ACE Industry Collaboration Roundtable Recording

There is no question the Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC) industries are facing unique challenges at this time. In a spirit of collaboration, the Virginia components of the American Institute of Architects, American Council of Engineering Companies, and the Associated General Contractors hosted a joint roundtable discussion for members on Thursday, July 23, 2020.

Check out the recording below.

ACE Virginia Joint Owner Forum Recap with Southwestern Virginia Local Governments

ACE is a joint venture of the American Institute of Architects, Associated General Contractors, and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Virginia, to educate and promote best practices of the design and construction industry. In 2018, its inaugural year, ACE held three collaborative forums that connected the design and construction professions with those that hire them. What resulted was an improved understanding of what makes projects successful from the perspective of all stakeholders, an intimate forum for business development, and an opportunity to learn about future projects.

On November 13th, ACE had its fourth and final Joint Owner Forum of the year in Roanoke. This year, we have engaged various local governments from around the Commonwealth. This session hosted stakeholders and decision-makers from the City of Roanoke, Roanoke County, Radford City Schools, and the Town of Blacksburg.

The panel consisted of the following participants:

Nell Boyle, LEED AP BD+C – Sustainability/Outreach Coordinator [City of Roanoke]
Randy Formica, PE – Director of Engineering and GIS [Town of Blacksburg]
Robert Graham – Superintendent [Radford City Schools]
Terry Kemp – Architect I [City of Roanoke]
Tarek Moneir – Acting Director of Development Services [Roanoke County]
Morgan Yates, CBO – Building Commissioner [Roanoke County]

Below is a snapshot of the key points discussed:

Upcoming Projects

  • Utility, water/wastewater and infrastructure projects in the Town of Blacksburg
  • Radford City Schools has aging buildings and facilities, estimated $34-$36M needed for all capital improvements for schools
  • Roanoke County is focused on transportation (419 corridor), stormwater and stream restorations. The County recently installed a new permitting system to facilitate the design and construction process
  • The City of Roanoke will have a bridge renovation, two new fire stations upcoming, bus transfer station, and begin the planning of an “Innovation Corridor” to connect to Virginia Tech facilities

Procurement Methods

  • Annual services contracts are utilized frequently in this region by municipalities
  • The PPEA process has been used for a police department, library, safety center, parking garage, and school projects. It appears that the Town of Blacksburg and Roanoke County have used this project delivery method most frequently
  • CM-at-Risk has not been used by any entity yet

Energy Efficiency and Sustainability

  • The City of Roanoke has made the most progress in terms of documentation and benchmarking of sustainability. By the end of 2024, its goal is to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions by 12.5% for municipality buildings and 10% for other community structures. These are new goals as the City has continually been decreasing GHG emissions over the recent years. The City tracks energy usage in all facilities.
  • The City of Roanoke’s standard is to design and build to LEED Certification
  • Roanoke City Schools will be engaging in a large ESCO contract soon
  • Radford City Schools is looking for opportunities to save money with utilities. Honeywell recently did a study to show building energy inefficiencies which indicated that the City spends about $50k per month in utilities.
  • The Town of Blacksburg has a Sustainability Manager. All new buildings are expected to be designed to LEED Silver

Regional Issues

  • Transportation: Valley Metro Service – extending service between the City and County
  • Balancing bicycle/pedestrian/automobile networks
  • Affordable housing and Senior living units
  • Urging of the General Assembly to have funding reach rural Virginia
  • 40%-50% increase in wages to keep a good labor force in construction; increasing minimum wage may compound this issue
  • It is difficult to project escalation in capital programs budgeting. Some projects have been bid two to three times because of the increase in construction costs

Best Practices for Success

  • Responsiveness
  • Demonstrating control of the schedule
  • Remember that you are an extension of our staff
  • Come to an interview and show that you have put some thought into the design challenge
  • Prove your ability to allow collaboration and engagement, especially with the community
  • Call our locality the RIGHT name
  • When the project is complete – come back and check on it
  • Accountability, Communications, and Trust (ACT)
  • Get to the point in your RFP proposal (BLUF – Bottom Line Up Front)
  • Customer service and develop effective ways of communication
  • Ask for a debrief if you don’t get the project
  • It can be helpful if the A/E is able to share projected energy savings from preliminary energy models during the RFP and interview stage.

Our Joint Owner Forum series will continue in 2020 so please stay tuned!

