VOLUME Construction Advisor Today   ISSUE 11   JULY 09, 2009


A recent energy audit of a three-story, 84,000-square-foot office building built in the 1980s led to a $32,000 yearly savings for the building's owners. Energy auditor and architect Larry Macias conducted the audit at Corporate Point, a Class A office building in Reno, Nev. After conducting a complete on-site evaluation of the building envelope and electrical and mechanical systems, Macias identified ways to help the building owner save more than $30,000 a year on the energy bill. 

The audit revealed that the structure was 95 percent out of compliance with today's energy standards, and electrical lighting inefficiencies alone added up to $5,000 a month on the electric bill. "Just adjusting the lighting to current code reduced the monthly [lighting] cost to $2,500," Macias said. "In Nevada, the Public Utility Company NV energy has the Sure Bet program that provides incentives for facilities that reduce an additional 10 percent better than code. We redesigned the lighting system tothe Sure Bet program standards and


The large volume of design documents found in many construction contracts poses a challenge to a contractor. The contractor is charged with knowledge of everything in these documents and is required to coordinate and harmonize the various provisions. Yet the contractor necessarily relies on numerous trade contractors to interpret the work requirements.

In one recent case, the contract drawings did not depict a wet pipe sprinkler system in the mechanical areas. The specifications, however, mandated sprinklering in “all areas of the building.” The contractor’s fire protection subcontractor reviewed the fire protection drawings, but apparently did not see the mandate in the specifications. The contractor claimed that a directive to sprinkler the mechanical areas was a constructive change in the work requirements. Basic principles of contract interpretation and a standard government contract clause made this an uphill fight.

I would like to know how you review and harmonize design documents. How much of this function in performed by your own personnel and to what extent do you rely on your trade contractors?

Don't miss next week's featured stories in Construction Claims Advisor:

  • Incomplete Drawings Did Not Create Conflict with Specifications
  • Contractor Reserved Weather Delay Claim from Global Release
  • Contractor Liable for Wages of Unlicensed Subcontractor





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