ARE 5.0 Construction & Evaluation Exam Prep

portrait, Mike Newman

Mike Newman

11h

In this ARE 5.0 Construction and Evaluation Exam Prep course you will learn about the topics covered in the ARE 5.0 CE exam division. A complete and comprehensive curriculum, this course will touch on each of the NCARB objectives for the ARE 5.0 Construction and Evaluation Exam.

Instructor Mike Newman will discuss issues related to bidding and negotiation processes, support of the construction process, and evaluation of completed projects.

When you are done with this course, you will have a thorough understanding of the content covered in the ARE 5.0 Construction and Evaluation Exam including construction contract execution, construction support services, payment request processing, and project closeout. 

*NCARB does not endorse this Tutorial, is not responsible for any of the content of this Tutorial, and by taking the Tutorial each individual agrees not to look to NCARB for any dissatisfaction or claim arising from the Tutorial.

NCARB Approved ARE 5.0 Test Prep Material

Objective 1.1: Interpret the architect’s roles and responsibilities during pre-construction, based on delivery method

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And your role is to be helpful for the client to be able to make sure they understand what's going on, but also to be sort of part of the team to keep the project going so that the contractor has all the information they need in order to be able to make the decisions they need in order to keep the project moving along. So, there's a number of different points along the way that we have specific roles and then there's a number of points along the way where we have more intangible kind of consultant type roles both for the client and for the GC. But it's an important set of roles in order to keep a project going forward.

So the videos for construction administration will be organized in the same manner that the exam is organized and will focus mostly on lectures, but then we'll start moving into some examples, we'll look at some specific project examples and some matrix ways of looking at some of the information we'll think about various scenarios, and we do that in order to kind of get you out of the kind of lecture mode, and sort of put you into the kind of okay, here's some information, how do you think about it, what's an issue around the lecture, as a way to kind of think about these things, because the exam is really trying to move away from direct questions and move more into here's some pieces of information, now put together a logical response to that information. So we're going to try to keep using those scenario considerations as a way to make sure that you are constantly sort of jumping out of the lecture into the real world but then back into the lecture as well. We'll also look at some document samples, and we'll go through a bunch of questions, in order to kinda keep the juices going and always remember that it's about the exam that we're trying to get across here, so, let's get started.

So is it the sort of classic design bid build where I've got the owner, the architect, and the GC. And they each have their contracts with the owner. And then there's the consultants kind of around the architect.

Integrated Project Delivery, that's one of those ones where, it's essentially the same as a sort of normal Design-Bid-Build process, it's just that it has a few extra layers of communication added into it. And so there's a expectation of the way that the sort of meetings will go, and who's running the meetings. Typically, all of those roles and responsibilities that we've been talking about would still be part of the architect's roles, it's just that, over the span of the process, the contractors and the owners have been more involved.

And since know that's likely to be coming, that's why that whole question about the bid package becomes so important, because we know we're gonna want to know more information, we know we're gonna need to be able to find ways that we can bring those prices down, so we're trying to foresee what the issues are, we're trying to understand the idea that the plywood isn't gonna be available, or it's gonna be super expensive, or that concrete just isn't a material that's used much in that area, therefore the labor costs are much, much higher than they would be for, say, steel. Whatever that climate of information, or whatever that situation is around the time and the locale and the region, you're trying to bring all that information together in some wave, kind of a communication system, and that communication system is going to include the bid system, like how we want people to give us information back, but it's also going to be part of the review system, the analysis system. We're gonna have ways that we take this information and really sort of put it together in some form so that we can than give it to the people that need to be able to see, typically the owner, we're gonna be able to have a system for how we're analyzing all of this information.

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So once they acquire the rights to be able to develop this property, working with the City of Dallas and the Parks and Recreation Department, they actually commissioned SWA Landscape Architects to design the park. SWA Landscape Architects actually contracted HKS specifically, HKS LINE Studio, to develop the pavilion. Through that process we've actually been working with the client, as well as SWA, to get a fabricator, Zahner Metals, brought on early into the process, and so they've actually been brought on to a design assist contract early on so that we could start to tie a lot of those fabrication constraints early on into our model.

The role of an architect when it comes to construction administration, really called contract administration is actually a very different one from the earlier phases of a project. In the traditional design-bid-build method, the architect actually becomes the agent of the owner and is sort of the person who makes sure that the contract is actually being executed because the contract is now between the owner and the actual contractor. The architect is no longer contractually attached to the project.

Under the construction manager at risk delivery method the construction manager takes on a lot of the pre-construction and bidding responsibilities for the project.

