Re: Contruction, Architects and Building Commissioning
From: Ann Zabaldo (
Date: Fri, 27 Jul 2007 09:26:22 -0700 (PDT)

On Jul 27, 2007, at 11:41 AM, Sharon Villines wrote:

We didn't use this firm for our engineering study because they had
provided some project supervision and had consulted with our
developer so we wanted a third eye. They also do commissioning and
many other services.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing
Washington DC

Actually, Sharon, Architectural Support Group (ASG) was OUR third eye during construction for project supervision of the green and sustainable technologies we were installing. ASG was on our payroll not the developer's.

TVC was a PATH grantee (I've forgotten what PATH stands for ... but it's something like: Partnership in Advancing Technology and Housing). We are also a case study for DOE's High Performance Data Base.

At the time of our construction we were using state of the art energy systems and construction materials the developer was unfamiliar with. We hired one of ASG's principals to "oversee" the proper installation of these systems. It was money well spent and I urge groups to hire an independent party to "oversee" the construction process in general. Construction is a HUGELY complicated process. There can never be enough eyes.

In fact, when the developer of Takoma Village where Sharon and I live, started his second cohousing project, Eastern Village, which is LEED certified Silver, he INSISTED that the community hire a third party to represent its interests because he recognized the value of having such a person on board from the beginning. It can reduce a lot of upset down the road when issues can be more easily addressed during construction than after move-in when tearing down walls and digging up foundations are an expensive proposition. Eastern Village hired ASG.

And even when you have a third party involved from the beginning representing your interests you still should have a deficiency report done as Sharon suggests. Buildings & building systems are very, very, very complicated. Third party oversight during construction and a deficiency study after move-in are cheap insurance.

Best --

Ann Zabaldo
Takoma Village Cohousing
Washington, DC

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