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January-06-2019 admin

Codes Refresher Seminar Highlighted Key Changes New ADA, Title 24 & Lighting Regulations Affect Building Operations Keeping updated on the many code regulations and changes affecting building operations is a challenge. To help BOMA members handle this daunting task, the BOMA OEB Codes and Standards Committee holds an annual Codes Refresher Seminar. In the recent seminar, some of the topics covered were ADA issues; Title 24, part 6 Energy Code; and BOMA’s involvement with ICC’s Codes Development Process. Highlights of the program are detailed below. ADA Update and BOMA’s Efforts For alterations, structural repairs or additions to existing buildings, the ADA 2018 valuation threshold is $161,298, after which buildings must be brought to 100% ADA compliance. This threshold will again be modified in 2019. BOMA’s Government Affairs committee gave an update about its efforts to promote H.R. 620 during the 2018 Winter Business Meeting & National Issues Conference. The law will help curb drive-by lawsuits by imposing a “Notice and Cure” period before a civil lawsuit in case of an ADA violation. “Notice and Cure” will allow 60 days for a building owner to give a written description of improvements that will remove the barrier to entry and an additional 60 days for an owner to remove the barrier. Title 24 Code Brings Changes to Mechanical & Lighting Title 24, Part 6 is targeting zero net energy goals since the 2013 update, and 2019 is expected to bring even bigger changes to mechanical and lighting. In 2019 code changes for mechanical will require more efficiency increases, Fault Detection and Diagnostics (FDD) for equipment, Demand Controlled Ventilation (DCV) (120.1(c)), occupant sensing zone controls (120.2(e)3) and insulation for refrigerant lines. Lighting power changes are being lowered from 2016 levels, beginning in 2019. These changes apply to manual controls (accessible switches, controls located in the same room), multi-level (all dimming controls), shut-off (zoning, countdown times in closets and data centers, and more), occupancy sensors, daylight requirements and DR requirements. ICC Code Change Proposal Process The ICC (International Code Council) cycle is three years for code modifications. The ICC Board of Directors work closely with Code Action Committees and create opportunities for participation in the code development process. The board looks at enhancing technical requirements; pursue opportunities to improve and enhance particular technical aspects of the codes; and address complex technical issues, new technology and building science. The first round of hearings consists of the appointed ICC Board of Directors, plus representatives from multiple interests, including regulators. Any time code changes are submitted, an agenda is posted for a code action hearing. After the hearing, there is a public comment period, results are posted and eventually a new edition is published. The process starts with Code Development Committee deliberations, and the committee votes on each code change proposal. BOMA International is a founding strategic partner of ICC and lends its resources to code adoptions. BOMA has representation in the 15-member Code Development Committee. The final code development process involves voting on the approval of changes, suggesting modifications, or disapproving the code change proposal. Final voting is only by government officials.

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September-10-2018 admin

San Francisco Architect’s Visual Diary – Oregon Preservation of Landscape is an ideal that any conscientious design or planning professional pursues. We all appreciate the virtues of being surrounded by nature and the value of non-imposing built – environment, that…

