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Jerome J. Lazar, RA, CCS, CSI, SCIP
Senior Member
Username: lazarcitec

Post Number: 1010
Registered: 05-2003
Posted on Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 09:40 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I've been asked by a client to update a current set of specifications for a multi-family project to satisfy LEED Certified requirements. A GC has been selected and a contract executed. Client has asked me to come up with a fee for the Additional Services.
My question is do I propose to modify each spec section that would be impacted by LEED requirements or do I offer an Addenda with each Spec Section's revisions noted.
Jeffrey Wilson CSI CCS
Senior Member
Username: wilsonconsulting

Post Number: 114
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 09:55 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Because addenda are intended to address minor revisions to documents, this would not be my first choice for adding LEED provisions, which will be extensive. The specs will be much easier to use during construction if requirements are integrated throughout.

On the other hand, I would expect the effort to update the specs to be about equal w/ either approach. Since there is a GC on board, I would ask if they have a preference, since they will be tasked w/ managing the certification process among their subs.
David J. Wyatt, CDT
Senior Member
Username: david_j_wyatt_cdt

Post Number: 39
Registered: 03-2011
Posted on Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 10:31 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I am sure Jerome knows this, but I have to say it anyway:

If a contract for construction has actually been awarded, then you will not issue an Addendum. Rather, you will issue a Proposal Request to the Contractor describing the proposed changes to the contract. You and your client will have to agree if it is better to modify each section of the specs or to issue a summary list of changes. A list could work, but if the contractor is unfamiliar with LEED projects, more detail than less would benefit whoever is doing CA for the project.

An Addendum is used to modify Bidding Documents prior to award of a contract. Addenda are intended to address any changes that will affect the proposed contract cost or time, irrespective of extent.

If a proposed change is not expected to result in a change in the contract sum or time, then you would describe the changes in an Architect's Supplemental Instruction.

Even after we attain our certifications, it is good to keep your reference materials handy in case we get rusty.
Senior Member
Username: tsugaguy

Post Number: 298
Registered: 06-2005

Posted on Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 10:54 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Before they go further they may wish to review prerequisites and make sure they are not precluded from even doing LEED at this late stage.
Robin E. Snyder
Senior Member
Username: robin

Post Number: 487
Registered: 08-2004
Posted on Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 10:55 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Which LEED program? The LEED for homes is very different from LEED NC and the requirements may not require revisions to many spec sections
Lynn Javoroski FCSI CCS LEEDŽ AP SCIP Affiliate
Senior Member
Username: lynn_javoroski

Post Number: 1723
Registered: 07-2002

Posted on Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 11:14 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Someone has to determine which LEED credits are being sought and consequently, which LEED certification will be attained, too. (In addition to determining if the prerequisites are satisfied)
J. Peter Jordan
Senior Member
Username: jpjordan

Post Number: 640
Registered: 05-2004
Posted on Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 11:28 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I have been involved in a project like this and certain portions of it (not having to do with specs) were a nightmare. The MEP was not familiar with LEED and had not done an ASHRAE simulation before (prerequisite). Finally wound up having someone else do it.

David is correct that it would not be an addendum. You could issue it as an ASI. If the contractor is familiar with LEED, you could cover it with a couple of Division 01 sections, one for the construction waste management, one of the commissioning, and one that would cover product related LEED requirements. It puts a lot of responsibility on the contractor, but it could work.
Wayne Yancey
Senior Member
Username: wayne_yancey

Post Number: 615
Registered: 01-2008

Posted on Thursday, November 14, 2013 - 11:30 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

One of the important and time consuming tasks will be the administrative and procedural requirement Sections in Division 01. For example, one recent project included the following:

A lot of the burden for reporting is upon the GC or CM. Expect to pay more $$$ for their efforts.

ken hercenberg
Senior Member
Username: khercenberg

Post Number: 645
Registered: 12-2006

Posted on Monday, November 18, 2013 - 10:20 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I presume that there is a LEED AP in charge of ascertaining whether the project can reasonably achieve Certification. As painful as it may be, consider sitting down with the GC and the LEED AP and figure out what needs to be done.

