2012 BCSLA Annual Conference, Showcase and AGM

The British Columbia Society of Landscape Architects has issued a a call for papers for its  2012 Annual Conference, Showcase and Annual General Meeting. Titled “Diversity”, the event will be held April 13-14, 2012 at the Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier, 138 Victory Ship Way, North Vancouver. The goal of this year’s conference is to illustrate the diversity found in the urban landscape. Allied professionals and interested practitioners are invited to submit abstracts for papers, presentations, panels, and/or designs Building on the theme, priority will be given to  submissions that reflect how diverse urban landscapes incorporate the strata of infrastructure, biology and culture in a symbiotic manner. This is an opportunity for design professionals, practitioners and key stakeholders, from the public and private sectors, academia and community, to share ideas and projects. For additional information including submission criteria and deadlines, visit http://www.bcsla.org/ or contact BCSLA Executive Director Tara Culham at admin@bcsla.org.

Elementary School Speaking Opportunity

A Vancouver-area primary school seeks an architect for a volunteer speaking opportunity. The Grade 2/3 class is currently engaged in a structures module and would welcome the opportunity to incorporate an architectural perspective. Those interested should contact teacher Ellen Cronk at (604) 668-6420.

AIBC Response to Provincial Government Proposals For a Modern Building Regulatory System

As architects and other design and construction industry participants are well aware, the provincial government has re-initialized its Modernization Strategy apropos improving the building regulatory system. In that regard, it has conducted a number of public consultations to gather observations, concerns and suggestions from various vested parties. A preliminary summary of this feedback has since been published.

Some individual AIBC members, including AIBC representatives, have attended meetings and corresponded with government about its preliminary summary. Those individual efforts are sincerely appreciated.

On December 19, 2011, the AIBC also provided a formal response to the summary report, one which reflects issues identified and shared by membership. The essence of that response is as follows:

  • The AIBC values the constructive and mutually respectful relationship that it has with the province’s Building and Safety Standards Branch. It should be noted that staff from the branch visited with the AIBC Regulatory Coordination Committee at the outset of this government initiative, have shared the summary directly with the institute, and invited further dialogue and participation in what is a complex initiative.
  • The AIBC is clearly supportive in a fundamental way. A well thought-out initiative to improve content, language, feasibility, implementation, enforcement and interrelationships among the various building regulations is welcomed. There are multiple ways by which this could come about, including:
    • technical advances (as per currently proposed BC Building Code changes);
    • removal of contradictory regulations (e.g. pool regulations, administered by a different ministry and which are both obsolete and at odds with related BCBC provisions);
    • uniform interpretation and application of regulations by all jurisdictions;
    • acceptance by authorities of their public responsibilities; and
    • a coordinated scheme under a single provincial agency that relies upon professional assurances (as per the architects and engineers statutes) while ensuring that other project participants are licensed by virtue of their demonstrated competence, and held to account.
  • However, the AIBC finds patently unacceptable the unsubstantiated statements and characterizations contained in the summary report that question both the integrity and performance of registered professionals, including how effectively professional associations respond to complaints. Such characterizations are simply without foundation. The AIBC is extremely conscious of and attentive to the statutory privilege by which architects are licensed and enabled to practise their profession. The institute has a clear, rigorous and effective complaint process that carries a full range of disciplinary consequences. While substantiated complaints regarding an architect’s competency are rare, they are dealt with briskly and shared publically. Any complaint received by the AIBC from a building official or municipal planner is given priority.
  • At the same time, it is incumbent upon those with actual evidence (not mythology) of architects providing less-than-professional standard to come forward, responsibly, in the public interest. This includes concerns related to “design documents, field reviews, coordination of registered professionals disciplines and dependence on contractors for design”, as referenced in the report. Similarly, there is no place for facile, unsubstantiated allegations; nor should they be echoed as “‘key indicators” in government documents.
  • The AIBC welcomes the prospect of auditing with the understanding that any auditors:
    • are highly knowledgeable;
    • know what they are looking for;
    • understand project roles, responsibilities and relationships;
    • do not introduce difficulties or impede project progress and success;
    • appreciate sound risk management (as opposed to avoidance); and
    • are themselves held accountable.

Auditing for areas that are demonstrated to be problematic, and where registered professionals and building officials have been unable to mutually resolve such matters, is welcomed. However, introducing an audit scheme without demonstrated need, would be a questionable allocation of both time and money with the potential of prejudicing a project and its participants.

  • The AIBC, in its considerable experience, positively reinforces the ”letters of assurance” process as one that is well-designed, well-documented and consistent with established professional standards of practice, conduct and insurability. In addition, this process benefits from being independent of alternate project delivery models and consultant engagement approaches as well as very effective in serving the public interest. It is a good example of sound government / industry collaboration.

The AIBC also expressed its willingness to continue working with industry and government, at all levels, to bring about an improved Modern Building Regulatory System for the benefit of all project participants ̶- primarily in the public interest. I have asked the province to keep us apprised of what the next steps might be, and look forward to the institute being an active participant in that process, which has profound potential.

