Building estimate, life cycle costs, light fixture layout resources?

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    David Kaplan

    Replying to this thread so that I can follow it.  I definitely feel that one of my weaker points is Cost Estimating - we rarely get into it at our office.  Would love to know if anyone has solid sources for this.

    One thing I will say: the cost estimating practice questions in the ARE 5.0 Handbook are pretty good - take a look at those and get familiar with them. 

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    Daniel Cancilla

    Good call, David. Of course I studied the handbook examples for PDD and PPD but in looking back through the other sections, there are some good additional examples.

    One question on the test that ate a lot of my time required me to figure the square footage of a modular material less than a square foot in surface area (ie. tile, brick, cmu, pavers, etc) I got caught up figuring the square inch area then converted it to footage. My process was time consuming and left room for error, so I'm trying to find something that will better prepare me for similar scenarios. 

    On a side note, looking back over the rest of the Handbook is a great idea, especially for those of us whom transferred from 4.0. I saw a few similar questions in the other sections that appeared on my tests.

    I hope some others chime in. It seems that lighting layout has been an unresolved topic in this forum.   

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    George Kreatsoulas

    I had a lot of trouble with this area in my PDD fail, it was the worst section I did on actually.

    One major issue to look at is units. Example, question is asking for a price in sq. ft. cost but the price of sand is given in cubic yards etc. Its important to know for example that there are 27 sq. ft in a cubic yard. But aside from that, yea I agree, the questions on the exam for cost estimating kind of suck. 

    I've never done anything like them in the 14 years I've worked in any architecture office. Then again, just about anything that is on this exam doesn't exist in the offices I've worked in either.

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    Nikolai Kuzowsky

    Following to find study material because experience hurts when taking these exams .....

    Took the test yesterday and failed after a month of studying (which I  haven't needed on the  Practice, Project or Construction) so if I sound a little bitter I'm sorry...LOL. I thought that I took the wrong test when I left the center...but only failed marginally. FOCUSED study material is hard to find for this test.  The General study material leaves too much to how I do things in real life and not how the test answers are structured. For example, I read the BCI front to back (took notes focused on what chapters I thought were being covered from Ballast study information...bad choice!) to narrow down study information.  I also went through the ARE Handbook questions and design hacks website questions, as well as, the AMBER videos. 

    I have found after taking the PPD and PA exams that the Ballast study information isn't covering the material that will be on the test.  I looked up the information in the (Ballast) PDD study material and low and behold there is the lighting design and structural calcs and that were on my exam for PPD. So beware of Ballast study material. Now that I will be taking PDD in the next few weeks between when I can take PPD again (using 4.0 study material), I will study for both tests together since they are basically the same test with a different names<<<bitter me talking.   

     

    I found studying the 4.0 information was better to use then the 5.0.  I used 4.0 information to pass Practice, Project or Construction on the first try since the 5.0 information wasn't really out yet. I didn't completely learn my lesson when failing PA...lesson learned now! LOL 

    George, 

     

    I'm right there with you about with with this exam testing your math skills and conversions. I got caught up in cubic yard/feet, volume, and 1:10 slope as a percentage throughout the test (I know 1:20, 1:12...5% and 8.3% but had to do the conversions for other slopes for ramps to prove I knew the answers when we typically don't call out percentages in real life). I have +/- 22 years experience and just going through the motions to get through these exams because my partner in the firm is retiring. PPD and PA are the most unrealistic to the architecture profession.   The questions jump back and forth on "good design practice" and answering questions as the study material outlines. The questions leave out exceptions to the codes when they feel like it so not sure how to answer.  

    Now back to being positive and hoping for some good suggestions here!

     

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    Jessica Johnson

    I am right there with you Daniel! It sounds like we got similar tests! I haven't come across any good examples or resources to help with these complicated cost estimating question either. Do you mind if I copy some of your post over on the NCARB facebook group? maybe someone over there will have some insight?

     

     

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    Daniel Cancilla

    Please do Jessica. What is the name of the Facebook group? Seems like I may try my luck there.

    I am baffled that this question, especially pertaining to lighting, has been posted multiple times in this forum with no answers, only many users “following” the threads. I’m also pretty surprised that no one from NCARB has chimed in.

