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Posts from the ‘Small Firm Forum’ Category

Plumbing Today: People, Our Planet and Water

A Small Firm Forum

Thursday, March 5, 2015
Jack London Kitchen & Bath Gallery, 2500 Embarcadero St. Unit F, Oakland, CA 94606
Free and Open to All. Lunch will be provided by Jack London Kitchen & Bath so please CLICK HERE to RSVP
You can also RSVP by calling 510/464 3600.


Host: Italo Calpestri, AIA

This presentation will provide an insight into water efficiency and the role of sustainable plumbing. We’ll also discuss testing and standards, environmental technologies, product transparency and contributions to LEED certification.

About the Presenter

Ted Howell, Midwestern Sales Company. Ted is a technical support and sales representative for Western Sales Co., the Northern California representative agency for TOTO. He has received extensive plumbing and code training, including as a certified Journey Level plumbing contractor for over 20 years and through IAPMO, ICBO, and PHCC. He has had extensive experience with the Uniform Plumbing Code and the California Plumbing Code, including in the areas of ADA and CalGreen compliance. Throughout his career he has also provided plumbing and code presentations to plumbers, sales professionals, architects, designers, and engineers.

Learning Objectives

After attending this presentation attendees will be able to:

1.  Define ‘water efficiency’.
2. Explain why additional testing may be needed beyond that required to meet the WaterSense specification for toilets.
3. Distinguish between reducing the volume of water used in a building and reducing flow rates.
4. Select technologies for use in designing bathrooms which contribute toward LEED points and meet long-term sustainability goals.

The Wonders of Residential LED Lighting

a Small Firm Forum

Thursday, February 5, 2015
Free AIA Members/$3 Guests. Open to All.

1.5 CES LUs

Host: Alex Bergtraun, AIA

The variety of architectural grade lighting solutions available to designers, installers, home and business owners is limited only by their imagination.
Here is our opportunity to discuss together with an in-house product specialist the array of possibilities and issues of LED strip lighting, color temperature, the meaning of CRI, RGB color manipulation, and the variety of dimming possibilities available.

We will cover product specification, space needs for the various components of a system including its drivers and light element types and sizes.

Our presenter intends to also allow ample time for Q&A as well!

About the Presenter

Naomi Turrentine, Elemental LED: Naomi is the Marketing Director for Elemental LED lighting Co. in Emeryville and with the ever-increasing demand for the LED technology she has experienced firsthand the meteoric rise of quality and the capabilities of LED lighting solutions for architectural problem solving. Naomi is a UC Davis grad and has been at Elemental LED for the past 7 years.

Learning Objectives

1. Learn the many benefits of using LED lighting for a variety of applications in residential projects, new and remodel.
2. Learn what components need to be accounted for spatially in the designing of an LED Lighting layout including the various dimmer types and lighting approaches that can be combined for a blended ambient, area and task lighting.
3. Learn the flexibility LED lighting design provides in coping with the latest Title 24 requirements.
4. Understand more fully how color rendition is translated into LED CRI and Color Temperature for various residential projects.

Small Firm Forum: I Am an Architect

Annual Show and Tell

Thursday, January 8, 2015
Free for AIA members / $3 for non-members
Brown bag lunch (BYO lunch)

1.5 CES LUs


Host: Donald Wardlaw, AIA

Program Description:

This month three of our own will share their work with us.

Andus Brandt, Architect
Blackbird Designs

I am an architect because….

I continue my practice as a small firm architect for many reasons. Here are three: for one thing, I like what I do for the most part, so why quit? For another, my family needs financial support. And the third, I have a real passion for Aikido, a martial art that teaches non-violent defense and is a path to compassion.

Richard Morrison
Architect-Interior Designer

I am an historical architect because….

By the eighth grade I realized that the architect who lived next door had the coolest profession of any of the adults I knew. I was actually picking my freshman high school courses with the intent of getting into architecture school.

I still think architecture is pretty cool, but in residential practice, sometimes clients and contractors don’t value architects as much as they should. I’m highly interested in finding ways for residential architects to define value for our clients beyond “good design”, and using leading-edge technology and procedures to support and maximize small firm revenue generation. (Ultimately, we should be better paid! And have more fun!) I expect to share some provocative ideas about this with the group.

