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Intelligent Home Planning and Construction: An Interview with Illya Azaroff of Design for Risk and Reconstruction

By Illya Azaroff

Tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

My company +LAB Architect PLLC (Landuse, Architecture and Building) has an expertise in Resilient building and retrofit strategies and primarily works with residential and mixed use construction. I am also the Founding co-chair of the AIANY Design for Risk and reconstruction Committee.

Of late with our expertise in understanding resilient structures along with new requirements for buildings in flood zones we have been involved with a wide variety of projects including houses of worship, historic structures, and landscape design.

What does it mean to say "intelligent home planning and construction"?

Great question which can be answered in two different ways. When you approach planning and construction several considerations are at play and taking the time to plan properly, potentially streamlines construction and reduces the time of construction substantially.

Intelligent planning also looks at buildings that are "smart" and responsive to energy and resource consumption as well as responsive to changes in the environment. Intelligent buildings take full advantage of where and how they are located.

The intelligent construction side of the equation follows suit in terms of Lean construction methods of procurement, delivery and completion of projects using technology and tight coordination of all trades to complete the project.

What are the most common misconceptions people have about building "strong" homes?

I assume you are referring to disaster durable homes? However when the term "strong" home is used it may not necessarily mean disaster durable. A Strong home may survive the storm physically but loses power, communications and has no running water.

However, a disaster durable home is one that may be stressed or lose some capacity in one of these areas but not all of e capacity in those key areas. A disaster durable home should continue to function before, during and after a storm. This is achieved through intelligent design and planning of passive building techniques and redundant systems.

What are the basic steps involved in the intelligent home building process?

Identifying the potentials and goals of the client with the location are key at the start. Preplanning and schematic design play a larger, integrated role than with traditional design methods. With the use of BIM - Building Information Modeling the documents for construction are not too far behind. You almost save an entire phase of design in terms of project time when you go with an intelligent design method.

What are the basic factors homeowners must consider when planning to hire a design/build firm for this project?

  • It's all about relationships and track record.
  • Looking at past work and recommendations
  • Look into the timeline of delivery. Was the project on time and on budget?
  • Simple, yet important while waiting for your home.
  • But honestly you will be working side by side with the design/build team for many months so you will need good rapport, giving relationship a heavy weight on your decision.

    What is your favorite advice to give homeowners to help make the home building process more enjoyable for them?

    Don't jump the gun! Preplanning and taking the right amount of time to work through needs and desires of any project is a must. And of course selecting the right design team is a close second. You will be placing your trust in them to achieve your goals and create a vision for how you want to live. Those relationships built of communication and trust make building a new home an enjoyable process.

    What's the best way for people to contact you and your company?

      Take a look at the information below, either call the studio or email my team at :
    • +LAB architect PLLC
    • 925 bergen street studio 105 Brooklyn NY 11238
    • 718.783.0363
    • ia.plusLAB@gmail.com
    • Ej.plusLAB@gmail.com

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    About The Author

    Founder of +LAB archi­tects in Brook­lyn, Illya is an Asso­ciate Pro­fes­sor at New...

    Phone: 718-783-0363

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