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September-04-2018 admin

ZAHA HADID DEBACLE OVER LABOR DEATHS IN QATAR & THE WORLD CUP Earlier this  year Zaha Hadid made headlines with her indifferent comments about the deaths of hundreds of Southeast Asian migrant workers in Qatar, following a construction boom around the 2022 World Cup. Hadid has designed one of the five stadia that will house 40,000 seats. Her exact words during an interview to the Guardian, when asked about the deaths were “I have nothing to do with workers . . . .” The interviewer asked if she was concerned to which Hadid replied “Yes, but I’m more concerned about the deaths in Iraq as well, so what do I do about that? . . . . . I think that’s an issue the government – if there’s a problem – should pick up. I cannot do anything about it because I have no power to do anything about it”. [1] Architects all over the world specifically in the US went on a hateful frenzy criticizing Hadid, the United Arab Emirates and expressed major confusion about an Architect’s responsibility during construction. There were also very crass remarks and articles about her being the “only” female starchitect, who unlike her male counterparts was constantly producing work that looks like female genitalia (I suppose in the organic evolution of accepting female Architects, we have managed to somehow stay in the supra primate stage). Hadid was indeed terribly insensitive and thoughtless in her comments, but solely targeting her with the responsibility of the deaths related to the entire World Cup infrastructure and using her as the punching bag for everything wrong with the construction industry along with all the gender and culture related attacks is wrong and completely divorced from the issue on hand. The broader issue is a lack of regulations from FIFA for World Cup host countries along with non-existent employment laws, OSHA like standards and unions. The World Cup Village 2022 in Qatar will be a product of almost $200 billion, with another $4 billion reserved for just refurbishment of existing stadia. A new 200,000 population city called Lusail is scheduled to be built over the next ten years. Initially five stadia were planned and per a report released by Bloomberg News in April, plans to build four of those have been canceled. [2] Al Wakrah, which is credited to Hadid is on schedule. Like any well off country, the region attracts hundreds of thousands of desperate workers from poor neighboring countries, in most cases they lack the required skills and end up working in deadly conditions, (the highs in that region can go up to 126 degrees with 80-90% humidity levels). The workers from neighboring Southeast Asian countries are employed under the region’s kafala system which opens abuse of migrant workers, who also owe debt to agents in their own countries. UAE has always been the place where the worst of Western and local greed coupled with a general lack of regulations, enforceable employment laws and unions has set a tragic plight for these unfortunate workers. Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation has predicted that more than 4,000 migrant workers will die in Qatar before the World Cup there begins. [3] Nasser Al Khater, who is the media and marketing director for World Cup 2022, however said earlier in May that “No construction workers have been killed working on a 2022 World Cup project site, contrary to what the international media says there has not been a single injury or death on the World Cup projects,” he said. “It’s not possible to have 400 deaths when you are still digging a hole in the ground so I would like to make sure this matter is put to rest.” [4] (Not sure where that leaves most of these confusing reports). The world cup governing body, FIFA has been quick to take responsibility over the welfare of these migrant workers, but this isn’t the first time as there were several deaths associated with the World Cup 2014 in Brazil and in South Africa before that; however numbers reported were not remotely as high as reports from Qatar. FIFA’s primary purpose is to watch over and help set the rules of the game of soccer. As the organizing Committee for the World Cup, FIFA works hard to negotiate a complete tax exemption from host countries and with projected revenues as high as 4 Billion dollars, steers clear of the long and short term social impact of such events. The sequential long term planning of such events warrants the need for improved infrastructure, therefore regulations governing construction, employment, conservation and management of resources, adherence to OSHA/EU-OSHA or similar standards should be part of FIFA’s responsibilities. Outside of such mega events, the very nature of the construction industry is prone to accidents. During the construction of Burj Al Khalifa in neighboring Dubai,  one report suggested that in late 2007 there were  3-4 deaths per weeks, only 1 was reported by the developer, others caused by heat exhaustion and suicide were ignored. Records kept by the Indian mission showed nearly 1,000 deaths, more than 60 in accidents on the site. [5] Adrian Smith the project Architect, unlike Hadid somehow managed to escape the criticism. Even in San Francisco with, Cal/OSHA (Division of Occupational Safety and Health working to protect workers from health and safety hazards on the job), strict employment laws and the requirement to hire only skilled, union workers in the financial district, accidents do happen. Recent cases involved 2 workers who fell off scaffolding, while installing it on 350 Mission. [6] The second incident happened in April in Hunters Point Neighborhood near Innes and Donhue Street, where a wall fell down on a worker and another was accidentally struck by a front end loader. [7] The farther you get away from the Financial District or in some parts of the suburbs you start seeing  non-union, unskilled labor and a greater frequency of accidents as a result of that. Lastly, the issue of an architect’s responsibility during construction; architects when/if hired for construction administration only ‘observe’ not inspect construction and that too, strictly to check for conformity to construction drawings and specifications. Architect’s duty during construction is to visit the site when appropriate to become “familiar” with the progress and quality of work. An example of gross negligence during Construction Administration includes not reviewing shop drawings carefully, that could possibly result in work that isn’t in accordance with contract documents and potentially causes an injury.[8]  Many projects involve having the architect only produce the Contract Documents and not be involved at all during construction. The Architect isn’t responsible for “the means and methods of construction and for safety precautions”. It is the General Contractor’s responsibility to “supervise” construction. If the architect is suicidal and includes “supervision” on a construction project in his contract, the contractor will have to rely on that and the Architect becomes liable. If an Architect is providing voluntary “inspection” services in a post disaster situation, he/she isn’t held liable for negligence for any injury or property damage with limited immunity, however, even in such a case there in no immunity for gross negligence or willful misconduct. Furthermore, some architectural contracts provide that the architect serve as the Construction Manager outside of their “Basic Services”. As a Construction Manager the Architect gives advice on time, cost, coordinates contract negotiations and construction activities. The scope and role of the architect during construction really depends on the terms negotiated in the contract. References: [1] Hadid, Zaha. Interview by James Riach. “Zaha Hadid defends Qatar World Cup role following migrant worker deaths.” The Guardian. The Guardian, February 2014. Web. 25 February 2014. [2] Fattah, Zainab and Tuttle, Robert. “Qatar Cuts Number of World Cup Soccer Stadiums as Costs Rise” Bloomberg News. Bloomberg News, 21 April 2014. Web. 21 April 2014. [3] Rawling, Sarah. “Qatar’s 2022 World Cup could Cost 4000 Lives”, 10 April 2014. Web. 10 April 2014. [4] Collett, Mike. “Soccer – No Workers have died on World Cup Projects, says Qatar ”, 13 May 2014. Web. 13 May 2014. [5] Zakaria, Rafia. “The Burj Khalifa: Behind the Glitz ”, 15 January 2010. Web. 15 January 2010. [6] Morris, Scott. “Two Construction Workers Injured in Separate Accidents at SF Housing Development Site” Bay City News. Bay City News, 28 May 2014. Web. 28 May 2014. [7]”Construction Site Reopens after Scaffolding Accident” Bay City News. Bay City News, 25 February 2014. Web. 21 June 2014. [8] Kelleher, T. and walters, O., eds., (2009). Smith, Currie & Hancock’s Common Sense Construction Law: A Preactical Guide for the Construction Professional”. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons

