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Posts from the ‘Small Firm Forum’ Category

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.

Architects Working with Architects

Small Firm Forum
Thursday March 6, 2014
12:00PM – 1:30PM
Free for AIA Members $3 Non-Members
1.5 CES LU’s

Join the Small Firm Forum for a group discussion on how to successfully work with other architects when work loads expand and contract.

Sometimes we are lucky enough to have too much work. When you are busy, but not ready to hire an employee, working with another architect could be the solution.

In this group discussion meeting we will cover various aspects of working with other architects on a temporary or project basis. Topics will include developing good contracts, talking about communication methods, roles of participants, and CAD and graphic standards coordination.

Learning Objectives:

1. After attending this program participants will gain information on how to develop a good contract for working with other architects on a temporary consulting basis.

2. After attending this program participants will learn how to specify the CAD and graphic standards that will be used when working with other architects.

3. After attending this program participants will be able to clarify the roles of each architect when working with other architects.

4. After attending this program participants will learn how to make agreements on modes of communication and scheduling when working with other architects.

Small Firm Forum February: How to Stay Young and Learn Something

Thursday, February 6, 2014
12 noon to 1:30pm
Free for AIA members / $3 for non-members

Brown bag lunch (BYO lunch)

SFF Hosts:  Andus Brandt and Cameron Toler, Assoc. AIA 


Seasoned and not so young architects, and young but not so seasoned architects or near architects, will share insights on what is known, what was hard to learn, and what is mysterious.   We will discuss how to create a best practice environment and what a best practice environment is for a small firm.  We will discuss how to set up and run a business, and what those who have done so would do again, and do differently.  We’ll look at how IDP (Intern Development Program) hours can be met in a small firm.  It will be an open discussion and we will go where it takes us.  A date for the whole family.
Learning Objectives:

1.  Gain insight into lessons learned by those who have founded architectural practices.

2.  Learn how about the IDP needs of emerging professionals and how they might be fulfilled in a small firm.

3.  Gain a useful perspective on how small firm architects identify and incorporate best practice lessons into their practices.

4.  Gain a renewed appreciation of the benefits to practice, of young inquiring minds.

Small Firm Forum January: I Am An Architect.

SFF Presentation–Annual Show and Tell

Thursday, January 9, 2014
12 noon to 1:30pm
1.5 CES LUs

Free AIA members/$3 non-members. Bring your your lunch, drinks provided. All are welcome!

SFF Host:  Donald Wardlaw, AIA

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

Alex Bergtraun, AIA
Studio Bergtraun, AIA, Architects

I am an architect because…. 

I love the problem solving aspect of this art.

Getting the opportunity to create space for families to grow together in, cohabitating with the natural environment is the ultimate that I could hope for in a profession.  I attended CalPoly SLO at a time when The Sea Ranch and its Bay Area indoor-outdoor blend of architecture was at the forefront of California’s designed community approach and the architectural ideas it represents are at the core of what has inspired and motivated me.

Heidi Y. Granke, AIA
Heritage Architecture & Planning Group

I am an historical architect because…. 

The first spark was as a small child when I wondered why an ugly new building was being built next to a beautiful old abandoned building. My first year in college, I was discouraged about architecture and almost quit. I could only think of two other things that I might like – history and interior design. I thought that a degree in history would mean working as a college professor, which I was pretty sure was totally boring. I decided that I could always do interior design as an architect, but not the other way around, so I stayed in architecture. The more I got into architecture, the more I loved it. I now have a master’s degree in historic preservation and am a certified interior designer in Minnesota. So, I have now combined all of my interests – architecture, history and interior design.
Jerri Holan, FAIA

I am an architect because…. 

I care about my environment.  And environment means not just at the local scale of a building, or even the regional scale of a city, I care about my environment as a spatial concept that encompasses everything from the air that we breathe to the stars in the sky.  So, for me, as a human being, taking care of my world was important and somehow [at South Broward High School] this translated to taking care of buildings and I became an architect.  I also wanted to be an astrophysicist, but that’s another story. . .

Learning Objectives
At the end of this program, attendees will be able to:

1.  State three varieties of service niches that allow small firms to diversify.

2.  State three methods for balancing design, client needs and business realities.

3.  Define the relationship between inner drive and rewarding work.

4.  Give examples of three challenges to small firms and state multiple ways to solve those challenges.


Small Firm Forum Annual Luncheon

Thursday, December 5, 2013Noon-1:30pm
$20–Please  click here to register; if mailing a check, please ensure that it arrives by December 3rd.

All are invited to the Small Firm Forum’s Annual Lunch on Thursday, December 5th. This annual fellowship event brings together architects, design professionals, contractors, photographers, attorneys, etc, for a lunch catered by Cafe 15.  Come prepared to share a horror story of architecture or construction from 2013–a $25 gift certificate to Builders Booksource is awarded to the most “horrifying.”

Luncheon Menu:

A choice of the following sandwiches, all served on fresh Acme bread:

  • Roasted Turkey
  • Smoked Ham with Apple
  • Roasted Eggplant
  • Pastrami

Served with two delicious side salads: a fresh spring salad with apples, walnut and blue cheese crumbles and a hearty lentil salad with seasonal vegetables.

Plus wine, beer and sodas for only $20.00!

Conservatism in Engineering: What is it, Who needs it, and Who pays for it

November 7, 2013 


Free for AIA members / $3 for non-members
Brown bag lunch (BYO lunch)

1.5 LU

SFF Host:  Doug Coe, Architect

Presenter:  Joshua B. Kardon, S.E.

Joshua B. Kardon is a structural engineer practicing is Berkeley, and is licensed in California and in 7 other States.  He is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers, an allied affiliate of the AIA East Bay Chapter, and a former Board Member of the Chapter.

Program Description:

The Small Firm Forum meeting November 7, 2013 will include a presentation by Joshua B. Kardon, Structural Engineer on the topic of conservatism in engineering.  He will begin with an overview of structural engineering, who needs it, and what it is.  He will then define “conservative” and present several examples and consequences of engineering conservatism – or the absence of it – in the built environment.

Learning Objectives:

1.  Improve one’s understanding of what conservative engineering is.

2.  An improved understanding of where engineering conservative may be critical to the success of an architect’s project.

3.  An improved understanding of how to incorporate appropriate levels of engineering conservatism.

4.  An improved understanding of how and why to incorporate conservatism in a cost-effective manner.

Marketing Ideas for Developing Your Practice

A Small Firm Forum Roundtable Discussion

Thursday, October 3, 2013
Noon to 1:30pm
Free for AIA members / $3 for non-members
Brown bag lunch (BYO lunch)

1.5 CES LU

SFF Host:  Doug Coe, Architect

It would be wonderful to get all of our projects through client referrals, but that might not be keeping us busy. Getting better at marketing is an important part of practice for many of us.

What have you tried, and how has it worked for you?

Do you have marketing ideas that you have been reluctant to try out?

Are you getting the kind of projects you really want from your marketing efforts?

How can we educate ourselves about newly emerging marketing avenues?

Is it worth paying for professional guidance in marketing strategies?

Learning Objectives:

1.  Learn how other architect market their practice.

2.  Learn what marketing techniques are considered most successful.

3.  Learn what is new in marketing.

4.  Learn the pros and cons hiring a professional marketing consultant.