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May 2017

This month's issue focuses on how the design & construction phases of a project can impact a building's operations and maintenance. Let us know what you think. We welcome your input.

Operations and Maintenance


The way you must operate and maintain your building flows naturally from decisions you made in the design phase and which were executed in the construction phase.


It is up to your architect and engineering team to insure that the construction documents spell out your intentions in great detail and then leave you with the post construction tools to keep your building running smoothly.


For example, the architect's and engineer's construction bid documents include a Specifications manual with a dedicated chapter for each material, construction element and piece of equipment that is part of your building project. In any given chapter, the specification will dictate the terms of material and product warrantees and guarantees and require that the contractor submit these along with specific operating and maintenance instructions. Requirements for in-service training of your maintenance staff in operating equipment/systems and maintaining materials and finishes are also noted in applicable chapters of the Specification manual. The contractor is required by the Specifications to organize and bind these documents into a series of "Owner's Manuals" which are presented to the owner when the project is substantially complete. This becomes your road map for properly operating and maintaining your building.


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Managing the Construction Phase

The seeds of a successful construction phase must be sewn at the earliest stages of a project. It starts with an owner bringing the right professional team to the table. An experienced architect/engineer team can help an owner establish a basic framework while a project is still in the embryonic stage.


The owner's program must be test-fit into its intended space. That same space must be thoroughly surveyed and evaluated by the professionals to determine if there are major physical and/or code obstacles which may make it logistically and/or financially difficult to develop. The key by-products of this process are the project budget and phasing plan. Any given project will fail long before its construction phase if its program is forced into an unsuitable location or if it has an unrealistic budget. With the right professional team in place, along with a tested program, budget and phasing plan, a good foundation has been laid for the development of the most important project element: the construction drawings and specifications. A detailed, well thought out and coordinated set of bid documents is the key to a successful construction phase and will usually result in "real" construction numbers being quoted by bidders.

We hope you enjoy this month's issue. Do you have questions or feedback about the information provided or regarding your facility that we can answer?  Contact us at and we will be happy to provide you with any additional information you may need.  We want to continue to offer content that interests you, our readers. Please drop us a line and let us know what topics you might want to learn more about. As always, we love hearing from you.
John W. Baumgarten, RA, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP
Principal & President
Michael A. Sciara, RA, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP
Principal & Vice President