Precast Concrete Construction

In the mid-nineties, I was heading a civil design department for a large EPC contractor in South East Asia. We had received an order to build a paper plant. The primary building in a paper plant is the paper machine building. A typical paper machine building is about 300 m long. The building typically has…

In the mid-nineties, I was heading a civil design department for a large EPC contractor in South East Asia. We had received an order to build a paper plant.

The primary building in a paper plant is the paper machine building. A typical paper machine building is about 300 m long. The building typically has two floors, one at ground level, and one at about 7.5 m level. The paper machine is installed on a foundation that is not connected to the building. The machine is accessible from the machine hall at 7.50 m level. This building houses other complex and heavy machinery and has very stringent requirements with respect to quality, structural design and stability. The roof is high up and some of the sections of this building are subject to temperatures between 50 to 60 0 C. A large overhead crane straddles the upstairs machine hall. The differential settlement in the paper machine foundation has to be less than one mm and overall settlement at any point less than 1.25 mm. This building, with all its components and the equipment foundations, normally takes 18 months to build.

Our managing director was an innovative man and regularly thought ideas to speed up construction. One day, he called me to his office and showed me an article narrating about a company in the US that had developed techniques to build a paper machine building using pre cast elements. This paper machine building was completed in a record time of 6 months, said the article. We indicated the US company as our consultants and they did the engineering with the help of our engineers in our office. We built our paper machine building in a year cutting down the time by about six months. This was continued a delay of about three months due to the learning curve and the time required for setting up a precast plant.

Thus began my twenty two years long association with pre-cast concrete. My old company has built several large industrial plants and other structures since then.

In many first world countries pre cast elements for bridges, culverts have been standardized. Pre-casting units are located near major cities that supply these elements to the construction sites. This not only reduces the construction time but also the design time as one uses standard elements whose properties are known.

There are variations of the precast concrete construction such as tilt up construction, module fitments etc.

I have often wonder why India, with so much construction needed in the all sectors of construction, has not embroidered this technique. Apart from other issues like need for repetition, unfriendly taxation, requirement of transport or lifting machinery etc., I think our engineers have not given a serious thought to developing this technique.

I would like to share some of my learnings.

1. Planning is Paramount: The structure to be built from precast elements has to be broken down in elements, in a pre-determined configuration. It is like making the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that when put together will form the completed puzzle. It can be a combination of standard and non-standard pieces.

2. God is in details: Each element that planned has to be detailed out to fit all the elements on all its sides and the embedment required for utilities.

3. Design the Construction and Construct the design: Normal structural engineering practice of designing the final product and leaving the “How?” to the construction personnel, does not work in precast. The structural engineer has to stay involved in the process of pre casting, erection and placement.

To the best of my knowledge, IS codes do not have specific provisions for pre cast structures unlike ACI or BS codes. Some of the clauses in ACI can be substituted by provisions in their supplementary publications. Such provisions have to be applied judiciously after a proper assessment of the stages in the service life of the element. A foreseen expert on pre-casting once said “Applying provisions of RCC code to pre-casting would be like playing tennis with a baseball bat”

The structural design for a precast element is done for various stages of its early life. Multiple level checks are required till the element is placed, more checks are required if it is a pre-stressed element with partial un-bonding of tendons.

4. Joints can cause headaches: Resolving and configuring a joint between precast elements can be an arduous task. It becomes a heuristic process to balance between the structural requirement, functionality with respect to basic consideration as water tightness, and the size of the elements to which an element in consideration is attached. Joints have to be constructed the way they have been envisaged.

5. Cutting off ears because they stick out, not only impairs hearing but also creates difficulty in wearing spectacles: This is known to occur frequently where architectural requirements are of primary importance. Typically some architects do not like some essential arrangements created for better joints. Doing away with these “hindering” details may lead to reduced functionality of the joints or the elements. Expensive alternate arrangements are required to restore functionality.

6. Construction Methodology can make or break a project: Many years ago, a large bulk warehouse with pre-cast pre stressed concrete bow string girders as roof trusses was being constructed in India for a fertilizer plant. Out of twelve bowstring girders, six broke while being lifted while the others were issued smoothly. Designs were checked and double checked and checked again. This was before the easy availability of the sophisticated finite element analysis that we have today. It finally dawned on someone that the bow string girders broke because a girder while being lifted in tandem by two cranes, twisted out of plane due to different rates of lifting. A structural engineer designing precast elements should, therefore, have the knowledge of the lifting process.

7. Quality is the watchword: Consistent Quality of production is one of the arguments put forward by the advocates of precast. But many a mismatches, rejections and failures have occurred due to watching only the quality of concrete and giving less importance to placement of reinforcement embeds and the dimensional tolerances.

8. A one rupee increase in the production cost can mean a crore of rupees at the end: Due the repetitive nature of the cost of pre-casting a lot of thought has to be given to use any “nice to have” component. While the most obvious cost elements related to concrete are observed vigilantly, a small embed or a detail, that is incorporated in the design and casting of an element for a probable use, escapes attention. Such an embed that was proposed to be used and has been cast in the element has already added to the cost of producing the element. When a number of such elements are cast, the expenditure can be substantial. If such redundancy if not eliminated in time, it can waste lakhs of rupees.

10 Benefits of Commercial Landscape Maintenance

It is a known fact that a well-preserved and maintained landscape adds to the aesthetic appeal and value of your brand and enhances the overall image of your business. On the contrary, a poorly maintained landscape repels customers and there is a high possibility that they will not even enter your interior space. First impression…

It is a known fact that a well-preserved and maintained landscape adds to the aesthetic appeal and value of your brand and enhances the overall image of your business. On the contrary, a poorly maintained landscape repels customers and there is a high possibility that they will not even enter your interior space. First impression is the last impression, after all.

