From the Job Site

Metal Stud Track Layout and Shoot-Down

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Contractor to Contractor: Follow professional Interior Contractor Robert Thimmes as he produces a layout and final shoot-down of a metal stud track system.

Plumb, level, square, and straight: all carpentry is the same, right? Well, no. Basic building principles apply, but how you build with metal studs differs greatly from building with wood. The following discussion offers a systematic explanation of installing metal studs, with various best practices for each step.

Contractor to Contractor: The Five Questions That Really Matter for Interior Contractors

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What makes for success as an interior contractor and what are the basics of staying in business? An experienced contractor takes a look at some of the misconceptions that plague the industry and brings the focus back to fundamentals that can help you understand the full value of your skill set.

Being in business in this economy means understanding the fundamentals of our industry and where it's going. As a small business owner I've seen my fair share of ups and downs. Usually most of the misunderstandings and problems can be solved by a little inquiry and a lot of listening.

Shop Drawing Approval Procedures

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Welcome to the On Site channel’s first Construction Administration Column. David A. Todd, P.E., CPESC, gives his opinion on a common issue with shop drawing approval.

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.

From Start to Finish: The Importance of a Constructability Review

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Design schedules always seem to be pressed for time, which is the result of two primary factors. The first factor is that owners always want to move their projects forward as quickly as possible, so they pressure design teams into abbreviated design schedules. The second factor contributing to compressed design schedules is much less obvious than the first. It is human nature. People of all professions have a tendency to procrastinate in their duties. This is why design teams routinely accelerate their pace in the final weeks of the design phase, as opposed to progressing at a constant pace from start to finish. In the end, issuance of incomplete design documents is the recurrent and regrettable result of these two unfortunate factors. (In fairness to design professionals, it should also be noted that human nature is a contributor to why the final weeks of construction always seem to be quite hectic as well.)

Moving Along in Miami: Florida Marlins Ballpark by Populous

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There are few activities more American than watching baseball, but in Miami, extreme weather can put a damper on the beloved summer pastime. One way to ensure that the game goes on? Design a retractable roof system that allows for a variety of configurations. The new Florida Marlins ballpark, designed by Populous (formerly HOK Sport), will replace the Miami Orange Bowl, a landmark structure built in the 1930s in the Little Havana neighborhood near downtown Miami.

The Importance of Line Items in a Budget

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Not Just Numbers on a Piece of Paper

Project managers, whether they are construction managers, general contractors, or architects, regularly supervise multiple projects concurrently. Each of these projects must be managed independently, particularly with regard to cost accounting. For this example let us consider the following scenario; a general contractor’s project manager is responsible for two projects that were each awarded on a negotiated basis with guaranteed maximum price (GMP) contracts. All savings under these GMP agreements will be returned to the owner. Project #1 is progressing well and expected to finish well under budget. Project #2 is not going well, has incurred many problems and is expected to finish substantially over budget. The general contractor’s president and vice president are placing tremendous pressure on the project manager to minimize their losses from project #2.

From the Job Site: Denver Union Station

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The $484 million renaissance of Denver’s Union Station will cement its standing as an important transportation hub for the entire Denver metropolitan region. Union Station is not only the connection from downtown Denver to a variety of ground transportations, but it is catalyzing downtown Denver’s continued growth as a hip, walkable, diverse regional center. Union Station will serve local and national travelers via everything from pedicabs and shared cars to light rail and Amtrak. Construction is well underway, is on budget, and (just like the buses and trains of its well oiled Regional Transportation District) is on schedule.

Spaceport America: High Performance Construction in the New Mexican Desert

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It seems totally appropriate that the Mesilla Valley in Southern New Mexico is the site of one of the world’s most exciting feats of modern human exploration. Ever since the 1500s when Spanish Conquistadors scouted this beautiful valley along the Rio Grande River, this enchanted territory has seen travelers, traders, and tourists pass through its hostile reaches in search of better lives and new horizons. In the past, the Mesilla Valley was a place to pass through along the historic Camino Real for travelers on the trade route from Mexico City to Santa Fe. In the future, however, it will be an exciting destination, with the development of Spaceport America, the world’s first private spaceport.

From the Job Site: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

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Construction of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, located in Bentonville, Arkansas, has come far, far enough that the completion schedule has been finalized. Opening of the Crystal Bridges Museum has been set for November 11, 2011: the end of a long process is finally in sight. Construction began in 2006 and has progressed steadily. The project is complex, the site is challenging, and the buildings themselves have unusual features.

Seismic Retrofit Lessons Learned: Technical

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The project was a seismic retrofit of a 15-story, 750,000 sq. ft. office building constructed in 1991. The steel portion of the project consisted of systematically strengthening the moment connections throughout the building and installing over 200 dampers without interrupting the operation of the tenants. The contract dictated that the work would start in the basement, progress through the ground floor and the parking garage (floors 2-5), and then continue through the occupied office floors (6-15). The contractor could only occupy three half-floors at any one time. Although my team was extremely experienced, with over 20 years of seismic experience and over 50 years of steel work experience, this project provided us with some significant lessons to take with us to our next project.

Night Construction: Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures

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Ask your safety manager or operations risk manager and they will tell you about the numerous additional hazards a crew will face at night. Consult work studies and you will see that working at night lowers the efficiency of any of your work crews. Unfortunately, few studies or safety managers will tell you about the managerial and contractual challenges contractors face when they take on night work.

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