Always nice to collaborate with others in the industry. Outstanding work by ETC’s Chief Structural Engineer, Chris Carlson, PE and Project Engineer, Luke Valentine, PE. Job well done!
ETC is pleased to announce a forthcoming change in ownership.
Since its inception, nearly 4 decades ago, Joe Shuffleton has been owner and president. Through his leadership, ETC has grown to be a highly-reputable engineering and architectural firm specializing in the restoration and rehabilitation of existing commercial structures in the Washington-Baltimore metropolitan area. Mr. Shuffleton successfully guided the growth of his team that now spans three, multi-state offices.
Five individuals comprise the new ownership group. Mr. Shuffleton has, without reservation, come to trust and depend upon these induvial for many years.
- Chris Carlson: With over 30 years’ experience, the last 12 as our chief engineer, he is the key technical person behind our entire structural team.
- Mindy Maronic: With over 20 years of marketing & client relations experience, she has brought our company to the forefront of business excellence.
- Kirk Parsons: Our vice president of operations for over 20 years, he has played a vital role in building company growth and client loyalty
- Bobby Radcliff: The newest member of the group, with 10 years at ETC, he is also a talented, lead engineer with strong business acumen.
- Jeff Shuffleton: Our technology and administrative director, he has assured clients accurate and efficient company procedures for the past 15 years.
Commenting on the transfer of ownership, Mr. Shuffleton states “As I prepare to step away, simply to enjoy the next juncture in life, I am fortunate to turn to my key employees who have played a pivotal role in the growth of ETC. It is these employees who will take over where I leave off; growing the company on the same guiding principles and business ethics upon which ETC was founded. I am proud of all that we have accomplished, and equally proud in the legacy and exciting opportunity I pass on to them and the entire ETC team”.
Under the new leadership, the plan is to keep the company’s direction true to Mr. Shuffleton’s vision:
ETC has no desire to be the biggest firm; however, we do strive to be known as the best. To that end, the needs of each assignment are analyzed and matched to the capabilities of our high caliber technical staff. We will not take on any project if we do not have the competence required or if for any other reason we are unable to meet client expectations.
Joe Shuffleton will stay on for a period of time to gently guide the company through the transition. He will also serve as both a consultant & ambassador, watching ETC as it thrives under its new leadership.
Have you considered coating performance options?
If you have decided to replace your deteriorated railings and/or windows with new, low-maintenance aluminum products, you may think selecting the coating color is the most difficult decision remaining. However, have you considered the coating performance of your new railings and windows?
Typically, coatings for these items fall under three (3) levels of performance as defined by the American Architectural Manufacturer’s Association (AAMA): Good Coating Performance (AAMA 2603), High Coating Performance (AAMA 2604) and Superior Coating Performance (AAMA 2605). Coating performance can be based on several factors, including coating thickness, color retention, gloss retention, coating erosion, chalk rating, humidity resistance and salt-spray corrosion resistance.
Specifying the coating performance largely depends on location, cost and exposure to the environment. Although having the superior-rated coating will provide the best long-term performance, it will be substantially more expensive, especially with a large railing and/or window replacement project. Unless the coatings are subjected to harsh environments (such as sunny coastal regions), the lower-grade coatings may meet your project needs.
To determine what coating performance option may be best suited for your project, members of our Architectural and Engineering staff are available to assist you. Developing architectural renderings with color and coating options are invaluable before undertaking such an important project.
When evaluating asphalt pavement, including asphalt-paved parking decks, ETC recommends core sampling as part of our investigative service. Extracting a core sample of the pavement can be beneficial in telling the history of the pavement construction as well as the conditions of the sub-base profile beneath the asphalt.
The cores can also tell the story of past pavement work, including structural repairs, pavement membrane (fabric) installation, and multiple repaved layers of asphalt, which can help minimize change orders during the work. This information assists us in developing specifications necessary to address the pavement rehabilitation needs.
Typically, pavement deterioration can be traced back to the sub-base design (the materials below the pavement) and their manner of installation and compaction. What we commonly look for is a stone aggregate material in thicknesses that exceed the pavement profile. In many instances, our sampling will also reveal the condition of the sub-base (or soils) below the pavement as well. Soils with high clay content can affect our recommendations for the type of rehabilitation work.
If these conditions are not defined before scope preparation and implementation, the pavement rehabilitation work may not adequately address the needed issues. This can lead to a reduced pavement life and more costly, long term repairs.
Don’t hesitate to contact us for all your pavement questions and concerns. We can have a member of our pavement consulting and inspection staff visit your property to provide a pavement evaluation proposal, free of charge.
Unfortunately, there isn’t a quick fix for addressing footprints in your sidewalk. Your best bet is to remove and repour the affected panel (section between control joints). There are other options out there including filling the footprint in with a repair material (e.g. sand filled epoxy), patching the area, or grinding down the area, but these repairs will be noticeable and/or may require follow-up repairs down the road.
An all too common building problem involves the formation of condensation (water) on the interior surfaces of windows. This can be caused by a variety of factors including deficiencies with the windows, the use of heavy window treatments that prevent air circulation on window surfaces, and excess moisture in building interiors. Sometimes, when too much condensation is present, water may even drip down the wall into the wall cavity or onto the floor to cause water damage, growth of mold and mildew, staining, and other problems.
