Midwest (46.1),
  • Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (52.9), institutional (52.2), commercial/industrial (47.3), mixed practice (46.5)
  • Project inquiries index: 60.2
  • Design contracts index: 51.0

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

Business Conditions Show Decrease in Architecture Billings and Construction Spending

As has been the case a few times already this year, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI) dipped in November. As an economic indicator of construction activity, the ABI reflects the approximate 9- to 12-month lead time between architecture billings and construction spending. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported the November ABI score was 49.3, down from the mark of 53.1 in the previous month. This score reflects a decrease in design services (any score above 50 indicates an increase in billings). The new projects inquiry index was 58.6, up just a nudge from a reading of 58.5 the previous month.

“Since architecture firms continue to report that they are bringing in new projects, this volatility in billings doesn’t seem to reflect any underlying weakness in the construction sector,” says AIA Chief Economist Kermit Baker, Hon. AIA, PhD. “Rather, it could reflect the uncertainty of moving ahead with projects given the continued tightness in construction financing and the growing labor shortage problem gripping the entire design and construction industries.”

Key November ABI highlights:

  • Regional averages: South (55.4), West (54.5), Midwest (47.8), Northeast (46.2)
  • Sector index breakdown: multi-family residential (53.8), institutional (52.0), commercial / industrial (51.0), mixed practice (47.6)
  • Project inquiries index: 58.6
  • Design contracts index: 53.5

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

Congress Votes to Extend Energy-efficiency Tax Deduction for Two Years

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) issued the following statement on Congress’s two-year extension of the 179D tax deduction, which provides up to $1.80 per square foot for the design of energy-efficient buildings. Please attribute the statement to AIA President Russell Davidson, FAIA:

“As architects, we’d have preferred a longer-term extension. With this deduction expiring each year, it has been difficult for us to plan our finances, which in turn has limited the effectiveness of this key incentive for designing energy-efficient buildings.

“Nonetheless, we are pleased members of Congress have voted to extend this tax provision through 2016 as part of the comprehensive budget bill. In addition to providing a benefit to commercial building owners, the 179D deduction encourages federal, state and local government building owners, like public schools or state universities, to build energy-efficient buildings by offering a tax deduction to the designer of these buildings.

“By allowing government entities to transfer the tax deduction to designers of buildings that surpass industry efficiency standards, our profession is able to put in the extra time and effort needed to design the best buildings for our neighborhoods and communities, while government entities can better manage their bottom lines.

“Our 87,000 members strongly support this deduction as one way to encourage the design and construction of buildings that are energy efficient—and save taxpayer dollars in the process. We’d like to see it made permanent.”

AIA Releases Six Design-Build Forms as Part of Contract Docs Expansion

The American Institute of Architects (AIA) launched nine new contract documents. These include a new owner/consultant agreement with two accompanying scope of service exhibits for land surveying and geotechnical engineering, as well as six new administrative forms for use on design-build projects.

“We are constantly collaborating with industry stakeholders and practitioners to identify growing contract needs,” says Kenneth Cobleigh, managing director and counsel, AIA Contract Documents. “Our customers expressed a need for a standard form of agreement owners could use to engage necessary consultants and leverage their expertise; the new C103 document addresses that need these additions also cap off our design-build family of documents, which are preferred by the industry at large for commercial design-build projects.”

The C103–2015, Standard Form of Agreement Between Owner and Consultant without a Predefined Scope of Consultant’s Services establishes expectations between an owner and consultant on a project. This agreement contains basic business terms related to copyrights and licenses, claims and disputes, termination or suspension, and compensation.

The accompanying scope of services exhibits include:

  • C201-2015, Standard Form of Consultant’s Services: Land Survey: This exhibit establishes the duties and responsibilities of a surveyor who is hired as a consultant by a property owner, and allows the parties to select between a boundary, topographic, or ALTA/ACSM survey.
  • C202-2015, Standard Form of Consultant’s Services: Geotechnical Engineering Services: This exhibit establishes the duties and responsibilities of a geotechnical engineer who is hired as a consultant by a property owner. It separates the geotechnical engineer’s services into four phases: explorations and testing, preparation of a geotechnical report, design services, and construction services.

Both documents are scope of services exhibits intended to be attached to AIA Document C103-2015. They may not be used as stand-alone agreements. The AIA worked with land surveying and geotechnical engineering experts to define the parameters of these documents.

“We were pleased that the AIA sought our input on technical content during the development of C201-2015, Standard Form of Consultant’s Services: Land Survey,” says Curt Sumner, LS, executive director of the National Society of Professional Surveyors. “We believe this document is an important addition to the AIA library of contract documents.”

