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Project delivery system study results published

The “Project Delivery Systems SmartMarket Report,” published by McGraw Hill Construction, examines various industry perspectives on choosing project delivery systems. Image courtesy McGraw Hill

The “Project Delivery Systems SmartMarket Report,” published by McGraw Hill Construction, examines various industry perspectives on choosing project delivery systems. Image courtesy McGraw Hill

New research from McGraw Hill Construction suggests owners, architects, and contractors have varying perspectives on choosing project delivery systems for buildings.

The “Project Delivery Systems SmartMarket Report” indicates all parties involved recognize the choice impacts the cost, schedule, and client satisfaction of projects.

The three established systems are:
● design-bid-build systems: owners have separate contracts with design firms and contractors;
● design-build systems: one entity delivers both design and construction; and
● construction management at risk (CM-at-risk): a construction manager works with a project owner during design and offers a guaranteed price for the final project.

The findings in the report demonstrate the choice of system impacts how the project is delivered. For example, 60 percent of owners using CM-at-risk systems reported they were highly satisfied with the outcome of projects. For architects, there was a split between all three systems, and 43 percent of contractors indicated design-build as the best system.

For cost considerations, 33 percent of owners reported projects employing the CM-at-risk method came in under budget, while 38 percent of architects specified the design-bid-build system, and the same amount on contractors chose the design-build approach.

Finally, in terms of projects coming in on schedule, owners, architects, and contractors agreed the design-build system is the best choice.

“Architects and contractors definitely need to consider how their clients regard the performance of these delivery systems, but owners also need to factor in how the project team members regard the impact of delivery systems because their approach can impact the performance of projects in terms of cost, schedule, quality, and other benefits,” said Harvey Bernstein, vice president of industry insights and alliances at McGraw Hill.

Overall, respondents think the use of design-bid-build projects will decrease, and as a result the others will increase. The highest increases were cited for design-build, with 63 percent of owners and 68 percent of contractors expecting to see a rise.

However, since owners select delivery systems, it is important for architects and contractors to understand the drivers behind these decisions. Owners indicate that maximizing the budget is the most important factor for all three delivery systems. However, architects and contractors cite reducing project cost at the most important factor in design-bid-build and design-build.

“Selecting the most appropriate project delivery system is one of the most critical decisions an owner can make to positively impact the success of a project,” McGraw Hill’s senior director, Stephen Jones told The Construction Specifier. “This new research provides an important perspective on efficiency, productivity and profitability aspects of both established systems and emerging alternatives.”

Benefits and drivers of emerging delivery systems, such as integrated project delivery (IPD), are also examined in the study. Upward of 80 percent of owners reported IPD projects increased efficiency, improved construction and sustainable performance of buildings, and reduced costs.

Click here to download the full report.

New research council formed for concrete industry

The newly formed Concrete Research Network (CRN) will connect researchers, donors, and funders. This student researcher is explaining an innovative seismic retrofit for a reinforced full-scale, two-story concrete building. Photo © Ann Daugherty. Photo courtesy ACI Foundation

The newly formed Concrete Research Network (CRN) will connect researchers, donors, and funders. This student researcher is explaining an innovative seismic retrofit for a reinforced full-scale, two-story concrete building. Photo © Ann Daugherty. Photo courtesy ACI Foundation

Numerous industry partners have developed the Concrete Research Network (CRN) to connect researchers, donors, and funders in the industry.

Spearheaded by the American Concrete Institute (ACI) Foundation, CRN is a space for those in the concrete industry to connect with researchers, funding opportunities, and users with technical research needs.

“The Concrete Research Network enriches the process of funding, advancing, and publicizing concrete industry research,” ACI’s executive vice president, Ronald Burg, told The Construction Specifier. “This research contributes to the refinement of standards and substantiates the inclusion of new technology and information into the building codes.”

Currently, the organization also includes:
● American Society of Concrete Contractors (ASCC) Education, Research, & Development Foundation;
● Charles Pankow Foundation;
● Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute (CRSI) Education & Research Foundation;
● Portland Cement Association (PCA) Education Foundation;
● Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI); and
● Ready Mixed Concrete (RMC) Research & Education Foundation.

Resources from the council can be found on their website for all members of the concrete industry, from technical committees to trade associations, and engineers to product manufacturers.

Users will find articles, photos, and technical information on various aspects of the industry, including:
● decorative concrete;
● cleaning, repair, and maintenance;
● general concrete construction; and
● sustainable concrete building.

Finally, comprehensive sections are available for locating specific contractors and products across North America.

Hotels earn more when LEED certified

A new study suggests Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified hotels can be more successful than their uncertified competitors. The Courtyard Kansas City at Briarcliff is the first LEED-certified hotel in Kansas City. Photo courtesy Marriott International

A new study suggests Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified hotels can be more successful than their uncertified competitors. The Courtyard Kansas City at Briarcliff is the first LEED-certified hotel in Kansas City. Photo courtesy Marriott International

Cornell University has released a new study reporting hotels certified under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program earn increased revenue.

