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Free Custom Workstations

desk and chair

HED Architecture in Oakland is moving and is giving away 13 custom workstations. Constructed of  particleboard, they are all 8’x8′ but the 9 larger ones  have deeper returns of about 35″. See layout below.

Available after June 13.

Contact or 415-710-8471


FOR SALE – HP Design Jet Color Plotter – $1000

FOR SALE – HP Design Jet Color Plotter – $1000

Excellent Condition

Contact Kevin Stong, AIA 510-204-9090


Owning Your Shop Drawings: Revit User Group

Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Free and open to all; please RSVP as lunch will be served, courtesy of Ideate.

If you own Autodesk building design suite ultimate, you probably have an untouched shortcut to Inventor sitting on your desk, nestled somewhere between Revit and AutoCAD. Due to the old school gap between Revit and Inventor, the AEC industry has not utilized Inventor’s strengths. However, with the ever–increasing efficiency of CNC manufacturing, 3D printing, and software interoperability, Inventor stands out as a far more effective tool for modeling certain building components, and creating shop drawings. Whether you or your consultants use Inventor, this event will uncover the benefits of a new tool that will enhance your company’s design accuracy, LOD, and software communication.

In an attempt to bridge the gap between software, a “BIM Export” environment was quietly added to the ribbon of functions in 2014 release of Inventor. As a solution for our company, we researched its capabilities and unearthed the proper step by step procedure for exporting to Revit. This presentation will explore 3 examples of building components for export (HVAC, Casework, and Lighting) and expose the tool’s strengths and weaknesses in the process. We will also highlight best practices for family/model creation, both pre and post conversion.

About the Presenters

Steve DeWitt

Joining Project Frog in 2014 as our BIM manager, Steve DeWitt has over 15 years of experience in design software and is a certified Autodesk Revit professional. While his primary focus is current and future software utilization, data extraction/use, best practices/procedures, drawing standards, clash detection/resolution and training for all design staff, he also contributes to BIM user groups and has spoken at, universities, Autodesk University and conferences featuring topics like; BIM, laser scanning and AIA E202. He writes procedures that supply our internal and external team members with exact data that gets utilized during all stages of design, construction and fabrication which keeps his company on the cutting edge of technology.

Johnny Buccola

Since graduating with a BS in mechanical engineering from Santa Clara University in 2010, Johnny Buccola has worked as a design engineer in a variety of fields, ranging from VIP aerospace interiors to military compressors. In his experience he has traversed a number of 3D modeling packages, including AutoCAD, Solidworks, and Inventor. As CAD Engineer at Project Frog, Inc., he is responsible for drafting and modeling (and the processes therein) of Frog’s prefabricated building components using Solidworks.

Members in the News

Ratcliff Promotes                                

The Ratcliff Architects board of directors has named        members in the news1
Christopher“Kit” Ratcliff, FAIA as chairman of the board, Dan Wetherell, AIA as president, Mike Matson, AIA as principal, Christopher Naughton, AIA as associate principal, Diana Mizuhara as senior associate and Janet Everett as associate.    





Origami and Japanese
Design presentation

Photo of attendees at Peter Engel’s presentation:   origami
back row, lr: Poonam Narkar, Jennifer Lew, Lars
Nilsson, Angela Waxman, Robert Waxman, Assoc.
AIA, Doug Frazier, AIA,
front row l-r: Jill Loman, Greg True, AIA and Adam






Firm Profile: Madwyck

Madwyck is a professional consultancy, focused on planning, architecture, and stakeholder engagement in the design and construction of our built environment. With experience in different building types, such as schools, hospitals and terminals, the company’s focus is in public sector transportation projects, such as airports. Madwyck’s strength is making places moving people ©.

Space Space planning study for the Oakland International arrivals waiting area (w/ Jacobs Consultancy)

Established in Alameda in January 2013, the company has provided services to other firms needing a boost in their resources. These services included peer reviews, code analyses, project management support, programming, study documentation, graphic analyses, sustainability reviews, and signage and wayfinding studies. While new to the directory of business names, the company is based on the experience of its people.


BART Communications Center Reconfiguration (while w/ Jacobs)

With over 20 years of experience in the Bay Area, Lynne Madera has worked for established firms such as The KPA Group, Jacobs, and Ricondo & Associates. Through these companies – and new ones such as CMPros, PMA Consultants, Parsons Brinkerhoff and AGS, Inc. – she has provided services to clients such as BART, Oakland International Airport, and San Francisco International Airport. Getting things built is complicated and requires a team. Madwyck’s core value is to add to that team in two ways. One, by bringing creativity and experience to the problem-solving table. And two, by supporting everyone at that very same table in their success, knowing that it will lead to the project’s success.