G. Barry Wagner, Architect

I am an architect because….

I like making things that delight the eye, require technical and physical talent to execute, and make folks go “wow.” This may be a piece of furniture, a chicken feeding station, a pocket door, a house…it hardly matters.
Solving problems seems to keep me out of trouble creating problems.

I’ll show some photos of an accessory structure that I recently completed that includes my my office, a garage/workshop, and a guest studio.
Learning Objectives:

At the end of this program, attendees will…

1. Gain insight into the variety of service niches other small firms are exploiting.
2. Learn how other small firms juggle design, client needs and business realities.
3. Gain insight into the important relationship between inner drive and rewarding work.
4. Gain a useful perspective that ties one’s own challenges to those others face and master.


Green Building and Integrated Project Delivery

a Small Firm Forum

Thursday, November  6, 2014
Free AIA Members/$3 Guests. Open to All.

AIA East Bay
1405 Clay St
Oakland, CA
(510) 464-3600

1.5 CES LUs

Ann Edminster will discuss preliminary findings from a project underway by the Commission for Environmental Cooperation’s Green Building Task Force, which she chairs. The Commission for Environmental Cooperation has been charged by its three federal government partners – the US, Mexico, and Canada – with advancing the practice of green building across North America. Creating a guide to adoption of “integrated design and delivery,” or ID2, is one of the ways the CEC has been pursuing this agenda.

“Integrated design” is a term that has been in use in the green building community for at least 10-15 years, possibly longer, and refers to an unconventional approach to building design that engages all the principal design team members early during the design process, working together instead of separately and sequentially. The aim of integrated design is to derive the benefits of the collective knowledge and insights of all the team members in order to achieve a project that is better-integrated and therefore higher-performing from a green building perspective.

Independently and more recently, the term “integrated project delivery” was introduced by members of the AIA California Council working in collaboration with attorney Howard Ashcraft, a partner at HansonBridgett LLP. Howard’s career has a strong focus on improving the construction process to reduce conflicts and achieve better outcomes for all the principal participants in the construction process. One of the mechanisms developed to further this end has been the development of new standard contract forms for pursuit of integrated project delivery. Ashcraft and AIACC consider integrated project delivery to take place only when these contract forms are used. In a more generic sense, however, integrated project delivery is distinguished from integrated design primarily by the explicit inclusion of the construction phase in the team approach to integration – it doesn’t stop with design.

The prime contractor working on the project is Building Green, with assistance from Bill Reed, John Boecker (authors of the main text on integrated design, as well as of the ASTM standard), Howard Ashcraft, Edminster, and others. Edminster will preview the guide for presentation attendees.

About the Presenter:

Ann V. Edminster, M. Arch., founder and managing principal of Design AVEnues LLC, is an expert environmental and net-zero energy design consultant, green building teacher, speaker, and author. She guides project teams in the creation of award winning, high performance residential projects, both single- and multifamily. She was a principal developer of LEED for Homes and in 2009 authored the first book on zero net energy homes, Energy Free: Homes for a Small Planet.

Learning Objectives:

  1. After completing this program participants will understand the use of the guide for green building and integrated project delivery.
  2. After completing this program participants will understand the roles of the respective players in an integrative process.
  3. After completing this program participants will understand how to structure team collaboration to greatest effectiveness.
  4. After completing this program participants will be able to set the groundwork for an integrative design to effect a positive project outcome.


The Benefits of Working with a Lighting Designer

a Small Firm Forum

Thursday, October 2, 2014
Free AIA Members/$3 Guests. Open to All.

AIA East Bay
1405 Clay St
Oakland, CA
(510) 464-3600


Hosted by Maggie Maiers, AIA.

1.5 CES LUs

Working with a Lighting Designer has many benefits.

Professional Lighting Designer Caprice Carter’s specialty is keeping abreast of the most cutting edge lighting technologies on the market and finding clever (appropriate) applications for them. Every space is different and, therefore, requires it’s own approach for a lighting solution. In this Small Firm Forum, Caprice Carter addresses functional as well as aesthetic aspects of Lighting Design, and will detail how this can enhance the architecture and magic of the space.