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August-30-2018 admin

Net Zero Energy at an Urban Scale – Masdar I’ve had the distinct pleasure of visiting Qatar and the UAE, twice in the past year and was pleasantly surprised by the research and development being done to create accessible and livable Urban districts like Msheireb in Doha and Masdar City. This is far from the perception of a land with no fresh water where golf courses, lush green lawns and fountains are rampant. A new City is being developed (20 minutes from Abu Dhabi) to eventually house 90,000 people and technology is being used in a radically different way to achieve Carbon neutrality at an urban scale. Masdar City is also a great example of preservation of landscape, resources and is the largest lab for experiments in renewable energy. The City welcomes clean energy companies and others to come and form partnerships for performance based testing of their technologies and products. This is a City of the Future, a “Green, carbon neutral City” that follows the 10 principles of “One Planet Living” as developed by IRENA to promote sustainabe practices. The City once completed will be completely fossil fuel free with zero waste and zero carbon emissions. The initial one million square feet will be completed this year and will house 40,000 people along with the Research Institute.  Phase B will have 800 students at the Research Institute from 300 and more focus on developing Masdar as a Commercial Sector. Masdar will eventually have 500 apartments, hotels, hospitals, a data center and the Research Institute will also expand. Masdar city has the first university completely dedicated to research on environmental sustainability. The institute provides theory that is developed and tested in the field with pilot projects to optimize engineering and find the optimal solution that can be commercialized at a large scale. Purpose of the research is to meet supply with demand, produce energy in a sustainable way and continual research helps to produce more energy and better the systems. Research is also being done to encourage locally sourced materials, reuse and divert building waste (there’s a recycling center within the site, which has facilitated 95% diversion from landfills in the past 4 years of construction). Buildings as designed use a lot of Passive techniques in order to minimize most of the cooling energy demands. The buildings are closer together and replicate the vernacular layout of an old Arab town seen in the souq Architecture in Bahrain or Qatar and the Deira neighborhood of Dubai. Old Arab cities had narrow, walkable streets, where buildings shaded each other. Masdar has a North-East orientation to reduce exposure to Sun and achieve maximum shade. The closer layout along with the roof top PV panels create shade. The city has been oriented to capture prevailing winds for a cooling effect, a fact very evident when you walk in the city, which is 50 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the rest of Abu Dhabi.  Overall layout optimizes ventilation and building mass along with roof slope encourages air flow. Public parks and connecting water features also evaporate and cool surrounding areas.     Norman Foster has designed the first round of buildings which utilize terracotta as the material, double glazed glass and thick insulation. Teflon pillows with compressed air are used for insulation and buildings’ energy demand is managed with occupancy sensors that are completely monitored and metered to reduce energy consumption by 50%. The buildings are also equipped with C02 sensors. The city has been carefully planned to reduce energy consumption and emissions through design, reuse and excess consumer and construction waste is of course, recycled. Wood pallets are used as mulch for landscape and recycled aggregate is used as a sub base for roads. All metal used in construction has 85% recycled content and scrap is taken off site for recycling; plastics are also recycled to make furniture. A Smart grid monitors appliances for consumption that results in 56% less energy and 80% less water than comparable buildings.   The town center has a 147 feet high wind tower which is designed after the traditional wind towers of vernacular architecture. The tower has louvers on top that open in the direction of the wind and pass it down to be cooled by water misting before being released out. 100% of electricity is produced on site, solar, geothermal and waste is used to generate energy. Clean energy is being created with several PV systems including a 10 megawatt photovoltaic panels’ system, installed over 54 acres to generate 17,000 megawatt hours/year (the system can support a large community or a small city). The plant was used to convey power to Abu Dhabi, when the buildings were under construction and excess is still sent to Abu Dhabi’s national grid. 10 megawatts of energy is delivered to the buildings from this system, which use about 2-3 megawatt with 1 megawatt coming from the roof top PV panels.There is also a 100 megawatt system being developed in the desert which will be connected back to the grid. As an experiment an optical tower plant has also been designed that concentrates sunlight toward mirror arrays that focus and reflect light to the top of the tower. This light is beamed up to secondary mirrors and then beamed down again where the collector is positioned, a process that concentrates the rays like a magnifying glass and produces superheated water to drive a powerful steam turbine, resulting in higher efficiency with greater temperatures. Masdar is designed as pedestrian only with the largest zero-emission transportation system. PRTs (Personal Rapid Transportation) are driverless electric vehicles that reduce carbon emissions. Electricity is driven from the Photovoltaic systems instead of fossil fuels. These are charged when parked and can run on normal roads without the need for special infrastructure. The PRTs are managed and kept on track, with a predetermined speed, route and are guided by GPS. Magnets are set in the ground that pull the vehicle back in alignment and the vehicle also has a touch screen inside that allows the passenger to choose a destination (needless to say that I let the PRT determine the destination). These are an ultimate in clean public transportation. The city is cooler because there are no hydrocarbons from cars and the entire town has pedestrian only, visually and thermally comfortable streets. Long term plans include ground level light rail system and a subterranean metro high speed train. As an architect the one disappointing element was seeing Le Corbusier’s famous sporadic window placement from chapel of Notre Dame du Haut, blatantly copied on the ground floor in the buildings (see below). This feature is famously attributed to Corbusier, who implemented small openings on the façade of his iconic building to amplify the light within the chapel. Foster’s office could’ve done better, some of the non-linear historical precedents from local vernacular architecture and culture are more admirable than this. . . . Masdar is set to be a sustainable city with no skyscrapers or wide highways but instead, will boast well preserved landscape with low-rise buildings, shady streets and everything within walkable distance. The City as a “living lab” is a very successful example of the highest quality of life with lowest environmental impact.  

