ARE 5.0 Programming & Analysis Exam Prep

portrait, Mike Newman

Mike Newman

19h 11m

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

Instructor Mike Newman will discuss issues related to programming, site analysis, and zoning & code requirements.

When you are done with this course, you will have a thorough understanding of the content covered in the ARE 5.0 Programming and Analysis Exam including project type analysis, the establishment of qualitative and quantitative project requirements, evaluation of project site and context, and assessment of economic issues.

NCARB Approved ARE 5.0 Test Prep Material

Objective 1.1: Evaluate Site-Specific Environmental and Socio-Cultural Opportunities

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´╗┐So now we're gonna talk about the programming and analysis exam, this is the third of six different exams for ARE 5.0 and you may remember that the first one is practice management, I've got a full practice happening and within that I've got a project and then I've got another project and I've got some other projects that stop and start, and what are all the issues that are about that whole practice? How you keep all of that rolling. And the second exam, is project management, that's where we take one of those and we pull it out, we think alright, what's the overarching issues of that whole project?

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We're gonna talk about a series of example projects that we'll get a chance to sort of thing about real world scenarios and how those things go. Speaking of scenarios, we're gonna go through a bunch of different ways to think about the projects. And the reason that we do that is because NCARB is very focused on not just direct simple questions, but questions that give you lots of pieces of information that you then have to piece together into sort of a general understanding.

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If you feel like you don't need it, you can skip ahead but there's the Design-Bid-Build, so Design-Bid-Build, and that's the classic project delivery where you have the owner, they have a contract with the architect, an owner-architect agreement, they do the project, they design that whole long project, it goes through schematic design, design development, CDs, bidding, all of that, then there's a bid phase, so we've got the bid phase, at which point a bidder's chosen and then the construction starts. And for us, for the architects, that means we're in construction administration, so it's that very long process but it gives you a bunch of advantages. That process, where you have the one contract and then the second contract once a bidder is chosen, everybody has their sets of relationships with each other through the A201 General Conditions, there are a series of satellites around the architect, which are the consultants, a series of satellites around the GC, which are the subs, there's bankers, and environmental report people and things like that around the owner, so everybody's got their own set of satellites, everybody's got their own straightforward contract and they're all related to each other, partly because they're just doing a project together but also partly because they are contractual related through the A201 General Conditions, which is referenced into all of those different contracts.

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So there's a whole series of different ways that these projects can be delivered and often they're mixed and matched, you might have portions that are done as Design-Build and then the rest of it is done as Design-Bid-Build, sometimes a Construction Manager will be there as a useful helper to the owner for making decisions but won't take on the role of actually hiring the subs and you'll actually get a regular GC, so there's a lot of mixing and matching, don't really worry about that too much, the bigger issue is that you understand that there's just an important role that the choice of project delivery makes in terms of all the different contracts, relationships, and all that, and then you can kind of imagine, if you choose one of those, how it would impact a project.

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So it's a very useful set of information to the architect as sort of a kick off point, but it's also very important as this sort of legal document that will start off the sort of legal understanding of where the site is, where the boundaries of that site are, and therefore, because of all the work that the architect will do, where the legal constraints are from those boundaries in terms of set backs and zoning rules and all of that. So it's a key sort of part of understanding it. We'll look at an example survey a little bit later.

If, for some reason, the things that they're recommending just don't fit with what you're trying to do, then that's a conversation to be had between the architects and the owners and the people who put together the soil boring report. Because you want to make sure that they are on board with any changes that you're making to the, sort of, assumption of how you're going to be working with the soils. So, it may be obvious, but I'm gonna say it anyway.

The beginning is gonna start off with just kind of purpose and descriptions, kind of the sort of introductory kinds of information, and the second section, in this case, is gonna start telling us about what the findings are. So, what did they figure out as they kinda went along? So, they've done a series of borings, which just means they've taken tubes and pushed them down.

So that's kind of an old-school way of doing it, where it's literally this big hammer weight and they take that tube, they put it, you know, up against the ground, and then they just bang this, this big weight against it by dropping it a certain dimension. And it will push the tube into the ground. And then they bang it again, and it'll push the tube into the ground.

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You're going to make sure that the GC, whenever they're involved in the project has the information to understand how the earth work is going to work, they're going to want to make sure that their excavators and their concrete contractors have all the information so they know exactly what's expected of them and what the soil are going to be like and the engineers are going to want to see all the information to make sure that they're designing the footings that are going to fit to those appropriate situation. You really need to have more detailed information, you're going to go to one of these examples, these logs and really look at, well, what if we have decided later that we really wanted to put a basement in and so we're going to push this foundation down lower, is this soil good enough to have our footing in? Do we need to recontact the geotechnical engineer or is there enough information here that we can make a decision from this?

It's the idea of macro versus micro, so that's macro versus micro environmental issues. So macro issues are the big-scale issues. That's where we're talking about, how much rain does this region get?

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So, effectively, in terms of the actual solar gain and in terms of actual direct sunlight, really not much sun is hitting that north face so we would count it when we're doing calculations, but if we're doing like a solar gain calculation, we're probably not even really gonna be concerned about it because it's such a small impact on the overall understanding. So, which is the side that we'd be most interested in, most concerned? Well, the south is the one that's gonna have the most, is gonna be the most impacted from the solar discussion because the sun is moving through this southern sky for us in North America and so we're getting those angles of impact but because there's such a big difference between the winter and the summer, that allows us to do a number of design issues where we can do things to block the summer but accept that winter sun.

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You can very quickly see that in that summertime sun that angle's coming right down on top of that building and it's mostly hitting the roof of that building but in this wintertime sun, that angle is coming very much at a lower angle and it's going really right at that south-facing wall. We very quickly just from that one little diagram we can start to see really dramatically which parts of the building are getting hit with the sun and which ones aren't. Now again, this may not seem like that big a deal to you if all the projects you've ever done are all set in stone because this is where the urban setting and this is the front wall, and the front wall needs to look like the buildings next door or something, but this is actually a dramatically important question in terms of energy use, in terms of how much air conditioning is used in these buildings, how much heat is needed in these buildings, how much day light we can capture versus having to use artificial light.

