Posted by Tyson at 23 July 2014

Category: Uncategorized



Summer arrived early and strong this year, bringing an extended heatwave upon our typically temperate city. While we’ve been doing our best to stay cool while enjoying the outdoors, we’re staying inspired and engaged with the growing resources for design out there in our increasingly connected world. Thanks to all who help us keep a pulse on things, and let us know what’s been hitting your design radar in the comments below.

The fifth annual S2V ride is coming up quick. This year’s jersey design keeps it simple and patriotic. #S2V2014
-thanks to Charles

Wrist watches are here to stay, and JORD designs sharp-looking classics made out of wood.

Klopf Architecture does a fantastic remodel of an Eichler-designed MCM home.
-thanks to Michelle

Another two modern structures on the chopping block to make way for the new wave of architecture, in D.C. and in NYC. Both designs by the Swiss-born modernist, William Lescaze.

An architecture blog that should be on everyone’s radar: Biber Architects.
-thanks to James Biber

The future of it all, complete with national tour.
-thanks to MakerHaus
scan_35drv route

Who doesn’t love a good gif? Some playful architecture themed ones we’re enjoying.
animate_arch gif

An inside peek into the glamorous life of architects. An international Day in the Life montage.
-thanks to Evan

35 Palaces Around the World, illustrated.
-thanks to Peter

Cross-pollination humor, for architecture and writing nerds alike.
-thanks to Charles

Quote OpenDraft drunk. Construct sober.

The annual Seattle Design Festival hits the streets, September 5-19th. This year’s theme: Design in Motion. #SDF2014
-thanks to Design in Public

The Little Free Library design/build competition, hosted by Architects Without Borders runs alongside SDF 2014. Registration ends August 1st and designs will  be exhibited at the Seattle Design Festival.
-thanks to Architects Without Borders

Gorgeous, crisp photography of humans and architecture.
-thanks to Marianne

Modernism in the Pacific Northwest opened at the Seattle Art Museum last month. Check out the ways artists in the region contributed to the modern art movement. Runs through September 7th.
-thanks to Sandy

The current installation on exhibit at Suyama Space is a piece by Ian McMahon entitled, Cascade. Runs through August 15th.
-thanks to Suyama Space

Kinfolk Magazine marries gorgeous photography with adventure-inspiring content.

The Big List of Architecture, indexed by category. A handy resource for your browsing and bookmarking needs.
-thanks to WelisSat

Daily Overview’s stream takes us back to the days of our Scapes series on the BUILDblog v.1.0. A mesmerizing, delightful time sink.

And speaking of Instagram, we’ve officially jumped feet first into this photo-sharing platform. Check out what we’re up to in the on- and off-hours, @buildllc.


Cheers from Team BUILD

Build Blog

Posted by Tyson at 23 July 2014

Category: Building News

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Regions Field
Yesterday evening, I had dinner at the Federal Reserve where Lake Forest College economics Professor Robert Baade gave a presentation on the economic impact of sports venues. Dr. Baade is recognized as an expert, consulting nationally and internationally with countries including South Africa and Brazil. I left with a few interesting takeaways:

  • The social value of stand-alone sports subsidies does not justify their cost. The benefit comes from their ability to serve as a catalyst for surrounding urban economic development. Focus should be on the public benefits as they relate to quality of life.
  • His strategy is to build in urban areas so that stadiums are not relegated to seasonal / occasional use. In the U.S., Miami’s Joe Robbie Stadium was the first major sports complex to start the current trend of downtown venues, with corporate and loge seating comprising the lion’s share of income. These keep revenue local.
  • Technology will continue to pressure major sports venues. All venues are trying to create an entertainment experience beyond the event. Retail options, childcare and dog-sitting are among services offered.
  • Winning a bid for the Olympics sends a message of economic viability. The “BRICK” countries vying for the games are Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa–places that have something to prove.
In our hometown, It’s been interesting to watch the growth around Regions Field, the new urban baseball stadium. Dr. Baade’s theory has proven true: The venue has brought life to an area that was all but abandoned.

Planting Acorns

Posted by Tyson at 22 July 2014

Category: Building

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Design and engineering of a major new pipeline to deliver natural gas from Alaska’s North Slope to Alaskans is underway, which is a milestone no previous Alaska gasline project has achieved.
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Posted by Tyson at 22 July 2014

Category: Construction

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Recent devastating mudslides graphically remind us of just how tenuous our footing is, even on trusted land. And while most of the recent devastation wasn’t caused by construction activity, there are many times where runoff and erosion from construction sites is excessive and largely preventable. The University of Missouri Extension reports that construction sites typically add 100 to […]

