June 28, 2006
Study explores color use in healthcare buildings. IREM report identifies challenges. White paper explains new EPA emissions standards. And more.

NYU School of Medicine Unveils New Research Center
New York University School of Medicine had some unusual obstacles to overcome when building its newest addition to campus. Built on a half-acre of landfill that was part of the East River only a century ago, the Joan and Joel Smilow Research Center opened its doors on May 25.

Sixty million gallons of water had to be pumped out of the site before the foundation of the building could be laid. To keep the water out, engineers devised a system of 394 secant piles (overlapping concrete cylinders). The secants, each measuring 30 inches in diameter, were coated with crystalline waterproofing to plug any future holes and drilled down to a depth of 55 feet around the perimeter of the site. To prevent water from seeping into the site, a 3.5-foot-thick concrete slab keeps the hydrostatic pressure of the river from lifting the building off its foundation.

The eastern façade of the Smilow Research Center lacks protection from intense sunlight in the morning and early afternoon; aluminum sunscreens help shade the building’s windows, and a glazed reflective pattern reduces heat and glare. To decrease the deafening noise of FDR Drive and a nearby heliport, the NYU building has 12-foot soundproof curtainwall windows.

The exterior of the building is shaped like a trapezoid, creating distinctive, sharp corners. Inside, 40 multidisciplinary research teams will work in labs without walls or doors, promoting interaction and the sharing of equipment and ideas. NYU School of Medicine’s Smilow Research Center is the largest addition to Midtown Manhattan’s eastern skyline in half a century.

IREM Report Identifies Challenges
The Institute of Real Estate Management (IREM), Chicago, has published “Transforming Real Estate Management: Four Strategic Issues.” The report discusses the key challenges facing real estate management professionals and gives practical suggestions and best practices for addressing them. IREM’s members identified, analyzed, and prioritized the major issues changing the dynamics of the real estate management profession.

  • Technology. The report expands on IREM members’ tips for dealing with expanded technology: make information readily accessible to staff, transition to a paperless office, enhance owner reporting and transparency, and more.
  • Workforce development. IREM’s report cites Wood Dale, IL-based RHR Intl. statistics in which 65 percent of surveyed companies expect to lose 50 percent or more of their senior managers over the next 4 years. The IREM report gives suggestions on attracting, developing, rewarding, and retaining a qualified staff.
  • Business competition. According to the report, property managers must consistently demonstrate the worth of value-added serv­ices by making marketing a continuous proc­ess, identifying new business opportunities, and maximizing the return on each client.
  • Risk management. The IREM report addresses ways to increase business security while keeping properties accessible for residents and tenants: read insurance policies carefully, adopt measures to minimize lawsuits, and pay attention to building access

CHER Study Explores Color Use in Healthcare Buildings
The Coalition for Health Environments Research (CHER) has released a new study, “Color in Healthcare Environments: A Critical Review of the Research Literature,” to further explore the relationship between people and color in the healthcare environment. Although research on the topic has been done before, much of the information is conflicted, anecdotal, and loosely tested. In reviewing over 3,000 research titles, CHER examines what is known about human response to color and how (or if) color influences perception or behavior in a specific setting. The study addresses issues and concepts useful to architects, interior designers, healthcare providers, and users of healthcare environments. To order a copy of the study, visit CHER’s website at (

ARI Directory Now Online
A new online database provides architects, specifiers, and builders with access to information on more than 150 million Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) Certified HVACR products. The ARI, a trade association representing manufacturers of more than 90 percent of North American-produced central air-conditioning and commercial refrigeration equipment, develops and publishes technical standards for industry products. All products on the ARI Directory of Certified Product Performance have gone through extensive laboratory testing to ensure that they meet the manufacturers’ published performance ratings. The directory is located at

CABE Offers Guidelines for Healthcare Buildings
The London-based Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE) has outlined 10 key design elements for creating an effective healthcare building (

  1. Good integrated design. The design should include ease of access and straightforward integration with public transportation.
  2. Public, open space. Sensible landscaping can enhance the natural environment, complement the architecture, and reduce patient stress and pain.
  3. A clear plan. Reduce patients’ anxieties about going to the doctor with a clear, logically placed entrance that allows all visitors easy access.
  4. A single reception point. This offers patients an early welcome and a point of orientation when moving around the building.
  5. Circulation and waiting areas. To relax patients, arrange upholstered seating in the style of a hotel lobby.
  6. Materials, finishes, and furnishings. A clear design approach includes furnishings appropriate for their purpose.
  7. Natural light and ventilation. Use plenty of natural light and ventilation to improve energy-efficiency and environmental conditions in the building.
  8. Storage. Create spaces for patient records, equipment, and supplies to reduce clutter and make for a better patient experience.
  9. Adapting to future changes. CABE maintains that space should be viewed as a resource, not a territory. Allow space for changing demands.
  10. After-hours community use. The building design should encourage community use outside of operating hours.