Objective 1.2: Analyze criteria for selecting contractors

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13m 38s
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So, now you've gone, you've made a bid package, you've got all the information together, you've chosen who the bidders are going to be, all the information has been sent out, you get the information back, that information comes back, you have your system of analysis, you have a whole way of communicating that system of analysis, to the owner through a spreadsheet maybe or maybe through sort of bullet point understandings or maybe it's through the lens of cost only, because that's the key piece of information, or maybe it's through the lens of quality or some other lens of information that you're thinking about what's the way that I need to transmit this information to give the most usefulness to the client, to the owner so they have the ability, with you, to be able to make a final set of decisions about who they're going to choose. Let's say you go through that whole process, you get all this information back, you've sent your analysis to the client, you're sitting down to have the meeting and you realize that it's just not enough, that the prices are too high, or that they clearly didn't understand something, or that you just need more information in order to be able to make a decision between which bidder you're going to choose. So sometimes you just need more information, and that creates a sort of unusual setup where I need to, ask for more information.

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It's always hard to tell from one project to another but patterns do emerge, so that's why you're following up, and that's why you're tracking down the owners of other projects and getting those references and really going through that information. Because it's not just about the price it's also about all of these other, sort of quality, and being able to work with them, and the idea that they're able to bring in things on budget, the idea that they keep the project rolling and get things done on time. Those are all very meaningful concerns that might be the reason that you might not go with a low budget, you might choose to go with somebody who's higher.

Because what we're trying to do is we're trying to get the correct information to be able to make the correct choice to get the right contractor to be able to build the project in a way that's going to make everybody happy, and sometimes that's going to be about just getting it done, sometimes it's going to be about getting it done for the right price, and sometimes it's going to be about getting it done at the right quality level. So you'll often see, this is a bit of a cliche, but you'll often see the idea that there's three basic ideas: cost, quality, and speed. And the usual description here is, alright, you have those three choices, you get two of them.

Non-profits will be mostly focused on just being efficient and well-run, that's what they're going to be really shooting for. But they also may be bringing a much stronger sense of connection to a community, or a much stronger sort of desire to be representative of a certain situation. While they may be focused on the dollars, they also might really want to make sure that say, people from the community they're working in are hired in order to do the project.

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You know in our world the relationship is based around a common goal which is a completed project that's successful, Meets the owners criteria everyone can kind of make some money and it's a beautiful building in the end, so you want to make sure that whoever you're actually hiring is going to bring the best value to that situation. This project was particularly challenging on the Peachtree Center project given that it's a renovation of a building that's almost 60 years old now it's been through a lot of renovations. Some of the key subcontractors were the paving subcontractor, there's a large elevated plaza, a lot of the finished subcontractors, the tile, finished tile on the mall, lighting, ceiling guys, steel was a big one, there's some complicated design elements and making sure that one they understand the design intent and two that they're capable of putting the work in place.

Objective 1.3: Analyze aspects of the contract or design to adjust project costs

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9m 51s
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And if the bidders have a lot of good information or if somebody else in the office would be able to see really useful information or by hiring outside contractor to come in and just give you some information about the bid set, whatever system it is, whatever way that you're doing it, you're just trying to gather all that useful information. Like we've said, the idea here is that you're getting all this information to be able to make a decision but almost always, there's gonna be some aspect of value engineering. Almost always, you're gonna be a little bit more optimistic on the drawings than what the bids are gonna come back.

The idea of the performance bond is that somebody is saying "We are worried that you're not gonna make it "all the way through the project," you as the general contractor, "so we need there to be some insurance in place "that says if something goes wrong, "the insurance company will step in "and make the project happen "without it costing us extra money." So the insurance company, the only reason they're gonna give you a performance bond if you're the general contractor is that they trust that you're likely to make it through. But they don't believe that they're gonna be brought in to be able to finish the project for you. So they think it's a good bet, they're gonna get paid a little bit of money, but they're probably not gonna have to pay any money out.

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So a big portion of the design process is budgeting and cost estimation and making sure that your design not only is sort of meeting the owner's requirements aesthetically but also financially. I mean money is obviously a big issue on any project. Specifically to this project we as an integrated firm have in house estimation pre-construction services.

Objective 2.1: Evaluate the architect’s role during construction activities

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You're just there to make sure that people have the right information, you're there to make sure that if the project goes forward it will, in fact, become and meet the design intent that was produced. So you're looking sort of, will this project become the project it's supposed to be? So, one is you're just looking to see that.

Whether that's legally reasonable or not is another question, but it's a sort of reasonable understanding and so you need to be able to respond in sort of a logical timely manner, which means there should be a shop drawing log as information is coming in, as those shop drawings come in. You have a place where you can log the entry of those elements and say, "We received it on this date "and here's the date that we responded. "We received it on this date as a resubmit "and then here's how we responded on the second time." So, hopefully that log has two different sets of line items.

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There's usually an owner architect contractor meeting, which we'll get into later, and everyone kind of talks about where the project is and everyone kind of goes away. At The Beck Group, we actually have architects almost full-time in our construction trailers. It's a very important part of the integrated process for us.