Construction Informer Blog

Posted by Tyson at 20 July 2014

Category: Construction

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In May, the Financial Accounting Standards Board and International Accounting Standards Board issued their long-awaited converged standard on revenue recognition, which have significant implications for the engineering and construction industry. This affects companies applying U.S. GAAP and IFRS who have typically been using industry guidance when accounting for revenue, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, or PwC, a company offering […]

Construction Informer Blog

Posted by Tyson at 19 July 2014

Category: Construction

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The American Institute of Architects updated the “most frequently used” documents of the entire AIA portfolio, saying the “significance of this release cannot be overstated.” According to the AIA, these updated documents are preferred for use on commercial design build projects. The new documents are supposed to help improve the interaction between owner and design-builder […]

Construction Informer Blog

Posted by Tyson at 19 July 2014

Category: Building

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Plan includes a new DOT center to identify and surmount barriers to broader use of public-private partnerships.
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Posted by Tyson at 17 July 2014

Category: Construction News

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Whatever home improvements you’re making, the secret to brilliant results is good attention to detail. Whilst painting your property may appear to be one of the simpler DIY tasks, great results take patience and care.

Here are our top five secrets to paint perfection when decorating your home:

1. Sand away any flaws

To get the best paint finish around your home, you need to ensure you have a smooth and perfect canvas – whether that’s on the walls or the woodwork. While sandpaper is fine for the smaller rough spots and burrs, it’s recommended to invest in (or hire) a sander or sanding pole to make removing all the flaws on your ceiling and walls as easy as possible. Sand woodwork using a sanding sponge to get into any small nooks and crannies.

2. Prime your walls

Sanding helps get rid of any elevated imperfections on your walls, but you may come across holes and nicks that can be just as detrimental to your paint finish. When this is the case, use a primer. To ensure that these patched spots will not be seen under your top coat, choose a tinted primer that matches your choice of wall covering.
Before the primer stage, make sure that your walls are not greasy. Paint won’t bond to grimy kitchen surfaces or grubby hallways. Use a specialist degreasing formula to completely cut through any filth to give your walls the best chance of good paint adhesion.

3. Use a putty knife on your tape

Removing your masking film after painting and finding that your color has still bled through can be extremely infuriating. To avoid this, make sure you are doing a thorough job of affixing your film or masking tape from the start. You can do this by using a simple putty knife and running it over the top of the tape to ensure a firm seal. Use professional masking tape or film as opposed to everyday masking tape, this often leaves a sticky residue behind, which can be hard to clean off.

4. Keep to one wall at a time

You may be tempted to do all the trims and corners of a room first and go back to fill in the larger expanses of wall afterwards. Don’t! Professional painters will always finish one wall at a time so that brushed and rolled paint is easier to blend together. To keep your paint and rollers from drying out whilst switching between the two styles of painting, simply cover your tray or bucket with a damp towel when not being used.

5. Load then go

Professional painters always started with a loaded brush. This means loading the bottom 1.5 inches of their paint brush with paint, tapping each side of the brush on the paint bucket to remove any heavy drips. What other style of loading is there? Well, most amateur painters load their brush and then drag it along the side of the container to wipe the majority of it off again!


Posted by Tyson at 16 July 2014

Category: Uncategorized

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[All photos by BUILD LLC]

When designing a new residence, one of the first design decisions we review with the homeowners is the heating system. In-floor radiant heat has come a long way in the last couple of decades and it should at least be a consideration for a home’s heat system. The technology of in-floor radiant heat is an evolution from the traditional free-standing radiators (like in turn of the century homes), in that hot water is circulated through the house via pipes that transfer the heat to objects, subsequently heating the interiors. That’s about where the similarities end, though, and in-floor radiant heat is much more effective and efficient.

For typical wood frame house construction, modern in-floor radiant heat uses a network of 3/8” or 1/2” diameter flexible tubes located within the floor system that wind through each room of the house. These tubes are equally spaced and are attached to the underside of the floor sheathing.  This system can be further engineered to include heat transfer plates (for a more even distribution of heat) or tighter tube spacing at areas that may require additional heat (like around large floor-to-ceiling windows). This “staple up” method, is a cost-effective option that keeps the construction relatively simple and allows access to the tubes later on if necessary (albeit it requires the removal of drywall at the lid below). The example below shows an underfloor attachment with 2 radiant tubes per joist bay and aluminum distribution plates.


Alternatively, the radiant tubes can be located above the floor sheathing, embedded in a thin layer of lightweight concrete or gyp-crete. While this method provides a more consistent material to radiate the heat, it’s more costly and difficult to install. The tubes are also buried away, prohibiting future access. Floor finish can be removed and gyp-crete chipped away to get at a problem area (but that can be painful).

Lastly, radiant tubing can be located in cast-in-place concrete, assuming this is part of the project.  The design and construction team needs to take a certain level of care to ensure that the slab has proper insulation below, as well as proper thermal breaks at slab edges (to keep the system efficient).  We’ve also found that additional care must be taken to properly zone the systems and use the appropriate controls where a project includes tubing in cast-in-place concrete in one section, and tubing in framed applications elsewhere (since the thermal mass and responsiveness of each floor system and its related volume will heat at different rates).

