A Spec of Granite
New Hampshire Chapter Construction Specifications Institute
Curmudgeon’s Corner
by Sheldon Wolfe RA, FCSI, CCS, CCCA, CSC






























Wayward Websites
Posted December 6, 2017
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© 2017, Sheldon Wolfe, RA, FCSI, CCS, CCCA, CSC
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How to Specify a Quality Sprinkler Contractor
Written By: Mark Richards, PE, Nortech Systems
Posted on 11/13/17

Many sprinkler design documents have a quality insurance section that requires the sprinkler system to be installed by a “qualified person”. What does this mean? Do all sprinkler contractors meet the intent of a “qualified person”? No. There’s a range of contractors with various degrees of skill. Thus, the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) offers certifications in water-based fire protection systems. Four levels of certification are awarded for various levels of aptitude, with Level IV being most competent. These certifications allow a specifier to dictate a minimum level of competency for a contractor to participate in a project install.
NICET Level I is the entry certification. It requires at least six months of technical experience with aspects of plan preparation for water-based fire protection systems, including preparation and compiling of CAD drawings and assisting in field surveys. This is clearly a stepping stone to achieve a higher certification level. Thus, never specify a Level I certified contractor or a non-descript “NICET certified contractor”.

NICET Level II is the next level of certification for water-based systems. It requires at least two years of water-based fire protection systems layout and related work experience. It does not require project management, personal recommendations, or submission of major projects. At this level, the contractor has a general understanding of how to install sprinkler components. But is not required to understand the system’s design or be capable of computing hydraulic calculations. Thus, a NICET Level II contractor can take engineered drawings and install what’s drawn, but may not notice changes in field that affect the design. Changes in field can happen unbeknownst to the designer. Thus, it’s important to hire a contractor who understands design intent, can notify the designer of inconsistencies, and reduce the likelihood of change orders.

A NICET Level III certification requires at least five years of water-based fire protection systems layout, involving hydraulic calculations and the complete layout of sprinkler and standpipe systems. It does not require project management, personal recommendations, or submission of major projects. At this level, the contractor has knowledge of the installation and design of sprinkler systems. Thus, the install is code compliant and generally lacks change orders. For this reason, a NICET Level III certification should be the minimum qualification for most projects.

A NICET Level IV certification requires an additional five years of full-time involvement with the layout of water based systems, which must include management of projects involving multiple work teams, coordination with installers, and responsible interactions with clients, engineers, and authorities having jurisdiction (AHJ). A NICET Level IV contractor should be considered for complex projects, where high-level management or an expert understanding of sprinkler systems is required.

In conclusion, design documentation should dictate a minimum level of competency for a contractor to participate in a project install. A NICET Level III contractor is adequate for most sprinkler projects. Such contractors have knowledge of the installation and design of sprinkler systems. Thus, the installs are code compliant and generally lack change orders. For more complex projects, where high-level management or an expert understanding of sprinkler systems is required, a NICET Level IV contractor should be considered.


President's Corner

NHCSI – A WORK IN PROGRESS

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NH's Largest Solar-Powered Dealership to Open Soon in Milford
Posted 11/13/17
Milford, NH --- New Hampshire’s largest solar-powered auto dealership plans to open its new facility this fall at the northeast intersection of Routes 101 and 13 in Milford. Contemporary Automotive’s 25,000-square foot dealership on Hammond Road incorporates several environmentally-friendly design features, notably a 135-kilowatt solar array installed this fall by New England-based ReVision Energy. Electricity generated by sunshine offsets the majority of the dealership’s electric load and serves as a powerful tool to lock in energy costs, saving the dealership upwards of $400,000 over the life of the system.

Energy efficient design elements also include indoor and outdoor LED lighting and a tight building envelope. Outside the dealership, stormwater runoff is managed by four, large bioretention gardens, minimizing the impact of impervious surfaces. Landscaping with plants, trees and grasses native to New Hampshire were intentionally chosen as they require less watering.

Inside the facility, large, destratification ceiling fans in the showroom, a service drive-thru and repair shop circulate air flow more efficiently and optimize the building’s HVAC system. The Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram FIAT service center collects and repurposes used motor oil. Two Reznor waste oil boilers, each with a capacity of 500,000 BTUH, generate approximately 70% of the building’s heating needs, distributed with comfortable, radiant floor heating.

The state-of-the-art, eco-friendly facility encompasses a six-vehicle showroom, two-lane enclosed service drive-thru, 16-bay shop, on-site parking for up to 450 vehicles and electric vehicle charging stations. Additional customer conveniences include a spacious customer lounge, commuter workstations, complimentary Wi-Fi, quiet room, children’s play area and MOPAR parts and accessories boutique. The new facility replaces the company’s prior Milford location on Elm Street.

The solar array generates approximately 149,700 kilowatt hours of clean energy each year. The solar power produced by the array is equivalent to offsetting 157,634 pounds of carbon pollution per year, which is equivalent to the emissions of 8,046 gallons of gas or 175,249 miles driven by the average passenger vehicle.

The array includes 450 Q Cells solar panels, each rated at 300 watts. The panels are ballast mounted across two, white rubber roofs which reflect sunlight more effectively than black rubber. The system also includes three SolarEdge inverters, which convert direct current generated by the array into alternating current used by the facility. A live, web-based monitoring platform allows the dealership to track the array's performance.

The dealership was designed in conjunction with Sandford Surveying & Engineering of Bedford and Warrenstreet Architects of Concord. Site work and construction were managed by Turnstone Corporation of Milford.



Should You Renovate Your Home or Build a New One?
















You’ve got an older home and you’re wondering if you should renovate it or tear it down and build a new one. Although this is a very common question, there really isn’t a common answer that applies to every situation. The experts at Cormack Construction share five important factors to consider when deciding to renovate or build new:

  • Structural Issues
  • Water Damage
  • Character
  • Budget
  • Historic Value