Randall Lamb Association

Archive for Project Insights

Meet Our Commissioning Team

October 9, 2016


buildingissues2Existing Building Commissioning:

Over time, a building’s HVAC system will stray from design intent through manual overrides or degradation of equipment. Issues can also arise if the building has gone through changes to the structure, zoning, design or HVAC system. All too often, repairs and modifications are done without consideration of the building and system as a whole, resulting in deep-seeded comfort and efficiency issues. The Randall Lamb Commissioning Group specializes in identifying and resolving these types of HVAC issues.

Our Team will investigate the issue, discover the cause and establish a path to resolution. If the issues are complicated in nature and lead to capital improvements, Randall Lamb will establish a commissioning process whereby all parties involved will be guided through a thorough quality control commissioning and verification process that results in a comfortable, efficient facility.

Services Include:
– Existing Building Commissioning AKA Retro-Commissioning
– New Construction Commissioning
– Title-24 CalGreen
– LEED Enhanced (Design Phase)
– LEED Fundamental (Construction Phase)
– Technical or Process
– Re-commissioning
– Ongoing or Continuous Commissioning
– Electrical Commissioning/Electrical Preventative Maintenance
– ASHRAE Level I, II and III Energy Auditing
– Title-24 Design Reviews
– HVAC Troubleshooting
– Test, Adjust and Balance
– ABAA Auditing
– Building Envelope Commissioning
– Building Envelope/Air Barrier Testing
– Infrared Thermography Testing
– Smoke Control System Testing & Commissioning
– Smoke Barrier Testing
Randall Lamb Associates is a fully qualified Commissioning agency holding nationally recognized commissioning certifications from NEBB, ACG (AABC), and the University of Wisconsin.
Commissioning Team from Left to Right: Butch Beach, LEED AP, RCx, BSC, TAB, S&V, Kurt Kohler, PE, LEED AP, CxA, ABAA, Brian Cleary, PE, CxA, CBST Level II, ABAA
Posted in Commissioning, Project Insights, Staff Insights

INsight: Meet the Winners

June 13, 2016

Featured Project – SDSU Zura Hall Renovation


Randall Lamb recently finished the complete renovation of the award-winning $53 million student housing complex, Zura Hall on the San Diego State University campus. The 112,844 square foot complex consists of 310 student rooms, as well as lounges and study rooms, restrooms, offices, storage, and faculty living. Designed for LEED Silver, the project features low-flow toilets and shower heads, occupancy sensors, LED lighting, the monitoring of energy and water use, and a green roof among other features.


Randall Lamb Published Author

2-2In our San Francisco office, Pranathi Bhattacharji, has been published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) for her Masters research article titled “Reduced Order WECC Modeling For Frequency Response and Energy Storage Integration”. The published paper was presented at the annual meeting in Utah this past July.

Read The Article Here →


Professional Certifications

In our San Diego office, mechanical engineer Alex Scambos and electrical engineer Thomas Weaver recently earned their Professional Engineering Licenses. Both are now registered Engineers in the state of California.

In our San Diego office, we congratulate several team members on their recent promotions. Mechanical Engineer Zack Blois has been promoted to Project Manager, Peter Farjad has been promoted to Electrical Senior Associate, and Rick Gligora has been promoted to Senior Plumbing Designer.

New Staff
Since our last newsletter, Randall Lamb welcomes seven new additional team members to our team. Our San Francisco office welcomes Mechanical Designers Nicole Olaes, David Jue, and Eva Ma, Electrical Designer Luke Vartuli, as well as Administrative Assistant Heather Brookes. Our San Diego office welcomes Electrical Designer Robert Morris and Project Assistant Clare Nguyen.

