Contributed by Roy F. Schauffele
This brief article is directed to architects, specifiers, and consultants. The use and evolution of air barriers is very reminiscent of the growth of single-ply roofing technology. The larger corporate manufacturers are pouring tons of money into marketing and advertising and as I’m fond of saying, “all advertising is completely true but rarely truly complete”.
All too often, architects & specifiers rely heavily on the paid for mass produced specifications or a quick internet search and then dutifully download a set of specifications. This is okay, but they may not contain all the technical or QA items that may be needed for proper air barrier design and performance.
What follows are references (suggestions) that can lead to clarity of specification interpretation, design intent, proper bidding and installation. These are not an endorsement, just references.
After I have the building’s design, function and climatic conditions defined, I include the following in my specifications:
While nothing is perfect, I’ve found the above to serve me well and I hope these items are of good use to you.
Contributed by Thad Goodman
This site wants to Fix Construction. We could debate for years if it’s even broken. But for the sake of positive momentum, let’s say everything can use improvement.
One of the bigger issues we have currently is labor. Or should I say a lack of it. Let’s work on that.
First let’s examine how we got here. If you don’t know where you are at, you will never figure out how to get where you are going.
For decades construction has been relegated to second tier citizenship.
Think about who is delivering this message. College educated guidance counselors. Our youth and their parents are being given directions to learning institutions by people who came out of, and make their living from - you guessed it - learning institutions.
I don’t blame them for the way they think. It worked for them. There are many, many good white collar professions out there, including architects and engineers. These counselors are trained to see things a certain way, rewarded by school systems who tout their graduation rates and college admission numbers. They are good at their jobs. I do blame them for not presenting both sides of the story to parents who trust and listen to them.
The Rest of the Story
There is a second option. Construction provides a better outlet for many who are just not interested in continued schoolwork. Not everyone is cut out to sit at a desk. There are those who are good with their hands, good with abstract problem solving in real time. Pushing this type of young person to college and deep into college debt often hurts that individual and our economy. How many young people do you know buried in student loans working at the local retail mall?
Our school systems are good at rating the skillsets of our young people. Let’s give them a solid set of options for each type of student.
Contributed by Jon Lattin
Editor's note: If you haven't read the first post, 'Let's Build a Future for Women in AEC', please read it here.
Close to one month after the inaugural Let’s Build Camp began, we have taken a deep breath and are now reflecting on the outcomes of our week. Did we accomplish what we set out to do?
Let’s Build Construction Camp for Girls started as a vision to introduce young girls to the AEC industry. It was designed to allow them to explore the construction trades, architecture, engineering, and construction product manufacturing through hands on experiences and field trips. In this mission, the camp was an overwhelming success. Twenty young ladies of varying experiences and capabilities learned key construction principles as they built and finished wall sections. Through this hands on approach, they experienced carpentry, electrical, HVAC, plumbing, masonry, and painting while being exposed to green building, the principles of cement and metal roof manufacturing, and design with BIM. To see pictures of our camp, please visit www.letsbuildcamp.com.
In retrospect though, the camp was so much more than a construction camp, it became a camp of life skills training. Problem solving, managing team dynamics, respecting others, listening to instruction and executing tasks based on them are all skills that naturally evolved during the course of the weeklong camp. These are all attributes that we as adults deal with on a daily basis, both in work and at home. The girls experienced these realities of life through the course of building their walls in small teams of four.
After kicking off camp with an ice breaker activity and a factory tour, the girls were grouped by skill level and then teams were created by pulling a girl from each level. This attempt at equalizing the teams worked perfectly as the girls with more experience and skills became team mentors to the girls with less experience. Seizing this opportunity to build leaders, we were able to harness this informal mentorship to allow the girls a chance to lead the teams, resulting in confidence building for both the “leader” and the “students”. A shining moment for each team came as they turned on their lights for the first time, with smiles beaming from ear to ear as they flipped the switch and saw the results of their efforts working successfully.
Another gratifying time was the last day when the teams painted their walls. We expected the girls to paint the walls with a single color and to be finished with their work. In reality though, this was the first opportunity that they could be free to express themselves, since most of the work up to that point was defined for them by the construction documents and instruction. The teams showed creativity and style as they all added their own personal flair to their creations, resulting in five completely different wall sections.
Contributed by Jon Lattin
“Let’s Build Careers! We need all hands on deck, and that means clearing hurdles for women and girls as they navigate careers in science, technology, engineering, and math.” Michelle Obama (at the National Science Foundation Family-Friendly Policy Rollout September 26, 2011)
With less than 10% of the construction workforce comprised of women, and construction related jobs on the rise, now is the time to take action. Last summer I was reading an article about women in construction and it talked about an innovative camp that trained high school girls in the construction trades. The ultimate goal of these camps is to introduce young girls to the construction opportunities in front of them. Having young daughters of my own, this inspired me to work with the Greater Lehigh Valley Chapter of CSI and the Eastern PA Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) to start our own camp.
“The future belongs to those that believe in the beauty of their dreams.” Eleanor Roosevelt
With over 30 committee members that span the Lehigh Valley construction community, we are hosting the inaugural Let’s Build Construction Camp for Girls in June. From our research, the other camps of this kind seemed to be only trades based. However we are CSI, so we made the decision to include all aspects of the AEC industry. The Let's Build Construction Camp is a free week-long camp for girls aged 14-18 to explore the construction trades, architecture, engineering, and construction manufacturing through hands on experiences and field trips. (editor: for a sample preliminary schedule, please click here)
“Motivation is what gets you started. Commitment is what keeps you going.”
This endeavor has been one of the most rewarding experiences that I have ever participated in. The Let’s Build planning committee exceeds 30 professionals from all over the AEC spectrum, with 75% of the committee being women. From project managers to architects, building manufacturers to subcontractors, and from educators to general contractors. Everyone involved with Let’s Build is passionate about making this camp a success and committed to making this the most rewarding experience for twenty lucky girls this summer.
To learn more about the Let’s Build camp, please visit www.letsbuildcamp.com. As of Friday, May 19th, the new application deadline is now Friday, June 2nd and only 20 Applicants will be selected. The application consists of contact information, a detailed statement why the applicant wants to be a part of this camp, and at least one letter of reference.
After this great event, we look forward to reporting back on our successes in July, so stay tuned! We'll let you know about the activities, successes and lessons learned. Maybe we can get CSI Chapters across the country to pick up this charge and host similar events?!
(Editor's Note from 7/18/17: To read the follow up post, 'Let's Build Life Skills', please click here.
Contributed by Cherise Lakeside
If you already know me, you know that young professional development is an area in AEC that is very important to me. I have had mentors and guidance throughout my career that has helped me in my growth and success. I still have amazing people helping and supporting me every day. Because of that, I feel a burning need to give back what I have been given and help our younger professionals get ahead and succeed.
I have become more and more aware of an area where our young professionals are being neglected at an extremely critical time. We need to fix this.
A few things happened recently that motivated me to write this blog:
BREAKING NEWS: Manufacturers, you are missing the boat in a very big way. You are missing the boat in marketing, you are missing the boat in risk management and you are missing the boat in educating the right people about your product.
Let's Fix Construction is an avenue to offer creative solutions, separate myths from facts and erase misconceptions about the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry.
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