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Hurricane resistant homes: why they aren't being constructed more frequently.

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 16, 2018 11:00:00 AM / by Mark McGivern, CSI, Aff. M. ASCE

Last year was the United States’ most costly on record for weather-related disasters. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather-related damages in 2017 totaled a staggering $306 billion.

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Moisture Damage to Electronics

[fa icon="calendar'] Jul 24, 2018 10:00:00 AM / by Philip B. Terry, Sr. Vice President

 

Moisture gets into electronics even in the best of systems – it is inevitable.  To name a few, electronic equipment whether personal electronic equipment, or specialized equipment isolated in server rooms, in moisture resistant enclosures, in aircraft avionics bays, and even in sophisticated autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV).  Such AUVs meticulously designed to stay dry a thousand feet underwater are susceptible to moisture related damage.   Moisture finds a way into your electronics and can wreak nuisance or havoc – sometimes intermittent, sometimes catastrophic.

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Changes to Concrete Standards: How they clarify your choice of test methods

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 14, 2018 10:00:00 AM / by Kenneth R Quigley, PE

General Contractors and the entire construction team including project managers and owners used to have to wait at least 72 hours when conducting the Relative Humidity test to take a reading which would detect excess moisture in a concrete foundation. Today, based on updated standards the Relative Humidity test only requires a 24 hour wait, which can greatly improve project timelines.

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A Quick Summary of the Evolution of Stucco

[fa icon="calendar'] May 10, 2018 10:00:00 AM / by Adrienne K. Paskind, AIA

Did you know that stucco, also known as exterior plaster, has been used for many centuries? Historians suggest that the material has been used by multiple civilizations including the Babylonians, Greeks, Egyptians, and Romans, spanning over thousands of years.

Although evolved and changing, the use of stucco today is still growing in popularity despite various problems. The following is a short comparison of historic and new practices.

Historic structures still standing today indicate that “old” stucco material was used and its construction was “done right”.  Its original composition and performance appears superior compared to its modern-day counterpart.

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The Connection between Air Conditioning Systems and Mold

[fa icon="calendar'] Apr 25, 2018 2:00:00 PM / by Dudley Smith, PE, CEM

Mold spores are everywhere in the outdoor and indoor environment as a natural part of our world and they cannot be eliminated. Certain conditions are necessary for the growth and proliferation of molds into a problem area within a building. Controlling indoor moisture and humidity levels are key to controlling indoor mold growth. Air conditioning equipment and duct systems are very common locations for the development and amplification of mold in commercial properties. Property owners and managers need to be vigilant in inspecting and maintaining these systems, to minimize the frequency and magnitude of any exposures to occupants from hidden sources of mold.

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Adhered Manufactured Stone Veneer: Manufacturing performance for the winter

[fa icon="calendar'] Feb 1, 2018 10:00:00 AM / by Clark Griffith, AIA

An Adhered Masonry Veneer system (AMV) is defined as “masonry veneer of natural or manufactured stone, secured to and supported by the backing through adhesion” and are sometimes called “lick and stick” systems.  The more typical masonry brick veneer system has a drainage cavity behind and the veneer is supported on itself and anchored with metal ties.  Exterior AMV wall components can vary, but they are similar to a stucco system with a weather resistive barrier, scratch coat with embedded wire lath, and a finish coat of adhesive mortar.   

The design and installations of AMV can be challenging since relevant building codes and industry standards are not well known or understood, and the system relies heavily on workmanship and selecting the right materials.  This is particularly true when choosing a manufactured stone rather than costlier natural stone, and when used in freeze-thaw climates.

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Maintaining Continuity at Transitions

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 25, 2018 10:00:00 AM / by Kenneth R Quigley, PE

Buildings were once thought of as a means of shelter and protection. While this still holds true, buildings today have evolved to do so much more based on how the building is intended to be used, who is occupying the building, where it is built, and so on.

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Built to burn: Thousands of buildings worldwide are wrapped in combustible panels

[fa icon="calendar'] Jan 4, 2018 11:00:00 AM / by Clark Griffith, AIA

A high school in Alaska, a National Football League stadium, a Baltimore high-rise hotel and a Dallas airport terminal are among thousands of structures world-wide covered in combustible-core panels similar to those that burned in June's deadly London fire.

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Waterproofing: From Roof to Foundation

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 18, 2017 10:00:00 AM / by Mark McGivern, CSI, Aff. M. ASCE

Severe weather can cause extensive damage to a building’s roof, foundation, and interiors. If there is a breach in a structure's envelope, water is likely to find its way into the building. This is why it is critical to make a structure water resistant from top to bottom. 

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Every layer matters. A holistic approach to quality control can be useful.

[fa icon="calendar'] Dec 7, 2017 10:00:00 AM / by Mark McGivern, CSI, Aff. M. ASCE

Whose fault was it? This is a frequently asked question when an exterior wall leaks, rots, or falls down. During a construction failure investigation, contractors often highlight the defects of other trades that affected their work. Defects include those that were documented during construction but not corrected. This may be due to timing and scheduling constraints.

Often the findings from building failures are then used going forward as best practices for new construction. However, those learned best practices should not be the only guideline. Critical areas that need to be addressed include the points of intersection, as many times there are multiple layers of building materials which are put in place by various subcontractors. This step is known as a pre-covering inspection. A pre-covering inspection of each layer at each wall area would be ideal, so problems at each layer do not accumulate, influence other layers, or get concealed.

The following article looks at examples of pre-covering inspection criteria to illustrate the influence each layer may have. Continue reading….

 

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