Having gone through this exercise late in the project too many times, in the event LEED NC or Homes is not easily attainable at this point, you may want to suggest that the Owner consider instead positioning the project to become easily eligible for LEED EB Certification once completed. Just a thought
J. Peter Jordan
Senior Member
Username: jpjordan

Post Number: 644
Registered: 05-2004
Posted on Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 07:50 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Ken makes an important point. I can make a pretty good stab at it, but without a LEED checklist, you may be inserting requirements that are irrelevant. You might try emphasizing that achieving LEED is a collaborative process. This will seem like more work up front, but should pay off down the way.
Jerome J. Lazar, RA, CCS, CSI, SCIP
Senior Member
Username: lazarcitec

Post Number: 1018
Registered: 05-2003
Posted on Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 01:49 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Ken, Peter, there will be a LEED Checklist, based on NC 2009, someday I hope to see it.
I have another question for my experienced LEED spec writing peers.
Its a general question, but Im going to use as an example, CIP concrete, lets say in a parking garage, for a LEED compliant project does one specify water based or solvent based water repellents for the decks, or both, or do I expect the LEED Consultant to direct me as to what to specify? If I spec both, who chooses which to use - Im assuming both are priced and at some point in the process of give and take, the product is selected. On my projects, the architect typically enforces what products are specified, the GC may try to introduce new and untried products, but that seldom works, as my clients have been well educated by countless litigation. We have found in South Florida, certain products work and many products don't. Its really not worth the $$$ savings to try unproven products, though many novices, usually northern developers and architects propose products they are familiar or comfortable with. Unfortunately that is a bad idea in South Florida. Some people never learn.
John Regener, AIA, CCS, CCCA, CSI, SCIP
Senior Member
Username: john_regener

Post Number: 674
Registered: 04-2002

Posted on Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 11:14 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

This discussion should be couched in the context of the role of the specificatons writer to "take care of" the construction technology issues of the project.

There is a lot of pressure on both in-house and out-sourced specifications writers to do more for less fee (or hourly budget). My conclusion and evolving practice is to require the project designer (architect of record) to make product selections and provide documentation of those decisions. The form of that documentation varies from copies of product data sheets (hopefully annotated to indicate COMPLETE indications of design decisions), marked up specs or the record of a review of a table of contents of specifications sections applicable to the project.

Given identification of product selections, the task of the specifications writer becomes writing construction specifications according to project-specific design decisions. It seems so simple and it clarifies the responsibilities of the specifications writer. But it makes the design decision-makers have to get their hands "dirty" with construction technology. And that is subtley and overtly resisted.

It's like a doctor having to deal with all that yucky stuff about anatomy and physiology, and blood and gore, and smelly stuff (think Codes and standards, to an architect).

Do any other specifications writers attempt to (and succeed at) making the responsibilities of the spec writer better defined?

I don't think issues such as LEED certification or Green Building Code compliance can be addressed until the role of the specifications writer is resolved.
Jerome J. Lazar, RA, CCS, CSI, SCIP
Senior Member
Username: lazarcitec

Post Number: 1019
Registered: 05-2003
Posted on Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 11:44 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

John, I agree, the following is a line from everyone of my agreements, non-LEED or LEED:
"LAS (my moniker) will not select products nor make design decisions, this is the responsibility of the Architect, Engineers, and Consultants of Record."
Peggy White, CCS, CCCA, LEED AP BD+C
Senior Member
Username: peggy

Post Number: 67
Registered: 07-2007
Posted on Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 01:11 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Jerome - you may want to take a gander at LEED for Homes - Midrise:

It sounds like the project is more appropriately submitted under LH-midrise than LEED-NC 2009. Once you have a markup of the prereqs and credits from the Architect, you can determine what needs to be done, based on what you have prepared already.
Dave Metzger
Senior Member
Username: davemetzger

Post Number: 482
Registered: 07-2001
Posted on Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 01:32 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

While I agree that it is the responsibility of our architect/engineer clients (for independent specifiers) to select products and make design decisions, it also is the responsibility of the specifier to offer advice on these decisions, within the limits of our contractual obligations. In general, we as specifiers have much more technical and construction-related experience than do most of our clients, and one of the reasons our clients want our services and continue to give us repeat business is that their projects benefit from that experience. While I would not presume to give my uninvited opinion on purely aesthetic issues, our clients do expect us to advise on technical issues. This does not mean telling them what product they must use or making the final decision for them, but it does mean advising on the pro's and con's of product and design options, so that they can make an informed decision.

We do have wording in our agreements that states, in effect, that if our clients insist on our specifying a material, product, or system that we have advised against, they will indemnify us accordingly.
Sheldon Wolfe
Senior Member
Username: sheldon_wolfe

Post Number: 697
Registered: 01-2003

Posted on Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 02:06 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

If specifiers aren't selecting or at least advising on product selection, all they are is glorified word processors.
William C. Pegues, FCSI, CCS
Senior Member
Username: wpegues

Post Number: 888
Registered: 10-2002

Posted on Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 02:18 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Advising, never selecting. We may have experience and can offer excellent suggestion, but never selecting - not unless you want to take on being the architect of record. I don't believe the practice of selecting is advisable at all for an independent specifier, and I don't think its good practice for internal specifiers. The former, you taking on the liability, or at least the wrath if there is a problem for any reason, most of which through installation you will have no control over, the later because it weakens the experience level of your internal PA's and PM's.

I don't think you have to wait to be asked for advise, but I think it is incorrect to make selections.

William C. Pegues, FCSI, CCS, SCIP Affiliate
WDG Architecture, Washington, DC | Dallas, TX
Mark Gilligan SE,
Senior Member
Username: mark_gilligan

Post Number: 621
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 05:23 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post


I agree that the design professional needs to make the decisions but too often the professional specification writers enable those design professionals who do not want to make the decisions. The practice of providing consultants with copies of the Architects master specification sections, such as cast-in-place concrete, and structural steel, allows the consultants to avoid taking ownership of the relevant specification sections.
Sheldon Wolfe
Senior Member
Username: sheldon_wolfe

Post Number: 698
Registered: 01-2003

Posted on Sunday, December 08, 2013 - 11:07 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

At the top level, yes, the architect should be making the decisions, but there's more to it than that. And, as Dave suggests, design decisions are off limits for specifiers. For many decisions, though, it is the specifier who at least strongly affects the decision. If the architect asks, "What do you recommend?" and accepts the specifier's recommendation, who really made the call? On paper, it's the architect, but unless the specifier presented all options and took the time to explain why one was recommended, the architect isn't really deciding.

When you, as a consultant or as an in-house specifier, present the team with draft specifications, you already have made many decisions. Although you may discuss primary product selection, do you then ask about each component and option of the assembly? Unless you start with a blank piece of paper, your first draft specification embodies the results of countless decisions you made, based on your experience, your interpretation of substrates, compatibility of materials, design loads, code requirements, and on and on.

The architect of record is the responsible person, regardless of who did what. Does the AOR create or approve every plan, every elevation, every section, every detail? Does the AOR review all of the various agreements and approve them? Does the AOR review and approve in detail the work of all consultants? In theory, yes, but in fact, architects rely on the people they hire to make decisions.

The certification says something like "I hereby certify that this plan, specification, or report was prepared by me or under my direct supervision..." Everyone on a project team makes decisions every day, otherwise, nothing would get done.