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And then the north, the big question on the north is really gonna be "Do we want to have windows there "in order to get natural dispersed light?" The disadvantage of having windows on the north in much of the country, it's not really gonna matter, but if you're in places that get relatively cold for up in Minneapolis or in Fargo or in Idaho or in Chicago or in New England, for in any of those kinds of places, putting a bunch of windows in order just to get that sort of lovely natural indirect light, but those windows are likely to be pretty terrible from an insulating standpoint, so I'm gonna be just giving away heat to the outside through that whole winter. That's a balance and it make not make so much sense. So in the northern climes and the cold climates, you'll often see that the north facades tend to have very few windows in order to not give out so much of the heat that's been made the condition into that space, but we'll have quite a lot of south facing windows in order to gain as much as the solar gain as they can in that winter time.

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But the time we really wanted it was in the winter and not in the summer, so you see pretty quickly that there are times and places were skylights can be really useful and helpful and there are times and places where it's actually, you've just made it harder to control the amount of light that's coming through that space, depending on the season. These things all integrate together. Sometimes you're gonna have a skylight, sometimes you're gonna have a window.

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So even though I have a low angle on that east side and it can be really annoying and I can get a lot of solar gain that I don't want and I can cause glare inside the space and everything, at the same time, compared to the west, it's probably less of an issue compared to the west side, 'cause the west side, as that sun is coming down, I now have that low angle sun coming in, giving me all that solar gain, but at the end of the day, after we've been building heat gain all day. And so the west side is even more problematic than the east side. So in general, people will always think about, well, the southern side is really the problem and that's where you're gonna get all that heat gain.

Objective 1.2: Evaluate Site-Specific Environmental Constraints

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And what we're gonna do is we're gonna talk about the shape of the land in a 2D drawing, so that's gonna be a contour map made out of contour lines. So each of these lines is a contour. And the concept here is that they're at set intervals.

So these days obviously in the sort of 3D-modeling world of BIM and all the other systems that we have out there, there's a lot of the time when we're doing these 3D models showing the lay of the land using other systems other than contour lines, and that's all fine, that's good, that's a useful and a great thing, a tool that we have available to us, but when it comes to code officials, when it comes to sort of the typical earth-moving excavation setup where folks are standing out in the field, looking at a sheet of paper, trying to know exactly where to push the dirt around, almost always it'll come down to a contour plan. There's something about the sort of ease of the 2D drawing, and seeing the full level of complicated shapes, and the drainage systems, and the, like, it's all there, and is one, simple, straightforward drawing. So even if you're modeling it in other ways, that's great for those moments, but there will be a moment when you're probably gonna wanna bring it back to some sort of very straightforward contour plan type understanding.

But you have to be a little careful about how you're doing it, but essentially I'm just cutting these, sort of, odd looking ditches into the ground and that is what's kind of making it so that the water will flow around my structure. So it's kind of this odd thing and I'm gonna just take a second here. If you think about it, off on the side here.

If you think about in the same way that the 2% slope, that would be 100 feet vertically compared to 100 feet horizontally, that's just a 45 degree line. So you can easily have in a mountainous area or some very particular place, 120% slope. That would just be 120 feet vertical compared to 100 feet horizontal.

It's kind of flat but you wouldn't want to have that soil pond and have water just sit there over time and start to change the nature of the soil below it. You wouldn't want it to sort of start having where it starts getting super saturated and becoming a low spot. The idea that it's flat just isn't real, it's this sort of slightly flat, it's mostly flat.

It's sort of bigger than a local street but it's not at the scale where it's really this big arterial thing that's a major connector from one portion of the city to another. The next one down would be a local street. A local street might be an example that little street right there.

One aspect of economic conditions is just sort of understanding what the market is like so you know in 2008 for example there was a big crash, huge recession. It was hard to get things funded. There was a lot of people out work.

So I know that this kind of makes it sort of obvious and it's hard to as I said to talk about, but it is important that you kind of have that feel that you can look at something like this and immediately start ticking off all of the issues that are specific to this site so okay, view, all right set back from the street, sense of landscaping around each of the structures, so that they're buffered to the street that the expectation would be that those things would be there and therefore if this is the kind of spot that shows up on the exam, you would just be building in that set of expectations. It doesn't mean that that's necessarily how you're going to design something out in the real world. Maybe you wanna put a glass cube right there or somewhere at this site, that's fine, I don't really care about that.

And so if we were gonna be building something, say, in this location, not unlike the other urban setting we were talking about, there's a very strong relationship of this street edge that we would almost definitely want to honor. And there's this very interesting moment here is that all the elements up front here not only have the sort of honor of being that kind of front door, but if you're up a floor or two, would actually have fabulous views over this park area. And so kind of understanding that context would almost assuredly be impacted in the design, at least in the initial planning designs for this structure.

So the streets are as if they're kind of cutting though these elements, this happens to be a public plaza, but you see that if we came in and purposed something that didn't fit to that type of idea, let's say we were putting in a new building in this location, it's clear that what's sort of expected is that this wall gets honored, that the building itself creates the public space. There's not a rectangle-d building here barely at all. It's one here and there's kind of one there, and there's a few others a little scattered.

But also, just from the standpoint of the difference between a residential street and these other, more of a collector type of retail type street. The other thing to note here is that this is a classic example where this is a residential district, but there's a couple of pretty sizeable buildings in here. All those sizeable buildings are clearly churches, possibly schools in some situations.

So, something this scale, almost assuredly you're gonna be opening directly to a main street of some sort. So, we'll start talking about that a little bit, but it'd be useful for you to start having a sense of the scale of how big cars are, how big parking lots are, because those are the kinds of things that you wanna kinda keep in your mind. There's not gonna ever be a question of, you're not gonna get on the NCARB exam a question like, you know, "How big is a Honda?" That's not what you're gonna have to deal with.