Kurt-Kohler-2012-Giles72-compRandall Lamb Transition
As part of Randall Lamb’s vision for the future, Kurt Kohler is now focusing his energy on the Integrated Services that have become such an important part of our business, and is rapidly expanding. This includes Technical Services, Building Commissioning, and Air Barrier Auditing and Testing. Kurt serves as the Division Manager and oversees a staff of highly trained commissioning agents (CxA) and technical specialists. Kurt has been with Randall Lamb for 36 years, and served as President/CEO/CFO for 21 years. Christopher Lloyd, formerly Managing Principal of the San Francisco office, is taking over for Kurt as President/CEO and Gary Eastley of San Diego will serve as CFO. Philip Tapia will operate as Managing Principal of the San Francisco office, and Robert Randall will manage the San Diego office. We look forward to their continued leadership in their new roles.
Naval Base Coronado Fitness Center Receives Rave Reviews
As part of the design-build team, Randall Lamb completed MEP engineering for the largest Fitness and Liberty Center in the Navy, which opened in 2015 after six years of planning, design, and construction. Since its opening, the complex has received accolades not just for the quality and amentities of the facilities, but the usage of energy savings initiatives. The project was recently awarded the 2016 Award of Merit from the Design Build Institute of America, Western Pacific Region.

The $43.9 million dollar project scope included construction of a 2-story Fitness Center, a 1-story, 16,673 sq ft Liberty Center, and a 12,651 sq ft outdoor Olympic size pool at Naval Base Coronado.

Posted in Project Insights, Staff Insights

INsight: Title 24 – Are You Ready?

October 20, 2015

Title 24 – New Required Design Elements

By: Calina Ferraro, P.E., CxA, CPD, LEED AP

It has been over a year since the new 2013 Title 24, Part 6 Energy Code (or just “Title 24”) went into effect on July 1, 2014. This new Code edition brought with it a number of new design requirements that owners and their design/construction teams need to understand in order to avoid unexpected surprises. This article outlines some key newly required design elements.

Solar Ready

There is a new requirement that buildings be “solar ready” (Section 110.10), which affects all disciplines. The solar ready requirement applies to new construction only, for projects that are:

  • Single and low-rise residential
  • Hotels/motels less than 10 stories
  • Non-residential projects less than 3 stories

To meet the solar ready requirements, projects must include a designated Solar Zone on the roof or adjacent structure. There are a number of specific requirements for this zone in the Code section defining size, shape, etc., but generally it must have a southern orientation and be free of obstructions. The Solar Zone must be designed structurally to accommodate future solar panels; electrical conduit pathways must be included to a location suitable for a future inverter and meter; and a plumbing pathway must be shown for piping to a location for future solar water heaters.

Covered Processes

Traditionally, Title 24 requirements applied primarily to the building envelope and general base building systems; they excluded “process loads” associated with specific functions of the building. A number of these systems have now been brought in as “covered processes” with new Code requirements. These new covered processes include:

  • Refrigerated warehouses > 3000 ft2 (Section 120.6(a)),
  • Commercial refrigeration in retail stores > 8000ft2 (Section 120.6(b)),
  • Enclosed parking garages (Section 120.6(c)),
  • Commercial & process boilers (Section 120.6(d) & 120.9),
  • Data centers (Section 140.9(a)),
  • Commercial kitchens (Section 140.9(b)), and
  • Laboratory exhaust systems (Section 140.9(c)).

Electrical Systems

The new Code has quite literally rewritten the book on what is required for electrical and lighting systems, with a strong focus on controls and metering.

The requirement for multi-level lighting controls(i.e. dimming) effectively pushes lighting design to use LED fixtures (Section 130.1(c)). Requirements for local on/off controls, automatic response to occupancy, daylighting, and demand response have increased the complexity for sensors, circuiting and controls for both indoor and outdoor lighting systems (Sections 130.1(a),(c),(d) & (e); 130.2).

New controls for receptacles and plug loads are also required. For example, controlled receptacles (e.g. circuited to a wall switch) must be located within 6’ of any uncontrolled receptacle (Section 130.5(d)). This adds a significant amount of wiring (add therefore construction cost) to electrical systems.

Finally, depending on the project scope and size, electrical meters for the building occupants (different from the utility meter) are required. These meters need to track historical data per period and sub-meter different end-uses (e.g. lighting, HVAC, plug load, etc.) (Section 130.5 (a) & (b)).

