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Contact Us: 866-706-7327

Webinars

Habitability Claims

Habitability Claims appear to becoming more and more common, and, although there is no concise, statutory definition of the term, there are LOTS of regulations mandating the minimum performance requirements of residential property being rented by owners to tenants. We’re providing a FREE, one-hour webinar on investigation and evaluating Habitability Claims from the construction expert’s perspective.

Professional Construction Contracting Discipline

What it is and how to get it

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Definition

The ability to define precisely a 100% complete scope of work for a construction project, to budget and schedule that work, to professionally contract for that work at the prime level (directly between the Owner and Contractor), to break that 100% scope-budget-schedule into manageable chunks by trade or subcontractor, to contract for each of those individual trade or subcontract scopes of work with a corresponding budget and schedule, to coordinate all of those scope-budget-schedules in executing the construction, to manage changes to the scope-budget-schedule at the prime and sub levels, and to verify with precision that each of those scope-budget-schedule packages is being executed in conformance with the plans, specifications, trade standards, budget, schedule, and contracts. 

Webinar

Date: Wednesday, Dec. 18
Time: 10 a.m. PT
Duration: 60 minutes

Discussion

Pete Fowler Construction does three things: building inspection & testing of many types; construction management, specifically estimating and building maintenance and rehabilitation management for owners; and building claims and litigation consulting related to everything imaginable that could make someone sad about real estate. We have refined processes, technology, and staff who are experts in building performance analysis, building economics, and construction management.

Since so many of our technical staff are "forensic consultants" who testify as expert witnesses, we have to create plain English definitions of what otherwise could have stayed techno-speak in the Nerdville that exists in the engineering and construction management departments of universities. We have to do this so that the non-technical people we work for can make informed and smart decisions, And this exercise has helped us to improve our own construction management practices and processes. As we have written in our internal training documents: (1.) Define what awesome work looks like, and (2.) train to mastery.

Presenters

Details

Professional Construction Contracting Discipline

Level 1 Work Breakdown Structure (WBS)

  1. The ability to define a 100% complete scope of work for a construction project, 

  2. to budget and 

  3. schedule that work, 

  4. to professionally contract for that work at the prime level (directly between the Owner and Contractor),

  5. to break that 100% scope-budget-schedule into manageable chunks by trade or subcontractor, 

  6. to contract for each of those individual trade or subcontract scopes of work with a corresponding budget and schedule, 

  7. to coordinate all of those scope-budget-schedules in executing the construction, 

  8. to manage changes to the scope-budget-schedule at the prime and sub levels, and 

  9. to verify with precision that each of those scope-budget-schedule packages is being executed in conformance with the plans, specifications, trade standards, budget, schedule, and contracts. 

Professional Construction Contracting Discipline
Level 2 WBS with discussion and key deliverables

1. The ability to define a 100% complete scope of work for a construction project, 

  • A. WBS (Basis of Schedule of Values)

  • B. Estimate Details with trade/sub scopes broken down (No Prices) 

  • C. RFIs / RFI Log

2. to budget and 

  • A. Budget (Worksheet - Basis of Schedule of Values)

  • B. Estimate Details with Labor, Material, Equipment, and Trade Contractor Prices

  • C. Budget to Actual Comparison

3. schedule that work,

  • A. Progress Schedule

  • B. Progress Schedule Updates / Comparison of Plan to Actual

4. to professionally contract for that work at the prime level (directly between the Owner and Contractor),

  • A. Prime Contract

  • B. Insurance Requirements

  • C. RFP

  • D. Other Addenda

5. to break that 100% scope-budget-schedule into manageable chunks by trade or subcontractor, 

  • A. Trade/Sub Scopes of Work

  • B. Trade/Sub Budget

  • C. Trade/Sub Progress Schedule (Integrated with the Project (Master) Progress Schedule)

6. to contract for each of those individual trade or subcontract scopes of work with a corresponding budget and schedule,

  • A. Subcontracts

  • B. RFP

  • C. Contractor Solicitation & Pre-Qualification

7. to coordinate all of those scope-budget-schedules in executing the construction,

  • A. Project Kickoff

  • B. Meeting Management

  • C. Trade/Sub Progress Payment Application Processing

8. to manage changes to the scope-budget-schedule at the prime and sub levels, and

  • A. Prime Contract Change Order Processing

  • B. Trade/Sub Change Order Processing

  • C. Change Order Log

9. to verify with precision that each of those scope-budget-schedule packages is being executed in conformance with the plans, specifications, trade standards, budget, schedule, and contracts. 

  • A. Progress Schedule QC Hold Points

  • B. Inspection Checklist(s)

  • C. Managing Construction Quality

  • D. Inspection

  • E. Issues Management, Followup, and Closure

  • F. Punch List

  • G. Payment Application Approval memos

  • H. Report to Management (As GC this is prior to Payment Application. As CM this is between receipt and approval of payments.)

Project Team

  • Construction Manager

  • Project Coordinator

  • Project Executive(s)

  • Other

Meeting Rhythm

  • Project Kickoff

  • Daily

  • Weekly

  • Monthly

  • Project Close

Understanding Green Building, LEED Certification… And Their Risks

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Outline

  1. Introduction to Green Building Projects

  2. LEED Certification

  3. Building Systems, Techniques & Strategies

  4. Costs

  5. Risks

  6. Claims & Litigation Case Studies

  7. Deep Thoughts

  8. Codes & Standards

  9. Research & Links

1. Introduction to Green Building Projects

This is a brief introduction to the design, construction, maintenance, and management of Green Building projects, which are sometimes also referred to as “sustainable”, “high-performance”, or “passive.”

“Green Building (also known as green construction or sustainable building) refers to both a structure and the application of processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building's life-cycle: from planning to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition.” (Wikipedia)

The intention of Green Building is to reduce the environmental impact of building projects by:

  • Lowering energy and water use;

  • Using environmentally preferable materials;

  • Increasing durability, which allows buildings to last longer before requiring rehabilitation or replacement, which saves resources over the building lifecycle;

  • Reducing waste during construction and operation & maintenance;

  • Reducing toxins;

  • Improving the indoor environment for occupants, including air quality (IAQ); and

  • Creating neighborhoods designed to lower environmental impact and improve human health.