An exceptionally maintained commercial landscape attracts customers towards your business and marks a professional impression in their minds. From small enterprises to large corporates, manufacturing plans to clubs-all gain huge benefits from commercial landscape maintenance.

Below are the top 10 benefits enterprises can achieve through commercial landscape maintenance:

1. Building an eco-friendly environment

A green environment is a clean environment and it makes your clients breathe fresh air helping them realize the importance you give to your workplace environment. It adds to your professional image in the eyes of the client and makes you their first choice for doing business.

2. Making your Commercial Landscape highly Attractive

Often while traveling you see big lush green beautifully maintained offices, do not your eyes stick to? That's what a well-maintained landscape does, it makes you want to visit the office and see what the inside environment is like.

3. Helps in establishing your Brand and building a Clean Image

Your business is what your clients perceive of it. A commercial landscape with well-preserved plants and trees all around leave a lasting impression on your clients and makes them feel that you pay attention to every minute detail in your workplace, from professional work to professional space.

4. Enhanced Employee Productivity

An enterprise is only as good as its employees. Your employees work hard for you every day but even they need a fresh and healthy environment for their lunch breaks and between work walks. A clean environment refreshes your employees multiple times during the day, increases their productivity and boosts their performance.

5. Adds to your Business Value and Attracts more Clients

A beautiful commercial landscape architecture adds diversity to your business and makes you stand out from your competitors. It attracts more clients towards your business and increases your market demand.

6. Maintains Standardization

When your commercial landscape complies with the established design standards, it helps you to do business effectively and avoids uncomfortable encounters with business-district communities.

7. Physical and Psychological Advantages

Numerous researchers have proven that interaction with trees, grass and other plants helps humans get rid of their work stress and instills refreshed productivity in them.

8. Economic Advantages

As per the reports of the Florida Nursery Growers and Landscape Association, a beautifully maintained commercial landscape leads to a 14% increase in the resale value of the property.

9. Increases Safety, Lowers Crime Risk and Saves Money

Well-maintained commercial landscape reduces the risk of employee injury from stumbling over debris. With properly trimmed bushhes and trees, and nicely cut grass, your commercial space can keep away thieves and criminals as they realize that your property is regularly maintained and employees are always alert.

A planned landscape architecture takes into account the design for minimal heat during the warmest months and can help you save huge amounts on your electricity bills.

10. Greenery increases Privacy

Properly grafted plants and trees help you keep the dirt, dust and pollution away from your promises and maintain your privacy. It allows for better utilization of workplace, which can include car parking, fountains, etc.

Most Popular Construction Courses in the UK

Construction is one of the most popular career choices in the UK employing over 6% of the total workforce. It's also a leading source of self-employment accounting for nearly a million businesses across the country. There is decent money and fruitful care to look forward to in this industry, even more so if you are…

Construction is one of the most popular career choices in the UK employing over 6% of the total workforce. It's also a leading source of self-employment accounting for nearly a million businesses across the country.

There is decent money and fruitful care to look forward to in this industry, even more so if you are equipped with right skill-set and qualifications.

Doing a construction course is often the best way to get the right CSCS Card and above all build up safety and administrative skills required to be effective in your role.

Amid the sea of ​​courses, we have sorted out the most popular courses in the construction industry for you to pursue. They serve most of the construction trades and there is a good chance one of them should be right for you.

Most popular courses in the construction industry are:

1-day CITB Health and Safety Awareness Course:

Who should take this course?

It's meant for labourers, unskilled workers, and those skilled workers – like carpenter, bricklayer, mason, plumber, electrician etc. – who lack qualifications needed to obtain a relevant CSCS Card.

What do I learn?

This 1-day course is essential to get, or renew, CSCS Green Labourer's Card. You learn basic skills needed to identify and alleviate health and safety hazards prevalent on sites. The certificate is valid for 5 years before you require taking it again.

This is by far the most popular CITB Course and majority of tradesmen who want Green Labourer Card opt for it. The only catch is you have to take it every time you renew your card and if that is an irritant go for the course mentioned below: it's tailor-made for tradesmen just like you.

Level 1 Award Health & Safety in a Construction Environment :

Who should take this course?

It's for the same group of tradesmen that the above CITB Health and Safety Awareness Course is for. The only difference is that Level 1 Award is valid for life and you are exempt from doing it, or any other course, again to get – or renew – Green CSCS Card.

What do I learn?

Although this is a 5-day course, there are training providers who can fit it into a day as well for those a little short on time. Here you are trained to ensure safer and healthier sites by developing capacity to precept onsite health, safety and environmental hazards.

SSSTS Site Supervisors' Safety Training Scheme:

Who should take this course?

People working, or want to work, as supervisor in construction industry.

What do I learn?

This 2-day course equips you with legal, behavioral and managerial aspects of onsite safety that your role as a supervisor requires to ensure healthier, safer and environment-friendly sites. This certificate is valid for 5 years before you need to renew it with the 1-day SSSTS refresher course.

SMSTS Site Management Safety Training Scheme:

Who should take this course?

People working, or looking to work, as Managers on construction sites

What do I learn?

There are legal, behavioral, administrative and practical aspects of onsite safety you need to know and follow as a manager and this course prepares you for that. This certificate is valid for 5 years and then you can renew it with the 2-day SMSTS refresher course.

These courses are construction industry attempted to improve the productivity and safety at work and going by the stats – onsite accidents and illness almost being halved in a decade – we can say they have succeeded to a great extent.

Have a safe and fruitful career!

Why Is Health and Safety on Construction Sites So Important?

