Posted by Tyson at 29 June 2015

Category: Building

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A special building-height tax, land sales and tax increment proceeds provide revenue to construct the Transbay Transit Center
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Posted by Tyson at 29 June 2015

Category: Construction

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In the category of unusual construction project, things don’t get much more unusual than building a place to surf that’s about four hours from the nearest ocean. But, that’s what’s getting under construction in Austin, Texas, with completion slated for 2016, or about eight months after kick off. It’s Sustainable Too Not only will this … Continue reading Unusual Construction Project Brings Waves to Austin

The post Unusual Construction Project Brings Waves to Austin appeared first on Construction Informer Blog – Construction Blog with Information, News, and Commentary.

Construction Informer Blog

Posted by Tyson at 27 June 2015

Category: Building

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San Francisco “groundscraper’s” robust steel frame engineered to allow immediate reoccupancy after a very strong quake
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Posted by Tyson at 27 June 2015

Category: Building News

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TJ scan dataWhile all of our projects are special, a handful standout for one reason or another.

The Thomas Jefferson, a 20-story structure completed circa 1929, was once considered among the finest Southern hotels. After closing about 3 decades ago, this beautiful Florentine building sat empty. Through the efforts of many, we are now repurposing the space into 96 apartments, a cornerstone development for the west end of Birmingham’s CBD.

Scanner at TJReworking a historic building comes with a host of worthwhile challenges, not the least of which is the absence of as-built plans. We contracted with Schoel Consulting Engineers to perform a high definition laser survey for the decorative plaster ceilings, columns and walls on the first and second floors at the Thomas Jefferson. The results were stunning.

Schoel set up a laser scanner at more than 30 strategic points throughout the location, then scanned the walls and ceilings. The laser bounced back data, developing a “point cloud” of up to a million points per second. The intensity value or view is a reflection of the material and returns information back to a scanner. This rich data was then exported to CAD and merged to build a highly detailed reflected ceiling plan, which we will use to compile layouts for overhead lighting and fire sprinkler heads. Photometrics will be run on the real world locations so that we miss all of the historical plaster features that remain or need to be restored.

Using this system created a precise set of as-built plans, limiting the need for hand-measuring. It saved us time, money, and most importantly, it saved the intricate plaster work in this historic space. After using laser surveying, we are convinced that it is a good tool for recording as-builts of existing structures.

Planting Acorns

Posted by Tyson at 26 June 2015

Category: Architecture News

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New OSHA Smartphone App Gauges Risk of Heat IllnessThe heat is on. And anyone working outdoors or in confined spaces is at risk for heat-related illness, such as heat stroke. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is combating heat illness with an App that gives iPhone and Android users real-time analysis of rising temps.

According to OSHA, the App calculates the heat index and displays a risk level for outdoor workers. The App also lists preventative measures that should be taken to protect workers at risk and the symptoms of heat-related illness.

Learn more and download the App from Also see Tips for Preventing Heat Illness.

The OSHA App changes to red
in “Extreme Risk” situations.

The post New OSHA Smartphone App Gauges Risk of Heat Illness appeared first on ModSpace Blog – Construction News, Updates & Insights.

ModSpace Blog – Construction News, Updates & Insights

Posted by Tyson at 26 June 2015

Category: Uncategorized

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[All photos by BUILD LLC]

BUILD LLC just completed a new single family residence located on the south slope of Seattle’s Queen Anne Hill. It was a tricky project because of several site constraints and the ever restricting building code provisions. If you follow the BUILD Blog, you know that we love to turn limitations into opportunities for good design, which makes excellent data for today’s post. Here’s the breakdown:

The lot area is a tidy 4,500 square feet with applicable setbacks, leaving a buildable area of 2,843 square feet. There were certain features inherited with the lot, such as the existing curb cut and retaining walls at the south end of the property. An existing and non-conforming concrete masonry unit garage on the adjacent parcel is also tight up to the property line and needed to be considered with the proposed design. Despite these limitations, it was clear that the site had the potential for extraordinary views that the design needed to optimize.


[Original house on the property]

Storm water management has become an increasing concern in the Pacific Northwest and stringent building codes limit a proposed residence’s footprint to 1,500 square feet. The footprint of the new structure, along with the sidewalks and driveway is 1,778 square feet and while this is compact we still had an excess of 278 square feet to deal with. To mitigate this overage, we planted additional trees and used a permeable driveway surface, both of which limit the amount of storm water leaving the site without the need for expensive infiltration facilities. These methods maximized the amount of impervious surface area, while keeping the permitting process as simple as possible.


Fitting the necessary functions into a tidy footprint of roughly 1,100 square feet necessitated a structure of four levels and, in many ways, became a game of Tetris (more on this below). Subsequently the 30’ height limit was an important factor in determining the massing of the house.


It’s also worth noting that the median between the property and the street is managed by the Parks Department which required additional permits for use and temporary storage of materials.

The interior functions include the typical common areas (living room, kitchen, dining room) along with two bedrooms, a master suite, a guest suite, a family room and an office space, in addition to the necessary bathrooms, utility spaces, garage, and circulation requirements. In order to achieve the desires relationships among these different spaces, and maximize the natural light and views, the massing exercise led to a tall, skinny form as illustrated in the study diagram below.