The point is that buildings consume something like 40% of the energy we use, and making buildings more resource-consumption-efficient in every way, including during constructing, using, repurposing, and even decommissioning, is a good thing.

Green Building is about more than design and construction. Maintenance and management of Green Building projects is, arguably, more important than the design and construction process since the total cost of ownership (TCO) of building projects and facilities over time is always many times the cost of design and construction. The Green Building movement recognizes that facility and property managers require extensive training in making the investments in Green Building design and construction worth any additional expense on the front end.

There are many available Green, Sustainable, High-Performance, or passive building certifications. The most popular in the U.S. is from U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, commonly referred to as LEED.

2. LEED Certification

“Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of Green Buildings which was Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council." (Wikipedia)

The LEED rating system is owned by U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), which began in 1993 and is now an organization with more than $60 million in annual revenue, 200,000 LEED certified individuals, 92,000 total projects, 39,000 certified projects, 1.6 million registered or certified homes, 6,000 certified schools, 2,900 certified local government buildings, and 1,000 certified state government buildings. A division of USGBC is Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), which administers LEED, performing third-party technical reviews and verification of LEED-registered projects including technical reviews to ensure the building certification process meets the highest levels of quality and integrity.

LEED Professional Accreditations

  • LEED Green Associate requires the candidate to study and take a test.

  • LEED AP (Accredited Professional) requires the candidate to study and take a harder test.

  • LEED Fellow requires the candidate to show at least 10 years of exemplary impact with LEED, be nominated by a LEED professional, and have a team of endorsers who will write about the candidate’s contributions.

LEED Certification Levels for Building Projects

  1. Certified: 40-49 points.

  2. Silver: 50-59 points.

  3. Gold: 60-79 points.

  4. Platinum: 80-110

3. Building Systems, Techniques & Strategies

LEED Certification Prerequisites

  1. Sustainable Sites: Construction Activity Pollution Prevention

  2. Water Efficiency

    1. Outdoor Water Use Reduction

    2. Indoor Water Use Reduction

    3. Building-Level Water Metering

  3. Energy and Atmosphere

    1. Fundamental Commissioning and Verification: USGBC and the LEED certification materials use the term “Commissioning” (Cx) to describe a quality assurance (QA) process, to ensure the plan for mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and renewable energy systems and assemblies that is submitted to USGBC for certification is executed in the field.

    2. Minimum Energy Performance: There are multiple paths to ensuring the energy performance designs will meet current standards from ASHRAE and other specified standards.

    3. Building-Level Energy Metering

    4. Fundamental Refrigerant Management: Don’t use chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-based refrigerants… Phase-out existing use.

  4. Materials and Resources

    1. Storage and Collection of Recyclables

    2. Construction and Demolition Waste Management Planning

  5. Indoor Environmental Quality

    1. Minimum Indoor Air Quality Performance: Meet minimum requirements for ventilation and monitoring.

    2. Environmental Tobacco Smoke Control: Prohibit smoking in or within 25 feet of the building.

LEED Certification Points for Building Projects (110 points total)

The outline here is from the LEED v4 Checklist

  1. Integrative Process (1 point) Think hard and analyze the energy and water-related systems from the earliest phase of design, including to inform the owner’s project requirements (OPR) and basis of design (BOD).

  2. Location and Transportation / Neighborhood Development (16 points) “To avoid development on inappropriate sites. To reduce vehicle distance traveled. To enhance livability and improve human health by encouraging daily physical activity.” Points are given for promoting aspects of the objective.

  3. Sustainable Sites (10 points) Assess the site before the design using a structured process and consider strategies including: Protect or Restore Habitat, Open Space, Rainwater Management, Heat Island Reduction (i.e. avoid giant, uncovered asphalt parking lots), and Light Pollution Reduction.

  4. Water Efficiency (11 points) While indoor and outdoor water use reduction and metering are prerequisites, points can be earned for low or zero irrigation designs, calculated savings of indoor water use from 25-50%, and management of cooling tower (HVAC system) water use.

  5. Energy and Atmosphere (33 points)

    1. In addition to having the longest list of prerequisites (see above), this category has the most point-value. The section mixes both energy savings with quality control (“Commissioning”); surely due to haw closely connected the two are.

    2. “Enhanced Commissioning”, a more complete and intensive QA / QC process, must be performed by a third party Commissioning Authority (CxA), and to receive maximum points the building envelope must be part of the commissioning plan and process, in addition to the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and renewable energy systems and assemblies required in the prerequisites.

    3. Energy related points can be earned for Optimizing Energy Performance even further than the minimum standards, Advanced Energy Metering, Demand Response through load shedding or shifting, Renewable Energy Production (like solar), Enhanced Refrigerant Management and Green Power and Carbon Offsets where 50-100% of energy use comes from a green source.

  6. Materials and Resources (13 points) In addition to the prerequisites, consideration should be given to Building Life-Cycle Impact Reduction (reuse of existing buildings or materials), Building Product Disclosure and Optimization - Environmental Product Declarations including the Sourcing of Raw Materials and Material Ingredients, and Construction and Demolition Waste Management.

  7. Indoor Environmental Quality (16 points) In addition to the prerequisites, design consideration should be given to Enhanced Indoor Air Quality Strategies (like enhanced ventilation and contamination prevention), Low-Emitting Materials, composition and execution of a Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan, Indoor Air Quality Assessment, Thermal Comfort considerations, Interior Lighting strategies to promote comfort and well being by offering controls throughout, Daylight, Quality Views, and Acoustic Performance to limit noise.

  8. Innovation (6 points) Points can be earned for Innovation using a strategy not addressed in the LEED system or exemplary measurable performance in a addressed area. There is also one credit available for having at least one LEED Accredited Professional on the team.

  9. Regional Priority (4 points) Specific credit can be earned for issues important to the project’s region as identified by the USGBC regional councils and chapters and articulated in database of Regional Priority credits and their geographic applicability.

4. Costs

So the “accounting” on the costs of LEED Certification are either very high level or fuzzy. And as I mention in the Deep Thoughts section below, the costs are commonly downplayed and the calculable benefits are sometimes exaggerated. The science here appears to remain very soft. And few of the studies I have found appear to be by disinterested professionals with expertise in building economics.