    To update anyone still following the thread, I've been supplementing my studying with the Designer Hacks quizzes. They have some good estimate questions and they offer feedback if you answer incorrectly. The price is very reasonable too at $40. I've come across 1 question pertaining to lighting on the PDD quizzes. Nothing on life cycle costs. They are pretty good for sneaking in quick study sessions throughout the day. You can get 25% off until Feb 18th using the code: PeaceLoveProtractors

    I also found a decent write-up on Life Cost Analysis in the appendix MEEB book. They provide a number of references that you can read further but it gets very deep into the definition and theory. I'm still on the search for comparative examples.

     

     

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    Jessica Johnson

    HI Daniel,

     

    Will do! The group is called 

    NCARB - Architect Registration Examination 

    I paid for Architect Exam Prep as well for their questions. I've heard good things! Nice tip on the appendix for MEEB

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    Jessica Johnson

    Hi Daniel,

     

    I got this feedback regarding the lighting calculation.  I found it on 11.40 in the third edition under Lighting Methods for those of you who have different versions (Building Construction Illustrated) and someone else commented that they think architectural studio companion has a chapter on cost estimating. I haven't checked on either yet.

  • Avatar
    Daniel Cancilla

    Thanks Jessica, 

    I'll look back over 11.40 in CSI. I've also found the links below to be helpful in studying lighting.  

    I did not see anything on estimates in the Studio Companion. The best resource I've found is probably the AHPP coupled with the sample questions from Designer Hacks. 

    Thanks again for posing the ques. to FB and for the follow-up. I really appreciate it!

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    Sarah Harkins

    When you say lighting calculations - do you mean the zonal cavity method?

    Nluminares = EA/(Nlamps*Nlumens*CU*LLF)

     

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    Sarah Harkins

    In MEEB under Lighting Design 20.33, I'm also finding the following equation:

    Cavity Ratio= 2.5 * (area of cavity wall/area of work plane)

    Did you ever figure out how to calculate the lighting fixture spacing?

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    Daniel Cancilla

    Hi Sarah,

    I've seen the calculations in the MEEB book and they are helpful but hard for me to put into use without a practical example. What would really be great is to find some examples of the equations that are included in the references for the tests (Below). These equations are easy when all the information is given. What I've still not found is a good example that is representative of the lighting questions that are on the test. I'm sure the info for figuring these equations is given, but I cannot find-out how to deduce this from photometrics, cutsheets, etc. I'd love to see a lighting question in the 5.0 Handbook for both PDD and PPD. That would be so, so very helpful IMHO. 

    I retook PDD yesterday with little confidence that I did better this go around. This is probably better suited for another post, but I am wishing that I had not made the transition from 4.0 to 5.0. I believe that the 5.0 tests are meant to be taken in series and there is information that builds from test to test. Without taking the previous 5.0 tests, it seems that there are some areas that I simply do not know. My two cents. 

     

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    Sarah Harkins

    Thanks Daniel! I agree with you... saw your post and am trying to figure it out as well. I’m testing in 2 hours -yikes! I definitely don’t know how to use the zonal cavity method ... but I found this YouTube video. Do you think this makes sense? https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=9F74kfAKoN0

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    Daniel Cancilla

    Hi Sarah, great video.  I would be sure to have a good understanding how to calculate light levels at a task surface. 

    Good luck today!

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    William May

    This may be an off the wall thought but why are architects doing calculations that lighting vendors and lighting consultants do?

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    Mark Diethelm

    Daniel,

    I've also been struggling wth the lighting calculations and how to read the fixture cut that they give you for the case study. Have you been able to find anymore information?

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    William May

    Do you folks work in an architectural firm?

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    Daniel Cancilla

    Mark, the best I’ve found is what I posted on 2/21 on this thread and the few notes that Sarah shared. I did meet with a structural engineer when studying structural concepts, and this was hugely helpful. I’m trying to line-up a lunch date with a lighting designer.

    William, not sure where you’re going with your question; I agree that an architect almost always has someone else advising with lighting layout and design. But, I assure you that you’ll be sorry if you go into the test thinking you’ll not need to know this info. Take it from someone whose failed PDD and PPD. (PS. 7 years in architecture firms, 3 years as a PM for a GC and still do not know how to answer some of the lighting questions on these two tests).

