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Now that the snow is starting to melt away, we have started to find heaved (raised) sections of concrete sidewalk due to the cold weather which present a potential trip hazard. As a general rule, a ½”or more difference in the level of the walking surface can be a potential trip hazard. We have also seen damaged concrete sections from freeze/thaw action. It seems that the winter has been tough on concrete this year and an inspection of your property is advisable so that timely repairs can be made.
If redesigning a space in your building, it is important to consider the new occupant load and how it can affect other items in the building. The use (or function) and the size of the space will determine the occupant load allowed by code. Different functions require different numbers of square feet per occupant. For example the code for standard business areas requires 100 square feet per person. So a 3,000 s.f. suite of offices would have an occupant load of 30 people. For an assembly area with tables and chairs, the code requires 15 square feet per person. So the same 3,000 s.f. suite could have an occupant load of up to 200 people! Almost certainly the building’s existing elements would not support this, as most buildings are designed with a “base” occupant load. Several items that occupant load affect are: restroom fixture counts; number of exits; width of corridors, stairways, and doorways; parking space counts; etc. Therefore any proposed changes should be analyzed by an architect to help determine allowable uses or necessary renovations to support any desired increase in occupant load.
A common cause of corrosion in plumbing pipes is galvanic reaction between dissimilar metals. If copper fittings are connected directly to galvanized steel, as an example, both metals are likely to corrode. The usual remedy is to remove the affected items and replace the fitting with a dielectric device. Dielectric fittings generally employ an electrical insulator to prevent metal-to-metal contact and that’s an appropriate fix; however, there is another factor to consider.
In a lot of buildings the electric distribution system is grounded through plumbing supply lines and a dielectric connection could interrupt a critical path to ground. That’s an undesirable and potentially unsafe condition, but one that’s easy to correct. Appropriate shunts (electrical conductors) should be installed to restore the path to ground across dielectric connections.
8 million pounds of guacamole are consumed on Super Bowl Sunday.
14,500 tons of chips are eaten along with that guacamole.
The average number of people at a super bowl party is 17.
5% of Americans will watch the game alone.
Of the top 10 most watched television programs of all time, 9 of them are Super Bowls.
Budweiser has been the exclusive Super Bowl beer advertiser for the past 13 years.
The Super Bowl is measured in Roman numerals because a football season runs the span over two calendar years. The year the season began in 20010 and ends in 2011.
Since the 1980s the Super Bowls have always started around 6pm Eastern Standard Time.
More drivers are involved in alcohol-related accidents on Super Bowl Sunday than any other day of the year (except St. Patrick’s Day), according to the Insurance Information Institute.
35% of people who attend the game write it off as a corporate expense.
Over 700,000 footballs are produced annually for official NFL use and 72 of them are used for the Super Bowl.
Super Bowl fans spend more than $50 million on food during the 4 days prior to the super bowl.
Super Bowl Sunday is the biggest winter grilling day of the year.
During the winter season, condensation occurs when warm moist indoor air is cooled down below the dew point temperature as it comes in contact with a cold surface such as the exterior walls or windows. Cold surfaces usually are the result of air leakage, inadequate insulation of walls and windows, or in rooms where less interior heat is provided in the winter. Condensation will continue to form on these surfaces that are below the indoor dew point temperature until sufficient moisture is removed from the air (i.e. lowering of humidity) or the building surface(s) is heated above the dew point temperature. The following general recommendations are simple cost-effective steps that you can perform that could have a noticeable impact to address condensation problems.
1. Properly maintain and operate the spot ventilation systems to exhaust moisture from the kitchen and bathrooms.
2. Verify that the dryer duct connections are air-tight and discharge the dryer air to the outside, not in the unit. Repair/replace the dryer duct where defective.
3. Inspect all windows to locate any areas of possible air infiltration including deteriorated weather stripping, cracked or otherwise defective perimeter sealant, etc. Repair and/or replace where encountered.
4. Replace existing single-pane windows with new more thermal resistance window assemblies.
5. Use portable dehumidifiers within the unit(s) to lower the relative humidity to within acceptable limits by removing moisture from the indoor air.
