AEC Pros

Paying a Contractor for Extra Time Due to Weather Delays

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Welcome to the On Site channel’s Construction Administration Column. What defines abnormal weather conditions within a contract when the schedule goes over deadline and overages are invoiced?

Columnist David A. Todd, P.E., CPESC, has 37 years of experience in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry and has performed much construction administration during that time. He will answer questions from our readers or from his own practice and will provide answers based on his understanding of the construction process.

Insulated Siding, Part 1

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Installing insulated siding on an older home may be the best way to up its R-value.

My first encounter with insulated siding (or IS as it’s known in the trades) came while visiting the Raritan Inn, a bed-and-breakfast in New Jersey that was remodeled by a pioneer in energy-efficient and innovative "green" construction, Bill Asdal. The Raritan Inn serves as a research center and a showpiece of deep-energy remodeling. In 2003, Asdal, in partnership with the Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) Research Center, pioneered the first net-zero energy remodeling project in the United States. The structure was clad with insulated siding in an effort to achieve the highest R-values possible within the limits of remodeling an 18th century structure. What I noticed was not the R-value but the aesthetic quality. The siding had a clapboard profile and it lay flat, lacking the usual telling concave cup of most vinyl siding.

King's Cross Station Redevelopment

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John McAslan + Partners created a canopied addition to the historic King's Cross Station, leaving the original western facade intact.

Heralded for its historical importance but rather drab, London’s King's Cross Station recently underwent a multimillion dollar redevelopment, reopening to the public on March 19, 2012. The newly overhauled King’s Cross Station was lit up in celebratory bright colors, creating a concert-like atmosphere – appropriate to its new youthful vibe. It was a timely redevelopment, as the XXX Olympic Summer Games will be held in London in 2012. The station’s western concourse, at 7,500 m2, is Europe’s largest single-span station structure. Each year 45 million people pass through King’s Cross Station, and that number is predicted to rise by 10 million by 2020.

Design Inspiration: Structures of Utility

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Bay Area architect David Stark Wilson, founder of WA Design, published a collection of photographs that highlights the vernacular architecture of California’s Central Valley and the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.

Structures of Utility, published by Heyday Books, breaks with the traditional coffee table photography book layout and instead feels more like an architectural monograph. David Stark Wilson supplements his black and white photographs with concise text that places his subjects within a historical context, layered with his personal memories and experiences.

Charge into the Future on the Electric Highway

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Electric vehicles provide a welcome alternative to gasoline-powered cars ... welcome, that is, as long as we are still able to fuel up as we travel. Take a look at current options available in the United States for charging while on the go.

When Eddy Grant came up with the lyrics to his 1982 hit “Electric Avenue” he likely wasn’t expecting people to actually be rocking down an electric highway just 30 years later. That's what people will be doing later this year on the West Coast Electric Highway (WCEH), a tri-state initiative that will form the longest electric vehicle (EV) charging network in the country, stretching along Interstate 5 from the Canadian to the Mexican border.

BIM Helps Habitat for Humanity Partner Family Take a Virtual Tour of Their New Home

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By implementing BIM, Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver found a way to shorten construction schedules as well as to achieve better communication with volunteers and partner families.

BIM improves efficiency and thereby improves the bottom line: Companies that were early adopters of BIM have been educating us on this fact for several years. What may not be as immediately apparent is that improving efficiency can sometimes improve more than just the bottom line. When non-profits implement new technologies with the result of achieving greater efficiencies, it can enable them to improve the lives of more people -- and do so more quickly -- than was ever before possible.

Madrid’s Sustainable Petrol Station

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Gas station design is about to experience a major shift. Madrid’s BREEAM-certified Repsol station demonstrates what may be on the horizon, both in terms of building design and what is for sale at the pump.

For most, gas stations may not come to mind when talking about exceptional green design, especially these days. Gas prices are continuously soaring, and we are more commonly wide-eyed at the outrageous prices than at the eco-friendly qualities or pleasing aesthetics of these in-and-out petrol ports.

Titanic Signature Project: An Exploration of Belfast's Shipbuilding Past

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A new exhibition center in Belfast tells the story not only of the Titanic but of the long maritime history of this iconic city.

One hundred years after the RMS Titanic’s maiden voyage and tragic sinking, visitors of the Titanic Signature Project in Belfast, UK, will be able to delve deep into the story of the Titanic and Belfast’s rich ship-building history. The five-level, 12,000 sq. m. (129,166 sq. ft.) building features a glass-walled atrium, which leads visitors to various exhibits throughout the building. The lofty space with irregularly angled forms provides the perfect introduction for the displays that follow.

The Erickson Building

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A new luxury residential tower in Vancouver provides a twist on the typology

It’s not hard to imagine why developers flock to the waterfront of Vancouver, British Columbia. Concord Pacific Group has built many high-rise glass and concrete residential towers there, but the Erickson Building – a new 17-story, 61-unit development – stands out among their portfolio. Designed in the style of legendary Canadian architect Arthur Erickson, known for his modernist concrete structures, the Erickson’s twisting form rotates counterclockwise and then shifts clockwise, evoking the motion of the water below. Between concrete columns, expanses of glass capture panoramic views of downtown Vancouver, False Creek, the Strait of Georgia, and the Pacific Ocean beyond.

USGBC Design Columbus 2012 in Columbus, Ohio

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A trip to Design Columbus 2012 in Columbus, Ohio, showcases the positive impact made by local chapters of the U.S. Green Building Council.

The USGBC’s Greenbuild International Conference & Expo is the world’s largest conference and exhibition devoted to green building. By attending you can take in three days of seminars and other educational events, see thousands of products, and enjoy live streaming and archived conference videos. Although Greenbuild is the USGBC’s premier event, local USGBC chapters host a number of similar events each year, and some are bound to take place practically in your own backyard.

Slabs for Colder Climates, Part 3: Installing Frost-Protected Shallow Foundations for Unheated Buildings

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Fernando Pages Ruiz continues his educational series on constructing frost-protected shallow foundations, focusing here on unheated structures.

Although neither the International Residential Code (IRC) nor the International Code Council (ICC) provides a prescriptive path, design criteria do exist to design frost-protected shallow foundations (FPSFs) for unheated buildings, including garages and porches attached to heated structures. The standard for unheated buildings developed by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), ASCE 32-01, Standard for the Design and Construction of Frost-Protected Shallow Foundations, is available for purchase at

Handling Liability for Sub-Standard Asphalt

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Welcome to the On Site channel’s Construction Administration Column. This column covers the question of liability when asphalt work is judged to be substandard.

Columnist David A. Todd, P.E., CPESC, has 37 years of experience in the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry and has performed much construction administration during that time. He will answer questions from our readers or from his own practice and will provide answers based on his understanding of the construction process and administration of the construction contract. The focus will be on the customary duties of the owner, contractor, and design professional as typically described in the contract documents.

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