Matter of Spec

Category Archives: Matter of Spec

Behind the Scenes: Another Look at a Terra Cotta Failure

Whenever we do readership surveys, the Failures column consistently ranks as one of the most popular parts of The Construction Specifier. Over the years, Deborah Slaton and David S. Patterson (along with many guest authors) have used the magazine’s final page to delve into what went wrong with a building, and explore how it could have been prevented. Continue reading

EIFS: Then and now

Our September 2013 article on entrapped moisture touched on issues related to early iterations of exterior insulation and finish systems (EIFS). It led to this letter to the editor from Scott Robinson, of the EIFS Industry Members Association (EIMA).

While going through the September 2013 issue of The Construction Specifier, I read, “Claddings and Entrapped Moisture: Lessons Learned from Early EIFS,” by John Koester. As manager of public affairs with EIMA—a national non-profit technical trade association comprising EIFS manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and applicators—the article gave me pause. Continue reading

CONSTRUCT 2013: Looking Back on Nashville

As the editor of The Construction Specifier, I attend CONSTRUCT & the CSI Annual Convention every year. It’s a busy few days, but it’s always nice catching up with writers, friends, and editorial advisors. There are also lots of opportunities to meet with building product experts on the show floor. Between the exhibit hall and the various seminar rooms, CONSTRUCT is a direct or indirect source for many of the features and articles finding their way into the pages of this magazine. Last month in Nashville was no exception. Continue reading

From Seminars to Articles

Many features contributed to The Construction Specifier begin with a simple query e-mail or phone call—a specifier, architect, engineer, professor, or product rep has an idea for a story and wants to share it with our audience. In many other instances, however, we go searching for features. The editorial team goes out to established or emerging experts, proposing they write on technical topics that are either ‘hot’ or still under the radar. Continue reading

Inspect the Substrate!

Our March 2013 article, “Using Pre-cured Sealants in Construction Applications,” written by Jason Bakus, resulted in a letter to the editor from Gerald “Jerry” Zakim, CSI Emeritus.

Zakim, who has written for The Construction Specifier’s Failures column, e-mailed his comments:

With interest, I read Jason Bakus’ March article and its advocacy for the material’s use adhered to residual sealant. Since it is a given, in all circumstances, that surfaces must be clean, dry, free of foreign matter, and sound to receive any materials applied, I was disappointed there was no mention of the importance of inspecting the surface. This needs to be done to determine whether further preparation has to be made to ensure the ability of the old sealant/adhesive to hold/adhere the pre-cured sealant under the stress and strain of the movement that must take place. Continue reading