In the Buyers’ Guide 2006, featured in the April 2006 issue of Buildings, the address for Smarter Security was incorrect. Correct information for this high-performance security solutions provider follows: Smarter Security Systems Ltd., 1515 S. Capital of Texas Hwy, Ste 304, Austin, TX, 78746-6578; phone (800) 943-0043 or (512) 328-7277; fax (512) 328-7280; (

Denver Museum Breaks Ground
The Museum of Contemporary Art | Denver (MCA) will soon have a world-class facility to call home. David Adjaye, architect for the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway, designed the building for MCA’s expanding programs. The 27,000-square-foot facility, slated to open in June 2007, will feature five galleries on two levels. Private donations and foundations will cover the building’s anticipated $15-million price tag. LEED certification is important to the MCA board, but the exact level will not be known until completion.

Architecture Billings Index Grows in April
For the 19th consecutive month, the Architecture Billings Index (ABI), a leading economic indicator of nonresidential activity, was positive again in April. The Washington, D.C.-based American Institute of Architects (AIA) reported that the ABI rating was 54.2 (any score above 50 indicates an increase), up from the 50.5 mark in March.

The ABI can be helpful for those investing in the commercial real estate market because of the 6- to 9-month lag time between architecture billings and construction spending. Global Real Analytics LLC, San Francisco, reported that commercial real estate total returns outpaced the stock market by over 50 percent during the past decade, and an index created by economists at the Cambridge, MA-based Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) showed total returns on U.S. commercial real estate investments reached 34 percent in 2005.

White Paper Explains New EPA Emissions Standards
Cummins Power Generation, a Minneapolis manufacturer of power-generation equipment, has released a white paper explaining how new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) emissions standards affect on-site power generation. The paper outlines current and near-term EPA emissions regulations and explains how and when to comply. A detailed chart summarizes the EPA emissions regulations for both mobile off-highway and stationary diesel generators for Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 3, and Tier 4 out to 2017. It also contains illustrations showing the differences in EPA National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) between November 2004 and April 2005. Download this free EPA emissions white paper at (

Healthcare Facilities Symposium to be Held in Chicago
The 19th Annual Healthcare Facilities Symposium (formerly known as the Symposium on Healthcare Design) will be held Oct. 24-26 at Navy Pier in Chicago. Dedicated to improving overall health and welfare of patients and successful business outcomes through the design element, the symposium is the longest-running conference and exhibition of its kind. Healthcare-industry professionals will benefit from the practical applications and solutions addressed at the educational forum. Some of the 68 sessions offered include: Master Planning, Design and Construction, Evidenced-Based Design, Sustainability, Technology, Guest Services, and Operations. Visit ( to register for the event.

Roofing Data Sheet Changed; Coalition Formed
In January, FM Global made significant changes to Property Loss Prevention Data Sheet 1-29, “Roof Deck Securement and Above-Deck Roof Components.” Under the newly revised data sheet, the prescriptive method of increasing the number of fasteners in the perimeter and corner areas can no longer be used for fully adhered roof systems requiring a wind-uplift rating of Class 1-90 and above. Roofing systems must now meet higher tested ratings for the perimeter and corner areas.

ARMA, CFFA, ERA, NRCA, PIMA, RCI, and SPRI have formed a coalition to address the implications of these changes. The goal of the coalition is to develop recommendations for wind performance and how it can be properly accounted for to assist roofing designers, roofing contractors, roof consultants, property owners, and material manufacturers.

Recycled Carpet Increases in 2005
The Dalton, GA-based Carpet America Recovery Effort (CARE) recently announced that 224.6 million pounds of post-consumer carpet was diverted from landfills in 2005, a 108-percent increase over 2004. Respondents to CARE’s annual survey also reported a 97-percent increase in recycling of that diverted carpet, at 194.3 million pounds. CARE’s annual conference brought together recyclers, prospective entrepreneurs, carpet-industry officials, state and federal officials, and equipment manufacturers at the LEED-certified Southern Pine Conference Center at Callaway Gardens, Pine Mountain, GA, to discuss the survey results. Robert Peoples, executive director at CARE, forecasts that the demand for old carpet will reach 400 million pounds in 2007.

MSCA Launches New Website
Building owners, facility managers, and the public can now use the easy-to-navigate Mechanical Service Contractors of America (MSCA) website ( to find information on the MSCA STAR Qualified Contractor Program. With the interactive map, HVACR customers in industrial, institutional, and commercial facilities can find a MSCA STAR contractor anywhere in the country. These mechanical-service contractors have undergone an intensive, independent review of workplace training, safety records, and customer-service programs. The customer section of the website provides a full list of MSCA STAR qualification criteria and explains their importance to building owners and facility managers.

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