Posted by Tyson at 24 November 2014

Category: Construction

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General contractors and construction managers are raising red flags on construction’s eroding labor picture, according to FMI, a provider of management consulting, investment banking and research to the engineering and construction industry. Better than half say they are feeling the pinch of labor shortages and are using a variety of strategies to mitigate the problem. Besides […]

Construction Informer Blog

Posted by Tyson at 22 November 2014

Category: Building

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State budget officers’ report shows upturns for transportation, environmental categories, but cutback in higher education.
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Posted by Tyson at 22 November 2014

Category: Uncategorized

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[All photos by BUILD LLC]

The stair may very well be one of the most challenging design aspects of architecture. A well designed stair solves problems and becomes a visually pleasing feature of a project. Conversely, a poorly designed stair wastes space, creates inefficient circulation, and produces visual clutter. While a stair’s primary function is to allow passage between floors, its relationship to a residence or building goes far beyond the pragmatic. Is the stair concealed between walls as service circulation or does it open up to a room and become a sequence of experiences? Does it intentionally provide acoustic and visual separation or does it promote the connection between floors? Do the aesthetics of the stair calm the room or does the stair become a dramatic sculptural focus? These are all questions we bring up early in the design process and they start to define boundaries on what would otherwise be an overwhelming design equation.

It may seem like there are limitless possibilities with stairs, as evidenced by the blogs out there dedicated to the full spectrum of elaborate stair design. But when you break the stair down into its essential components, there are really just a handful of variables to deal with. Today’s post covers some rationale behind how we think about stairs and how we apply stair design to our projects. This process includes a handy diagram and lots of images from our portfolio completed projects.

What this post doesn’t cover is handrail and guardrail design as we’ve covered those topics in previous posts. While handrails and guardrails are important design components of a stair, we tend to put them in another category — they are less structural and ergonomically functional and pertain more to life safety and accessibility considerations. Still very important, just in a different category. The requirements for guardrails and handrails also vary widely from one country to the next, and this throws all sorts of new criteria into the design process. We find it most useful to define the structure of a stair first, the design of the guardrails and handrails then take their cues from this first round of design decisions.


The BUILD Blog Stair MatrixTM above breaks down stair design into two primary variables: the condition on either side of the stairs (whether there are walls or not) and the condition between risers (whether the treads are open or not). This produces nine possible outcomes — one could argue that there are some theoretical gravity-defying outcomes not recorded here, but we’ll leave those to the academics. We like this matrix because it illustrates that, when the stair is boiled down to its essence, there are really just a handful of combinations. And once this matrix is filtered down for the known conditions of a project, there’s probably only 3 or 4 options to consider.

As timing would have it, BUILD has completed at least one stair configuration from each category now, so let’s get to some built examples. We’ve provided as many different material examples as practical and there’s also a couple of hybrids noted below.

Stair-1 Two Walls, Solid Risers
Park Modern: Panel formed, site poured concrete

Beaux Arts Village: Brazilian Cherry hardwood, wood framed gypsum walls

Magnolia Residence: Oak hardwood stairs, wood framed gypsum walls

Case Study House: Lightweight concrete stairs, wood framed gypsum walls

Queen Anne Remodel: Maple hardwood stairs, wood framed gypsum walls w/ steel connections

Stair-2 One Wall, Solid Risers
Madison Park Residence: Oak hardwood stairs, wood framed gypsum wall

Society Consulting: Maple & steel stairs, wood framed gypsum wall

Kirsch Residence: Maple stairs, wood framed gypsum wall

Stair-3 No Walls, Solid Risers
Park Modern: Galvanized steel stairs, galvanized steel channel stringers

Stair-4 Two Walls, Open Risers
Bainbridge Island Residence: Precast concrete treads, wood framed gypsum walls w/ steel connections

Concord Penthouse: Bamboo treads, wood framed gypsum walls w/ steel connections

Stair-5 One Wall, Open Risers
Davidson Residence: Bamboo treads, steel channel stringer, wood framed gypsum wall

Stair-6 No Walls, Open Risers
1240 Building: Precast concrete treads, steel channel stringers

Stair-7 One Wall, Open Risers, No Stringer on One Side
Case Study House: Reclaimed timber treads, wood framed gypsum wall, steel tension rods

Kirsch Residence: (Base) Walnut treads and cabinet walls;
(Upper) Maple treads, wood framed gypsum wall, steel tension rods

Stair-8 No Walls, Open Risers, No Stringer on One Side
Massena Residence: Oak treads, tube steel spine, wood framed rainscreen wall

Stair-9 No Walls, Open Risers, No Stringers on Two Sides
Massena Residence: Oak treads, tube steel spine

For deeper dives on a few stair designs, we recommend the posts on the Kirsch Residence and the Madison Park Residence.

Cheers from Team BUILD

Build Blog

Posted by Tyson at 21 November 2014

Category: Building

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Executive order would provide millions with protection for being deported, but with conditions, and only for three years at a time.
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Posted by Tyson at 21 November 2014

Category: Architecture News

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Before you start planning your next construction project, here’s an infographic that may help you determine which building method is right for you.

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Modular vs. Traditional Construction – An infographic by the team at ModSpace

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ModSpace Blog – Construction News, Updates & Insights

Posted by Tyson at 19 November 2014

Category: Construction

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Twenty-five design professionals from the Neil Kelly Company, a design-build remodeling firm that has remodeled more than 30,000 homes, recently named their Top 10 interior design trends for 2014. U-Socket: Apple devices reign in most households, so the new U-Socket wall plug has two built-in USB ports to power devices including iPhones, gaming devices, digital cameras, […]

Construction Informer Blog

Posted by Tyson at 19 November 2014

Category: Architecture News

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gokit11 150x150 Top 10 OSHA Violations in 2014Fall Protection remains the most commonly cited OSHA standard according to the recently released top 10 OSHA violations in 2014. The annual list from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is intended to help employers identify safety concerns so they can take corrective action to avoid citations, injuries or worse.