You have to remember that, in sort of the construction phase the architect is not necessarily loyal to the owner or the contractor. They are loyal to the contract documents. So there are times were you make mistakes and you need to be able to communicate that to the owner.

But that's kind of all about making sure that you have a relationship with the contractor and say, hey, can you hurry this up, or can we do this in a hurry? Hey, I'm a little behind, can I get a few extra days, and things like that. So that's kind of an important thing right there is remembering that these are time contrained.

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You need to make sure that any sort of quality expectations you have that this is not meeting, that you make them clear, and make sure that it's understood that going forward, say for instance, that this is not quite as dirty, or if this is the wrong color, that you need to make sure that that is clear.

This is very important to sort of check these very closely with the compliance, because this is sort of, this is kind of the last chance, I guess if you will, to sort of catch errors before the work is actually installed.

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You know, it's sort of keep everyone up to date on the process, the project and it's kind of a great place, you know, to make sure that everything's sort of being handled appropriately. It's a great chance to discuss things, any design changes or any sort of unforeseens with the owner so that way they're understanding what's happening. 'Cause sometimes a field report is a little difficult to understand from an owner's side and this is sort of a face-to-face moment where you can sort of catch up on the project.

This project is kind of, Peachtree Center is kind of a strange project in that we are in an occupied mall, meaning that work we put in place has to be sort of inspected every day, and then opened back to the public. So, in some cases people are kind of weaving around sort of complicated areas, and people are actually walking on work that is in place, but has not quite been punched and is not quite complete. So it's sort of a punch as we go, making sure that we can turn over the space to the owner, and making sure that they're able to continue operation while we continue our renovation.

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The last thing you wanna do is kind of direct work in your RFI response, you wanna provide a clarification to the design intent or to the contract, you don't actually wanna say, this needs to be put in like this, you know say, this is my intent, and if there's something wrong with your response, this is kind of a conversation, it can go two ways, you know, the question may not be specific enough, you may say, hey I need more information before I can make an appropriate response to this, and it's important that you have that relationship with your contractor and are able to say, hey this isn't quite enough, or, can you go verify this dimension out in the field. At The Beck Group, I work out here in the field three out of five days of the week, so generally when these come in I'm out there with them holding a tape measure, or making sure that whatever they actually said is correct, or verifying it against the contract documents, and then I still make a formal response that does actually modify the contract.

You are now kind of enforcing the contract, which is your construction documents, your specifications, and making sure that they are being built to your documents and to your specifications. And the quality of that is actually part of there. There's tons of sections in your specifications about quality.

We generally, we understand each other, we talk the talk and we kinda have a good relationship there not only personally but also contractually, being we are from the same company, and that sort of alleviates any sort of infighting. Though our relationship with the owner is now a little bit different as the architect because we are sort of married to the general contractor. Any sort of bad relationship is also kinda taken back to us.

And one of the things that we do that these drawings show is that we'll develop details, we'll develop wall sections based on what we believe to be true with the structural design or the mechanical design, plumbing design or whatever, and then we send those drawings to our consultants and then we'll have reviews with them where they'll review our drawings, we'll review theirs, and we'll kind of eventually meet in the middle somewhere where their information and our information starts to get developed and turn into what is really the final construction documents of the project. That process usually starts where we start sharing documents and start talking about all the systems in the design development phase, and then it really goes through design development and then really heavy into the construction document phase where all of those details are really developed fully to the point where the project can be permitted and then built from those drawings, and this shows a lot of the red lines here are from our structural engineer where they were looking at our details, they marked them up, because of the way they wanted to see it get built, and then we came back and then we modified our details to reflect their comments. And we do that with our waterproofing consultants also, where they'll look at our, a whole set of documents, and they'll say, you know, well you need to make sure that your waterproofing is going, you know, full wall here, and terminates here, and things like that.

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They make whatever notes they wanna make or things they see and then they send it to us and then we look at it, we send it on to our structural engineer and the structural engineer really does most of the heavy lifting on this type of shop drawing because it's all the stuff that they've they've designed for the process, for the project, all those structural steel and details and connections and all those things. So, the next page shows that they actually taken it and the subcontractor, that's doing all of the steel fabricating for the project, they build a BIM model, a 3D model of all of the structural components in all of the connections and and all of those things and it all goes into this and it ends up being in this case about a 400-page document of all of the steel components, all the details and everything. They all have to be checked against the design and against our drawings.

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When we cut that hole, through that metal panel and put a duct through there, an exhaust duct through there, how do you want us to trim out that opening of where that duct goes through? This is the drawing that we produced. It shows it's a section.

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It was noticed that the elevator shaft was drawn a certain size because of the elevator but when we got the shop drawings back for the elevators, we realized that there was about a half inch discrepancy of what was needed for the elevator in where we had a beam that was cutting through. So there had to be some last minute scrambles of making sure that A, we could make the elevator work in the space that we had provided, but in fact we couldn't we had to move the beam so we had to go back and work with the fabricator to see if we could move the beam about a half inch or an inch I guess to make sure that we had that clearance. They had to go back and talk to their detailers so it was about a three, four day process but eventually everybody agreed that we could move the beam about a inch and it didn't affect any of the elevators or any of those things, but had it not been caught in the shop drawings, it would of been a big problem once they started to go out and start building from it.