Because to live is more important than to work. We work to live and not the other way around! Construction is a risky profession with one of the highest fatality rate. 3% of workers (66,000) get inured at site while 4% (80,000) suffer from work related illness every year on the average. That's some big…

Because to live is more important than to work. We work to live and not the other way around!

Construction is a risky profession with one of the highest fatality rate. 3% of workers (66,000) get inured at site while 4% (80,000) suffer from work related illness every year on the average. That's some big number, is not it? Wrong. The industry has seen days much worse.

To gain some further insight into the problem, let's crunch some more numbers from years gone by. Here are some official figures for the 2014-15 period. Have a look:

· 142 construction workers were killed while working on site

· 611,000 cases of injury – minor and major – took place within a construction site

· A whooping 27.3 million workdays were lost due to on site injury and illness

· The cost of these injuries and illness is estimated to be £ 14.3 billion

Good Health and Safety practice at sites ensures well-being of workers, companies, industry and society at large. Workers become safer and more productive whereas companies get bigger and more profitable. In a nutshell, it's a win-win situation for everyone. Let's dive in for detailed explanation.

How it benefits workers?

It saves them from fatalities. It's certainly not a nice feeling being sick, injured or in extreme cases dead. There is no “loss of income” and a “high medical cost” to worry about. Moreover, it also boosts their morale, productivity and consequently career.

How it benefits Companies?

Fatalities at sites invite prosecution, bad press, declination in production and loss of revenue. Everyone avoids unsafe projects be it workers, customers or investors and thus it becomes all the more important for companies to care for health and safety of workers.

Prosecution is afraid the most as it may delay or shelve the project resulting in loss of millions of pounds. Bad press is equally harmful as not only it turns customers away but also dent the reputation build over years.

Adopting Health and Safety standards also helps project be completed on budget and times. Safe and healthy workplace makes workers more efficient and this reflections well on the project. As per a survey by Research agency Glenigan, Historic 64% of construction project were completed on budget while a record 40% were over on time in 2015 thanks to the growing adoption of Health and Safety standards at sites.

How do we ensure health and safety standards at sites?

We do it by preventing unqualified access to site. We disqualify workers without proper health and safety training from working on sites. To prove you are a worker trained in safety, there is a CSCS Card to get. The trick is that you can not get the card without attending a Health and Safety Awareness course and then passing a safety test which ensures you have developed the ability to ensure a safer and healthier site. Moreover, the card also certifies you are a competent worker with good knowledge of your trade.

7 Ways Construction Firms Can Hire and Retain Quality Tradesmen

Whether you are a construction recruitment agency or a construction firm itself looking to hire the best of talent industry has to offer, here are a few important tips to help you in this quest. Hire in the off season: Conventional wisdom has it that you must never go grocery shopping while you are hungry.…

Whether you are a construction recruitment agency or a construction firm itself looking to hire the best of talent industry has to offer, here are a few important tips to help you in this quest.

Hire in the off season:

Conventional wisdom has it that you must never go grocery shopping while you are hungry. You tend to buy whatever you get at the earliest and that's almost never a good bargain. The same is true for hiring tradesmen when you need them.

So the best time to look for a tradesman is when you do not require one. It will help you scan a wide range of talents, be more selective, and acquire the kind of worker you exactly want. As an added piece of advice, aim for the off-season when many construction workers are out of work and you might get a bargain.

Pay the market rate:

When you pay peanuts, you get only monkey! Firms who pay below-market wages not only have the least-qualified and least-productive employees, but they are also the ones always in need of new workers. Why? Because competitive tradesmen will leave you the moment they get more lucrative opportunities. Do I need to tell you what a dent it makes to overall productivity?

Provide a safe work environment:

Do not underestimate the value of a safe and healthy workplace in retaining workforce. Too many workers falling sick on site might force others to look for a safer option. A major accident on site and the resultant bad press might turn away potential hires.

Develop a great work culture:

There is something more than a good salary a qualified and talented tradesman look forward to. Bonuses, paid leaves, company outings, work-life balance, and retirement programs are some of the perks that entice the best of talents. The more people want to work for your company, the easier it will be to attract (and retain) quality people.

Invest in your work:

I have not met a tradesman who does not like adding on new skills or getting a pat on the back for a job well done. So it's a good idea to invest in your workforce. When you provide them a chance to learn, grow and develop they can help your company do the same. Training improves the efficiency of the workers and quality of the output. This is also a great way to identify the people with potential to take on larger roles within the company.

Be in step with time and technology:

Embracing technology not only makes the company more efficient and productive but it also joins youger and tech-savvy work. You can also publicize it as your USP to entice people buying your product or services.

Character can pay more divide than the skill-set of a hire:

Characters can not be built, skills can be. People with character can make the most of the training you give them. Such workers are more likely to stick with you in bad times as compared to those with only skills and potential.

Reasons to Consider Hiring a Construction Cleanup Company

Construction sites are very hazardous and can get messy by polluting surrounding areas. For this reason care must be taken to ensure that construction sites are kept tidy and clean to avoid any accidents and to maintain a clean environment. How Do I Ensure A Clean Construction Site? To ensure that the construction site remains…

Construction sites are very hazardous and can get messy by polluting surrounding areas. For this reason care must be taken to ensure that construction sites are kept tidy and clean to avoid any accidents and to maintain a clean environment.

How Do I Ensure A Clean Construction Site?

To ensure that the construction site remains clean and tidy, it remains crucial to keep the site clean even throughout the construction of various phases. Construction cleanup can be a smart way to go when it comes to keeping work sites within proper safety parameters while including the finished product is complete & professional.

