November 2017 Print

The Spectator


Thanks to these great sponsors.

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What's Next

Chapter Holiday Gala

December 07, 2017
6:00 PM - 10:00 PM

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Trattoria Marcella
3600 Watson Road
Saint Louis, MO 63109
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Join us at Trattoria Marcella for a night of revelry

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Old Courthouse Tour

December 14, 2017
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

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The Old Courthouse (east steps)
11 North 4th Street
St. Louis, MO 63102

Tour of one of our iconic buildings, led by the National Parks Service.

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2018 CDT Study Sessions Registration OPEN

December 01, 2017 12:00 AM to January 31, 2018 11:45 PM
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Masonry Institute of Saint Louis
1429 South Big Bend Boulevard
Richmond Heights, MO 63117
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REGISTER NOW for the 2018 CDT Study Sessions Series

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Construction Economic Forecast

January 11, 2018
5:30 PM - 8:00 PM

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Sheet Metal Local 36 Union Hall
2319 Chouteau Avenue
Saint Louis, MO 63103
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How the economy and legislation will impact construction in our area and region.

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From the Webmaster

stlouiscsi.org is continuing to evolve and we hope you find it useful.

If you have any issues at all with the site please don't hesitate to contact webmaster@stlouiscsi.org and I'll do my best to help.

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North Central Region News

When you get tired of Spring in Saint Louis and all of the associated flowers and birds and such you should consider Duluth! But seriously, our brothers and sisters at the Twin Ports Chapter are working to bring us a great region conference. April 12 - 14, 2018. A healthy contingent of Saint Louis members is going for networking and learning and to formally kick off our own push for the 2019 NCR conference in Saint Louis.

2018 conference registration information is coming soon.

2019 volunteer opportunities are already taking shape. Contact Steve Gantner or George Everding for details on how you can help us. 

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Guest Commentary

Time for change?

When I became a specifier, in 1985, all of the projects I worked on used the "traditional" design-bid-build (DBB) delivery method. And when I started my current job at BWBR in 1996, all we used was DBB. That shouldn't be a surprise because, at the time, there was nothing else, at least in the building construction industry.

The Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA) was founded in 1993, coincidentally the same year that USGBC appeared. At the time, DBIA made what seemed to be overly optimistic projections of a future dominated by design-build (DB), with a corresponding decrease in design-bid-build. That prediction is nearing fulfillment, though perhaps at a slower rate than first expected.

Despite the growing popularity of DB, my office has been involved in only a few these projects. Even so, we rarely do DBB projects. Instead, we now use almost entirely one of the CM (construction manager) delivery methods.

As we moved away from design-bid-build projects, we changed our specifications accordingly. During this period I noticed a number of changes in the way we did our work. In 1996, we completed design, issued bidding documents, and typically issued only one or two small addenda, often none. Today, in contrast, we break projects into at least two bid packs, issue documents before they are done, issue at least two large addenda, and finish design using shop drawing submittals.

To accommodate these changes, AIA, EJCDC, CSI, and other organizations have been creating new documents and procedures, and, more importantly, contractors and design professionals have been modifying their processes, though in a less coordinated way. The result is less than satisfactory.

In a nutshell, we're using documents and procedures that were written decades ago, designed specifically for DBB. Any other delivery method requires that we use our standard documents in at least slightly different ways, ignore some of them, and often force them to do something they weren't designed to do.

For each delivery method other than DBB, the contractor has already has some relationship with the owner, and has made at least some decisions about how to do the project. In DB and in CM agent projects, the owner and contractor have an agreement and an understanding about how the work will be done. In those cases, there is no point in specifying what has already been agreed to. Even when the CM is at risk, the CM's involvement in the project during design affects the designer's work, and it affects the contractor's work as well.

Because the contractor is already on board, the front end is altered drastically by removal of bidding requirements, and Division 01, much of which tells the contractor how the designer will run the project, can be greatly reduced.

Specifications, instead of telling the contractor what is required, frequently can simply document the decisions of the project team. For example, instead of specifying and detailing a specific waterproofing system and hoping the contractor uses something similar, the designer, contractor, and waterproofing sub get together and figure out the best way to do the waterproofing. The construction documents then document the decisions. The specifications, instead of being several pages long, can be reduced to a simple statement of which products will be used.

Scheduling also has changed. Instead of stating a single completion date for substantial completion, the contractor, owner, and designer discuss how the schedule will be determined and incorporated. Instead of issuing documents on a single document date, we respond to contractors who want documents when they need them, and that often means delivering incomplete documents so the contractor can seek subcontract bids for things that have yet to be designed. Taken to conclusion, all references to phases and bid packs can be eliminated, and the designer can issue information continually. A comprehensive document control system will ensure that everyone has access to only the current information.

The design phase and the construction document phases, then, change from pure design and specification to collaboration and documentation of what was agreed. That being the case, why do we continue to prepare construction documents for other delivery methods in the same way we do for DBB?

Perhaps it's time for the equivalent of a constitutional convention. Let's invite representatives of the traditional entities - owner, designer, and constructor - and their subcontractors, throw out all existing documents, and create new documents and procedures designed for the non-DBB delivery methods.

Are you feeling revolutionary, or are you content to struggle on with what you have?

© 2017, Sheldon Wolfe, RA, FCSI, CCS, CCCA, CSC

Agree? Disagree? Leave your comments at

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Past Program Highlights


During his presentation, “Do Green Buildings Really Save Energy?” John Scofield, Professor of Physics at Oberlin College, compared the verified energy use of completed LEED-certified buildings with the design modeling estimates and found little evidience of actual primary energy savings or reduced greenhouse gas emissions. "I look forward to the day when performance data show energy savings," Scofield (below left) said, "but we aren't there yet."


Scofield, demographer Wendell Cox (below right), physicist Manfred Kehrer (above right), and mechanical engineer Jim Woods spoke about their scientific research as part of the November 3 seminar "Meaningful Measurement of Building Performance" held at the Engineering Center of St. Louis.


The all day program reminded us that understanding science is essential to understanding construction. Our chapter is particularly grateful to Ujjval Vyas (above left), principal of Alberti Group, for rounding up all the speakers and for his generous sponsorship. Thanks to all our sponsors for their support.


2017-10 Program on Firestopping

Steve Gantner Andy Howell Jay McGuire

Panelists Andy Howell (Hilti), Jay McGuire (Fire Stop Technologies), and Steve Gantner (Cannon Design) had a cool conversation about firestopping.

Despite the potential liability if firestopping is incorrectly designed, specified, or installed, building professionals frequently have only a minimal understanding of this important building safety system. The panel, comprising a manufacturer’s representative, an installing contractor, and a construction specifier, provided practical insights on how to assure that your project ends up with an effective and code compliant firestopping system.

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Featured Photos

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