It seems all too often that when I first start making site observations of new construction, the same issues are observed for every one of my projects. Issues such as continuous vapor or air barriers, protections of ducts and equipment, or clearance allowed for insulation on piping or ducts. And, nearly every time I bring them up with the construction team, I get the same initial response from the contractors: “That’s how I’ve done it for 30 years” or “That isn’t a big deal.”
While I would like to argue that it doesn’t matter how long someone has done something if it is done wrong in the first place. Instead, I try and educate the team on why it is important to sweat these details that seem so trivial to the contractors. What the contractors fail to realize is that these issues will not present themselves quickly. Usually, they are issues that will take years to become an eventual problem, long after the contractors have left the site and the warranty period has expired.
Having been involved in many retro-commissioning projects, I have personally seen the kind of damage an issue, which seemed so innocuous at the time, could do. In some cases, a problem may never present itself. But, why even take that chance?
Duluth, Georgia – August 26, 2011 – CxGBS® announced today that they have completed commissioning of the Pi Beta Phi Sorority House on the Mississippi State University Campus in Starkville, MS. The newly constructed house is owned and operated by Pi Beta Phi and Fraternity Housing Corporation (FHC) and is home to the Mississippi Gamma Chapter of Pi Beta Phi.
“Our objective in designing this house was to build a sustainable sorority house that could serve as an example of the leadership values which Pi Beta Phi instills in its members. This is the first of its kind and sets a precedent for other sororities across the country,” said Leah FitzGerald of Fraternity Housing Corporation. “However, with the owner a thousand miles away, we felt it was important to have third party eyes and ears on the project.”
Pi Phi and FHC hired CxGBS to be that objective third-party and help ensure construction of the house met their specifications and requirements for achieving LEED certification.
”CxGBS has an incredible reputation for other work they have done on the Mississippi State University campus and were vital to our process,” continues FitzGerald.
The newly constructed Pi Phi House is almost 20,000 square feet with 20 bedrooms, including rooms for the chapter president and the house director. The façade and architectural style of the house was designed in keeping with the surrounding buildings on the campus. The house has a painted brick exterior with porches on the exterior. Inside are dining and study halls, as well as a formal living room, library, study rooms and TV lounges.
Pi Phi recently gained special recognition when the house became the first sorority house in the country to be recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council with a LEED Silver certification for new construction.
”Today’s students are making not only their housing decisions but their university decisions based on how “green” or environmentally sensitive they find the campus,” said Jay Enck, CEO, CxGBS. “In order to remain relevant, Universities and Greek letter organizations are responding with a higher level of design, construction and sustainability in university buildings and campus housing.”
About Pi Beta Phi
Founded at Monmouth College in Illinois in 1867, Pi Beta Phi has 134 active chapters and more than 330 alumnae groups in the United States and Canada. The partnership with First Book, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to giving children from low-income homes the opportunity to read and own books, solidifies Pi Beta Phi’s commitment to literacy.
Pi Beta Fraternity for women founded its Fraternity Housing Corporation (FHC) in April 2008. The mission of the Fraternity Housing Corporation is to strengthen, support and service Chapter House Corporations (CHC) and FHC managed chapters within Pi Beta Phi Fraternity. The FHC serves as a CHC resource in many areas including volunteer development, finance, safety issues and training. FHC staff assist CHC members in need of third party services which include a variety of disciplines such as property management, fundraising, interior design, furnishings and employment searches.
The FHC currently provides the day-to-day facility management services for 10 chapters including all newly chartered chapters.
Commissioning & Green Building Solutions, Inc. (CxGBS®) is a nationally recognized green building consulting firm that helps clients build environmentally friendly, top performing buildings. The firm’s professionals work with project teams to reduce risk and apply sustainable development principles that lower the total cost of ownership and create healthy conditions for occupants. Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, with a satellite office in Jackson, Mississippi, CxGBS® offers a comprehensive suite of services to provide high value solutions for better performing buildings including Sustainable Design Consulting, Holistic Commissioning®, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Certification and Forensic Investigation.
Aug 12, 2011 Press Release
It seems like every project that I work on starts off behind schedule. Everyone knows that it will take someone as much time to complete a task as you allow them, so deadlines are a necessity to prevent schedules from being drawn out into infinity (and beyond). Unfortunately, fast paced and rigid schedules are all too often being set for projects.
When a construction schedule is set with very little cushion or contingency time, there are many complications that can be extremely difficult to overcome. Contractors are working on top of each other with a primary focus of getting the work done quickly rather than correctly. Issues are often covered up before they can be identified, and when issues are caught, they take longer to correct because they are usually systemic and have more of an effect on the other contractors. As a commissioning authority, I am usually looked at for solutions to issues that crop up after the contractors are finished. But at that point it can be difficult and usually expensive to give an owner the building they were expecting.
So what is the solution? Obviously, I will not be able to give an adequate solution in a three paragraph blog. I will, however, pose some questions. Is it worth it to spend extra money to expedite the construction process to very likely get an inferior product? Is it more important to meet a deadline or have a better operating and performing building, and in turn, happier users?
May 19, 2011 Press Release
Jay Enck will be speaking at the USGBC Sustain SC event in Columbia, SC June 3rd at 10:30 AM about “Sustainable Design Guidance.” More info and registration at http://www.usgbcsc.org/site/?cat=21