Ivy Group’s booth at this year’s Construction Law Institute (CLI) conference was a hot spot of activity, with countless attorneys stopping by to meet Ivy Group representatives, discuss claims, and talk about their practices. The CLI is sponsored by the Florida Bar Association each year, and currently hosted by the magnificent JW Marriott Grande Lakes resort (pictured above).
For years now, the CLI’s conferences have brought together industry professionals, including construction law practitioners, architects, engineers, contractors, and more. The conference allows Ivy Group the opportunity to stay up to date with trends and best practices, and to share our expertise with members of the construction law community.
David Griffiths, Ivy Group’s Roofing, Waterproofing, and Coatings Specialist, and Jack West, our Building Claims Investigator, attended the conference, along with Bob Bitterli, Ivy Group’s CEO and Principal Consultant. The team enjoyed the conference immensely, and Jack was the golf tournament’s victor for the fourth consecutive year!
At the conference, Ivy Group hosted a drawing where conference attendees won eight bottles of wine, gift cards to Ruth’s Chris, Target, and AMEX, and a computer travel bag. The giveaway was a great success, with 40 attorneys participating.
The conference offered 18 seminars, with topics ranging from Building Information Management (BIM), to hospital design, building codes, and more.
“The conference was extremely beneficial,” Dave said. “I was exposed to new ideas and methods.”
A seminar on hospital design discussed the importance of designing buildings with the ability to withstand catastrophic events. The importance of such planning was emphasized with the very real-world example of 2008’s Hurricane Ike hitting the University of Texas Medical Center in Galveston. Much of the hospital facility was destroyed, or rendered unusable.
The hospital has since been rebuilt with modified plans, enabling the hospital to remain fully functional during hurricanes.
This example highlights the importance of working with a building envelope consultant from the get-go when constructing in hurricane-prone, and similarly problematic, areas. Input from technical experts on drawings and plans can prevent costly building damage and risk to human lives during severe weather events.
Another seminar focused on BIM, presenting methods and systems to catalogue equipment, finishes, and complete construction designs, all in one location for permanent future reference. The applications of such systems are numberless, with one valuable possibility being to aid in future building maintenance, or in circumstances when equipment needs to be replaced.
Building upon Ivy Group’s code expertise, Dave also attended a seminar on building codes, which focused primarily on moving towards performance based building requirements, rather than prescriptive requirements. In alignment with Ivy Groups own approach, the seminar proposed the idea that the future of building should be about achieving structural resilience through codes based on scientific data instead of subjective, historic data.
For a more complete overview of the conference’s seminars, NIBS offers detailed recaps on its website.
Between seminars, Dave attended networking lunches where he was able to meet and exchange ideas with other architectural and building experts. After the conference, Dave and his wife toured the National Mall, where they enjoyed many of our nation’s monuments.
In May, Bob Bitterli, Ivy Group’s president and CEO, was accepted into the membership of the Forensic Expert Witness Association (FEWA), with affirmations of excellence from five attorneys who specialize in construction defect cases and claims.
“I have worked with Mr. Bitterli for over 10 years on numerous complex construction defect cases. He is without question the best expert witness I have ever used. Ethical, competent and an extremely good communicator. I highly recommend him.” -George H. Knott, Attorney-At-Law
Alongside Mr. Bitterli, Ivy Group Senior Consultants Steve Lange and Jack Townley are also numbered among the FEWA membership. A long time FEWA member, Mr. Townley has served on FEWA’s National Board and as Florida Chapter President for the past three years.
Mr. Townley is one of only 17 professionals nationwide to hold the designation of Certified Forensic Litigation Consultant (CFLC). This designation certifies that a member both has sufficient experience as an expert witness and has completed FEWA’s detailed core program of study.
In order to join the FEWA membership, an expert witness must receive a minimum of three recommendations from attorneys in their field. “FEWA is the only expert witness organization that requires anyone applying as a professional member to be vetted to demonstrate work on assignments that required sworn deposition or testimony at trial,” explains Mr. Townley.