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    William May

    Daniel,

    Where I'm going with my question is pure and simple curiosity.  I have worked with a dozen architects since 2000.  Not one architect sole proprietor or multi architect firm ever did lighting.  It was done by lighting consultants.  Like you I went thru IDP.  At no time was I ever involved with Lighting calculations.  Stupid.  This is one of those activities that an architect should not be doing and billing a client.  The architect is a generalist, not a specialist, not an engineer.

    If I need a structural engineer, I hire one, I don't spend 3 or 4 hours trying to do some calculations.  I don't do Piping.  I don't do Electrical.  I don't do HVAC.  Those are for the specialists that we the architects hire.

    Lining up a lunch date with an electrical designer is just going to confuse you more.  What about getting a lighting designer to come to an AIA chapter to do a 3 day seminar?

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    William May

    Does any architect actually have anything to do with the lighting design or does the architect bring in a lighting designer?

    Just venting.

    Daniel, when you do get that lunch date with the lighting designer please consider sharing what you find out, we will all benefit.

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    Mark Diethelm

    I think I've understood the formula, its the distilling the relevant information from the cut sheet provided to apply to the formula that I can't seem to get a good grasp on. How to find the CU and the LLF numbers, specifically. If you get a good answer I'd love to hear it.

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    Mark Diethelm

    I found this power-point presentation that really helps understand the lighting cut sheet. (photometric data)

    https://www.interiorarchitecture.ohiou.edu/ziff/ARTI%20288/288Lecture24-2011.pptx

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    Daniel Cancilla

    Great resource, Mark! Thanks for sharing. I also found this video that explains the given foot candles formula (Lumen Method).

    https://youtu.be/WUxwNUdGycI

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    Kayla Stoker

    I have gone through many of the resources mentioned above and still was confused on looking at a cut sheet and figuring out the spacing for the fixtures. This is the only thing that finally cleared it up for me. It was a mock exam from black spectacles with the video explanation question by question. There were 2 questions on this subject. I think it is one for 4.0 but the information is still helpful. 

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0BDRBf93ZjU&index=26&list=PL3RWNB7yNpT2PoIG-BLJm2jjcop1rfSAB&t=0s

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GoepHPh47JY&index=27&list=PL3RWNB7yNpT2PoIG-BLJm2jjcop1rfSAB&t=0s

    The link to the exam itself is in the caption description under the videos. 

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    Daniel Cancilla

    Wow, great find, Kayla! Thanks so much for sharing! This really helps. 

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    Jonathan Chertok

    nikolai,
    are you still on here? can i ask what you meant by “watch out” for ballast? is this 5.0 review guide or the practice exams? i mean, are you indicating there is good info to practice in ballast for these if you pay attention?

    i’m doing the pdd/ppd exams and basically gave up on fifuringnot the difference but for discrete questions - life cycle costs, lighting spacing, cost estimation i’d like to be sure to run at least one practice example for each.

    THANKS to all for the helpful supplemental info...

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    Nikolai Kuzowsky

    I would stay away from 5.0 ballast study material. The information in the chapters do not line up with the correct tests. I found that I found information that I had on my PPD exam in the PDD section of the study material.

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    Darguin Fortuna

    William,

    I have been following your posts and I have noticed that 99 percent of them are focused on one single thing, discreting and disproving what NCARB is doing which has been adopted and accepted by virtually all States. I get your brother I myself find this process rather troubling. I have friends with 20 plus years of experience and keep failing these tests. Some of which are about to own practices and need this registration very much. I am one exam away and have thought of giving up after passing these last 5. Why don't we unite and defeat the beast at its own game. Learn the material and pass. It will be all behind us soon. I love learning just wish I didnt have to learn things I might never have to see or use in my lifetime but whatever lets beat it.

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    Jonathan Chertok

    i think part of what you are being tested on is what is required for an educational /institution/ to get accreditation.
    perhaps part of the content is based upon the fact that it would be odd for an organization to require an educational institution to work for years and years to get certified and then to test professionals on different content for their professional certification.
    just a thought.
    the other issues with this exam are of course a wholly different matter...

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