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Category Archives: Web Exclusive

Web Exclusive

Holcim Awards: Looking at the vanguard of U.S. projects

For this BIG Manhattan flood-protection project, berms are strategically located to protect infrastructure and create a protective upland landscape. The concept is one of three U.S.-located projects up for a global award. Images courtesy Holcim Canada

Earlier this month, the Holcim Foundation for Sustainable Construction announced its global jury for the international design competition, making now a fitting time to revisit the top trio of North American projects up for the prize. Run by an independent initiative created by the Swiss cement giant Holcim, the awards celebrate “innovative, future-oriented, and tangible construction projects” that have not yet been built (although many use the awards to spur actual construction.)

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Addressing Skilled Labor Shortages with SIPs

The net-zero ready Portland Community College Newberg Center used SIPs for an energy-efficient, airtight building envelop. Photo © Stephen Miller Photography

by Joe Pasma, PE

The good news is commercial construction is picking up after several dismal years, with construction spending projected to be 5.5 percent higher in 2014 than 2013. The bad news is the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) has pointed out “a skilled labor shortage in the country may threaten projected growth and the ongoing recovery.” How can structural insulated panels (SIPs) help?

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Specifiers cautioned in use of adhesive anchors

Contractors in Arizona participate in an American Concrete Institute-Concrete Reinforcing Steel Institute (ACI-CRSI) adhesive anchor installer certification program. Photo courtesy ACI Arizona Chapter

by Gary Higbee, CSI, AIA

Designing proper construction details is an important part of architecture and engineering practice that involves more than just a grasp of building technology. If designers are not also alert to market conditions, then their details—no matter how elegant—can be ineffective and hinder the pace of a project. Overlooking the complications surrounding the specification of adhesive anchors is a prime example, as recent code changes regarding their use threaten to stall building projects in some of the United States’ largest jurisdictions.

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Manufacturers provide the key to coatings specification

A professional is selecting paint for a project. Photo courtesy Sherwin-Williams

by Joe Kujawski

Today’s coatings are more specialized than ever, meeting the demands of various applications. It can be difficult to navigate product options, keeping in mind performance, substrate, volatile organic compound (VOC) regulations, green certifications, sustainability, and aesthetics. With so many different aspects coming into play, the process is complex.

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More great walls of fire: Exterior separations

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by Jeff Razwick

Fire-rated curtain walls can prevent a fire from traveling to or from neighboring buildings without restricting visibility. Unlike gypsum, masonry, and other opaque fire-rated materials, this multi-functionality can bring fire and life safety goals in line with the aesthetic design intent where building codes deem the threat of fire is significant from adjacent construction.

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Great walls of fire: Interior separations

Fire-rated curtain walls can satisfy life safety requirements without sacrificing transparency. All images courtesy TGP

by Jeff Razwick

Glazed curtain walls are best known for their ability to visually integrate two otherwise separate spaces. Less talked about—though, perhaps more important—are curtain walls with the capability to retain visibility and access to daylight while standing guard against fire.

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