universal design

SDI Practice Announcement – New 32 Storey Hotel in China

2013-04-02:  Sustainable Design International Ltd. (SDI) is pleased to announce that its Managing Director, C.J. Walsh, has been invited to be ‘Project Design Architect’ / ‘Design Professional in Responsible Charge’ for a New 32 Storey Hotel in Yunnan Province, People’s Republic of China (PRC).

He will have responsibility for the Project’s Architectural Concept Design and General Schematic Design … including the overall architectural character and profile of primary exterior surfaces.

Project Approximate Value = € 65 Million (Euros) … excluding interior design, finishes and furnishing (which could end up doubling, or even tripling, the overall project value).

Sustainable Design International Ltd.  maintains a strict practice policy of Client Confidentiality.

[ If this Type of Professional Design Service Appeals to You, or Your Organization – Contact Us Immediately ! ]

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2012 ‘Understanding China’ Policy Briefing Friends of Europe & EuroChambres

An estimated One Billion People will be living in China’s cities by 2030.  This large-scale and very rapid urbanization demands that a sustainable transformation of their urban built, social, economic and institutional environments commences Today – not at some notional point in a far distant future.

Furthermore … replicating a European approach to sustainable design and construction in other regions of the world is doomed to failure.  Urban Transformation in China must be adapted to Local Geography, Climate, Climate Change, Social Needs, Cultures, Economy, and Local Severe Events (e.g. earthquakes, flooding).  With European support and collaboration … China must, and will, find its own way.

Greening China's Cities of Tomorrow (2012) - Report CoverGreening China’s Cities of Tomorrow (Spring 2012)

Click the Link Above to read and/or download a PDF File (4.42 Mb)

Report on a One-Day China Advisory Council Roundtable, co-organized by Friends of Europe and EuroChambres, which was held in Brussels on 8 March 2012.  This event was part of an ‘Understanding China’ Programme (mid-2009 to mid-2012), co-funded by the European Commission.

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2013 Asian Development Bank (ADB) Guidebook: ‘Increasing Climate Change Resilience of Urban Water Infrastructure’ 

This Guide describes a practical approach to bridge the gap between theoretical analyses of climate change impacts and the planning decisions that need to be made by city authorities and utility managers to increase climate change resilience of the water sector in the city of  Wuhan, Hubei Province, People’s Republic of China (PRC).  It focuses on answering the questions currently being asked by city planners and managers all over the world, as follows:

  • What changes might be caused by climate change ?
  • How will these changes affect services and utilities ?
  • What can we do now to prepare for them ?

The long lead time required to plan, finance, build, and commission city infrastructure facilities means that decision makers cannot wait for more detailed data on the effects of future climate change, especially those relating to local circumstances, but must make investment decisions based on what is known now and what can be readily predicted.  An important principle in this kind of ‘robust’ decision-making is provided by the  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)  tenet that adaptation investments, which move a city’s infrastructure toward sustainable development (such as providing safe drinking water and better sanitary conditions), are justifiable even without climate change.

This Guide is arranged in clear steps to provide direction and information for similar exercises in other areas.  Having grown out of a specific locality and its needs, the principles and solutions developed in this guide are founded on real world situations and problems …

ADB Guidebook: 'Increasing Climate Change Resilience of Urban Water Infrastructure' (2013) - Cover PageIncreasing Climate Change Resilience of Urban Water Infrastructure (ADB, 2013)

Click the Link Above to read and/or download a PDF File (2.31 Mb)

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***  THIS TALL BUILDING IN YUNNAN PROVINCE  &  SIMILAR COMPLEX ARCHITECTURAL PROJECTS  ***

Working within the professional constraints of ‘client confidentiality’ … it is possible to have a general discussion about current building design, construction and operation issues in an international sector which is operating, more and more, beyond national borders … without adequate, or very often any, national and local regulation.  By ‘regulation’, I mean a flexible system of building-related legislation which is operated in conjunction with mandatory and effective technical control.

In order to cope with today’s complex built environment and the enormous variation in the size and scale of construction projects … a ‘flexible’ mix of functional, performance and prescriptive legal requirements is the sharpest and most appropriate instrument.

And you can forget the hype about performance-based building codes coming out of the USA … hot air, and much ado about little !

Of course, the biggest issue of all is the competence of those individuals who work in Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJ’s), i.e. technical controllers.  Even in the most developed economies of the world … there are many occasions when the level of individual incompetence in an AHJ is astounding … and institutional arrangements within the AHJ itself are a mess, i.e. the AHJ is not fit for purpose.

