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In This Issue 
                                                                                                    Issue 5  Holiday 200
greenpin.gif (614 bytes)Archi Awards         greenpin.gif (614 bytes) Design/Build Laws greenpin.gif (614 bytes)LEED v3 Updates greenpin.gif (614 bytes)LIREG @Work


burning candle HAPPY HOLIDAYS


As we reflect on the past year, we want to reiterate our gratitude for the opportunity to work with you.  

We appreciate the trust that you put in us for your projects and we strive to make each project as successful as it could possibly  be.

This economic climate makes it that much more important for everyone to work as a team and to do whatever we can, to make the project one that we all will be proud of.  

On behalf of Alex, Rob and myself, we would like to wish everyone a very Happy, Healthy and Prosperous Holiday Season and NewYear.


John R. Sorrenti, FAIA Founder & President

JRS in the News

New York Real Estate Journal
Corporate Business Profiles - Joseph Pignataro, AIA, LEED AP - Associate
December 8 - 21, 2009

Mid Atlantic Real Estate Journal
Keeping Your Bottom Line Green
November 13 - December 10, 2009

New York Real Estate Journal
JRS Architect, P.C. gives back with ACE Mentor Program
October 27 – November 9, 2009

Building Long Island
JRS designs facility for MRI Device
October 2009

JRS Architect designs MRIs and
Office Space

October 6, 2009

Real Estate Weekly
JRS among fastest growing US firms
September 23, 2009

Mid Atlantic Real Estate Journal
A few Benefits of Building
Information Modeling
September 11 - October 8, 2009

New York Construction
Upper West Side Mandell School Expands, Goes Green
September 2009

New York Real Estate Journal
Corporate Business Profiles - Alexander Hadjiyane, AIA – Senior Vice President
August 25 - September 7, 2009

New York Real Estate Journal
Project of the Month Feature – Neurological Associates of LI
August 25 - September 7, 2009

People of JRS

We congratulate Eric Romanyszyn, LEED AP in our LIO on becoming the proud father of a baby girl, Mia Stella.

We extend best wishes to Robert Yagusesky in the NJO and Roberto Guerrero in the NYCO who have both recently married.

Milestone anniversaries:   

Joseph W. Pignataro, AIA,        LEED AP,
Project Architect / Associate;     NYCO – 20 years     

Projects of JRS

Overview of several projects that we are currently working on across industries:

Hauppage, NY
Corporate / Interior fit out         

Madison National Bank  
Massapequa, NY
Financial / New Bank Branch         

Vascular Surgeon
Garden City, NY
Healthcare / Interior Alteration

Islip, NY
Hospitality / Interior Alteration & Addition

Gamecock Cottage
Stony Brook, NY
Preservation / Restoration

Onderdonk House
Manhasset, NY

Preservation / Restoration 



Two recently completed bank branches, one in Babylon, NY and the other in Lakewood, NJ won design awards at the annual AIA Long Island Archi Awards Gala on Thursday, November 5, 2009.  The purpose of the Archi Awards Program is to provide professional and public recognition of architectural projects of design excellence.  As such, this juried competition has become a highly regarded program of the American Institute of Architects.

Winning the prestigious Archi Award in the Mercantile/Retail Category, Capital One Bank’s Babylon branch is a new 4,000 sq. ft. shingle-style building that reflects the early 20th century summer homes famous in the region. 

The wood frame, wood clad building has natural cedar shake roofing and siding and a foundation of natural stone.  Copper is used throughout for gutters, leaders, and decorative roof finials, while “eyebrow” windows evoke the style of Hamptons architecture. 

Inside, the frame geometry is dramatically revealed in an exposed wood truss and post system.


COB Babylon railing

lakewood front 

A Commendation award was presented to JRS for its design of Capital One Bank’s Lakewood, NJ branch.  Reflecting the client’s focus on sustainability, JRS worked with the Green Globes rating system to reduce the carbon footprint of the ground up modern design branch. 

The building’s envelope consists of continuous insulation and infill that exceeds National Energy Code requirements and is clad in prefab metal panels of recycled content and natural stone. Interior finishes include low VOC paint and wall coverings of rapidly renewable fiber content. 

The company’s branded colors can be found in the deep reds of the lobby seating as well as blue accents throughout. A model of functional design the branch fits a full bank program in a relatively small footprint.


Commenting on his firm’s successful evening at the 2009 Awards Gala, JRS President and Founder John R. Sorrenti, FAIA, observed, “While it’s always a pleasure to receive awards for our work, it is especially gratifying to have our design vision recognized by our colleagues at the AIA.”  Sorrenti went on to say, “This is also a credit to the entire team who worked on the project, both at JRS, the client, Capital One Bank. and the various consultants.”   The JRS team was lead by Alexander Hadjiyane, AIA.   The Capital One Bank’s team was lead by Gregory M.  Siliris, Director of Construction North,  Mr. Anthony Fragetti, Senior Manager of Construction North and Mr. Nicholas Maresca, Senior Manager of Construction North, John Caputo, Construction Manager and Gene DeJong, Construction Manager.