I start leaving that drive aisle with 30 feet, what's gonna happen is people are gonna start seeing all this extra space and somebody, some jerk like me is gonna come in and just park right in the middle there thinking that well, there's a bunch of space there, it must mean that it's okay if I park there. And then this guy is gonna be in that parking space and back out and not know they're there. It's really important that it doesn't start getting unexpected.

Usually you wanna be able to make it so that somebody pulling in will just immediately drive right straight on through and be able to find the parking space they need, or do the drop off, or whatever it is. So this is definitely a better setup than that. What would I want to put in this location, kind of right in this area?

So, in general, when we're talking about TODs, there's sort of a preference towards things like subways and metros and light rail lines and bus rapid transit, things like that that are slightly heavier infrastructure as opposed to just straightforward buses because if it's only buses, well then, five years down the road, you might get a situation where there's some budget cuts and that bus line goes away and they move all the buses a mile away and then your density is in the wrong location. Whereas for the subways or the metros or light rail, that infrastructural cost has been enough that you really, I mean, things obviously get updated and changed every once in a while but you're really not gonna move the station or decide not to use that line, probably. It's just sort of a thing like once you've invested in that infrastructure, you wanna really take the opportunity to sort of add to that, but not everywhere has subways or light rail lines or anything like that.

I was doing a project recently where we came across one that was well over two, I think it was 2.5 in certain locations and 2.75 in other locations, it was kind of a dense suburb, and so that's a lot of parking, and that's a big requirement of parking and there's a fair amount of cost in that, there's a lot of driveways and civil engineering and all the water retention issues that come with that, plus you just have to have that much space, either on the land as open parking, or you're lifting up the building and building the first couple of floors with these parking decks, which has caused a lot of people to be sort of unhappy with a lot of the recent city developments, in that, if you're walking by a building where the first three floors or two floors are parking decks, that means there's very little to look at, there's not windows, there's not stuff happening, you know, there's not a lobby that you can look into, or retail on the street 'cause that's taken up by this parking, and so part of the push for transit oriented design is about encouraging transit, part of it is about getting people out of their cars, but another part is this idea, well if we can get rid of the parking garage type mentality, not only does that mean that people are actually taking the transit, but it means that we're not looking at the cars all the time, and that we can actually have retail and things like that in these denser locations, we can kind of encourage these other types of uses in these locations where we want to have a lot of pedestrians, because you know we want people walking to and from the transit. So having a zoning official say, yeah alright typically, let's say is one space per car, you're allowed to build, I mean one space per unit, you're allowed to build 30 units of housing, that means you'd have to have a 30 unit parking garage, but because you're within the 600 foot line to this metro, we're gonna say you don't have to have any parking. So that means suddenly you're able to build 30 units, and not pay for any of the parking costs.

Are they issues that might make it a discussion about whether this is the right location for this as a project, but you sort of in order to really sort of grasp all the benefits of a neighborhood, you need to go through it as a process of kind of mapping these things out in sort of logical, clear headed ways that you can then not only present to yourself as a design team, but also present to the client so that they see the opportunities that they have with them. And it may be one of those things that you realize well, we wanna keep this a pretty solid wall maybe because we wanna be careful about the relationship to a kind of tougher part of the neighborhood, but we wanna be very open 'cause we think this retail is really gonna kickstart once we build our units there or something. It opens up the conversation for design as well as sort of being useful from a development standpoint, is this the right project in the right place?

So, the idea here is you're first testing with the client, like what makes sense for them, and that's partly you're just gonna ask the question and they're gonna tell you, and it's partly reading between the lines, and kind of understanding their funding requirements, and seeing what's going on in the marketplace around them, and being able to make suggestions that fit to the condition. So, it's partly what you're bringing, and it's partly what they're bringing. But the question is, what does the client need for this project in this situation?

Objective 1.3: Determine Optimal Use of Onsite Resources by Incorporating Sustainability Principles

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So, it's that sense that you're not just building things that are sustainable, you're not just trying to make sure that things are logical and efficient, but you're also looking down the road towards how can this structure be helpful in an emergency, how can this structure be helpful to the resilience of a community. So, it's looking at that longer term set of issues, the hundred year storm, the five hundred year storm, but also the kind of economic storms that swing through a neighborhood. How can the design itself be helpful in the resilience of not only the building, but of that community.

And it's a sort of serious brownfield site, it means that it actually has real contamination that we know about that there's been environmental issues, phase one, phase two maybe where they've gone through and they've tested the materials and they know yes indeed there are in fact toxic materials down here, or oil tanks or chips from the old lead based paint, or asbestos is buried on the site around an old furnace system or something that just got left behind. So the idea of the brownfield is that it's a place that needs some help, right? It's a place that has had something happen to it and you're ready to fix it up somehow.

You're having to filter it a little bit before you reuse it depending on the kind of use you're gonna do, but mostly you're just collecting the water and then dispersing it. Part of the ways that you can do that is by reusing it for irrigation. So if you're gonna be watering grass or watering plants, why not use water that you just collected through the rain instead of using potable or drinkable water?

The impact would be so low even if you really massively change the heat island effect for your site, you're surrounded by these other buildings and it's really not gonna matter. So, maybe there's other places that you would spend the time and money and energy instead of worrying about the heat island effect. Again, you're finding what's the pro, what's the con?

Whatever it happens to be, what those issues are, you're talking about them abstractly, but you're finding graphic tools for representation, and then when you get into that schematic design, now we're actually designing in a way that matches to those ideas. The whole point of this is, if you start designing too early, if you actually start into a site plan too early, you lose opportunity to think about these things abstractly. You might just kind of get in your head, oh, that trellis, I really wanna do the trellis.

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It's solely that you just have to be able to know what the expected way of talking about it is, and then easily, quickly translate back and forth and not make the sort of silly, stupid mistakes that all of us have made so many times like dividing by nine instead of by 27. So if we quickly did that calculation, we would get 66.67 cubic yards. And then the question was if each truck can carry 10, that means we need seven trucks.

