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Survival Guide for Wood & Wood Frame Buildings

a Westcon Symposium, sponsored by AIA East Bay

Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Location: Golden Gate Fields, Berkeley, CAPrice before 10/24: $265 Westcon Members; $290 Nonmembers
Price 10/24 and later: $290/$315
Click here to register

6.75 CES/HSW LUs

This symposium is for Architects, Engineers, General & Specialty Contractors.

Explore the numerous threats to building integrity, both during construction and after completion.
Learn potential vulnerabilities and ways to construct and protect more durable, long-lasting buildings.

Topics Include:

  • Wild & Urban Interface: Building Survival & Safety
  • Mass Timber Projects
  • Structural Insects/Pests: Detection, Control, Prevention
  • Challenges Posed to Architects, Engineers & Contractors
  • Redwood as a Building Material
  • Common Framing Mistakes
  • Corrosion of  Steel Hardware Caused by Pressure Treated Lumber
  • Wood Preservation & Treatment Quality

About the Presenters:

Joseph Pinon: PE, Building Science Specialist – RDH. Specializing in conducting thermal and hygrothermal modeling, building codes, and performance standards relating to energy efficiency and moisture control.

Kevin Flynn: Flynn & Associates – Forensic Wood Technologist, Westcon Board Member & Symposium Chairman. Past president of the University of California Forest Products Laboratory. Currently focusing on evaluation of historic wood buildings, construction defect evaluation, problem analysis and wood identification issues.

Charles Jourdain: President, California Redwood Association. Member of American Wood Council, Forest Products Society and American Society for Testing and Materials

Janelle Leafblad, PE:  West Coast Regional Director Woodworks, Board member of the Forest Products Society  and member of the Society of Wood Science & Technology. Licensed engineer and building technology consultant primarily in the area of wood technology, investigation and design of building envelope components and construction for both historic and contemporary structures.

Vernard Lewis: Cooperative Extension Specialist, Department of Environmental Policy & Management, University of California, Berkeley. Statewide responsibilities include conducting applied research, pest identification, testing and latest detection and control techniques, and outreach.

Thor Matteson, PE: Thor Matteson Engineering. Author of “Earthquake Strengthening for Vulnerable Homes” and many other publications. Consultant to the Applied Technology Council and the Pacific Earthquake Engineering Research Center as a member of teams developing strengthening guidelines for wood framed buildings.

Glenn Peterson, PE: Extensive background in designing all types of fire protection systems including sprinklers, standpipes, pumps, alarms and special hazards. Performs investigations, code reviews, and evaluations of fire protection systems, failures and construction defects.

ArchNews October 2016

ArchNews October 2016 is out now!

This month’s issue includes:

Project Profile: Rebecca Schnier Architecture
Design Awards Reception and Presentation
Emerging Professionals: NCARB Releases ARE 5.0 Study Resources
Codes: How to Design Outside the Code
Green: WELL and LEED Go Hand in Hand
CoolTechStuff: what3words
Members in the News: Yun Moves to ELS
Firm Profile: Bendrew Jong, FAIA, Architects & Associates

Click here to download the PDF.

Hard-Hat Tour: The Orchards

Saturday, November 5, 2016
$5 Members / $10 Nonmembers
Location: 2800 Ygnacio Valley Rd, Walnut Creek

Click here to register.

1.5 CES LUs

The Orchards is a neighborhood retail center located on a 25-acre site in Walnut Creek. Two hundred thousand square feet of retail and restaurants are interspersed among mature oak and black walnut trees in a park-like setting. The “modern agrarian”-styled center includes a fitness club, several restaurants, 7 acres of new community-oriented open space, parkland, gathering spaces and children’s play areas.

Additionally, 20% of the site will be developed into senior housing to serve the aging population of the city. The 200-unit project, which Lowney Architecture is co-designing with HKIT, features a pool, fitness/spa room, offices, kitchen and dining room and a memory care center.

Eric Price, senior project manager and Doug Schneider, senior project designer, will be leading the tour.

Learning Objectives:

After completing this program, attendees will…

  1. Learn the components of three different types of projects: retail facilities, housing and open space.
  2. Be able to discuss the unique challenges and opportunities in master-planning a 25-acre site.
  3. Gain an understanding of the design team and project team coordination needed for a project of this scale.
  4. Learn at least three strategies for reducing the environmental impacts in areas including landscape approach, parking and traffic approach and systems.