About the Presenter:

Caprice Carter, Caprice Carter Lighting Design. After working in the Interior Design field for a number of years Caprice found herself drawn to the field of Lighting Design. In 1988 Caprice apprenticed with Lewis Rosenberg from Electric’s Lighting and Design and thereafter with Becca Foster Lighting Design, going on to manage the Lighting Dept. at Limn Co., a modern, cutting edge furniture and lighting showroom. In 1998 Caprice started her own business, Caprice Carter Lighting Design, and has worked on many complex and interesting projects since. Caprice particularly enjoys residential, restaurant, retail and landscape lighting design projects and has also taught Lighting Design classes at the Academy of Art, San Francisco.

Learning Objectives:

1. Learn the many benefits of using a Lighting Designer and when to bring them in on a project.
2. Learn what a Lighting Designer provides to the project and the three phases of the Designer’s  services.
3. Learn the “ins and outs” of Kitchen Lighting Design with the latest Title 24 requirements.
4. Using a case study, learn the aspects of a Lighting Designer’s involvement with a residential remodel/addition project.

Small Firm Forum: Berkeley West Branch Library

Thursday, September 4, 2014
Location: Berkeley West Branch Library, 1125 University Avenue, Berkeley (east of San Pablo Avenue)
Everyone is welcomed to attend an optional no-host lunch at Priya North and South Indian Cuisine, 2072 San Pablo Avenue (west side of first block south of University).
Free and open to all. Click here to RSVP.


Join the Small Firm Forum of a tour of the West Berkeley Public Library in September!

The 9,500sf West Berkeley Public Library situated along bustling University Ave is projected to be a net zero energy (and potentially net positive) with a EUI of 17kbtuh/sf-yr.

The project’s building team, led by Harley Ellis Devereaux’s GreenWorks Studio, is targeting LEED Gold. The $5.5 million library is one of the first projects to take part in the California Public Utility Commission’s ZNE Energy Pilot Program, supported by the Pacific Gas and Electric Co.

Passive design strategies like natural ventilation, radiant heating/cooling, and daylighting helped meet the aggressive energy goals. Prevailing winds off the Bay made natural ventilation a logical approach. With the help of CFD modeling, the design team devised a clever natural ventilation scheme that uses negative pressure to pull in fresh air at the rear of the building and then circulate it through the interior spaces.

Speaker Bio:

Luciana Arim has 15 years of architectural experience in the State of California and brings with her an international perspective having worked abroad. Her skills include the full range of processes critical to successful projects, from budgeting to cost estimating to construction administration. In addition, her excellent communication and coordination skills are key to her experience in Design Reviews and the Building Permitting Process.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this program, attendees will:

  1. Understand how a climate action plan can impact a project for ZNE.
  2. The importance of setting design criteria for design build systems like PV or solar thermal where ZNE in a highly integrated building is concerned.
  3. For systems like PV, ensuring how you design the interface between the roof and their racks is future proof and accounts for roof slope.
  4. Understand how the systems and design strategies work for this particular ZNE building in its specific climate and site.

West Berkeley Library

Nifty New Products

Thursday, June 10, 2014
Free for AIA Members; $3 Non-Members; bring your lunch, drinks provided.

1.5 CES LUs

Sole residential practitioner and co-chair of Small Firm Forum Linda Randolph, AIA will share new, innovative products from PCBC and beyond.

In this forum, you are encouraged  to share finds from your own practice and learn about products from PCBC this year. “There are some very exciting things out there. We all need to periodically enliven our practices with new products that address changing codes, new technology, and client needs. Learn about things that will make our lives easier, be better for the environment and add pizzazz to our designs. We all need to have a wider selection of products to choose from,” says Linda.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this forum, attendees will:

1. Be able to describe two out of three  innovative ADA compliant products.

2. Be able to state at least three advances in LED  lighting.

3. Be able to describe two out of three construction products that save time in detailing and building, as well as being environmentally friendly.

4. Describe  a new structural product that saves time in the field and is a solution to problem areas.

2013 Major California Building Code and Residential Code Changes

Thursday, May 8, 2014
Noon – 1:30PM

Free Members $3 Non-members
1.5 HSW/CES LU’s

The program will give an overview of the major changes to the newly adopted 2013 California Building Code and California Residential Codes. The program will focus on code changes that impact small firm practice in residential or smaller commercial projects.