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1.  Sustainable Design – Design Process Efficiency & Proper Preparation for Construction

A tremendous amount of waste is associated with and generated by the processes of conventional building design, construction and operation.  There is a more up-to-date and efficient way of doing things … an essential way for Sustainable Design … and it’s called Building Information Modelling (BIM) !

Furthermore … consider, for a moment, just the initial list of Specialist Consultants who will be engaged directly by the Chinese Client when the project’s conceptual design has reached a sufficiently developed stage.  How can all of these individuals and organizations – listed in the revised and agreed Project Design Agreement – obtain accurate and reliable ‘real time’ information about the rapidly evolving project from a central design library / information database … then feed their new work back into the centre without unnecessary delay ?   How, next, can everyone else who needs to know, be updated with the new design input … again, without delay ?   And perhaps, these consultants may also be based in different countries … working in very different time zones …

  • Building Information Modelling (BIM) Consultant
  • Local Design Institute (LDI) … a local architectural practice which will produce the project’s working drawings, handle local spatial planning and building code approvals, carry out site inspections, and deal directly with construction organization(s), etc., etc.
  • Interior Design Consultant
  • Traffic / Parking Analysis Consultant
  • Curtain Wall Consultant (Curtain Wall, Skylights & Special Roof Structures)
  • Retail Market Analysis Consultant
  • Landscape Design Consultant
  • Quantity Surveying & Cost Estimating Consultant
  • Furniture Design Consultant
  • Geotechnical, Civil Engineering & Structural Engineering Consultant (including structural performance under fire and earthquake conditions, resistance to fire-induced progressive damage and disproportionate damage … and also including climate resilience)
  • Acoustic & Audio-Visual Design Consultant
  • Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing (MEP) Engineering Consultant
  • Integrated Building Automation & Management / Telecom / Security / Networking Consultant
  • Fire & Life-Safety Engineering Consultant
  • Water Feature Consultant
  • Wind Tunnel Test Consultant
  • Kitchen Equipment and Layout Design Consultant
  • Art, Artefact and Accessories Consultant & Procurement Services for Art, Artefacts, and Accessories
  • Tenant Storefront Design Consultant
  • Helicopter Landing Pad Design Consultant
  • Universal Design / Accessibility for All Consultant [including access to the building, electronic, information and communication technologies (EICT’s), and services offered at the hotel … and including fire safety, protection and evacuation for all]

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2.  The ‘Design Professional in Responsible Charge’ !

The Project Design Agreement requests that the Client receive advice on who might be the different Specialist Consultants listed above.  In addition, it will be necessary to demarcate the boundaries within which each Consultant will operate … and, where appropriate, to prescribe a design performance target (see below) for each speciality … which must be ‘realized’ in the completed and occupied building !

Recalling the many previous posts, here on this Technical Blog, concerning NIST’s 2005 & 2008 Recommendations on the 9-11 World Trade Centre Building Collapses in New York City‘somebody’ must ensure that the many individuals and organizations listed above – members of the Larger (2nd Stage) Design Team – use consistent design data and assumptions … must co-ordinate design documents and specifications to identify overlaps and eliminate gaps … must serve as ultimate liaison between the Client, the Local Design Institute, AHJ officials, and the Construction Organization(s) … and must ensure that everybody is on the same communication wavelength, and working towards the same objective in a trans-disciplinary manner.

That ‘Somebody’ … the Design Professional in Responsible Charge … must be the Project Design Architect !

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3.  Some Sustainable Design Performance Targets

Actual construction and building user performance shall be carefully (i.e. reliably and precisely) monitored … and independently verified …

A.   Basic Functional Requirements … the Building shall comply with the Basic Requirements for Construction Works – elaborated in Annex I of European Union (EU) Regulation No.305/2011 of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 9 March 2011, laying down Harmonized Conditions for the Marketing of Construction Products and Repealing Council Directive 89/106/EEC.

See my Post, dated 2011-09-13 … https://cjwalsh.ie/2011/09/new-eu-construction-product-regulation-3052011-halleluiah/

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B.   Good Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) … Two high-level performance indicators have been developed with the aim of protecting Human Health, and are both now referenced in International Standard ISO 21542: ‘Building Construction – Accessibility & Usability of the Built Environment’

      –   Radon Activity (incl. Rn-222, Rn-220, RnD) in a building should, on average, fall within the range of 10 Bq/m3 to 40 Bq/m3, but shall at no time exceed 60 Bq/m3 ;

      –   Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Concentrations in a building should not significantly exceed average external levels – typically within the range of 300 parts per million (ppm) to 500 ppm – and shall at no time exceed 800 ppm.

