California Buildings News Q2 2020

Page 1

Design & Operation of Office, Multifamily, Hospitality, Medical and Government Facilities

Q2 2020 • $5

Buildings During – and After – the Pandemic Acoustics Designs for Noisy Times

Can COVID-19 Spread in HVAC?

Spotlight: HVACCalifornia’s Products Architectural Firms Boost Efficiency

Contents 5

Drinking from the Fire Hose of COVID-19 Info Trying to get useful information about how to deal with COVID-19 in buildings has been like sipping water from a fire hose for most of us, with hundreds of webinars and communications. In preparing for this issue, we have been tuning into dozens of online events and sifting through the content, doing interviews and inviting contributions so we can present you with more concise information you can use to keep your tenants safer and more productive. It has been a fascinating process to see the ingenuity and creativity of so many people in the greater buildings’ world of designers, manufacturers and operators. A good many of the strategies from numerous sources coalesce into solid procedures that we are reporting on in this issue. Silver Lining to COVID-19 Crisis Global cataclysms can produce new and better ways of doing things and focus our attention on what really matters. Do we need armies of employees to crowd roads, polluting the environment, adding costs and degrading personal experiences and health by making them come to a workplace in some central business district every day? Apparently not. With real estate expense being a tiny fraction of the cost of doing business, do we really need to jam people into crowded workspaces, cheek by jowl, degrading their health and well-being, or shouldn’t we allocate more space per worker and add value to that experience with amenities? Companies and organizations achieve much higher goals when workers are more productive. A new zeal for healthy workplaces will produce many benefits. The same amount of space could be leased while expanding safe zones around workers who do office most of the time. Malls have long been seen as the white elephants of real estate. There have been a few revival plans to turn them into “experience” venues, where people could congregate in food halls, movie theaters, and entertainment events. That’s likely to be viewed as dangerous for years to come. And online sales are surging. So new uses for mall and shopping center spaces are possible, perhaps as multi-purpose venues combining residential, healthcare, offices and other open-air features. Can We Talk About Something—Anything—Besides COVID-19? Yes, we can, beginning with the incredible value that we all derive from our trade and professional associations, when facing any kind of challenge. Especially our local association chapters. One of the things most of us miss more than anything else is our ability to get together with people in our own industry for fellowship, beyond all the other practical reasons we belong to our groups. Let’s face it, we miss our business friends, which means they must be important to us. So, pick up the phone, send an email, use social media or ZOOM and stay in touch with your business friends. — Henry Eason

Building Industry Associations' Vital Role in Pandemic


Buildings and the Pandemic: Dramatic Changes for CRE


Moving from Open Offices Will Improve Acoustics


Hotels and COVID-19


Managing Properties While Sheltering in Place


Can COVID-19 Spread in HVAC?


Spotlight on CA Architects

New Projects Debut



Association News: CoreNet, AIA

Cover images: HVAC and acoustics: Adobe Stock. Others: Getty images.

California Buildings News Team Henry Eason, Editor Ellen Eason, Publisher & Associate Editor Contributing Editors

Zachary Brown, CBRE Ken Cleaveland, Public Affairs Advocate Bob Eaton, Eaton Hotel Investments Jessica Handy, CodeGreen Solutions Rich Lerner, Construction Consultant Michael F. Malinowski, AIA, President, Applied Architecture Inc. Katherine A. Mattes, Real Estate Consultant Steven Ring, Fulcrum Real Estate Development Carlos Santamaria, CEES-Advisors

Advertising Information Ellen Eason, 415.596.9466 © Copyright 2020 Eason Communications LLC PO Box 225234 San Francisco, CA 94122-5234 Copyright © 2020 by Eason Communications LLC, publisher of California Buildings News. The publisher assumes no liability for opinions expressed in editorial contributions to the magazine or third-party quotations within articles. The publication is not responsible for claims in advertisements. Printed in the U.S.A.

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Elevator Preventative Maintenance is Vital, Even with Lighter Traffic Reduced Occupancy Offers Cleaning and Modernization Opportunities By Erik Zommers, Senior Vice President, General Manager, Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc. Elevator & Escalator Division

As buildings experience reduced occupancy and lighter elevator traffic due to COVID-19, preventative elevator maintenance becomes more important than ever. Well-functioning elevators are a hallmark of a building’s efficiency and tenant satisfaction in the best of times. In our new normal, elevators will be even more critical to a building’s brand. These are a few of the issues that property managers and owners should consider as they implement plans for building re-entry.

Cleaning and Maintenance Ensure Maximum Possible Reliability

One silver lining to downtime is the opportunity to get elevators in great shape. A thorough cleaning of key operating components will ensure that elevator equipment is well-tuned. When buildings are fully occupied, service teams don’t always have full access to equipment, since it’s usually not convenient to take an elevator out of operation for hours. Downtime gives us a great opportunity for thorough cleaning and maintenance without inconveniencing the building. Elevators will be working much harder when buildings return to a more normal state. With social distancing guidelines, there may be only two or three people in an elevator versus the usual 10 or more, resulting in more trips and extended waiting times. Preventative maintenance will help ensure that everything runs nearly flawlessly as buildings increase occupancy. Entrapments are unpleasant occurrences, and they will be even more uncomfortable for people in the age of social distancing. The best bet to avoid entrapments is by performing preventative maintenance now.

Lower Costs, Boost Your Brand

Keeping costs down is always a challenge. However, it’s key to look at total cost of ownership for your elevator maintenance program. We recommend monthly preventative maintenance, not quarterly or semi-annually. Monthly maintenance reduces the number of shutdowns and repairs and results in predictable service costs. Mitsubishi Electric is proud that we achieve less than one callback per unit per year with our regularly scheduled maintenance practices on Mitsubishi Electric traction elevators and escalators. Many shutdowns can be prevented by monthly maintenance. Doors are one of the predominant sources of callbacks on elevators, and dust or debris in door tracks can cause problems.

Making sure that there is no dust or debris build-up can prevent shutdowns. Clean, reliable elevators strengthen your building’s brand. Being able to say that “we have a thorough elevator preventative maintenance program” helps keep, satisfy and attract tenants. In the age of social media, tenants' online complaints can harm your business.

Health and Safety Procedures for Elevators

Building managers will be devising systems to manage traffic flow with markings in lobbies and within elevators, possibly serpentine paths for waiting, retractable barriers and other practices that will make people more comfortable to help ensure social distancing. Mitsubishi Electric has developed best-practice guidelines for property and facilities managers to follow when cleaning elevators, so they don’t unintentionally damage equipment. Mitsubishi Electric's own service teams wear protective equipment and work to ensure business continuity and the safety of passengers.

New Touch-Free Elevator Call System Application This is also a fantastic time to take a look at elevator modernization and using new technologies. Once a building is densely populated, it will be more difficult to make modifications that often take months. One exciting technology is Mitsubishi Electric’s just-launched elevator call system application for smartphones. The application provides touch-free call interface with elevators, protecting passengers and making them more comfortable. The system is equivalent to holding the elevator controls in the palm of your hand and eliminates the need to directly interface with elevator fixtures. The application is designed for users to have a seamless experience with new elevators that are equipped with the Mitsubishi Electric Sigma AI 2200C Destination Oriented Allocation System (DOAS®).

Mitsubishi Electric Steps Up to Feeding America Realizing that many people are experiencing economic hardship, Mitsubishi Electric US, Inc., with its US headquarters in California, challenged their staff to take part in the Feeding America Physical Activity Challenge. They encouraged employees to track their activities which ultimately resulted in $12,000 in donations to Feeding America.

Erik Zommers has more than 30 years of experience in the elevator and escalator industry. Since joining the division in 1989, Zommers has been instrumental in leading the division’s growth. He also serves on the Board of Directors of The National Elevator Industry, Inc.

Learn more about Mitsubishi Electric's elevator & escalator solutions at

5 California Buildings News • Q2 2020

Building Industry Associations’ Vital Role in Pandemic Online Communications Replace Physical Meetings as Groups Cope with Crisis

Industry associations in normal times are useful networks for education, government relations and networking. In times of crisis, they are absolutely essential to the health of an industry — none more so than the companies that own, operate, design and construct buildings—and the companies that provide products and services to buildings. Beyond that, they are crucial to maintain vital business and social connections among people with interacting responsibilities. During this crisis, associations are proving very creative in serving their members. That said, many industry chapters are under siege, because the programs and events they hold in normal times that generate sustaining revenue cannot be held. Some of their members face financial challenges and other resource constraints. It is absolutely critical that these groups are included in the many types of government proImage: Adobe Stock.

grams aimed at providing relief, but even more important is the need for their members to continue to provide funding. They are an essential service. “We’re using all of our resources and networks to construct a bridge over the pandemic’s river of chaos,” said Marc Intermaggio, executive vice president of BOMA San Francisco.