My name is Lauren Coles, and I work at CO Architects, and the project we're discussing is at NKU, Northern Kentucky University. The project's name is Health Innovation Center and Founders Hall Renovation. It's a medical education building that's about 210,000 square feet.

For our project in terms of pay out, because it's a public project, it's state funds, payments come directly from obviously the client and they have a procurement team there at the university that handles this because it's a public project.

So the punch list is when the contractor deems the project complete enough for the architectural and AE team to come in and punch the project, meaning that you will go space by space, and look for any inconsistencies, or missing scope, or bad workmanship, things like that. You punch quote unquote the items that need to be corrected by the contractor. So, for instance, something minor would be that there's a scrape on the paint.

It either will come from a field condition, something that's popped up that you didn't know about, or there may be a discrepancy from your documentation, so there may be a discrepancy between the mechanical drawings and what you showed on the RCPs, which are the reflected ceiling plans. An RFI that we have received before in the past is the coordination between RCPs with your consultant. So the reflected ceiling plans, the RCPs, are some of the most difficult drawings to coordinate, and often times, unfortunately, maybe a light fixture or a diffuser, something like that, they won't match.

You'll also go over proposal requests or change orders, things that are changing on the project because the client would like to add something or change it. You'll also go over the RFIs. That's the request for information.

Objective 2.2: Evaluate construction conformance with contract documents, codes, regulations, and sustainability requirements

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There's just a lot of little bits and pieces, and it's hard to keep track, so the role of the punch list is to make a very clear, comprehensive list that says here's a bunch of issues about paint, here's a bunch of issues about the plumbing. You know, the hot water doesn't come on at the kitchen sink on Unit 12. The toilet in Unit 3 leaks a little bit and there's a little pool of water down at the floor level.

And that completion moment sort of marks the end of regular construction process and moves into you're just doing paint touch-ups, you're just sort of making sure that the last little bit of switch work was done with the light switching, or that last little bit of cabinetry, or the countertop, or making sure the final sink is actually placed in correctly and with all the sealant and everything around it. That all of those little last bit moments where everything is pretty much done, but there's a little bit left, that's that kind of punch list stage, you've gone through, you've made the list. So, things completed enough to the point where now the regular contractors just aren't there anymore.

So the Means and Methods are all the process of going from the idea, from the Design Intent, to a finished product. Now clearly you can imagine the contracts end up reading quite differently. If you have a contract for Design Intent, that contract is fairly open-ended.

You're gonna have on your drawing sets, well, how the concrete's gonna work and what kind of formwork to use for that concrete and the spacing on the rebar and how you're gonna put in the anchor bolt in, at every six feet, in order to put the sill plate on and what the method of doing the construction for the walls up above, and like all of those things, the things that you're drawing and those are clearly construction means and methods. So, what are we talking about here? How do we start to get this bright line separation.

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The key things you want to have in your field report are one, a number, the date, when the walk was performed, what the weather was like, weather kinda seems a little silly, but it does have to do with delays, it does have to do with sort of the quality of work going in place, you can't be laying tile when it's wet, for instance. You need to have who went on the walk, a lot of times, the superintendent or the project manager even the owner at times will actually attend these walks so you can discuss items with them. You need to record what subcontractors are on site You know, who's out there working, what work is being put in place, any items that you need to verify.

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And part of that is also, what they do is this weekly report, weekly progress report, and on this project since we started construction, they mobilized back in April I believe it was, and we're mid-May, they've been working for about a month and a half now, and they're making great progress, they've had great weather. They've got all of the site excavated, they've put in all of their foundations, and these photographs show that they're starting to go vertical with all of the concrete retaining walls, and the concrete columns. They've got most of their rebar in, and they've started putting in the reinforcing steel and gravel for all of the on-grade slab at level one.

They went to the weekly site visits and did the field reports, and as our role as the executive and design architect, we were able to go out once a month to perform the same duties, and to make sure that the design was being produced in the correct manner.

Your field report is when you do site walk and in that time if you do see work that's not to the quality that was specified or is completely not-conforming that's your time to point those items out. You issue that report and that's something else that is normally discussed during the OAC, the owner, contractor, architect meeting.

Objective 2.3: Determine construction progress

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And then there'll be a whole series of issues like agency, that talk about different aspects of the project and different sets of relationships, and those will be different per each different type of project delivery. Sometimes you'll have agency, and sometimes you won't. Sometimes you're part of the means and methods...

This is one of those examples of a kind of surreptitious question about the means and methods that what this is really saying is, if I'm going and visiting the site and I'm saying it meets the requirements, well that means I'm saying yes this meets all the means and methods issues. But you just don't know that and so you can't claim that. So you have to be careful about the terminology.