The AIA has also added six new design-build forms to complete the Design-Build family of documents, which has quickly become one of the most popular document families in the AIA portfolio. The six new documents include:

  • G741-2015, Change Order for a Design-Build Project
  • G742C-2015, Application and Certificate for Payment for a Design-Build Project, Contractor Variation
  • G742S-2015, Application and Certificate for Payment for a Design-Build Project, Subcontractor Variation
  • G743C-2015, Continuation Sheet for a Design-Build Project, Contractor Variation
  • G743S-2015, Continuation Sheet for a Design-Build Project, Subcontractor Variation
  • G745-2015, Change Directive for a Design-Build Project

The new documents are currently available through the latest version of the AIA Contract Documents desktop software, as well as individually through AIA Documents-on-Demand and AIA Documents-on-Demand Plus.

Courses Added to CertainTeed Continuing Education Webinar Schedule

Building professionals can look forward to earning more free credit hours this year, thanks to additions to the CertainTeed Building Knowledge Academy of Continuing Education (ACE) webinar course schedule. Topics include specifying high-performance materials for medical facility interiors, sustainable systems for the building envelope and cool roofing. Residential landscape design and fence systems will also be covered.

“This year, we are celebrating more than 100,000 credit hours earned by architects and design professionals,” says Jill Betters, manager, commercial and architectural programs for CertainTeed Corp. “It’s a milestone to be proud of, as we strive to be the best and most convenient resource for continuing education and technical information. Webinars provide a unique opportunity to have a dialogue with the architecture and construction industry in real time.”

“Landscape and Residential Fence Systems: An Overview,” 2 to 3 p.m. ET, Tuesday, Dec. 8, will cover will the advantages and disadvantages of four kinds of fencing materials for residential fencing systems. Attendees will learn about the vinyl manufacturing process, commonly used test standards, the ICC code for swimming pool fencing and vinyl fence installation methods.

Later that same week, “Up on the Roof: Asphalt Shingles,” 1 to 2 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 10, will go over the key components within an asphalt shingle that contribute to solar reflectance and reduce the heat island effect. Learning objectives include how to properly ventilate roofing systems in order to reduce energy consumption within the building and increase indoor air quality; how the recycling of asphalt shingles contribute to a sustainable environment; the benefits of ENERGY STAR-rated roofing products and more.

All CEU courses are accredited by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) for one learning unit. Many are also certified for AIA Health Safety and Welfare (HSW) and Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) credential maintenance program, giving professionals the credits they need and the product and system knowledge to specify smarter. The online academy also helps users easily organize and keep track of their completed courses and earned credits.

In addition, online content is accessible 24/7 via multiple platforms and devices, giving users the ability to choose how and when they want to learn—whether by attending scheduled seminars or taking an online self-guided course.

Post-Frame Advantage Online University Enhances Continuing Education Opportunities

The Post-Frame Advantage Online University has enhanced its continuing education opportunities for architects, design professionals and structural engineers to learn in depth the benefits of post-frame construction in light commercial applications.

Participants will earn one American Institute of Architects (AIA) or Professional Development Hour (PDH) continuing education credit per session.

There are two curriculum areas in the Post Frame Advantage Online University: Engineering Design of Post-Frame Building Systems and Architectural Design Options for Post-Frame Building Systems.

“Each curriculum consists of three one-hour sessions and it is recommended to take them in order,” says Harvey Manbeck, PE, PHD, NFBA technical consultant. “To ensure participants will have the latest information, these sessions include the most up-to-date post-frame technology and cost ratios available.”

The new courses reflect the latest design principles in the second edition of the Post-Frame Building Design Manual, published by NFBA in 2015.

Engineering Design of Post-Frame Building Systems

  • Session 1: Introduction to Post-Frame Building Systems: The core essentials of modern post-frame construction.
  • Session 2: Architectural Alternatives for Post-Frame Building Systems: Function and form alternatives for interiors and exteriors possible with post frame.
  • Session 3: Modern Post-Frame Structural Design Practice: Current principles for post-frame construction presented in an engineering perspective.

Architectural Design Options for Post-Frame Building Systems

  • Session 1: Post-Frame Buildings: A Light-Commercial Mainstay: The basics of post-frame construction and how it is an ideal building system for light-commercial applications.
  • Session 2: Architectural Diversity of Post-Frame Building Systems: The diverse style possibilities of post-frame construction.
  • Session 3: Modern Post-Frame Structural Design Practice: An Introduction: Structural design options for post-frame buildings.

Manbeck says that additional sessions would be added later this year in the Engineering Design of Post-Frame Building Systems curriculum. “Session 4 will give instruction on the design of shallow isolated pier foundations,” he says. “And Session 5 will explore modern post-frame structural design practices in more detail.” More courses are in the works for the coming year.

Courses may be taken at any time and it is quick and easy to get started. Visit the Post-Frame Online University, choose a session, and register to receive continuing education credits today.