Installation of curbside security bollards at Terminals 1 and 2. Oakland (while w/ Jacobs)

In addition, there are a few actions that we choose to repeat:

  1. Listen and be vocal.
  2. Provide excellence in service and deliverables.
  3. Bootstrapped from startup, appreciate the support of old and new allies.
  4. Pause at each business decision to confirm that the direction chosen supports the operational motto:

Keep it simple. Keep it mobile. Keep it green.

Starting a business is daunting. But it’s thrilling when you find that this way of working fits in with a paradigm shift such as Partnering. When you find that there are schools of thought such as “Emerge Leadership for a More Sustainable Society” that help you define your leadership style. When you find that people want to collaborate and achieve great things together. It’s thrilling when your industry is ready to solve large problems together. Let’s get to it.

Member Profile: Suzanne Heam Meyer, Assoc. AIA

suzanne Suzanne Heam Meyer, Assoc. AIA

Suzanne has just joined AE3 Partners in their offices in San Francisco and Oakland, California as a Job Captain. AE3 Partners is an integrated practice that provides architecture, engineering, construction management, and real estate services for residential, multi-residential, transportation, civic and institutional, education, and health care projects.

Suzanne comes to the firm and the Bay Area from Atlanta, Georgia where she was raised and attended school at Georgia Tech. After she was graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Architecture in 2005, she worked for four years at Harrison Design Associates, an architecture firm, located in the Buckhead neighborhood of Atlanta, drafting and designing luxury, custom residences, townhomes, and specialty commercial projects inspired by the best of classical and modern architecture. Returning to her alma mater, Georgia Tech, Suzanne earned her Master of Architecture in 2009, with concentrations in sustainability and urban design.

After graduation, Suzanne continued advancing her design and Revit skills by participating in design competitions and advancing her knowledge of sustainability by becoming a LEED Accredited Professional. While the architecture industry lagged, she created a position for herself as an independent contractor for the booming wireless industry. She provided architectural expertise regarding building construction and materials, and visual impact, and drafting and 3D modeling services for ExteNet Systems, Inc. which provides distributed networks to the cellular carriers. In addition to her consulting work, Suzanne became an adjunct faculty member in CAD and Architectural Design department of a local college where she instructed introductory design courses focused on AutoCAD and Revit.

Suzanne is excited to be living and working in California, which is always on the forefront of implementation of technology and sustainable practices. She looks forward to meeting colleagues at the AIA East Bay Chapter and getting to see all that the Bay Area has to offer.


Cool Tech Stuff: Office Lens

Larry Mortimer, AIA

Larry Mortimer, AIA


  Microsoft’s Office Lens has been available on Windows MPhones for about a year now, but it recently became available on the iPhone/iPad, and will soon be available on Android devices.

Office Lens

What does it do? You’ve probably been to a meeting where drawings and notes are scribbled on a whiteboard, or flip chart, and after the meeting you were left trying to figure out how to save, organize, and disseminate those great ideas? Well Office Lens is an app that can turn your mobile smart device into a scanner that allows you to easily record images and notes, process them, and send them to others.

System Requirements: Windows phone, or iPhone/iPad (iOS 8.0 or later), and will be available soon on Android devices.

How does it Work? 1. Choose the appropriate mode. Office Lens operates in three modes: Photo, Document, and Whiteboard. 2. Capture the image. 3. Make any adjustments necessary. It recognizes the corners of what you’re photographing, so even if you shoot at an angle you shouldn’t have to crop or straighten anything manually. There’s also a crop tool if you only want to use part of the image. 4. When you are satisfied with the image, tap Done, and you will be presented with a list of export options. 5. Export the processed image to the option of your choice.

office lens 2

Key Features:

■ Automatic optical character recognition (OCR) (printed text only)

■ Photo mode images can be exported as JPG’s or PDF’s

■ Document mode images can be exported as Word (DOCX) files or PDF’s

■ Whiteboard mode images can be exported as PowerPoint (PPTX) or PDF files

■ In Whiteboard mode, Office Lens trims and cleans up glare and shadows

■ In Document mode, Office Lens trims images and adjusts colors

■ Images can be saved to OneNote, OneDrive or other cloud storage services

■ Images can also be saved to your device’s camera roll, or sent as an email attachment

Pros: It’s fast and easy to use. Office Lens, OneNote and OneDrive (up to 15GB) are all free.

Cons: Currently only a preview (beta) version is available for Android devices. To convert images to Word or PowerPoint files, you must log into a Microsoft account, and it must be the same account as the one registered to your device.