Speaker Bio:

Steven Winkel, FAIA, PE CASp  joined The Preview Group, Inc. in 2005 and manages the firm’s San Francisco Bay Area office. Steve has over 39 years experience as an architect, engineer, landscape architect and recently became certified as an access specialist in California. Steve is currently serving his third 4-year term as the Architect member of the California Building Standards Commission. He is also on the Board of Directors of the National Institute of Building Sciences and is chair of the FEMA/NIBS Code Resource Support Committee which reviews and comments on building code changes related to seismic safety. Steve has served as chair of the American Institute of Architects Codes and Standards Committee. He is the author, along with noted illustrator Frank Ching, of the well-received book Building Codes Illustrated for John Wiley & Sons, now in its third edition. As both an architect and civil engineer with experience in project management, code analysis and quality assurance reviews, Steve brings a unique perspective and broad knowledge base to the firm’s work.

Learning Objectives:

1. Identify significant changes made in the basic 2012 IBC that are included in the 2013 CBC.
2. Identify California-specific changes to the 2010 CBC in the 2013 CBC.
3. Identify significant changes made in the basic 2012 IRC that are included in the 2013 CRC.
4. Identify California-specific changes to the 2010 CRC in the 2013 CRC.
5. Identify changes made by California in CBC Chapter 11A regarding access to covered multifamily housing.
6. Identify additional modifications to the 2010 ADAS by California in CBC Chapter 11B for Public Accommodations.

Small Firm Forum: Water Conservation, Stormwater Management, and Bay Friendly Landscape Measures

Thursday, April 3, 2014
Open to all Free for AIA Members $3 Non Members; bring your lunch, drinks provided
1.5 CES LU’s

There are  several regulations and guidelines dealing with landscape requirements for water conservation, waste reduction and storm water treatment. Learn when they may apply to residential or small commercial projects and what submittal documentation may be required for design review and or building permits. 

Speaker Bio:

Peter Wolfe is a registered landscape architect, allied member, and Bay Friendly Qualified Designer/Advisor/Rater. His  design practice focuses  on site planning and design for sustainable residential and commercial projects throughout the Bay Area.

Learning Objectives:

1. Have a basic understanding of several landscape requirements for residential and small commercial projects.

2. Be able to identify when landscape water conservation requirements apply to our projects understand documentation requirements for submittal reviews.

3. Learn how to identify when Bay Friendly Landscapes become a requirement for a project and understand documentation requirements for submittal review.

4. Learn what the tipping points are for requiring project storm water treatment measures, storm water treatment measures for small projects, low impact design LID, what they look like and general documentation requirements.



Small Firm Forum: Are you ready for July 1, 2014?

Thursday, June 5, 2014
Open to all
Free for AIA Members $3 Non Members; bring your lunch, drinks provided
Please RSVP to for proper room set-up.
1.5 CES/HSW LU’s

Title 24 part 6, California’s energy standard, will be changing for all projects submitted for permit starting July 1, 2014.

Gina Rodda of Gabel Associates, LLC, will be presenting a brief overview of the change in regards to low-rise residential buildings (new construction, additions and alterations) including:

  • Envelope
  • HVAC
  • Water Heating
  • Lighting
  • Solar Ready
  • Title 24 forms and HERS registration

Ms. Rodda’s presentation is just one of the free trainings, tools and resources provided by the California Statewide Codes & Standards Program and designed to improve compliance with the state’s energy code. The program aims to advance the adoption and effective implementation of energy efficiency measures and building practices to lock in long-term energy savings. The program is funded by California utility customers under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission and implemented by Pacific Gas and Electric Company, San Diego Gas and Electric, Southern California Edison and Southern California Gas in support of the California Energy Commission.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Be able to identify the key changes to the Title 24 part 6 energy standards.
  2. Be aware of resources available in support of the Title 24 part 6 energy standards from the CEC and CA Statewide Codes & Standards.
  3. Be able to identify the forms required for Title 24 part 6 and when they are required by the building department.
  4. Know where to go for further education and learning regarding the 2013 changes to Title 24 part 6.