If you aren’t doing anything on Wenesday, 10 April 2013, and you’ll be in the San Diego area, I invite you to join me for lunch. I have been invited to present at the next Lunch+LEED seminar, hosted by my friends at the San Diego Green Building Council.

You may recall that last September I gave a talk at the Retail Design & Construction Conference in Atlanta, GA. This week I will be giving a talk called, Quality Assurance vs. Quality Control – How to deliver projects that are truly sustainable. The presentation has been awarded continuing education credits by both the AIA and the GBCI.

Event Details

When: 10 Apr 2013, 11:30 AM – 12:59 PM
Location: Design Institute of San Diego (DISD), 8555 Commerce Ave, Bldg 4, Rm 402, San Diego, CA 92121 (map here)
Cost: $10 for SDGBC members, $15 for non-members (includes light lunch)
To register: Visit the SDGBC page for this event

A Bigger, Bolder AEC Quality .com

In preparation for the event, I have significantly updated the associated website AEC Quality .com. If you have a moment to check it out, please let me know what you think.

Also, be sure to get your free copy of the eBook, Quality Assurance vs. Quality Control, once it is available.

Thanks again for your continued support and I hope to see you on Wednesday.

From the San Diego 6 News Desk:

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis Friday announced a $3.3 million settlement of a civil consumer protection action against three tuna-packing companies over the amount of tuna in cans.

Wait, what?

Tuna is often packed in water, oil and vegetable broth, and the amount of tuna relative to additional ingredients is controlled by a federal “standard of fill.” The investigation found that the three tuna-packing companies failed to meet the required amount of tuna in cans packed with vegetable broth and added flavors.

“Our Consumer Unit is focused on making sure San Diego consumers get what they pay for,” Dumanis said. “Labels help consumers make selections. In this case, our offices worked together to make sure that what is on the label is what’s actually in the can.”

I, for one, feel much safer now. Stay classy, San Diego.

Via San Diego 6

A nationally recognized forensic construction expert and developer of the Quality Built® program has left his position with the newly formed Quality Built LLC only eight months after new management acquired the company. In 1994 Luhr began developing quality assurance programs to help builders produce better quality at lower cost, which spawned a new industry of private inspection and documentation consultants. His departure from Quality Built will allow Luhr to focus on developing similar efficiencies in claims and forensic support services that his firm, Pacific Property Consultants, has been involved in for over 26 years.

“Litigation claims continue to come in, and now I can spend my full time focusing on builder litigation support,” said Luhr, who kept his forensic business active while he developed the Quality Built program. “Nobody ever imagined that we would literally change the construction industry and get them focused on eliminating waste and defects. Now the word ‘Quality’ means something for the many builders who benefited by our program.”

In 1994, when construction quality was deteriorating and litigation claims skyrocketing, Luhr began sharing his lessons learned as a forensic consultant using innovative technology. The system utilized thousands of quality checkpoints written in a positive format, backed by building science and root-cause analysis which steered builders to improve their entire construction processes. The software coupled with independent field consultants provided an independent watchdog for insurance providers and production builders, who began mandating the Quality Built system. Soon, builder insurers including Arch, Lexington, Contractors Choice, Lloyds, Zurich and others utilized Luhr’s systems and training to eliminate construction flaws within the process, rather than relying on after-the-fact inspections. Catching defective work as it was occurring—rather than repair it as a punch list item—saved builders time, money and drastically reduced construction flaws.
By 2003, Luhr’s processes became the subject of hundreds of lectures and training sessions, sponsored by building trade associations, insurance companies and product manufacturers, touting the improved comfort, durability, safety and energy efficiency of a quality project. Many energy efficiency programs such as LEED for Homes and others began switching their strategies to include quality and durability as key factors of saving energy. By 2010, more than 400,000 structures were completed using the Quality Built system, amassing 40 million quality data records and 12 million photos which documented good construction practices. During his quality reign Luhr developed several products and services and received 14 trademarks and three published patents.

Luhr’s forensic consulting work has included some of the largest construction defect claims in U.S. history, including class-action product failure cases with defective ABS plumbing, polybutylene water pipe and composite siding amounting to billions of dollars of risk exposure. He has been retained on over 3,000 litigation claims and focuses on builder and developer clients, code and energy litigation, and other issues involving construction disputes. He has testified in more than 100 court trials and has given deposition testimony more than 500 occasions.

Following the investigation and report from a construction expert and industrial hygienist, several modular buildings at a Florida high school were closed due to water intrusion resulting from “latent construction defects.”

It was a new year and a different school for Seacrest Country Day School high school students.

The Upper School Village, as the portion of the campus is known, was evacuated in January after staff discovered water damage on some of the modular units that comprise a portion of the high school.

?It was a latent construction defect that caused water damage,? said Helen Ruisi, chief financial officer at Seacrest.

As a result, the students were moved and now school officials said they are considering a new direction for the high school campus.

Researchers at UC Davis and UC Irvine have concluded that LEDs violate California environmental regulations and should therefore be classified as hazardous materials. This may have some impact on those that promote LEDs as alternatives to other lighting sources.

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are advertised as environmentally friendly because they are energy efficient and mercury-free. This study aimed to determine if LEDs engender other forms of environmental and human health impacts, and to characterize variation across different LEDs based on color and intensity. The objectives are as follows: (i) to use standardized leachability tests to examine whether LEDs are to be categorized as hazardous waste under existing United States federal and California state regulations; and (ii) to use material life cycle impact and hazard assessment methods to evaluate resource depletion and toxicity potentials of LEDs based on their metallic constituents. According to federal standards, LEDs are not hazardous except for low-intensity red LEDs, which leached Pb at levels exceeding regulatory limits (186 mg/L; regulatory limit: 5). However, according to California regulations, excessive levels of copper (up to 3892 mg/kg; limit: 2500), Pb (up to 8103 mg/kg; limit: 1000), nickel (up to 4797 mg/kg; limit: 2000), or silver (up to 721 mg/kg; limit: 500) render all except low-intensity yellow LEDs hazardous. The environmental burden associated with resource depletion potentials derives primarily from gold and silver, whereas the burden from toxicity potentials is associated primarily with arsenic, copper, nickel, lead, iron, and silver. Establishing benchmark levels of these substances can help manufacturers implement design for environment through informed materials substitution, can motivate recyclers and waste management teams to recognize resource value and occupational hazards, and can inform policymakers who establish waste management policies for LEDs.

Constructors and material suppliers are frequently subject to material testing specifications. While many of the specified tests are quite precise and objective, some are surprisingly loose. Laboratory technicians, both in-house and independent, are allowed discretion in establishing testing procedures. To what extent can longstanding procedures establish trade custom, which in turn should be read into the testing specification?

In South Dakota, the state Department of Transportation was involved in a case that regarding a subcontractor’s testing procedures and whether or not they were appropriate based on industry standards of practice.

In the AGC Constructor January/February 2011 issue, Linda D. Kornfeld and Marla H. Kanemitsu wrote an article entitled, “Will Your Insurance Help? The Coming Wave of Defects Litigation:”

Contractors, subcontractors and other companies involved in the construction boom of the early 2000s may soon find themselves the subject of expensive construction defects litigation. Many states, including California and Florida, have 10- year statutes of limitation for latent construction defects claims—and lawsuits are often filed in the ninth year, just before the statute of limitations expires. This means that in the next five years, the construction industry may be flooded with construction defects suits.

You can download the full article here (PDF).