From Designed to Built: Delivering Your Green Home

first_imgOFFICIAL TRANSCRIPTChris Briley: Hey everybody, welcome to the Green Architects’ Lounge podcast. I’m your host, Chris Briley.Phil Kaplan: And I’m your host, Phil Kaplan. How’re you doing, Chris?Chris: I’m doing absolutely great, Phil. Yourself?Phil: Excellent! I’m doing great. I noticed it was nice and chilly for the first time last night. Did you see frost?Chris: I don’t know if I saw frost, but dude, I felt it. I woke up and took the kids out to the bus and went “Whoa!” Went out in a T-shirt and was like “This bus better hurry up!”Phil: Welcome to fall. It’s all downhill from here.Chris: So they say. Fall season brings what?Phil: It brings apples — Am I right?Chris: Let’s go right to the cocktails. Not only is it fall, but we got the news that Steve Jobs passed away. Our cocktail is in honor of Steve Jobs and also fall. It’s called the Northern Spy.Phil: Man, it’s hot.[The guys share the recipe.]Phil: It’s getting a little chillier. Aren’t we glad we live in warm homes, Chris?Chris: Yes, we are. Energy-efficient one.Phil: And we’re glad we’re building them and designing them…Chris: That’s right. The title of this podcast says that we’ve designed you a great house; now we have to make it a reality. There’s the challenge of bringing in a builder, controlling the budget and schedule, and making this thing happen. Not the easiest thing in the world to do…Phil: And then there’s the inconvenience of having a client involved… I mean, someone’s gotta pay for it. No, really, we love our clients — especially when we have a great team. Spectacular things happen — intense joy and creation. One of the things we can talk about is what defines success.Chris: So, what’s a successful project?Phil: The number one thing is a happy client. If the client is happy and they’re going to recommend you after the fact, and they’re going to live in this house…Chris: You’ll sleep at night if you know the client is happy.Phil: It also helps if the architect is happy and likes the design.Chris: If it’s one you’re passionate about and excited to show your friends, then that is special.Phil: Things come together, and the client shares your goals and believes in your vision. It also helps if you make a little money on it. And the builder has to have great satisfaction — he’s out there all the time. He also has to make money on it.Chris: And be proud of what he’s done. The ultimate successful project, then, is happy client, happy architect, happy builder.Phil: We can get there. It’s been done. Does it happen most of the time? I’d say not. We’re in a tricky profession. We’re here to try to resolve some of these issues. And in Part 2, we’ll talk directly with some builders to figure out what we need to do to come together as teams and make it work better.Chris: Clients want to understand the process. Lots of times they come to us and say they’ve never hired an architect before. And they’ve never built anything before, never hired a builder before. Part of the architect’s job is to demystify the process. It’s not a magical thing that happens behind some green curtain. There are real, tangible people involved who care about the whole process.Phil: It’s true. They come to us because we’re good at what we do. We see things in a different way because that’s how we’re trained. But, my little tangent is this: I personally think architects have a PR problem. People think our egos and their dreams are going to be exceeded and cost them a lot of money, and they’re not going to be in control of the process. That’s sad. Our goal is to be a trusted advisor.Chris: As architects, we’re a different profession than we were 20 years ago.Phil: Absolutely. The idea of a master builder is nice, but we need a team to do all these things.Chris: So, let’s talk about that. The team member we’re going to talk about most right now is the builder. In the old days, Phil, you’d hire this master builder/architect who’d draw your plans, write your specs, hand them to you, and say, “This is the house you want.” And you’d take all that to every builder in town to get their budgets, and then you’d pick one. It’s called “going out to bid.”And commercially that still happens; the stakes are higher and you need that level of control. But with a house, the problem with that is the client is going to be paying the architect to protect them. If you have a good builder who’s on board and part of the team, though, you don’t need protection. The times have changed.Phil: Especially when we talk about sustainable homes.Chris: Speaking of green, I’d like to not introduce Dan Morrison. He was going to travel here.Phil: Dan is the executive editor of Fine Homebuilding and GreenBuildingAdvisor. We are very excited to almost have had him as a guest.Now that we’re doing these green homes…Chris: They take a higher level of focus, and not just from the builder. It’s even more important that the builder gets this stuff right. So choose the builder ahead of time.Phil: In integrated design, we get the builder on board early rather than go out to bid. We need a team to make the sure the details we’re drawing are going to be built properly. And also, it’s a check for us. We’re architects; we don’t swing hammers. If we’re not careful and screw this stuff up, it’s a huge risk for green building in general.I’ll tell you how we bring a builder in. Typically, there’s a schematic design, and then there is design development when pricing is set. It’s certainly before construction drawings; we don’t go out to bid. We advocate getting the drawings done to a certain level to get the builder to set a price within 10 to 15 percent. We just ask for an estimate. Then we ask the client to hire that builder, and then we form a team.We’ve had issues with bringing builders in really early in the process, having to do with cost control. They offer an estimate based on sketches; they’re hired, and then we do the construction drawings. The building costs then go way out of control.Chris: Clients listening to this say, “That’s other people, not me.” Well, it is you. It would be me, if I were building my house. There’s a compulsion for