Posted by Tyson at 21 April 2015

Category: Building

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Agency wants to tap account aimed at adding health personnel, building maintenance.
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Posted by Tyson at 19 April 2015

Category: Construction

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(Post Updated 4/9/2015) Marrying iOS mobile devices and enterprise applications comes with security risks, but that doesn’t mean you have to forego the advantages. Data and privacy security in this age of mobile devices has been called impossible by some, and extremely challenging by others. For enterprises, the heart of the matter comes down to … Continue reading Options for Secure Links Between iOS Mobile Devices and Enterprise Applications

The post Options for Secure Links Between iOS Mobile Devices and Enterprise Applications appeared first on Construction Informer Blog – Blog with Construction News and Commentary.

Construction Informer Blog

Posted by Tyson at 18 April 2015

Category: Building

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With buckling girders now straightened out in Edmonton, will they carry the design loads and if not, who will pay?
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Posted by Tyson at 18 April 2015

Category: Building News

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RoundAboutI have found success in the leverage of our efforts by having solid “two-way street partners.” This is somewhat like loosely connected circles–watching out for each other, touching the perimeter and being able to help each other with opportunities.

Sometimes I feel like a high school coach, forwarding my good recruits to my favorite NCAA football team. Other times, it’s the opposite, with people giving us a solid recruit or “lead.”

When one side becomes too much of a “taker” it can pull the life out of a relationship. At times we have shared opportunities to others without so much as a thank you. There is not a real motivator for us to continue to help them.

I try to never get lazy along the way, taking our circle of business friends for granted. Never. A few things I keep top of mind:

  • I don’t ask for support from others without reciprocating.
  • When someone helps us with a lead, I try to reciprocate by a factor of 2X.
  • I remember that business relationships, just like personal ones, can be mended.


Planting Acorns

Posted by Tyson at 16 April 2015

Category: Architecture News

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$ 25 billion in non-residential construction starts in March marked a 32.4% climb over February numbers according to the just released Construction Industry Snapshot by CMD Group, formerly Reed Construction Data. The positive number in March confirms an upward trend in construction spending, but falls short of the same period last year when spending increased by 40.3%. For comparison, the long-term February-to-March increase has been 6.0%. See the full report from CMD here.

Non-Residential Construction Jumps 32.4% in March

Graph courtesy of CMD Group

The post Non-Residential Construction Jumps 32.4% in March appeared first on ModSpace Blog – Construction News, Updates & Insights.

ModSpace Blog – Construction News, Updates & Insights

Posted by Tyson at 16 April 2015

Category: Uncategorized

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[All images by BUILD LLC]

We always find it a bit concerning when the process of architecture is likened to making art. Art can be created based on nothing more than an emotion, from an ephemeral moment in time, and without repercussions to the physical world. It’s free from the dependencies of shelter, protection, and sometimes, even gravity. Art doesn’t have to make your life better.

This is not to be interpreted that we dislike art or lack an appreciation for art. Quite the contrary. We consider art necessary in our lives; we pay attention to it, consider it, and consume it. The artists in our lives are important people to us and their work is valued.

But architecture is not art. To function well and properly serve individuals, communities, cultures, and the environment, the design process of architecture involves wide-ranging dependencies and a finished piece of architecture has serious implications on both the natural and built environments. Because of this, we’ve always thought the process of architecture should be more akin to science.

Today’s post relates the design process to the basic steps of the scientific method (the same scientific method taught in grade school). The method allows questions to be asked and answered through observations and experiments. It provides feedback loops that allow architecture to become better and more successful the longer the scientific method is exercised. To better demonstrate the method with regard to the design process, we’ll cover a residential project, Utopian Heights Modern (UHM), which is currently in design at the BUILD World Headquarters.

PURPOSE: State the problem or ask a question.
For our recent Utopian Heights Modern project in particular, we’ve asked whether we can design and build a home that meets the programmatic requirements of a family of 4 on a rather constrained 4,100 square foot lot in Seattle with stringent building codes for approximately $ 260 per square foot.


RESEARCH: Find out about the topic and gather information.
Our research and gathering for the UHM project has included city records, state and city building codes, site visits, coaching sessions with the building department, meetings with the clients, and our client questionnaire. All of this information goes into the handy binders shown below.


HYPOTHESIS: Predict the outcome to the problem.
This is where things get tricky. Architects love to talk about “theory,” but, more often than not, architectural theories skip over the hypothesis. Wikipedia sheds some light on their differences:

A theory is not the same as a hypothesis. A theory provides an explanatory framework for some observation, and from the assumptions of the explanation follows a number of possible hypotheses that can be tested in order to provide support for, or challenge, the theory.

All too often in architecture, theories go straight to publication or worse, built-form. By skipping the hypothesis loop, the necessary testing phase (required of the scientific method) is absent.

