June 26, 2009

Measuring Sustainability Performance Means Establishing Design Value
Once overshadowed by the promise of zero-carbon new buildings, the less glamorous work of retrofitting existing buildings for increased efficiency is quickly gaining momentum. Increasingly widespread benchmarking and disclosure standards are making energy performance an important new metric across the industry.

Talk Their Language—Present Work Plans from Your Client's Perspective
When asked to submit a work plan as part of a proposal or to itemize projected person-hours to support proposed fees, few design professionals craft this information with their clients' viewpoint in mind. Instead, most design professionals develop work plans and task lists as though they were talking to other design professionals. They describe tasks in one of three ways: in technical terms (e.g., "conduct a dynamic seismic analysis"), as simple tasks with no apparent client benefits (“develop interior building details”), or as deliverables (“submit revised space summary”). These types of descriptions do little to persuade clients to select your firm or reach agreement on proposed fees.

Architect’s Responsibilities: Services and Standard of Care
Newly published by Wiley is the AIA Official Guide to the AIA Contract Documents, an exhaustive compendium of what the AIA documents do, how they came to be over the course of the last 120 years, case-law discussions on issues that have shaped the documents, and explanations of key issues in each of the document families. Reprinted here is the section referring to the owner-architect agreements on an often-misunderstood issue, the professional standard of care.

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Welcome to the Practice Zone
This is the home of the weekly Best Practices column, news of tips and tools that you can use in your day-to-day practice and case studies illustrating “how-tos” and “lessons learned” for all stages of practice. The Practice Zone also features reports of research in architecture and related fields.