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VAFM Transformation Initiative Focus of FEDCon Keynote: Building Innovation 2014 Day Two

Wednesday, January 8, 2014  
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Today, Building Innovation 2014—The National Institute of Building Sciences Annual Conference and Expo continued with the Multihazard Mitigation Council (MMC) Symposium and the buildingSMART alliance Challenge.

The MMC Symposium—Life-Cycle Performance: Moving Forward to More Resilient Communities, focused on the barriers to mitigation in the nation's local residential and commercial sectors. From managing future flood conditions to the politics of seismic codes, presenters provided perspectives on the challenges of mitigating against a variety of hazards.

The Information Exchange Working Group hosted its January 2014 buildingSMART alliance, beginning the day with an introduction of the new information exchange (IE) standards and continuing through the afternoon with manufacturers demonstrating compliance verification at sessions for design and construction software.

During the FEDCon© Luncheon sponsored by Lehigh Hanson, Dennis Milsten, Associate Executive Director of the Office of Program and Plans, Office of Construction & Facilities Management, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) talked about VA's Facility Management (VAFM) Transformation Initiative and how it is moving VA's Construction Program into the 21st Century.

"[The five divisions within the Construction Program] all operated independently and they all operated with their own set of parameters,” said Milsten. "The VAFM Transformation Initiative brought the senior-level people together to make changes…We now have one-stop shopping.”

In addition, the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Program gave a simulation demonstration of its Facility Operations program module, which focuses on the facility operations of Mars City for high school students. The joint program of the National Institute of Building Sciences, the Total Learning Research Institute (TLRI) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) serves to create and inspire interest in careers within the built environment.

Other scheduled activities during the day included meetings of the Consultative Council, the Building Seismic Safety Council Provisions Update Committee, the WBDG Whole Building Design Guide© Board of Direction and Advisory Committee; the Facility Maintenance & Operations Committee (FMOC) and a joint meeting of the High Performance Building Council (HPBC) and High-Performance Building Congressional Caucus Coalition (HPBCCC).

Tuesday kicked off the opening of the Exhibit Hall and Exhibitors Reception sponsored by GRAPHISOFT and the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials. The sold-out exhibit space, where the reception took place, gave networking attendees a first-hand look at the latest in building technologies and a chance to win a Nest Thermostat – new technology for the smartphone generation that allows users to control home temperatures from anywhere over WIFI.

Day Three of the conference will continue with the Integrated Resilient Design Symposium, Sustainable Buildings Industry Council (SBIC) Symposium, FMOC Symposium and Plenary Symposium; the SBIC Beyond Green™ Awards Luncheon; meetings of the Building Seismic Safety Council Provisions Update Committee and Building Research Information Knowledgebase (BRIK); the buildingSMART alliance United States National CAD Standard/National BIM Standard-United States Educational Session; and the Institute's Annual Reception and Awards Dinner, where the Institute will host its 40th Anniversary Celebration.

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