Conclusion:While Office Lens does have some nice features, some other scanning apps can do pretty much the same thing. The strengths of Office Lens are its speed, auto straightening and cropping, and ease of converting a scanned image into a MS Word or Powerpoint document.

More Information and Download at: (for iPhones) (for Windows)

Estimating/PreCon Technology

an ASPE program

ASPEWednesday, May 27, 2015
Cost: $35/Free for students
Click here to Register

What’s new in Estimating Technology and 5D BIM? What is the future of Estimating/PreCon?

Are you curious how construction estimating is evolving in the current technological boom? How will new technological advances in computing affect your job and company? Please join the ASPE Golden Gate Chapter for a presentation and roundtable discussion on the impact that 5D BIM Estimating Software is having on Estimating and PreConstruction. Hear from top ENR Contractors, Subcontractors, Consultants, Architects and Energy Experts discuss how it’s affecting them and their predictions for the future.

About the presenter:

Steve Watt from Trimble will lead our 5D presentation and discussion. Steve comes to us with a wealth of estimating software knowledge he’s gained over the years as President/CEO of WinEst and before that as Director of Estimating for Sage Timberline Estimating. Now with Trimble, Steve is trailblazing the way to an intuitive approach to 5D estimating with the use of Trimble’s GC Estimator Suite (WinEst, Vico Office) and Modelogix (Conceptual & Cost Modeling). He will demonstrate how easy and effective it can be to leverage BIM models using database-driven software that use spreadsheet for creating, adjusting and presenting cost estimates. He will also delve into Vico Office, a virtual construction software that augments 3D models with constructability analysis and coordination, location-based quantity takeoff, 4D (time) scheduling and production control, and 2D electronic plan takeoff.


Building Code Issues: Doors in Privately Funded Housing

Steve Winkel, FAIA CASp

Steve Winkel, FAIA CASp The PREVIEW Group, Inc. Architects providing regulatory solutions

Steve says:

Chapter 11A in the California Building Code (CBC) contains the accessibility requirements for privately funded multifamily housing, which is any residential building with three or more dwelling units (four or more condominiums). Trying to determine the door push/pull clearances for doors leading into the unit and for those inside the unit is very confusing since the requirements appear in several places with different application scopes. Chapter 11A is very badly organized and difficult to follow. It is important to understand the organization of the chapter. There are several “Divisions” in the chapter that contain provisions applicable to different parts of the building.

The requirements for doors associated with dwelling units appear in two places, in Division III “Building Features” and in Division IV, “Dwelling Unit Features.” We will discuss each section in order.

Division III, Section 1126A, Doors

The doors addressed in Section 1126A are the entry doors, “1126A.1 Width and height of doors. Doorways which provide access to common use areas or covered multifamily dwellings. This is meant to apply to the “Primary Entry” door into the unit. This door is required to be 36” wide.

The door needs 24” of pull side clearance at exterior doors and 18” at interior doors (with 24” being “preferred” at all such entry doors). There are several figures which apply to door clearance for these entry doors only. They are figures 11A-8 A, B, and C. 11A-8A as shown below. Note that for these entry doors only it is likely that 12” push side clearance will be required for these doors since they will certainly have a latch and will likely have a closer in many cases, especially interior doors opening from a fire rated corridor. It is important to understand that these door clearance requirements do not apply to other doors inside the unit.

Building Codes Figure

Division IV, Section 1132A, Doors

This section applies to doors into and inside the dwelling units. There is one reference back to Section 1126A:

1132A.1 Primary entry doors and required exit doors. The width and height of primary entry doors and all required exit doors shall comply with Section 1126A.1.

The rules for entry doors DO NOT apply to other doors inside the unit. Door clearances inside the unit must be 32”, which could allow a door slightly less than 36” wide. Entry doors must be 36” wide, but interior door requirements are based on clearances. Note that the push/pull clearances in 11A-8 A, B or C are NOT referred to in Section 1132A. Thus there are no push/pull clearances for doors inside the unit, except that there are additional requirements for doors associated with toilet rooms. The toilet room door requirements are contained in both of the design options available in Section 1134A. The language in the two options is very difficult to follow, but the requirements contained in 1134A.2 boil down to requiring 18” of pull side clearance at ALL toilet room doors, whether the rest of the toilet room is resigned to be adaptable or not. Option 1 is clear since it applies to an adaptable toilet room:

8. A minimum 18-inch (457 mm) clear maneuvering space shall be provided on the swing side of the door at the strike edge of the door.