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Objective 2.1: Identify Relevant Code Requirements for Building and Site Types

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So for example if you, were gonna be doing a project on this particular property and it had this deed that said you can't do anything to the historic nature of the building attached to that particular property. And you were making proposals to add additions or change the window pattern or something along those lines. That would be a pretty wasted exercise.

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So just like the rest of this document, the whole first section is really all about talking about the process that you're going to be going through when you're looking at the architectural and design issues and landscaping issues. And then in this case like we said, this is one where they have an architectural review committee. Sometimes it's called something different but usually it's some similar name to something like that.

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Now if you're a very small town, it's pretty unlikely you're gonna take the IBC or BOCA or one of those other codes and you're gonna rewrite it. Right, you're a small town, you're just gonna take the code and use it to the extent as much as you can that fits to your place. If you're a city, if you're Seattle or Boston or San Francisco or Chicago or New York, you might have even your own totally independent building code that you've written from scratch.

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So there's a bunch of different ones, there's actually probably 10 total, but these are three big ones that sort of started off and gained real traction and what this did was allowed different local municipalities, instead of trying to write their own building codes, 'cuz you imagine what a ordeal that would be, they would just say, "Alright, we're just gonna take UBC from 1990 and that's now our building code and there's a couple parts we don't like about it, so we're gonna rewrite those parts and we're gonna amend those things into our version of the UBC." So, it's a way of taking a model code and then making it your own so you don't have to do all of that amazing amount of work. You can just sort of adjust it to your situation. Well that made a lot of sense.

Objective 2.2: Identify Relevant Zoning and Land Use Requirements

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It's gonna lower the scale of this sort of sense of place by having that little setback, having some green space, and that's gonna impact pretty dramatically what this place is gonna feel like. And then I might have say a side yard set back and so that might be a couple feet and that would run right down there. And that's gonna make it so that the buildings can't be contiguous.

Objective 2.3: Identify Relevant Local and Site-Specific Requirements

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So this is very similar to zoning rules or building code rules except that it's not a law of the land, it's just writing with the deed. It's just the development rules. But they're still rules you have to follow because when you buy the piece of land they're coming with the deed.

By the time we get into construction administration, clearly that's where we're dealing with code officials, we're dealing with issues that come up through the construction moment, so we're responding to inspections and found moments, things like that, so it's not so much you're dealing directly with the building code, you're more dealing with sort of the milieu of code officials and inspections and things like that, but that's still dealing with the building code. Building code issues show up all the way through every phase, zoning code issues do too but it's really focused on the programming and the schematic design time period. And then all those other sort of overlays may be historic, those other sort of specialty elements would start to show up at different points along the way where you'd, maybe in historic, you'd want to sort of acknowledge the issues but it's probably not really driving the project.

Well the reason it could also be the building code, is if I'm building this structure and maybe I don't have a setback in the zoning code or maybe my setback is two feet or something like that, but with the construction type that this particular building has, and the occupancy type, there may be requirements for a certain level of fire rating, and the fire rating for that construction type may not meet the abilities for that location, just two feet off or right up next to the property line. So the building code will add additional information, mostly it's about fire ratings of bearing walls that would say, "Well, if you're gonna do this occupancy "with this construction type, you can only get "a fire rating capacity of, say, "one hour or two hour." But you might not be able to do that within the first couple of feet of the property line. And the thinking there is, you can build whatever you want in your property, they just don't want you to build something that's dangerous to the property next door, that if there was a fire in your building, it wouldn't be able to spread to the property next door easily.

So in this particular example you can start to see well, really the issues we're most concerned about when it comes to kind of code and land use restrictions and those things are really gonna be the safety of the children, the safety of moving cars on the site, how many cars need to be able to be accommodated, how would the buses be accommodated, how do the buses get around the corner, and then turn on the street. Is there enough room for them to turn? What's the quality of that street?

And the manufacturing building, what it was before, they probably just didn't have any windows on that wall and just had it be a brick wall all the way up. Which was fine for their use, but for our use in this situation, it's a different story. So again it's all these different issues, all your ones affecting the other and you're trying to figure out what are the ones that are driving the forces for the big-scale issues like where are the walls, what new construction, do I have to set back, can I line it up with the existing?

Objective 3.1: Evaluate Relevant Qualitative and Quantitative Attributes of a Site as They Relate to a Program

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So instead of thinking about zoning as a separate issue, instead of thinking about sustainability issues as a separate issue, instead of thinking about what the soils are like, what the site is like, what the leel concept here is like, we're gonna think about them all together. How do we start to assemble this information in such a way that we are using graphic and written tools in order to really get this to make sense logically as an overall site analysis? So we're going through this as a project and starting to think of this, not just as thoughts, as separate thoughts, but as an overall idea.

We're gonna be testing, looking for asbestos, looking for lead, looking for all of those issues that we were just talking about, and there's gonna be a whole series of expectations depending on the specifics of the actual report from the phase one because it might be that it's mostly focused on asbestos, for example, at which point they wouldn't really bother with soil boring tests, but they would spend a lot of time on testing for asbestos and testing the paints and all of that. So each situation from the phase one will be different, and you would definitely want to make sure that the phase two, they were doing the actual tests that were appropriate to that particular situation. So the phase two, very expensive and long, very detailed, there's a lot of data involved, and that's really where now you've moved beyond just the idea of recommendations, now you're getting into really specific information.

It's not just Chicken Little, it's not just oh my god everything's gonna fail, it's that they're going through, looking at it, evaluating it and giving you enough information that you can make a rational set of decisions. So there's the onsite, there's the research aspect to it, and then there's the sort of what I refer to as the executive summary of the executive summary. So this is the literal bullet points.

