provides construction specification and building code consulting
services for the entire Project Team:
Architects, engineers, interior designers, and specialty
Facility managers, project managers, and space planners.
Construction managers, contractors, and design-builders.
Manufacturers, distributors, and product representatives.
Ronald L. Geren,
FCSI, AIA, CCS, CCCA, SCIP, owner and principal
of RLGA Technical Services,
is committed to providing his clients with clear, concise, correct, and
complete documents, and providing services to enhance the quality of his
Click here to see on what
projects RLGA Technical Services
is currently working.
To prepare his M. Arch. students at the
Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture for the CDT exam, Ron
Geren, owner of RLGA Technical Services, developed an online
practice examination site that mimics the actual CDT exam.
Using the Canvas learning management system (LMS) developed by
Instructure, the online exam provides 100 questions divided into the
eight domains covered by the CDT exam.
As a result of his development of this
practice exam, Ron Geren has modified it for use by members of the
construction industry in preparing for the CDT. "To my
knowledge, there is no other comprehensive program that provides a
full length exam that prepares students for the actual CDT exam,"
says Ron Geren. The online practice exam is now available in a
free BETA version. Users of the BETA version are asked to
provide feedback on the questions as well as the LMS platform.
The BETA version currently allows users
to take the exam five times. Each time a user takes the exam,
the questions, as well as the answers, are randomized to create a
new experience each time. The 100 questions on the exam are
drawn randomly from a bank of questions that currently has over 200
questions. The types of questions are proportioned based on
the percentages identified for each of the eight domains of the exam
Although the actual CDT has 120
questions, 20 of those questions are used for "statistical
validation" to see if they will be used on future exams and are not
scored. The time limit on the actual CDT exam is two hours, or
120 minutes, which is one minute per question. For the CDT
Practice Exam, only 100 questions are given, so each user is only
allowed 100 minutes to take the exam, which is one minute per
The practice exam site also has a
discussion area where users can post questions about the CDT or make
suggestions for improving the practice exam.
The BETA version will remain live until
the end of June, which is the end of CSI's fiscal year. The
Ron Geren will review the feedback that was received, as well as
review the next fiscal year's CDT Exam Candidate Handbook, and
modify the practice exam for improvement and to keep it current with
any changes made in the CDT certificate program.
To become a BETA tester for CDT Practice
Exam, send an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and email address. A
separate invitation will be sent from Instructure with an invitation
to complete the registration.
to learn more about CSI's CDT certificate program.
In January, Ron Geren, owner of RLGA
Technical Services, signed a contract with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
to write a book based on his step-by-step code application method.
Tentatively titled Applying the Building Code During Design,
the book is targeted for architectural professionals and students.
"This book will provide students and
practicing design professionals," says Ron Geren, "with a resource
that introduces a logical and comprehensive process for applying the
building code during the phases of design of a building." Ron
Geren is a professor of architecture at the Frank Lloyd Wright
School of Architecture, based out of Taliesin West located in
Ron states that the approach to code
education and resources in the past has been, "Here's the code book
and here're other books that explain it." This book, according
to Ron, turns that around with an approach that says, "Based on how
you design buildings, here are the code requirements you need to
know and when you need to consider and apply them to
The book is scheduled to be published in
late 2015 following the publication of the 2015 International Codes.
To concentrate on writing the book, as well as managing his
practice, Ron Geren has suspended writing articles for his
Keynotes and Code Corner Series until 2015.
The Latest Issue of Keynotes -
"Common Specifying Problems" It is not
news that many sets of construction documents contain errors,
whether they are found in the drawings or specifications.
Construction documents are products of humans and are not warranted
to be perfect. Architects and engineers are held to a standard of
care that is consistent with other professions, such as attorneys
and doctors, which means that they have to perform similarly to
other architects or engineers who are located in the same region, at
the same time, under comparable conditions. Although architects and
engineers are not required to provide perfect documents, they should
provide documents that are as clear, concise, complete, and correct
Drawings errors vary, but can consist of something as simple as an
incorrect dimension to something as complex as detailing an assembly
that could not possibly be fabricated as shown. Many of these errors
are unique to drawings, but some can be shared with specifications.
Specifications, like drawings, have their unique common errors—but
what may be considered an error by some may actually be just a
violation of best practice. Therefore, the remainder of this article
will address, in no particular order, errors and best practice
violations (i.e. problems) commonly found in construction
to download this latest article or read the article on the
Keynotes Blog and provide your
comments or questions. You can download past articles in the
archive on the
The Latest Issue of
The Code Corner - "High-Hazard Occupancies"
The TRW plant located in Mesa, Arizona, has
experienced a number of problems: explosions, fires, and medical
emergencies. Hundreds of them in a time span of less than ten
years. An explosion in 1995 cost the life of one worker. The
situation became such a concern that the Mesa Fire Department issued
a cease and desist order to the owner that lasted a couple of
days, but only until TRW agreed to improve conditions. So what was
at the center of all these events? The answer: sodium azide—a
chemical used in the manufacture of automobile airbag devices.
Although sodium azide (NaN3) is not classified as an
explosive (it is a toxic poison), when heated, the chemical reaction
generates an explosive event.
It should be obvious to anyone reading the previous
paragraph that those facilities associated with the TRW plant are
hazardous occupancies. More specifically, the International
Building Code (IBC) considers occupancies such as this as
high-hazard or Group H occupancies. The IBC describes a
high-hazard occupancy as one “that involves the manufacturing,
processing, generation or storage of materials that constitute a
physical or health hazard in quantities in excess of those
allowed[.]” The key to classifying a building as a Group H
occupancy lies within the last few words of that quote: in excess
of those allowed. Without that provision, every building that
has certain cleaning products in a janitorial closet would be
considered a Group H occupancy.
Click here to download this latest article or read the article
The Code Corner Blog and provide your comments or
questions. You can download past articles in the archive on
RLGA Technical Services Launches
Professional Education Services:
To address the demand for continuing education required
by state licensing laws, professional associations, and various
certifications, RLGA Technical Services has launched its
Professional Education Services (PES).
RLGA Technical Services is a Registered Provider for the American
Institute of Architects Continuing Education Systems (AIA/CES).
RLGA-PES will provide continuing education in the areas of building
codes and construction documents for design professionals,
contractors, and owners.
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