Roofing performance & codes – Free webinar tomorrow (the “it’s-not-Tue” Tip)

Apologies for the late notice, but this one just crossed my desk:  Tomorrow, January 26, 2012, at 2pm EST, Architectural Roofing & Waterproofing UniverArchitectural Roofing Universitysity will present a free webinar entitled

“Code Changes, Point Programs and the Roofing Industry.”

Here’s the description from the presenter:
Webinar will discuss issues that are important to both roof performance and to assure the new Code requirements are met. A few lessons learned and industry needs will be presented along with things that can or must be done in the meanwhile. It is not all bad news; after all, we are the industry problem solvers. As new problems arise our value and opportunities increase.

Attend this webinar to learn:

• How to identify and avoid trouble with new regulatory requirements
• New approaches and product to best avoid constructability and performance issues caused by compliance with new regulatory requirements
• Solutions to problems encountered and venues to help share solutions utilized
• How to think forward concerning the pitfalls associated with implementation of new technology and regulations

Speaker: David R. Hawn, FRCI, RRC, CEM, President, Dedicated Roof and Hydro-Solutions, LLC

Webinar qualifies for 1.0 AIA Learning Unit

Registration is required.

Do you know of upcoming webinars, seminars, or conferences that you think readers of this blog should know about?  Drop me a line or comment below.


Despite a Weakening Housing Market, Green Building Trends Soar (Tue Tip guest post)

Today’s Tip is a guest post by Alex Levin,  a marketing specialist who writes on a variety of topics related to the construction industry such as surety bonding requirements to  eco-friendly building trends.


There are few bright spots in the housing market.  According to recent reports, home prices have fallen 30 percent since 2007.  That decline is more than what happened during the Depression.

Despite these anemic numbers, green construction and energy efficiency models are being sought by buyers and homeowners. This is due to an increasing recognition that earth friendly buildings are good for the wallet. Green construction starts went up 50 percent, from $42 billion in 2008 to $71 billion in 2010. It’s estimated ecological friendly construction represented 25 percent of last year’s new building starts. The commercial sector has seen the most activity, where a third of all new work meets green standards.

green building

A “green” building?

As eco-friendly buildings are growing in popularity, many new developments have entered into the construction industry. Here is a look at the latest trends for green construction.

  1. Outcome based energy codes. Presently there is no incentive for buildings to retrofit to conserve energy. The only time there are concerns is when permits are needed; however, once heating and cooling systems are installed there’s no need to consider if the systems are effective. That may all change thanks to outcome-based energy codes. With these codes, owners and builders could agree to a pre-arranged energy target. This would be checked annually, and should measurements be off, retrofits would be required in order to achieve the agreed upon energy consumption. For homeowners, this means peace of mind and better control of finances as they’ll now know how much their building is expected to spend in energy use.
  2. Sharing energy.  For those who love friendly competition, social media is now branching out to entice users to battle it out for the title of most energy efficient. The site Earth Aid allows users to track their energy use ,and rewards are given out for top conservationists. These points can be used with local vendors to purchase a variety of eco-friendly home goods. Not only can users cash in their winnings, they’ll also earn bragging rights for saving the most electricity, which ultimately also saves them money on their monthly bills. [ditor’s note: Earth Aid site no longer appears available as of 7/13/2016].
  3. Community sharing. Similar to energy sharing, community sharing allows neighborhoods to band together to receive competitive pricing on installation costs and solar panels. Currently both Portland, Ore. and Philadelphia have these types of plans. Retrofit Philly pits neighborhoods against each other to have home and building owners involved in heating and cooling upgrades. Residents who participated in Solarize Portland received cheaper discounts in solorizing the property. Savings were increased even more when popularity grew and more people joined the effort.
  4. Smart appliances. With the use of smart meters, homeowners no longer have to wait until the end of the month to know how much they’ve spent in energy. These appliances provide detailed feedback on energy use as it happens. This allows for more control over spending and conservation during peak hours, when energy is most expensive. The new meters can also be used to find out how much juice each appliance consumes in real time. This can also help to provide a detailed report on how much energy is consumed when appliances aren’t in use, as many appliances, when simply plugged in and set to “off,” still bleed energy, leaving homeowners footing the bill for something they aren’t even using.
  5. Green is for everyone. Although green construction is increasing, there is a perception it’s a rich man’s game. Fighting this perception are affordable housing groups like Habitat for Humanity and local land trusts. These organizations are building, and selling, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) and Energy Star homes.  These sales are occuring nationwide, and include homes priced as low as $100,000.  Energy upgrades can be paid for with new programs, including low-cost audits and utility bill-based financing (i.e., Clean Energy Works Oregon and Solar City).
  6. Residential greywater use. The reuse of gray water (i.e., all waste water minus what’s used in the toilet) is turning into a common practice.  Gray water provides numerous benefits such as reducing the amount of fresh water used, decreasing strain on septic systems, replenishing groundwater, and maintaining soil fertility.