There are dozens of association chapters and groups around California that are providing valuable response efforts to deal with this once-in-acentury challenge to our economy and way of life. For instance, the Building Owners and Managers Association of San Francisco went into action in early

March and has continued adding services to its members as the crisis deepens. Executive Vice President Marc Intermaggio said in a recent member communication, “We’re using all of our resources and networks to construct a bridge over the pandemic’s river of chaos.” His group began by providing timely information appropriate to the commercial real estate industry from government leaders, then opened pathways to all levels of government to provide industry input so government actions would be better focused. BOMA SF started a COVID19 resources page accessible through and made it a central resource for what its members need to respond to the crisis. Information provided concerns re-occupancy, transportation issues, tax and licensing deadlines, construction matters and a dedicated Slack channel so members can share experiences and sound off. (Continued on page 18)

7 California Buildings News • Q2 2020

Buildings During — and After — the Pandemic Commercial Real Estate Will Undergo Dramatic Change


hen Twitter in San Francisco announced in May that most of its nearly 5,000 employees could work from home indefinitely, it sent vibrations across the entire global spider web of commercial real estate. It was no aberration. In late April real estate trade group CoreNet Global reported after surveying its 11,000 members that “Corporate real estate professionals say that the use of remote work and virtual meetings will last beyond the immediate coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, and a growing number say that the overall corporate footprint will likely shrink as a result.” Fully 94% said remote work will continue after the COVID19 pandemic and that virtual meetings will continue as a major form of

collaboration. And 69% said their real estate portfolios will shrink. (See page 30 for more on CoreNet's report.) Numerous factors drive this trend, far beyond corporate and organizational cost savings, which are typically only 2-3% of overall revenues for real estate. Concerns about working near others, the health and hassle of commuting to central business districts, the surprising increase in productivity from remote work in many cases and the sudden trend away from big downtowns will drive the future of work locations. Even for companies that still focus most of their activities in traditional workplaces after the COVID-19 global trauma, workplace activity and design will never be the same again. But how will work be conducted, and

what will workplaces and commercial and institutional real estate look like? Even using the most basic physical distancing, reopening offices envision blocks-long lines of workers waiting to get to use elevators restricted to only a few people at a time. It will take many hours to safely load a 40-story building in what was once a minutes-long process. In what might resemble a science fiction movie, some companies are planning digital health screening methods before allowing people into workplaces or even buildings. Apps are being deployed to measure people’s physical distancing and contact tracing. Staggered work dates or times seem likely. Workers may be judged by health risks. Much more telework will be permanent —as will wholesale (Continued on page 10)

Above: New and safer ways to office include redesigned workplaces with physical distancing safeguards and more employees working from home on either a full-or part-time basis. Photos: Adobe Stock (left) and Gerry Images (above).

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8 California Buildings News

Able Services Advocates for Essential Cleaning Sector Workers Play Vital Role in Keeping Buildings Operating During the Coronavirus Crisis Industry leader Able Services recently joined said J. Paul Saccone, Chief Executive Officer of Able with six other organizations in the contract Services, a Coalition Board Member. cleaning sector to establish the Cleaning Coalition The contract cleaning service industry employs of America. The Coalition represents the needs of more than one million workers in every state in the an often-overlooked sector playing a vital role U.S., and it has been hard-hit by the economic impact keeping essential services of the coronavirus crisis. operating during the Accordingly, the Coalition coronavirus crisis. is asking Congress and Cleaners will be disinfecting workspaces, As the country moves the Administration schools, airplanes, shopping centers, stadiums past this crisis to get back to support targeted and other public spaces to prepare them for to business, the contract measures that will help cleaning sector will again ensure the continuity of widespread use, reestablishing the public’s be on the front lines. business operations trust in the systems that underpin society. Cleaners will be disinfectand the employment of ing workspaces, schools, its essential workforce. airplanes, shopping centers, “Since the pandemic stadiums and other public began, Able has been on spaces to prepare them for widespread use, reestablishing the forefront of practicing safe cleaning practices and the public’s trust in the systems that underpin society. working with BOMA San Francisco principal members to “Health and safety is the number one priority for our service their buildings and establish new protocols,” says employees, clients and communities. We’re looking to Able President Mark Kelly. “Our company is thankful to preserve jobs and maintain access to much-needed the many janitors, engineers and maintenance workers personal protective equipment for our workers, so that for their dedication in stepping up and keeping buildings they can continue to do their jobs which are an essential clean and safe. We’ve always known that these workers part of getting the American economy moving again,” were essential. Now the world does, too.”

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10 California Buildings News • Q2 2020

CRE & Pandemic (Continued from page 7) workplace redesigns. Getting back to work will challenge all our creativity and patience. We canvassed leading designers, futurists, product makers and economic analysts. See box at right for some overall conclusions and emerging trends. California Governor Gavin Newsom made it clear in April that when the time comes to more fully reopen businesses and schools “we will have to redesign them” to accommodate physical distancing for the foreseeable future with greater spaces between workers and students. He noted that would likely mean “staggering” work and school hours. Additionally, he said workplaces, parks and other public spaces will be subjected to regular “massive deep cleaning.” Los Angeles-based commercial real estate futurist Christopher Lee says in his influential Strategic Advantage report, “Where and how we work, where and how we shop, where and how we live and where and how we spend our leisure time is forever changed. COVID19 sparked a debate over human rights, property rights, privacy rights, societal rights and government rights. The pace, impact and lasting changes will reverberate within every market and every asset class. Ironically, or perhaps just great timing, the real estate cycle, which peaked in 2019, was already faced with a tsunami of transformative events occurring simultaneously…the Coronavirus just accelerated many gradual changes into light speed transformations. “From PropTech to consolidation, from legacy exits to the emergence of new competitors, from business as usual to business with a purpose and from Big Data to AI and AR, the real estate industry in 2020, as a result of COVID-19, will change. What once was is no longer a certainty. What we could rely upon is no longer reliable. What we could ‘count on,’ is now a memory. We are in unchartered waters. The time to change is now… tomorrow is too late. Your ability to shape your future should be your #1 priority. You can’t change yesterday, but you can seize the moment and create the future you want it to be.” For more extensive analysis from Lee, visit: (Continued on next page)

Pandemic-Induced Massive Trends n Workplaces will house fewer people, as much more remote work

will be a norm, but office space that is needed could remain the same because square footage per worker will be increased to provide healthier distances between people and staggered work hours. n In many cases, telework will also prove to be much produc-

tive and desirable, resulting in a new definition of workplaces and much more flexibility as to when and where employees gather—via ZOOM-type technology or satellite offices in the suburbs. According to the Brookings Institution, nearly half of all employed Americans are working from home during this pandemic. Other reports say most want to work at least some if not all of the time from home in the future. n A vast array of new products and services will be needed to

reimagine workplaces, from touchless appliances to cleaner bathrooms to elevator innovations to artificial intelligence, greater sensoring, tenant improvement design and solutions to permit employees to work better from home. n Workplace and multifamily living spaces will become much

healthier as they are retrofitted for greater space between workers and retooled with a host of products and devices designed to test for illness and improve hygiene, such as touchless products and more robust HVACR to improve indoor health. n Technologies of all types that facilitate working remotely, using

robots, artificial intelligence, sensoring, space planning and new forms of communications will become widespread. n Greater emphasis on the value of workers’ wellness and produc-

tivity versus real estate costs per worker. n Buildings sectors could morph dramatically, with much less retail

space and many more logistics facilities (warehouses, transit hubs, etc.) as shopping continues its rapid acceleration from malls and stores to online shopping and delivery. n Massive retraining will occur as people move from weak to strong

economic sectors for employment. Education to facilitate new and different employment will move from highly costly 19th century brick-and-mortar colleges and universities to much more affordable, less bureaucratic and immediately relevant online coursework and career certifications. n The entire travel industry will shrink (hotels, air travel and cruise

lines) and be remade as fear reduces unnecessary trips and excursions, resulting in many facilities being reconceived for housing, medical or short-distance, drive-to destinations. n The healthcare sector will boom as focus on the need for hospi-

tals, labs, training and other medical facilities grows dramatically, with much more government and private-sector funding flowing to these operations.