Method to the Cleanup Process

When it comes to constructing a building of any sorts, even roads and various other infrastructures, it always becomes crazy messy, not only with the sounds and noises of machinery used in the process but also the dust, dirt, and various aspects within the process . It does not matter if a place looks hectic or busy, but things start to become serious when proper care is not taken to keep the site clean and safe. A dirty construction site is a danger zone not only for those working on the site but in public places it also becomes a hazard to those passing by.

What Does Construction Cleanup Encompass?

Construction cleanup companies work in conjunction with the construction crew in order to stay on top of debris and minimize work-related accidents. Good companies will implement innovative devices that aid in the cleanup process. Some of these products may serve to filter dirt and debris from flowing through drains and contaminating stormwater. Coverage systems that avoid debris from entering storm water and causing a diversion of water to flow temporarily into a different direction. Good companies in the site cleanup industries offer major innovative products to improve a workable and easy flow construction site.

Benefits of Having a Clean Site

By hiring a professional cleanup company you can ensure a safe work environment for all workers. If the workplace of your site is not clean then things may become dangerous, which can lead to accidents and / or worse things. Here are a few of the benefits to having a clean work site:

  • Work is more productive as there are no additional hindrances that will end up putting work on hold. Laborers and management are not set back having to ensure they clean up after each day (which will utilize additional time).
  • The surrounding environment will remain clean and tidy. In addition to productivity, employers do not have to stop to clean up after / during working hours.
  • Earn a good reputation for your company & maintain a good name because you will demonstrate professionalism while maintain neat surroundings.

In conclusion, hiring someone to carry out the construction site cleanup is money well spent because at the end of the day you only reap a positive exit which is worth so much more than having negative impacts while trying to successfully achieve your deadline for building completion.

The Three Basic Services Offered by Lift Companies

Lift companies are an integral part of modern western society. With an accessory like the lift adequately ingrained in current public consciousness as to be un-dissociable from it, it is only natural that companies created to maintain and service these types of implementments should be successful and widespread across the western world as well. Services…

Lift companies are an integral part of modern western society. With an accessory like the lift adequately ingrained in current public consciousness as to be un-dissociable from it, it is only natural that companies created to maintain and service these types of implementments should be successful and widespread across the western world as well.

Services offered by, and requested from, lift companies typically revolve around one of three types of task. The lines below go into more detail about each of these types of services, and explain how each of them factors into the service life of the average lift.

Installation

Installation is the first step in the process of setting up a lift. This task is most commonly carried out in newly-built properties, or older properties being converted and modernized; This is because the blueprints for most modern buildings already included a lift, doing away with the need to install a second implementation of this type.

Where the installation of a new lift is concerned, lift companies tend to come in when the project has already been cleared and all permissions acquired. The involvement of these types of companies mostly revolves around the actual execution stages, with lift installation professionals usually being in charge of taking measurements, erecting the scaffolding, setting up the beams, and finally, installing all the elements necessary to ensure proper lift functionality, such as the pulley system, the car itself, or the automated mechanisms meant to ensure passenger safety both before and after boarding the lift.

Lift installation is one of the most frequently requested services from lift companies, and an essential step in the construction of almost any modern building more than a few stories high.

Maintenance

As frequently requested as lift installation is, however, it is not the most common or commonly advertised service offered by specialist companies. Indeed, there is one other service most lift companies provide even more frequently: lift maintenance.

Lift maintenance is the bread and butter for most lift companies, for easily understood reasons: every device of this type, without exception, requires repair or maintenance at some point, and opportunities to repair a lift are far more common than chances to install one.

Furthermore, offering lift maintenance is an excellent way for lift companies to retain clients, as many property owners rightfully feel it is a good idea to hire the same company that installed a lift to provide maintenance for it. In other instances, property owners are dissatisfied with their current company, or somehow have the need to find a new provider for this service, so many lift companies also use this particular service as a way to acquire new customers, even without having performed any installations for them. These particularities cause lift maintenance to be seen by many lift companies as the main service to focus their business around and promote.

Modernization

Modernization is the third and final service most lift companies are frequently required to provide both old and new customers. This service is most often provided in older properties, with outdated lift models which are no longer up to specifications or which may institute a potential safety hazard.

Lift modernisation can be carried out in a number of different ways, from installing new security features to updating the mechanism itself or installing new parts intended to boost and improve the device's performance. Most professionals employed by ethical lift companies will know how to assess which modernizing features would best suit any given lift, and will be happy to advise property owners on how best to improve upon their existing device.

These are, of course, far from the only three services lift companies normally provide; they can, however, be said to be the three most popular ones, and the basis upon which most of these companies build their business.

Green Buildings Are the Wave of New Commercial Buildings – Green Homes and Renovations Save Money

Green buildings are the wave of new building improvements. Green homes, home renovations and products also save money! It is my opinion that most people may be uninformed about the many benefits in green homes, green home renovations and eco-friendly products and practices. Building construction is evolving and becoming more in-line, in America, with how…

Green buildings are the wave of new building improvements. Green homes, home renovations and products also save money! It is my opinion that most people may be uninformed about the many benefits in green homes, green home renovations and eco-friendly products and practices.

Building construction is evolving and becoming more in-line, in America, with how buildings are constructed overseas. It is our responsibility to build our homes and office buildings in agreement and respect for our planet.

Environmental consciousness is a part of our perceived agreement to be aware of planetary and environmental health in consciousness to satisfy or hopefully, supersede our human responsibility by impacting the factors of our responsibility of our responsibility in the equation, for a healthy planet, while living in harmony with nature and the elements.

Collective planetary conservation is a gain for attaining an advantageous edge over the years of work that is needed to complete our life mission of global building change- beneficial towards a healthy planet for man-kind, immediately and intensively required for the betterment of nature, the elements, and humanity.

