I'm learning a lot about leadership these days as we get more entrenched in this project. I'm quickly learning that true leadership isn't about the people on this project, nor is it about the building itself. True leadership is about providing a sense of what could be, and taking the first step forward.
At first, the Mosaic Centre was an idea. Could they build a commercial building a better way? Could they build something that actually makes employees live healthier lives? Could they build it in a way that gives back to the environment rather than take? To be honest, the first time I heard about it, I didn’t fully understand what it all meant.
Christy and I are fairly practical when it comes to undertaking large engineering projects, as this is what we do in our day jobs. We also understand commercial financing strategies because we have owned and leased-out properties of the like for quite some time. Admittedly, we were rookies in commercial building construction. So, when Christy and I set out to actualize our dream of building the perfect workplace for our family, we naturally expected there to be some challenges in obtaining financing for our first-of-its-kind project...
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.
Wow, who would have thought contracts could be so much fun! In setting up the tri-party agreement for the Mosaic Centre, we had to start from an Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) template that was provided by Hanson Bridgett, a legal firm from the U.S. In Canada, we typically use the Royal Architectural Institute of Canadaís (RAIC) standard contract document for an agreement between owner and architect and then facilitate a separate contract between owner and contractor. So when we are asked to use something different, the fun begins.
Work is moving along steadily here at the Mosaic Centre. The freezing temperatures over the past few weeks have allowed us to work without fighting the mud and soft soil conditions. This has improved efficiencies as well as the general mood onsite; nobody likes playing in the mud for 10 hours a day. Who would have thought the return of winter would be such a blessing!!