11 California Buildings News • Q2 2020

How Some Architects View Future Workplace A joint statement from Daniel Herriott, HOK director of design in San Francisco, and Kay Sargent, HOK’s global director of workplace, said “COVID-19 will have many lasting impacts on how and where we work, not the least of which will be a heightened sensitivity regarding density and proximity to others within the workplace. Companies will likely be less focused on densification and be more focused on ways to allow physical distancing in the workplace. The drive to reduce square feet per person will likely be replaced with using what you have more wisely to enable people to feel safe. “In work spaces that are currently under-utilized, enabling that spacing can more easily be accomplished. But for companies with a higher density and Photo: Adobe Stock.

utilization, they will need to assess ways to enable appropriate spacing between people. That might be a combination of modifying existing space layouts, providing some form of shielding and embracing remote work as part of the strategy. Many view the opportunity to increase distributed working as a potential for reducing their overall space needs. But even if companies are leveraging remote work, they may

find their overall square feet per work point increasing to enable distancing, hence the amount of space they could release is not proportional. “The reality is having people work remotely one or two days a week doesn’t really deliver space or cost savings, because it doesn’t necessarily reduce the number of work points needed in an environment with assigned work points. When staff starts to work remotely three days a week, and/or they opt for Activity-Based Working (ABW) with unassigned desking, then the opportunity to reduce space and cost can be realized. Empowering people with the option to be mobile, be it within the work place or from a remote location, not only allows them to pick the right setting for the task at hand, it also allows them to choose their neighbors, and how close to (Continued on page 26)

12 California Buildings News • Q2 2020

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13 California Buildings News • Q2 2020

Moving from Open Offices Will Improve Acoustics Stressful Noise Is Workers' Biggest Challenge to Performance

By Greg R. Enenstein While people transition back to working in an office, rather than from home, it feels appropriate to reevaluate and find ways to improve the office experience. As acoustical engineers, we are constantly contemplating ways to make offices healthier and more productive, all while maintaining the collaborative benefits of a physical office space. In order to take on this task, we must first accept that open offices face steep acoustical challenges. In fact, in surveys throughout the country, poor acoustics is often cited as the number one problem. The complaint of poor acoustics can be divided into two concerns: open offices are too noisy, and they don’t provide enough speech privacy. Acoustical issues in an office can be particularly detrimental to a work environment. A study at Cornell University showed that exposure to constant low-intensity noise in an open office setting can be result in increased stress levels and decreased motivation (Evans, Johnson, 2001). Another study at the University of Nebraska showed that exposure to irritating or unpleasant background sounds can decrease performance and problem-solving abilities (Errett et al, 2006). So, if we are looking for productive, healthy, and happy workers, accounting for acoustics at open plan offices is truly crucial. Acoustical consultants have been working on ways to quantify, model and recommend improvements to alleviate these issues for decades. An excellent summary of some approaches to reduce distractions, including office zoning strategies, can be found in GSA’s 2011 Sound Matters. At Salter, we have worked on over 500 projects where we have analyzed and made recommendations to improve speech privacy in open plan offices. This process can start with performing measurements in the physical offices to quantify performance with some technical engineering metrics including Noise Criteria (NC), Reverberation Time, and Privacy Index (PI). After using an assortment of computer modeling tools to process the measured data, recommendations are developed. In other cases, we have modeled these metrics during the design phase to help with decisions before the space is built. Overall, in order to make an open office space less noisy and simultaneously increase speech privacy, it will take a combination of improvement strategies to meet a target performance. These core strategies can be summarized as follows: provide appropriate background noise levels, limit the reverberation time, incorporate barriers, and modify the layout.

Provide appropriate background noise levels

Often, open office spaces rely on mechanical systems to provide ambient noise levels. Unfortunately, mechanical systems are not always consistent. When they are off or on low speeds, noise levels will be lower than when operating under a full load. Since speech privacy is a function of background noise levels, it is easier to overhear conversation when an environment is quiet. Therefore, it is important to not only design mechanical systems to appropriate background noise levels, but also maintain these appropriate background noise levels. This can be accomplished by incorporating electronic sound masking. Electronic sound masking usually consists of a system of speakers within a ceiling, or suspended from the ceiling, that subtly boost background noise levels by playing white noise, or another spectrum of sound. Sound masking can reduce distractions, as well as improve speech privacy. (Continued on page 32)

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14 California Buildings News • Q2 2020

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Cleaning vs. Disinfecting Surfaces — What’s the Difference? by Raul Plascencia, Division Manager, RMC

The answer is: Cleaning does not equal disinfecting surfaces, and disinfecting surfaces does not equal cleaning. Here’s why! w Cleaning ONLY: Removes organic material (dirt, dust, debris, pollutants), but does not kill biological contaminants. Effective clean ing depends on products, equipment, and methods used to apply and remove cleaning agents. w Applying Disinfectant ONLY: Organic materials (dirt, dust, debris, pollutants) inactivate disinfecting chemicals. Residual contaminants and pollutants are left behind on surfaces that are removed by cleaning first. w Deep Cleaning AND Applying a Disinfectant: Addresses the new awareness of cleaning for appearance and for the health of building occupants.

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A Carpenter crew assembling the pre-cut cross-laminated timber (CLT) panels at 1 De Haro Street, the first project in San Francisco to use CLT.

15 California Buildings News • Q2 2020

Hotels During and After COVID-19 Expect Enhanced Sanitary Procedures

By Bob Eaton, Founder, Eaton Hotel Investments


otels exist to meet the needs of the traveling public. With the current COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe and large-scale public mitigation efforts underway, there are virtually no traditional travelers. Hotels no longer have a need to satisfy. Traditional travel for business or leisure has been halted based on personal health concerns and the need to stabilize the infection. The consequences of this COVID-19 virus are economically devastating in the short run to the current hotel business model but could have far reaching consequences for the future of hotels generally. The hotel market has experienced the impacts on travel events before with natural disasters, such as 9.11 and hurricanes. The responses to these travel events could all be characterized by their goals being recovery to “normal,” however long it may take. Whether an earthquake in San Francisco or a hurricane in Florida, the planning and recovery were to “normal.” The intrinsic reasons for travel to any specific destination still existed generally after the event. There could be major loss and extensive work to do with infrastructure, marketing, and rebuilding; it took time, but markets and the hotel business generally came back. This pandemic event is unique, and it is uncertain now what “normal” will become in the inevitable recovery. Considering the actual hotel building or structure, there will likely be some changes mandated by the market and post-virus travelers. Most of the major brands have a “clean” room program that highlights air purification and filtration, added sanitation, microfiber bedding, etc. These programs will become brand standards and ultimately hotel standards adopted by all lodging facilities. These standards enforced will give the travelling public comfort in knowing the accommodations being used are extraordinarily clean.

Image: Adobe Stock.

The limited amounts of extra-clean rooms have been featured at a number of hotels but only on a limited location basis; they are often referred to as allergy-free. Hyatt in 2010 introduced Respire rooms which are sterilized, sanitized, antisepticised, and deodorized to the extreme. They are so clean you're unlikely to find so much as dust mite feces under the decorative pillow shams. The hotel that wanted some enhanced rooms would generally absorb the cost of an up-grade to a super-clean room. It could vary upwards from $3,000 to $20,00 per room and under the past business model the hotel could then expect a premium rate for that ultra-clean room. An example is Marriott’s PURE Room. It is featured in some Residence Inn properties and is described: w Asthma and allergy sensitive travelers notice a refreshing difference in a PURE room compared to a standard hotel room. w The air is completely circulated at least 4 times per hour filtering out 99% of impurities found in the air. w In a PURE room, all bedding and pillows are encased in a protective and comfortable covering that is mold proof, spore-proof, hypoallergenic, dust-proof and dust mite-proof. w A PURE room eliminates 98-99% of viruses and bacteria found in the environment. w A PURE room has no offensive or strong odor for the sensitive nose. w A PURE room is re-certified every 6 months to ensure the room remains PURE. w The air is continuously circulated and filtered allowing the purest air available to you. w The air quality is healthier for you and your family. (Continued on page 16)