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August-30-2017 admin

California Building Code Changes: What You Need to Know BOMA OEB held a recent seminar to alert members to key code changes. The new California Building Code went into effect on January 1, 2017. Any building renovation or tenant improvement project will have to follow 2016 Codes, including CalGreen and Title 24 Part 6 Energy Code. Some other changes are below: 1) Smoke Control is now required in atriums in Group 1-2 occupancies. The same is also required for Group 1-1 Occupancies, Condition 2 (Residential Care Facilities serving more than 16 people). 2) Percentage of construction waste recycling has been increased to 65%, consistent with CalGreen. 3) Small food processing establishments and commercial kitchens, traditionally considered an F1 occupancy (moderate hazard occupancy) are now considered a B Occupancy (Business Group). 4) Some of the changes to Chapter 11 (accessibility requirements) of the building code have been made to bring the code into alignment with the 2010 Americans with Disability Act.

  • Clarification has been added that doors to accessible toilet compartments are allowed to encroach over required turning space without limitation.
  • Clarification has been added that accessible parking spaces should be outlined in blue or painted in blue.
  • ISA (International Symbol of Access) sign at passenger loading zones requirement has been removed.
  • Clean air sign is no longer required.
  • Employee work stations need to be designed for the work surface required for a specific task.
  • Scoping requirements for electric vehicle charging stations has been added.
5) Infrastructure for electric vehicle charging stations are now required for new construction of R2 (more than 2 dwelling units) and R3 buildings (adult/child care facilities serving six or fewer people). This requirement is consistent with CalGreen. If you are doing a tenant improvement, there is no requirement to add electric vehicle charging spaces as part of the required upgrades to the path of travel. However, Exception 10 has been added, which limits the costs of path of travel upgrades to 20% of the adjusted construction cost when electric vehicle charging stations are added to facilities where vehicle fueling, recharging, etc. is a primary function. 6) Effective March 1, 2017, per AB1732, single-user restrooms must have non-gender signage. A unisex toilet is to be made available to all genders; this can be one single-user or family toilet room.

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