Sources claim a range of additional costs for LEED Certification between 0-30%. The claim of zero additional cost seems, at first blush entirely absurd; the cost of registration and compliance alone is well above zero. The more common figures suggest a range between 2.5-8.5%, depending on the level of certification. I remain skeptical. In one of my case studies, the “additional cost” of the project over a reasonable square foot cost made the project 80% more expensive than a more common facility of identical size. And if you include the cost to make the repairs, then the project cost was 155% above the cost of a common facility (not +55%, +155%!). Granted, this was also a more beautiful building project than a more common facility; and much of the cost for a building that looked the same, would have been incurred even if the Green Building design & construction techniques and requirements were removed.

I acknowledge that the rigorous process that LEED Certification imposes, to think the project through at a painstaking level of detail, can lead to innovative design that could contribute to a net savings. I look forward to additional research into the economics of Green Building. Check back for more in the months and years to come.

5. Risks

A TIGHT, "GREEN" BUILDING ENVELOPE

Energy efficiency is great! But it has its risks. The tighter building envelopes required by Green Building standards remind me of the "Sauna Exercise Suit" I remember my grandmother wearing around the house when I was a small child. She would vacuum and dust and sweat like crazy, thinking it was helping her to get more fit. She lived a long happy life, so it appears to have done her no harm, but buildings constructed of moisture sensitive materials, like engineered wood (including oriented strand board or OSB) often don't fare as well. 

The risks of building problems increases for Green Construction projects due to:

  • More complex building envelope

  • Use of new material technologies

  • High performance and more complex mechanical systems

  • Additional warranty requirements

  • Increased performance targets

Problems That Could Be Caused by LEED Certification

  • LEED standards can end up forcing a dramatic increase in building system complexity.

  • These standards are being built as we go along and they are changing the built environment faster than our understanding.

  • In some cases these requirements are adding costs, which causes stress to the economic viability of projects.

  • These LEED Certification requirements do not address the costs compared to the potential benefits.

From a Zurich document outlining the risks of Green Building, 5 categories of risk include…

  1. Financial risks: The additional costs of Green Buildings may affect completing projects on time and on budget, but must be weighed against the cost of not going green.

  2. Standard of Care/Legal: Mandates regarding LEED certification bring an increased risk of legal liability for Green Building design and construction professionals.

  3. Performance: Project owners/developers are starting to require additional contract provisions and warranties regarding the energy efficiency of Green Buildings, causing increased exposure to potential liability for breach of contract or warranty.

  4. Consultants/Subconsultants and Subcontractors: Lack of experience by these parties in green construction can lead to problems obtaining LEED certification, delays and improper material specifications.

  5. Regulatory: New building codes and mandates associated with green construction can mean an increased liability to everyone involved in the green construction process.

The Construction Defect Litigation Business Model

It seems to me that “the construction defect litigation business model” came about because (1.) construction is complex, (2.) no construction project is perfect, (3.) most construction contracts have indemnity agreements, (4.) common commercial general liability (CGL) insurance policies have a duty to defend the insured when sued, and (5.) plaintiff attorneys are very clever and assertive. So considering this, I have said things similar to the following, many times, related to new advances in technology: If I were unscrupulous and did not love the construction industry, I would put together a team of plaintiff-oriented attorneys and experts, I would comb through the LEED Certification Database, I would plan and execute a marketing campaign to find every project that had even the most mildly disgruntled LEED project Owners, and I would encourage them to get involved in construction defect litigation using our team. It seems to me that the LEED certification database is the best marketing list possible for sophisticated plaintiff construction defect lawyers. 

Also see The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly in the Deep Thoughts section below.

6. Claims & Litigation Case Studies

PFCS Projects

  1. A “Net Zero” Educational Facility Gets A Big Repair: Defects introduced during construction, plus operational problems lead to repairs totaling more than 40% of construction cost.

  2. Leak Investigation Involving Solar Panel Installation: A national solar system manufacturer / installer litigated with a homeowner who had multiple leak sources.

  3. A Hygrothermal Study Leads to Pre-Litigation Resolution: An elegant solution to a divisive and expensive issue, allegedly related to condensation, is resolved using building science, which then leads to resolution of all remaining construction defect allegations, prior to filing of a lawsuit.

Litigation From Around the Country

  1. Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Inc. et al. v. Weyerhaeuser Company:

  2. Southern Builders v. Shaw Development:

  3. Gidumal v. Site 16/17 Development LLC:

  4. Flincto Pacific Inc. v. City of Palo Alto (2014)

  5. Burchick Construction Company, Inc. v. Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education

  6. Hampton Technologies, Inc. v. Department of General Services (2011)

7. Deep Thoughts

My experience and research lead me to the following conclusions.

The Good

  • 1. The hard-thinking that is forced by Green Building principles generally, and LEED certification specifically, during the design phase, is wonderful in many ways: Environmental protection, lower energy use, human health and well-being, and on and on.

  • 2. The potential for the process to transform the built environment through the integrative approach, rather than the more traditional focus primarily on esthetics and economics or return-on-investment (ROI), is exciting.

  • 3. The requirement for “Fundamental Commissioning” is something that every building owner should require as a minimum quality control function.

  • 4. Enhanced Commissioning should be a model for a superior level of quality control throughout the building industry.

The Bad

  • 5. LEED certification can cause an explosion of building system complexity during design & construction as well as operation & maintenance.

  • 6. Increased complexity in building systems increases costs.

  • 7. Increased complexity in building systems increases risk of building system failure.

  • 8. There is no built-in cost-benefit analysis mechanism, and surely no requirement therefore, built into most of the Green Building standards, including LEED.

The Ugly

  • 9. The costs of Green Building and LEED are commonly down-played.

  • 10. The quantifiable benefits of Green Building and LEED are commonly exaggerated.

  • 11. Case studies of Green Building project failures are limited.

  • 12. Costs for operation & maintenance (O&M) for the more complex mechanical systems appear to not have been closely studied.

  • 13. Ultimately, additional costs of Green Building and LEED Certification are being passed to the people who can least afford it (low-income individuals and families).