ACE Joint Owner Forum: Nov. 13, 2019

The next ACE Joint Owner Forum will include local government owners from the Southwest Virginia area.  The event will occur on Wednesday, Nov. 13 in Roanoke.  ACE is a joint venture of the Virginia components of AIA, ACEC, and AGC to educate and promote best practices of the design and construction industry.

 

Location: Blue Ridge Hotel and Conference Center

Time: 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. for Forum, 4:00 – 5:00 Networking/Cocktail Reception

Fee: $50 (Members only)

CEU: 2 LU

Register online.

Hampton Roads ACE Event Recap

“If you are on a term contract as a design consultant and you are sitting around waiting for us to give you task orders, then you are doing it all wrong – Insert yourself into our team”
— Tom Nicholas, PE; City of Virginia Beach Facilities Engineer

ACE Virginia Joint Owner Forum Recap with Hampton Roads Local Governments

ACE is a joint venture of the American Institute of Architects, Associated General Contractors, and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Virginia, to educate and promote best practices of the design and construction industry. The unique component to these forums is that it includes those with the authority to hire architects, engineers, and contractors or those that possess influence during the selection process of these professionals.  What has resulted is an improved understanding of what makes projects successful from the perspective of these key stakeholders, an intimate forum for business development, and an opportunity to learn about future projects. 

In 2019, ACE plans to hold four collaborative events that engage various local governments from around the Commonwealth.  On April 23rd, ACE had its second forum of 2019 in Downtown Norfolk.  This event hosted stakeholders and decision makers from the Cities of Norfolk, Suffolk, Chesapeake, and Virginia Beach.  The event was followed by a networking reception that allowed for more intimate conversation with the panelists.

The panel consisted of the following participants:

Wilbur Hogge, PE – Facilities Construction Manager [Chesapeake]
Gerry Jones, RA – Director of Capital Programs [Suffolk]
Oliver Love, Jr.  – Building Systems Bureau Head [Norfolk]
Tom Nicholas, PE – Facilities Engineer [Virginia Beach]

As a region, issues of importance that were identified were transportation, resiliency, and environmental stewardship.  As such, great dialogue was exchanged regarding sustainability, upcoming projects, how to get work, and procurement vehicles.  Each segment included the audience in a question and answer period that proved to be engaging and valuable. The below sections provide a high-level overview of the discussion. 

Sustainability:  In general, each municipality is a firm believer in the importance of sustainability and has made it an integral component of the project delivery process.  As such, design professionals and general contractors are required to design and construct to identified sustainability standards.  However, it is not uncommon for the municipality to apply for an official sustainability certification only in special circumstances.  The conversation on sustainability also included resiliency.  For example, the City of Chesapeake requires structures to be built 18 inches above the 100-year floodplain.

Upcoming Projects:  Each panelist provided insight on current and upcoming capital projects.  In general, public safety projects are being undertaken throughout the region (ex: fire stations).  It is noted that the City of Virginia Beach is investing significantly in stormwater management projects, to the tune of $644M over the next five years, to counteract sea-level rise. 

How to Get Work: 

The below outlines the most prominent tips offered by these decision-makers:

  • Honesty – Tell me if the proposed budget is not going to be feasible
  • Quality Control – Please incorporate our review comments
  • Bring the team that will be doing the work to the interview
  • A regional presence can be important – You are an extension of our staff
  • Keep to the schedule
  • Be realistic with your construction cost estimates so that the City can have realistic expectations on bid-day
  • If you are on a term contract as a design consultant and you are sitting around waiting for us to give you task orders, then you are doing it all wrong – Insert yourself into our team

Procurement Vehicles: Each locality uses a variety of procurement methods for project delivery identifying advantages and disadvantages of each.  Design-Bid-Build continues to be the most common delivery method, however, each Owner shared their concerns about lack of control over the selection of the general contractor.  Norfolk and Suffolk have used Design-Build on projects and find it favorable.  It appears that Construction Manager At-Risk and PPEA models are the least utilized.  It was noted that annual services contracts, or term contracts, are great vehicles for design consultants to build relationships with City staff.    

The next forum will take place in September with Northern Virginia area local governments.

ACE Virginia: Joint Owner Forum with Local Government Clients from the Greater Richmond Region of Virginia

ACE is a joint venture of the American Institute of Architects, Associated General Contractors, and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Virginia, to educate and promote best practices of the design and construction industry.

Join an interactive panel discussion with key local government decision-makers to discuss upcoming projects and ways the industry can best collaborate with the respective bodies. To date, Hanover County, Henrico County, Chesterfield County and City of Richmond leadership have been invited to participate.

Legislators will be invited to the reception. Learn more or register online.