Building construction is evolving and becoming more in-line, in America, with how buildings are constructed overseas.

For example, the interior walls made of steel and concrete, in lieu of expensive wood, thus saving our trees and rainforests, by protecting the ecology and the surrounding wildlife that calls these resources home. Natural products that flourish in other parts of the country can also be entertained for more environmentally-friendly solutions to the human appetite for expansion of buildings and homes ..

Products such as cotton fiber, Icynene foam and cellulose are fast gaining recognition, application and appreciation in the construction industry. The most recognizable product is cotton. Ever noticed the rising cost of cotton? For an important reason: it is quickly being bought by home builders and home renovators. The cotton material used will be made from recycled batted material; treated to be fire-proof.

Certain building products offer increased durability and help in sealing the building envelope. It is estimated that the lifespan of metal roofing is more than 50 years. Concrete and copper roofing products are expected to last a lifetime.

In commercial buildings, innovation can also help cut cost and have many benefits.

A building can be rated platinum, silver, or gold based on performance via LEED checklist (LEED stands for is the Leadership in Energy and environmental Design).

The rating is a point system based on on-

* building materials;

* amount of natural lighting

* heat / cool efficiency

* water usage.

* Lot selection; – positioning of the home reduces the energy usage of the home

* Making even more changes by choosing to seal the building properly-

Sealing the building envelope; Reduces air leakage- into and out of the home.

How do you seal your building envelope? You can contribute by sealing the duct system, fireplaces, plumbing penetrations, doors, windows, fans, vents and electrical outlets. Holes need to be sealed around all penetrations including gaps being filled too! Sealing is saving and using less to heat or cool your area with improved sealing and outlet options for more energy efficiency as the goal.

Many public buildings, homes and universities are following suit and learning that the benefits of the initial cost of materials may in-fact pay for itself as the lower cost of building, heating and cooling energy costs are decreased due to the factors listed above. ** Another benefit is a healthy home- a home built to withstand the test of time.

** The US Green Building Council estimates new savings of $ 50- $ 65 per square inch for positively constructed green buildings. In the area of ​​the country, where I live, one university has been a standout, at least in the initial process, by building a combined heat and power plant on campus that will produce a third of the electricity needed on campus using natural gas – saving about $ 2.5 million a year. Here in central Florida, as the nickname and initials suggest, UCF-University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida or UCF- You can not finish), is far from slowing down their aggressive construction schedule. Future projects are always entertained, ongoing, or in process. What makes UCF different from other universities in the state, per Ms. Lee Kernek, said, “that the plant will be designed, owned and operated by the university.” Ms. Lee Kernek was, associate vice president of administration and finance at UCF in central Florida at the time of these initiated, strategic business and ecological decisions and I am sure that the initiative of her endeavors will always be appreciated and recognized here in Orlando, Florida!

By November of 2011, UCF – (University of Central Florida in Orlando, Florida), was able to use their energy even more effectively with the combined heat and power plant set to open. This green edition should be able to produce a third of the electricity needed on campus using natural gas – saving about $ 2.5 million a year. This was initiated a few years ago and upon further investigation, at the time of my latest researched update (last Updated in 2012), the construction efforts were carried and continue progressively. Many other universities and commercial builders took these innovations and renovations to heart and followed suit with more guidance for our environment and the effects of building, in unison with nature, that adds up to money- saving benefits as well!

*** Living on our planet is important; sustaining our environment is also important by being aware of the planet and everyone on it. Being aware of the results of proper building materials and the multi-level benefit to our environment, essential for humanity, nature, the elements and our posterity and with expanded actions and thinking we can save time and money in our efforts! Collective planetary conservation by changing the way that we build and maintain our buildings, homes and other structures is a gain for attaining an advantageous edge over the years of work that is needed to complete our life mission of global building change- beneficial towards a healthy planet for mankind, immediately and intensively required for the betterment of nature, the elements, and humanity.

I enjoy learning from you and from others offering me knowledge continuously!

Tips for New Residential Construction

The process to entitle lots can take more than five years and is expensive. The cost of parcel maps for five lots or less is $ 100,000. Tract maps for more than five lots can cost more than $ 500,000. The number of lots and the potential sizes are determined by biology, health-department regulations, slope,…

The process to entitle lots can take more than five years and is expensive. The cost of parcel maps for five lots or less is $ 100,000. Tract maps for more than five lots can cost more than $ 500,000. The number of lots and the potential sizes are determined by biology, health-department regulations, slope, and the zoning and general plan. Included in the cost are engineering, processing, and regulatory fees and various reports and studies.

Reports and studies include conditions of approval costs, storm-water treatment, anthropology and archeology, soils, biology, noise, and traffic. When a map is approved and registered, there are additional fees that include, but are not limited to the following:
• Potential greenhouse gas studies
• Retention and drainage basins
• On-and off-site mitigation land
• School fees
• Parks and recreation fees
• Physical secondary access
• Fire fees
• Annual bonding fees.

Politics comes into play when obtaining the required approvals from county boards, city councils, and planning decisions. The level of public opposition or support affects hearings completion. They can be completed in as little as four months, or take years and cost over a million dollars. Property owners have three courses of action to take into consideration.

1. Entitlement and sale of the property 'as is' – This option brings the lowest price, but costs the least and requires the shortest time for property disposal. Under rare circumstances, the land is worth more when it is unentitled.
2. Enter into a long-term agreement – The agreement is made with a home builder who incurs the expenses of processing a tract map. This option is the most utilized. The process could take up to five years. The buyer is required to release nonrefundable deposits periodically to the seller after approving their contingencies. Escrow closing typically occurs after tentative or final map approval.
3. The owner incurs the entitlement costs – Much of the process is like option two. The difference is the owner has full control of the mapping process and bears all expenses.