8. Codes & Standards

  1. IBC International Building Code

  2. IgBC International Green Building Code

  3. CBC California Building Code

  4. LEED / USGBC

  5. ASHRAE Guideline 0–2005

  6. ASHRAE Guideline 1.1–2007

  7. CA 2008 Long Term Energy Efficiency Strategic Plan

  8. CA 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards

  9. CA Green Building Code: 2013 edition went into effect 1/1/2014. 2016 edition went into effect 1/1/2017. PDF Copy of CA Green Building Code 2013 edition.

  10. U.S. Department of Energy

9. Research & Links

We have a not-so-scientific research method that generally yields some amazing results. It's called PFCS Proving The Obvious Using Google Method. I began by searching "Green Building Summary" and received these results

Search Results "Green Building Summary"

  1. Green Building From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  2. Summary of Green Building Programs by National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Research Center, Inc

  3. EPA's Web Archive on Green Building

  4. Energy-Efficiency Standards and Green Building Certification Systems Used by the Department of Defense for Military Construction and Major Renovations (2013)

  5. A Green Building Overview by HGTV

  6. ASSESSING GREEN BUILDINGS FOR SUSTAINABLE CITIES from The 2005 World Sustainable Building Conference, Tokyo, 2005

  7. What is a Green Building? by Sunpower

  8. GREEN BUILDING STANDARDS AND CERTIFICATION SYSTEMS from Whole Building Design Guide

  9. LEED Cost Analysis Summary by Green Building Solutions

  10. WHAT IS A “GREEN” BUILDING ACCORDING TO DIFFERENT ASSESSMENT TOOLS? from Department of Technology and Built Environment, University of Gävle, Sweden

Search Results "Costs of LEED Certification"

Coming Soon

OTHER INTERESTING RESOURCES

  • PFCS Case Study: Plumbing Leaks in High-Rise Condo. Complex investigations require development and testing of hypotheses. This is an example.

  • Green Building: What are the Risks? 2011 document by Zurich Insurance

  • California Becomes First State to Order Solar on New Homes (Bloomberg): In May 2018 the California Energy Commission decided that most new homes and and multifamily units under 4-stories built after 2019 will be required to include solar systems. They estimated the systems and complying with energy-efficiency measures will add $9,500 to the cost of a new home, which would be offset by $19,000 in energy and maintenance savings over 30 years. California is already the nation’s largest solar market and Governor Jerry Brown’s has an effort underway to slash carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030. This will exacerbate the issue of high housing costs, seen as a drag on the economy and contributes to rising social tensions. The state only adds about 80,000 new homes a year, and the state issued permits for fewer than 480,000 new residential units in the last 5 years, yet California’s economy added 2.3 million jobs over the same period, which is about one home for every five additional workers.

  • Hidden Risks of Green Buildings from RCI's Interface Magazine

End of (Service) Life Care: Evaluating Aging Building Infrastructure

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Introduction

Evaluating the performance of aging building elements is not one of the hard sciences; and in the case of electrical, HVAC, plumbing, foundations, below grade waterproofing, and more, it is complicated by the fact they are partially or entirely hidden. This program is for those tasked with helping people make long-term decisions about their building systems and Pete Fowler Construction Services’ approach to applying the scientific method to building rehabilitation decisions.

End of (Service) Life Care: Evaluating Aging Building Infrastructure" begins with a discussion of the importance of this subject, because most people spend 20-50% of their income on housing. Then we get into the details of who should be on the team and exactly what should be done to professionally evaluate the discrete building elements and apply professional judgement about what work should be done and when. We will have a high-level discussion about professional construction contracting discipline and how a broad lack of this in the building rehabilitation industry is causing harm to the most fragile property owners. Finally, we will wrap with a discussion of how to plan for the inevitable future.

Outline

  1. Introduction

  2. End of Life Care

  3. "Don’t ask the barber whether you need a haircut."

  4. Playing Doctor

  5. Operation

  6. Retirement Planning

  7. Conclusion

Learning Objectives

  1. There is an alternative to the terrible way that aging properties are typically assessed and rehabilitated.

  2. Who is on the team in evaluating aging infrastructure is VERY important.

  3. Building performance analysis is about 80% science that should be performed according to industry standards, and 20% art or professional judgement.

  4. Professional construction contracting discipline is 95% science.

Backup Materials

  1. Managing Property Maintenance & Repair by Peter D. Fowler

  2. The DBSKCV Construction Management Method by Peter D. Fowler

  3. Overview of ASTM E2128 by Haughton & Murphy – Interface Magazine

  4. Managing Construction Quality by Peter D. Fowler

  5. AIA A201 2017 General Conditions of the Contract for Construction

Contents

1. Introduction

  • We Know Buildings

  • Team

  • Projects

  • Clients

  • Program Outline

  • Program Introduction

  • Learning Objectives

  • This Might Sound Salesey

2. End of Life Care

3. "Don’t ask the barber whether you need a haircut."

  • Case Study: Soil Subsidence Repair

  • Who? The Most Important Q

  • The Building Doctor

  • Who Is In Charge of What?

  • Who is on the Team?

  • Fee for Service

  • Hiring Discipline

  • RFP Sample for Hiring Professionals

  • Firing an Engineer

  • An Army of Sheep

4. Playing Doctor

  • Case Study: Plumbing in a High-Rise

  • Building Performance Analysis

  • Document & File Management

  • Meetings/Interviews with Key People

  • Building Information Management

  • Inspection

  • Analysis

  • Testing

  • Estimate

  • Property Condition Assessment

  • Element Analysis

5. Operation

  • Case Study: CM with Major Savings by Minimizing COs Using Estimating Skill

  • The Traditional Approach

  • Common Pitfalls

  • Professional Construction Contracting Discipline

  • The DBSKCV Construction Management Method

  • Prescribe: RFP Contents

  • The Golden Rule

  • Don't Sign That contract!

