When we were first brought in to this project, it didn’t take long to notice that this was unlike any other enterprise we had been involved in. The walls between the various trades, engineers, architects and owners were nowhere to be found. If this project were a house, it would definitely be open concept.
A few weeks ago, Shafraaz (Project Architect) called and asked if he could give me a tour of the Mosaic Centre site. He had caught wind that I hadn’t visited once since construction had begun (we were over two months in!), and thought that was a little weird. Quite frankly, I thought it strange as well, and wasn’t sure myself why I had been procrastinating the first visit.
The past 5 years have seen a significant drop in the cost of solar PV modules. A module that cost $2.50/watt in 2009 is now available for under $1/watt. This has significantly changed the way in which solar systems are now engineered. It’s no longer about maximizing the individual module; it’s about maximizing the total amount of energy your roof can produce, even at the expense of less output per module.
Work has been progressing well with the construction of the superstructure here at Mosaic. The great weather over the past few weeks has allowed us to work without fighting the mud and puddles. The main focus has been on the construction of the east section of the building, mainly the glulam structure installation and the framing of exterior walls.
Construction is pushing ahead rapidly here onsite. Over the past few weeks, the main focus has been the boring of the geothermal wells, foundation work and the preparation for the assembly of the superstructure.
Is there a better analogy to Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) than a boat race across a river? Perhaps, but it’s the one that seems most fitting to me. If normal construction is a boat race to the other side of the river, then each trade, consultant, owner and contractor gets their own boat in the race. The boats could range from canoe to speed boat and anywhere in between. As the race progresses, some boats might run into mechanical problems, some might lose an oar, some might run out of gas … and some, just zoom to the other side with no problems. When all of the boats are on the other side, the race (or project) is complete.
The role of an estimator is not an easy one, especially in the conceptual design stage. Traditionally, the design is near-complete and specifications are already set by the time the General Contractor gets a chance to evaluate costs. And, if you’re lucky, hopefully the design team has considered efficient, cost-effective designs without running amok on scopes of work...
What happens when you have a functioning team? You save money. From a site perspective, the usual procedure is to get drawings on construction day. You show up and get building. The typical process has been altered on this project and that definitely has its benefits. True teamwork is being defined in this process. I know we all talk about it, but in my experience we are truly learning the meaning. By having the ability to be involved with a project since inception and throughout the design process, all parties have been able to add value to the outcome.
Back in the old days people would dress for the weather, put another log on the fire or head to the beach to deal with extreme weather variations. Today, we adjust a thermostat and expect an immediate response and thermal gratification regardless of the capital, energy cost and GHG emissions required to support our high expectations of comfort.
You cannot design a net zero building without a detailed Energy Model to accompany you throughout the design process. Nor can you design a geothermal system without a detailed energy model providing a clear picture of the loads extracted and rejected from the ground. You also need an energy model for the LEED submission process. A casual observer might naturally assume that this energy model is always done by the same person. Unfortunately, this is almost never the case.