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Alfred Hitchcock had bird issues (especially seagulls), but in the Baltimore-Washington area, the most common pest birds are pigeons, house sparrows, and starlings. These birds are undesirable if they land, roost, and nest on or in our buildings because they bring unwanted noise, odor, and often disease. Plus, no one likes their deck, patio, lawn furniture, or other belongings adorned with bird droppings.
If you’ve ever tried getting rid of pest birds, you probably know that they annoyingly adapt to many control methods and won’t go away without a fight. After all, they’re called “pests” for a reason. So how do you win this battle and get them to leave for good? You have to think like the bird. Birds seek flat, unobstructed roosting surfaces and they are looking for food. If you take these two things away, they’ll find somewhere else to go.
To reduce or eliminate surfaces on which pest birds roost (i.e. ledges, railings, parapets, awnings, etc.) you should consider installing one or more physical barriers, which typically include spikes (plastic or metal), netting, and electric barriers. Physical barriers are humane, eco-friendly and cost-effective solutions that have high success rates. Spikes and netting are inexpensive and easy to install, but are best suited for hidden areas or where building aesthetics is not a priority. Wires and electric barriers (low-voltage, non-lethal) are less obtrusive and often virtually invisible.
Another great way to make flat roosting surfaces unavailable is to cover them with wood or metal sheathing at a 45° or steeper slope. If you are considering a roof or façade repair/replacement project, this would be the perfect time to implement these methods.
Other bird control systems like sound, traps, aversion chemicals and killing are inhumane, expensive, temporary, and/or ineffective options. We and the Humane Society do not recommend them. As for plastic owls and hawks, they only work on the stupid birds. Savvy city birds aren’t fooled.
The last thing to do to keep birds away is limit availability to food. Implementing better trash management and asking residents to not feed them are two ways to encourage birds to inhabit other areas.
Since every building has its own unique roosting sites and bird access, there is no “one size fits all” bird control option. Be sure to have a qualified professional discuss with you which options are the most appropriate for your building and goals
RCI, Inc. is now IIBEC.
Today, a nonprofit association originally incorporated in 1983 as the Roof consultants Institute (RCI), officially becomes the International Institute of Building Enclosures Consultants. (IIBEC; pronounced eye-bec) This refreshed brand has been designed to accurately represent the services and value of the organization, and in turn, that of its members.
Nothing like a rainy day to see how one of our drainage projects is performing. The channel is not done. We still need some plants to finish the step pools to make the swale look even prettier.
We have found paving fabrics to be very useful in pavement rehabilitation. However, it’s important to apply a proper thickness of asphalt over the fabric or premature failures can occur.
The photograph illustrates what often happens when a thin layer (less than an inch and a half) is applied over paving fabric.
Ron Brookman, our pavement expert, would be happy to discuss any pavement concerns you many be facing this Spring. Send him your questions at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have you ever seen that yellow sign before driving over a bridge that says, “Bridge Ices Before Road” and wondered why? A major reason is that cold air surrounds the bridge from above and below, which means that heat within the bridge deck is lost from all sides. Roadways, however, are protected by the ground below which helps trap in heat.
Another reason is that bridges are often constructed with concrete and roads are typically paved with asphalt. Asphalt pavement is much less dense than concrete which means that the asphalt absorbs heat much better than concrete because the heat can penetrate deeper into the pavement. Additionally, asphalt pavement will retain the heat better than concrete and lose trapped heat more slowly than concrete as the ambient temperatures fall.
Look forward to seeing you there. Sign-up today!
Landscape Infiltration devices have become a favored method of controlling and filtering sediment and pollution carried by rainwater runoff, replacing large sediment ponds previously used. Landscape infiltration devices utilize beds of sand, gravel and mulch, along with native plantings to filter the runoff before the water enters the stormwater system. When completed, the area appears to be a nicely landscaped section of the property.
As with the traditional sediment ponds, the landscape infiltration devices require maintenance to ensure that they function properly. Typically, this includes routine weeding, replacing dead plants and maintaining the mulch bed. We have found a good summary of maintenance information developed by Anne Arundel County, Maryland at the following link:
They did it again! EV-Air-Tight is the winner of the 2nd Annual ETC Canine Invitational.
Since the only prize is a plastic trophy and bragging rights (all proceeds go to CCI) we’re giving EV-Air_Tight a big shout-out for their outstanding golfing abilities, as well as, their big, generous hearts for donating to such a worthy cause.
Well done gentleman. Hope you will be back next year to defend your title.
Honorable mention to our golfing friends & contributors: Culbertson, CP&R, CWI, CWS, East Coast, Exterior Medics, Function & NVM – Enjoyed the day
For more information on CCI, please visit: www.cci.org
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.
Your AC unit has many parts functioning together to enable the generation and distribution of cooled air. The most essential part is the compressor, which is responsible for pumping and circulating liquid refrigerant through the AC system, generating cooled air. By paying attention to these 5 signs, you can diagnose if your compressor is malfunctioning.
Moisture around outdoor unit
If moisture or puddle is found on any section around the outdoor unit, this could be a sign that the compressor is leaking refrigerant. A refrigerant leak can pose serious safety issue that can contaminate the airflow and cause occupants to experience headaches, coughing, irritated eyes, nausea and more. Eventually, the unit will fail as the refrigerant needed to generate cool air is depleted.
Does your outdoor unit generate louder noise than usual? Do you hear any ticking or chattery noises when the unit is turned on? These symptoms could give a clear indication that the compressor motor has become loose and is rattling around inside the unit, or the electrical components are wearing out and need replacement.
Excessive vibration of outdoor unit
If your outdoor unit is shaking violently the moment it turns on, it is very likely that the compressor motor is malfunctioning and need a new replacement.
Circuit breaker tripping
Does your AC outdoor unit keep losing power and tripping the circuit breaker? This is a sign that your compressor is overloading by drawing too much power and thus becomes overheated. Therefore, a professional inspection should be performed to accurately remediate the problem.
Higher than normal temperature
Is warm air coming out of your vents while the AC is on? A failing compressor can struggle to pump refrigerant and keep it circulating throughout the system, causing inadequate cooling power.
If you have a building that needs HVAC evaluation, or are just curious to know if your system is functioning properly, ETC has the first-hand experience to provide professional inspection and consultation regarding technical problems, as well as methods to correct them.
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.