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I mean technically, if you reject work, again, going back to tile, if the tile is not in right, you reject that work, however, the owner has a chance to say, you know what, it's okay. So you're actually advising the owner that this work does not conform with the contract documents or the contract intent, or just the level of workmanship that's been expected. They have a chance to say it's fine, don't worry about it.

So that's sort of the half labor is the installed portion and three-quarters is the material and what this how this works is the contractor prepares a pay application, they say how much material we used, how much labor we've used. The architect then receives the pay application, they actually go to site; if they aren't already out there and evaluate what what was applied for and they either certify and say yes this is the correct amount. This is the material I see on-site, this is the amount of work that's been complete.

Any changes that were being made in this project in specific, we would issue a proposal request. In that proposal request, the contractor would take that request and equate a price on how much they thought it would cost, and then it would be up to the owner to approve or deny that change based on their feelings about the cost.

The architectural team and the owners team would be at that meeting with the contractor and it would be our job as the architect to advise, if we do not feel that each bid package was the level of complete that the contractor's saying. So, for instance if it's generically the roof and they're saying it's 50%, but we feel that it's only 20 or 25%, we would be able to state that and we would tell the owner to only pay that amount. In addition, any items that are stored off-site, the owner is the only one who can make a decision to pay for those off-site items.

Objective 3.1: Determine appropriate additional information to supplement contract documents

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So, change orders, construction change directives, are when you can't work out the deal on the change order, and you're just saying, "All right, we'll figure it out later." This is essentially a change order. But even though the contractor isn't willing to agree to the price, we're just saying we're gonna go ahead and move forward, and then we'll go to mediation or arbitration or some other way of figuring out the exact price down the road. So, it's a little bit of a dangerous thing to do, 'cause you never really know.

But the short answer to that is that if there's a mistake and it's by the general contractor, then the next thing that the architect should do is have a conversation, both with the contractor, but also with the owner, and try to understand what the nature of the mistake is in terms of the process for the owner. So, what do I mean by that? Well, clearly everybody would hope that the general contractor wouldn't make a mistake, in the same way that you hope that you don't make any mistakes, but of course mistakes happen.

So when you talk about shop drawings, they get a little confusing because they sometimes live in this world where it's just about kind of clarification and you're just keeping track of the information and that's all you need to do. And then there's other times when they actually represent pretty major changes and you really have to make sure that your sets of information are being kept up-to-date to follow that.

So like I was saying earlier, if in that situation, in that shop drawing example, if the example changes something, well that means it's changing the design intent, so the question becomes do we need to do more drawing, do we have to take that information back into the contract documents, or does it just live in the shop drawing? That as we've gone through the whole design intent, now these other elements will provide these other changes, and it just keeps moving forward. And there is no exact right answer to that, it really depends on how many other things are affected by it.

So what the question is really asking is, is it okay for the architect to charge more beyond what the contract was really stating, if some reason, the design has changed, and therefore there's more work for the architect? And the answer to that is sometimes yes, and sometimes no. It would depend on what the change was for.

So one quick example of weather is maybe you make a deal, it's gonna be a six month construction, and we're ready to roll forward, and it's March and everything's perfect, and we're gonna go and then there's some issue that comes up, maybe it's a financial issue, maybe it's a code-related issue with an inspector who wants something to get fixed first, and the project gets delayed a number of months, and so now, instead of starting in March now we're starting in say November, or December, well the issues of the weather that were gonna be happening over the spring and summer for that six month project duration, might be very different than the ones that are gonna be happening over the six months starting in November, December and January et cetera, that it would be totally reasonable, in that moment, for the general contractor to say look, the weather is different now, my bid, my contract with you, was if we were starting in March, this is now a different project, the weather will have impact on our process and we can't just assume that we could just take that exact same bid and just shift it down six months later because the weather is now different and therefore you might do all sorts of different changes into the concrete mix or into any number of different aspects of the design process. Another reason that changes happen, which we've talked about a little bit already, is the idea that just clients change their mind, especially once a contractor has started to actually build something out, you actually see it very differently when you actually see real walls and real spatial relationships. It's very abstract for most people to look at a sheet of paper or look on a computer screen and truly understand what the relationships are going to be like, but once they can actually sort of stand in the space, there may be changes that just come up because they realize there are differences in the way that they want to move forward.

Well, the architect's role of course is to keep track of all the design changes through the construction process because the design changes are important both from just making sure the right thing gets built, but also in terms of keeping a record and how that record can be used down the road if there's any squabbles, any litigation, any sort of problem that comes up. There should be a clear record of the design changes. Now, not every design change will actually even be known by the architect.