Option 2 is selected when the designer wants to apply adaptable toilet room requirements to only one toilet room in a dwelling unit that has multiple toilet rooms. The door pull side requirements in Option 2 are more convoluted, but end up in the same place:

10. A minimum 18-inch (457 mm) clear maneuvering space shall be provided on the swing side of the door at the strike edge of the door.

One would think that Item 10 applies only to the adaptable bathroom. But, read on to the end of the list! Buried there is a huge gotcha!

When Option 2 is used, all additional bathrooms must comply with Items 8 through 12 above.

The loop-back at the end of the item list in Option 2 includes Item 10. Thus the code requires pull side clearance at ALL toilet rooms, whether designed under Option 1 or Option 2.

Confused? Welcome to the group.

Kerwin Lee, AIA, CASp

Kerwin Lee, AIA, CASp  ICC-Certified Accessibility Inspector And Plan Examiner ICC-Certified Building Plan Examiner

Kerwin says:

Section 1126A only applies to the “Primary Entrance” to an individual unit and all other doors within the building. The only exception is additional “required” exits from from a unit that can be used as an entry, but this is very rare.

To add to the confusion, a “Publicly Funded Housing Project”, which is covered under Chapter 11B has totally different door requirements. Because these types of housing is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (American with Disabilities Act (ADA) and not the Fair Housing Act (FHA), the requirements are totally different. The American with Disabilities Act (ADA) treats public housing like transient lodging (hotel), but this is another topic for another time.







Green: Personal Comfort Systems

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

The Center for the Built Environment’s (CBE) semi-annual symposium on Human Thermal Comfort and Energy was held at the UC Berkeley Campus and the Pacific Energy Center from April 22-24, 2015. The next symposium for this year is scheduled from October 7-9, 2015. For those who are not aware of this, this is one of the best symposiums related to building design and sciences where practice meets research. The Center for the Built Environment in UC Berkeley, as many of you might know, is a one of a kind institution where high level research and experimentation of building and human comfort is undertaken and is purely driven by the needs of the industry. There are partner organizations who direct the research topics and advises what the industry wants to see more of from CBE.

ASHRAE 55 standard for thermal comfort was primarily developed by CBE and it has an amazing thermal comfort tool which we regularly use for thermal comfort design and verification. There were two hot topics in this symposium – Building Metrics (LEEDv4, Living Building Challenge and Well Building Standard which I will write about in my next article) and Personal Comfort Systems (PCS). This article is about the PCS systems and how they help in more personalized thermal comfort and energy savings. ASHRAE 55 standard defines thermal comfort as the “condition of mind that expresses satisfaction with the thermal environment and is assessed by subjective evaluation”. Maintaining this standard is one of the major goals of the building HVAC and envelope systems. Workplace design has improved by leaps and bounds. However, much less attention has been directed towards the thermal comfort of the workspace and individuals.

Sitting in Chair

There are surveys which show the majority of occupants in an office environment find their thermal environment uncomfortable, even though commercial buildings spend huge amounts of energy on HVAC systems to provide adequate thermal comfort. Upon the requests from partner companies to pursue research in providing a solution to this, CBE faculty and graduate students started looking into providing occupants with low-power devices to control their local thermal environment, and could allow them to remain comfortable over a wider range of ambient temperatures or set point temperatures (thermostat settings) for heating and cooling. Normally the range is 70°F – 75°F (heating and cooling).

Building simulations show that varying these set points by even a few degrees can result in large energy savings because the building is conditioned less intensely and less often, and can more often use outside air for conditioning (economizer mode). The savings vary by climate, but generally, widening the thermostat setback by one degree Celsius can reduce building-energy consumption by 5-15%.

CBE researchers have thus developed and designed a user-controlled chair which allows occupants to control heating and cooling directly through the surfaces of an office chair. This provides comfort under a wide range of room setback temperatures (previous tests that CBE conducted with another “active” chair kept people comfortable from 61°F to 84°F). CBE’s chair uses low-energy fans, reflective exterior, small heating elements, and an occupancy sensor to save energy when not in use. The chair is battery powered, and can last for several days between charges. The chair has a simple control in the armrest which sets the heating and cooling intensity.

These PCS chairs have been laboratory tested by use of thermal manikins for calibrated measurements of cooling fan efficiency. The field-study portion of the project included user surveys with measurements for occupancy, energy consumption and ambient conditions collected by the PCS units. This research, design, development and testing of PCS units or chairs is based on previous findings that show that cooling of the head and “breathing zone,” and providing warmth to the occupant’s feet are two of the most effective ways to provide individualized thermal comfort.