Blog Archives

Bulk Water Management with a Low Slope Roof

Low slope roofs or “flat” roofs, as they are sometimes called, typically have single-ply membrane or multi-layer “built-up” roof systems. Although one or more manufacturers offer warrantees for membranes installed with no slope, the 2015 IBC (International Building Code) requires

Posted in Construction Documents, Design, Roofing

10 Features of Good Construction Documents for Massachusetts Filed Sub-Bids

Scope clarity is the highest priority when it comes to developing documents for Filed Sub-Bids. Massachusetts General Law (M.G.L. c.149) establishes requirements for Filed Sub-Bids on public building projects. Separate Filed Sub-Bids are mandated for certain trade-specific classes of work

Posted in Construction Administration, Construction Documents, Project Management, Specifications

5 Attributes of Good Construction Documents

Here are just a few key attributes of good construction documents for buildings: Drawings and specifications use the same terminology. A good example of this attribute would be consistent naming of soil types in earthwork specifications and structural drawings, and

Posted in Construction Documents

5 Concepts in Home Heating

In roughly chronological order, considering heating only: Build a fire in the center. To get warmer, make a bigger fire or stand closer to it. To get cooler, move away from the fire or let it go out. Heat the

Posted in Design, Energy Efficiency, Passive House

Passive Houses Demystified

Passive Houses (from the German Passivhaus) are super-low-energy buildings that allow us to avoid the volatility of fuel prices, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels, and help protect the environment. Many may still remember the oil crises of the 1970s,

Posted in Design, Energy Efficiency, Passive House

Interpreting the Professional Standard of Care for Architects

First, for comparison with other professions per se, here is a definition from Business Dictionary that is applicable to professional disciplines: “Ethical or legal duty of a professional to exercise the level of care, diligence, and skill prescribed in the code of practice

Posted in Practice Management

Last Minute Fix for a Technical Ground Grid

Our fast-track, high-tech building project was nearly complete. The tenant’s incredibly expensive computer equipment was rolling in, and the sophisticated equipment power system was being tested. Then the electrical contractor reported a problem. The technical ground grid did not test

Posted in Construction Administration, Construction Documents

Needed: A Passive House Architectural Style

Passive Houses are at the leading edge of energy efficiency and comfort. A Passive House approach to design and construction can reduce heating energy demand to as little as 10% of that of a standard, code compliant house. That’s a

Posted in Design, Energy Efficiency

Please Follow the Wood Ceiling System Specifications…

Suspended wood ceiling systems can look very nice and can earn LEED credits for the right wood, but all components of the system must work together in order for the ceiling to stay up. A few years ago in a

Posted in Construction Administration, Project Management, Specifications

Seeing heat loss through a concrete wall

The thermal image above (taken with a FLIR C2) illustrates heat loss through an uninsulated concrete foundation wall at floor level. The concrete foundation is insulated below grade, but the owner did not want to see insulation between the grade

Posted in Energy Efficiency


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