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The solution ended up being to actually set the steel where we originally had it and actually put the paver mortar bed actually on a little bit thicker, it was a little easier to sort of work the elevation from that point, that's sort of an example of a change that you were not expecting sort of an unforeseen condition and the actually the cost difference actually went back to the owner in this situation because we were kind of ignorant to it. It was not in part of the design.

It's an owner change, which is, again, owner didn't like it, owner wants to add scope, owner wants to take away scope. There's a design change, where hey, our detail that we used, maybe you can't get that product anymore. Maybe you can't necessarily actually build that detail.

But this is generally sort of a design-driven change, or say for instance, we have to change tile type or something like that and the pattern has changed, we need to issue documents sort of backing that up to make sure that, one, the contractor knows what the heck is going on, and two, that we're actually modifying our contract accordingly. The final way, which is sort of, something that rarely happens at the Beck Group just because of the relationship we have with the contractor, is a Construction Change Directive. And that is, sort of a, it's kind of a nastygram, that's a "You need to change this.", from the owner and the architect.

So, an important part of the revision process is kind of understanding where you were, with sort of your original contract, in this case here. And then where each revision has sort of taken you. In this case, this is kind of a record set we use to keep revisions up to date.

We use BIM, we use SketchUp also, but we use a lot of 3-D programs to really help us see things in 3-D, but then also be able to make sure that we're working with the correct heights with sites, with structure, mechanical, all of those things as we get deeper into the project. This is an example of the BIM model for Gateway Center. We put in the site, we got that information from our civil engineer.

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We then come back with that, and then we make whatever changes we need to make, based on their comments, and then we cloud all of those comments or any kind of changes that were made, not just from them, but any other changes, if the owner requested a change, if the contractor, whatever. We come back in, we revise the drawing, we cloud the drawing, and we put a little delta number, a little triangle with a number in it, that goes back to the title block sheet and is identified by a date. And then we reissue that drawing or set of drawings, if necessary, that has all of that information now clouded and documented based on whatever revisions were required from the city, from the owner, from the contractor, whoever.

Objective 3.2: Evaluate submittals including shop drawings, samples, mock-ups, product data, and test results

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So those situations have a little bit more of a back and forth in the discussions, in that they are really meant to be fodder for discussions whereas the cylinder test or something like that is really just sort of a paperwork thing unless it actually came back negative, at which point then it's a starting point of a whole series of different changes that would have to get made, and really in-depth conversations about what are we gonna do to fix it? So testing can be sort of its own set of issues. It's a little different than other kinds of submittals.

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So, we're gonna take and give it to a lab and they're gonna take that cylinder of concrete, which is now cured for seven days, and they're gonna put it into a hydraulic compressor, it's like a big, hydraulic hammer thing, and they're just gonna press it down. And they're gonna put a huge amount of pressure on that. And they can judge how much pressure they're putting onto it before it starts to crack, before it gives way.

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This was actually sort of a horse trading situation where I work very closely with our construction superintendent, project manager, as well as sort of the owner, and our landscape architect, to sort of come up with a solution that didn't take any more time, didn't cost any more money, and we were able to actually keep moving. This did not hold up the work in any way. We were able to actually work on some of this white tile as we sort of corrected the pattern in this darker tile, and it turned out actually I think for the better.

So in a lot of cases, substitutions are allowed for that reason that public projects need to be able to bid as openly as possible.

The project's name is Health Innovation Center and Founders Hall Renovation. It's a medical education building that's about 210,000 square feet. This is a mini mock-up of our exterior corrugated metal panel.

So when we receive submittals like this, we wanna make sure that all of the data from the specifications are met from the glass, including that the inner layer is there and that the frit pattern is the correct design that we've specified.

Objective 3.3: Evaluate the contractor’s application for payment

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If you're gonna do a project, especially if you're working with an existing building and you're doing a project within that or a rehab or some sort of adaptive reuse, there's just bound to be a bunch of stuff that you just don't expect to have happen. And so in those situations I'm going to have the bids and the information that come from the general contractors, gonna have all of their information and then at the end we're just gonna add a contingency. We're just gonna say alright we're just gonna take what they bid we're just gonna add 10% to it.

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But as an owner and as a representative for the owner as the architect is, you wouldn't want that to happen, because you don't wanna be 70% of the way through a project but you've paid 90% of the way through the project, 'cause if you did that, there's a big, strong desire for the contractor to say, "Well, I've already got 90% of the money. "Maybe I should just stop now," and leave the project. Like it's hard to get them to come back.

You want to have the GC be responsible for that material so that there's a push, there's a desire on their part to only get the pipes there right, ready, when they're gonna be installed and then get them right inside and used, immediately, so you just don't have a big bunch of pipes sitting around waiting to be stolen. So, that would be an example where I would absolutely not. I would absolutely not allow a GC to get paid for the delivery of pipes to the site.