everyone to hear what they want to hear. Let’s say the builder quotes a house between $250,000 and $400,000. That’s a massive range; if they quote you that, it practically means nothing. The client walks away thinking, “All right, if we do everything the architect says, we’ll be at the low end of that range.”Phil: If we bring builders on too early, the client thinks they’ve lost the competitive advantage. They have a little bit of regret.Chris: So, what do you do? On a recent project, in the design development phase, we hired two builders and paid them to come up with a ballpark price, within 15 percent. We got plans, elevations and a good wall section for a real complicated project, but we had to make allowances. We got two prices back, but you’re not choosing based just on numbers, but on a relationship. We hired one of the builders and said “sorry” to the other one, but at least they got paid a little.We’re afraid of builders offering up numbers too soon that are not based on enough information — we need plans, elevations, a good wall section, maybe schedules.Phil: Sometimes we push it to structural information — framing plans — to get more accurate bidding. In Part 2, we’ll talk to a few prominent builders to get their point of view.Chris: And we’ll make fun of them.Phil: It’ll be really interesting to see what kind of alignment there is between our thoughts and their thoughts. If we’re not completely aligned, then we need to work on that.Chris: It’s all about managing expectations. It’s all about being clear with the client and the builder.Phil: We can’t reiterate enough about clarity at the outset for program and scope, schedule, and budget. Have them written down somewhere. Be honest every step along the way.Chris: It’s like the key to a successful marriage — communication. Of course, really, it’s sex and money. Which is not the same with building and design; I’ve not had that project yet.Let’s leave it here. In Part 2, we’ll play “Three Questions” with the builders.Sheila, let’s bring in Jesse to play “What’s Bothering Jesse Thompson?” With us now is architect Jesse Thompson.Jesse Thompson: Why do we spend so much time talking about walls? With each other, with clients, with builders, probably code officials.… Yeah, there are more walls than roof in a house. Maybe they are important.Phil: I get it. When you’re talking to a colleague about a house, they say “It’s got R-40 walls.” We always begin with the walls. What did you get in the walls? I’ll judge you from there.Jesse: In Passivhaus consultant training, we talk about moisture profiles in walls. We get clients with detailed lists of technical aspects they want in their buildings. Well, let’s go back and talk about the house first, then about what’s the right thing to do. We get clients who are as quality obsessed about the guts of their building as they are about …Phil: It’s a paradigm shift.Jesse: Well, they’re coming fast. They sit up all night reading GreenBuildingAdvisor before they talk to anyone. It’s playing defense on their part; they realize there are good buildings and crappy buildings.Phil: Remember when low-e first became a big thing? People didn’t understand it. They just thought they were getting crappy windows if they weren’t low-e. Now they want more insulation in the walls.Jesse: If someone wants a SIP house, we can talk about 10 different ways of doing the walls. We don’t spend as much time talking with clients about the roof or the basement or the foundation in the same way. Let’s talk about the whole building, not just obsess about the walls. The framing is 25 percent of the cost. We still have 75 percent of the house to talk about — like nontoxic materials. There are other things going on here, to try to get a building ready.Chris: Jesse, this segment’s starting to bother me. See you next time. Subscribe to Green Architects’ Lounge on iTunes—you’ll never miss a show, and it’s free! It’s one thing to design a house, and it’s another thing entirely to turn that design into a physical reality. In this episode, we kick back with an autumn cocktail (the Northern Spy) and talk about the process of bringing on a builder and the challenges of keeping relationships, quality, cost, and expectations managed along the way.Hey, do you want to talk about wall sections? Too bad. Jesse joins us for our “What’s Bothering Jesse?” segment, and he lets us know that he’s a little tired of all the attention that walls command from the green community. So, we’ll talk about that instead.The Highlights:The Northern Spy: Fresh apple cider makes this is a great cocktail for the fall season. It also makes a great beverage for toasting one of the great creators of our time, Steve Jobs, who passed away on October 5th. Here’s to you, Steve, without whom we would likely not even have a podcast. Also, I failed to mention in the podcast that this is a fairly modern drink, and as such, credit can and should be given to its creator Josey Packard of Alembic in San Fransisco.What defines a successful project? A happy client, to be sure, but also a happy architect and a happy builder.The architect’s public relations problem. We discuss how the architect is widely perceived by the public and builders.What’s the process? You could go out to bid, but we think a team approach is better.Bringing the builder in early? Here are the pros and cons. Pro: You get some cost control and input on methodology, but this must come with some understandings. Con: Did you lose your competitive advantage? What assurance do you have that you are getting the best bang for your buck?Have and set clear expectations. Like a good marriage, good communication is critical.What’s bothering Jesse? Walls! (Bet you didn’t see that coming.) RELATED CONTENT Integrated DesignThinning the Herd: How to Pick the Best Eco-BuilderDon’t forget to check back in later for Part 2, where we play “Three Questions” with three prominent green builders and get their input on this subject. Also, we tip our hats to some fellow Mainers for the work they’ve done, and of course Phil finishes with a song you should be listening to while you design.Thanks for listening. Cheers.last_img read more