16 California Buildings News • Q2 2020

Hotels After COVID-19 (Continued from page 15) w There is an in-room air purification system that is recog-

nized as a Class II medical device by the FDA. This filters the air around you continuously. w A PURE room provides the freshest air, giving you peace of mind and utmost comfort. w In a PURE room you have entered a PURE-LY refreshing environment that caters to every traveler that cares about the air they breathe. Similarly, the Hilton PURE rooms feature in-room filtration systems that remove air particles, while surfaces are treated to minimize the growth of bacteria. These hypoallergenic hotel accommodations are nearly 99.9% allergen-free and include: w Sanitized heater and air conditioner, further treated with PURE Tea Tree Oil w Cleansed and sanitized soft surfaces, to eliminate contaminants that trigger allergies w PureShield application on all surfaces, to minimize the growth of bacteria w One-time shock treatment, to remove any remaining allergy triggers, and to eliminate room odors w In-room medical grade air purification system, with up to 5 levels of filtration for maximum air quality w Microfiber pillowcases and mattress covers, to eliminate dust and dander associated with bedding

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The rationale was that someone particularly concerned about cleanliness, allergic reactions, breathing, etc., would pay the premium of say $30+/night. These “clean” rooms may soon become standard for the industry and, of course, the brands. It will be an expensive capital investment in all hotel properties and done simply to attract traditional travelers not just a minority of sensitive travelers. It will be led by the brands and they will set the standard, the independents will then follow. Not good news for hotel owners. Not only will there be a significant capital investment, but the management team will require training in these new standards. There will likely be some winners and some losers in the near term and only time will tell what other lasting effects this may have on our travel and facilities used for overnight lodging. If this upgrading comes to pass, it will be interesting to see the impact on Airbnb, the uber hosting affiliation. Will the individual unit owners and their hosts be willing to invest in these newly demanded standards? Is it possible to receive a sufficient certification of cleanliness? Will the traveling public deeply discount the Airbnb accommodations booked without the new cleanliness standards? The good news for hotels is this could serve as the distinguishing marketing factor to be employed in competing for the traveling public business against Airbnb and someone’s vacation condo. Alternative uses for hotels may come into play. For instance, New York is speculating that as many as 10,000 hotel rooms will not re-open as hotel rooms. The obvious alternative use might be residential. We recently learned of a 700-room independent hotel that has closed permanently and will be converted to office uses. It is conceivable that a hotel, as we know it now, could morph into some hybrid office/hotel/residence facility. These adaptations will be played out differently in a dense urban market vs. a suburban setting, but it will happen in both. The impacts on hotel closures will be felt particularly hard by the local municipalities which derive a significant revenue stream from collection of Transient Occupancy Taxes (TOT). San Francisco, for example, collects approximately $500 million per year for its general fund. Changing a use may make market sense; however, local authorities may resist the change as well as other stake-holders like employee unions. The demand for transient lodging is strongly correlated with GDP. This diminished GDP will produce less travel and industry experts expect 3-to-5 years for any return to 2019 levels. Travel for business or leisure will need to return convincingly for the majority of hotels to survive. Those that do survive the re-opening will do so with a much cleaner uncontaminated guest room. n

17 California Buildings News • Q2 2020

ELEVATORS THAT RIDE SO SMOOTHLY a coin on its edge won’t fall

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Cleaning Your Building: Facts vs. Myths

w Surfaces wiped with cleaning materials are not imme-

and anyone else within breathing areas. Disinfectants are not green.

diately effective. It takes from 4 to 10 minutes for solutions to kill COVID-19 viruses after disinfectants are applied.

w UV light treatment is not a practical anti-COVID-19

w Product claims made by many manufacturers of

w People changing HVAC filters should probably wear

“anti- microbial” surface products purporting to neutralize COVID-19 have not been authenticated in peer- review studies. Safer to use EPA-registered disinfectants. w Contaminated toilets flushed without protective lids

can circulate COVID-19 fecal material within stalls of public bathrooms. w Some cleaning solutions misted or fogged can

cause respiratory problems for facility engineers

solution for office situations, since its intensity can cause skin damage. N-95 masks and gloves, especially in healthcare environments. w No one knows how often surfaces in facilities should

be cleaned, since it is not known how frequently surfaces have been contaminated. w Proper handwashing is the #1 most protective action

needed—even more protective than hand sanitizers. w Maximizing outside air flow through an HVAC system

is a healthy solution.

Photo: Adobe Stock.

Useful observations from a webinar sponsored by the Association of Facilities Engineers Santa Clara chapter conducted by David Brinkerhoff of Forensic Analytical Consulting Services in Hayward and Wayne Whitzell of DFS Green in Foster City.

18 California Buildings News • Q2 2020

Industry Associations

(Continued from page 5)

BOMA engaged with the San Francisco mayor’s office and relevant state officials through BOMA California to learn about health orders, eviction and nonpayment topics and relevant signage. And it joined a coalition comprised of other area business groups concerned with all aspects of commercial spaces. BOMA has provided useful webinars and even sought advice from BOMA members in China about how they are coping with the pandemic. Michelle Malanca Frey, executive director, Urban Land Institute of San Francisco, says, “As we have moved our activities online, ULI San Francisco members have truly stepped up with creative ideas and new ways to connect, whether it be through webinars with industry leaders, virtual coffees and happy hours, or even group workout classes. We will always have education and information at the core of what we do, but the desire and ability of our members to help each other navigate their careers and lift each other up is equally as valuable. “Times of big change and uncertainty shine a light on the importance of personal and professional networks, and this time is no different. ULI members are demonstrating that we are more than conveners and educators, more than a professional association—we are a support system.” The Building Owners and Managers Association of Greater Los Angeles is offering numerous ways to keep its member connected and informed during the Coronavirus pandemic. Its membership director Desmond Brown identified the following: BOMA/GLA Virtual Community Slack created a space on the communication app for members to connect with one another on general issues as well as providing a COVID-19 issue specific channel. Its webinars added new topics to its e-learning program. Recent topics included: team leader-

ship and motivation, sexual harassw Increased communication through ment training required for California social media and direct emails— supervisors and proactively combating sharing tips, additional events and COVID-19 in your building resources It created a Coronavirus Resource w Virtual happy hours (Cinco de Center with up-to-date webinar Mayo!) for networking and socializing recordings, documents, checklists and “I wish I could say we’ve got it all figuseful resources to help managers ured out, but we don’t! And, that’s OK. prepare their tenants and buildings. It’s a good time to try new things, get It offers an Associate Member Online feedback and try again. SMPS SFBAC Resource Center that publishes a is committed to keeping our members current list of associate members by connected, supported and educated, service type that are regardless of the open for business pandemic.” "The Talent Portal has also ready to serve the Other associaindustry. All this tions are making an grown during the COVID-19 can be found at the effort to continue crisis, offering expanded BOMA/GLA website: to perform their core functions, such job listings and many Susie Smith, as the U.S. Green complimentary webinars," director of marBuilding Council keting at Blitz is Los Angeles. “One Ben Stapleton, USGBC-LA. this year’s presiof the regular and dent of the Society popular offerings for Marketing of USGBC-Los Professional Services San Francisco Angeles chapter has always been tours chapter. Her members comprise comof exceptional green buildings. On munications and marketing professionEarth Day, in light of COVID-19, we als that serve the architectural, engidebuted our first such virtual tour, a neering and construction industry. It’s total success: Santa Monica’s new City a chapter of dedicated members, and Services Building, the first municipal it has on occasion won best chapter in Living Building project in the world. international competition, so it stands Set to open to the public that day, the to reason that its members would tour, with special guests, drew 200+ know who to respond in a crisis such viewers from around the globe, and is as COVID-19. now available for free on USGBC-LA’s Smith says, “SMPS is a very supTalent Portal, portive professional organization, and “The Talent Portal has also grown the only one specific to marketing and during the COVID-19 crisis, offerbusiness development for AEC. The ing expanded job listings and many SF Bay Area Chapter has a number of complimentary webinars. It held a strategies in place (and are working on special Quarterly Thought Leadership many more!) to care for our members program called ‘An Interim Event in these unprecedented times. Reentry, Redesign, & Resilience.’ It w Weekly Stretch + Wave: a guided convened green building leaders to quick stretch and opportunity to discuss our response to the crisis, both casually connect as we return to work and look to the w Market Share: facilitated peer-to-peer future of building design and construclearning with a specific topic (April tion,” says Ben Stapleton, USGBC's was about the current craziness) executive director in Los Angeles. n

