Miami Green Homes


Why Prepare a Local Pre-Disaster Recovery Plan? (Guest post by Natalie French)

Recovery is the most complicated, lengthier, expensive and least appreciated phase of emergency management. Some recoveries can take years, and communities will never be able to go back to normal levels.  In fact, it is not realistic to create a false image that things will go back to “normal”.   Long-term recovery also has a toll on the people in charge of the process.   Experiences across the country include cities with administrators and staff who have a difficult time handling the external pressures.  After the floods of 2015, some cities in North and South Carolina saw half of their department heads resign in a three-year span, and a turnover of three to four City Managers in the same time period.

As recommended by FEMA’s “Pre-Disaster Recovery Planning Guide for Local Governments (February, 2017)”, a Recovery Plan helps avoid confusion and improvisation.  Having a plan in place improves capabilities prior to a disaster by helping city governments to:

  • Establish clear leadership roles, including the Mayor’s office, City Council, and City Manager’s office, for more decisive and early leadership.
  • Improve public confidence in leadership through early, ongoing, and consistent communication of short- and long-term priorities.
  • Avoid the often difficult, ad hoc process of post-disaster discovery of new roles, resources, and roadblocks.
  • Gain support from whole-community partnerships necessary to support individuals, businesses, and organizations.
  • Improve stakeholder and disaster survivor involvement after the disaster through a definition of outreach resources and two-way communication methods the city and key organizations will employ.
  • Maximize Federal, State, private-sector, and nongovernmental dollars through early and more defined local priorities and post-disaster planning activity.
  • Provide for more rapid and effective access to Federal and State resources through better understanding of funding resources and requirements ahead of time.
  • Enable local leadership to bring to bear all capability and more easily identify gaps through a coordination structure and defined roles.
  • Better leverage and apply limited State and nongovernment resources when there is no Federal disaster declaration.
  • Maximize opportunities to build resilience and risk reduction into all aspects of rebuilding.
  • Speed identification of local recovery needs and resources and ultimately reduce costs and disruption that result from chaotic, ad hoc, or inefficient allocation of resources.
  • Improve capability and continuity through pre identification of when, where, and how the local government will employ and seek support for post-disaster planning, city operations, recovery management, and technical assistance.
  • Proactively confront recovery and redevelopment policy choices in the deliberative and less contentious pre­disaster environment.
  • Improve the ability to interface with State and Federal Recovery Support Function structure.

A pre-disaster recovery plan provides a local-level framework for leading, operating, organizing, and managing resources for post-disaster recovery activities. The plan can then be used to implement the post-disaster recovery process and carry out post-disaster planning and management of recovery activities, such as restoring housing, rebuilding government facilities, schools, child care services, recovering businesses, identifying resources for rebuilding projects, returning social stability, and coordinating other community planning processes.  By working in advance to develop an understanding of needs and vulnerabilities, identify leaders, form partnerships, establish resources, and reach consensus on goals and policies, the community will be prepared to begin recovery immediately rather than struggle through a planning process in the wake of a disaster.

*****

Natalie French

Media & Emergency Management Specialist

Advertisements


Architects versus developers (an architects perspective):

Ideas versus money. That is about the simplest way to distinguish the two and also the easiest way to understand why these two groups need each other. While overlap is of course possible, it is not likely. Developers frequently look at a potential project and create a general concept based on location and possible use of the land. Architects then provide a design concept to realize that opportunity and eventually the detailed plans to actually build the initial vision of the developer. Most projects, residential, commercial or otherwise, were created by the synergy of these two groups.

2018-09-20 17.07.31

An Architect as developer has solved the financial puzzle and can move forward not just with the idea and concept, but the execution of the project as well; a developer as architect first must obtain required licenses and typically look beyond function of the project to integration of concept into a larger scope and environment.

develop 1



Planners versus architects (an architects perspective):

When looking closer into the world of design, one will find a distinction between planners and architects. While Architects may act and function as planners, the reverse is generally not true. Urban planners are trained to focus on a larger picture and incorporate varying functions of a place. These functions may include buildings and other structures, but also consider infrastructure and landscape concepts and the use of structures. In short, it is urban planners who try to figure out what happens where. Residential living mixed with industrial production? Large trucks and trains mixed with pedestrians and bicyclists? Maybe not a good mix and match…

planner 1

https://www.planetizen.com/node/68464

There are many schools of thought about proper planning and most of us are living in the result of a certain theory in time that won over another idea. Compact live/work areas typically do not blend with strip malls and suburban single family home planning. High density downtowns will not blend with agricultural production – even though urban farming is a strong and functioning concept!

Once the general ideas have been laid out, the architect typically takes over to designing the actual buildings and structures. To learn more about planning: Jane Jacobs, smart cities and CNU may are good starting points.

planner 2

 



The Role(s) of the Architects – what we really do

 

IMG_7130

Let’s keep the role and influence of the individual architect a little reasonable and in perspective here. There are so many varying aspects of architecture employment. Few actually design, especially design all the time. Most are executing some sort construction documents or other legal text relevant to the building at hand, research materials or local building and zoning code. When design actually happens, it is a very rewarding for most. So design, as conceived as the main role of the architect by the public, is in fact a rather small aspect of the overall practice.

In general the role of the licensed architect, is to orchestrate a number of parts required for the project into a coherent fashion to the success of said project. Like the CEO of a company, the architect is the leader of the project. This holds true during the planning and design phases, and shifts during the actual construction phase. Here the architect takes an observatory role, rather than a leading role within the project team.

What are the typical parts of a design team? Every project is a little different, but most include the owner, the client, a group of engineers and the staff of the architect itself.

