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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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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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Man with Walnut Allergy Dies on Construction Site

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 30, 2017 10:00:00 AM / by Clark Griffith, AIA

Alberta Occupational Health and Safety investigators are looking into the death of an Edmonton man with a nut allergy who died after visiting a work site where walnut shells were used to blast paint off walls.

Recently alternatives to sandblasting including the use of walnut shells, coconut shells and corn cobs have been widely used in the construction industry over the last decade.

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Stricter Building Codes Saved Florida’s Commercial Buildings from Irma’s Wrath

[fa icon="calendar'] Nov 28, 2017 10:00:00 AM / by Mark McGivern, CSI, Aff. M. ASCE

Hurricane Irma bore down hard on single-family homes, severely damaging many. At the end of September residential insurance claims had been cited around a half-million. The story, however is quite different for commercial and industrial buildings where insurance claims had been cited around 25,000.

This is mainly due to the stricter building codes that were put in place following the wrath of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. “Designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane with winds of 175 mph, the Florida building code is the accepted benchmark for hurricane protection nationally.”

“Florida significantly strengthened its defenses after hits from past major hurricanes, and those improvements were instrumental in helping the state weather this potentially devastating storm,” Levy notes. “As a result, damage to Florida commercial real estate is relatively minor outside of the Keys.”

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Water Damage During Construction

[fa icon="calendar'] Oct 11, 2017 3:55:00 PM / by Robert Pfeifer, AIA

 

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If All Else Fails – Communicate Effectively!

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 16, 2017 12:37:00 PM / by John R. Manning, PE, CCM, LEED

 

Many projects often bring to mind the famous line from Cool Hand Luke – “What we've got here is a failure to communicate.”

 

One of the definitions of communication from Merriam Webster Dictionary is “a technique for expressing ideas effectively.” On today’s projects, everyone on the project seems to be communicating, whether that be talking, emailing and/or sending correspondence, but the reality is that no effective communication is occurring. Many times, project participants are overwhelmed with the amount of correspondence and get extremely defensive of their positions, especially if they miss something. We may not have a failure to communicate but it appears many times that we have a failure to communicate EFFECTIVELY.

So how do we address this failure to communicate effectively??? I still remember one of my first classes on public speaking where the professor laid out a simple yet effective outline for a speech. He said in the Opening you tell them what you plan on speaking about; then in the Body you tell them what you are speaking about; and, finally, in the Conclusion you tell them what you told them! This has been shown to be an extremely effective means of communicating in speech to inform someone of a topic.

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The Importance of a Quality Management Plan and Why it Should be Completed Early!

[fa icon="calendar'] Aug 8, 2017 10:30:00 AM / by John R. Manning, PE, CCM, LEED

 

Quality on a project, many times, is one of the last considerations for an Owner whom usually focuses first on cost and then schedule.

 At the end of the day, the Quality of a built project is extremely critical for a lot longer than the time it took to design and build it. In the Project Management Plan, there should be a Quality Management Plan portion. In that segment the Project Manager should outline who will be responsible for delivering quality on a project. This starts first with a good design. One of the first steps the Owner’s Representative can do is to develop a Differentiation Document that clearly outlines who will be responsible for what in a Project, similar to the following example of a site and pool area development.

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Why early clarification of the Owner’s Objectives is CRITICAL

[fa icon="calendar'] Jul 24, 2017 1:32:00 PM / by John R. Manning, PE, CCM, LEED

 

As an Owner’s Representative one of the MOST CRITICAL tasks you must do is to ensure that the Owner’s Objectives are clear. Having testified in court on construction management issues, I have learned one of the most difficult things to overcome is an Owner who believes they bought “X” and received “Y” due to the documents not being clear. 

 

When the Owner’s Objectives do not have adequate detail to allow the Contractor to build the project as the Owner desired, conflicts are sure to follow. Furthermore, some of the most difficult obstacles to overcome on a project are Owner directed changes that impact the schedule after a contract is let. Contractors tend to price Impact Charges on these changes which causes the price of the desired changes to increase to an amount that far exceeds the cost if it had been included in the original contract.

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How should an Owner select a Design Consultant and Contract for Design on a Project?

[fa icon="calendar'] Jul 11, 2017 12:55:00 PM / by John R. Manning, PE, CCM, LEED

The most effective use of an Owner’s Budget on a project is to ensure that they have a good design. The lack of a complete and coordinated design on a project has resulted in many failed projects.

 

Going cheap on a design team is the worst area to try to cut money on a project. This does not mean overpaying for design but it does mean getting the right design team for the project and paying a fair value for the design services as well as holding their feet to the fire to achieve a complete design. As an Owner’s Representative, it is key for us to help the Owner in these tasks.

The best process to select a design professional is a two-step process. The first step will be a submission of qualifications (RFQ) and the second step is a submission of pricing (RFP). The reason we recommend a two-step process is to ensure that first we narrow the field down to design firms who are qualified for the type of project they are designing and secondly, separately, get pricing from that narrowed down field.


RFQ Process

A detailed Request for Qualifications process is the first step. The Owner’s Representative, with input from the Owner, should develop a list of Design Consultants to solicit qualifications from on a project. The Request for Qualifications Package should provide the Project Definition/Scope/Client Requirements in narrative form and the required Time of Performance from the Milestone Schedule for the Design Milestones which will help the Design Consultant understand what the project will entail. The Request for Qualifications should request the following responses from the design firms:

1. Firm’s Approach to the Project

As the Owner’s Representative, you want to understand how the Design Team will approach this Project. How may design evolution packages do they believe are necessary? Do they have a unique approach to the Project that would make them the better choice for this Project?

2. Firm’s Experience in Similar Projects (usually at least five similar projects)

You will want to know what other projects, like the one you are managing for the Owner, they have done in the past. This will help you understand their capabilities on completed projects and allow you to gauge their capabilities.

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Why have a Master Schedule? What should be included in that schedule?

[fa icon="calendar'] Jun 26, 2017 10:53:00 AM / by John R. Manning, PE, CCM, LEED

 

In parallel with the development of the budget is the development of the Master Project Schedule. This schedule will outline the goals of the Owner for the project with respect to time.

The Owner’s representative should develop various alternative approaches for phasing, sequencing, management and implementation of the project from due diligence through commissioning. This schedule is an outline of the key activities necessary to complete the project. Then based upon review with the Owner, the Owners’ Representative will prepare a final Master Schedule that will detail the overall time related goals for the project. This schedule should be presented in a format that the Owner can comprehend even if it is developed in a sophisticated scheduling program like Primavera P6. It is critical that the Owner’s Representative get acceptance of the time line from the Owner prior to finalizing the Master Schedule.

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