FEWA is a hub of information for the forensic expert witness community, offering ongoing professional development opportunities, and events and publications that keep the Ivy Group team up to date with best practices.
In May Mr. Townley attended the FEWA National Conference in San Francisco. He shared this slideshow from the conference.
The Spartan Race is a wildly popular obstacle course race series with events held around the country all year long. The Spartan Sprint includes 3-5 miles of running over hills, through woods, fields, and lots of mud, taking on at least 22 challenging obstacles in the process. Each course is different. (The longer Spartan Super and Beast include 25+ obstacles over courses ranging from 8 to 14 miles!) President and CEO Bob Bitterli spectated and served as team videographer at the Arrington, VA event at Infinity Downs Farm this past Sunday, June 4th, 2017.
Thanks to Matt Brown of Vector Vortex printing for the awesome shirts and graphic design.
On April 18th, our President/CEO Bob Bitterli and Business Manager Leila Bitterli traveled to Reston, VA to meet Monica Rokicki of Better Building Works at the Air Barrier Association of America (ABAA) 2017 Conference.
ABAA 2017 speakers included:
Here are a few of the most exciting things we learned from our trip to the conference.
Vincent Cammallari explained in simple English and with thorough graphics how roof-to-wall interfaces should be considered in building design. Poor roof-to-wall interfacing can cause a multitude of problems relating to moisture and air circulation, efflorescence, ice accumulation, and more.
But all those problems can be remedied with a little forethought, while still preserving the architectural aesthetics of the design. Solutions vary on a case-by-case basis, and are dependent on the type of interface and its details.
For example, soffits sometimes need to be cut off from heating to create a cold cavity that dries itself with natural airflow/ventilation. Ventilated attics are another option. And curtain walls may be used to separate glass parapets.
Ultimately, we left with a wealth of information regarding roof-to-wall interfaces that we can immediately put to use.
Martina Driscoll, PE and Andrea DelGiudice, PE from Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates spoke on the BECx process. “Building Enclosure Commissioning is a holistic process that endeavors to verify that the exterior enclosure meets owner expectations,” they said. BECx standards are applied at each stage – Predesign, Design, Construction, and Post-Occupancy – and are all about combining superior design with construction best practices.
From a high level view, the ideal BECx process establishes appropriate and quantifiable metrics for performance, testing, and verification that demand accountability at every phase. Additionally, Owner Performance Requirements (OPR) should be established with regard to:
“If a quantifiable measure is provided in the contract, then testing must occur to verify the metric,” they explained.
BECx provides third-party review of OPR development, as well as mockup and performance testing. Cost of BECx overview tends to run between .1% (when there are higher-value contents relative to enclosure costs) and 1% (when contents are lower relative value).
All in all, we were grateful to hear Martina and Andrea’s experience, and we’re excited to implement what we learned moving forward.
Keynote speaker Dr. Joseph Lstiburek (pronounced “STREE-beck”) started his career as a mechanical engineer, but eventually took the leap to become an Indoor Air Quality expert. With the help of some senior mentors, he went on to advise the US government on contaminants caused by improper airflow patterns, and eventually the security issues accompanying them. Today, he’s a leading building scientist.
The first half of Dr. Lstiburek’s talk dealt with how simple the “perfect wall configuration” can really be.
Despite all that can and will go wrong with building envelope configurations, Dr. Lstiburek explained that the principles at play are actually quite simple. And by mastering these principles, he explained, the “perfect wall configuration” may not be as difficult to attain as some may believe, even throughout a diverse range of building types and climate zones.
Dr. Lstiburek emphasized that when designing wall configurations, there’s no substitute for experience. Trusted advisors with deep experiential knowledge are always key — for supervision of projects, frequent walk-arounds, and simply to ensure there’s always an “adult” in charge!
We’re thrilled to have had the chance to hear from Dr. Lstiburek first-hand, and his talk left us with a wealth of actionable info. You can see Dr. Lsiburek’s full slide deck from the talk here.