So, there's the life-cycle assessment, which is the one that includes the environmental and all of those issues as well as the cost, and then there's the life-cycle cost analysis, LCCA, which is really focused mostly on that idea of the first cause plus that longterm cost, all the maintenance and replacement and everything. So, the question is, how long a timeline are we looking at, and how are we gonna weight these issues in terms of what is the most important for this situation? So, this is a constantly ever-changing thing 'cause you're trying to figure out how it fits to your specific project, but that concept of the timeline, of understanding it not just from a first-cost but this longtime way of thinking of it, but that there are also other costs than just the dollar cost, that concept of those different ways of thinking about how we make these decisions is important for the exam and you should really make sure you feel comfortable with those terms.

It could be actually written information, it could be a metes and bounds type of survey, it could be any number of different sort of ways of approaching as long as you're getting across a legal description of the site, that's what the owner needs in order to be able to buy the land, in order to be able to know where they can build on the land, all of that stuff sort of starts with that legal description. And so the surveys generally come at us looking kind of like, something like this, where there'll be sort of a general, overall kind of big picture, kind of legalistic sounding description of the location. Then there'll be a drawing, and down at the bottom, so the very clear north arrow, and at the very bottom, they would be signed by the surveyor and it would sort of how to get more information and who was doing it, that kind of thing so that you can track it over time, that you can find a surveyor who did the original one, and so you can get them to come back out and redo it, and they don't have to start from scratch, that kind of thing.

Objective 3.2: Synthesize Site Reports with Other Documentation and Analysis

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It's a line that represents something 'cause that's how the architectural drawings work, if there's a line representing something that's happening up above it's drawn as a dash line, things like that where that may not be the case on the surveys. Survey that might still be a solid line because they're trying to be very legalistic and specific about the dimensions of what things are. The other thing you'll start to notice is that typically not always, depends on the situation a bit, but typically here's our property line.

But remember it's actually a legal description, so there's both drawings with all those things, dimensions, etc, locations of buildings, any site improvements, any sidewalks, things like that. But there's also a written description. And so this is an example from this particular one, and they're written in this very peculiar way, so you start reading it, just a little dramatic reading for a second here...

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If you have really poor soil capacity until maybe say, 80 or 100 feet, well that's telling us that we're probably gonna be reaching way down with caissons or some other very, very deep foundation system that is going to be a very costly enterprise and would start to tell us about what the building might be like. If we have really high quality, reasonable soils up relatively close to the surface, well that means that the foundation is not gonna be a driving force because we're gonna have a lot of different choices available to us. So what you're trying to figure out from the soils at this early stage is you're trying to figure out, well, what's the likely scenario?

12m 8s
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That's why clay sticks together, where sand falls apart, it's just a different shape, and different surface to volume ratio. So, we have this range from these big, all the way down to these very little, and, they will also have certain characteristics about them. So as we talk about clay, I just talked about this idea that the moisture gives it that sense of cohesion, the big deal about clay is that it can actually hold quite a lot of load, but our worry is always that, if it's an area that dries out, it'll change in volume than when it's totally saturated.

So, whenever you see organics, peat, anything like that, it's almost always there just to see if you notice that that's organic material and you're not supposed to build on it. The one way that you could start to build on those things is with a raft foundation, and that's quite literally where you'd build a great big, thick, maybe two feet thick concrete foundation and a slab, and you would have a whole bunch of grids of rebar going in both directions and maybe at a couple of multiple heights. And the whole idea is that as the soil under one section starts to deteriorate and become kind of lousy, well, then this huge, big raft just floats right across the top of it.

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Objective 3.3: Analyze Graphical Representations Regarding Site Analysis and Site Programming

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What we know in the sort of generic sense is that the water is going to gather in these low points, that we have water flowing down from all these different sides, and that that water is gonna gather in these locations, and so therefore, that's going to be a wet location. If you were looking for a good place to build, you would be thinking about it not just from the soils, not just from the context, not just from all those things, you would also be thinking about it from the idea of how is the sort of natural glow going to work. What's, you know, does it make sense to put a building in one location verses another?

And the reason that you would be thinking about that is that that drip line probably represents, it's not gonna be an exact science, but probably represents roughly where the root ball is in the ground and so by starting to map that out, if you've decided that you're trying to save these trees and you want to keep that as something on the site, you can't do any excavation from the drip line edge because if you do start excavating, you're gonna be cutting back on the roots and eventually that's gonna get to a spot where it's gonna damage the trees and they'll start dying over a span of time. So you start looking for, what are the things going on on the site that are important? Well, we just said there's a bunch of trees, we want to keep those trees, therefore, there's an edge to where any excavation can go.

It's just sort of a found moment, and so an example might be, a bakery, and a laundromat, where the bakery has excess heat, and the laundromat needs to be able to get a bunch of heat to heat up water, maybe there's a match that can be made, if they're right next to each other, some sort of heat exchanger can be done. So that would be the kind of thing, if you hadn't thought about that in the beginning, it would be very difficult to make that happen, you know, three months, four months later, after all the design decisions had been set in stone. So, utilities, you're looking for just sort of general understanding, but you're also looking for, are there anything, is there any issue here, that might be driving our decision making, that might be, you know, helping us make actual design decisions?

You can imagine the kinds of questions that could come at you would be sort of general questions, and you have to find the information that's gonna lead you to the right answer.

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So, if I don't have to put a pump, I would rather have it just flow by gravity always, but, if I need to, I can put pumps in, but, generally, you're trying to always have it be that it's gonna flow away from your structure to the tank and then away from the tank to the leach field so that those things just naturally flow and don't take extra energy and they don't take extra maintenance, that the thing will just naturally work all on its own. So, that idea of gravity becomes really important. So, access, gravity if you can, and then making sure it's the right material.

Certain occupancies, hospitals for example, schools, things like that, where there are more vulnerable people, those occupancies would have a much stronger case to make if you're gonna not have it able, have a fire truck able to get to all four sides. You have to really be able to find a way to make the case for that, because that vulnerable population, the fire marshals are gonna be very interested in making sure that they can get trucks into every possible location. Obviously, if I have a very high building, a high rise, there's a certain limit to what the fire engines can do from street level.