Michael A. Ernest Architect MAIBC
Executive Director

Words and Images on Wood

Wood is part of our history and culture – from the homes in which we live and the places in which we work, to the furniture that surrounds us and the musical instruments we play. Today, wood plays a growing role in structural capacities including mid-rise buildings such as schools, offices and hospitals. With growing pressure to reduce environmental footprints, building designers are increasingly being called upon to balance functionality and cost objectives with reduced impact on the environment. Wood can help to achieve that balance. The reThink Wood initiative is a coalition of interests representing North America’s wood products industry and related stakeholders, with a shared passion for wood and the forests from which they come. ReThink invites you to share your personal story of how wood has inspired or made an impact in your life. Tell us why wood is your material of choice and how it impacts the project and environment you create. This public contest has two categories: Words on Wood and Images on Wood. Examples include:

  • Images of the forest and inspirational wood scenery
  • Buildings that use wood as a material
  • Wood used in public spaces
  • Wood and people
  • Poems
  • Essays
  • Stories

Prizes include an iPad 2 and a copy of Toward a Culture of Wood Architecture. The contest will run until February 29, 2012. For additional information and to enter, go to www.rethinkwood.com.

Architects of Change

By John Feffer, Huntington Post
December 20, 2011

More than a decade ago, I sat down with the head of the academy of architecture in Pyongyang. The school was housed in a large, drafty building in the center of North Korea’s capital. Students were building models out of cardboard and wood. A few were in front of state-of-the-art desktops using the computer-aided design software that had become indispensable to modern architects. But there was one element missing from the architecture program. North Korean builders paid virtually no attention to energy efficiency. More … 

Shock Survey Results as The AJ Launches Campaign to Raise Women Architects’ Status

By Richard Waite and Ann-Marie Corvin, The Architects’ Journal
January 12, 2012

Data from the AJ’s first Women in Architecture survey show that 47 per cent of women claim that men get paid more for the same work, and almost two-thirds believe the building industry has yet to accept the authority of the female architect. More … 

January AIBC Council Meeting

The next meeting of AIBC Council takes place Tuesday, January 17, 2012, at the AIBC offices (#100 – 440 Cambie Street, Vancouver) beginning at 11:30 a.m. Members, associates and the public are welcome to attend. We do ask that you confirm your attendance in advance by contacting Executive Assistant Katherine Rau by e-mail (krau@aibc.ca) or phone (604-683-8588, #335). Click here to see the agenda for Tuesday’s meeting (Amended).

Southern Interior Construction Association – 12th Annual Consultant/Contractor/Owner Workshop: Project Success Foundations – Fair, Open, and Transparent Processes

This event is designed to create a networking forum allowinginput from all partners in the construction process. This full-day workshop includes guest speakers Stephen Bauld, Purchasing Consultants International Inc, addressing public procurement, as well as Mike Demers, Jenkins Marzban Logan LLP, with a legal update on relevant construction issues, along with other valuable break-out sessions. Morning sessions include Apply the Builders Lien in the Real World, Using Online Bidding from Prime to Owner, MMCD – Transition from Gold to Platinum and Civil 3D, and Resolve Conflict with Practical Tips. The afternoon lineup includes Determine if the MMCD or the CCDC is the Right From for Civil/Structural Projects, Mitigate Risks and Liabilities of Green Buildings, Understand Each Others Risks and Roles, and Determine the Right Form of Procurement Method for Your Project. It takes place Thursday, February 2, 2011, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at the Delta Grand Okanagan Resort, 1310 Water Street, Kelowna. Register online at http://www.sica.memlink.org/Content%20Documents/Events/CCO%20General%20out%20of%20region%20Registration%202012.pdf.

6 core LUs

GLOBE 2012

The preliminary program of speakers for GLOBE 2012 is now available. This international conference, March 14-16 in Vancouver, will bring together more than 2,000 innovation professionals, corporate executives and government decision-makers to learn about the latest sustainable business strategies and best practices and explore new business opportunities within the green economy. Conference themes include: Corporate Sustainability; The Changing Economics of Energy; Finance & Investment; and Sustainable Cities. Visit http://2012.globeseries.com/ for details.

Net Zero Energy Home Tour

The Harmony House Project, a net zero energy, two-family home constructed as part of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s EQuilibriumTM Sustainable Housing Demonstration Initiative, incorporates a series of energy and environmental innovations that enable it to produce as much energy as it consumes, emit no greenhouse gases, and have a reduced environmental impact. Chris Mattock MRAIC, the designer of the project, will make a presentation covering the design approach and construction process as well as the lessons learned from this project. He will then lead a tour of the home and answer any questions. The home is located at 7990 Joffre Avenue, Burnaby (two blocks east of Boundary Road). The tour takes place Wedne3sday, January 18 at 1:00 p.m. This event is free but space is limited so pre-registration is required. Contact Chris Mattock at mattock@helix.net. For additional information, a web site devoted to the project is located at www.harmony-house.ca.