19 California Buildings News • Q2 2020

Associations In COVID-19 Age: Pivot, Innovate, Repeat By Julia Marin Associations have traditionally been built on in-person interactions—networking events, educational classes, committee meetings, etc. Very quickly most of our tried and true methods of connecting with our members were no longer options when we experienced COVID-19. At first it seemed like we could put a temporary solution in place with online video conference services like Zoom. But as the shelter-in-place orders became long term, and as the reality of this crisis began to set in, solutions far beyond the occasional video chat became necessary to ensure associations remained relevant. Our members are facing a crisis unlike anything they have seen before, which means our response to their needs must be unlike anything we have offered before. “Pivot, innovate, repeat” became our mantra as every member service we offer needed to be evaluated and restructured. Events The purpose of events, regardless of format, is to bring people together in an engaging and fun atmosphere to allow for connections on a different level than you would get in a traditional business setting. This can still be achieved virtually, we just needed to get creative. Creating engaging events now includes sending out branded cocktail/mocktail recipe cards for attendees to make at home, custom-designed themed virtual backgrounds, and interactive games. Education Our members still need access to quality content and taking education virtual allows for new opportunities to bring in instructors/speakers we may not have been able to offer before. National speakers and subject matter experts from around the country are now viable instructor choices for online webinars and trainings. New timely content including how to successfully offer virtual property tours, how to manage teams remotely, reputation management during a pandemic, etc. are all

being offered through formats accessible to all our members from the comfort of their home or office. Member Spotlights Our service provider members need new ways to get in front of their current and potential customers. From coordinating small group video chats to incorporating vendor spotlights into our social media, we are focused on keeping our industry partners in the spotlight. Authentic Voice & Tone Gone are the days of keeping our personal and professional lives separate. People are working from home, with their kids and pets as their new coworkers. Regardless of how important the meeting, there is a high likelihood that a dog or child will interrupt it. This is just the reality of the situation we are in and embracing it allows for a greater sense of community. Our members need to hear from us in an authentic and honest way; acknowledging that this is not ideal, while reassuring them that we are up to the task of meeting their needs despite the new challenges presented. There is a comfort in knowing you are not alone, in feeling that you are part of something bigger than yourself. In a time of literal isolation, associations are more important than ever before as they are the embodiment of connection. People are members of associations to engage with their peers, to commiserate and to learn from and with each other. While the methods of delivery may be different, the mission of connection remains the same. Marin is President/CEO of J. Elm Business Solutions, an association management and events planning company that manages California chapters of associations like the Institute for Real Estate Management of San Francisco and Sacramento, the Building Owners and Managers Association of Sacramento, the International Facility Management Association of Sacramento and CREW Sacramento.

20 California Buildings News • Q2 2020

Managing Properties While Sheltering in Place By Elizabeth Griggs In mid-March, most Californians began working from home to abide by the Shelter-in-Place (SIP) mandate implemented by Governor Newsom due to the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly all industries were forced to limit or close their normal work environments while businesses deemed “essential” worked harder than ever during the new challenging times. Property management was one such industry that was deemed “essential,” and those of us in the industry began working overtime to meet the financial and operational needs for owners, tenants, vendors and buildings. Vendor services continued, rents collected, mortgages and other expenses paid, and leases amended as short-term rent abatements were requested and considered due to many tenant’s struggling financially. In real time, owners needed to be informed of the ever-changing financial status at their properties. At Windsor Management Corporation, we were fortunate that the transition from working in the office to working at home proceeded seamlessly. All our software and communication systems had been transitioned to cloud-base systems during the past couple of years and our team was able to access all files through their home desktops, laptops, iPads, and smart phones.

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Several years ago, Windsor invested in Yardi Voyager for our property management accounting, maintenance, and tenant files. Not only does this system afford our team to access all information vis “the cloud” but our tenants have been able to pay rent, and send maintenance requests through Yardi’s Commercial Café and Mobile Maintenance features. A double benefit is that all tenant usages of Yardi’s features provides immediate input for facility management requests and record keeping. During the SIP, we practiced social distancing and proper hygiene as certain job functions (such as processing checks and opening mail) could only be performed in the office. Once our office procedures and guidelines were established, we were able to implement a shift rotation schedule to ensure our team’s safety. Our property managers continued to oversee their buildings and obligations, either virtually or in the office as standard operating procedure. Windsor installed Microsoft 365 late last summer which helped our staff tremendously to communicate and remain cohesive during the SIP mandate. We used, and continue to use, Microsoft Teams chat and video features for our allhands company meetings and internal calls and the ability to share screens for presentations has proved invaluable. We continue our weekly all-staff meetings and subgroup meetings to ensure we were all moving in the same cohesive direction. Through the years, we incorporated standard procedures to improve our efficiency and these systems proved extremely beneficial during these “disconnected” SIP times. Easy-to-use apps such as Docusign, Trello, and Teams allowed our staff to operate and connect although we are physically apart. Many of our office buildings have online HVAC and security access applications that our Director of Operations is able to access and control remotely so that those occupants that needed to work in their offices, are able to do so with complete comfort and safety. Windsor Management will continue to strive to be efficient and to use technology to aid and improve our work product. As a company, we have invested not just in the software but also training our employees to use technology and software to enable us to work for the best of our owners, tenants, and vendors — and ourselves! We are prepared for the future, be it “return to operating as usual” or to the “new normal.” Griggs is president of Windsor Management in Lafayette. Her East Bay firm manages office, retail, medical, and industrial warehouse properties and also works with commercial associations and their owners throughout Northern California.

22 California Buildings News • Q2 2020

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23 California Buildings News • Q2 2020

Can COVID-19 Spread Through Your HVAC System? Given primary methods of transmission, it should not be your first thought By Danny Murtagh, Vice President of Engineering Boston Properties, SF/LA Regions The general consensus around the spread of COVID-19 is that it is a person-to-person transmitted virus through the droplets released when coughing and sneezing and surface-to-person types of transmission. COVID-19 droplets and aerosols can be spread over longer distances within the conditioned space by air currents and movements. But it’s generally thought not to be a fully airborne virus and not able to travel longer distances through a building’s Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning system. HVAC is the term we use in industry to describe the building's mechanical systems assembled to deliver conditioned air to the spaces. The spread of the virus is a back and forth people and surfaces touching and unprotected close contact contamination path. Droplets from coughing and sneezing landing either from person-to-person or person-to-surfaces-to person have been the main modal methods of transmission of this virus. That being said, the best approach to limiting the spread is according to the WHO (World Health Organization) and CDC (Centers for Disease Control), is through social distancing, good hygiene practices, cleaning and sanitizing as well as face coverings and hand washing and sanitizing frequently. The droplets produced by these actions are not generally considered light or small enough to get carried away longer distances through the HVAC system air streams, although they can travel in excess of 20 feet within a room or space from one person to another and carried by the air movements of the HVAC system through a bigger space. That being said, when we think about that for a moment, think about the air movements within the space and not necessarily the air moving through a commercial HVAC system distances and disruptors, as a more likely explanation of how the HVAC may influence the spread of the virus in a space.

