Re: Contruction, Architects and Building Commissioning
From: katie-henry (
Date: Sat, 28 Jul 2007 00:23:34 -0700 (PDT)
Allow me to clarify a few things about the two DC-area cohousing communities 
developed by Don Tucker and how our construction and post-occupancy processes 
differed. I detected some misunderstandings in earlier messages.

Takoma Village (TVC) is in DC. This is where Sharon lives. They moved in about 
seven years ago.

Eastern Village (EVC) is in Silver Spring, MD, about two miles from TVC. This 
is where I live. We moved in almost three years ago.

Both were developer-driven projects. Both buildings are very green, but EVC is 
the project that is LEED Silver certified.

Takoma Village was Don's first cohousing project. Sharon has described how they 
hired a consultant to do an engineering study after construction was complete, 
and how several problems were found that required extensive remediation.

As a result of this experience, Don required EVC to hire a construction 
advocate, at our own expense, to represent our interests during construction 
and catch problems early when they would be easier to fix. This shouldn't 
indicate any lack of confidence in our general contractor, who was fantastic, 
but EVC was a challenging project that involved completely rehabbing an old 
abandoned office building, implementing new construction techniques (such as 
extensive recycling, air quality controls, etc), and installing a green roof 
and lots of new-fangled green technology. The more eyes on the project, the 

We hired Stan Sersen, of the Architectural Support Group, for this position. It 
was an interesting situation because Stan was also employed by Don as a green 
building consultant and as the commissioning agent. There was concern about 
conflict of interest, since Stan would be working for both parties, but in the 
end it has worked out extremely well. 

Since Stan was involved during construction, we did not feel it was necessary 
to have a post-construction engineering study done. Stan did a final inspection 
of the building exterior and the common areas, but it was mostly cosmetic 
stuff. There was no need for him to pull apart walls and take off chunks of the 
roof because he'd been there when they were built.

As I mentioned, Stan was also the commissioning agent. He got our equipment up 
and running (extensive testing required), reviewed our O&M manuals, got us 
trained on the equipment, made sure we understood our warranties, made sure we 
got the necessary maintenance and inspection contracts in place, etc. Stan also 
did our reserve study. Stan is a man of many talents. 

We are now approaching the end of our three-year building structural warranty. 
Stan will be back soon to do another inspection and identify any issues that 
might be covered by this warranty.

In summary, I can't recommend highly enough that communities should have 
someone representing them on building issues, especially for a multi-family 
building. It ain't cheap, but it's money well spent.

Eastern Village Cohousing
Silver Spring, MD

Results generated by Tiger Technologies Web hosting using MHonArc.