Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat
Building Management and Operation Workshop,
Shanghai 2014
September 16, 2014
Daniel Safarik, CTBUH Editor

SHANGHAI - In the first half of the day, the workshop “Building Management and Operation” shed light on the critical period of a building’s life after the designs have been submitted and the ribbons have been cut – operations.

Session Chair:
Andrew Harvey, Head of Operations & Engineering, JLL

Presentation Speakers:
Matthew Clifford, Head of Energy and Sustainability Services, JLL
Cathy Yang, CTBUH Trustee / General Manager, Taipei FCC
Jason Haase, Architect, LMN Architects
Victor Madeira Filho, Partner, Madeira, Valentim & Alem Advogados
Arthur Wellington, Counsel, Thornton Tomasetti
Michael Bischoff, Partner, Pei Cobb Freed & Partners
Speakers answer delegates questions at the end of the technical workshop

Delivering and Managing Sustainable Tall Buildings

Matthew Clifford, Head of Energy and Sustainability Services for North Asia at JLL explored the less well-trodden aspect of tall-building sustainability – managing the asset. He suggested that the handover of tall buildings from the construction phase to the operations phase should not be the first time management becomes acclimated to the building’s features.

“The handover process is a two way street. Designers and architects do a great job but don’t run the site. O & M people should / will be able to put critical inputs into that design process,” Clifford said.

As the management of complex tall buildings is a specialized skill, Clifford discussed an under-addressed aspect of sustainability -- building management and operations staff. “How do we set up career pathways for our staff to stay in their jobs longer and keep that knowledge in our firms?” Clifford asked.

Andrew Harvey, Head of Operations & Engineering at JLL, introduces the speakers. Matthew Cifford, Head of Energy and Sustainability Services at JLL, speaks at the workshop.
Taipei 101: Tall Building Operation Towards Sustainability

Without a doubt, some of the same skills and policies that retain knowledgeable employees can also be used to retain tenants. Cathy Yang, CTBUH Trustee and manager of Taipei Financial Center Corporation, invested a great deal of time and money into upgrading the green credentials of Taipei’s iconic mixed-use tower, only a few years after the building was completed.

Yang relayed to the audience the experience of “greening” Taipei 101 and the benefits that accrued. It took about five years for the building to achieve 80 percent occupancy, and it did not turn a profit until its sixth year, making up all investment losses by the ninth year.

Yang attributes the financial success of Taipei 101 not only to its stature and iconicity alone, but also to the intensive green education and investment effort, which involved high levels of attention to and coordination with tenants.

“Construction is a manufacturing business, but property management and operation is a service business,” Yang said. “If we believe in the benefits and advantages of supertall buildings, we are obliged to place heavy emphasis on energy and resource efficiency to justify the existence of supertall buildings and make them more acceptable to the citizens, as well as to maintain their attractiveness to tenants.”

To achieve this, Yang and her team implemented a high-service model of tenant attentiveness, that yielded many benefits, including better cooperation when access to tenant spaces was required in order to conduct environmental monitoring.

Even after achieving LEED Platinum accreditation, the Taipei 101 management team continued to make environmentally friendly improvements, including exchanging halogen for T5 lights, adding motion sensors in low-occupancy spaces to facilitate lighting and conditioning shutdowns when not in use, and gradually adjusting the public areas temperature up by a few degrees.
Cathy Yang, CTBUH Trustee / General Manager at Taipei FCC, explores strategies used in Taipei 101.
Jason Haase, Architect at LMN Architects, presents on "The Vertical Campus."
The Vertical Campus

Jason Haase, senior designer at LMN Architects in Seattle, USA, outlined the tremendous push by the current generation of tech companies who want to occupy urban spaces, parting from their forbears that launched in suburban garages and tended to stay on sprawling campuses.

He illustrated the case by looking at Amazon, which has gradually occupied taller and denser buildings in Seattle’s Lake Union area. The company is now planning a major headquarters consisting of four high rises containing 20,000 employees near the city’s central business district.

“A ping pong table and free snacks are just not going to cut it anymore” when it comes to recruiting perks for tech companies, Haase said. “What people are interested in is a work / life balance, and the commute to or within the suburbs is not part of that.”

Tech companies’ interest in urban office buildings creates unique design challenges for architects, because in order to accommodate tech companies, building systems must be able to support high plug loads (5 W / square foot vs a typical 2.5), and up to 80 pounds per square foot of live load capacity, so as to accommodate the heavy server farms that power tech businesses. Even bathroom design is affected – the fact that tech firms are typically only 12.5% female, while code requires 50% of bathrooms be female – is a particular design issue with immense space planning implications.

“We’ve been surprised how many deals for real estate have fallen through because of weak elevator capacity and limited men’s rooms, “ Haase said
A delegate asks a question during the Q & A session.
High-Rise Harmony: Legal Issues Unique to Tall Buildings

An increasingly urban – and vertical – world not only challenges the design profession; it also presents many legal issues, as was illustrated by the presentation “High Rise Harmony: Legal Issues Unique to Tall Buildings,” presented by Victor Madeira Filhos, Partner, Madeira, Valentim & Alem Advogados, Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Arthur Wellington, Legal Counsel, Thornton Tomasetti.

“The bigger the building, the bigger the impact,” Wellington said.

Both civil law, as practiced in Brazil, and common law, as practiced in the USA, leave considerable gaps that require interpretation by the courts when it comes to tall-building issues like reflected glare or casting neighborly properties into shadow.

“In civil law, the written rules govern,” said Filhos. “And that means the rules have to be very detailed, and updated every time to incorporate real problems and trends.”

The key to success is clarity of regulations, the presenters said.

“Builders can adapt if the rules are known. Unclear rules will prevent development or increase costs. If people know what the rules are, they can adapt their plans to meet them,” Filhos said.
Victor Madeira Filho and Arthur Wellington explore legal issues in tall buildings.
Michael Bischoff, a Partner at Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, presents the 8X8 Tower.

The 8x8 Tower: Sustainable Citizenship of the 21st Century

With workplace conventions evolving, Michael Bischoff, of Pei Cobb Freed & Partners, explained that more people are working away from a traditional office environment, suggesting that flexible live-work commercial facilities should be integrated with or placed in close proximity to housing units. Also, the potential long-term effects of climate change and global warming make it evident that energy and resource-efficient building technologies must be developed to help reduce our carbon footprint.

Bischoff envisions the 8X8 Tower, which addresses these challenges by creating a socially and environmentally sustainable residential community in a memorably iconic form appropriate for the twenty-first century.