Firm Profile: Bendrew Jong FAIA, Architects & Associates

  • Neighborhoods, from small markets to high-rise proposals for various parts of Oakland.

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  • We renovated a tiny fruit market, adding outdoor sales space, landscaping and new loading/storage to help turn the Monterey Market area into a fabulous neighborhood. We continue to do similar projects like turning an underutilized hospital parking lot into new neighborhood shops in inner-city Fremont.

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  • We built our own hybrid, passive solar house and won Sunset Magazine/AIA’s Special Award for Solar Energy – featured in the Italian magazine Abitare. Our later houses integrated green solutions while making a design statement, like this sun trellis shielding the west sun.

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  • We created a vibrant live/work block from a historic 1900’s tannery and won a best preservation award for converting a 1930’s school into a first of it’s kind artist/loft condo in West Oakland.

We’ve successfully taken on two projects near the West Oakland BART station:

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  • And we continue to work on high-rise mixed-use developments throughout California.

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Larry Mortimer, AIA

Did you know that 75% of the earth suffers from an inconsistent, complicated or inadequate addressing system. Here is a new way of accurately locating any place on the globe.

quuote what3words

What Does It Do: What3words is an app that uses a unique 3 word combination to identify a 3m x 3m location, anywhere on the surface of the planet.

System Requirements: The app is available on iOS or Android devices.

What does it cost: The app is free. pg6

How Does it Work: What3words has divided the complete surf

ace of the earth into 3m x 3m squares and has assigned a 3 word label to identify each (for example the entry to the AIA office is “memory.stand.ties”). The 3 word labels are unique and available in 9 different languages. So why is this useful? It turns out three 2pg6words are much easier to remember than numerical identifiers. Also, any location can be quickly identified and communicated with more ease and accuracy than other systems (such as street addresses, postal codes or latitude and longitude). Three word addresses can be converted directly to latitude, longitude and vice-versa. The app does not require a data connection, so it can be used in remote and unaddressed location with poor connectivity.

Conclusion: How would you use this? What if you want to have an impromptu meeting with your 4pg6team on a large site that has no distinguishing features? With this app, you define the location and send it to your colleagues. Your colleagues then use the app to place a location pin in Apple Maps, Google Maps or Waze and get walking, driving, or transit directions to the location. It’s quick, easy and everyone’s on the same page.

More Information at:

3pg6Get app at: id657878530?mt=8&ignmpt=uo%3D4


Green: “WELL” and “LEED” Go Hand in Hand

With the emergence of the WELL Building Standard in the field of building certifications, I have been asked by many clients whether to go with WELL or LEED for buildings,

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Judhajit Chakraborty Assoc. AIA, LEED® AP WSP Built Ecology

especially in regions where the local code doesn’t mandate LEED Certification to some level. I reply to them with the most generic engineering answer: “it depends” on what the clients/owner’s goals are for the project. If superior occupant comfort leading to improved productivity and better health and wellness is one of the driving forces for design, then yes, WELL standard should be pursued. However I also mention that comparing LEED and WELL is like comparing apples and oranges.

LEED focuses on planet, where as WELL focusses on people. LEED is a whole building standard and caters to reduction in energy/water consumption. WELL standard is to scale comfort in buildings, it does not have any energy/water consumption reduction requirements.

WELL compliments LEEDv4 in many areas as far as some of the credits related to Materials & Resources and almost the entirety of the Indoor Environmental Quality credits. In this article, I will shine light on how the WELL Building Standard overlaps with LEEDv4.

Perhaps the biggest factor that connects these two standards is the Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI). GBCI is the main administering body of LEED online and the entire LEED certification process. GBCI also provides third-party certification for the WELL building standard, which includes supervision and training of WELL assessors, project registration, verification and certification. However, the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) will continue to administer the WELL building standard, its content, research and versions. Another physical connection between the two standards is Rick Fredrizzi who will join IWBI as the CEO and Chairman of the Board of Directors starting November 2016. He currently serves as the CEO of USGBC and GBCI.

WELL assessors are responsible for assessing/reviewing a WELL project and ensure that the project complies with all the WELL building standard requirements. The WELL assessor is also responsible for both the documentation review and performance verification phases of WELL certification. Performance verification is a unique feature of the WELL standard where the WELL assessor does a comprehensive site/project audit to ensure that the project will deliver the highest quality occupant comfort and promote health and wellness to all occupants.