It could also be that that hotel, that sort of a nice long thin building maybe and there's the bluff edge, it might be that you start to think about the design in such a way that there could be firetruck access to some spot like that where at least they could get reasonably close to everywhere but then not have it be over the whole length of the building but you know, maybe that's close enough and that's enough for the fire marshals to feel like that answers the issue at hand. So you know there's a lot of different ways you could start to tackle something like this, but that's the kind of thing you would want to do, this is why you start thinking about these things early it's so that you have this ability to say, well, let's see, how could we turn this issue into an opportunity and from an Ncarb standpoint the question is gonna be, you know, here's a series of complicated aspects of the scenario and then here's a specific direct question and that direct question would be, after you've read the program, after you've read the code, after you've read all these different things, and it's gonna be some question like, alright, how do we get the firetrucks into this one location, you would have to have some response like this that would be well, this would get us the benefits without causing the overall difficulties. So where are the possibilities, where are the benefits, how can you make it into a positive, that kind of thing.

This is that moment of, you're trying to say, this is what we're gonna do for this project, this is the scale of this project, this is gonna be the type of units, say, or the type of offices, or the type of retail that's gonna go in this building. We're putting all of that information together, and there's always this interesting question is, is this the right project for that spot? You wouldn't want to put a little single-family house right in the middle of Manhattan on Madison Avenue or something.

And we're trying to figure out kinda what the loading is gonna be here, so we can figure out do we have enough capacity underneath these two footings in order to carry the load, and then can we do it just a few feet down like I've sketched there, or do we need to go down farther in order to get to a better loading scenario? So let's think about this for a second. Over 30 feet wide.

Objective 4.1: Evaluate Relevant Qualitative and Quantitative Attributes of a New or Existing Building as They Relate to the Program

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If we're talking about whether we're gonna reuse something or whether we're gonna build something new like we're gonna tear something out and build something new. The first question about reuse would be does whatever it is fit in our goals? We have a bunch of project goals that we have to define and as we go through that process and define them it may be that we keep thinking, oh, it'd be really great.

So then you start saying, "Well, okay, instead of "just going with that exposed brick, now we're gonna go "with the adaptive reuse, but we're gonna alter it. "We're gonna add you know, slivers of insulation and "we're gonna add new finishes and we're gonna add maybe a "whole addition onto the back or maybe we're gonna cut "spaces open and have double height spaces now." All of those different ideas could make it really exciting and that's great, but you have to start thinking about it, if you're an old building, what happens when you start changing the exterior wall? So now instead of that solid brick wall as the example we were just using, suddenly we now have maybe insulation on the inside within some drywall and that insulation, maybe it's acting like a vapor barrier so the moisture that was sort of feeding and breathing through that wall is now getting stuck in the wall and potentially causing mold issues, potentially causing damage, possibly condensation buildup.

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Objective 4.2: Evaluate Documentation, Reports, Assessments, and Analyses to Inform the Building Program

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14m 26s
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You know, anonymous survey might be a few questions that you can expect people to spend a few minutes on, but something that's a longer, deeper understanding, you probably don't really have time to do that with everybody who's gonna be using something, but maybe a few select people could start to sort of be examples of how you're gonna move through and get this information. So, the idea of actually talking to real people and getting information back from them using surveys of information for maybe department heads or something like that where you're starting to get not just information about what they want, but what they need to have. So, how many people are in their department, what they think their department will be in the future, maybe five years, 10 years in the future.

4m 33s
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If it's a smaller scale sort of office that's being done or smaller scale residential or something, that small scale, it might be the actual people, you might be talking about, well Sally is over here, and it's important that she has these kinds of, you know that she has a lot of clients come in and so we need to make sure that the clients will feel comfortable, as you know, Joe says well, no I don't really need that 'cause I don't really have clients come in, but I do have a lot of conference calls, so I need acoustic separation so I'm not driving everyone else crazy from the, so like some of that survey might be literally, the actual people, but then, a lot of times when it's a bigger project, and that, it's not the actual person that you're talking to, you're talking to the type of person, you're starting to get the information about, well we're data collection, or we're, we run through all the financial information, or we provide the marketing that's gonna happen, well what does that mean, what do you need, how much space do you need to do that, how much time do you spend in meetings? So you're starting to actually start to think about literally the time that somebody moves through the space. So, you're looking for ways to collect that particular data.

Objective 4.3: Identify and Prioritize Components of the Building Program

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Until you've had a chance to go through the process, to really look at the data, do the interviews, whatever it is, you've gone through that process, the biggest priorities will kind of come out of that. And it isn't necessarily obvious. So that's a kind of a key thing that you could sort of get to towards the end of the process.

Okay this one is literally next to this one, but can see this other one, right, so you start getting beyond just what are the needs, and now we're actually getting you know really into the detail of how it's all gonna sort of string together. And you know you're not talking about sort of general scale, but you're saying yes we've actually tested it, and we actually understand this is gonna be 500 desks, you know that kind of thing. So you're going through this kind of in a phased way, and then you get back to that spot where you then go back to the essential problem.

And it would be an example where maybe you're talking to an organization and you know the marketing department says we need conference room and three team rooms. And then you're talking to the admin department and they say we need a conference room and two team rooms. And then you talk to the financial department and they say well we need a conference room and five team rooms.

So if I start adding up all the elevator lobbies, all the elevators, all the stairs, all the hallways, all that stuff, I add it all up and it equals 40,000 square feet and I have one tenant who has 10,000 square feet of space on one of the floors and they are paying rent on 10,000 square feet and there's another, some number of hundreds of thousands of other square feet in the rest of the building that's tenant space, I can do a ratio of how much of the overall building of the rentable space they have and then the developer might charge them a prorated aspect. So they're gonna pay rent for their little portion, their just ratio of the circulation space, something along those lines. So you're starting to find different numbers and you're relating them together because that's part of the real estate aspect of how things are gonna move forward.