Beyond leading the above noted project, there are many roles within an architectural practice. Like any business, staff relating to the legal operation, such as accounting, marketing, etc. are required but may be considered elsewhere. As for the actual architectural breakdown, here are key positions within an architectural firm. The big three are:

Draftsperson and production staff are generally operating software to literally produce the drawings that communicate the design intent and any details required for construction. This used to be hand drafting, but those days are long gone.  Largest portion of the architectural practice, consumes the most time.

Designer – coveted spot. Actually design the project. Most creative and theoretic aspect of architecture.

Project manager – little design, lots of production, lots of research and written texts. Overall understanding of project, contracts, coordination with others. Most engaging portion of the practice.



Voyage MIA article – meet Sebastian Eilert

Thank you to Voyage MIA for the feature of the day! Nice to meet you, too. 

http://voyagemia.com/interview/meet-sebastian-eilert-sebastian-eilert-architecture-south-dade-county/



Architectural Services – Types of Services… What does an Architect do?

An architect offers a level of professional service and expertise which no other building professional can provide. An Architects are professionally qualified, legally registered to practice and bound by a code of ethics.

An architect works as a team leader as well as an individual. In many building projects the role of the architect is to coordinate a team of specialist consultants such as landscape architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, interior designers, builders and subcontractors.

The fees charged by an architect for design and documentation vary by project type and location, but rarely exceed 5% of the total cost of constructing. Including operating of the building throughout its useful life the cost is typically less than 1%.. By investing in the services of an architect, you ensure an exploration of various options for the design of your building. Through good design, an architect can enhance the value of your building and may produce significant savings, especially when it comes to operating, staffing and/or tenanting the building.

You and your architect will identify the service to be provided in your agreement and their fee will depend on the scope of their appointment. Services provided by architects include:

sketch

 

Building Design The primary training of an architect is in the design of buildings in terms of function, form and regulatory compliance

Program Development A good program is the first step to delivering a successful project. Often clients require help from an expert in formulating the program for their project and the architect is normally best-placed to assist.

Applying for Construction Permits Advising if your project requires planning permission and producing the relevant information for making an application to the local municipality. You may also engage an architect to provide services in connection with planning appeals. Your architect may communicate on your behalf with planning authorities.

Project Supervisor Design Process (PSDP) Your architect may act as PSDP or an alternative person  may be appointed to the role.

Administrating the Building Contract Dealing on your behalf with the building contractor and administrating the project to ensure that it is delivered in accordance with the design and planning permission.

Coordinating other Consultants Your project may require the input of specialist consultants such as a Structural Engineer or Quantity Surveyor, and your architect will coordinate their involvement.

Measurement Survey & Drawings Measure existing buildings for the purpose of making drawings to assist in design proposals for alterations or additions.

Condition Survey and Zoning Analysis Inspect and establish the condition of a property and prepare a report. Analyze the zoning requirements for a specific property.

Interior Design You may engage your architect to provide an interior design service, advising on loose furniture, artworks and finishes.

Sustainability Advice and Design Your architect can advise you how to optimize orientation, microclimate, building fabric, lifecycle costing, energy and water consumption and ensure compliance with Building Regulations. Additionally, if you require options for future proofing your building against future costs, or creating a zero carbon building the implications can be established by a specific studies at an early stage.

Conservation and Preservation skills If the building you own is ‘historic’, a ‘Protected Structure’ or in an ‘Architectural Conservation Area’ you will need the advice of an architect with skills in conservation and preservation. Even if your building is not listed as a historic property it can still be worthy of conservation and you will want to make sure that its character is not damaged in the process of any alterations or extensions you plan to carry out.

Project-management The architect normally is best positioned to act as the project-manager coordinating the other inputs to deliver a project successfully.

Urban Design & Master-Planning Architects are at the forefront of the design of urban spaces in existing and proposed sections of our towns and cities.

Dispute Resolution Services Architects offer dispute resolution services such as mediation and conciliation.

 



Architectural Style Guide Mediterranean Style – a Coral Gables favorite

Exert from the “City of Coral Gables Design Handbook”

http://www.coralgables.com/Modules/ShowDocument.aspx?documentID=11730

“The Mediterranean Style Design Standards provide a strong emphasis on aesthetics and architectural design with regulations that encourage the planned mixing of uses to establish identity, diversity and focus to promote a pedestrian friendly environment. This is accomplished through the utilization of a variety of architectural attributes”

That is about all the detail the official guide provides, leaving the actual definitions up to the Architectural Review Board. The guide does provide a number of images that are supposed to help identity this suggested style that is at the heart of Coral Gables architecture.

A better description of the style would probably be the Mizner style; after architect Addison Mizner, who shaped much of Palm Beach, and South Florida with his interpretation of the Spanish Colonial Revisal style. Best definition can be found on Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Colonial_Revival_architecture

“Spanish Colonial Revival architecture is characterized by a combination of detail from several eras of Spanish Baroque, Spanish Colonial, Moorish Revival and Mexican Churrigueresque architecture, the style is marked by the prodigious use of smooth plaster (stucco) wall and chimney finishes, low-pitched clay tile, shed, or flat roofs, and terracotta or cast concrete ornaments. Other characteristics typically include small porches or balconies, Roman or semi-circular arcades and fenestration, wood casement or tall, double–hung windows, canvas awnings, and decorative iron trim.”

 

Indeed there are many visual examples found within the city and other parts of South Florida. It remains a visually dominant, yet climate inappropriate style. Even the outdoor spaces, porches and other outdoor features that encourage embracing the local climate, seem out of place these days.

The columns and finishes typically associate with the style no longer represent the means of construction from which they originated and the barrel tile roof has proven a hurricane nightmare.

With all the downsides of this historic style, the beauty and architectural balance of these buildings cannot be denied.

With a strong focus on sustainable and regionally appropriate design, S.E.A. generally moves away from this style in lieu of more appropriate design and construction features.