Performance Compliance

The changes outlined above represent brand new requirements to the Code. In addition to these, a number of the previous Code requirements have been expanded or made more stringent. Minimum allowable equipment efficiencies have been improved and there are a number of new control requirements with a focus on occupancy, demand shedding and demand-control ventilation.

By improving the baseline, the new Code makes performance compliance approaches (i.e. using an energy model to show compliance) more difficult, increasing modeling time and cost. In some cases, it may also decrease incentive funding from programs such as Savings by Design by narrowing the percent improvement of the proposed building over this new and better baseline.

It is important that owners and design teams be aware of these new required design elements and incorporate them early in the design process to coordinate additional space and equipment requirements, and account for additional project costs. An educated design team with a clear understanding of the Code requirements is the best way to mitigate the impact on new projects and avoid delays in permitting.

In addition to these new required design elements, our next article will look at the new Code requirements for the design and construction process, including design review, commissioning and specific testing.


New Title 24 Requirements for the Design and Construction Process

In addition to more stringent design requirements discussed in the previous article, the new Title 24 has added requirements to the design and construction process, in particular: Design review, commissioning, and acceptance testing.

Design Review

The purpose of a design review is to verify that proposed design elements meet current Code, and that best practices are considered. A formal design review is required for all new projects (Section 120.8), but the process varies based on project size.

  • If the project is less than 10,000 ft2 this can be performed by the design engineer.
  • For 10,000-50,000 ft2, this review can be performed by a different engineer within the same office.
  • For projects larger than 50,000 ft2, a separate third-party engineer must be brought onto the team for the peer review.

Regardless of the reviewer, the design review process requires:

  • A kick-off meeting with the owner or owner’s representative,
  • Completion of the design review checklists for the overall project and for the HVAC systems, and
  • Final sign-off by the owner, design engineer, and reviewing engineer that the review is completed.

All three steps have Title 24 compliance forms that must be completed and submitted to the building department along with the permit submittal.


FRandall_Lamb_portrait_site-081or new projects and core and shell fit-outs, commissioning is required on projects larger than 10,000ft2 (Section 120.8). There are elements of the commissioning process at every stage of design and construction. In design, the commissioning authority oversees the documentation of the Owner’s Project Requirements (OPR) and Basis of Design (BOD). They also develop a commissioning plan to be implemented in construction. This commissioning plan must be incorporated into the construction documents that are submitted for a building permit. The OPR and BOD are not required to be submitted to the building department, but may be requested by the plan reviewer.

During construction, the commissioning authority oversees the implementation of the commissioning plan, including functional performance testing, airflow test & balance, point-to-point calibration of controls, operator training, development of the systems manuals, etc. A summary of these elements are consolidated into the final commissioning report. The final commissioning report may be requested by the building inspector prior to granting occupancy.

Randall_Lamb_portrait_site-056The detailed requirements of the commissioning process for each project are left to the commissioning authority or design team to specify. It is not required that a separate commissioning authority be brought onto the team; however, commissioning is often outside of the basic services offered by design professionals. From experience, projects see the maximum benefit when an independent third party commissioning authority is brought onto the team to lead and manage the commissioning process.

Acceptance Testing

Acceptance testing and the associated forms are not new to this Code edition; previous codes required contractors to perform acceptance tests and submit documentation. In the 2013 Title 24 edition, however, acceptance tests for mechanical* and lighting controls must now be performed by Certified Acceptance Test Technicians (Section 120.5(b) & 130.4(c)). These are independent technicians with specific training and certification from the Energy Commission to validate system controls.

*There is currently an exception for the mechanical controls testing due to an insufficient number of certified test technicians available; these are still performed by the mechanical or controls contractor.


In summary, the 2013 Title 24 Energy Code added new design elements that must be addressed by the design team and therefore potentially expand the number of professionals required. These new team members should be integrated early on to avoid delays, and to achieve the maximum project benefit from these required processes.

Posted in Clean Energy, Project Insights