The ramifications of each choice should be weighed carefully before making a decision. Owners, who have chosen not to seek advice, have made the decision to process a map and found out later the number of lots was not financially feasible. A competent engineer can determine the optimal number of lots that can be obtained and approved. Smart growth design principals call for buildings with a variety of materials, texture, and color and individuality; well-defined open space; a building and street relationship; mixed uses; and high-density development. Contractors, who specialize in residential subdivisions, can give realistic cost estimates.

The process of entitling residential property to higher densities is costly, complex, and cumbersome. Many factors must be taken into consideration. The leading concerns that communities have about increased density are the quality of life and increased costs.

There is a need for new affordable housing to reduce recent overpayment and overcrowding. There is also a need for high-density housing that supports economic recovery, accommodates new workers and their loved ones, and economizes the costs of infrastructure. It is quite a balancing act. Open spaces need to be maintained and the distance between new jobs and new homes reduced.

Comparing Apples to Apples – Sign Packages

When shopping for a sign company to handle the next commercial real estate project, is your company comparing apples to apples? Shopping for the best bid package is wise for any developer, but be sure to know exactly what's in the proposal. Does the bid include every aspect of the project? Are there hidden expenses…

When shopping for a sign company to handle the next commercial real estate project, is your company comparing apples to apples? Shopping for the best bid package is wise for any developer, but be sure to know exactly what's in the proposal. Does the bid include every aspect of the project? Are there hidden expenses or fees? Does the sign vendor provide a complete turn-key solution or just part of the solution? What is your company responsible for? Are taxes included in the bottom line? Are designs extra or are they included? Be sure to find out what grade of steel or aluminum is being quoted and what type of screws are being used. What's the quality of the welds? Are the signs built to be easily serviced? What's the quality of the EMC in the proposal?

Why is all this important? It's important to know how long the signs are expected to last. It's also important to know what the long-term maintenance and service costs look like. Saving money on the front end may not always look good when examining the overall picture, especially if the signs will need repaired or replaced sooner. In the long run your company may end up spending double a lower initial investment. In many cases investing in quality up front will actually save your commercial development company money.

Another consideration is the design of the sign. Is it being designed by an architect or a professional advertiser who understands how to drive business to your tenants? Is the site triangle being considered in the design or is the sign merely an afterthought?

Are the signs built to last? Are warranties offered? Does the sign company handle permit procurement or is that your company's responsibility? Is the proposal truly turn-key and hassle free in the long run? What's the sign company's track record of safety and customer service? Are old signs properly disposed of or is your company exposed to legal risk? Your team has kindly given great care to the choices made in the investment of your building, mall, or shopping center, be sure to use the same care when choosing a professional to handle your sign package. Your signs are the advertising beacon that draw business to your tenants and your investment. Is your team comparing apples to apples, or apples to oranges?

Some food for thought when comparing competitiveness sign bid packages.

Outsourcing Engineering Services – Risk or Safeties?

Outsourcing has experienced for as long as one can remember, but it has garnered greater attention due to the revolution bought in by the Internet. Outsourcing of engineering services has not reached the scale attained by the IT services Industry yet, but it has the potential to do so. The principle driver of outsourcing is…

Outsourcing has experienced for as long as one can remember, but it has garnered greater attention due to the revolution bought in by the Internet. Outsourcing of engineering services has not reached the scale attained by the IT services Industry yet, but it has the potential to do so.

The principle driver of outsourcing is the availability of low cost resources in developing nations coupled with competitive pressures applied on organizations in developed nations. While the benefits of outsourcing are evidently manifold, it is not immune to risks. An effective outsourcing strategy, therefore, should have risk management built into the supply chain.

The ecosystem of service providers in the developing world can be aptly described as 'a few islands of excellence in the sea of ​​mediocrity'! The trick, therefore, lies in identifying agencies that represent these islands of excellence. It is the intent of this article to enable the reader to spot the lighthouses and icebergs on their way to those islands.

Resources : In its essence, the agency to which an assignment is outsourced is as good as the constituent team that is engaged for delivery of that assignment. Therefore, an effective way to differentiate winners from the 'also ran's is to assess the key team members. Educational qualifications, diversity of work experience, number of years with the firm and a list of assignments executed by them are good indicators to assess the competency of the team.

Free lancers Vs Organization : If good employees was the only check point, one could easily get hold of 'free lancers' who do not have the backing of any organization. Free lancers suffice for small jobs once in a while, but they can not be relied upon for large assignments requiring varying skills in a sustained manner. Especially in the services industry, where the requirement could be generic or specialized depending on the type of assignment, it is imperative that execution be mandated by a team contracting multiple resources (with diverse capabilities and points of view). Therefore, one should look for organizations which have been in the business for at least a few years. Size of the organization, registration with local statutory bodies, web presence and client list are some of the aspects to be examined.

Quality of interaction : Before engaging any firm from a developing nation, it is advisable to interact with the customer facing professionals from the firm. Insignificant though it may seem, clarity of communication, promptness of responses, understanding of cultural differences, professionalism in approach and ability to provide legal documents for entering into contract are very important signals and leading indicators of success of the association.

Location : The quality of infrastructure varies very from place to place in the developing countries. Uninterrupted power, access to high speed internet, availability of competent engineers and the ability to swiftly add or replenish the competent resource pool have a significant impact on the capacity of an agency to fulfill customer requirements. Location of the agency in a major metropolitan city is obviously desirable from this perspective.