Modes of Transmission There is a lot of conversation regarding how far smaller particulates can travel suspended in the air, and that the air movement of the HVAC system can further the movement of small droplets, nuclei and aerosols within a space. Nevertheless, the concern about the HVAC system is present and a material perception of concern, so we need to pay attention to it. To that end, what can be done is to assure the HVAC system is in good repair and serviced to provide assurance that the air being circulated in your building is properly conditioned and treated to deliver the best outcomes. On a commercial level where HVAC systems have many more components and are spread out much farther as depicted below, the HVAC air filters are more substantial than at home, changing filters on a quarterly frequency for pre-filters and annual frequency for final filters are common. These are larger commercial filters that have higher efficiency and capacity than that of your home furnace filter by comparison which you might change more often because they are smaller and less capable of holding dust and particulates. Smaller HVAC Systems More Risky At home where air distributions are smaller the environment is much more intimate and the spread or aerosols a more important consideration. It is safe to say that many home heating and HVAC systems are barely maintained if at all. Change the air filter and you are likely doing what most homeowners are doing aside from breakdown servicing when something is not working. In fairness, home systems are designed to be more maintenance free in nature. Good filter maintenance is key to success and a good filter even more key, but not all home systems have return (Continued on page 28)

24 California Buildings News • Q2 2020


Great California Architects & Featured Projects

AO (formerly Architects Orange) AO (formerly Architects Orange) is a relationship-focused, design-driven architectural services firm helping clients create places where people and business flourish. In the span of 45 years, AO has grown to become the No. 1 architecture firm in Orange County and ranks among the nation’s top 50 architecture firms with 11 design studios including multifamily, retail, hospitality, mixed-use, restaurant, office, industrial, modular, parking, landscape and global design. AO is known for its ardent collaboration with developers and owners and deep expertise across various building types. The AO team of approximately 300 professionals operates from studios in the cities of Orange and San Diego, where it serves clients across the Americas, Asia and beyond. Vici Little Italy, San Diego, is an award-winning urban mixed-use project design by AO for developer H.G. Fenton Company that transformed a humble street into a community destination featuring 125 residential units, 16,000 square feet of street-level retail and a buzzing 10,000-square-foot public piazza. (See top right. Photo credit John Bahu.) 2nd & PCH, Long Beach is a 220,000-square-foot seaside shopping and dining destination designed by AO for Centercal Properties. 2nd& PCH creates a gateway between Orange County and Long Beach and is destined to become a social hub with its spectacular views of Alamitos Bay and the Long Beach Marina. (See lower right. Photo courtesy of W.E. O’Neil.)

CallisonRTKL CallisonRTKL is a global architecture, planning and design practice. Over the last 70 years, the practice has created some of the world’s most memorable and successful environments for developers, retailers, investors, institutions and public entities. Its work sets the firm apart as a top-five architecture practice across multiple disciplines and sectors. CallisonRTKL’s L.A. office has played an integral role in the city center’s redevelopment, working extensively on 717 Olympic, 888 at Grand Hope Park, Perla on Broadway and Oceanwide Plaza. CallisonRTKL’s team of nearly 1,500 professionals around the world is committed to advancing its clients’ businesses and enhancing quality of life. 888 at Grand Hope Park: ©Hunter Kerhart, courtesy of CallisonRTKL.

25 California Buildings News • Q2 2020

New Projects DTLA's California Market Center Committed to the California Market Center’s long history as a fashion hub on the West Coast, Brookfield Properties recently completed a full-building renovation of one of three interconnected buildings at CMC— which is now home to over 600,000 square feet of fashion showroom and event space geared toward the wholesale apparel industry. Designed by Gensler, the new fashion hub features polished concrete floors, open concept space, modern lighting elements, and state of the art technology creating an exciting canvas for fashion tenants and visitors to conduct business. Brookfield consolidated fashion tenants and fashion activity from across the complex to create a modern destination for fashion commerce and creativity. Committed to the renaissance of Downtown Los Angeles and its future as a primary location for tech, media, and other forward-thinking industries, Brookfield Properties is underway with a comprehensive repositioning plan to transform the entire 1.85 million square foot CMC complex into an interconnected, 21st-century mixed-use creative office and fashion industry campus. The entire site is expected to be completed by mid-2021.

Connecting bridges. Image credit: Genlser/Brookfield Properties.

Artesa at Menifee Town Center Debuts

Entrance to Artesa. Photo courtesy of MBK Rental Living.

MBK Rental Living announced that Artesa at Menifee Town Center, a Spanish mission-style apartment community in Menifee, is leasing and providing virtual tours. Offering urbanstyle living in a walkable, small-town setting, the new 15-acre community will include 37 two- and three-story walk-up apartment buildings with one-, two- and three-bedroom options. Artesa is located within walking distance to plentiful shopping, dining and entertainment options. Project partners for Artesa at Menifee Town Center include R.D. Olson Construction, SummA Architecture, Gouvis Engineering, Alliance Residential Company and Sitescapes. In 2019 Menifee ranked in the top 35 “Boomtowns in America,” according to a SmartAsset study.

USC Roski School of Art Expansion Ware Malcomb, an award-winning international design firm, announced construction is complete on the expansion of the University of Southern California (USC) Gayle Garner Roski School of Art and Design located in the Arts District of Los Angeles. Ware Malcomb provided interior architecture and design services for the project. The first phase of the project included 15,000 square feet of offices and classrooms. After the initial occupancy, USC realized an immediate need for more space and teamed with Ware Malcomb to design an additional 10,000 SF expansion including 18 student studios and an expanded professional gallery. The expansion also enables the school to present arts programming and public events in the Arts District neighborhood, contributing to the creative community.

Workspaces at USC. Photo credit: Haley Hill Photography.

26 California Buildings News • Q2 2020

CRE & Pandemic (Continued from page 11) them they want to be, as well. Giving people choices and some control over their environment is a key element in making them feel safe. “The changes the pandemic has forced on everyone gives us all an opportunity to access how we move forward. Let’s consider all the factors, weigh the pros and cons of each scenario and make wide decisions that make us all better and strong going forward,” they concluded. Since architects will be principally involved in pandemic and postpandemic space planning, we asked Los Angeles-based SmithGroup Principal Brandon Guzman how his own firm intends to reorganize its own workspace. It might be a blueprint for other types of offices. His views reflected those of many architects who foresee workplace restructuring with more emphasis on health. “Prior to the outbreak of the Corona Virus pandemic, we (at SmithGroup) were in the midst of reallocating physical assets in our Los Angeles office. Over the past two years our project teams have become more multidisciplinary which has made us look into shifting our focus from a studio-based layout to one that is more project team oriented. As part of that effort we are now adding how we will return to work and how our ideal workplace will be affected by this paradigm shift. “In LA we are in some ways being in the mindset of change puts us ahead of the curve, however we still are at the beginning stages of evaluating strategies on how we return to the office. Like a lot of organizations SmithGroup had adopted an open floorplan (no private offices), bench system workstations and a focus on we space over me space that included ‘hot-desking’ over assigned seating. Our future workspace, both micro and macro, will likely be drastically different from that model going forward.

“In the short term we are looking at how we return to our office and maintain physical distancing. Some strategies being considered are: n A phased approach to reintroducing staff to the office, perhaps ½ of teams in the office on one day and the other ½ working from home on alternating days n Allowing a larger number of staff to remain working from home on a more permanent basis n Removing seating in conference rooms to cut capacity by half n Staggering employees at bench workstations so they are not sitting opposite each other n Returning to assigned seating to reduce shared resources n Eliminating shared resources such as coffee mugs, drinking glasses, etc. in favor of compostable solutions n Re-evaluation of our shared gathering and lounge spaces n Replacement of faucets, soap dispensers and other items for those with hands-free operation n Enhanced cleaning procedures for high touch surfaces such as door handles, coffee and water dispensers, microwaves and cabinet pulls.” Some Say Open-Space Offices Still Relevant Not all architects agree that workplaces should depart from an openoffice formula. Says Tricia Esser, CEO of KTGY Group in Orange County, “I think open space designs could be more valuable than ever. While we might be fearful now, we are also yearning to hear each other, see each other, and feel connected with our colleagues. There should be a better balance between working at home and working in the office, but while we are in the office I believe we will want to see and be around each other. Distance is fine, walls are not!” Ted Heisler, Principal, Interior Architecture & Design, at Ware Malcomb, says open offices “will

evolve from what we are learning now. The open space will be more thoughtfully planned to include some separation as we consider workstation proximity. We should use the reset of the open office workplace to help solve some of the acoustical issues that were created by overly open plans. We will create more distancing between workstations to enhance employee health and well-being. The open office will continue to be relevant as we have learned that a truly engaging office has both open and enclosed office areas, ideally full of natural light, nodes of quiet spaces and breakout areas for team collaboration. Beyond being a prudent way to plan space, the cost considerations will make it prohibitive to create all enclosed offices.” Brian Whitmore, president & CEO of BCA Architects in Sacramento, says, “Yes, absolutely open workplace design will still be relevant in the COVID-19 age. We have some really wonderful technology emerging that is helping us be more productive while we remain in isolation, but it has already proven it cannot entirely replace the human connection and the benefits that has to our social, emotional and professional lives. In our industry, as architects, nothing has been developed that beats a pencil and piece of tracing paper while working together over a physical set of plans. “I expect we will have some immediate desires to distance but will ultimately find that creativity and productivity will suffer tremendously if we don’t find ways to come back together in the workplace.” Technology for a PostCOVID-19 Environment Some see this disruptive era as an opportunity to focus on the most efficient and healthy use of a workplace. “Look at your empty office as a blank canvas, of sorts. What types of workspaces do employees need to do (Continued on next page)

