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Designing Smarter Urban Buildings

Building management devices are becoming increasingly digital—from sign-in at security to the destination-control feature of elevators. Images courtesy KONE

By Robert Moler

Well-designed and properly managed public spaces—such as high-rises, airports, shopping malls or hospitals—can enable social interaction and promote a better lifestyle. Already, half the world’s population lives in urban areas, and the United Nations estimates that five billion people will be living in cities by 2030—up from 3.6 billion in 2010. This means the need for well-managed ‘flow’ will only increase.

As cities get larger and more populated, the safe and secure transport of people becomes more important, and construction professionals should consider how to upgrade the experience. By way of contrast, consider how online mapping technology on mobile devices or in vehicles make it easier to get to a location. However, once arriving at a location, visitors often search around to get to their final destination at places like airports, movie theaters, or even office buildings.

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Five Considerations for Specifying LEDs

Selecting fixtures with a high color rendering index (CRI) ensured the best quality of light for Tampa General Medical Center’s patients, nurses, and staff. Photos courtesy Acuity Brands

by Mark Hand

Light-emitting diodes (LED) are becoming increasingly popular due to the ever-present emphasis on reducing project costs. With numbers of LED installations rising, it is imperative that architects, engineers, and specifiers are able to evaluate the benefits of LED technology.

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TPO on Top: Why the Roofing Material Continues to Shine

Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) is a relatively new material, but makes up one of the fastest-growing sectors of the commercial roofing industry.  All images courtesy Firestone Building Products

by Mike Mendoza

As building codes and environmental trends continue to evolve, so too does the diversity of roofing material options. These factors, along with others, make construction specifiers’ roofing installation and selection prowess of utmost importance. Among the available choices is thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO).

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Electro-luminescent Egress Path Lighting

Electro-luminescence (EL) indicates an electric-powered, uninterrupted light source that increases visibility to locate exit doors. Photo courtesy Egress Marking Systems

by Betsy Boesel Sagges

Electro-luminescence (EL) indicates an electric-powered, uninterrupted light source that increases visibility to locate exit doors. EL systems are mounted in flexible tube and channel housing to fully integrate into an interior design esthetic. Connected directly to an electrical panel or sub-panel, EL lighting can be tested and measured any time of day or night by the flip of an override switch.

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How Thin is Too Thin?

Typical flat-plate construction. Photos courtesy SGH

Evaluating slab thickness in reinforced concrete flat-plate construction
by Dimitri Papagiannakis, PE

Reinforced concrete flat-plate construction is popular among mid- and high-rise residential construction projects. It provides a great deal of flexibility in the placement of the structure’s vertical load-carrying elements (i.e. columns and walls) without sacrificing the efficiency of the floor framing—as could potentially be the case with steel or masonry.

In the project’s early stages, structural engineers are often asked by architects …

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Don’t Put All your Eggs in One Waterproof Basket

C.S. May 2014 Spray application of StoGuard EmeraldCoat over RapidFill and RapidSeal

by John Chamberlin, MBA

“A building is only as strong as its foundation,” is a common idiom uttered across the construction industry. Time can be spent applying this to anything, in the metaphorical sense, but in the construction business it can be taken literally. The foundation is literally the building block on which the rest of a building will rely for long-term function and performance.

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