So maybe you're doing housing, and the market study would say well, in this year, in this location, what people are looking for in you know this part of town is luxury condos, or what people are looking for is affordable housing, or what people are looking for is single family houses. And so it's understanding what the market is asking for because that could very easily drive a lot of the decisions that you're gonna put together for the program. If you go through a market study and it says really mid-rises aren't gonna sell, but single family houses you do a bunch of those, those are totally gonna sell, then that's gonna give you a very clear, like let's not do the mid-rises, we're gonna do the single family houses if you're the developer.

Objective 4.4: Assess Spatial and Functional Relationships for the Building Program

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6m 34s
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So it's not a great organizing structure, but for the right situtation, maybe it is the right one, and then object field, the idea that maybe I've got a bunch of things that are sort of oriented and then I've got something that's really important that sits out in front of those, and so start to think of that as one large element and these things read as a background and then this one object sort of pops forward and gives it a lot of prominence, right. So again, the idea here is it's an organizing principle that you're sort of using, this sort of hallway system, this way of moving around the space to start thinking about what's the idea that we want that's gonna be very useful when we start talking about the goals and directives for the project. There's a bunch of other possibilities, but I think you get the idea.

9m 24s
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There might be aspects of the systems that we would want to prioritize, like the way that the circulation and the systems for the heating and cooling work, or the idea that we're gonna have a certain kind of system that's gonna run around the perimeter and it's gonna create a sense of coziness of warmth in the winter, or you know these ideas that could have sort of importance beyond just sort of the simple straightforward sense of just meeting a code, these might have much higher level of priority and importance, structural systems, are we trying to be dramatic and structural and have you know, 50-60 foot clear span spaces so that people bustling around you, really feel the, sort of excitement of that, or does it not really matter, and we're really just gonna go with the most efficient system that's gonna work for the steel or work for the concrete, do we want to be expressive, do we want to have an industrial look, you know, like what are the kinds of things that are gonna be important to get across an idea for how we can design later. The whole thing that you're really doing here, is you're creating a narrative, you're telling a story and the story is, what is this project? And again, I don't think anybody at NCARB is gonna use the word narrative in this context, but I think that's a useful way of thinking about it.

So, this is one of those things where you're always looking through this information to get things, to make sure everybody is on the same page and that's what the program's about, make sure everybody's on the same page and you have a clear directive of where you're gonna go and one of the reasons that you do an initial budget review for a program when the program is done, but also the architect when you're signing the contract even if you didn't make the program, you're always reviewing the budget before you sign that contract, it's because of this very issue. Now, on the actual exam, I don't think that they would expect you to have a memorization of well is $100 a square foot a good number to use. They would give you some way of choosing a number, that there would be more information there and 100 in certain parts of the country would be nowhere near enough and in a few parts of the country maybe barely enough so it ranges dramatically around the country which is why they wouldn't really expect you to memorize a number like that, but the concept here that you should be able to off of a few pieces of information just cobble together a pretty good rough guess about what's going on, that's likely to be something you would have to do on the actual exam.

9m 28s
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So you're really sort of using those big scale, rounded numbers, so programming, you probably don't even get into dimensions, schematic design, you start getting into these big, overall idea of dimensions and descriptions. When we start getting past schematic design, design development and into CDs, now we're getting into situations where we still have the overall dimensions, because you need that, but now we're breaking those down, we're getting much more detail. We're starting to, you know, have multiple layers of drawing, so not only do we have a section, but we have wall section, and eventually we start having details, right.

Objective 4.5: Recommend a Preliminary Project Budget and Schedule

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21m 3s
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It's gonna be for a 5,000 square foot space, and we're gonna have it placed probably up on the roof, so maybe it's a DX or something like that. So we'll put that up on the roof, and we're gonna have the duct work that's gonna need to be, well, for that system, for about that scale, we can have a per square foot number. So you're looking at these overall assemblies and square foot numbers in this broken down way.

Now we're adjusting and getting our square foot numbers to be a little more accurate because we have enough information that we can adjust those. And then from there we're going into assemblies, and then after that we're gonna be saying, "All right, either estimator come and help us, "or we're gonna have it bid out "and we'll get the information at that point." So this is one example along the way. There's a whole series of different points along the way that we're part of, and we wanna make sure that we know how much things are costing, because otherwise you have contractual problems and you're redoing drawings and all of that.

21m 22s
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You're saying, well we have some experience, we have some comparables, we did a project that was like this a year ago, and it took x number of months, or maybe you know in this market we see that there's gonna be an issue, it's hard to get people to respond 'cause the GCs are so busy, well okay then we know we're gonna add a certain level of time on because we just, we can see that problem coming. So you're just trying to use your experience to make sort of a reasoned guess. If you really don't know, then you should say, I don't know and you should get somebody to come in and give their experience.

These things happen, all sorts of things happen on a job site, and so keeping track of the schedule is actually a really full-time job, it's the main job of what the construction supervisor is actually doing on that job site. Which brings us to sort of an important, kind of general statement about construction schedules. When we're talking about design-bid-build, which is the standard project delivery system, that's the one where you have a deal with the owner, you do schematic design, design development, get into contract documents, eventually you bid stuff out to a number of different bidders, one of those bidders is chosen and they then build it out.

So each of these things, there's a sort of art to it about understanding, I wanna keep it really tight, but I also wanna be realistic and know that it's likely to rain in May, the inspectors are gonna be busy in the middle of July and are gonna be hard to get to come out to the project so we need to build in some time when people are doing other work, not just the work that needs to be inspected. So this process is really an artful process of having some experience, understanding how it goes, building in those little extra bits, but then being realistic and real about how many days does each of these different moments have to happen. And you'll notice that a lot of these things start with, for example, with the electrical you might have the temporary and then maybe you've got some rough in that is early on and that's getting the underground conduit from the transformer over towards the building and then as we go along after framing has started, now we're roughing in the conduit, or some other sort of base rough in aspect before we really get all the wiring in.