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C.   Energy Conservation & Efficiency + A ‘Positive Energy’ Return + Assured Building User Thermal Comfort

See my Post, dated 2013-09-10 … https://cjwalsh.ie/2013/09/passivhaus-standard-is-not-enough-in-new-building-projects/

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D.   Project-Specific Sustainable Fire Engineering Design Objectives

See my Post, dated 2014-04-20 … https://cjwalsh.ie/2014/04/sustainable-fire-engineering-design-targeting-mrv/

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Barcelona Accessibility Conference – European Issues ?

2009-03-24:  Permit me, first of all, to vigorously reclaim the word ‘accessibility’ back from the Transport Sector.  This important conference in Barcelona was not about transport networks or distances from the nearest transportation node … but about Accessibility of the Human Environment for People with Activity Limitations (2001 WHO ICF), i.e. Accessibility-for-All.

 

A 2-Day Conference organized by EuCAN – the European Concept for Accessibility Network co-ordinated from Luxembourg – it was held in the TRYP APOLO Hotel (Av. Paral-lel, 57-59), on the 19-20th March 2009 … an impressive start-up event for the next EuCAN Project … a publication elaborating the business opportunities being created by Design-for-All for manufacturers and service providers across Europe.

 

I was very pleased to make a presentation on the exciting business potential of Accessible Fire Engineering … a subset of Sustainable Fire Engineering …

 

 

Colour image showing the Title Page (only) of CJ Walsh's Presentation: 'Accessible Fire Engineering', at the recent 2-Day EuCAN Conference in Barcelona, Spain. Held on 19-20th March, 2009.

Colour image showing the Title Page (only) of CJ Walsh’s Presentation: ‘Accessible Fire Engineering’, at the recent 2-Day EuCAN Conference in Barcelona, Spain. Held on 19-20th March, 2009. Click to enlarge.

 

There were, however, some developments at the conference which should be brought to wider public attention for consideration and discussion … here in Ireland, but also in other European countries …

 

 

Colour photograph showing the West/'Passion' Elevation of the Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain. An architectural wonder designed by Catalan Architect, Antoni Gaudí i Cornet (1852-1926), and still under construction. Click to enlarge. Photograph taken by CJ Walsh. 2009-03-20.

Colour photograph showing the West/’Passion’ Elevation of the Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain. An architectural wonder designed by Catalan Architect, Antoni Gaudí i Cornet (1852-1926), and still under construction. Click to enlarge. Photograph taken by CJ Walsh. 2009-03-20.

 

1.  News was announced at the conference that the Proposed International Accessibility-for-All Standard (at present ISO CD 21542.3) has been overwhelmingly supported (mid-March 2009) for progress to the Draft International Standard (DIS) stage in its development.  If everything goes well, we should see this International Standard being published sometime during the first half of 2010. 

The ISO Accessibility-for-All Standard, which will be an essential implementation tool for Articles 9 & 11 of the 2006 United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in relation to Buildings, is particularly important for 2 Reasons:

 

         ‘Fire Safety’ Texts are now included in the Main Body of the Standard ;

 

         ‘Fire Evacuation’ is fully integrated into the definition and meaning of ‘Accessibility’.

 

 

Colour photograph showing the Interior of the Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain. Current state of progress with the Nave. An architectural wonder designed by Catalan Architect, Antoni Gaudí i Cornet (1852-1926), and still under construction. Click to enlarge. Photograph taken by CJ Walsh. 2009-03-20.

Colour photograph showing the Interior of the Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, Spain. Current state of progress with the Nave. An architectural wonder designed by Catalan Architect, Antoni Gaudí i Cornet (1852-1926), and still under construction. Click to enlarge. Photograph taken by CJ Walsh. 2009-03-20.

 

 

2.  A conversation during the conference morning coffee break, on Friday 20th March, with Bojana Rudić and Miodrag Počuč of the Centar Živeti Uspravno in Serbia, has finally convinced me that all of the various Accessibility Design Philosophies

 

         design-for-all (some attempts have been made to develop 6 Principles for this rather vague philosophy) … used by EU Institutions, and more widely throughout Europe in reaction to universal design ;

         universal design (with its 7 Principles/Commandments) … preached from the USA … but in Japan, for example, a more practical application can be seen.  Strangest of all is the relatively recent establishment in Ireland of the Centre for Universal Design, within the lumbering qwango that is the National Disability Authority (NDA) ;

         inclusive design (with its 5 Principles) … originating from Great Britain ;

         barrier-free design (a philosophy long out of date) … still widely referred to in Germany and other parts of Central Europe ;

         facilitation design (a newer philosophy based on 2 WHO ICF Terms: ‘Facilitator’ and ‘Environmental Factors’ and intended to update barrier-free design) … not yet well known ;

 

… are not only causing enormous confusion about accessibility among the ‘un-initiated’ and architectural students, to take just two examples … but are diverting scarce resources away from the process of ‘real’ accessibility implementation.