William, I understand what you're saying about in-house specifiers, but my experience has been that specifiers are expected to make many decisions. However, as often as possible, I discuss with the PAs and staff architects how we arrive at decisions. My favorite part of the job is helping them understand the things they didn't learn in school, and haven't yet seen in the field.
William C. Pegues, FCSI, CCS
Senior Member
Username: wpegues

Post Number: 889
Registered: 10-2002

Posted on Monday, December 09, 2013 - 12:08 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post


This is making a lot of assumptions that are not correct, and should not be presumed to be recommended practice.

I get "What do you recommend all the time". The correct response is never just my preference, but to provide condition of use responses with pros and cons for various solutions including whether it is something technical or whether it is simply a design decision. Anyone who does otherwise is really skating on thin ice. And when one feels that the 'asker' is just going for the quick answer with a 'just use that' reply its best to emphasize with "is that what you really want to do?". They really must own the decision. The specifier is not just a glorified word processor - rather more like human version google search. Of course we do have our opinions and experience, and that goes into the advice, but like an good newspaper, editorial material should always be noted as such.

When I as an in-house, or if I were an independent, you are presuming beyond the initial steps of what should, and does happen. That is - no, I do not present them with a Draft, nor do I not start with a blank sheet of paper. What I start with is a checklist. Currently, this is 50+ pages, and any project probably more than 1/2 is crossed out. It is given to the PA at the time they set up the project as a tool to help them record decisions as well as problems. Its asks questions needed to complete any section and requires them to provide cut sheets completely marked for options and special conditions. Our process is that we do not take a roll of drawings and start writing. We have a detailed 2+ hour interview 3 weeks before the DRAFT is created wherein we go over every point on the checklist they have marked up and every cut sheet. I do get responses sometimes such as 'just use our standard overhead door, I did not have time to get a cut sheet'. The response to this and to all similar is that 'we do not have a standard overhead door, and your cut sheet is required so that when you mark up the options and installation you have based it on what you are drawing so we are on the same page at all times.' And the why of this is that these cut sheets are passed down to the CA person (sometimes its the PA, but often a separate CA person) to have as a record of what they should see in similar form coming back from the contractor.

Sure I have preferences, sure I make decisions, but each and every time I state a preference or make a decision related to the project I make sure that its known as a preference and that added to that is 'is this what you want to do/does this make sense.'

When any change in a specification master is made, or when any detail is under consideration, we have a group that means twice a month to review any change and assure that any change in one that requires a change in the other is coordinated. So even at a very basic level, its a small group that reviews, approves and coordinates the implementation. So, none of these are one person decisions. Some one person may contribute a lot, but it has to meet a rigorous review.

Yes, specifiers are expected to make many decisions - but, its bad to make decisions for them, best to make decisions with them.
William C. Pegues, FCSI, CCS, SCIP Affiliate
WDG Architecture, Washington, DC | Dallas, TX
Sheldon Wolfe
Senior Member
Username: sheldon_wolfe

Post Number: 699
Registered: 01-2003

Posted on Monday, December 09, 2013 - 01:28 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I suspect what happens varies greatly from office to office; certainly, your experience and mine are not the same. My vision of how an office should operate is pretty much what you describe, but I wonder how many specifiers enjoy that sort of structure. Might make an interesting survey.
William C. Pegues, FCSI, CCS
Senior Member
Username: wpegues

Post Number: 890
Registered: 10-2002

Posted on Monday, December 09, 2013 - 01:36 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I have found that the typical response is as yours, it pretty much the way everyone would like it, but not what one actually experiences. Unofficial survey is pretty lopsided -grin!
William C. Pegues, FCSI, CCS, SCIP Affiliate
WDG Architecture, Washington, DC | Dallas, TX
Sheldon Wolfe
Senior Member
Username: sheldon_wolfe

Post Number: 700
Registered: 01-2003

Posted on Monday, December 09, 2013 - 01:43 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Good chatting with you; it's been a while. It's time to hit the hay, gotta slay some more dragons tomorrow. Er, today!

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