Please join us in thanking our sponsors:

Pella Windows of Virginia

The Garland Company

ACE Virginia – April 23, 2019 Joint Owner Forum

Join us for the Joint Owner Forum with Local Government Clients from the Hampton Roads region of Virginia.

Panelists scheduled to appear are:
Gerry Jones – Suffolk Director of Capital Programs
Oliver Love, Jr. – Norfolk Senior Project Manager
Tom Nicholas, PE – City of Virginia Beach, Facilities Engineer, Department of Public Works
Wilbur Hogge, PE – Chesapeake Public Works Department, Facilities Division, Construction Facilities Manager

Registration for this event is open to AIA Virginia members only.
Want to become a member? Contact Cathy Guske, cguske@aiava.org

Date: Tuesday, April 23
Time: 2:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Cocktail Reception Following
Location: Marriott Norfolk Waterside
Cost: $50
AIA CES: 2 Learning Units

Space is limited.

Sponsors:
Pella Windows and Doors
Keith Fabry
Clark Nexsen
S.B. Ballard Construction Company


To sponsor this event, contact Judy Cheadle at jcheadle@aiava.org

AIA Virginia Hosts Joint Forum with Richmond-Region Public Owners in February

AIA Virginia, in collaboration with ACEC Virginia and AGC Virginia, hosts its first 2019 ACE Virginia event on Feb. 21, 2019 from 2:30­–4:30 p.m. at the Richmond OMNI. Participants will join an interactive panel discussion with key Richmond-region government decision-makers to discuss upcoming projects and ways the industry can best collaborate with the respective bodies. To date, leaders from Hanover County, Henrico County, Chesterfield County and City of Richmond have been invited to participate.

The interactive discussion will be followed by a cocktail reception from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Key Virginia legislators will be invited to attend the reception as an opportunity for the industry to connect policy and law-makers.

ACE Virginia is a joint venture of the American Institute of Architects, Associated General Contractors, and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Virginia, to educate and promote best practices of the design and construction industry.

Registration is open to members and the fee is $50. Space is extremely limited.

Register online.

ACE Virginia is sponsored by:

Pella Windows of Virginia
The Garland Company

ACE Higher Ed Event Recap

ACE is a joint venture of the American Institute of Architects, Associated General Contractors, and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Virginia, to educate and promote best practices of the design and construction industry. On September 25, ACE had its final Joint Owner Forum of 2018 at the Craddock Terry Hotel in Lynchburg. This session engaged our higher education stakeholders and decision makers from Radford University, Virginia Military Institute, and Virginia Tech. The event was followed by a networking reception that allowed for more intimate conversation with the panelists.

The panel consisted of the following participants:

Ed Gillikin, AIA – Panel Facilitator and Principal of KOP Architects
Mike Biscotte, PE – RU Director of Facilities Planning and Construction
Col. Dale Brown – VMI Institute Planning Officer
Dwyn Taylor – VT Assistant Vice President of Facilities Operations and Construction
Paul Ely – VT Assoc. Director of Capital Construction and Renovations

Great dialogue was exchanged regarding SWaM, upcoming projects, how to get work, best ways to engage with the university and procurement vehicles. Each segment included the audience in a question and answer period that proved to be engaging and valuable. It quickly became evident that each university expected the design team to know the procedures specific to its institute in order to complete work effectively and efficiently.

SWaM: Each university is committed to the success of Small, Women, and Minority-owned businesses. It was noted that each institute is seeking to engage with design firms who have not yet worked on campus. For example, Radford University has used six different design firms for six different capital projects. VMI has recently selected new firms to help complete its work and shared that consultants who work on “post” must be ready to be a visible component of the VMI family. Virginia Tech representatives encouraged those in attendance to use ACE as a networking vehicle to improve SWaM participation in the Commonwealth.

Upcoming Projects: Each panelist provided insight into current and upcoming capital projects. Col. Brown shared that several renovation projects were in the design phase using CM-at-Risk and a designer had recently been selected for a new $40M aquatics center. As Radford evaluates its capital needs, Mr. Biscotte looks to turn to renovating and repurposing existing buildings. Virginia Tech’s list of opportunities were expansive and included key projects such as the replacement of Slusher Hall, Jamerson Athletic Center Fourth Floor renovation, McComas Hall and War Memorial Gymnasium renovations.