What are your thoughts about green building trends?  Do your clients want “green” incorporated into their projects?  Share your experiences in the green market in the comments section, below.  And, be sure to sign up for email delivery of blog posts directly to your in-box so you never miss a post here at Construction Law North Carolina.

Photo (c) C. Frank Starmer via Creative Commons license.

Yes? Never? Maybe? Contract Clauses for Architects & Engineers (Tue Tip)

Make plans to attend a free webinar specifically for design professionals.  Entitled “The Bright Gray Line: “Yes”, “Never”, and “Maybe” Contract Clauses for Design Professionals (and how to find the difference)”.

The presentation will highlight challenging contract clauses and approachs to evaluating, negotiating, and managing those clauses.  Among the clauses which will be discussed are those relating to indemnity, the standard of care, code compliance, and document ownership.

The seminar is sponsored by Hall & Company and  presented by attorney David Ericksen, President of Severson & Werson.

When:                  Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Time:                   1:00 pm EDT

How:                    Click here to register

If you attend the webinar, let you know your thoughts afterwords.  I’m planning to attend as well, so we can compare notes.

Certificate of Merit to sue architects or engineers? (Tue Tip)

You know how they say the best laid plans can go awry?  Just as unforeseen issues pop up in construction, they also pop up in the practice of law.  So, while it is still Tuesday, I apologize for the late hour of my post.

I bring you good tidings, despite my lateness.  Right now, in the North Carolina General Assembly, is a proposed bill that would require a Certificate of Merit to be filed in civil litigation against an architect, engineer, or a design firm.  If it passes, this would require that an unbiased, third party (who is also a licensed professional) has reviewed the claim and believes it has merit.  

boy holding certificate of merit

This boy has his certificate of merit: will lawsuits against architects and engineers require the same?

Such a pre-lawsuit requirement  has long been a right that doctors enjoy.  Now, there may a chance for architects and engineers to also enjoy protection from otherwise frivolous lawsuits. 

The bill has been introduced, had its first reading, and has been referred to the Judiciary Committee.  While the bill is a long way from passage, it is a good sign that the public recognizes too often professionals are the targets in lawsuits simply because of their “deep pockets” (really!) or their insurance coverage. 

You can keep track of the progress of Senate Bill 435 here

(h/t to Kathryn Westcott, ACEC-NC Executive Director)

Photo: (c) John Dolan via Flickr/Creative Commons License.

A Building Code Engineer’s perspective on the Earthquake

Imad Naffa

Imad Naffa

After my post on the Japan Earthquake last week, I heard from Civil Engineer Imad Naffa.  Imad is a self-described “atypical Civil Engineer with passion for providing Building, Fire, Accessibility, ADA, LEED, Green and AEC related info. and resources”  and the President and Founder  of Naffa International, Inc., a Building Code Consulting Firm based in Fresno, California.

Imad has written about the Earthquake and Tsunami from the Building Code perspective in an article for his Blog entitled “Japan’s Earthquake and Tsunami My take as a Building Codes Engineer.”   Check it out, as well as his interactive, curated Earthquake site.     Editor’s Note:  Since this was first posted, Imad has passed away.  His blog was apparently taken down by his family, who have my deepest sympathies.  Imad was a creative, knowledgeable, and kind man.  He is missed.

Do you agree with Imad that  it is imperative that the U.S. improve and update design, construction  methods and building codes?  Let Imad and me know your thoughts in the Comment section, below.    And, if you are interested in Building Code resources, be sure to check out his comprehensive list of Technical Links, which I am adding to this Blog’s Resources page.