“The Impact of LEED Certification on Hotel Performance” was conducted by Matthew Walsman, Rohit Verma, PhD, and Suresh Muthulingam, PhD, from the university’s Center for Hospitality Research (CHR). In total, 93 LEED-certified hotels were compared to 514 competitive non-certified facilities. Performance review data over a two-year period was supplied by CHR partner, Smith Travel Research (STR), for the comparisons. Data used was the average daily rate (ADR) and revenue per available room (RevPAR).

The findings indicated the boost in revenue was found in various types of hotels, although most compared were luxury facilities in both urban and suburban locations.

“We’ll have many more hotels to study in the future,” said Walsman. “Now companies like Marriott have included LEED as part of their own design specifications for new constructions.”
The initial LEED program did not directly include hotels, but in the newest LEED v4 includes hospitality-specific categories.

According to researchers, the next data that should be considered is a cost analysis between LEED-certified and not certified hotels, in addition to this study of only profits.

Five Considerations for Specifying LEDs

by Mark Hand

Selecting fixtures with a high color rendering index (CRI) ensured the best quality of light for Tampa General Medical Center’s patients, nurses, and staff. Photos courtesy Acuity Brands

Selecting fixtures with a high color rendering index (CRI) ensured the best quality of light for Tampa General Medical Center’s patients, nurses, and staff. Photos courtesy Acuity Brands

Light-emitting diodes (LED) are becoming increasingly popular due to the ever-present emphasis on reducing project costs. With numbers of LED installations rising, it is imperative that architects, engineers, and specifiers are able to evaluate the benefits of LED technology.

Lighting engineers are challenged to deliver solutions on time and on budget, while also achieving maximum energy savings through reduced consumption. U.S. Energy Secretary, Steven Chu, once said, “The cleanest energy is not solar, geothermal, or wind. It is the energy saved; the energy that is never used at all.”

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), widespread use of light-emitting diodes has the greatest potential impact on energy savings in the country. Fortunately, the highly efficient nature of these luminaires, coupled with their innate ability to be controlled, make this digitally addressable light source ideal for many applications. With increased demand for LED lighting, it is essential specifiers know the details of selecting LED lighting.

Previously, specifying energy-efficient lighting was a challenge for engineers, but with the opportunity LEDs now present the lighting industry, the task no longer needs to be difficult. While the general perception of LED lighting is it is more expensive than traditional alternatives, there are ways to mitigate costs with well-written specifications.

1. Value vs. cost
LEDs are able to achieve better illumination for delivering high performance and significant energy savings. However, the perception of better illumination is it comes at a high cost. While some LEDs are more expensive, there is typically a reason. Long lifetimes, high color rendering index (CRI), tight binning, extreme ambient, control, and serviceability are often the reason for elevated prices due to performance benefits.

The important point about these features is engineers have the choice for what type of opportunities LED lighting provides. Since they typically cost more compared to luminaires with traditional sources, customers often expect a longer life, better color quality, better distribution, less energy consumption, and more control.

2. Reasonable lifetime expectations
The lifetime of LED luminaires matters to end-users because they offer energy efficiency and provide an extended lifetime. However, what is considered a reasonable lifetime for users, given there are excessive lifetimes published all the time?

Lifetimes are often inflated, because LEDs are assembled in fixtures and subjected to many adverse conditions. This includes a wide range of ambient temperatures, and drive current variations—in-rush, surge, dimming, being turned on and off several times a day, thermal shock, and various vibrations.

With that said, quality LED products can last 25 times longer than incandescent products and use 75 percent less energy. Quality lifetime for LED lighting is based on the application. For example, with applications where lighting is on for 24 hours a day, seven days a week, it is likely that 50,000 to 60,000 hours would be a reasonable lifetime.

This pet supply store installed over 200 indoor and outdoor luminaires, poles, and controls in its Virginia Beach location to achieve maximum energy savings.

This pet supply store installed over 200 indoor and outdoor luminaires, poles, and controls in its Virginia Beach location to achieve maximum energy savings.

3. Importance of CRI
CRI is a measure of a light source’s ability to show object color, which can be essential in certain settings. For instance, healthcare professionals may benefit from high CRI when conducting examinations of patients where identifying and distinguishing color is critical. In retail applications, high CRI can help highlight merchandise on shelves in a better-quality light. Product packaging colors may even look more appealing. However, it is not always critical to specify a high CRI for all applications. Even for spaces that do have a high CRI, it does not mean this criterion is as important when replacing lighting with LEDs.

A lower CRI often means a higher lumen per watt (Lm/W). It all comes down to considering price requirements, and a higher lumen per watt provides a lower cost. The lower cost is affiliated with fewer LEDs, less energy used, and better total cost of ownership. While a decent price for LEDs with a high CRI is not unheard of, lower CRI readings typically provide a better cost for projects.
It is important to only specify what is needed and not what previously existed for the CRI. Additionally, high lumens per watt do not guarantee quality illumination.