Because the views of Seattle, the Puget Sound, the Cascade Mountains, and Mt. Rainier were important at the common areas, the design uses a reverse floor plan. The living, kitchen, and dining areas are organized on the top floor, while the bedrooms and more private areas of the house reside on the 2nd and 3rd floors with the basement and utility spaces below grade.




In order to efficiently serve each of the four floors, a dedicated circulation core at the north contains all of the vertical circulation. The biggest challenge of the reverse floor plan is reaching the kitchen from the garage with groceries, kids, and everything else included with the family of four lifestyle. A small residential elevator solves this issue by providing quick and easy access from the basement to the top floor.



The stacked program of this residence is both unique and intricate, allowing the envelope to take significant design cues from the interior functions. In other words, the house looks like what it’s doing.


Three primary materials are used at the envelope. The solid masses are enhanced with aluminum rainscreen panels and the windows are bronze anodized aluminum. This darker tone allows the warm cedar to pop at the circulation core and the recesses below cantilevers. Prominent walls within the house were formed in concrete and extended beyond the envelope out into the landscaping. At the north elevation of the structure, a 30’ tall concrete wall bookends the structure, provides a dramatic entry point, and serves as a backdrop to the landscaping.


Inside, the concrete walls play an important role adding texture to the interior material palette and enhancing the connection to the exterior.


The stairway provides a peek to the view beyond via a vertical slot window. Stair climbing visitors are rewarded at the top as the common areas open up and provide stunning views of city, mountains, and sea.


The cost of the home came in at $ 255 per square foot. For a detailed analysis of how this number is computed, we highly recommend taking a spin through our residential construction budget cheat-sheet. With the booming real estate market here in Seattle we estimate that the project has already established (or exceeded) its market value. From start to finish the construction took approximately 11 months.


Aluminum rainscreen panels manufactured by Oculus
Bronze anodized aluminum windows by Marlin and supplied by Goldfinch Brothers
Accordion door by La Cantina
Rift and quartered white oak flooring with Swedish finish and gray stain by Olde English Hardwoods, Inc.
Single-ply PVC roofing by Esary Roofing and Siding
Concrete work and framing by Modern Shelter
Plumbing fixtures supplied by Keller Plumbing Supply
Interior steel work by Modern Metal Works llc
Interior glass by Herzog Glass
Appliances by Metropolitan Appliance
Tile by Pental
Elvoron residential elevator by Garaventa Lift


Thanks for following the coverage on the Desai Residence. Stay tuned for additional posts on the details, specifications, and design strategies behind this project.

Cheers from Team BUILD

Build Blog

Posted by Tyson at 24 June 2015

Category: Construction News

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If you are involved in the construction industry, image is important, especially if you are chasing large contracts. The people who make the big decisions need to have confidence in you and your firm, which is why you need to give the appearance of being a competent and professional company.

The way you present yourself and your company to potential customers is crucial. Getting your brand and image right is important and where you base your firm has an impact.

Invest in business premises

It can be tempting to forgo the expense of setting up and running an office and simply base yourself in a mobile unit on one of your sites. This option can work, but it is far from ideal for your company image and brand.

Inviting potential customers to a site based office is rarely a good idea. It does not make a good first impression.

It means that potential customers have to negotiate a dirty and sometimes muddy site to reach your office. The interior of mobile offices tends to be basic. They are badly insulated, which makes it hard to keep them at a comfortable temperature. It is hard to welcome and impress potential clients in an environment like this.

It is far better to invest in office space in Moorgate or another sought after location and set up proper meeting facilities there. Headquartering your firm in a respectable area tells customers that you take your business seriously. It sends out the message that you are a successful and well-established firm that will do a good job. This is because most people believe that only successful firms can afford well-appointed office space. If they see your firm in this way it is easy for them to find the confidence to place an order.

What to look for when choosing office space

Now you can see the importance of having proper headquarters here are some tips to help you to find the right offices. These are the main considerations.


People need to be able to find your offices and get there easily. For this reason, always look for office space close to a good transport network.

In a good neighbourhood

We have already touched on this, but it is important so we are going to mention it again. To make a positive impression you need to base yourself in a good area near other successful businesses. If you lease offices in a rundown area, it will only have a negative impact on how potential customers view your company.

Room to expand

Hopefully your firm will do well and you will expand. When that happens you are going to need more space, so try to base yourself in an area where there is plenty of office space available. That way when you do need more space, you will not have to move far, if at all.

Good services

Think about the services that your firm needs when choosing office space. For example, do you want a receptionist, meeting rooms, mail and call forwarding or is it just desk space that you need?

Regardless of the kind of construction firm you run setting up a proper office is the best approach. Take time to find the right location and your business will benefit greatly.


Posted by Tyson at 21 June 2015

Category: Building News

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threaded rebar with centering deviceWe have been restoring The Lyric Theatre for about 9 months now, with a completion date scheduled at year’s end. To create a state of the art rigging system at the stage fly, we recently installed micropiles. They carry the load of four 65’ columns that are supporting about 25 tons of load individually.

