2

A&E PARTICIPATION IN FACILITIES DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT

Buildings and other constructed facilities are developed through a complex process that typically involves many people and extends over a period of many months. The facility then generally serves for a long period of time, measured in decades or sometimes centuries. It may change function and ownership more than once during this period, and in the end may be abandoned or demolished and replaced. A&E professionals can play a number of roles during this facility life cycle.1

THE FACILITY LIFE CYCLE

For most purposes, the facility's life cycle may be described as having three stages that begin when a decision is made to proceed with planning of a facility to fulfill a particular (albeit perhaps still ill-defined) function (see Box 2-1).2 This decision

1  

This chapter's description of typical processes and practices is based on the experience of study committee members and government agency liaison representatives. The description is intended primarily to provide readers unfamiliar with facilities development practices a general background for the subsequent discussion of issues raised in the study. The term “facility” in this context refers primarily to buildings but includes other infrastructure owned by federal government agencies.

2  

For such purposes as energy or environmental impact analyses, the life cycle is sometimes assumed to begin earlier, when materials that ultimately will be used in the facility's construction and operations are initially processed.



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ON THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF ARCHITECTS AND ENGINEERS AND THEIR CLIENTS IN FEDERAL FACILITIES DEVELOPMENT 2 A&E PARTICIPATION IN FACILITIES DEVELOPMENT AND MANAGEMENT Buildings and other constructed facilities are developed through a complex process that typically involves many people and extends over a period of many months. The facility then generally serves for a long period of time, measured in decades or sometimes centuries. It may change function and ownership more than once during this period, and in the end may be abandoned or demolished and replaced. A&E professionals can play a number of roles during this facility life cycle.1 THE FACILITY LIFE CYCLE For most purposes, the facility's life cycle may be described as having three stages that begin when a decision is made to proceed with planning of a facility to fulfill a particular (albeit perhaps still ill-defined) function (see Box 2-1).2 This decision 1   This chapter's description of typical processes and practices is based on the experience of study committee members and government agency liaison representatives. The description is intended primarily to provide readers unfamiliar with facilities development practices a general background for the subsequent discussion of issues raised in the study. The term “facility” in this context refers primarily to buildings but includes other infrastructure owned by federal government agencies. 2   For such purposes as energy or environmental impact analyses, the life cycle is sometimes assumed to begin earlier, when materials that ultimately will be used in the facility's construction and operations are initially processed.

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ON THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF ARCHITECTS AND ENGINEERS AND THEIR CLIENTS IN FEDERAL FACILITIES DEVELOPMENT is typically made by someone with access to resources to support subsequent activity. That decision maker is typically the owner of the facility or the owner's representative and will be the client for services provided by the broad range of professionals involved in facilities planning, design, and construction. However, the initial decision making may not involve the people who subsequently employ these professionals, for example when government agencies decide to develop new buildings. Box 2-1 Typical Stages of the Facility Life Cycle Development Conception Planning Feasibility analysis Design Environmental impact analysis Construction Commissioning Occupancy and Use Leasing Occupancy Remodeling, renovation (e.g., for new tenants) Retrofitting (e.g., installing fire sprinklers) Component replacement (e.g., new roof) Retirement, Disposition Conversion (e.g., to museum use) Abandonment Adaptive re-use Demolition

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ON THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF ARCHITECTS AND ENGINEERS AND THEIR CLIENTS IN FEDERAL FACILITIES DEVELOPMENT Facility development, the first stage of the life cycle, includes a number of planning and design activities through which the people involved come to some understanding of what functions the facility should serve, where exactly it will be located, what it will look like, and what the costs of its construction may be. A&E professionals are likely to become involved in these activities. Sometimes estimates will also be made of the facility's operating and maintenance costs, the impact of its construction and use on the surrounding area's environment, the likelihood that the facility will withstand floods or earthquakes, and of other characteristics of the service the facility will provide during its lifetime. A variety of professionals may join or operate independently of A&E firms in making such estimates, working with the facility's owner, lending institutions, government agencies, or others that have an interest in the facility. Construction and commissioning complete the facility's development.3 A construction contractor, or constructor, will play the primary role in these activities. As will be discussed in later sections, A&E firms may or may not be involved. In the second and third stages of its life cycle, the facility may serve many occupants, visitors, owners, and neighbors. These users will judge for themselves how well the facility serves their needs. External events such as storms or changes in economic conditions may influence these judgments. A&E professionals are seldom directly involved unless changes in the facility are to be made. When changes do need to be made, the A&E professionals involved in making them may or may not have been involved in the facility's development. 3   In commissioning, the construction contractor and owner may check heating systems, inspect interiors, or test electrical controls to ensure that all facility components are performing properly. See the discussion in the next section.

