Improve Quality of Life With the Latest Building Design Trends

In the 1980s and 1990s, people were worried about lead paint fumes, fluorocarbons, asbestos and other toxic chemicals found in our homes and offices. This fear was so widespread that the news media dubbed it “Sick Building Syndrome.” As a result, much attention has been focused on sustainable, energy-efficient, health-promoting building design. Making the necessary adjustments to your home may be as simple as choosing compact fluorescent light bulbs and Energy Star appliances, or it may be as complex as trading in that dated carpet for recycled bamboo flooring.

Green interior design lighting is important because light sucks up electricity, generates heat and costs us money. A green lighting designer would tell you that compact fluorescent lamps are much more efficient than incandescent lamps, using 80% less energy. “CFLs last 10 times longer than incandescents and normally pay for themselves,” explains David Lee, a 23-year lighting designer with The Lighting Source.

Each bulb replaced with a CFL could save you $30 on utility costs, experts say. Of course, since these bulbs contain mercury, disposing of them is just as critical when it comes to green building design. Home Depot stores have orange bins to collect and recycle these bulbs. For those who wish for sunnier lighting color, halogen lights still offer 30-40% energy savings, compared to incandescents, although they are not as good as CFLs.

Many eco-friendly consumers are also looking for green interior design furniture and furnishings too. As you may know, indoor air quality can be affected by mold, moisture, organic compound emissions from paints, and formaldehyde emissions from cabinets and ventilation systems. Some building design materials collect contaminants and dirt as well. When shopping, you will want to avoid phenolic resin derived plastic laminate found on inexpensive furniture.

Make sure your wood products are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council to ensure the harvesters followed sustainable building practices. Wool that has not been treated with moth-proofing chemicals is preferable to polyester. Beware of polyurethane foam padding that contains polybrominated diphenol ethers, which are flame retardants.

The latest building design trends will focus on improving the quality of life and our planet in an affordable way. “Sustainable development allows economic progress and environmental quality to be compatible goals,” said Christine Ervin, Department of Energy assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy. “Communities are finding that sustainable development strategies save taxpayer money, improve the profits of local businesses, and make the community much more livable.”

Architect or Building Designer – Who Do You Choose?

Thinking of building a new home or complex? Will you use an architect or a building designer?

Both are involved in the design of buildings – their appearance, layout, structure, and so on. But what’s the difference?

The simplest difference is a legal one. To be called an “architect” in NSW, you have to be registered with the Board of Architects of NSW. The title “building designer” can be used by anyone designing buildings.

But that’s hardly even scratching the surface. Brian Basford is a building designer and treasurer of the Building Designers Association of NSW. He suggests that building designers are generally less expensive, and mostly involved in less flamboyant buildings. “It’s horses for courses. Most architects probably wouldn’t want to design a single bedroom extension for a pensioner, whereas I’ve done a lot of that.”

Brian also stressed that there are quite often overlaps between what architects do and what building designers do. There’s no simple rule. “But no matter what the job, good building designers and good architects both produce quality work”, he says.

Architect Gary Kurzer agrees that architects are more likely to be involved with more distinctive, “up-market” buildings. But not because of cost. “Architects work to your budget just like building designers. The real reason is that architects are a little more likely to stretch the boundaries and challenge convention.”

According to Gary, you should generally choose an architect if you want more than just a literal translation of your brief. “My clients normally have a rough idea of what they want. I take that idea and transform it into something they love, but could never have imagined themselves.”

The most important thing is knowing what you want from the service, and choosing someone that suits your job.

And whether you choose an architect or building designer, remember, qualifications are no guarantee of quality. Always ask to see previous examples of their work. Ask for references from previous customers. Ask to see their qualifications. Ask how long they’ve been working. Do they have professional indemnity insurance? Are they a member of an accredited body?…

In the end, it’s like anything else… there’s no substitute for common sense.

Thanks to Gary Kurzer, Architect, 0411044448, and Brian Basford, Building Designer.

FAQs

Q: Are architects and building designers the same thing?

A: No. Architects must be registered with the Board of Architects of NSW.

Q: Will I get a better design from an architect?

A: Not necessarily. The only guarantee is a minimum level of qualifications. Architects must have a Bachelor of Architecture degree (5 years) as well as the demonstrated ability to deal with clients and satisfy their requirements. Generally this means at least a couple of years experience in an architect’s office.

Q: Are building designers more in touch with builders and other trades?

A: Not necessarily. Architects are trained to deal with and manage all aspects of the building project. It all comes down to the individual’s experience and abilities.

Q: Are Building designers “would-be” architects?

A: No. Building design is a recognised profession with its own national body (the BDAA) offering 3 levels of accreditation based on experience and quality – but registration isn’t compulsory. Many building designers have the qualifications to register with the Board of Architects but they choose not to because they don’t think the name “architect” is worth the ongoing cost of registration.

Q: Are architects more expensive?

A: Not necessarily. An architect will work to your budget like a building designer. They can do anything from a simple design to very complex interior and exterior detailing to superintendence of the building process. Your building costs and ongoing running costs may also be less. For example, find out if your architect is incorporating cost-saving measures into the building process. They may also design to take advantage of natural lighting, ventilation, heating, cooling, etc. which will save you less in electricity.

Q: How do I tell if they’re really an architect?

A: Call the Board of Architects of NSW – (02) 93564900 or visit [http://www.boarch.nsw.gov.au/f_consumer.html].

Q: How do I look for an accredited building designer?

A: Call the Building Designers Association of NSW – Sydney (02) 49264855 or visit http://www.bdansw.com.au or [http://www.bdaa.com.au/index.htm].

Q: Where else can I go for further information?

A: http://www.architecture.com.au – Royal Australian Institute of Architects

http://www.bdansw.com.au – Building Designers Association of NSW

Hire Building Consultants to Handle Construction Disputes, Claims and Project Management Issues

Hiring building consultants is one thing that a small homebuilder and skyscraper construction company have in common. In both instances, issues arise that may require the services of a professional, particularly when you are juggling projects that handle mechanical, civil, structural, electrical and even process engineering aspects. The same problem solving principles apply whether you are spending a few thousand pounds or tens of millions of pounds.

Benefits of an Outside Consultant for the Building Process

What if you were half way through building your home and the actions of your contractors put your timeline for construction completion way behind? Building consultants could handle the resolution of your dispute through arbitration, mediation or negotiations. What if your company did their due diligence in applying for all the necessary building permits and then at the last minute, a neighboring property owner disputes the property boundaries? Again, a consultant acting on your behalf can get the matter solved so you do not lose time on your building project.

Individuals involved in building benefit from hiring a consultant to work for them as can smaller businesses who cannot afford to retain an expert in-house to deal with construction issues. It just makes sense to hire a professional who can mediate for you and “speak” the language of construction.

Fields of Consulting in the Building Business

Dispute resolution is one of the biggest tasks for building consultants; however, they also deal with a variety of other construction issues as well. For instance, a lot of contracts are drawn up and executed during the course of a construction project. How do you know that your interests are best represented in each and every case? You don’t, unless you hire a consultant to review the contracts and offer advice for amendments.

Claims defense and claims preparation against an entity for damages is another task for these consultants. Surveying aspects are addressed as well as management and training issues of construction staff. Project management is quite helpful for a construction site as consultants can help keep vendor deliveries and contract work well on task and within a set schedule. Debt recovery is another consulting issue too.

Why waste your money and time navigating through all the administrative stuff you don’t quite understand? While you may lead a construction project, it is nearly impossible to have an intimate and firm grasp on every aspect of the process. That is what building consultants are for – to serve as your advisors for each building process as needed.