  • Start with One Building or a Small Sample

6. Retirement Planning

  • Case Study: Elevator Closet

  • Comparison of Plan to Actual: Construction Costs & Schedule

  • BLM Matrix

  • As-Builts or PCA Update

  • Standardized Maintenance & Repair Scopes of Work, and RFPs

  • Reserve Study

  • The Most Powerful Force in the Universe

  • Comparison of Plan to Actual: Reserve Study

7. Conclusion

  • Program Outline

  • Learning Objectives

  • Program Introduction Revisited

Presentations

This program was originally presented at the Reserve Analysts (APRA) Symposium 2018 in Nashville, TN.

Here is a link to the complete presentation and backup materials

Analyzing & Monetizing Construction Claims & Defects: Claim Analysis 101

Introduction

PFCS President, Pete Fowler, presented the first webinar of 2017 on January 12 at 10 a.m.

“Analyzing & Monetizing Construction Claims: Construction Analysis 101” is a free webinar that delves into the basics of what we do here at PFCS. This program covers a variety of subjects and could go by many titles:

  • Building Performance Analysis and Budgeting 101

  • Analyzing and Monetizing Construction Defects

  • How Building Owners and Managers Should Decide What Needs Fixin’... and More Important, What Doesn’t

  • Level 1 Analysis

  • Making Smart, Budgeting-Conscious Decisions About Construction

Pete Fowler has been a professional cost estimator for more than 20 years and through this webinar, he will follow up on one of our previous webinars about Building Performance Analysis by discussing how is related to the budgeting process.

Virtually all construction or property-related decisions should be made with costs in mind, but some people are afraid of math. We can help.

Whether you are a lawyer, insurance professional, property owner or manager, you need to be able to focus on the “vital few” issues and ignore the “trivial many.” That means knowing how much things cost; Not to the penny, but rather a reasonable approximation.

The best place to start when working to make smart economic decisions is on the big, expensive issues. You begin by chopping a project into logical parts and estimating the cost of those chunks so you can see both the big and small pictures. The earlier in the process you accomplish this, the better!

Learning Objectives

  • Why decision making about buildings needs to include performance analysis and cost analysis.

  • How to do a “Level 1” performance and cost analysis so you know the big picture early in the process.

  • Review case studies and real world examples of projects related to analysis and monetization of construction claims.

Program Outline

  1. Introduction

  2. A Sensible List

  3. Evaluating & Prioritizing

  4. Analyzing Construction Defects

  5. Budgeting Construction

  6. Roles & Responsibilities

  7. Conclusion

This program is approved for one hour of CLE for attorneys in California and Nevada, pending in Oregon, and pending for insurance adjusters registered with the California and Texas Departments of Insurance.

Window & Door Installation

Introduction

On December 8, 2016 at 10 a.m., Alex Prokop presented a FREE webinar called "Window & Door Installation". Window & Door Installation introduces principles of design, construction, and installation of window and door components. Improper installation of windows and doors is one of the leading sources of building performance failures that lead to construction defect litigation.

We will begin by explaining the basics of modern window & door installation techniques, and how variation from these fundamental principles can lead to problems and defects. Next, we will discuss different types of windows and doors, factors that can complicate their installation, the basics of how materials react together, and the damage that these reactions can cause. Finally, we will review the most applicable codes and standards related to window and door installation, performance, testing and evaluation. 

This program is important for architects, attorneys, insurance adjusters, general contractors, trade contractors and building industry professionals because many factors and players must come together to properly execute durable window and door installations.

Learning Objectives

  • Explain the basics of modern window & door installation techniques

  • Review of window & door types

  • Discussion of most commonly alleged construction defects

  • Discussion of the evolution of building codes

  • Review applicable industry and trade standards

  • Examples of how to analyze construction defects

  • Estimating costs for repairing defects

  • Allocating responsibility to applicable partners

Program Outline

  1. Introduction

  2. Window Installation

  3. Common Window Defects

  4. Door Installation

  5. Common Door Defects

  6. Codes & Standards

  7. Conclusion

This program is approved for one hour of CLE for attorneys in California, Nevada and Oregon, and insurance adjusters registered with the California and Texas Departments of Insurance.

Terminating a Construction Project Before Completion: Do's, Don'ts, Claims & Litigation

Introduction

On October 19th at 10 a.m., Mike Villalba & Pete Fowler presented a FREE webinar called "Terminating a Construction Project Before Completion: Do's, Don'ts, Claims & Litigation". Construction is expensive. The spectrum of construction professionals ranges from the pinnacle of professionalism and quality to criminal negligence. Sometimes projects must be terminated prior to their completion. The process is usually expensive and complicated. However, if you use a standard structure that takes into consideration the contract documents, construction industry standards, the construction scope, budget and schedule, then you can get to the end as quickly and inexpensively as possible. Sometimes it's not quick or cheap, but structure makes analysis as efficient as possible.

"Terminating a Construction Project Before Completion" is for everyone involved in the building or buildings business, including owners, attorneys, adjusters, property managers, real estate professionals and anyone else involved in construction or real estate. If you can understand that no matter where you are in a construction project gone bad, you're not trapped, then you can negotiate from a position of strength. We will begin by explaining the roles and responsibilities of the parties in the construction business. Next, we will explain the PFCS Construction Claim Analysis framework. Finally, we will review case studies that demonstrate how to terminate projects from the perspectives of the owners and the contractors.

Learning Objectives

  • Review the basic roles & responsibilities in construction.

  • Learn a framework for analyzing a construction claim.

  • Discuss how damages are calculated after a contract is terminated.

  • Strategize how one might salvage a construction project rather than terminate.

  • Review case studies and real world examples of projects that were terminated before completion.

Program Outline

  1. Introduction

  2. Contracting 101

  3. Construction Claim Analysis Framework

  4. RTFC

  5. Calculating Damages

  6. Salvaging a Project

  7. Conclusion

This program is approved for one hour of CLE for attorneys in California, Nevada and Oregon. This program is also approved with the California Department of Insurance.

Comments from Attendees

  • "I liked the photos and discussion of issues including the retaining wall. It was kind of a wake-up call on that homeowner with a trust who could afford to fight a GC, R.E. the poor work done, overruns and challenge/lawsuit. Great outcome, by the way!! Oh - I also like the initials RTFC lol."

  • "Very informative and useful."

  • "I enjoyed it!"

  • "Helpful, gives us ideas to use in future negotiations."