Normal human activities (such as respiration, bathing, laundering, cleaning, cooking, pets, houseplants, aquariums, etc.) produce water vapor that must be accounted for in the design of the mechanical (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning or HVAC) systems for the building. In today’s air-tight buildings, window condensation can result from insufficient fresh air. Unless fresh air is introduced into conditioned space, humidity can accumulate until, in cold weather, the temperature of the interior window surfaces becomes so low that the air at the surfaces become saturated, causing water, or even ice, to form.
Why does fresh air help to reduce humidity? In a cold weather scenario, the outside air is dry and by introducing sufficient fresh air (increased ventilation) into the building, the humidity is diluted and reduced. However, too much fresh air may not always be a good thing during the heating season. In addition to high energy cost, too much fresh air may also render the space too dry for a comfortable environment.
Sometimes the issue may not be as simple as it looks. Improperly designed or installed HVAC systems can fail to remove the moisture and cause elevated indoor humidity. Undersized systems could produce inadequate air movement to remove water vapor. Oversized systems could prematurely satisfy heating and cooling demands, resulting in short-cycling, and reduced air movement. It is important to conduct a thorough investigation to identify the real cause of condensation issues in order to develop a successful and cost-effective solution.
ETC has first-hand experience with these problems and the methods to successfully correct them. Our mechanical engineering staff has the ability to identify and correct ventilation issues involving condensation or other concerns
Incomplete combustion of wood in fireplaces creates a buildup of flammable oils (creosote) in chimney flues, which can contribute to chimney or building fires. Only dry, seasoned wood (preferably hardwood) should be burned in fireplaces. Green and/or water saturated wood burns at a lower temperature and less completely than dry, seasoned wood and poses a greater potential for creosote deposition. Coniferous woods (pine, fir, spruce, etc.) should not be used. They tend to be highly resinous and will deposit more material than hardwoods. Household trash or other items should never be burned in fireplaces.
Artificial logs should only be used in accordance with manufacturers’ instructions and limitations. Most such products are intended to be burned only one at a time. Artificial logs vary in composition from hardwood fibers (sawdust or other sawmill waste) combined with wax or other binders, to petroleum wax (paraffin) mixed with various recycled materials. As a general rule, artificial logs should not be used unless the composition and burning characteristics of a specific product are fully described and deemed acceptable. Plastics, unidentified composites, or other materials of questionable makeup should be avoided.
Fireboxes require occasional cleaning/removal of ashes. Ashes should only be removed when absolutely no embers are present. Because embers can remain undetected long after a fire is out, ashes should only be placed into fireproof, metal containers.
Chimneys should be periodically inspected and cleaned, the frequency of which depends on fireplace use. Annual inspection is recommended for fireplaces that are used regularly. Cleaning may not be necessary at every inspection interval. It should be noted that chemical cleaners (cleaning logs, fire additives, etc.) should not be considered equal to professional cleaning.
Some products incorporate catalytic chemicals that react with the creosote and cause it to soften, flake and debond; however, the dislodged material can accumulate on shelves or other chimney offsets. They also tend to react only with the outer layer of creosote and are only partly effective in the presence of heavy buildups. They also may have no appreciable effect on soot, or residue from artificial logs.
Some products (which employ copper or other metal salts) rely on the rapid expansion of gas created when the salts are burned to dislodge deposited material. The effectiveness of those products is questionable, particularly with respect to heavy accumulations.
Perhaps the nicest looking parking lot in the county just opened at our client’s apartment community. We helped add about 90 sorely needed parking spaces to solve a parking crisis at an early 1960’s vintage property. An old swimming pool had to be removed to make way for the new lot, which is complete with extensive landscaping, new LED lights, and storm water retention facilities.
If you have windows that look like this and are planning to replace them, check the caulk and glazing compound for asbestos. We have found hazardous materials in these instances and adding abatement of the asbestos can complicate a relatively simple window replacement project.
With Summer just around the corner, you may want to consider converting that unused roof area into a gathering spot with a beautiful view. Rooftop decks can be quite appealing, but before sending out the party invitations, make sure to consider these few helpful tips
- Hire a professional to specify maximum allowable occupants. Decks are designed for specific live loads (such as people, type of activity, snow, furniture) and specific dead loads (such as decking, pergola, railing). Therefore, design your deck for a specific number of people and specific activity.
- Ask your design professional about cross-bracing (lateral support), a very important building code requirement that affects the overall look of the deck.
- Study and understand exit requirements for your rooftop deck as specified in the building codes. Requirements for a multifamily residential building are more stringent and costlier than a single family home.
- Specify proper slope for water drainage. Our recommendation is ¼” per foot, although every situation should be carefully considered. Waterproofing of your deck and roof are very important factors of your project, if not properly built or maintained, it can cause problems and expenses for the residential unit below.
- Choose materials and construction details to last a long time. All framing should be pressure treated lumber and elevated above roofing material. Decking and railing material can be pressure treated or composite. Composite material is a mixture of sawdust, wood chips and vinyl. To keep it environmentally friendly, make sure the vinyl component is made from recycled plastic materials. Composite material is very low maintenance and there is no need for painting or staining.
- Pay special attention to lighting and controls, especially in areas such as stairs, change of levels and door entry/exit.