Time for Champagne!

What a fast year in Portland construction! There was so much going on and every project was urgent.

Admit it. If you're in construction you like it that way. We LOVE it.

There's almost too much goodness to report in one post, but I'll hit the highlights: 


Jennifer Kaye joined the Whole Building Solutions team this year. She is currently commissioning PSU's Stott Center, finishing a plumbing/HVAC design for City of Portland, and diving into a food processing equipment move. For the last six months of design, she took the lead on The Portland Building's 15 floors of HVAC TI design which was just completed. 

Thank goodness Jennifer also grew up in Alaska. We have the same grit that you only get from below zero temperatures and a lack of fresh fruit. (Alaska humor.) 

We're feeling pretty damn proud of the work we did for our high tech, education, medical, industrial, and municipal clients. We have made some awesome new architect friends and we're looking forward to some exciting work in 2018!

PE Stamp

Do other engineers get a little sentimental when they stamp a design?

I got my Oregon professional engineering license in 2003, but didn't stamp drawings for years. I was doing a lot of design and construction management and commissioning, so I didn't need to bust out my stamp and sign any drawings. Now that I'm designing HVAC systems, process piping, and plumbing, I stamp and sign drawings. Whenever I do, I think of how much I learned in school, on the job, and from other engineers to get here. I'm also aware of how much the rest of the world trusts engineers to get it right. Every time I put a stamp on a drawing, it feels like a little ceremony of gratitude and responsibility.


Code Nerd

Last week I had the great pleasure of writing a code assessment to accompany a design for a high-tech client. That may sound like I'm being sarcastic, but I'm not. I honestly love analyzing building, fire, mechanical, and energy code to find the right solution for my client and make the most succinct presentation to the Authority Having Jurisdiction. Yes, the codes make crazy circular references to one another and the language is awkward and full of double negatives, but that's part of the fun. Understanding code and applying it in a way that works for my clients - and then making the case to the AHJ is truly a good time for me.

Steam Tables

This week I dove into a bit of work that allowed me to flip through my 1969 hardback copy of Keenan and Keyes Steam Tables. I love this book. It smells like an old library and has a poster-sized pullout Mollier diagram.

It's okay if you don't get as geeked up about enthalpy and specific volume as we do. That's why we are engineers. We love boilers, chillers, and heat exchangers enough for all of us.

Specification Love

Could your organization use template specifications for commissioning, training, and closeout? They are a great way to make sure projects are delivered in the same way every time - complete and ready for occupancy.

We love to write smart specifications. Let us help!

The Permit Touch

Getting a project's building permit quickly and painlessly involves more than just knowing code and design package contents. It involves a bit of negotiation and personal touch. We have that. We can be your permit people.

If you like the freedom of choosing different design teams for multiple projects, you'll still have the same contact with your jurisdiction for all of those projects. That can make life so much easier. And that's what we want.


Heating Season

Normal people consider this simply the holiday season. To HVAC engineers, it's much more than that. It's that magical time of the year when we discover if the heating systems we designed or commissioned are operating as planned. It's like opening presents -- will enough warm air be delivered to all the zones? Is all the heat trace working to prevent freezing? I am giddy with anticipation!

BFFs - Best Friends in Facilities

I spoke at Oregon Society of Healthcare Engineers a couple weeks ago. I wasn't the only speaker determined to have an honest discussion about how design engineers and facilities engineers can do a much better job of making each others' lives easier. The questions from the facilities engineers there were fair, mostly: Why should I stick my neck out during the design phase when I know I will be ignored, and possibly punished for speaking up?

So, design engineers, architects, construction PMs, and department directors can we make an early 2016 resolution? Let's stick together and make the case for the most maintainable and energy-efficient designs. Let's listen intently to each other. We all have to live within the budget and schedule realities, but we can combine forces so much better.

Construction PMs, hold your right hand up and say, "I (your name) swear to include my BFFs as early as possible in the scoping phase, listen to their maintenance needs for the new space I'm building, and incorporate their ideas into the business case and design for new and renovated spaces."

Also, let's drink more beer together. That always helps.