Construction Advisory Group is committed to contributing to the industry by conducting a blog-conversation on monitoring projects and navigating the construction world.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Vertical loads and GFRP

Researchers at the University of Miami are studying and testing the behavior of columns reinforced with glass fiber reinforced polymer bars, GFRP. According to the researchers, “The use of GFRP bars as compression reinforcement may be allowed when design is for vertical loads only."

Any academic study is very much welcomed when it is not precluded by a feasibility study that relates to financial exposures and actual applicability.

There are a few realities that should be considered:

  • No design for vertical loads only exists, or if it does it is purely scholastic.
  • Even in the academic world, when a laboratory test for vertical loads is performed, the eccentricity will exist and moments applied.
  • In the real world, columns loaded only with vertical forces simply do not exist.

The University of Miami's academic efforts are to be lauded, but do leave room for discussion of applicability. Where are they going with this?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Concrete crackdown

According to the New York Construction, September 2009 edition, NYC officials are determined to crack down on superficial and dubious practices when relates to concrete testing.

This New York crack down should be very much appreciated by construction officials around the country. It is related to strict quality control parameters as opposed to unnecessary code revisions that may be politically motivated. The program includes a $1 million concrete testing lab that will be city owned. This is commitment.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Overbuilt and there it sits

Downtown development: Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach officials check to see if they overbuilt in the early 2000s -- South Florida

If its overbuilt, the solution is more important than the proclamation. Buildings cannot be unbuilt. The challenge is creative reworking of use and available space and financing crises. It will sit there until need catches up.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hanging on for the "Boom Return"

According to the ZweigWhite Report, half of engineering and architectural firms have drastically cut staff due to the current economical recession.

The article addresses the reluctance of those firms to let good, solid and qualified staff go, since that workforce does not exist in abundance, even thought the predicted“Boom Return” is almost impossible.

"Is this the time for ASCE/SEI code revisions?" Val Tuhari, of Construction Advisory Group in South Florida, wonders. "Is this the time for the exorbitantly expensive green design codes?

These are valid questions, and worthy of discussion among building and design professionals.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Steel Day Sept 18

Steel Day 2009 events are planned across the country.

This is a welcome event, but is Florida, and South Florida in particular, paying attention?

The saturation of condominium buildings is blaringly evident, so it seems logical to assume that the next wave of construction will be of much needed office buildings.

Office buildings go hand-in-hand with structural steel. South Florida has a wake up call. Are we listening?

Revising the minimum design loads

The ASCE and SEI will hold public comments on revisions to the existing standards of “Minimum Design Loads”.

With no exceptions, all past revisions have increased the safety coefficients and this round of revisions will probably not be an exception. Is this the right time for such structural codes modifications?

Let's keep in mind that those minimum loads on dead loads, live loads, snow, wind, earthquake, etc., now exceed the same used by European Standards and International Standards.

The fundamental concept of structural engineering is ECONOMICS.

If we continue traveling this road, structural engineering will turn into an appendix since any architect, as we know in South Florida, can very well over-design any structural components.

Structural steel for shear walls

Structural steel use on shear walls for high-rise concrete structures is getting attention and actual application in the Northeastern United States, while the South shows little to no interest.

At the Marquis project in Miami, Florida, which is a 67 story tower, a substitution of conventional reinforcement with structural steel, at the inverted spandrel beams, was proposed.

Those principals of Construction Advisory Group, involved in the Marquis project in differing capacities, cited productivity and cost as over-riding considerations in favor of structural steel. It was noted that some of the distribution girders/spandrel beams, extended for two stories in height and acted as shear walls as well.

The structural engineer on the Marquis project approved this substitution.

Val Tuhari, of Construction Advisory Group, poses the question, "Why is this approach practically nonexistant in the Southeast regions? Further more, why is the use of structural steel, in general, drastically lower here when compared with a great majority of regions in the U.S.?"

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Green politics and real money

With the construction industry struggling for survival, is there room for fantasy and green politics?

Since the Green is the new Red, shouldn't Mr. Van Jones, the new Green Tzar, be the keynote speaker?

The Net Zero Energy Buildings Conference, Innovation 2009, is set to take place October 7-8 in New York. The conference focuses on the challenges of building "green." Few buildings have received the much lauded status of "green," primarily because both cost and technical requirements are prohibitive.

The conversation at Innovation 2009 will center around how architects, designers and engineers can move their projects toward zero - totally "green."

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tons of steel nets many zeros

IDEAS2 (Innovative Design in Engineering and Architecture with Structural Steel) has awarded the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco the design of the Golden Gate Park.

The project entails 2.5 acres of undulating roof, perimeter steel canopy supporting photovoltaic cells, and glazed domes. That is just the start. The project also includes implementation of the new Energy Efficient Building Code.

Currently, the estimated cost of structural steel -- engineered, fabricated and erected -- for this particular project is: $17,500 per ton.

The average actual cost for structural steel, in place, for massive steel structures, union, is: $7,500 per ton. Fifteen years ago, the average cost for structural steel, in place, for massive steel structures, union, was: $4,500 per ton.

The price tag on this California beauty is only $488,000,000 when completed.

Val Tuhari, of Construction Advisory Group, predicts an overrun, "My cost prediction on this project is way over $1,000,000,000."

Throw your bid into the ring. Where do you see the final cost landing? Leave a comment.