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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 …

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Don’t Put All your Eggs in One Waterproof Basket

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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Solar Reflective Roof Coatings

A reflective acrylic coating was used to offer roof protection and yield energy savings at this Bank of India building in Mumbai, India.
 Photo courtesy Quest Construction Products

Enhancing longevity and efficiency
by John Ferraro

Cool roof coatings have achieved more than 30 years of proven energy savings. However, the federal government and building code bodies have only recently embraced the use of these reflective coatings.

For decades, the Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association (RCMA), the national trade association for manufacturers of cold-applied protective roof coatings and cements, has promoted industrial and maintenance roof coatings, including solar reflective materials. Due to these efforts, …

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Considerations for Photovoltaic Roofing Systems

Non-penetrating photovoltaic (PV) sheet metal components before assembly. 
Photos courtesy Viridian Systems

by Ron Utzler

As the push toward renewable energy continues, roofing suppliers have been receiving an increased number of inquiries from photovoltaic (PV) providers regarding installation of these systems on warranted roof systems. Many of the PV suppliers operate on the assumption membrane manufacturers prefer use of ‘non-penetrating’ ballasted PV systems. However, this is not always the case.

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A Sound Decision

In the sea of concrete and granite that people have come to expect from buildings in Washington, D.C., one structure showcasing wood stands out from the crowd. When Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater reopened in 2010, it was the capital’s first modern structure of its size to use heavy timber components. It was also the country’s first project to use a hybrid wood and glass enclosure to envelop two existing structures. Designed by Bing Thom Architects (with Fast+Epp Structural Engineers, Clark Construction, and StructureCraft Builders Inc.), the structure has a lobby large enough to hold up to 1400 patrons from all three theaters out at the same time. To warm that huge space and absorb sound, the design team again used stained poplar for the wood soffit on the lobby ceiling.
 Photos © Nic Lehoux. Photos courtesy Bing Thom Architects

Wood brings acoustic value to structures
by Michael Heeney

When designing a commercial structure, it is important to consider the situational aspects and parameters before selecting the most appropriate building products. While limitations such as budget and availability often sit at the forefront of these decisions, factors like aesthetic details and desired outcomes must be taken into account. One of the chief considerations for many projects should be the acoustics, encompassing everything from …

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Sprayed Fire-resistive Materials, Bond Strength, and the IBC

bigstock-Tall-Building-2552290

By John Dalton

Sprayed fire-resistive materials (SFRMs) are passive fire-protection materials intended for direct application to structural building members. They are predominantly cementitious or mineral-fiber-based, with the fire-resistive qualities and physical characteristics varying widely between the respective types. A recent code change pertaining to these materials is important for design/construction professionals to understand.

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