 

In some cases, devotion to these philosophies is so consuming that I have experienced, first-hand, a general tendency to discourage any talk about rights … with some prominent members of the International Accessibility Community (who shall remain nameless !) not even bothering to read the actual text of the 2006 UN Disability Rights Convention !

 

 

Colour photograph showing a General View, from within, of the 1929 Barcelona Pavilion - a Master Statement of Modern Architecture - designed by German Architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969). De-constructed in early 1930 after the Barcelona International Exposition, it was constructed again in 1986. Click to enlarge. Photograph taken by CJ Walsh. 2009-03-20.

Colour photograph showing a General View, from within, of the 1929 Barcelona Pavilion – a Master Statement of Modern Architecture – designed by German Architect, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (1886-1969). De-constructed in early 1930 after the Barcelona International Exposition, it was constructed again in 1986. Click to enlarge. Photograph taken by CJ Walsh. 2009-03-20.

   

3.  Concerning the development of a European Accessibility Business Strategy

 

         2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities

 

Yes … Accessibility-for-All is about much more than making life and living easier for people with disabilities.  Children, frail older people (not all older people !), women in the later stages of pregnancy, people who have a health condition, etc., all now need to be included in a more Person-Centred Approach to the design and sustainable transformation of our Human Environment.  This is absolutely essential.

 

But … the 2006 UN Convention must be used as a Product & Service Checklist which covers the basic, i.e. minimum, responsible needs of people with disabilities … a sizeable social group in all of our societies.  Failure to complete this simple task is a fundamental strategic error !

 

The 2006 UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities is also their sole route of access to the human and social rights set down in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

 

 

         Integration of Accessibility-for-All Performance

 

Building Accessibility, to take a specific example, is now more complex … and includes …

 

         Approach to the building from the site boundary ;

         Entry through principal entrance(s) ;

         Health, Safety, Convenience & Comfort In Use, including thermal and acoustic comfort, good indoor air quality, protection from fire, etc ;

         Egress under normal conditions ;

         Evacuation in the Event of a Fire, or other emergency ;

         Removal from the vicinity of the building back to the site boundary ;

 

and …

 

         Each stage of a Work Process, at every level, in places of work ;

         Use of Electronic, Information & Communication Technologies (EICT’s) – at minimum, those permanently fixed in/to the building ;

 

and …

 

         Management, Services & Attitudes of People in the organization using the building ;

         Recruitment, Employment, Promotion & Training Practices within the same organization.

 

 

Performance in all of these different, and up until now separate, components must be brought together and properly integrated.

 

 

         Accessibility-related Products

 

In Ireland, we suffer from an over-supply of British manufactured accessibility-related products which are badly-designed and inadequately tested … or not tested at all.  Inability to show compliance with Part D of the Irish Building Regulations is a big issue … that is, if those manufacturers even realize that we have our own separate building legislation over here.

 

By the way, failure to be able to show compliance with Regulation 7 of the Building Regulations for England & Wales is an issue across the water as well !

 

The situation isn’t much better in the rest of Europe.  Yes … the quality of design is much, much better, but there is still enormous confusion about CE Marking.

 

Accessibility-related Products are still, and always have been, industrial products which are being placed on the Single European Market.  Normal rules apply !

 

 

         Accessibility-related Services

 

Hopefully, we will soon see the demise of the Access Consultant … a plentiful species, particularly in Great Britain … an individual who only deals with ‘approach to’, ‘entry’ and ‘use’ of a building or facility … and nothing about ‘fire evacuation’.  Their days are slowly numbered !

 

The rest of us, however, need to familiarize ourselves with necessary new services …

 

         Accessibility Impact Assessment ;

         Accessibility Performance Indicators ;

         Accessibility Benchmarking, Target Setting and Progress Evaluation ;

         Independent Accessibility Verification ;

         Etc.

 

Accessibility-related Services must be dragged out of prehistoric caves … screaming, if necessary.  Services must become much more professional !

 

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