So, once you've determined whether this is actually an issue or not, sometimes people just look for conflict for whatever reason, and you just sort of roll with some of them, and some you fight, but once you've determined it's an actual issue, then the first thing after that that you're going to do is you're going to talk to the owner. Because remember, in this situation, your role is you are representing the owner. If there's a conflict, you need to have an idea from the owner how the owner feels about it if it's beyond your ability to sort of assume what the owner feels about it.

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It's about halfway done, and all of this sort of materials actually for the pavers is sort of set in the back. So in the case of, say a pay application, I would say area two, in this case, is about 25% of done of the way with pavers. Waterproofing's 100% done, and that would be how I would certify the application.

So at the Beck Group, we still do operate, sort of, in a similar manner as a design, bid, build or, sort of, a traditional architect's office, or a traditional contractor would. We generally try to do our pay applications monthly. That's something that I think that is a standard part of the AIA contracts something that we kinda hold over on ours.

Objective 3.4: Evaluate responses to non-conformance with contract documents

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So you may have been super speedy and a bunch of phone calls and caught the thing very early and everybody sort of got to a handshake deal, but if it's not in the record somehow, if it's not sort of a clear description of what happened, what decision was made and how that decision got played out, if that doesn't make it into the written record, two, three years from now, nobody's gonna be able to remember that that happened and it's not gonna be there to sort of back you up in terms of, no, no, no, we made sure that this was corrected and here's how we did it, so that down the road, you're not open to problems down the road, or the owner isn't, or the GC isn't. That part of keeping that clear written record is partly about the communication, because presumably you're using it as your communication tool, but also it's partly about looking to the future and your hope is that nobody in the future is ever gonna read that memo, like because why would you ever want anybody to ever see any of that after the project's done? It's just that if they do need to see it, it's a big deal.

Now, of course, having said that, there's gonna be a million times out on a job site when you're gonna be in a situation, you notice something's wrong, you make a little quick change on the drawing set or you just say, oh hey, don't forget, that was a mistake, we misspelled it or it's in the wrong pattern, or whatever it is, and you have that conversation and everybody moves forward and they build it fine and it's all good. Right? Not every time are you gonna sit down and write a memo just because there was a mistake that you found.

And it's not like they had some strong piece of information like, "Here's a new layout," or "Here's the meeting minutes that explain "how we made the change and what the change actually is." If they're just writing off of a discussion that happened to have happened a month ago and nobody ever followed up with it, well, then, it's not really the GC's fault, either. It's now in the hands of the architect and the owner, and the architect is the one who would be responsible for that. So the answer of "Whose fault is it?" is going to be completely dependent on "Well, what did you do?" In a situation like this, it's not gonna be dependent on any of the physical aspects of it like it was a month versus three weeks or anything like that.

If you just do it as mediation, it's still a long process but it's not as long and complicated as arbitration, and that's not as long and complicated as litigation. You're stepping down in levels of complexity and trying to keep it tighter and faster and easier for everybody to sort of get involved. And the mediator because it's somebody that both parties will be agreeing to definitely wants to be somebody who is knowledgeable enough in that kind of context but is not partial to one side or the other in any way, so that both parties can agree on it so they bring a lot of information.

If you have a good working relationship and everybody's issues are clearly being stated and you understand their issues and everybody else understands their issues and those issues are being communicated clearly and everybody knows the process, they expect how it's going to work, you tell them what's going to happen and then that happens, you kind of make sure that everything is rolling along and that everybody is pleased to be part of the process because you have a good working relationship, that is going to take care of 90% of the issues that you have out on the field, that the vast majority of litigation and really problematic arbitration and mediation projects come from situations where there's just really bad blood, where there's people who are acting badly, they're not communicating well, the drawings are messy, the site was messy, the relationships weren't clear, that there wasn't a process that was clearly laid out for everybody so that they know where they fit in. They understand what their role is. If things are sort of unclear and messy and just sort of unpleasant, well, then you are gonna be much faster to saying, "Hold on, no more, we're not gonna do it.

You're gonna talk to the owner because you wanna make sure that before you start going off in a really sort of, yeah, we're gonna change this thing, you gotta rip that out, you gotta make it right, that first of all, it wasn't something that the owner actually wanted, second of all, that, now that the owner has seen it or that you've just called attention to it, that they may like it better. You don't wanna change something and cause delays and have all kinds of problems happen if it actually doesn't really matter or it makes perfect sense and you could just leave it, or just understanding how this fits in with a relationship between the owner and the GC generally. Has this been something that's been happening a lot?

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It's where essentially you work together to sort of come up with a common solution to sort of a common problem. Say, for instance, if I miss something in my design, if I've forgetting bollards in a parking lot, or say, at the same time, say, our estimation department did not put enough money in for that. You work with them to come up with a solution that still meets the design intent, but also can still meet the budget.

