2014 Session 4: Future of the Practice

Date: December 6, 2013
Location: Gensler: 2020 K Street NW #200, Washington, DC
Time: 12:00 pm – 5:00pm
Led by: Danielle Lake, Associate AIA, & Luis Velez-Alvarez, LEED AP

Session 4 PDF


Round Table: Digital Tools and Technology Summary

Moderated by: Danielle and Luis

Panel: Erin Carraher, AIA, Zach Downey, RA, Jeff Gravatte, Hiroshi Jacobs, Assoc. AIA, and Phyllis Klein

The panel avidly promoted the use of technology to help facilitate collaboration and communication with the project team, consultants, client, and others involved. Several programs were mentioned such as Revit which help collaboration occur naturally through the software structure itself (software is collaborative inherently à inherently requires collaboration), although it was stated that no one program can solve all problems, nor should it! However, the question arose regarding liability: Can Information passed between parties be distilled to avoid liability; design liability?


Roundtable 1 Discussion

Through the discussion, the panel spoke of know general knowledge about as many aspects of a project & know the persons who know the person who know the specifics and can help you solve an issue that may come up. The current methodology of design drawings, created by the architect, and then recreated by sub-contractors in the form of shop drawings during the construction of a building was noted to waste time and money. With more collaborative project execution methods, drawings may only need to be drawn once.

Another question arose through this discussion: If a model uses contains “auto-building” to assist in constructing a project, how does one really know the details of the model (if one did not draw them)? The idea of the FABLAB was mentioned in its use to create better collaboration internally in a firm. And it’s validity has already struck the interest of other professions including contractors. Visiting any large construction site once will see how much construction uses technology. Now, As-builts are live! There is usually someone full time on the jobsite updating as-builts. As a result there a continuing race with BIM technology: Architects cannot make it an option by project managers. Rather people who understand the BIM process & how to use this type of software need to use it. Not just for marketing but to show the value of an Architect to a client: you don’t just show a client an image but energy calculations, cost analysis and more (this can show the benefit of the software and offset the initial software expense and learning curve).

As Architects we need to take risks or contractors will keep taking on more and inherently have more control of the outcome. “We need to stand firm and put our ass on line and take risk back!” Furthermore, the AIA Should be educating the Owners and not just Architects: what questions to ask Architects on a project, know what they should value (i.e. ask for energy modeling from architects). This then allows the project budget to include added research and energy calcuations.

Presentation: Role of the Citzen Architect

“It looks good from afar but far from good.” Keith and Marie Zawistowski presented a slice of their ongoing architectural practice and teaching experiences at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Set on having control of both the design and construction, they have set out to do it themselves. Learning through doing, they presented projects using old, reclaimed, re-used, or donated materials to create new shelters (public & private). They made a point to mention that old materials are reusable unlike materials of today which are not. Through their teaching experiences, they help students understand the processes of design and the cause and effect relationships of time and budget.


Keith and Marie Zawistowski

Presentation and Round Table: Integrated Project Delivery

Moderated by: Danielle and Luis

Panel: Graham Davidson, FAIA, Elizabeth Kinkel, Assoc. AIA, Bill Kline, AIA, Tom Krajewski, Tim McCurley

The AIA defines Integrated Project Delivery as leveraging early contributions of knowledge and expertise through the utilization of new technologies, allowing all team members to better realize their highest potentials while expanding the value they provide throughout the project lifecycle.

This presentation and round table presented current stats of design and construction:

-54% of work is delayed from when originally projected
-30% waste factor in construction
-20% result due to design, 10% by contractor
-3 deaths each day in nation in construction field

Versus prefabrication which allows the compression of scheduling time, but it was noted that it is important to experience the entire traditional process at least once. The MacLeamy Curve was introduced to graphically show the benefit of IPD.


MacLeamy Curve

One of the fundamental purposes of IPD is to push design changes to the earlier stages of the project (blue region). This reduces the changes made during a project to earlier stages and reduces costs associated with change orders. Remember, it’s cheap to change things in the beginning. In IPD, all persons (client, contractor, architect, main consultants and sub-contractors) sign the same contract.

With IPD, the Cash Flow Model is also different: main subcontractors are paid early on with all other persons involved because all are working congruently to design the project. This process is not cheap, but statistically provides the most value for dollar; it uses a shared financial model where each person is both at risk and paid hourly without any profit, but receives profits as well when milestones of a project are met, depending on the execution of the collective whole. However, sub-contractors are paid on a GMP method to give incentive.


IPD also uses the idea of co-location to design and discuss the project and any problems that may arise; this is a meeting intensive project model and the owner needs to drive the process from beginning to end. This is also a project model which requires trust; go into IPD with people you already know and have worked with! Usually with a core group of approximately (8) persons, IPD has so far been used for Hospitals and Historic Renovation projects; it is not always appropriate for every project type, because it requires unanimous agreement by all person in the core group. To help, each person needs to truly understand what the other core group members need to fulfill their responsibilities. The person of the core group need to be experienced and should direct the risk of a particular component into the hands of the person(s) who can manage it best. No longer is the Architect responsible for answering and resolving all questions, rather, the team works as a whole. This does not mitigate risk but instead manages it better. If the core group is to succeed, there must be at least one person in the group who can answer any question that may arise.