An important part of a radiant heat system is its ability to work well with the additional systems in the home. Competing for similar space is the electrical system, and the photo above demonstrates the radiant heat system and recessed can-light network playing well together. Maintaining continuity with the radiant tubes is critical to the heating system, and structural requirements should also be taken into account. Deliberate (and planned) holes have been machined into the massive steel beam below, allowing passage of the radiant heat tubes from one room to another.


The radiant tube runs are grouped together and organized by zones (which could be floors or collections of rooms). Each of these zones begins and ends at a manifold which sits at the base of a dedicated wall. This manifold takes the hot water supply line and delivers heated water to the tubes according to the thermostat setting of the zone. The manifold is accessible behind a metal grill and often allows additional calibration of the system.


The lines delivering hot water to the manifolds are supplied by a tankless hot water heater, a combination tankless heating system with small holding tank (for larger applications), or a full-on boiler (for very large applications). Any of these systems, along with the appropriate connections and safety mechanisms, should have a dedicated room in the house. The example below uses a tankless hot water heater and a small hot water tank to feed the in-floor radiant heat system. A blank wall to mount the equipment and connections allows for a straight-forward install and keeps the plumber happy, as well as allows other related vendors (gas piping, electrician) to take care of their parts of the system.


In-floor radiant heat involves additional requirements that aren’t part of the immediate system, but necessary for a healthy system nonetheless. Because in-floor radiant heat eliminates ducting within the home, supplementary systems are required to maintain the circulation of fresh air within the home. In-floor radiant heat is typically supplemented with passive air inlets (PAIs) or windows with built-in passive venting at certain rooms within the structure. Via an adjustable aperture, these window vents or PAIs allow the passage of air from inside to outside, or vice versa, keeping a flow of fresh air and maintaining an appropriate air pressure inside the home. The example below indicates a wall mount version of the PAI on the left and a ceiling mount PAI on the right (still in construction)


With the function of the system explained, let’s get to some of the important characteristics of in-floor radiant heat.

+ The quality and efficiency of the tankless heater, hot water heater, or boiler is of prime importance. With the advances in appliances, this is a great item for homeowners to bump up the allowance on. If you’re really a go-getter, table 406.2 of the Washington State Energy Code lists some important criteria for energy efficient heating systems.

+ Control of zones is an important feature as different portions of a home may have different needs. For instance an upper floor with abundant direct sunlight collects more solar gain than a lower north-facing floor. Separating the home into multiple zones helps deal with different environmental conditions and allows better calibration of the overall heating system.  The manifolds, which have a series of valves controlling the amount of hot water being delivered to each loop, can allow for an additional, relatively simple way to fine-tune the heat within certain areas.  For example, a bedroom can be turned down to restrict heat flow while a bathroom can be opened full to maximize heat going to a tile floor (and the bare feet on it).

+ Thermostat locations are key and they should be located in temperature stable areas within the home. Keep thermostats out of the kitchen, away from the fireplace, and out of direct sunlight, but as central as possible within the zone it controls.

Now that we’ve reviewed a modern in-floor radiant heat system, and covered some of the important characteristics, let’s look at the pluses and minuses of the system with relation to other methods of heating a home.

+ The heat is gradual and consistent (no sudden moves!)
+ It feels great on bare feet
+ It eliminates the need for ducting
+ It eliminates the drop soffits and lowered ceilings that so often accompany ducting
+ It eliminates some of the draftiness common with ducted forced-air systems
+ The system is flexible and can be routed around other systems within the home (electrical, data, etc)

- It doesn’t react quickly. If you want an immediate temperature response to outside whether conditions, in-floor radiant heat is not the way to go.
- Cooling is not possible with radiant in-floor heat (there are some methods to supplement radiant in-floor heat with a split system for cooling, but that’s another post.)
- The radiant tubes require a bit of caution against damage. Nails, staples and other fasteners will puncture the tubes and create leaks. You have to be careful before simply nailing that door threshold down to the floor.
- The manifolds take up a bit of wall space and it’s worth locating them so that the metal grill cover plates are inconspicuous.

Whether or not radiant heat is the right solution for a home depends on a home owner’s reaction to the benefits and drawbacks above. We’re big fans of in-floor radiant heat and we design it into many of our projects around the Pacific Northwest. We’ve found it to be comfortable, cost-effective, and well integrated with the architecture of a modern home.

Cheers from Team BUILD

Build Blog

Posted by Tyson at 15 July 2014

Category: Building

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Young professionals have skills rooted in entrepreneurship, technology, and collaboration—skills that can help counter some of the sector’s emerging challenges.
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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!