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Nichiha’s David Hohenstern on the Technical Design Review Process

Jun 03, 2019 / Amy

Nichiha’s new Technical Design Review process works with architects to save time, money and effort on their next project by helping to ensure proper specifications, reduce design hours, lower project costs, and protect the product warranty. Nichiha’s Technical Manager for Architectural and Engineering Services, David Hohenstern, says that the Technical Design Review process “is a way to bring our install guides, details, specs, and other technical documents to life by backing them up with a customized, human support element for as many projects as we can, offering an excellent user experience all around.”


In an effort to aid architects in successfully designing and executing the installation of our fiber cement cladding, Hohenstern recently took time to answer a few questions related to how the Technical Design Review process can help eliminate many of the common pain points architects face.


What are the main pain points that architects face?

That's a question we want to make a habit of asking them so they understand "we feel your pain and are here to help." They face a number of challenges in picking exterior claddings beyond just creating a good aesthetic for the building. Because there are often multiple types of finishes, they need help with transition detailing — how to joint between different materials moving left to right or up and down? Related to that are things like compression and expansion joints, which help with said transitions but also are critical requirements for the Nichiha Architectural Wall Panel system. Helping them weave together these needs while also worrying about moisture management, energy codes, and fire ratings means we can save them time and effort.


What is the purpose of Nichiha’s Technical Design Review?

Expanding on the answer from the first question, in saving architects time and effort, we can make their job easier and prevent or reduce the potential for RFIs and change orders once the project is actually getting built. The exterior finishes are just one of many things they're worried about on a project. The Technical Design Review is meant to identify the project needs and marry them to Nichiha requirements, in advance, so that details and specifications for the project are precise and thorough, which helps prevent problems and added costs later on down the road.



Who are Technical Design Reviews geared toward?

Technical Design Reviews are mainly meant to support architects/designers as early in the project timeline as possible. We can do an initial touch in schematics or early design to set things up moving forward and then a deeper dive with more advanced construction documents once they are created and developed. However, Technical Design Reviews can be for contractors or even installers, too, depending on how soon Nichiha Technical is engaged. If the Architectural Wall Panel is under consideration during value engineering as an add-on or replacement to a more expensive cladding, or maybe because there is some problem with another manufacturer's product, that's when a Technical Design Review can really help the boots on the ground as we would also include our Field Technical team during that stage to work with the General Contractor and/or installer. We can do a rapid fire assessment and move quickly to clarify what's needed to install our Architectural Wall Panels and then be there to help get them started.


What do you hope are the main takeaways from a Technical Design Review?

We want it to be seen as an invaluable customer service. If it is easy to work with Nichiha and utilize our products, then it will encourage repeat business. An alternative scenario to consider: There could be times when an early Technical Design Review results in us recommending not to use our product for a particular application or even a whole project. We offer high performance products that can do a lot, but not everything, and part of our job is to communicate product limitations, and if we build trust with our customers, then they'll come back to us on their next project and we'll make it easy to use AWP if the project parameters are a match, and most of the time, they are. The Technical Design Review is meant to identify and clear any hurdles to success.


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