Today, the Term Design/Build is frequently used.  This is an outcropping of demand by clients who are seeking to “simplify” the construction process vs. using the traditional method of hiring an architect and builder separately. Design/Build means to have one person be responsible for both designing and building a structure. While Connecticut and Pennsylvania are among the 42 out of 50 states that have some sort of Design/Build model available to them, New Jersey and New York are not.

In fact, New Jersey limits Design/Build to 10 million dollars worth of construction and the plans must be completed by a licensed design professional.  New York does not have any provisions for Design Build. In fact, Design Build is considered illegal in the State of New York yet the practice still does occur within this state illegally by many.

The liability of Design Build is looked at very differently in each state and the practitioner needs to be familiar with the requirements in each state before discussing Design/Build with their clients. For Connecticut and Pennsylvania, there are no restrictions and Design/Build can take many shapes, from the Designer Professional led to the Contractor led form.  In New Jersey, it is clear that there are limits to Design/Build and although there are no restrictions on who is leading it, there is a restriction on how the drawing documents are accomplished and the size of the project that can be allowed to use this type of project delivery method.

dbThe fundamental premise for New York State’s position is that New York does not recognize a non-licensed person (e.g. the builder) to offer Professional Licensed Design services.  The Design Professional is charged to protect the Health, Safety and Welfare of the public.  If the Design professional was paid by e.g. the builder, than a conflict of interest exists, jeopardizing the charge the licensed professionals in the State of New York have to the public. In fact, in New York it is illegal for any Design Professional to be paid by any third party.   

The Design Professional must always be paid directly from the client. Anything else is considered “fee-splitting” which is not permitted in the State of New York.

The fact that variations of the Design/Build process is allowed in 42 states and that many building owners in the State of New York have been asking for some type of Design/Build process, has prompted the New York State Board of Architecture to begin a discussion about Design/Build.

A sub-committee has been formed to take a look at possible Design/Build options.  However, there are many players that would have to buy into this and it is anticipated that it will take a long time if ever, for resolution.  Therefore, Design/Build will not remain an option in the State of New York in the foreseeable future.  Architects, builders and owners can be penalized monetarily if utilizing a Design/Build method.

design build
In fact architects may even lose their ability to practice for a period of time if convicted of accepting fees from third parties. So it is important to know the laws before you proceed into any contracts that might appear to have some component of Design/Build associated with it. As the economic climate changes, the outcry from the public for Design/Build becomes increasingly more popular as a means of project delivery.

8 states to date have absolutely no form of Design/Build allowed, 8 states permit limited Design/Build, 13 states have Design/Build with Restrictions and 21 states have no restrictions at all on Design/Build

Therefore, what is consistent is the inconsistency throughout the country and this will be something that will continually change as time moves on.


                                LEED v3 UPDATES

LEED LogoEarlier this year the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) unveiled the newest and most controversial version of their Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification system.  With the launch of LEED version 3, LEED has evolved from an abstract checklist into a real-world weighting system with real impacts, especially in the area of CO2 emissions.

According to the USGBC, buildings in the United States are responsible for 39% of CO2 emissions, 40% of energy consumption, 13% water consumption and 15% of GDP per year.  USGBC estimates greater building efficiency can meet 8.5% of future U.S. demand for energy, and a national commitment to green building has the potential to generate 2.5 million American jobs.  LEED v3 is designed to actualize these latent benefits with a performance based approach.


HARMONIZATION credits and prerequisites from all LEED commercial and institutional rating systems have been consolidated and aligned. Drawing upon their most effective common denominators, credits and prerequisites are now consistent across all LEED rating systems.

CREDIT WEIGHTINGS these have been adjusted based on their impact on human and environmental health concerns.  LEED now awards more points for strategies that have greater positive impacts on what matters most – energy efficiency and CO2 reductions.

REGIONALIZATION one-size-fits-all is no longer in vogue with LEED v3.  Through USGBC’s regional councils, chapters and affiliates, local environmental priorities have been identified; for a project’s location, six LEED credits have been prioritized because they reflect environmental issues specific to the area.  The project will be awarded up to four bonus points (one point per credit) for earning the priority credits.

These advancements coupled with a new version of LEED Online and an expanded certification infrastructure based on ISO standards and administered by the independent Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI), make up LEED v3.


While LEED v3’s new credit allotments have found wide support from the green building community, concerns have been raised by the new set of Minimum Program Requirements (MPR) that include the threat of decertification. After a building achieves LEED certification it can lose that status if it fails to meet any of the following MPRs:

1. Project must comply with environmental laws – new construction, up through certification; existing  buildings, an ongoing requirement.
2. Must be a complete, permanent building or space; no building or space designed to move at any point in its lifetime may pursue certification.

