4 FM quick reads on interiors
1. How to Choose the Right Paint
Dollar for dollar, paint can provide more of an impact within a space than almost any other element.
Of course, paint is more than merely decorative; it's also protective. As a starting point, it helps to know the differences between the types of paints available.
Several decades ago, oil-based paints were more common. Today, they largely have been phased out due to the ease of disposal and reduced application time that most latex paints can offer. In the paint world, latex refers to most water-based paints that use synthetic polymers, such as acrylic or vinyl acrylic, as binders.
Pure acrylic resins cost more than vinyl, but offer several benefits, including better washability and adhesion, along with resistance to water, cracking and blistering.
An all-acrylic paint is more flexible and less prone to brittleness. For exterior surfaces, acrylic paint does a better job of resisting UV-rays, and so won't fade as quickly as vinyl. That means that higher quality paints, which contain more acrylic, tend to cost more.
Along with its cost, facility managers who want to gauge the quality of a specific brand or type of paint can review the lists of products approved by the Master Painters Institute. These are available at the MPI's website, www.paintinfo.com, and are categorized by product type, such as latex interior flat finishes.
Another resource is ASTM International (www.astm.org), which develops international voluntary consensus standards.
2. Avoiding Pitfalls In LEED Certification For Interiors
This is Casey Laughman, managing editor of Building Operating Management. Today's tip is to be aware of potential pitfalls when trying to earn LEED certification for an interior space.
A common pitfall in pursuing LEED certification is that the actual awarding of certification comes after move-in. There is always the possibility that all credits will not be approved and a project could fall a point or two short of its target. It's best to plan to have a margin of a couple of extra points just in case. Also, credit appeals can extend the certification period well beyond project completion and contractor close-out, which can make locating requested project information challenging. All LEED submittal data should be obtained early along with shop drawings.
Some other of the most common LEED pitfalls are added costs, both soft and hard, and additional time compared to the traditional design and construction process. For example, a two-week air flush-out needs to be built into the schedule, as well as time for enhanced commissioning. If a planned flush-out becomes impractical because of summer or winter weather, the alternate is air testing, which is not a guaranteed point despite the need to pay test fees.
Slab curing and installation of carpeting with low VOC adhesive may also require additional time. The lesson here is to plan well in advance and schedule the sequencing of the work, such as painting before installing carpet and ceiling tiles to ensure good indoor air quality later, in a thoughtful manner.
Finally, there are risks of product failure. With hundreds of new green building products hitting the market every day, many are not proven. "Roadoyl" was a light paving alternative to asphalt introduced 10 years ago. After five years it deteriorated badly but the manufacturer was no longer in business. When bamboo flooring made its market debut, it was beautiful, cost-effective and sustainable. But all manufactured bamboo flooring is not created equal and softer products are prone to unsightly high-heel marks.
While it's always important to be careful of manufacturers that make unsubstantiated claims, there are trustworthy certifications for sustainable products from third parties such as Green Seal and Greenguard.
3. Changing Work Habits Call for Changing Workspaces
This is Casey Laughman, managing editor of Building Operating Management magazine. Today's tip is to take a look at how work habits are changing when designing or redesigning an office.
Taking a new look at workspaces can help companies improve their work environments.
Changes in how we work and how we use technology mean that the traditional cubicle farm isn't as effective as it once was. As collaboration has become more important, workspaces that allow for better communication and more efficient sharing of ideas have become more important.
To reinvent your office, challenge the assumption that everyone needs a dedicated workspace. Instead, start from the perspective that the office should accommodate the needs of the work to be done, rather than assuming that everyone needs to own an individual workspace. This is not so daunting a task when you realize that most individual workspaces are actively in use only around 35 to 40 percent of the typical working day.
As a result of the changes in how we work, there are several new demands for an effective office design. Here are some of the things to look out for and plan with:
Design for a range and diversity of settings for individual and collaborative work, quiet versus noisy areas, and "owned" versus "shared" spaces.
Emphasize the office as a hub for collaboration; ensure that the office is a highly utilized center for interaction and face-to-face collaboration.
Make the office a place for using higher value technologies for communication, recognizing that work patterns will involve both face-to-face interaction and technology to integrate remote participants.
Thorough user research with those moving into the new office is important if facility managers are to understand and plan for their needs. Measuring the impact of the new workplace on business performance and user satisfaction is essential to making the business case for larger scale implementation.
4. Research Ceiling Specs
Facility managers should ask for proof to back up manufacturer claims when choosing a ceiling. Separating the sales pitch from the hard facts is an important step in comparing different ceiling panels on even ground.
Claims of durability, reflectivity, and resistance to mold, mildew and stains should all be backed up by independent testing. If those aren't made readily available, ask the manufacturer directly. They're generally more than happy to give as much information on their products as necessary to make a sale.
Once you have the results of the same tests on different ceilings, it's easy to compare apples to apples and make the best choice for your facility's needs.