Wednesday, September 30

Elevator Code Changes: Catching up with ASME A17.1-19 for changes not yet in MasterSpec. The Emergency Communication System now requires a couple of additional features: The ability for users and the monitoring station to communicate using non-verbal means of communication (two-way video) and the ability of the monitoring personnel to observe elevator passengers via encrypted one-way video.

Thursday, September 17

Concrete Slab Moisture and Flooring: Here in the Southeast, this is a topic of conversation on many projects. There is no single answer, and a blog post will not do what a consult from one of the experts will do on a topic like this. However, there are several universals to keep in mind: 1) Limit the water in the concrete mix – often accomplished by reducing the cement content if the slab strength can be lowered (and it often can). 2) Wet cure not compound cure – I know it is counter-intuitive, but this leaves the microcapillaries of the concrete open for evaporation and it ultimately has lower relative humidity when it comes time to adhere flooring. 3) Do not rush the flooring installation schedule. 4) Specify the higher moisture tolerant adhesives from or approved by the flooring manufacturer.

Sunday, September 13

Drawing General Notes: These should be limited to drawing information. Dimensioning conventions; explanation of drawing organization and cross-referencing; and a few other issues. This is not the place to add randomly selected contractual clauses based upon what went wrong on a previous project, such as “Contractor is responsible for verifying existing conditions” – that is in the General Conditions for Construction. We work with our architect clients to chase contract and specification information off of the drawings; we want the construction team to actively use the Project Manual along with the drawings – it is are meant to save them time, and time is money.

Tuesday, September 8

Design by Janitor: This is what we call aspects of facility design driven by the custodial staff. It is always a good idea to understand the challenges of maintaining a facility – especially if you want your projects to look good five years from now. At the same time, ease of cleaning and maintaining is not the only design parameter driving product choices. An example I have always regretted was seeing janitorial walk off mats covering a beautiful terrazzo logo in the receiving hall of a health care center in lieu of a planned entry vestibule with built-in mats. Another is a large facility client who paints all of their school rooms the same wall color. Convenient? Yes. Uplifting and stimulating architecture? No.