Software Licenses : There are many free lancers and small time organizations that flout the requirement of buying licensed software with impunity. Most engineering services require special software to be used and almost every client from the developed country has a policy of full legal compliance. It is there that important that a commitment be obtained from the agency regarding legal technical compliance.

References : Assessment of resources, existence of an organizational entity and quality of communication are all process indicators but are not sufficient predictors of the result. In this regard, there is nothing better than a history of past performance. A client list references only names of the clients, but does not disclose the quality of delivery and satisfaction of the client. It is best to seek out contact persons from amongst the client list and obtain a first-hand feedback about the firm's capabilities and quality of delivery. A positive reference from satisfied customers should be given high weightage in the selection of an organization to outsource your engineering services to.

Incremental approach : Even with a rigorous assessment, there would always remain some risk in outsourcing engineering services assignments to developing countries. This arises from differences in the professional eco-system, the method of execution, time zone differences and business cycles variations etc. It is there prudent to start small and ramp up the association with the experience gained through a complete cycle of pre-award engagement, delivery, invoicing and payment.

Carried out effectively, successful outsourcing engineering services has the potential of not just cost saving but also of helping organizations to move up the value chain and aim for much higher growth.

FRP Construction Products And Design Codes

Concrete infrastructure is of immunity significance when it comes to the economic growth of a region. Civil structures should be designed and built with satisfactory materials and techniques so that they can stay in good shape for a longer life span without rehabilitation. Durable infrastructure systems such as bridges, highways, water systems, buildings play a…

Concrete infrastructure is of immunity significance when it comes to the economic growth of a region. Civil structures should be designed and built with satisfactory materials and techniques so that they can stay in good shape for a longer life span without rehabilitation. Durable infrastructure systems such as bridges, highways, water systems, buildings play a vital role in building a healthy economy. The need for cost-effective and corrosion-free construction materials, therefore, has reached an unpreceded level.

Fiber reinforced polymer (FRP), also known to be composites, have been in use for so many years in various sensitive applications where harsh environment is a prime concern for structural engineers. Excellent results produced by FRP materials in civil infrastructure has been translated in a shift from traditional reinforcement to FRP in most of the developed countries. The ability to resist harsh environment and to protect reinforced concrete against corrosive agents is what makes fiberglass bars and other GFRP construction products the incredible alternative to conventional concrete reinforcement techniques.

Construction industry relies heavily on design codes, standards, and specification so that materials can be used accordingly. In past, FRP products were designed, fabricated, and manufactured using general codes and design manuals provided by the authorities concerned. The extensive academic and on-site research has resolved in the development of in-depth and specific FRP design codes and specifications, making it easy for the construction industry to adopt advanced composite materials as a permanent alternative to conventional and substandard materials.

“Pre-standard for Load and Resistance Factor Design (LRFD) of Pultruded Fiber Reinforced Polymer (FRP) Structures” is a new design code developed by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and the American Composites Manufacturers Association (ACMA). The development of such new codes would help structural engineers build durable and safe projects. In addition, the presence of design codes would pave the way for FRP composite materials to dominate the market.

Fiberglass rebar is probably the most significant FRP product that is widely used for concrete reinforcement. Rock bolts, lifting anchors, tendons, and form ties are some of the GFRP construction products. The development and distinct properties of composite construction products have received a warm response from the civil engineering community. With the advent of new design codes and specifications, civil engineers have shown confidence in GFRP construction products.

A civil engineer must be well aware of the qualitative and quantitative properties of the construction material that are used in building concrete structures. Design codes, manuals, and specifications really help engineers understand the strength and applications of a material.

Why Should You Join a Scaffolding & Rigging Course? Here’s What You Should Know

Needless to say, construction jobs are incredibly difficult to perform, but it's also high in demand. Considering the fact that new buildings and landscapes are being erected in nearly every other place, it's the best time to work on construction sites. But to be honest, it's easier said than done. People who work in construction…

Needless to say, construction jobs are incredibly difficult to perform, but it's also high in demand. Considering the fact that new buildings and landscapes are being erected in nearly every other place, it's the best time to work on construction sites. But to be honest, it's easier said than done. People who work in construction have to undergo intensive training to be capable for the job, especially when it comes to scaffolding and rigging.

There are very few tasks on construction sites where you do not have to go to heights to work. This can be extremely risky if you do not have the necessary training. Similarly, in almost every one of these sites, you will find a hoist or pulley system.

Yes, these equipment ensure that things go on smoothly in construction sites, but they can not operate on their own, right? They have to be operated on, and this is where skills like rigging come in handy.

Perhaps that's the reason why the demands for scaffolding rigging courses are so high these days.

So what will you learn in these courses? What are the reasons why you should join them?

• You will be able to expand your skill set: One needs to have a license when it comes to scaffolding tasks considering it's such a high-risk job. By joining a scaffolding and rigging course, you will be able to acquire this license and add another skill to your repertoire. By acquiring such skills, you will be able to set yourself above other workers on the construction site which will involuntarily lead to an increase in your income.

• You will learn to choose equipment wisely: Needless to say, the success of a construction job depends a lot on what kind of equipment is used. Now, many amateurs neglect this aspect and end up choosing the wrong types. What happens then? Well, they end up botching the job. It may also lead to fatal accidents. By joining professional courses, you will be able to learn to choose the right equipment by considering all aspects related to it.

• You and your co-workers will be able to work safely: Yes, without the proper expertise, scaffolds and rigging equipment can be dangerous. If you are not trained, you might very well end up doing them incorrectly. This might very well lead to fatal injuries. Precisely for this reason, joining these courses will come in extremely beneficial to you. If you are well trained, you will know how to use the equipment correctly which will lead to a safer working environment for you and your co-workers.