Top 10 OSHA Violations in 2014

(as of October 28, 2014)

  1. Fall Protection – 1926.501 – 2013 Rank: 1
  2. Hazard Communication – 1910.1200 – 2013 Rank: 2
  3. Scaffolding – 1926.451 – 2013 Rank: 3
  4. Respiratory Protection – 1910.134 – 2013 Rank: 4
  5. Powered Industrial Trucks – 1910.178 – 2013 Rank: 6
  6. Lockout/Tagout – 1910.147 – 2013 Rank: 8
  7. Ladders – 1926.1053 – 2013 Rank: 7
  8. Electrical, Wire Methods – 1910.305 – 2013 Rank: 5
  9. Machine Guarding – 1910.212 – 2013 Rank: 10
  10. Electrical, General Requirements – 1910.303 – 2013 Rank: 9

The best ways to avoid safety violations and the incidents that may result are:
  1. Establish a written Health and Safety Plan.
  2. Train all personnel on the Health and Safety Plan.
  3. Communicate the plan to all workers on site.
  4. Ensure project supervisors are trained – OSHA 30, first aid and CPR.
  5. Inspect, confirm and document that your safety plan is being followed.
  6. Promptly correct safety deficiencies
  7. Immediately report unsafe conditions and behaviors to your supervisor
  8. Stop work until unsafe behaviors and conditions are corrected
  9. Regularly retrain workers on safety procedures

The post Top 10 OSHA Violations in 2014 appeared first on ModSpace Blog – Construction News, Updates & Insights.

ModSpace Blog – Construction News, Updates & Insights

Posted by Tyson at 18 November 2014

Category: Construction

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  The National Labor Review Board’s recent dismissal of an employee’s complaint shows the challenge in creating a social media policy that protects the company while also allowing employee expression. AEC companies must carefully construct and regularly review social media policy to stay in sync with the legal landscape. In the recent case, the NLRB ruled […]

Construction Informer Blog

Posted by Tyson at 17 November 2014

Category: Architecture News

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 The General Contractors Guide to Understanding Safety Performance RatingsIt’s no secret that injuries on the job site are a costly mistake. Nonetheless, the Bureau of Labor Statics recorded more than 1.1 million non-fatal construction-related injuries and illnesses in 2012. It’s a powerful incentive to go the extra mile to keep injuries to a minimum and with them, their impact on your bottom line.

Soon we’ll talk in greater detail about the many costs associated with poor safety performance. But first, here are some terms that every GC or sub, or any firm working in construction needs to understand.

Experience Modification Rate (EMR) is a computation determined by the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) that compares a company’s annual losses in worker compensation insurance claims against its policy premiums over a three-year period, excluding the most current year.  It is a lagging indicator of performance.

Total Recordable Incident Rate (TRIR) is an OSHA defined calculation which uses a normalizing factor to support comparison of Injury and Illness performance for businesses in similar industries.  It is calculated by taking the total number of OSHA recordable cases occurring in a business and multiplying that number by 200,000 (average number of hours worked for a 100 employee company) and dividing by the total number of employee hours worked for your operation.  This is a leading indicator of performance.

OSHA Violation Types

  • Other Than Serious Violation – A violation that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but probably would not cause death or serious physical harm. A proposed penalty of up to $ 7,000 for each violation is discretionary.
  • Serious Violation – A violation where there is substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result and that the employer knew, or should have known, of the hazard. A mandatory penalty of up to $ 7,000 for each violation is proposed.
  • Willful Violation – A violation that the employer knowingly commits or commits with indifference to the law. The employer either knows that what he or she is doing constitutes a violation, or is aware that a hazardous condition existed and made no reasonable effort to eliminate it.

Certificate of Insurance (COI) – COI validates your company has the proper insurance coverage to protect your workers and your customers.

Now that we’ve established how safety performance is measured, next week we’ll talk about its impact on your bottom line.

The post The General Contractor’s Guide to Understanding Safety Performance Ratings appeared first on ModSpace Blog – Construction News, Updates & Insights.

ModSpace Blog – Construction News, Updates & Insights

Posted by Tyson at 17 November 2014

Category: Architecture News

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construction worker 300x223 10 Tips for Preventing Falling Object InjuriesEarlier this month a man was killed at a construction site New Jersey when a 1-pound tape measure fell 50 stories and struck him in the head. This tragedy is a stark reminder that falling object injuries can and do occur. It could also be considered a call for an industry-wide effort to prevent these incidents in the future.

Falling Object Statistics

  • A solid object dropped from 64 feet will hit the ground in 2 seconds at a speed of 43.8 miles per hour.
  • The same object dropped at 106 feet will hit the ground in 3 seconds at a speed of 65.8 miles per hour.
  • A 2-ounce pen dropped from 230 feet has the potential to penetrate a hardhat.

Tips for Preventing Falling Object Injuries

  1. Use tool lanyards to prevent tools from falling.
  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 all 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 in place and inspected frequently
  7. Require hard hats and other required personal protective equipment (PPE) for every person in areas at risk for falling objects—no exceptions.
  8. Rope off the area, if possible, where fall or drop hazards may exist.
  9. Inspect all PPE prior to use to confirm it still meets manufacturers’ recommendations.
  10. Communicate often. Work as a team to avoid complacency and remain vigilant of these procedures at all times.


Top tips for working in construction

The construction 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!