4. How to meet project needs
When specifying a new project, there are numerous factors to consider in aligning the lighting solution with the project’s needs. For example, when considering ways to mitigate prices of LED lighting, one should take into account how important energy savings is versus a high lumen per watt. While both options are available and can exist in one fixture, the end-user may not need both.
Also, it is important to consider extreme ambient conditions—temperatures above 25 C (77 F) or below –10 C (14 F). Having extreme ambient conditions could require additional costs for specialized components as higher ratings demand more thermal control.

Each application should be individually specified instead of just measuring to equivalent projects because each is different. There is typically more than one option for lumens per wattage to meet required specifications, so the design professional must consider the options and select the choice that is best for the application.

5. Benefits of controls
Initially, the use of controls with LED luminaires does mean an additional cost. However, simple controls can pay for themselves quickly and, over time, produce a dramatic return on investment (ROI). The initial increase in energy savings provides a quick ROI in LED luminaires with controls. Then, over time, those same controls allow LED luminaires to have an even longer lifespan, which saves money that would have been spent replacing traditional luminaires.

LEDs and controls are critical. Pairing LEDs with controls allows luminaires to perform at their highest ability. Dimming LED luminaires does not cause damage, and turning the luminaire on and off does not affect their life. Therefore, LED lighting integrated with controls is a simple solution to save additional energy and to create a convenient user experience.

From the cost, to the opportunity to pair LEDs with controls, there are a wide range of choices for engineers to consider. The right solution for the application can deliver energy savings, maintenance savings, and enhance the quality of light.

Mark_HandMark Hand is the vice president of engineering–indoor for Acuity Brands Lighting. He has been in the lighting industry for nearly 10 years in the research, conceptualization, development, and commercialization of light-emitting diode (LED) luminaires. Hand can be contacted by e-mail at mark.hand@acuitybrands.com.

Concreting a Space for Learning

Architectural rendering of the Farmington Area Public Library. Image courtesy Farmington Area Public Library

Architectural rendering of the Farmington Area Public Library. Image courtesy Farmington Area Public Library

The current library in Farmington, Illinois—a 278-m2 (3000-sf) building dating back to 1906—is finally being replaced with a sustainable, sound-resistant facility employing insulated concrete forms (ICFs).

ICFs were specified for the new 836-m2 (9000-sf) Farmington Area Public Library project due to their ability to cut energy costs by as much as 70 percent. The material also creates a resilient building envelope that can withstand hurricane and tornado impacts of up to 402 km/h (250 mph).

The ICF system interlocks to create one monolithic wall with a thickness from 101 to 304 mm (4 to 12 in.); in addition to a fire-protection rating of up to four hours, it also provides temperature control and sound resistance, which is ideal for library applications.

Library wall construction begins with setting of interlocking insulated concrete forms (ICFs).  Photos courtesy Farmington Area Public Library and Nudura

The library’s wall construction begins with setting of interlocking insulated concrete forms (ICFs). Photos courtesy Farmington Area Public Library and Nudura

Project architect Mark Misselhorn of Apace Design (Peoria, Illinois) knew of ICFs being incorporated into residential designs, but was initially unsure if the construction was right for the new library.

“I needed to know more before I could agree it was good for a public building, where design and construction standards are very different from homebuilding,” he explained.

Cost was a key concern, as local taxpayers who agreed on a community measure to fund the project would not approve a budget increase. The design plans also called for a dramatic high-low roofline, explained Misselhorn. Designers needed to ensure ICFs would be structurally sound and support all design features. A thorough study of operational considerations, costs, and benefits was completed before ICFs were specified.

Additionally, the project team extended the environmentally responsible nature of the construction by specifying high-quality insulation, energy-efficient HVACs, and high-efficiency fixtures designed to take advantage of natural daylighting.

Bishop Brothers of Peoria signed on as general contractors and in September 2013 ground was broken on the library project. Though they had never previously worked with ICF construction, the contractors were up for the challenge.

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Exterior construction prior to addition of exterior cladding.

The concrete team provided a 27,500-kPa (4000-psi) mix with uniform, 19-mm (¾-in.) aggregate for the job. Accelerators were not needed because of the ICF insulating properties—as the concrete generates heat from the hydration process, most is retained in the walls.

ICFs also provide sustainable elements to the Farmington Library’s construction process and design. These include:
● reusable materials—the interlocking forms include a unique folding web design manufactured from 100 percent recycled polymers and steel;
● lower consumption—concrete is a durable building materials and structures can be expected to last;
● decreased carbon—when combined with other energy-efficient construction methods, building with concrete significantly reduces the amount of fossil fuels needed for heating and cooling and thus reduces the structure’s carbon footprint;
● less waste—leftover material from ICFs is fully recyclable; and
● better air quality—laboratory tests confirm ICFs do not support mold growth or any of the health irritants that arise from airborne mold spores.

With much of the exterior elements in place, the project team has moved on to interior finishing. Despite construction delays, the 836-m2 (9000-sf) facility may open as early as September.
Meanwhile, visitors to the existing library can learn about ICF construction at a special hands-on exhibit. Along with presenting examples of the products utilized in the construction, the exhibit explains some of ICF’s benefits and sustainable features.

“ICF construction is not well-known in our area yet, and people want to know more about it,” said library director Barbara Love.