Friday, June 28, 2013

Humorous Construction Industry Definitions

Reposted from Neal A. Pann, Architect:

Just a little humor here folks..................

I thought it would be fun to share a list of construction definitions commonly used in the architectural and construction industry, which a friend of mine recently sent me. Hopefully those of you that are industry enjoy and have a good laugh, but for those that are potential clients, none of this is true.
A book listing materials and procedures for the project. The materials are either: 1) So new no one except the architect has ever heard of them; or, 2) So obsolete they haven't been manufactured for 10 years.
A wild guess carried out to two decimal places.
Bid Opening
A poker game in which the losing hand wins.

Low Bidder
A contractor who is wondering what he left out.

A gambler who never gets to shuffle, cut, or deal.

Someone who is expected to correct all mistakes made by others and to provide financing for contractors and owners.

Project Manager
The conductor of an orchestra in which every musician is in a different union.
Pre-Construction Conference
A meeting held by the architect, contractor, and subcontractors while they are still on speaking terms.

Designs a monument to himself and a tombstone for the contractor.
Engineer’s Estimate
The cost of construction in Heaven.

Critical Path Method
A management technique for losing your shirt under perfect control.
Completion Date
1) A predetermined period during which, under ideal conditions, about 70% of the project can be completed. b) The point at which liquidated damages begin.

Liquidated Damages
The penalty for failing to achieve the impossible.
An involuntary savings account for subcontractors, earns no interest and is paid out only under protest.

A protective coating made by half-baking a mixture of fine print, red tape, split hairs, and baloney - usually applied at random with a shotgun.
An effort to increase egg production by strangling the chicken.
Final Inspection
Scheduled at least six months after the building is occupied, gives the owner plenty of time to tear the work apart.
People who go in after the war is lost and bayonet the wounded. 

Person who goes in after the auditors to strip the bodies.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Home Insulation: How much do I need?


How much do I need and how do I know if I have enough?

The most important factor in effective insulation is to create an “envelope” which includes floor, walls and ceiling areas. In order of importance; #1 the ceiling, #2 the floor and last #3 are the walls. If one of these areas is under insulated or not insulated, the effectiveness of the envelope system is breached.
 Most people overlook the floor as a critical space to insulate properly. Cold air is dense and warm air is lighter, therefore cold air comes up through the floor and pushes out the warmer air through the ceiling and out of the building.
Insulation is measured in an “R-value”. The R refers to the amount of thermal resistance in the material. The bigger the number, the more (or higher) insulative properties it has. Bigger is better here.
The amount of insulation (R-Value) depends on the climate zone of where you live. Click here to view the recommended Energy Star map of which you can then determine your climate zone. These R-values are a minimum and can always be increased as you so desire and as space allows.

What types of insulation are available?

  There are generally 4 types of insulation:

  •        Batts (fluffy blanket type)
  •       Rigid (foam boards)
  •       Blown-in
  •       Foam (expansion type)

BATTS are the most common. These are usually fiberglass batts that are rolled out like a blanket, are flexible and can be installed in all 3 building surfaces (walls, floor, and ceiling). This is also the most cost effective.

RIGID FOAM boards are dense and typically used in cases where you need a higher R-value and very little space to do it in. For example; on a vaulted ceiling you may need an R-38 and have a 2x10 rafter to work with. A fiberglass batt of R-38 will be approximately 12” thick and a 2x10 is actually 9” deep. You are now 3” short of your goal. TIP: You should never compress a fiberglass batt into a smaller space as you will reduce the R-value that it is designed for. Rigid foam is more expensive than batts and requires more labor to install. If installing between framing members, every piece must be cut individually.

BLOWN-IN insulation is on the lower end of the cost spectrum, similar to batts, and can be cost effective if installed in an open attic area in terms of labor. However, because of the nature of the application, the material can shift or compress over time and become uneven in open spaces (attics) and slide down wall cavities resulting in a reduced R-value. It is also really annoying if you have to dig through gobs of the stuff to service something in your attic and breathe the resulting dust fibers as well as being terribly itchy. For obvious reasons, it cannot be installed in raised wood floor applications.

EXPANDING FOAM is a product that must be installed/applied by a professional. It is NOT a DIY kind of project. This is a newer type of material that starts out being a liquid and when it hits the air, it expands and hardens in place. It typically has a much higher R-value per inch than most other types of insulation because of its density. It is similar to the cans of spray foam that you use to seal cracks, but applied on a much larger scale. It is the most expensive material on the market by far. However, it has advantages such as sealing the entire space (wall/ceiling/floor cavity) and no drafts or critters. Some products are approved for use in non-ventilated areas such as vaulted ceilings (or cantilevered floors) and therefor you are not required to provide a 1” air gap between insulation and roof sheathing, giving you a higher R-value in the end. Products that are “closed-cell” are minimal expanding and won’t damage your framing if over applied.

There are some disadvantages of expanding foam insulation. It is flammable and will release deadly, toxic fumes when it burns. If you read the manufacturer’s fine print, it cannot be left exposed and it must be covered with a fire rated material such as ½” cement or fire rated gypsum board. Some forms of this insulation even contain hazardous chemicals that can cause you to suffer from lung cancer or skin-related problems. Check with the vendor of the product for compliance with LEEDS and low VOC content.