GBCI is also working on launching a beta site within LEED online for LEEDv4 wherein upon project registration and completing the LEED scorecard based upon the design, GBCI will do an automatic GAP/feasibility analysis for WELL. Not only that, for the many prerequisites and credits (similar to preconditions and optimizations in WELL standard) that completely overlap with WELL, one documentation will cover both the standards. The feasibility analysis categorizes the WELL preconditions and optimizations as favorable (which means complete overlap) and partial (partial overlap of LEED requirements). The beta site will be available initially to LEED proven providers and certification reviewers and later it will be launched in general.

Apart from above mentioned logistical and administrative connections between LEED and WELL, the appendix E of the WELL building standard (Page 215) explains the similarities between LEED and WELLand identifies all the WELL features, prerequisite or credit requirements which overlaps LEED.

Currently many projects are pursuing both LEED and WELL certification. As designers and developers understand the inherent relation of buildings and how the interior environment can promote health and wellness to the occupants, that list will continue to grow. “To have this connection with the IWBI shows the world that true sustainability is not just about the brick and mortar,” Fedrizzi said. “It’s about the human beings inside the brick and mortar.”


Building Code Issues: How to Design Outside the Code

pg. 5 mikiten

 Erick Mikiten, AIA  LEED-AP            Mikiten Architecture


 Kerwin Lee, AIA, CASp      ICC – Certified  Accessibility  Inspector  and Plan Examiner  ICC – Certified Building  Plan  Examiner












Kerwin says:

How many times have you wanted to change the code so you can have a unique design? Well, there is a way in the code to do this. It is applying Section 4.10/modifications and section 104,11/alternative materials, design and methods of construction and equipments.

The key to applying this is to have an understanding of what the code is trying to achieve. Whether it is fire protection, life safety or accessibility, one needs to know why the code wants you to do what it says. If it is fire protection, is it to limit the spread of a fire and/or provide protection and time for occupants to leave the building. Once you have a grasp on the intent of the code, then you can provide a design that provides an equivalent level of protection.

I was fortunate during my consultant career to have had the chance to work with some great architects on some very unique projects. This would include the Cathedral of Christ the Light in Oakland, by SOM. The design created some significant building code issues that needed to be addressed before it could be built. Basic code facts:

Occupancy Classification – Mixed use, primary use A-2.1/Assembly with more than 300 occupants.

Other uses include A-3/Assembly, less than 300 occupants, B/office, F-1/mechanical rooms, M/mercantile, R-1/residential and S-3/enclosed garage.

Height – Four stories and more than 150 feet high

Area – Total building more than 110,000 SF.

Based on the height and area, the building is required to be of Type I construction and use noncombustible materials – things that do not burn. Fire-retardant treated wood still burns and is considered combustible, so how did the Cathedral incorporate wood as its primary design element for the Sanctuary?

Section 104.2.8 of the 2001 code permits an Alternative Material and Method Request (AMMR). Before any request is made, the design team must understand the requirements and intent of the code. Once this is understood, the design must provide equivalent protection.

Intent of the Code – Limit the growth and spread of a fire by limiting the fuel load. The fire resistance established by the code is a minimum of three-hour for the structural frame.

Approach – The approach is to provide a combination of life safety elements to protect the combustible and exposed steel construction (anchors) for a minimum of 25 feet above the occupied floor.

  1. The code already recognizes the use of heavy timber and unprotected steel construction for a roof and its supporting structure for heights of 25 feet or higher above a floor, per Section 602.5.
  2. The heavy timber has an equivalent of 1-hour fire resistance.
  3. A specially designed automatic sprinkler system provides protection of the area below the 25 feet to address the appropriate fire load in the area.

Justification: To protect the construction below the 25-foot elevation.

  1. Low fuel load within the Sanctuary.
  2. Large open space, allows for high visibility by the occupants and provides a reservoir for heat and smoke
  3. Direct access to multiple exits and travel distance below the code maximum
  4. Heavy timber construction provides some fire resistance
  5. Specially designed automatic sprinkler system, using closely-spaced sprinklers at 6 feet on center at the wall, provides protection for the structural members
  6. Increased fire department access and firefighting capabilities

The combination of design and life safety elements and the willingness of the City Building and Fire Departments to work together on a solution made this project possible.

Erick says:

This is a fine example of some significant departures from the CBC that were approved and built. It’s a good reminder that the code is a baseline, and not always the only option for the creative designer.