Objective 4.1: Apply procedural concepts to complete close-out activities

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And remember that the punch list is a just list of things that need to get fixed or finished. It's not meant to be a to-do list from the standpoint of well we haven't poured the concrete yet so that goes in there. The punch list is really meant that alright we've poured the concrete, the concrete was poured months ago but there's a crack in it that really should be fixed before we say that it's finished or that the concrete needs to be sealed or that there needs to be backfill up against it.

So if the GC hasn't done any of that, and the owner hasn't gone through and prepared the process and really thought through, possibly with the help of the architect, really thought through the process that they're going to go through to move all this material in so that they have a very clear understanding and all their people have a clear understanding of how they're going to be literally moving things through, which doors to be using, what process to be using. Are the doors gonna be propped open, are they not gonna be propped open? Like that kind of level of detail, and if the architect hasn't gone through and actually documented things appropriately, and kept on top of the punch list and what's happening with the owner move in process.

So that might be something, a funder might be looking at that, the developers might be looking at that, so whole series of people who might be going through the building and the end of the close-out process just to make sure before everything gets signed off, before the C of O, before the people can move in, before all of that can happen, they have a process and a right to sort of go through and be part of that sign-off process. And obviously, if we have inspectors, the inspectors have the right to go through because they have to sign off on the building. Now, not everywhere in the country, will every municipality have an inspector that does a final sign-off.

If they have a very good understanding of that, then at the project close out it really shouldn't be a problem, but most projects, there will be some element of confusion about whether the piece of equipment falls under the GC's jurisdiction, or whether that's something that the owner is really expected to bring by having some other contract, and some other person bringing it in, and sometimes the FF & E is handled by the GCs, one contract and they cover everything as sort of a turnkey process, so that's a very particular way of doing a development, where one person will take care of everything, and then the owner just has to move in, and you hand over the key, and that's done. But typically things like chairs and tables and things like that, that's not something that's gonna be part of the general contractor. So there's multiple contractors usually involved in a process, and when you get to this project close out time, there's sort of a transitioning of one contractor with another, so the general contractor is trying to finish up and trying to make sure that the punch list is all done while the other folks are bringing in all the furnishings, and making sure that the refrigerator is working, and getting the server to be correctly positioned, and not overheat, and do all that.

Many of you have probably dealt with vanilla box situations before, but it's a sort of odd term that's used to describe alright, we know there's gonna be a retail space in there, but we don't know who the retail tenant will be, so we just need to get a HVAC system in and some basic lighting and some basic idea of where the outlets need to go in order to sort of just get it up and running. And then once it's there and ready, then we're much more likely to get a tenant who's gonna fit in. Or it could be similar idea for a small office space, or it could be a similar idea for even a small apartment unit, something like that, where you get things to a certain point and you just get a basic idea of how the systems are gonna work, and get a basic idea where the outlets are gonna go.

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I'm a firm believer in enhanced commissioning to make sure that your HVAC systems are running properly. It's kind of your very last defense to make sure that the whole system was installed properly and it also gives a chance to make sure that the energy efficiency that you had assumed during design is built that way.

We put the amount of work that we feel is still in flux, that's, you know, nonconforming in some way, either the base scope's not there or there's outstanding change orders, things of that nature, and we also perform a final walk to establish that those costs and those incomplete items.

Objective 4.2: Evaluate building design and performance

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So, some of them could be contractual, if you have added those elements onto your contract as additional services, and some are just ideas that should probably take place because it's going to be useful for your firm, or for your team, or for the project, and you just want to make sure that you're always making your firm and the project and the sort of way that you work with other people, better and more straightforward and more concise and more efficient as you move through these kinds of projects. So what are those issues? After the project is done, there's a whole series of lessons learned that are worth the time to go through.

You'll already be able to say, "Well, you know, we talked with our consultant team" "and we think we can be more efficient in this way," or, "We talked it over and we realized" "that we kind of missed the boat on these two issues." "Even though we liked the project a lot," "here's a couple of things that I think" "we could have done better and smarter," right, that if you have that kind of information at your fingertips, you're much more likely to get that next project because there's gonna be an understanding that you have a thoughtful process and that that process is adaptable to the needs of the client. Not all architects will come across that way. Not all architects will give across that sense of adaptableness to what the client really needs.

Commissioning is that process where you're gonna go through and look at the building after it's been constructed, so usually the commissioning process starts just at the end of the project closeout, so you're just right there, right before everything gets the final payment and all that, the commissioning agent comes in and they do a bunch of tests right at that very moment, so they are making sure they're part of that final balancing and testing so that they understand exactly how things are starting in the process, and then they'll come back, either at the end of the first year or at the end of three years that might have multiple points along the way that they do something. It could be more than three years. You could do it for five years or something like that.

So the technical information is really gonna be about the kind of use of the building, the fire ratings are really about the sort of solidity of the building, it's a kind of a different technical issue, so, commissioning is gonna be about kind of use issues, fire rating is really about this other aspect altogether. Number four. Really, what is the point of talking to your consultants about how a project went, everyone's busy and moving onto a new project.

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