Micropiles at the LyricOur drilling ranged up to about 35 feet deep, with the last 5’ of casing embedded into bedrock. Within each casing, we then placed a threaded bar to full depth and grouted to the top. We installed steel plates for each casing, and a concrete cap on top of each micropile grouping.

The new steel rigging structure will be a completely independent structure within the 100-year-old Lyric stage fly space, with no impact to existing walls or foundations. The selection of micropiles allowed for a structural foundation system that could be installed in the confines of the existing basement with special drilling equipment that could fit under the 7’ headroom of the stage floor. This unique application of a foundation system allowed greater flexibility when dealing with dimensional constraints and areas of historic preservation.

Planting Acorns

Posted by Tyson at 20 June 2015

Category: Architecture News

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Eliminating hazards in the factory or on the jobsite can be as easy as selecting the best tool for the job. As we recognize National Safety Month, here are a couple tools that can reduce your risk without blowing your budget.

Self-retracting Cutters

Cutters with “Smart Knife Technology” retract the blade automatically when it loses contact with the material it’s cutting. The blade will self-retract even if the user tries to override the safety system by leaving the slider in the forward position. Cutters with Smart Knife Technology cost slightly more than conventional cutters but can prevent injuries making them well worth the investment.

Tool Lanyards

This may be the easiest way to prevent falling object injuries on a worksite. Tool lanyards are elastic straps that connect tools to a tool belt or personal fall protection.

Tips for Preventing Falling Object Injuries: 

  1. Use tool lanyards.Simple Tools That Improve Worksite Safety
  2. Keep all material at least 3 feet from a leading edge, other than material specifically required for work in process.
  3. Remove items from loose or unsealed pockets, especially top shirt pockets, such as phones, pens, and tools.
  4. Do not hang objects over guardrails.
  5. Secure all objects when working on an elevated surface.
  6. Ensure toe boards are present and inspect toe boards frequently. They should be at least 4 inches high and continuous. 4 inches is the minimum height with a maximum ¼-inch clearance from the working surface.
  7. Require hardhats and other relevant PPE for everyone in areas at risk for falling objects—no exceptions. Make sure that this is effectively communicated.
  8. Rope off the area, if possible, where fall/drop hazards may exist – especially if work is being performed on a ladder.
  9. Work as a team to avoid complacency and remain vigilant of these procedures at all times.
  10. Ensure hardhats and other required PPE is inspected prior to use and is used in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations.

The post Simple Tools That Improve Worksite Safety appeared first on ModSpace Blog – Construction News, Updates & Insights.

ModSpace Blog – Construction News, Updates & Insights

Posted by Tyson at 19 June 2015

Category: Building

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A Skanska-DPR joint venture is leaving its role as general contractor of Apple’s ring-shaped corporate headquarters under construction in Cupertino, Calif.
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Top tips for working in construction

The building contractor business is one of the most pulsating and challenging business ventures. It demands lot of investments in terms of your energy, capital and time that is the main reason why it is very essential that you are passionately interested in this business venture.

With each passing day this arena is facing lot many changes in the techniques, equipments and style of working. You can do yourself a huge favour by seeking the right qualifications in order to have in-depth knowledge about the different dimensions of the construction business. No doubt, the reality picture tends to be different but it is always worthwhile to be well versed with the theoretical aspects in order to focus on the challenges of the actual world of work.

It will also help you in becoming more receptive of the changes and better options. You will be able to embrace the novelty easily if you remain open to its challenging nature. For that you always need to be on your toes and make sure you are well aware of the changing trend. With this attitude you will never lag in the race of being a proverbial in the construction business and lead your company towards excellence and proficiency.

Make sure you have the right tools. It's a poor craftsman who blames his tools, but it's understandable if you can't get the job done because you haven't got the equipment you need. As an example, portable hyundai generators can provide you with power when out in the field

Hence, you should seek this business option only when you think and firmly believe that it is your area of expertise. This will help you in creating better perspective and clear the expectation zone! It is important to be interested and really like the construction work in order to reap better rewards!

Once, you have set your mind in your business endeavours you need to take the first step of launching the construction business. You can also affirm your intensions and visions by joining the trade union. This step can facilitate your functioning as a proficient business venture. Moreover, the formalities, legal procedures, financial liabilities can be sorted by seeking the right guidance and information.

Most importantly, the construction arena is sure to make you more aware and concerned about the safety needs of your workers and employees. Hence, you will be giving lot of importance to safety meetings. These meeting can be taken as the right opportunity to seek awareness about the location and enforcing required rules and regulations. This is why you should never avoid or delay the safety meetings and its significance in your business. The insightful observation when blended with experience can help you get prepared for emergencies also. This also pave the way for better adjustments when require.

It is clear that this business can be crude and demanding in many respects, yet it also creates a very profitable and satisfying venture. In order to get the maximum of your business set up you need to have proper vision and clear expectations. Your attitude and working style is going to determine your success and the heights of your profits. Therefore, it is time that you open yourself to the creative and profitable ideas to ensure that your construction business is a roaring success from now on!