It is a time and cost savings effort to negotiate certain LEED items prior to lease signing. Below are some items that will save a great deal of money if negotiated up front.


  1. Request separate utility metering.
  2. Promote carpooling with reserved carpool spots.
  3. Electric or highbred preferred parking spots.
  4. Request a recycling program.
  5. Include the option to outsource power.
  6. Have the Landlord designate an area for bicycle racks.
  7. Arrange to have the T1 allowance to be used for tenant fit out, architectural, engineering and LEED services. Or request a payout of unused T1 to use at your discretion.
  8. Commit to a ten year lease for a long term commitment.
  9. Have the existing building outside air ventilation system tested to be sure it meets ASHRAE 62.1-2007 requiring a minimum of 10 cfm per person.
  10. Request environmental tobacco smoke control by having the building set up designated smoking areas.

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Working with Not for Profits

I must first preface this by stating that no two companies whether For Profit or Not For Profit operate exactly the same. Much depends on the individuals in key leadership positions as well as the makeup and operation of their respective Boards of Directors.

Many confuse “Not-for-Profit” and “Nonprofit” and while legal statutes may claim that they are one and the same, the Internal Revenue Service has two different definitions. According to the IRS, a “Not-for-Profit” is a group that refers specific activity while “Nonprofit” is an organization established for purposes other than turning a profit. This does not necessarily mean charitable, but refers to any organization that does not intend to turn a profit. This tern usually is used for clubs and civic organizations.

As a consultant your role doesn’t change very much. We are engaged to solve a specific problem, to manage or facilitate projects, to provide advice and sometimes to teach from our experiences. Many of the same processes we use can be brought over from the For Profit world and work seamlessly in the Not-for-Profit sector. Quite often it is how those processes are performed that may be different.

The amount of influence at the Board level in the Not-for-Profit is usually far greater than in the For Profit. Not-for-Profit Board members typically are more directly involved in decisions at more detail in the Not-For-Profit’s. Board Members tend to have more emotional commitment to the cause that they are associated with. Quite often they are also large financial contributors to the organization. Very often the passion of the Board Members has a trickle-down effect directly to the employee level.

Cost quite often becomes the overriding factor in the decision-making process for the Not-for-Profit. A  Not-for-Profit does not consider financial “payoff, or return” as the catalyst the way a For Profit company would. Not-for-Profit funding typically has been hard to come by in the form of grants and donations, boards tend to think long and hard before using those funds where there may be any amount of risk involved. Dollars are not often spent unless they can be tied directly back to the mission and vision of the organization.

So what does all this mean when dealing with a Not-for-Profit?

–        Projects will sometimes move at the speed of light and at other times take 20%-40% longer. Be flexible.

–        Projects may be put on hold while another task takes priority.

–        Relationships are extremely important in any arena. This is also true in the Not-for Profit world.

–        Prove your value as a member of their team with their best interests in mind they will keep calling you back.

–        Know the Mission and Vision of the organization so that you can best serve their needs and desires.

–        Be prepared to find an alternate way of providing the same result for less money

I pride myself on solving the client’s problem within the confines of their culture, and by understanding what drives them I can incorporate my personal values to help them achieve their mission and vision.

Determining Quantity of Accessible Parking

In order to determine the quantity of accessible parking spaces required for a building, the local zoning ordinance must first be reviewed. The local zoning ordinance will indicate how many parking spaces arerequired for the building’s “use”.

In the case of office buildings, local zoning may require one parking space be provided for every 400 square feet of building gross area. Therefore, if the building contains 60,000 gross square feet, then 150 parking spaces are required.

Once the number of parking spaces is determined, the Uniform Construction Code, State of New Jersey (U.C.C.) indicates the quantity of accessible parking spaces that must be provided. This is determined by comparing the number of parking spaces to the table under paragraph 5:23 ‐7.10 (c) of the U.C.C.

Chapter Seven of the U.C.C. also indicates one van accessible space must be provided for every eight accessible parking spaces or fraction thereof, at least one space must be van accessible.

It should be noted, accessible parking requirements vary for different residential and medical “uses”. Therefore, the U.C.C. should be reviewed whenever determining accessible parking requirements

Accessibility In Existing Buildings

Whenever space is altered in an existing building, the new building elements provided must comply with New Jersey Barrier Free requirements.
In addition, New Jersey’s Uniform Construction Code requires “… an accessible path of travel … be provided up to the point at which the cost of providing accessibility is disproportionate to the cost of the overall … project; a cost is disproportionate if it exceeds 20% of the cost of work.”
This means that in addition to providing accessibility for the new work, 20% of the construction cost must be provided on top of the cost of the new work.
In order to determine the disproportionate cost, the following items should first be deducted from the overall project cost:
New windows, hardware, operating controls, electrical outlets, signage, mechanical systems, electrical systems, installations and alterations of fire protection systems, abatement of hazardous materials, repair or installation of roofing, siding or other exterior wall façade.
Once these items have been deducted from the project cost, the resulting number (cost) should be multiplied by 0.20. The product is the additional cost which must be applied in order to provide additional accessibility in other parts of the building’s exterior and/or interior accessible route.
It should be noted that all accessible deficiencies in a building do not have to be corrected during a given project. The only criteria that must be met are new work must comply with accessibility requirements and the additional 20% cost as described above must be applied in providing an accessible route.

Integrated Design Process: A lower overall cost and a better end product

The use of an Integrated Design Process has been growing around the globe. In today’s world of technology and information sharing, owners are finding that there are many benefits to this process, most notably a lower overall cost and a better end product.

The design of a building, or most any project for that matter, requires the integration of a multitude of information, all which must be seamlessly integrated into the end product. An integrated process, sometimes call a “Whole Building Process”, is one which includes the participation of users, Architects, Engineers, Contractors, Code Officials, Estimators, Specifications Writers, and Consultants from many other specialized fields. The best buildings are created as a result of active and ongoing, collaboration of all the players.

Generally the end user identifies the need for a building. An experienced architect can perform a Facilities Audit to identify existing space use and the need for expansion in specific areas. Depending on the size and scope of the project, engineers and a construction manager may be used to assist in this process.

Once the Preliminary assessment is complete, the architect, in collaboration with his or her team of consultants, may produce initial design concept for the project or portions of it. These concepts are meant to provoke thought and debate, not necessarily to outline the final product. Sub-consultant participation is critical at this stage their individual experiences and knowledge can prevent costly changes down the road.

A design will develop which meets the requirements of all participants while also meeting the overall requirements established by the project budget. This stage will establish items such as site location and organization, building form, space allocation and adjacency, and an outline specification. This is often a good opportunity to have a cost estimate performed.

The next step is to establish greater detail for all aspects of the building the collaboration continues with the architect coordinating the various team members. Greater detail is developed. The product of this phase is a detailed design on which all players agree.

The preparation of construction documents involves translating the previously gathered information into formats for pricing, permitting, and construction. No set of construction documents are ever perfect, but higher quality control can be achieved through constant communication, adhering to the program needs by the design team and the client, along with careful coordination among all the consultants on the team. Decisions continue to be made with the contributions of all players. One last cost estimate should be performed at this point to ensure that the project has stayed within budget.

Throughout the construction phase, all members of the team must remain fully involved. Clarifications will be required. The end users requirements may change, these changes require collaboration among the entire team.

To ensure that the building is functioning as intended, a process known as commissioning should be undertaken. All of the functions of the building are tested and the team can be needed to make adjustments as needed.

To ensure a successful project it is imperative that, constant communication, attention to detail and active collaboration among all team members occur throughout the project. Strict adherence to these 3 principles will enable the best possible result.