27 California Buildings News • Q22020

(Continued from previous page)

their best work? Consider not just types, but where workers spend the majority of their time. Is it easy to find a quiet place to work or a collaborative area to brainstorm with colleagues?” asks Space IQ Marketing Director Nai Kanell. “The key to uncovering productive designs is enterprisewide data and analytics from your integrated workplace management system (IWMS) and computer-aided facility management (CAFM) systems. “For all the fear surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a silver lining for workplace managers. The opportunity to plan and execute workplace-wide changes without employee disruption is one that shouldn’t be passed up.” “The engineering work landscape has been rapidly evolving, and the pandemic has accelerated and changed the landscape in ways we are only beginning to understand,” says American Society of Mechanical Engineers Executive Director/CEO Tom Costabile. “Engineers are applying technologies including artificial intelligence, robotics and 3D printing to help respond to the public health crisis, and also to adapt processes in many industrial sectors and transform supply chains for the future.” ASME Director of Learning and Development Arin Ceglia adds, “A significant number of engineers graduate with powerful textbook knowledge of fundamentals and theory, but lack the skills needed to apply that knowledge

in their day-to-day work. Even experienced engineers might become siloed and not have the ability and awareness to keep pace with the rapidly evolving technical field.” John Combs, principal at RiverRock Real Estate Group in Newport Beach, says, “Property managers of office buildings will now discern between what measures work and are cost effective for sanitizing buildings, keeping buildings inviting but feel safe and clean, and increasing tech for facial, AI, cell phone tracking, fever testing etc. I went to the bank last week wearing a mask and gloves. If my father was alive who was a lifetime banker, he would have had a heart attack if he saw someone enter the bank lobby like that. Then again, the bank staff were wearing the same protection. “Because these are unprecedented times with a pandemic and our stock of office buildings we must cooperate and collaborate with those in our state, community (including competitors), locality and tenancy. Focus will be on touchless technology so that you don’t touch buttons or handles, risk management policies and underwriting of insurance for work stoppages due to pandemic, cleanliness of buildings including air quality, surface quality and disinfections, and as always communication with tenants, owners and staff are the most critical.” FYI: RiverRock’s reopening plan: https:// n

28 California Buildings News • Q2 2020

COVID-19 Spread & HVAC (Continued from page 23) air paths that allow for a more restrictive higher efficiency Engineers) take their roles seriously, professionally and filter, so you have to sometimes enlist the professionals maintain these systems continuously behind the scenes at to get filtering assistance. There are some good options all times as motivated by obligation to service and profesfor enhanced filtering in home systems, but most require sional pride in their facilities. outside help to implement effectively. If you have air conWhat are you coming back to? All facilities are ditioning the water that is condensed in the evaporator performing additional maintenance, cleaning, sanitizing coil has to have a good drain to be effective and should and filter replacements with higher rated filtration, (MERV sometimes be cleaned to remove biologic build up in the 13+) on the HVAC systems, increasing ventilation rates, evaporator pan. In large buildings and commercial HVAC operating toilet exhaust fans 24/7, operating the HVAC systems, these tend to be spread over a larger area and have systems in advance of the return, pre-occupancy for 48 varying attributes. hours and potentially extending operating What are your facilhours to allow for staggered shifts to ity operators doing in separate employees by splitting them Since COVID-19 is a person-to-person your buildings? Well, into shifts, all in order to provide that transmitted virus through the droplets from experience, even comfort and reassurance as tenants though you might not come back to work, they can have released when coughing and sneezing be aware there are confidence that the HVAC systems and surface-to-person transmission, it is things happening year are performing properly and any fear not readily able to be a primary source of round in your buildof contamination of the HVAC system spread through a building’s HVAC system, ings, a lot of which is has been addressed and mitigated. far removed from your Since COVID-19 is a personbut COVID-19 or SARS-2 have many other space and behind the to-person transmitted virus through pathways within a building. scenes; Central plant the droplets released when coughing equipment is being and sneezing and surface-to-person checked daily during phystransmission, it is not readily able to be ical equipment rounds a primary source of spread through a buildand readings are taken, logged and compared in order ing’s HVAC system, but COVID-19 or SARS-2 to assure proper system functionality. Filters are being have many other pathways within a building. replaced on regular frequencies; large equipment is being What can you do? This is an up close and personal serviced and maintained regularly; fan rooms and equipvirus, with a person-to-person or person-to-surfaces backment rooms are being vacuumed, cleaned, sanitized and to-person as the agreed upon primary path of transmission. wiped down and in some cases surfaces are being painted Given the primary means of transmission between peoto seal surfaces; filters are being changed quarterly for ple and surface touchpoints like door knobs, pulls push pre-filters and annually for final filters. Controls are being plates, switches, faucets, fixtures, flat surfaces, it would inspected, calibrated, tested and repaired to make sure the seem that HVAC cannot be a primary solution towards components that are controlled are functioning as installed managing infection and spread and that individual protecand planned. tions, limit travel and contacts, cleanliness and sanitization During tenant improvement work, the facility team is may be the best way to remain safe from the virus. Only also reviewing what the contractors are doing including if we can all practice the generally agreed precautions, how systems in your space are being outfitted and configthen we can influence virus spread to others. We all have ured as well as the final air and water balancing reports to responsibilities here and each of us has the opportunity assure that the correct volumes of air are being delivered. to be one less contributor to the spread of the virus. In a The facility teams are at work day in and day out making world where disruption has been the societal call to action, sure that the system is operating to produce the correct can we all agree that we should disrupt the virus by indicomfort control and performing preventive maintenance vidual responsible actions instead of making it someone and repairs to keep in operating. During this crisis the else’s responsibility? engineers have been working tirelessly in the buildings Be safe! Practice social distancing, face coverings, hand doing detailed and enhanced maintenance activities to hygiene including sanitizing, gloves, and stay home if assure that the HVAC cannot be a contributor to the spread you’re sick and courtesy to the people around you. n of virus. I can share that your facility operators (Stationary


HVAC Solutions

29 California Buildings News • Q2 2020

Why Booster Pumps Fail... Some Useful Tips The AC Hotel in San Jose requires domestic water booster pumps to deliver water at the required pressure to all floors, due to its height. The California Code of Regulations Title 17 contains provisions for backflow protection by the drinking water user at the user's point of connection. For that purpose, the hotel has a storage tank served by the water main through an air gap connection. This prevents any potential contamination back to the main supply. Booster pumps are then fed by the storage tank. Pumps are controlled by variable frequency drives so that they run only as much as needed to ensure adequate pressure to all floors. This prolongs system life, uses less energy, and helps in compliance with California’s Title 24 Building Standards Code.

Challenge: Excessive run time of booster pumps Solution:

Replace check valves on discharge piping


Pumps run only when there is demand

Discharge piping also has check valves to prevent water from the upper floors from flowing back to the storage tank when the required discharge pressure is reached and the pumps stop. The system also includes an expansion tank to keep pumps from starting excessively due to small piping leaks and to ensure smooth operation. The hotel’s chief engineer, Angel Serna, noticed that the pumps never stopped, regardless of water usage. Working with its vendor, Enerdronics, it was discovered that the check valves on the piping did not seal properly, allowing water to flow back to storage tank and never satisfying discharge pressure. Replacing the check valves was the solution.