I’ve done only minor AMMR’s in the past and have found that the best path for success is to approach your Building Department early in the process and discuss it while you still have some flexibility in your plans. Waiting to spring it on during final plan check is usually an uphill battle and can dramatically slow down your plan check process.

Emerging Professionals: NCARB Releases ARE 5.0 Study Resources

Professionals preparing to take the next version of the Architect Registration Examination® (ARE®) now have two new resources: The ARE 5.0 Handbook and ARE 5.0 Community. Developed by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB), these free study tools offer candidates valuable insight into ARE 5.0, which launches November 1.

ARE 5.0 Community

The ARE 5.0 Community is an online forum where candidates can come together to ask questions, share best practices, and interact with NCARB’s exam experts. Inspired by the ARE 4.0 Community, which has more than 7,000 members, the forum is designed to provide candidates with accurate and dependable information about ARE 5.0.

“The community provides candidates with a supportive place to meet others studying for the exam and chat directly with NCARB’s Examination team,” said Director of Examination Jared Zurn, AIA, NCARB. “This is just one of many resources NCARB has developed to help candidates prepare for the November launch of ARE 5.0.”

To access the community, members can login with their NCARB Record or create a free NCARB account. Explore the ARE 5.0 Community at

ARE 5.0 Handbook

In early September, NCARB released the highly anticipated ARE 5.0 Handbook, a guide that provides a breakdown of each exam division, sample questions, suggested study resources, and more. Candidates can also reference the ARE 5.0 Guidelines for an overview of exam policies.

Each ARE 5.0 division will include 80 to 120 questions and incorporate the latest testing technologies—including case studies that simulate real-world practice. The divisions also align with the recently launched Architectural Experience Program® (AXP®), making the path to licensure easier to navigate for candidates and their supervisors.

Candidates looking to test in ARE 5.0 can begin scheduling exams on November 1. As an incentive to take the new exam, the first 600 candidates to test on each division will receive a $100 gift card. For more information about ARE 5.0 visit



Project Profile: Rebecca Schnier Architecture: Feng-Shui Meets Energy Efficiency in the Berkeley Hills

It’s not everyday that a client approaches us with a request to turn a small Berkeley Hills 1930’s duplex cottage into a gracious, contemporary single-family home. The architectural brief included taking advantage of the panoramic view of the Golden Gate Bridge, making the project as energy efficient as possible, using sustainable materials and incorporating the design directives of the client’s fengpp1-shui master.

In order to retain the positive Chi (energy flow), the feng-shui master called for a three-story, 14 foot rear addition. Stacking of functions floor to floor, window and door locations, and furniture placement were also influenced.

The parti developed as a modulated central spine stretching from the front sidewalk through the house to the spectacular Bay view at the back. As in a Japanese garden, circulation is paced by special elements along the way. Corten steel planters, a brush-hammered granite accent stair tread, built-in seating, art niches, varied ceilings heights and juxtaposed wood soffits articulate thresholds.

Interior walls and separations were minimized to provide a sense of openness and to maximize natural light and views. Prominently on display, the framed Golden Gate view, with its changing light and fog, acts as a kinetic art piece. At a more intimate level, carefully considered interior and exterior windows align above the stairway, allowing for a view from the master shower out to a mature loquat tree at the front of the house.

To minimize energy usage, a thermal solar system with a recirculating pump and heat recovery ventilators were installed. The system increases healthy indoor air quality and mitigates energy usage for the domestic hot water and the radiant floor heating. Photo voltaic panels supply electricity. Substantial insulation and careful window placement decrease requirements for heating and cooling.

On the exterior, thin aluminum plate awnings accentuate the cubist composition. At the front elevation the recessed windows and metal siding create interesting readings of scale.


Cat Chang, landscape designer, associated on the project

Photographer: Pamela Palma

General Contractor: Breska Associates, Inc.

MCE/ADA Day: Friday, October 28, 2016

MCE/ADA Day: Accessibility for California Architects

Friday, October 28, 2016
Cost: $110 AIA Members / $150 non-members. Includes coffee and lunch.

Click here to register.


Provides the complete 5 hours of disability access coursework required for California Licensure. Topics will include: universal design, aging-in-place and barrier-free access in multi-family projects

About the Presenter:

Jan Garrett, Esq. is the Program Manager at Pacific ADA Center.