NHRC team reaches Odisha to probe Kunduli rape-suicide

first_imgA five-member team of National Human Rights Commission reached Koraput district of Odisha on Monday to probe the alleged gang rape and suicide of a minor girl near Kunduli.The NHRC team, led by Deputy Superintendent of Police-rank officer Ravi Singh, will be in Odisha till February 9. On Monday, the team held discussions with Koraput Additional Superintendent of Police, District Child Protection Officer and officials of Human Rights Protection Cell of Odisha Police. It will visit Musaguda village in Kunduli on Tuesday to interact with the family members of the victim.On February 7, the team will visit SLNM Medical College and Hospital in Koraput where the victim had been admitted after the alleged gang rape. The NHRC officials will hold discussions with the doctors who examined, treated and counselled the victim. Speaking to media persons in Koraput, Mr. Singh said anyone who has any evidence or information about this incident can provide it to the team.The NHRC constituted this team for on-the-spot investigation following the petition filed by a social activist. The commission also directed the State authorities and the State HRPC Additional Director General to submit report about the alleged gang rape and suicide of the minor girl.The girl had allegedly committed suicide inside her house at Musaguda under Pottangi police station on January 22. On October 10, 2017, she had alleged that she had been gang-raped near Kunduli by four persons in combat attire, like security personnel. On November 7, the HRPC of Odisha Police had stated that as per the medical report the victim, she had not been raped.On November 8, the Odisha government ordered a judicial enquiry into the incident by a sitting district judge. A parallel enquiry by the State Crime Branch was also ordered.The culprits, however, are yet to be identified.last_img read more