So these are some of the main reasons why you should seriously consider joining professional courses. But where should you take these courses from? There will be so many institutions which offer such courses, right?

Well, ideally, you should always look for institutions who have been offering such courses for several years and have a genuine reputation in the market. Speak with their prior students to get a better idea of ​​what to expect.

Construction Site Safety Checklist

“What to wear” checklist: • Wear Safety Glasses or Face Shields, which suits suits better, to protect your eyes from harmful exposures like dust, chemicals, flying particles, smokes and what not – especially if your job involves welding, cutting, grinding, nailing, concreting and chemical-related works. • Use proper boots – insulated, water and skid proof…

“What to wear” checklist:

• Wear Safety Glasses or Face Shields, which suits suits better, to protect your eyes from harmful exposures like dust, chemicals, flying particles, smokes and what not – especially if your job involves welding, cutting, grinding, nailing, concreting and chemical-related works.

• Use proper boots – insulated, water and skid proof – whatever protects you best. The right footwear protects you from skidding, crushing your feet, and being electrocuted.

• Gloves are essential to safely deal with sharp objects and toxic substances. Put on those that fit and right – welding gloves for welding, heavy-duty rubber gloves for concrete work, and insulated gloves and sleeves should work expose you to electrical hazards.

• Injury to the head is one of the most dangerous fatalities and one must wear a proper hard hat to avoid it. Do a regular check for dents or deterioration and replace it as soon as you find any.

Scaffolding checklist:

• Do a daily check on scaffolding to ensure its steady and solid with high weight capacity. Report to seniors and get it corrected if its damaged or weakened in any way.

• Never use uneven surface and unsteady objects – loose bricks, barrels or concrete boxes – as base for scaffolding.

• Avoid using scaffolding in bad weather: be it rain, snow or hailstorm.

Electric safety checklist:

• Check all electrical tools and equipment regularly for defects and wear and tear. Replace the ones that are faulty in any way.

• Only qualified and designated operators must have access to electrical equipment.

• Keep construction materials, workers and equipment at least 10-feet away from electrical power lines.

• Use double insulated electrical equipment. Ground them if they are not. Refrain from using Multiple plug adapters; it's dangerous!

Hazard communication:

• Workers must be aware about dangerous areas and stuffs by marking them as such – put up posters, signage and barricades whatever is required. Heavy electric equipment, suspended loads, toxic chemicals, wet and slippery patches etc. are few such hazards that must be marked.

Crane, hoist and rigging equipment safety checklist:

• Barricade / swing areas within the crane's swing radius.

• See to it that load and speed limit is never exceeded.

• Conduct daily safety and maintenance inspection for crane machinery and other rigging equipment before they are put to use.

• Only properly trained and qualified operators should have access to cranes, hoisting and rigging equipment.

• Keep these machines well away from electric equipment and power lines.

There is another checklist I have saved for the last: verifying that every entrant to the site – worker or visitor – carries a valid CSCS Card. This is a great way to cut down on risks especially those resulting from lack of knowledge or attention. Have workers without proper CSCS Cards? Get them proper cards by booking a CSCS Test online.

How Can a Construction Company Take Care of Workers’ Health?

Construction companies are the most badly hit by accidents at sites. It leads to massive loss of productivity and revenue in addition to other perils like prosecution and bad press. As per HSE report – 1.7 million working days and over a billion pound are lost every year due to on-site injuries and sickness. So,…

Construction companies are the most badly hit by accidents at sites. It leads to massive loss of productivity and revenue in addition to other perils like prosecution and bad press. As per HSE report – 1.7 million working days and over a billion pound are lost every year due to on-site injuries and sickness. So, the billion-pound question is: how can a construction company take care of workers' health?

Here is the answer:

1) Employ only CSCS Card holders:

First and foremost, ensure every tradesman carry a valid CSCS Card. When each and every tradesman knows how to keep one and others safe and healthy, half of your worries get taken care of.

2) Ensure use of protective gears:

See to it that all workers have and use relevant protective gears. Helmets protect from head injury, skid-proof and insulated boots are vital to dodge major threat of falls and electrocutions, glasses take care of harmful dust and smoke, gloves keep off potential hormones from electricity and toxic chemicals while body-harness and safety net are must for those working at height. Do routine checks on gears and replace ones that are faulty or ill-fitting. This way you can cut down on injuries caused by faulty tools and equipment failures.

3) Secure excavation sites and trenches:

Collapse and cave-ins are big safety-hazards at excavation sites and trenches. Put supports and shielding in place and make way-out available to workers in case someone does fall. Do fence all such sites – mark dangerous if necessary – to keep random people away.

4) Make scaffoldings safer to work on:

Make sure scaffoldings are put up, moved and dismantled by competent tradesmen. Having safety-net, guardrails and toe-boards around scaffolding are life saviors. Strictly make sure all workers use body harness. Designate a competent person / team to monitor and repair in case of damage – the structure before the work begin every day.

5) Train workers to minimize chemical hazards:

Train workers on how to handle chemicals properly and identify associated risks. Every worker must know what to do in case of chemical spills or other such emergencies like who to alert and what to do in the meanwhile to contain the damage. Make “spill clean-up kits” available and accessible to all. Post clear warning sign on toxic chemicals to prevent accidental damage. Appoint a qualified person / team for maintenance and daily safety check.

All workers are entitled to work in environments where risks to their health and safety are properly controlled. Under health and safety law, the primary responsibility for this is down to employers. Employers have a duty to consult with their employees, or their representatives, on health and safety matters. So if not for safety, take these steps to avoid getting on the wrong side of the law.

A safer construction site improves productivity, revenue and brand name of the company and having a 100% safety-trained workforce help a great deal in this quest.

Have a safe, healthy and productive year!