For additional information on Enerdronics' pump and boiler trouble-shooting services, contact Alain Descoins, LEED AP | President of Cantechtools LLC (dba Enerdronics) at 925-323-2763 or visit

Expanded Measurement Capabilities Expand your measurement capabilities with the new 2 ft. x 3ft. (610 mm x 915 mm) Hood and Frame Kit from TSI. This kit mounts directly to the base of the Alnor® Balometer® Capture Hood EBT731, allowing you to address a unique air return vent size common in residential and small commercial buildings. This new accessory is constructed from the same top-quality frame and fabric as the EBT731 Capture Hood. To learn more, visit

Powerful Building Controller The Reliable Controls MACHProView LCD is a powerful and elegant BACnet Building Controller (B-BC) and BACnet Operator Display (B-OD) which provides a plenitude of attractive, high-resolution, graphical interfaces to access, control, and monitor the comfort and energy of any space. In addition to room temperature, the MACH-ProView LCD supports occupancy, humidity, and carbon dioxide sensing. Learn more at

30 California Buildings News • Q2 2020

Association News

Big Transition to Remote & Virtual Work, Says CoreNet Corporate real estate professionals say that the use of remote work and virtual meetings will last beyond the immediate coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, and a growing number say that the overall corporate real estate footprint will likely shrink as a result. CoreNet Global conducted an updated survey of its 11,000 members in April to gauge the evolving corporate real estate (CRE) response to the COVID-19 coronavirus challenge and to identify practical steps members can take to support their companies’ effort to ensure employee safety and business continuity. Separate surveys were sent to end-user members (119 responses) and service provider members (143 responses). The longer-term adaptation of remote and virtual work was reported in greater numbers: u Ninety-four percent of end-users think that expanded use of remote working will last beyond the current crisis (up from 89 percent in the previous survey) u Ninety-four percent of end-users surveyed think that expanded use of virtual meetings (e.g., vs. face-to-face meetings) will last beyond the current crisis (unchanged from the previous survey) u Sixty-nine percent of end-users surveyed say that their company’s real estate footprint will shrink as a result of increased work from home (up from 51 percent in the previous survey) u Seventy percent of respondents say that real estate projects have been put on hold (up from 67 percent in the previous survey) However, these trends are not without challenges, which were identified by the respondents: u Being unable to have the kind of collaboration that occurs when everyone is together in the same room u Developing a long-term workplace strategy and remote working strategy

u Figuring out the framework and details of a return-

to-office plan u Extra time required to manage at a distance, with frequent check-ins to check on the emotional toll u Mental health of our employees u Accessing adequate supplies of hand sanitizer and masks Optimism is Growing Nineteen percent of end-user respondents reported| that their companies had experienced layoffs due to COVID-19, nearly double the figure revealed in the previous survey (10 percent). However, corporate real estate professionals are becoming more optimistic. Survey respondents’ short-term economic outlook is less bullish than their longer-term outlook, but it is more optimistic than it was during the previous survey. When asked “Are you more or less optimistic about the economic future over the next three months?” the average rating (on a 1-5 scale, with 1=low and 5=high) was 2.5 for both end-users and service providers. In the previous survey, the average rating was 2.3. When that time frame is expanded to six months, the service provider rating jumped to 3.13 (up from 3.0 in the previous survey), while the end-user rating (2.95) remained essentially unchanged from the previous survey (3.0). CoreNet Global is a non-profit association, headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, representing more than 11,000 executives in 50 countries with strategic responsibility for the real estate assets of large corporations. The organization’s mission is to advance the practice of corporate real estate through professional development opportunities, publications, research, conferences, designations, and networking in 45 local chapters (one in Northern California and another in Southern California) and networking groups globally.

AIA California Council Names David Baker Architects Top Firm of 2020 The American Institute of Architects California (AIA CA) gave this year’s Firm Award recipient to San Francisco-based David Baker Architects. “This firm was chosen based on not only the quality of their work, but the impact-driven design philosophy they embody. The work they do often leads to the higher cause of helping to solve the housing crisis. Founded in 1982, this firm continues to have success by maintaining these three core values: sustainability, community, and urbanism,” the announcement read.

“There is real quality here, and one can tell David Baker design is impact-driven which equals work that lends itself to a higher cause,” one juror commented. “To allow an underserved population to live with unity and respect, is beyond commending,” another said. The jury was also impressed with the firm’s focus on diversity and inclusion. The firm is known in San Francisco to prioritize people over parking and to welcome all with materiality, space and a great front door—none of which are easy feats in the urban sprawl of the Bay Area.

31 California Buildings News • Q2 2020

AIA Committee on the Environment Awards California Projects The American Institute of Architects (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE) recently announced this year’s recipients for its highest honor, the COTE Top Ten Awards — and two recipients are based in California: The Six, Los Angeles | Brooks + Scarpa, and Environmental Nature Center and Preschool, Newport Beach, California | LPA, Inc. The jurors also recognized the Environmental Nature Center and Preschool project for its exceptional post-occupancy performance data. COTE bestows the award annually on 10 design projects that have expertly integrated design excellence with cutting-edge performance in ten key areas. The COTE Top Ten winning projects illustrate the solutions architects provide for the health and welfare of our communities and planet. In order to be eligible, project submissions are required to demonstrate alignment with COTE’s rigorous criteria, 10 measures that include social, economic, and ecological values. The five-member jury evaluates each project submission based on the effectiveness of their holistic design solution and metrics associated with the 10 measures.

The Six front at twilight. Photo credit: ©Tara Wujcik.

Since committing to environmental stewardship last year, architects have made notable progress in the climate action fight. Visit AIA’s website at to learn more about all the climate action progress being made, including its first Climate Action Plan.

View from E 16th Street of Environmental Nature Center (ENC). Photo By Cris Costea, 2019 Copyright: Cris Costea.

32 California Buildings News • Q2 2020

Office Acoustics (Continued from page 13) Limiting the reverberation time

Reverberation Time is a measure of how long it takes sound to decay in a space. The longer the Reverberation Time, the more buildup of sound, and the louder a space will be perceived. Therefore, to make an open office space less noisy, it is important to limit the Reverberation Time, which can be accomplished by the use of sound absorptive materials. Sound absorptive materials, such as insulation, are generally thought of as softer, whereas “harder” materials such as gypsum board, concrete, and glass, reflect sound and result in longer Reverberation Times. Sound absorptive materials can be implemented at ceilings (e.g., acoustical clouds, ACT, wood slats with insulation above, sound absorptive spray at the deck), floors (i.e., carpet), walls (e.g., fabric wrapped panels or drapery), or with the office furniture itself.

Incorporate barriers

Barriers and open offices seem to contradict each other. However, there are ways to incorporate barriers that can still achieve the open and collaborative feel. Partial height dividers (approximately 4-feet in height) between workstations or glass walls can increase speech privacy when used in conjunction with sound absorptive treatments.

Modify the layout

Louder spaces such as open kitchens and break areas can be particularly distracting for people in open offices. If the louder spaces can be identified and distanced from the working areas requiring greater focus, then distractions can be decreased. Some offices will distinguish “loud zones” and “quiet zones” to help with planning. Casual conversations also occur in corridors, and in which case, “boulevard” or “cul de-sac” layouts can help reduce conversations near work areas. Another way to modify the layout is to reduce the density of workstations. The greater the distance between workstations, the quieter the conversations will be from a worker’s nearest neighbors. Furthermore, if each worker is seen as a noise source, the fewer workers there are in a given area, the fewer noise sources, and the quieter the space will be.

Conclusion and paths for the future

With a combination of the four methods discussed, it is possible to tackle the main issues that afflict open office acoustics. The specific combinations and extent needed of these strategies can be determined through acoustical testing, analysis, and modeling. The strategy of reducing the density becomes particularly relevant when we consider current global conditions. Given how crucial social distancing has become crucial in fighting COVID-19, and will almost certainly impact the future of open office planning, the acoustical benefit should be firmly recognized. While architects seemed least willing to reduce density in the past, as compared to some of the other acoustical strategies, a reduction in density may allow for both a less noisy and more private open office experience, and thus a healthier and more productive work environment.

Enenstein is senior consultant at the acoustics consulting firm Salter in San Francisco and can be reached through


33 California Buildings News • Q2 2020

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Cleaning vs. Disinfecting Surfaces: Important Considerations Restoration Management Company (RMC) offers levels of cleaning, application of disinfecting and sanitizing materials suitable for most surfaces depending on the level of cleaning, disinfectant, and sanitizing applications required to achieve a clean and healthy environment. “Cleaning and applying disinfectants is intended only for hard surfaces," says RMC Division Manager Raul Plascencia. "Cleaning and sanitizing of soft surfaces uses different chemicals and application processes that do not harm material surfaces.” Learn more at

34 California Buildings News • Q2 2020


Able Services' ReliAble Services: Specialty Disinfection Practices A public health crisis has unfolded across the globe and building managers are feeling a heavy burden of ensuring their occupants can return to safe, healthy environments. "Able has developed our own brand of specialty disinfection services, called the ‘ReliAble Response Team.’ These trained employees will provide a multi-layer approach including extra sanitization services at facilities. We recognize the importance of our cleaning teams to do their job—getting us back to work when the time is right,” says Able Services President Mark Kelly. Able reports seeing a demand for higher frequency touch-point cleaning and construction porter services. Learn more at

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