The ABAA provides multiple services for free on its website as well as through paid memberships. They produce research to help their members and publish valuable information through airbarrier.org. Specifically, Ryan Dalgleish addressed the Energy Savings Calculator now available thanks to ABAA, Oak Ridge, and NIST.
Thanks to the ABAA for their ongoing work! It was a pleasure attending this year’s conference!
Thanks to the Grandin CoLab for naming me Member of the Week. It’s such a pleasure to base our Roanoke office from the CoLab building in Grandin Village. The friendly and professional environment fosters cooperation and community presence, which is right up our alley!
It is our pleasure to bring you the member of the week: Leila Bitterli!She has been a staple for a while now and we…Posted by CoLab on Thursday, March 30, 2017
Last month in Fort Lauderdale, Ivy Group Senior Consultant and President of the Florida chapter of the Forensic Expert Witness Association (FEWA), Jack Townley, hosted the Joint Workshop for Experts and Attorneys.
The workshop sessions covered a variety of topics to enhance the joint work of attorneys and experts:
Santiago Ayala, Aldo Leiva, Esq., and Aaron Weiss provided knowledge and applications for how experts can improve in the realm of cyber security and client document safety.
Experts from the Attorney Perspective
Roy Taub, Esq. explained what attorneys look for in an expert witnesses, and presented an in depth checklist outlining attorney expectations.
Depo and Cross Do’s and Don’ts
Barry Snyder, Esq. speaking as a trial consultant, used a host of real-life stories to enumerate what an expert should and shouldn’t during depositions and cross examinations.
Leverage of Digital Marketing
Robert Rand presented remarks on what works and what doesn’t work in marketing expert services via social media networks.
Bob Bitterli, Ivy Group president/CEO, was in the audience with Bill Weber, founding partner of Weber and Tinnen Structural Engineers and longtime Ivy Group associate. Bob said the workshop was excellent, and the tips and techniques derived from the sessions “will enhance the forensic expert’s performance and the value delivered by the expert witness to attorneys and their claims.”
Ivy Group is extending our expertise in forensic architecture into the Mid-Atlantic, and growing into the future by addressing sustainability issues using the underpinnings of building science. Our administrative offices have been housed in Roanoke, Virginia for several years, and earlier this month, Ivy Group President/CEO Bob Bitterli made a trip to Roanoke to build expansion opportunities in the Southwest Virginia region.
Ivy Group’s Roanoke office is located in the CoLab, where we co-work with other creative- and sustainability-minded businesses, in a space alive with ideas, cooperation, and big thinking. Bob’s agenda included time in the CoLab meeting with Leila Bitterli, the Ivy Group’s business manager and head of the Roanoke office, and business development and marketing consultant Clarissa Clarke, where we discussed introducing Ivy Group’s construction defect analysis and expert witness consulting work to area construction attorneys.
The highlight of the trip was continued discussions and relationship building with Monica Rokicki, building scientist and principal/owner of Better Building Works. Our companies are embarking on a collaborative venture to further develop our mutual focus on Building Environments and Human Performance.
In addition to introducing a line of consulting services to help increase employee happiness and productivity, Ivy Group and Better Building Works are assessing local interest in forming a chapter of the Building Enclosure Council, a sub-group of the National Institute of Building Sciences. The organization would promote local discussion, education, and information sharing between architects, engineers, contractors, and others, on matters concerning building enclosures and related science and advancements.
“All in all, a great trip and promising results,” reports Bob.
The Tampa Bay Building Enclosure Council (TBBEC) and Forensic Expert Witness Association (FEWA), partnered to present a unique program, critical to Construction Industry Professionals.
Board Certified Construction Lawyers
This event was graciously sponsored by Reconstruction Experts, Inc.
Ivy Group Consultants have been battling faulty stucco installation and its repercussions for decades. 10News’ Noah Pransky has been doing some investigations of his own.
“Experts say stucco can be done right, or it can be done quickly. And when builders are trying to put homes up as fast – or as cheap – as possible, they often choose the latter. Bad stucco installation can still occur today, but was especially prevalent during Florida’s big building boom (circa 2005-2010) when it was considered an afterthought by many builders.”