3. Project must utilize a reasonable site boundary – gerrymandering is prohibited;  no unreasonable shapes for the purpose of qualifying for points or meeting pre-requisites.
4. Building must comply with minimum floor area requirements – project must include a  minimum of 1,000 square feet of gross floor space; commercial interiors, 250 square feet.
5. Minimum occupancy rates – project must serve 1 or more Full Time Equivalent  (FTE) occupants.
6. All certified projects must commit to sharing with USGBC and/or GBCI all whole building energy and water usage data – for a period of at least 5 years and must carry forward if the building or space changes ownership or lessee.

7. Gross floor area of the LEED project building must be no less than 2% of the gross land area within the LEED project boundary.
leed plaques

The most hotly discussed MPR is number 6 – the requirement to share operational and performance data on a regular basis.  According to USGBC, “sharing” includes supplying this information in a free, accessible, and secure online tool or taking any action to authorize the collection of information directly from utility providers.  The stated intent is to fill the performance gap between a project’s design phase energy modeling and the actual daily operational performance after construction. Indeed, there has been a lively debate over whether LEED certified buildings actually perform better than standard construction. If building performance is to guide LEED’s continued evolution, this information should help demonstrate which strategies work and which don’t.

While it appears that much of the firestorm over decertification may be an overreaction and that the attainment of specific performance objectives are not part of this requirement, at least for now, people are still worried about the implications of being obligated to track data. MPR # 6 is also the most important to consider from a legal perspective.  There are a number of undetermined legal ramifications of decertification that may impact construction, purchase and leasing contracts for LEED v3 buildings.

For example, questions remain over who is responsible to submit or make available usage data and who may wind up liable for failure to report.  Will continued monitoring affect architects, engineers and contractors or will this apply only to building owners or renters? For owners and project teams as well as attorneys and insurers the challenge will be to draft covenants that take into account any additional risks and liabilities that #6 as well as the other MPRs may create.

Undoubtedly more analysis of the terms of LEED v3 is yet to come and the impact of USGBC’s new enforcement right is unknown at this time.  But clearly, the USGBC’s dramatic decision to require energy reporting and threaten decertification marks a turning point in the standards defining a “green building” as those standards, as some speculate, move closer to becoming a federal mandate.  As these issues continue to clarify, both in and out of court, owners will be well advised to have their attorneys draft contact provisions to guard against risks during design, construction and post construction phases of a project.


Although the decertification issue has captured most of the headlines with regard to the launch of LEED v3, note should be made of the revamp of LEED Online. According to many users, the original online system underperformed in two main areas: data transfer speed and functionality.  In response to user feedback, USGBC undertook a ground-up redesign and reimplementation of the online tool for the LEED v3 rollout.  Described as “faster, smarter and more robust” by the VP of LEED Implementation, Mike Opitz , the new system guides each project team through the entire certification process, from initial registration through all the review phases.  There’s also extra help for beginners to decide which LEED rating system best fits their project type. With the exception of projects registered under LEED for Homes, all projects must be certified using LEED Online.  To learn more about LEED Online you may go to:  Green Building Certification Institute.      


This article has touched upon some but not all of the issues being discussed relative to LEED v3.  SiteLines will continue to track the development of LEED as well as the ongoing dialogue between architects and other members of the green building community and we look forward to sharing more of our findings in upcoming editions. In the interim, interested readers are invited to contact JRS (516-294-1666) and ask to speak with one of our LEED AP staff.  They’ll be happy to explore with you the impact LEED v3 may have on your upcoming project requirements.



On Friday, October 16th JRS Architect, P.C. had the opportunity to participate in the Long Island Real Estate Group @ Work mentoring program.  Launched this fall, the program is a “rotational internship” in conjunction with Hofstra University.  The purpose of the program is to expose college students to the real world of business, and specifically to introduce them to the many facets of the real estate industry.

Hofstra University students Joey Araman and Benjamin Baratz visited the corporate office of JRS where they were hosted by Michael Sciara, AIA – Project Architect and Kathy Pasquale-O’Malley – Director of Business Development and Marketing.  Mike and Kathy spent the day sharing their insights of how architecture and the real estate industry work together, as well as strategies on acquiring new business and establishing identity as a firm.

The students were introduced to various JRS employees who shared insight into project management, the interviewing process and effective communication as it relates to architecture, as well as observing the operational and financial structure of the company.  Joey and Ben were able to sit it in on an actual design meeting with a product manufacturer's representative to gain further understanding of how proper representation and client focus can successfully lead to new business opportunities.


Pictured (l-r): Kathy Pasquale-O’Malley,  Joey Araman,  Michael Sciara,  AIA &  Benjamin Baratz.

The mentorship program proved to be
a success as the students expressed their gratitude for the informative day and first-hand experience they were given. Everyone at JRS wishes Joey and Ben much success as they pursue a career in the real estate and finance industry.


Since giving back is ongoing at JRS, future issues of SiteLines will continue to report on JRS people who are making a difference. Readers wanting more information about the organizations mentioned in this story or interested in getting involved themselves are welcome to contact Jack Miller at wcjm@jrsarchitect.com or (609) 688-9100.


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