It seems like every update we can thank the weather gods for this awesome summer we’ve been having. The dry weather has been helping our site progress on many fronts. Curb crossing construction is well underway and we anticipate pouring in the next few days. Once these are completed and the parking lot paved, access to site will be much improved.
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.
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.
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.
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!!