It’s deicing time again and there are a few things to consider apart from the obvious. The most commonly used deicers (sodium chloride and calcium chloride) are not considered particularly hazardous, but improper storage, use, and disposal of these materials can have negative environmental consequences.
Sodium chloride will, in relatively low concentrations, kill vegetation and contaminate soil for a considerable period of time. It and other commonly used materials can reduce oxygen in bodies of water, which can adversely affect aquatic life. The Chesapeake Bay Watershed is the largest in this region and many of the ills there have been attributed to nitrates from agricultural sources (in the form of fertilizers). A number of deicing products are nitrate-based and their use and disposal would contribute to the pollutant load.
The primary consideration in ice control is obviously public safety and chemical deicers are important tools. Judicious use and conscientious disposal of those materials will not only save you money, they can help save the environment. Here are a few things to consider.
*Road salt (sodium chloride) is the least costly among common agents, but it’s also among the least effective. Salt is also more detrimental to concrete than other, more effective ice melters. One mechanism of ice control is brine formation, which lowers the freezing point of water and salt brines don’t lower it by very much. Brine concentration will change with evaporation/sublimation and other factors. The result is there can be hundreds of freeze/thaw cycles over the course of a single day when temperatures are near the freezing point for fresh water. The Mid-Atlantic region experiences those temperatures more than any other part of the country. Consider products (such as calcium chloride) that exhibit better ice suppression properties, in lower concentrations.
*Try to avoid the use of nitrate-base products. In addition to increasing the pollutant load in the Chesapeake, nitrates contribute to concrete damage for reasons similar to those described above for salt.
*Properly store all materials in protected locations. Exposure to water will convert a bag of pellets into a solid, unusable lump. Many deciers are also hygroscopic and will absorb enough water vapor over time to cause clumping. If you have surplus materials from previous seasons, try to use those before new stocks. If you have any unusable materials, consider recycling them instead of throwing them into the dumpster. Many (such as calcium chloride)have other, industrial uses and there are companies that will collect and recycle them. Search the internet for services near you.
The Marlyn Condominium is one PRIME TIME property that we have had the pleasure of working with for several years. When they talk about “location” this property sure takes center stage. Located in a beautiful part of Washington DC, it’s just minutes from all the excitement this city has to offer! We are so glad that Zalco has added APRIL STEWARD to this property’s famous cast and crew. She is doing a wonderful job handling the daily challenges of a condominium. There’s no doubt she’s got what it takes (along with a great board & staff) to keep this star-property shining bright!
Broken sprinkler pipes can be a very serious problem. On a most recent project, cold weather caused over $1 million in damages from a single 6 inch pipe in the attic of a 4 story building. It caused major floor and ceiling damage to 3 residences and caused the ceiling in the lobby to collapse. The break was due to poorly insulated plastic sprinkler pipes in the attic. Two recent breaks had similar installation defects even though both were previously “fixed” (or so believed).
The repairs in both cases involved removing some insulation from the attic between the pipe and warm building interior. To keep the pipes from freezing, it is critical to allow heat from the interior to reach the pipe. Removing insulation between pipes and interior space will allow the area to be warmed. Be sure to ADD insulation between the pipes and the cold attic space.
It’s a good idea to check the attic to make sure your pipes are insulated properly, but be aware…adding more insulation may NOT get the job done.
ETC toasted in the holiday season with our traditional Christmas party. Each year we are gifted a wonderful evening of celebration and this year proved to be no different. Well, maybe a little bit different, since this was our first visit from Santa – ever!! All I can say is…I’ll never question Santa’s generosity or existence again. I’m a fan for life!!
Just look how cute Sandy, our adminstrative assistant, looks sitting upon Santa’s lap. We ALL know she’s been a good girl this year!! Thank you ETC for a joyful evening. I can’t imagine the holiday season without our ETC traditions!
One of my favorite things about the holiday season is reconnecting with old friends and visiting with colleagues outside of the office. It’s great fun hearing about every one’s holiday traditions, their plans for the coming year and reflecting back on 2010. Please enjoy a few pictures of ETC with our extended professional family. Great to see everyone again….look forward to working with you in 2011!