The design bid build, the great part about that is that we have that whole long time to design it out and talk to the owner and get all of that kinda worked out before any of the contractors get involved, now we bring in the contractors and now we build it out, so that whole big long time, that's great in terms of making sure we have the project that we want but the downside to it is we don't have any input about cost from the contractors until we get all the way down to the end of all that bidding process in order to know how much things are gonna cost, so the idea of the CM is we get that information, we get that expertise, and we bring it in early to the process so the cost estimator, that concept was the architect going out and getting their own version of that information and just hiring it out as a skill. The CM is where the owner is doing that, where the owner is having that level of expertise brought to the table and so by suggesting going with that as a system, what you're saying to the owner is, we don't feel confident that we can be really accurate with the cost estimating and the scheduling for various reasons, maybe we just don't have very good skills in that, maybe we just don't have experience in this particular type of project, you know, maybe it's an unusual project that, really, nobody has experience in, so, we're suggesting this idea that you change the way that you are expecting to do the project delivery because it's gonna allow us to get this information early into the process, so, that's a reasonable sort of discussion point to be had. Another way of thinking about it is bringing in the contractor.

It's important to remember that while you're not designing during the programming phase, you are setting up the design process, and there's a bunch of ways that you're gonna be doing that. So we've talked about the idea of test fits and using precedents. Maybe it's photos of examples that you like or the things that you wanna be able to show to a potential client and sort of say, well, look, this is what we did before.

7m 38s
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So, you have maybe 36 people in work stations right now, well maybe we add a few, make sure that's gonna fit. We have maybe 12 people in private offices right now. Well, okay, maybe we need to use 16, or 14, or 20 or something for our fit test.

Objective 4.6: Identify Alternatives for Building and Structural Systems for Given Programmatic Requirements, Preliminary Budget, and Schedule

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16m 23s
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If you're really talking about alternatives, if, you know, our whole point here is to be able to look back and forth between different alternatives, that's when you're really gonna wanna start getting into that idea of a cost analysis that uses the assemblies, so an assembly cost analysis, which we've talked about before, is taking a certain type of wall section, I'm gonna assume that wall section for a certain number of linear feet. I can find a number per linear foot for that, same with the roof, same with the floor, and it makes a very easy way to say, alright, we have wall section, wall type one, and that's gonna be at $42 per linear foot, and wall type two might be at, let's say, $31 per linear foot. Well, that becomes a very clear set of decisions.

So this will come across as almost completely glass, and it's essentially the same building except we've done this major move where we shifted that grid line from the exterior wall in a couple of feet, and so we're now able to sort of have a conversation if we do that, what are the benefits, what are the advantages, what are the costs that are gonna come with that. And one of the benefits, if we think of it as a benefit, is that we now have almost all glass. So this is now very very glassy.

So, you have some way of defining and it will D1 the brick concept, that's easy to get local bricks, it's all very simple and straightforward, we have a lot of talent in the area with the masons, so that one's gonna be sort of easy and reasonable, so whether maybe score it in some way, we say plus or something like that, but maybe D2 is a fancier idea of a curtain wall and as we're thinking it through, it seems like it brings up a bunch of issues that may be sort of an issue, so, well, maybe that one's kind of like, we're not sure a little, maybe yes, maybe no, and et cetera, you kind of keep going through it. From an anesthetic standpoint, maybe when you talk through the design team, like, which one's that people like, which one's does it work? So you're finding a way to document this set of experiments, so you're not just doing a bunch of, like, here's four alternatives, right?

Objective 4.7: Analyze Graphical Representations Regarding Building Analysis and Building Programming

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And you can very quickly have a series of alternatives in this form as well, so, not everything is about drawing, sometimes it's about saying, well, what if we have six foot desks for the office type one with five foot side desk that's aiming to be an 18 inch or 24 inch wide side element but office two has five foot desks and no side element and then the chairs for the office one, they get their main chair, so they have one chair that's their sort of main task chair and then they get two side chairs and maybe office two gets just their one main chair, their task chair, and they get one side chair. Alright, what about the files? Well, you know, you can start sort of adding those up.

If they're saying something, and you're sort of in that schematic design kind of thinking, well clearly it's schematic, you've only invested so much so far. It's meant to be tested and changed and ideas trying out and bouncing ideas off of each other. That's the whole point of schematic design.

That's why you're making sure that everything in the design up to that point is aligning with the program, it's aligning with the contract, it's aligning with the regulatory environment, so what we're saying there is not only are you aligning with the actual things that we started off, like the program and keeping the client happy and keeping the contract going, but also this building has to fit in to a certain regulatory context, and so we have to make sure and actively test do we meet the zoning code? We have a zoning list that we've started. That zoning list would be what the setbacks are, what the FAR is, what the massing limitations are, what the allowed permitted in that district, you know all of those kinds of issues you would have a list of all those things that you've put in to your initial code review.

And then we start getting into construction administration, there's actually quite a lot of discussion that happens under the building code in that because we have inspectors coming and the inspectors are making sure that things are following the way the drawings are going and that they're looking to make sure the light and vent is actually matching and they're making sure that venting devices from the HVAC equipment aren't too near a window and they're gonna contaminate the fresh air that's supposed to be coming in. They're looking for all of that and there's a lot of time that you spend dealing with code inspectors and making sure that that process so that's that troubleshooting aspect of things which is a big part of making sure that a project can actually get done, that you're finding that way. So you start to see a pattern of how these things go and where are the strong points and where are the time commitments.

18m 34s
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If I was really worried about making sure that we had the lowest cost, well the CM is probably gonna bring me to a pretty low cost because that's kinda the whole point is that they're there in order to make sure that we're talking about costs and budgets and everything early on in that process and nothing's getting out of hand and out of control. But I would actually probably go and suggest that they do a design bid build, which is that kind of classic triumvirate, right. It's the owner and the architect and the GC with the full on thought of how the, you know, you're going through the full design before any bidders are even contacted and the whole point of that, is go through that whole big design, we get everything worked out but then we hand it out to a bunch of different bidders and we know for sure that given this design, given this particular way that we've approached the project, we now have say five bidders.

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