Re: Contruction, Architects and Building Commissioning
From: dahako (
Date: Sun, 29 Jul 2007 13:49:37 -0700 (PDT)

I second Katie's opinions on the value of getting a construction advocate for 
the group in developing a multifamily building.? I read every one of Stan's 
reports during construction.? For a while I was keeping a rough tally of how 
much money he saved us.? When it passed double his $45K fee almost 3 months 
before the end of construction, I stopped tallying. 

-Jessie Handforth Kome
Eastern Village Cohousing
Silver Spring, Maryland
"Where I am not actually present right now - I am at the beach with my kids and 
some Eno Commons Cohousing kids.? They grew up together, they keep in touch, 
and they are wonderful to travel with.? I hope the Sunday meal group at EVC 
makes sure my husbad gets fed tonight. ;>)"



-----Original Message-----
From: katie-henry [at]
To: cohousing-L [at]
Sent: Sat, 28 Jul 2007 3:23 am
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ Contruction, Architects and Building Commissioning

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 
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 
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 
a challenging project that involved completely rehabbing an old abandoned 
building, implementing new construction techniques (such as extensive 
air quality controls, etc), and installing a green roof and lots of new-fangled 
green technology. The more eyes on the project, the better.

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 
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 
representing them on building issues, especially for a multi-family building. 
ain't cheap, but it's money well spent.

Eastern Village Cohousing
Silver Spring, MD
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