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ON THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF ARCHITECTS AND ENGINEERS AND THEIR CLIENTS IN FEDERAL FACILITIES DEVELOPMENT FACILITY DEVELOPMENT The primary role of A&E firms is in facility development, and it is on this stage that the committee focused its attention. The committee found it useful to consider this development and the firm's role in terms of seven specific steps that make up the development process for many federal and other government facilities. Initial appropriation programming, which establishes in broad outline the scale and scope of the project, is required to obtain congressional authorization to develop the facility and appropriate funds for development. Agencies must provide information to meet the requirements of their particular authorization committees, which differ considerably, and have established a variety of procedures to do so. Because of user-agency program uncertainties or lack of funds or of in-house capability for design analysis, the physical scope of the facility may be defined in only a preliminary manner at this stage, but typically the budget becomes firmly established by congressional action. Some agencies use A&E firms to conduct preliminary planning and design studies that provide the basis for formal documents submitted for congressional action. Budgets requested and granted may be based on broad programmatic (i.e., in the sense of agency missions) concerns, political decisions, and other factors besides estimated facilities costs. Architectural programming establishes the functional requirements of the facility, generally in terms of floor areas for particular activities and of adjacencies and connections that are required or desired among activities. Some agencies use A&E firms to assist in this stage, which should have substantial user involvement. However, A&E firms and construction agency staff often find that user-agency staff lack adequate time and budgets to participate effectively. Users may also lack experience in facility development and so are unprepared to respond to questions about space utilization or circulation in a building they will use in the future. The rework and costs

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ON THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF ARCHITECTS AND ENGINEERS AND THEIR CLIENTS IN FEDERAL FACILITIES DEVELOPMENT caused by program changes requested by users late in the development process are problems that may then be perceived as a failure by the A&E firm to in deliver quality facilities.4 Preliminary design, the first stage of producing formal drawings and specifications, is also referred to by other terms, such as “schematic design” or “35 percent design,” which are determined by procuring agency custom.5 This stage of design becomes a basis for more-detailed—and presumedly more-accurate—estimates of construction cost, which may or may not motivate agency budget revisions. Final design completes the drawings and specifications that state the requirements for construction and are provided to prospective contractors as a basis for bid development. Some agencies hire an A&E firm to complete final design—a different one from the firm that did the preliminary design work. Some agencies (and some private building developers as well) may use their own staff for preliminary design and then hire an A&E firm for final design. In all such cases, selection of the designer may be an important and time-consuming step in the process. Bid and constructor selection for government agencies typically involves open competition in which any constructor willing and able to meet competency requirements (set by the agency and most frequently based on the bidder's ability to obtain adequate financial backing for construction) is permitted to review the final design documents and submit a bid, which states the price they would charge for construction conforming to these drawings and specifications. The procuring agency must, except in unusual circumstances, select the constructor offering the lowest responsive bid. The A&E firm may or may not be asked to advise the agency on whether bidders have been fully responsive to all bid requirements. In the private 4   If users' needs are better met after the changes, then requirements have been met and quality facilities delivered. 5   The percentages (how much of the total design task is completed at intermediate stages) vary considerably within the industry,

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ON THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF ARCHITECTS AND ENGINEERS AND THEIR CLIENTS IN FEDERAL FACILITIES DEVELOPMENT sector, the owner may select a constructor for other reasons, such as past association, reputation, or similar experience, and this may be done early in the process. In such cases, the A&E firm may be able to discuss the project with the constructor during the design stages. Construction, the primary responsibility of the constructor, accounts typically for 70 to 90 percent of the initial costs of facility development. 6 Construction quality control and assurance activities may involve inspection of materials and work in progress, for which procuring agencies may use in-house staff, an A&E firm, or other specialist consultants. Commissioning denotes the start-up and initial period of occupancy of the newly constructed facility, during which a “shake-down” of equipment occurs (i.e., initial operation, testing and any necessary adjustment), minor repairs and alterations may be made, and users learn about the facility. Often these activities are very informal, but some procuring agencies work with the user and construction contractor during a more formal commissioning phase of perhaps four to six months duration. Specialist consultants or the A&E designer may be asked to participate in commissioning. Because the ultimate determination of whether a facility fulfills its function well depends on the life cycle beyond the development stage, the committee determined that consideration of the responsibilities of A&Es must address occupancy. The committee thus added an eighth step to the process they considered in their discussions. Occupancy is the long-term period over which the facility provides service and shelter to its users and economic return to its owner. For financial purposes, the occupancy period is typically planned to span 15 to 30 years, but the periods during which a building is occupied or owned are often much longer. 6   This statistic excludes the cost of land but includes financial costs prior to occupancy. Facility planning and design, which include site exploration, regulatory reviews, and other activities required prior to occupancy, typically account for 10 to 30 percent of development cost.

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ON THE RESPONSIBILITIES OF ARCHITECTS AND ENGINEERS AND THEIR CLIENTS IN FEDERAL FACILITIES DEVELOPMENT While many responsible A&E and construction professionals maintain contact with owners and users and seek to assist them if problems arise (at least during the early years of occupancy), there is seldom any formal role for the A&E professional in the long-term occupancy. Sometimes an owner will undertake or commission a “post-occupancy evaluation” of how well the facility meets its users needs. The resulting information can be used for equipment adjustment or space reconfiguration. In general, owners may sell or otherwise transfer the facility, new users may come and go, maintenance may or may not be performed, and repairs and alterations may be made. Unless there is evidence of prior negligence or additional work is requested and paid for, the owner and user are entirely responsible for the facility throughout this stage. For typical major facilities (e.g., large office buildings, hospitals, schools), the first seven of these eight stages typically span a period of one to three years, with construction requiring 8 to 24 months or longer. In government projects, administrative requirements often expand the overall process time to five years or more. The A&E firm can participate, in principle, in all stages of the process but more frequently is asked to undertake only preliminary and final design.

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