We like to navigate the hypothesis stage of design with a high level of consistency — similar to what you’d find in a scientific experiment. By keeping our designs uniform between one and the next, and only changing a variable or two at a time, we can properly test our design ideas as hypotheses. On UHM we use a number of fixed drivers (elements which remain constant over the experiment): the width of the structure (determined by the municipal codes), the location of the structure, certain fixed functions, way-finding, and a few others. The hypotheses being tested on the UHM project are:

+ Is a 3 story structure of lesser footprint more effective than a 2 story structure of greater footprint?
+ Does a reverse floor plan provide a more enjoyable living experience?
+ Does a Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit (DADU) provide a cost-effective benefit to the main house?
+ Does the programming benefit by breaking the envelope up into smaller geometric volumes?
+ Is there a benefit to locating the garage within the rear yard setback (allowed by the municipal code)?

EXPERIMENT: Develop a procedure to test the hypothesis.
This occurs in two ways at BUILD. At the macro scale we’re constantly testing a variable or two in our built works. While there is a high level of consistency between one completed project and the next, there is also typically a variable or two that we’re testing out in the 1:1 scale model. At the micro scale, we’re strong advocates of diagramming in the design phase. These diagrams allow us to change a select number of variables and create a series of diagrams to test out with the clients. For the UHM project the series of diagrams below were created to capture the hypotheses listed above.


ANALYSIS: Record the results of the experiment, analyze your data and draw a conclusion.
Similarly, this step happens at two scales. Because we build most of our projects, we tend to stay well connected with clients in terms of how the project is functioning post occupation. The feedback we get from the lived-in experiments feeds right back into the diagramming experiments. 15 years’ worth of design and construction experience provides invaluable data for the design diagrams on the UHM project. We’ve also had a few incredibly valuable client meetings where the 5 diagrams were reviewed, picked apart, and refined to a subset.


CONCLUSION: Compare the hypothesis to the experiment’s conclusion. Communicate your results.
This is another step largely missed in the architecture discipline. When the hypotheses of architecture need fine tuning or fall short, they are rarely communicated to the community at large. The nature of design magazines is typically one of praise and true journalistic critiques of architecture are becoming scarce. Outside of traditional media, most architects also lack the means in which to communicate the observations of the finished product. As advocates of sharing ideas and information, we use this blog to do both.

We’re not at the point to state any conclusions yet with Utopian Heights Modern, but when we are, they’ll be published here for public benefit. Just like we do with many of our projects. So stay tuned.


In our effort to distinguish architecture from art, by no means are we suggesting that art cannot or should not follow the scientific method. Rather, we’re proposing that architecture can’t afford not to. In fact, most endeavors could benefit from this method. Here’s to science.

Cheers from Team BUILD

Build Blog

Posted by Tyson at 15 April 2015

Category: Architecture News

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Construction JobsSubcontractors have become the norm at construction sites. The benefits to construction firms are plenty. But so are the risks. On the surface, a quality sub should make your job easier. Alternately, a sub-quality sub can put your entire operation in jeopardy. As you weigh the pros and cons of using subcontractors on the jobsite, here’s what some construction industry experts are saying as to how you can get the most out of these relationships and mitigate risk at the same time.

1. Prequalification

The only risk you assume here is time lost to vetting an unqualified sub. Take the time to thoroughly screen who you will be working with. You’re likely to minimize headaches down the road. Start by confirming they are licensed and insured. Then look at experience, supervision of work, safety record, business management (is it well run, organized and in good standing), legal history and processes on and off the jobsite.

2. Set Expectations

You know how you want your jobsite to run and the quality of work you expect. Make sure subcontractors have a clear understanding of the same. Getting on the same page at the start of a project can save valuable time and money when you’re against a deadline.

3. Have a Plan

This is something most project managers are doing anyway. Make sure subcontractors are included in plans for safety talks, work flows, material deliveries and everything else that goes on during a construction project.

4. Communicate Often

This may seem simple, or even obvious. But with so many moving parts, communications are often overlooked. Have frequent check-ins with subs to ensure their work is progressing as planned. Ask about potential issues and give feedback on work performed. Even the best subcontractor can’t fix something he doesn’t know is broken.

5. Requalify

Insurance expires. Safety records change. The sub you hired may no longer meet the standards you set up at the beginning. Rechecking subcontractors ensures you and your project are always in compliance.

For more information about working with subcontractors, look at the resources below.

Managing the Complexities of Subcontractor Compliance

Subcontractor Management Strategy: An Approach to Manage Subcontractors in Construction Projects

Six Keys to Subcontractor Prequalification Success

The post 5 Tips for Better Subcontractor Management in Construction appeared first on ModSpace Blog – Construction News, Updates & Insights.

ModSpace Blog – Construction News, Updates & Insights

Posted by Tyson at 15 April 2015

Category: Building

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One former construction executive may be cooperating with Canadian officials
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Posted by Tyson at 14 April 2015

Category: Building

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Are the budget contingencies that owners keep secret good or bad for the project team as a whole?
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Posted by Tyson at 14 April 2015

Category: Building

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There is a very real business case for short-term efforts to include more women and minorities.
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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!