How to Get Work: Col. Brown shared that a firm’s marketing is the last job it closed out. Each panelist admitted that they call one another to inquire about working with a firm before making the hire. The panelists shared what they expect from those who pursue work on their campus. There was a general consensus amongst the panel that their desire was for every architect who wants to be a part of their team to know and understand previous studies and master planning efforts. Teams are viewed negatively during interviews when they ask questions that demonstrate their ignorance of these existing documents. In addition, thoughts were shared in what they want to see in the RFP responses and in interviews.

Below outlines the most prominent tips offered by these decision-makers:

  • Make sure the proposal addresses all of the requested criteria (Have your staff grade your RFP proposal against the RFP requirements before submitting)
  • Know the CPSM [or similar document for Tier III institutes]
  • Content is valued higher than “Slickness” in interview presentations
  • Show the full team in your proposal (not just the Architects)
  • The amount of time the team members have worked together is important
  • The Project Manager has to speak up in the interview
  • Make Sure the Interview Team is “THE TEAM”
  • Typos indicate that the team does not pay attention to details
  • Ask for a debrief meeting after you win the job!

Best Ways to Engage: Time is everyone’s most valuable resource. “Meet and greets” are handled differently at each university. For example, Virginia Tech does not take one-on-one meetings. Instead, it hosts a quarterly outreach meeting for all firms who are interested.

Procurement Vehicles: It was shared that a variety of procurement vehicles are used between the three institutes. Virginia Tech uses the most diverse methods that include Design-Build, Design-Bid-Build and CM-at-Risk. VMI and Radford use Design-Bid-Build and periodically will use CM-at-Risk. Term contracts are still a tremendously valuable tool for firms to gain experience at a respective institute and build productive working relationships.

The 2019 ACE Joint Owner Forum series will host local government clients to continue the productive dialogue. Please be on the lookout for “Save the Dates” as they become established.

ACE Virginia Joint Owner Forum Recap with Higher Ed Clients

ACE is a joint venture of the American Institute of Architects, Associated General Contractors, and the American Council of Engineering Companies of Virginia, to educate and promote best practices of the design and construction industry.

ACE had its second forum on June 18 at the College of William & Mary. Approximately 100 members from the three organizations attended to hear what those who lead the design and construction efforts at the College of William & Mary, Virginia Commonwealth University, Norfolk State University, and Old Dominion University had to say.

The panel consisted of the following participants:

Jeff Brancheau, PE – W&M Director of Facilities, Planning, Design & Construction
Mary Cox, FAIA – VCU University Architect
Jean Kennedy Sleeman, AIA – ODU University Architect
Terry Woodhouse – NSU Director of Capital Planning and Improvements

Great dialogue was exchanged regarding upcoming projects and long-range planning, how to get work, SWaM, sustainability, and procurement vehicles. Audience members shared their desires for university leadership to be transparent in consultant selection, provide uniformity in standards, and define the expectations of value engineering early in the design process. The event was followed by a networking reception that allowed for more intimate conversation with the panelists.

Upcoming Projects and Long Range Planning: Each university panelist spoke in depth of their upcoming capital projects and provided spectacular insight on its long-range planning. These opportunities for design and construction professionals crossed a wide spectrum of building types that include academic buildings for the sciences and athletic facilities. The panelists shared this information to allow attendees an opportunity to formulate a strategy in pursuing these opportunities.

How to Get Work: The panelists shared what they want to see in the RFP responses that design professionals submit. How can you stand out from the crowd in developing a proposal? Here are the top items these decision-makers look for:
• BCOM Experience (particularly for NSU)
• Project Experience as a Team
• Readability of Proposal
• What Do Your References Say About You?
• Similar Project Experience
• Who is the Project Manager?
• Make Sure the Interview Team is “THE TEAM”

SWaM: Each university is committed to the success of Small, Women, and Minority-owned businesses. There is a strong desire to be sustainable and use local talent while spreading the work to various firms. One key takeaway that was shared by a panelist is that leaders of SWaM firms should ensure that they receive training on procurement tools such as eVA.

Sustainability: This portion of the discussion touched not only building sustainability but site sustainability as well. For example, ODU faces significant challenges with implementing the required stormwater management policy. This is an issue that craves innovative design-thinking. There was a general consensus that LEED is the sustainability design metric being utilized at each campus.

Procurement Vehicles: The Term Contract is the procurement vehicle used by these universities to establish relationships with consultants, often on smaller-scale projects. This makes these contracts incredibly competitive. There was a general consensus by the panelists that this contract vehicle was preferred over Category B contracts. The use of Public-Private-Partnerships is rare for these universities. VCU has the most experience with this vehicle while others have not taken this step.

The next ACE Event is being planned for the end of September to host higher education clients in the western side of Virginia.