  • "Loved the case studies!"

  • "Great presentation with experienced, qualified, knowledgeable & seasoned speakers!"

  • "It was good!"

  • "Very good, especially if you are considering building a project."

  • "I thought it went well and was informative."

  • "Great program and timely for me."

  • "Good program; good subject."

  • "Always enjoy your presentations. I learn something every time!"

  • "Pete was very good and the presentation was informative."

Resources

  • For a copy of the presentation and backup materials for this program, send us an email to info@petefowler.com.

Evaluating Water Leakage of Buildings

Introduction

On September 13th, 2016 at 10:00 A.M., Alex Prokop presented a one-hour webinar called "Evaluating Water Leakage of Buildings". Evaluating Water Leakage of Buildings explains the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM International) “Standard Guide for Evaluating Water Leakage of Building Walls (E2128-01a)”, which describes methods for determining and evaluating causes of water leakage of exterior walls.

The objective of the seminar is to gain a “big picture” understanding of how professionals gather, analyze and use building performance data. Also, participants may learn best practices and “the scientific approach” to figuring out building performance problems to have something to contrast against, when faced with people who have drawn erroneous conclusions based on poor investigation techniques.

Learning Objectives

  • Summary of ASTM E2128-01a Standard Guide for Evaluating Water Leakage of Building Walls

  • Continue the Property Analysis Seminar Series so we can all have a “big picture” understanding of how professionals gather, analyze and use building performance data.

  • Learn best practices and “the scientific approach” to figuring out building performance problems.

  • Have something to contrast against, when you are faced with people who have drawn erroneous conclusions based on poor investigation techniques.

Program Outline

  1. Introduction

  2. ASTM E2128-01 Sections

  3. Sample Documents

  4. Maintenance and Repairs on a Limited Budget

  5. Selecting and Evaluating Expert Consultants

  6. Deep Thoughts

  7. Conclusion

This program is approved for one hour of CLE for attorneys in California, Nevada and Oregon. This program is not approved with the California Department of Insurance.

Alex Prokop

Comments from Attendees

  • "Good program and easy to understand - practical."

  • "The seminar was well planned out- I found the review of the ASTM Standard particularly helpful and informative."

  • "I particularly liked the overview in the beginning that noted exposure at certain elevations may be an issue and then how that was developed during the presentation with the [concluding] slide that showed that indeed all siding and all windows were not the issues but through testing it was determined exposure was an issue at the second story at certain elevations. I liked the review for leak patterns, something Pl experts do not seem to do. I appreciated the detailed review of ASTM and in particular ASTM E2128 re water penetration being leakage that exceeds the drainage capacity of wall. Very good summary and explanation. This would be something I would want an expert to share with a jury - EXACTLY as it was explaining (wall is system) during the presentation."

  • "It was a good broad overview."

  • "Very informative. I liked the overview and plan."

  • "Good program, useful info."

  • "Good presentation and the speaker was very knowledgeable."

  • "This was my favorite seminar!"

Resources

Leak Investigation Involving Solar Panel Installation

The Problem

This project was a 3,900 square-foot, single-family residence in Beverly Hills, CA that was built in 1961. The Owner of the house contracted with our client for the purchase and installation of solar panels. Our client hired subcontractors to install the panels and re-roof under them. Within a month there were leaks.

The Owner’s alleged that the solar panel system was defectively installed and caused water intrusion. Their cost of repair exceeded $80,000. Our client did not believe the leaks were related to their work. The Owners alleged that the roof was sagging under the solar panels which allowed standing water to collect, that there were cracks in the cold-applied roofing cement at the flashing, and that the new area of roofing had not been properly integrated with the older section of the roof. 

PFCS conducting water testing.

PFCS conducting water testing.

Cracking around the cold cement.

Cracking around the cold cement.

The Solution

PFCS was hired by the solar panel company to investigate whether or not the leaks were caused by the installation of their panels. In addition to the leak below the new panels, there were several other leaks that were not below the client's work. PFCS conducted water testing to determine if our client was liable for any of the damages. We found that the leaks below the new panels were caused by our client's subcontractors, but we proved that the leaks in the other areas of the house were unrelated.

We composed and delivered a scope of work (repair) and cost estimate that totaled approximately $25,000 to execute the repairs related to our client's work. PFCS then composed a request for proposal (RFP) and solicited bids from local contractors, which were the same price as our estimate. Because we now had real bids, the owner and our client were able to reach a sensible settlement. The result was a significant savings to our client.

Resources

Click here for a PDF version of this case study.

Adjacent Property Disputes

Introduction

Good fences make good neighbors. Unless your neighbor built their fence on your property!

We have been dealing with these claims and litigation since the company was founded. By reviewing Adjacent Property Dispute case studies, we will apply PFCS' Construction Claims Analysis Method to disputes including property line encroachment, view obstruction, tree roots causing damage to neighboring property, and architectural control violations in community associations (HOAs). 

The program is intended for anyone in business who regularly deals with buildings and real property, particularly property and community managers, insurance professionals, and legal professionals. 

Webinar

Register now for our webinar “Adjacent Property Disputes.”

Date: Thursday, June 20, 2019
Time: 10 a.m. PT
Duration: 60 minutes

Program Outline

  1. Introduction

  2. PFCS Construction Claims Analysis Method

  3. Comparing & Contrasting

  4. Monetizing the Claim

  5. Conclusions & Recommendations

  6. Trial Presentation

  7. Conclusion

Presenters

This program is approved for one hour of CLE for attorneys in California. Pending approval in Nevada and Oregon. This program is pending approval with the California Department of Insurance.

Document Management

Introduction

On June 21st, 2016 at 10:00 A.M., Whitney Woolf presented a one-hour webinar called "Document Management for Construction & Claims". Document Management for Construction & Claims has two focuses: a general method for staying organized with multiple documents from multiple parties. Or really, it's for anyone who has more than a 1" thick stack of papers on their desk at any given time.

If you are a consultant, property owner or manager, builder or developer, designer, construction contractor, product manufacturer, insurance or legal professional, or a member of the PFCS staff, you probably engage in some form of document organization. The business of building contains plans, contracts, memos and reports just to name a few. Another difficult wrinkle is that some of these files are paper, some are electronic and often times there's more text available to be read than hours in the day to read it. In essence, we are inundated with documents and data, and having a strategy for deriving a solution or insight from an overwhelming amount of data is essential to presenting a solution. 