Amid comparisons to Jordan, James out to cement own legacy

first_imgLATEST STORIES Pagasa: Storm intensifies as it nears PAR BSP survey: PH banks see bright horizon amid dark global recession clouds James said at a summer basketball camp last year that he found motivation in “this ghost I’m chasing — the ghost played in Chicago.”But he said his goal is not just to match Jordan’s numbers.“It has nothing to do with passing him in rings, passing him in points, passing him in MVPs. It’s just my personal goal to keep me motivated,” James said.“The conversations about who’s the greatest of all time, things of that nature — it doesn’t matter to me.”More than scoringWhat does matter is the chance to cement his own legacy, one that inspires young players to look beyond scoring as they develop their games.Bill Laimbeer, stalwart of the Detroit Pistons’ “Bad Boys” teams that were once the bane of Jordan’s Bulls, says that attention to every aspect of the game makes James, for him, the best ever.“I’ll take LeBron James, absolutely,” Laimbeer said this month on “The Rematch” podcast. “LeBron can do anything. Michael couldn’t get all the rebounds. He couldn’t be the assist man like LeBron James can.”James says he wants to be known — and remembered — as more than a scorer.“Scoring the ball is so heralded in our sport,” James said. “I want the fundamentals of the game to be as great as they can be.“If some kid or a group of kids from the West Coast or the East Coast or the Midwest or the South and everything in between, all around the world can look at me and say, ‘Well, I made the extra pass because LeBron made the extra pass,’ or, ‘I got a chase-down block and I didn’t give up on the play because LeBron didn’t give up,’ that would mean the world to me.” As pundits parsed the stats showing Jordan achieved his 5,987 playoff points in 179 post-season games while James reached 5,995 in his 212th post-season contest, James dismissed such conversations as “barbershop” debates.When pressed, however, he acknowledged Jordan’s massive influence and the significance of the milestone.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hosting“I think I fell in love with the game because of Mike, just seeing what he was able to accomplish,” James said after scoring 35 points in the Cavaliers’ 135-102 victory over the Boston Celtics that clinched the Eastern Conference title.“When you’re growing up and you’re seeing Michael Jordan, it’s almost like a god. So I didn’t ever believe I could be Mike.” Celtics’ Thomas says hip surgery not top option Palace: Duterte to hear out security execs on alleged China control of NGCP Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast Every 18 seconds someone is diagnosed with HIV BREAKING: Cop killed, 11 hurt in Misamis Oriental grenade blast Cayetano dares Lacson, Drilon to take lie-detector test: Wala akong kinita sa SEA Games MOST READ LeBron James AFP/GETTY IMAGESLeBron James was once among thousands of youngsters striving to “be like Mike,” but the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar never dreamed he’d be mentioned in the same breath as Chicago Bulls icon Michael Jordan as one of basketball’s greatest.James eclipsed Jordan as the NBA’s all-time leading playoff scorer on Thursday as he led the Cavaliers into a third straight NBA Finals — fueling comparisons to six-time NBA champion Jordan.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students PLAY LIST 01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next From trying to emulate Jordan’s fadeaway jump shot to copying his uniform quirks, James said, “I did pretty much everything MJ did when I was a kid.”“I didn’t go bald like Mike, but I’m getting there,” he quipped. “I wanted to be Mike, so for my name to come up in any discussion with Michael Jordan or Kareem (Abdul Jabbar) … it’s a wow factor.”To be sure, “Air Jordan” still reigns over “King James.”Jordan’s six NBA titles are twice as many as James’s three — two of them won with the Miami Heat before he returned to Cleveland with the avowed aim of bringing a championship to his home state of Ohio.Jordan leads James in Most Valuable Player awards five to four and Jordan is fourth all-time in regular-season scoring with 32,292 points compared to James in seventh on 28,787.ADVERTISEMENT View commentslast_img read more

The Walking Dead AMC has launched a new virtual re

first_imgThe Walking DeadAMC has launched a new virtual reality app, designed to let users immerse themselves in the worlds of AMC series like The Walking Dead and Into the Badlands.The AMC VR app lets users to experience virtual scenarios such as becoming a ‘walker’ from The Walking Dead or getting martial arts training from the Into the Badlands fight camp.App users will also be able to watch the latest AMC trailers and behind-the-scenes video in the AMC VR screening room.“With the launch of AMC VR, we are pleased to bring shows like The Walking Dead and Into the Badlands to life in an immersive and experiential way,” said Mac McKean, executive vice-president of innovation and product development for AMC and SundanceTV.“Viewers want to enter the worlds they watch on AMC, and this app brings them there.”Launching ahead of this weekend’s The Walking Dead season eight premiere, AMC VR will debut an extended 360-degree bonus scene from the episode, which will appear after the show goes out on Sunday night.AMC VR is available now for iOS, Android, Gear VR and Google Daydream.last_img read more