Proof of Concept: Ultra-thin, insulated concrete roof with embedded PV

Once again, the incredibly brilliant minds at Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich (ETH Zurich) have announced innovative processes and materials for a better built environment. Phys.org has the story: Researchers from ETH Zurich have built a prototype of an ultra-thin, curved concrete roof using innovative digital design and fabrication methods. The tested novel formwork system will be … Continue reading Proof of Concept: Ultra-thin, insulated concrete roof with embedded PV

Video: Work complete on foundation of the world’s next tallest building

Construction Junkie’s Shane Hedmond shared a video marking completion of work on the foundation at “The Tower” in Jeddah: The final height of the building has yet to be announced, which is common for supertall buildings, as those involved want to avoid tipping their hand to fellow supertall building developers. It’s expected that the tower … Continue reading Video: Work complete on foundation of the world’s next tallest building

Canada: Crumbling & cracking concrete cladding causing concern

Vancouver, British Colombia played host for a couple decades to a dramatic uprising of concrete-clad condos that permanently altered the city’s skyline. Developers rushing to sell units to (oftentimes  foreign) investors and empty-nesters cut corners, leading to years of litigation followed by tougher standards and improved oversight — particularly regarding the building envelope. Despite the … Continue reading Canada: Crumbling & cracking concrete cladding causing concern

Was Grenfell’s disastrous fire due in part to an all-too-common risk transfer strategy?

Grenfell Tower, a UK public housing project that caught fire recently, was a true disaster that is most likely directly attributable to incompatible design specifications and implementation by established architecture, engineering and construction professionals.  I’ve been holding off publishing much about the event until there is more consensus from the forensic experts regarding root cause, … Continue reading Was Grenfell’s disastrous fire due in part to an all-too-common risk transfer strategy?

Really, really old school building methods put to the test

Great Big Story bills themselves as “a global media company devoted to cinematic storytelling.” Last year, they produced a great short feature about a team of skilled contractors and archeologists putting ancient building techniques to use in order to construct a medieval castle. Here’s the description accompanying the video: It’s hard to fathom how magnificent … Continue reading Really, really old school building methods put to the test

How a Building Scientist tackles mold on the exterior of his home

Peter Yost is a building scientist and regularly blogs at Green Building Advisor. A recent post of his chronicled his adventures dealing with some sort of bio-organic growth on the recently added siding at his home — but just at the south side, not the north. Mr. Yost’s wife first noticed the issue and began … Continue reading How a Building Scientist tackles mold on the exterior of his home

Why does actual building performance differ so much from energy modeling?

Energy modeling is not exactly a brand new science, but it certainly hasn’t been around very long, either.

In essence, energy modeling is a software-based approach to predicting how much energy a given building will use based on its location, orientation, wall/roof/slab design, windows, doors, etc. In California, for example, energy modeling is a critical aspect of designing any project and carries a great deal of influence on the permitting process. In Europe, there are very real country-wide energy usage agreements that set measurable goals for building performance. Continue reading “Why does actual building performance differ so much from energy modeling?”

Saying goodbye to a true architecture, engineering & construction forensics legend

Debra Rubin, of ENR, shares the sad news of the passing of an AEC forensics grandmaster:

John M. Hanson, who, as president, helped guide the growth of Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc. into an industry-leading forensics and failures engineer and who led probes into high-profile collapses of the Kansas City Hyatt hotel walkway in 1981 and the New York State Thruway Schoharie Creek Bridge in 1987, died on May 26 in Green Valley, Ariz., at 84. The firm did not release the cause of death.

Continue reading “Saying goodbye to a true architecture, engineering & construction forensics legend”

Reexamining one of the most infamous bridge collapses in history

Astrophysicist and author Ethan Siegel, writing for Forbes, just helped to expose a longtime myth about good ole’ Galloping Gertie, a bridge that (in)famously collapsed just a few short months after opening to public traffic. To help jog your memory, here is footage uploaded to YouTube of the bridge twisting and bouncing around: The story … Continue reading Reexamining one of the most infamous bridge collapses in history