This program addresses specific ways to manage information efficiently, effectively manage files, and derive meaning from a file on your desk by applying some project management principals and an understanding of the construction and claims process. Our projects require the ability to separate the 'vital few from the trivial many'; to turn data into actionable information. 

The PFCS mission, simply, is to provide solutions to our clients. To begin to do this, we must first understand the available information. Typically this is in the form of documents, images, interviews and testimony. All of this information begins to present a narrative for the project, that can be summarized and analyzed in a sentence, a paragraph or a detailed report amidst this pile of paper.

Learning Objectives

  • Introduce some methods for information organization.

  • Provide a basic flow for document management.

  • Discuss the specific applications for Document Management to Construction & Claims.

Program Outline

  1. Introduction

  2. Collect

  3. Organize

  4. Index

  5. Summarize & Understand

  6. Reference, Retrieve & Share

  7. Conclusion

This program is approved for one hour of CLE for attorneys in California. Pending approval in Nevada and Oregon. This program is not approved with the California Department of Insurance.

Whitney Woolf

Analyzing Construction Defects

Introduction

On May 26th, 2016 at 10:00 A.M., Alex Prokop presented a one-hour webinar called Analyzing Construction Defects. This program is for insurance and legal professionals who hire and manage expert witnesses and expert teams. It is also for attorneys, adjusters, property managers, real estate professionals and anyone else involved in construction or real estate; as they are likely to face a major construction or disclosure related insurance claim or litigation at some point in their careers. Indeed, many such professionals deal with construction related claims as a common occurrence in the course of their work. 

Analyzing Construction Defects is for anyone who is faced with or might have to deal with construction litigation related to physical problems or allegations of defects in buildings or construction. We will explain what a construction defect is, how the process of construction defect litigation flows, present a framework for working through the complexity of potential defects and the issue-by-issue analysis of each potential defect, and discuss appropriate investigation standards. 

Learning Objectives

  • Introduce the fascinating world of construction defect (CD) litigation and the major players.

  • Review CD case studies.

  • Discuss the difficulty of defining the term Construction Defect.

  • Explain what information should be gathered and organized to make the analysis as easy and complete as possible.

  • Introduce the PFCS Solving Building Problems Method.

  • Discuss how issues or allegations can be organized and analyzed in a systematic way, one-by-one.

  • Introduce common deliverables created during a defect analysis.

Program Outline

  1. Introduction

  2. Construction Defects Defined

  3. Construction Defect Litigation

  4. Solving Building Problems

  5. A Sensible List

  6. Analyzing Construction Defects

  7. Conclusion

This program is approved for one hour of CLE for attorneys in California. Pending approval in Nevada and Oregon. This program is not approved with the California Department of Insurance.

Click here to view previous posts about this program.

SB800 - CA Builders Right to Repair

Introduction

On April 14th at 10:00 A.M., Pete Fowler presented a one-hour webinar called SB800 - CA Builders Right to Repair.

Senate Bill (SB) 800, the ‘Builders Right to Repair’ bill was signed into law September 20, 2002, and took effect for every living unit sold in California after January 1, 2003. The bill specifies the rights and requirements of a homeowner to bring a construction defect action, contains building standards and functionality requirements for new residential units, and gives a detailed pre-litigation procedure.

SB 800 was developed as a compromise of various factions of the building and legal communities to address the problems of the home building industry. The text of the bill states the intent of the legislature is to improve the procedure for the administration of civil justice in construction defect cases.

Learning Objectives

  • Overview of SB800

  • Understand the basic contents of the law

  • Discuss the importance of the builder and contractors

  • Review Actionable Defects defined by SB800

  • Study the SB800 pre-litigation procedure

  • Contrast SB800 with Traditional CD Litigation

  • Review example Offer to Repair documents

Program Outline

  1. Introduction

  2. Traditional Construction Defect Litigation

  3. SB800 Summary

  4. Actionable Defects

  5. SB800 Procedure

  6. Offer to Repair

  7. Conclusion

This program is approved for one hour of CLE for attorneys in California. Pending approval in Nevada and Oregon. This program is not approved with the California Department of Insurance.

Expert Qualification, Designation & Declarations

Introduction

On March 16th, 2016 at 10:00 A.M., Pete Fowler and Paul Kushner presented a one-hour webinar called Expert Qualification, Designation & Declarations. This program is for insurance and legal professionals who hire and manage expert witnesses and expert teams. 

Having the right expert or experts on your side when it comes to litigation can make or break a case. Expert Qualification, Designation & Declarations is a one-hour overview of the process for successfully (1.) deciding what expertise you need, (2.) finding qualified experts, (3.) designating experts in litigation, (4.) working together to compose expert declarations, and (5.) navigating some of the complexities of managing a team of experts. We will discuss some of the nuances and complexity of selecting experts with significant litigation experience versus deep, specialized industry experience, but little or no experience with testimony. Experts with the right combination of knowledge, skill, experience, and the ability to communicate technical information to non-technical people, so that the audience can make informed and intelligent decisions, is a rare package. And some people you think would make a great expert just fold like a lawn chair under cross-examination, even when they are right! Throughout our program, we will be reviewing case studies and examples of awesome work. We will begin with a quick review of another PFCS seminar, Expert Witness Success, which is closely related to this material. Let us know if you'd like to review recordings of either of these programs, or if you'd like a presentation delivered in your office. 

Learning Objectives

  • Overview of expert witness success

  • Overview and discussion of expert qualifications

  • Discussion and review sample expert designations

  • Discussion and review sample expert declarations

  • Discussion of expert teams and avoiding duplicative testimony

Program Outline

  1. Introduction

  2. Expert Witness Success

  3. Qualifications

  4. Designations

  5. Declarations

  6. Expert Teams

  7. Conclusions

This program is approved for one hour of CLE for attorneys in California. Pending approval in Nevada and Oregon. This program is not approved with the California Department of Insurance.

