The design review is one of the early steps in the process of building for either EarthCraft Certification or ENERGY STAR® Qualification. Actually, it is really required for all “green” building programs in one form or another (or under one name or another). So, as I discuss the design review, my primary focus will be following the method used with EarthCraft since that is the primary focus of work performed by Synergy Custom Services.
Design Review Document Preparation
The very first step is the document preparation. For a Design Review to work best, the documents need to be in place.
- Project Plans: At this point, the project plans to not need to be the final "Approved for Construction" plans. In fact, if the plans have gone that far before the Design Review, we have some things out of order. The plans should be a review set that includes, architectural, civil, plumbing, mechanical, and electrical at minimum.
- Load Calculations: These should be provided by the mechanical engineer based on the plans and specs. One for each unit type in worst case orientation is required.
- EarthCraft Multifamily Worksheet for the project: Typically this is drafted by the architect since the architect initially has most of the information needed. Sometimes, this is put together by the TA in discussion with the architect and developer/owner. The most recent version of this sheet can be downloaded from the EarthCraft website or should be available from the TA. Once permission is cleared, Synergy plans to keep the most recent version of the worksheet as an resource on the Synergy website.
The documents listed above should be given to your EarthCraft Multifamily Technical Advisor (TA) at least two weeks prior to having the Design Review meeting. This allows the TA to review the documents and be familiar with the project prior to the meeting. Also, this will allow time for preliminary energy models to be developed if necessary. Finally, this will speed up the process of the meeting.VERY IMPORTANT NOTE:
The project must be registered with EarthCraft prior to the Design Review meeting.
Design Review Meeting Attendees
Like any project meeting for the purpose of moving the project forward and assuring it is headed down the right path, certain attendees MUST be present!
These are the minimally required attendees:
- EarthCraft Multifamily Technical Advisor
- Project owner/developer (or their representative if applicable)
- Mechanical Engineer
- General Contractor (project manager/superintendent)
These potential attendees are strongly recommended (it is understood that some of these may not even be contracted at this point):
- Civil Engineer
- Landscaping architect
- Trade representatives such as insulation/air sealing, framing, and HVAC
Design Review Meeting Agenda
There is a basic agenda for each Design Review. On top of this agenda, there may be specific issues that need to be discussed.
- Review the technical guidelines and design review packet.
- Confirm that the project can meet the required items and necessary points for certification (this includes a complete review of the project ECMF worksheet).
- Review the ECMF documentation requirements (ECMF forms, material specs, etc.)
- Review the required inspections and meetings following the Design Review (Kick-Off Meeting, Air Sealing inspections, HVAC Rough-In Tests, Insulation Inspections, and Final Inspections).
- Sampling procedures (if that will apply to the project
- Review the load calculation requirements and fresh air ventilation strategy
- Review of the preliminary energy model summary or prescriptive path checklist.
The meetings will also include a sign-in sheet that all attendees need to fill out. The TA will keep minutes of the meeting as well as notes for updating the ECMF worksheet. If any of the preliminary documents need to be updated after the Design Review meeting, the appropriate persons will be called upon to do so.
After the meeting is completed, the TA will provide a copy of the meeting reports and sign-in to the owner/developer within 5-10 days of the meeting. Copies of these documents should be forwarded by the owner/developer to the appropriate persons on the project team.
Once the meeting reports have been distributed, if any questions are raised, the TA should be contacted ASAP to review the questions and get clarification.
Thanks for your time in reading this review of the Design Review meeting. Please feel free to add any comments or questions in the comments area below.