Allocation of Responsibility of Construction Defects

Introduction

On February 16th at 10:00 A.M., Pete Fowler and Mike Villalba presented a one-hour webinar called Allocation of Responsibility of Construction Defects.

Allocation of Responsibility for Construction Defects is for everyone who needs to understand how the costs of construction defect allegations should be distributed to responsible parties. The
program is for construction, insurance, legal and property professionals; particularly those who regularly deal with construction defect litigation. The process for allocating responsibility of
construction defect allegations is mostly “science,” but some critical parts include the “art” of applying professional judgment. The program will outline the mechanics of the process including: (a.) making a sensible, allocatable list of defects, (b.) assigning values to each defect issue or category, (c.) making a list of all the parties who might be involved and understanding what each of them did on the project and where, and (d.) assigning supportable portions of responsibility for
each issue.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the mechanics of allocating defects to responsible parties

  • Understand which parts of the process are “science.” That is, mostly unarguable.

  • Understand which parts of the process include the “art” of applying professional judgment. That is, arguable.

  • Review some case studies and real world examples of allocation in action.

Program Outline

  1. Introduction

  2. Analyzing Construction Defects

  3. A Sensible List

  4. First Pass Allocation Methods

  5. Applying Professional Judgement

  6. Fancy Stuff

  7. Conclusions

This program is approved for one hour of CLE for attorneys in California. Pending approval in Nevada and Oregon. This program is not approved with the California Department of Insurance.

Click here to view previous posts about this program.

Landlord-Tenant Disputes

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Introduction

Landlord-tenant disputes arise occasionally during the lease, related to building failures like leaks or floods. But more often they occur at the conclusion of a lease, related to allegations of deferred maintenance that the owner's claim are required by the terms of the lease, or "improvements" that the tenants have made during the lease term that will cause significant costs to be incurred by the owner to prepare the building for a new tenant.

A recent case study proves that PFCS is uniquely qualified to serve as expert consultants in these projects due to our experience in building performance evaluation (Inspection & Testing), Construction Management, Building Lifecycle Management, and Claims & Litigation. Every year we work on projects as widely varied as single-family residences; multi-family and mixed-use developments; commercial, institutional, and industrial construction; and low-rise, mid-rise and high-rise buildings. Since our active client list always includes Property Owners & Managers, Builders & Developers, Contractors, Product Manufacturers, Insurers and Lawyers, it's hard for anyone to make a case that our opinions are biased.

Webinar

Register now for our webinar “Landlord-Tenant Disputes.”

Date: Wednesday, May 15, 2019
Time: 10 a.m. PT
Duration: 60 minutes

Learning Objectives

Landlord-Tenant Disputes is a one-hour walk through Pete Fowler Construction Services’ (PFCS) Construction Claims Analysis Method, applied to claims resulting from landlord-tenant disputes. No two claims are the same, but our analytical method walks us through a professional investigation and analysis, similar to how the scientific method aids in discovery of the workings of our natural world and technological advancements, regardless of the specifics of the claim. 

  • Introducing a framework for conducting a professional investigation related to landlord-tenant disputes.

  • Gaining a big-picture perspective on handling landlord-tenant dispute investigations from a building expert perspective.

  • Review numerous case studies.

  • Discussion of options for report and presentation formats.

  • Looking at actual project deliverables.

Program Outline

  1. Introduction

  2. The Claim

  3. The Method

  4. Property Condition Assessment

  5. Estimate Analysis

  6. Putting it all together

  7. Conclusions

Presenters

This program is approved for one hour of CLE for attorneys in California. Pending approval in Nevada and Oregon. This program is pending approval with the California Department of Insurance.

Evaluating Water Leakage of Buildings

Introduction

On September 21, 2012 Paul Kushner and Alex Prokop presented a 1-hour webinar called Evaluating Water Leakage of Buildings.  Paul and Alex explained the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM International) “Standard Guide for Evaluating Water Leakage of Building Walls (E2128-01a)”, which describes methods for determining and evaluating causes of water leakage of exterior walls.

This was the seventh in our Construction Defect Seminar/Webinar Series which were presented throughout 2012. A complete list of the dates for the remainder of the series is listed on the Events page of our website. The programs are recorded and available to PFCS clients free of charge. If you are a client and would like access to this program, or if you would like to schedule a PFCS Expert to deliver a presentation live at your conference or in your office, please contact marketing@petefowler.com.

Program Outline

  1. Introduction

  2. ASTM E2128-01 Sections

  3. Sample Documents

  4. Maintenance and Repairs on a Limited Budget

  5. Selecting and Evaluating Expert Consultants

  6. Deep Thoughts and Hot Buttons

  7. Conclusion & Recommendations

Comments from Attendees

  • "I thought the webinar was excellent. Lots of great information and very well presented. The materials were clear, concise and informative. I am looking forward the next webinar in the series."

  • "The presenter was well prepared and easy to understand. Very thorough as well."

  • "It was very informative and helped direct me to certain standards for water testing and inspection I will use going forward - very helpful!"

  • "Informative. Good foundation for water intrusion issues."

  • "Great presentation. I especially appreciated the discussion of ASTM E-2128. I plan to use this standard in defending window leak claims in all my cases."

  • “Very helpful and provided information that I can use as a reference."

Click here to see previous posts about this program.

Trial Presentations

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On August 13, 2012 Pete Fowler presented a 1-hour webinar called Trial Presentations.  Pete explained the fundamentals to consider when retaining an expert witness, managing the development and delivery of opinions, reports and testimony for success.

This is the sixth in our Construction Defect Seminar/Webinar Series which will be presented throughout 2012. A complete list of the dates for the remainder of the series is listed on the Events page of our website. The programs are recorded and available to PFCS clients free of charge. If you are a client and would like access to this program, or if you would like to schedule a PFCS Expert to deliver a presentation live at your conference or in your office, please contact marketing@petefowler.com.

Comments from attendees:

  • “I am new to claims, and found the program easy to understand and very informative.”

  • “Very informative and helpful. Pete provided some interesting insights based on his own trial experience.”

  • “Program was informative and amusing.”

  • "I thought it was helpful to know the experts point of view."

  • “I always find your programs easy to follow and entertaining, with good information.”