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Just a little humor to start the week.
If you experienced one or all of the following situations inside your building, most likely your building (and you) need a little more fresh air.
1. Did you see condensation on your window pane in the winter? Without enough fresh air and proper ventilation to remove the moisture from inside the building, humidity will keep building up in the air. When the moisture content of air reaches the level of the dew point at the cold surface of the window or any cold spot inside the building, condensation will start to form and accumulate. When too much condensation is present, water may drip into the wall cavity and cause damage. In addition, high humidity will encourage growth of mold and mildew.
2. Do you always smell something “unique” in your house as soon as you step into the building from outside? Is it your favorite food smell, kitty litter smell or air freshener smell? This means you don’t have enough fresh air to push the old and stale air out of the building. Proper ventilation will get rid of this “unique” household odor and provide you and your visitors a fresh and clean air smell.
3. Ever wonder why you don’t quite feel energetic and frequently feel sleepy staying inside the building? Maybe some fresh air can help. Fresh air provides you with a steady supply of oxygen which is needed by your brain and every single cell of your body. Time to treat your body with a good supply of fresh air.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out your building doesn’t have enough fresh air. However, it definitely takes a professional engineer to evaluate, analyze and design a cost effective and energy efficient ventilation system to provide adequate and comfortable fresh air supply year round
Perforated PVC pipes used for underground drainage have offset holes drilled along the centerline of the pipe. It seems that some philosophical disagreements exist related to the placement of the holes in gravel filled trenches (i.e. French Drains). A review of installation instructions from several State DOT manuals reveals that the holes should be down (i.e. placed facing the bottom of the trench). The reason is that this allows the water to enter the pipe and drain from the soil at the lowest level. If the holes are located along the top of the pipe, then the water must rise to the level of the top of the pipe before it can be drained. In most cases, the purpose of these buried pipes is to collect water in the ground before it enters a building basement or seeps up through parking lot pavement, so it makes sense to collect the water at the lowest level available. Water will follow the path of least resistance, so once it enters the pipe, gravity will make it travel until it reaches the discharge point at the low end of the pipe.
Millennials are defined as a generation of people whose age ranges from 18 to 34, that means born after 1981 or before 1999. This age group that has surpassed baby boomers in population are characteristically confident, self-expressive, multi-cultural, open to change and technically savvy. Millennials are not only aware of the latest market trends in design, they also expect their living environment to be up to the latest standards of design and construction. In conversation with recent Millennials buyers for condominiums, we discovered some of their priorities and expectations.
- Building preferably located from a walking distance to train station, grocery store, restaurants and school. There is a strong preference for centralized community living and vibrant neighborhood.
- Paper-less communication for all condominium announcements and meeting notes.
- Outdoor jogging/walking trail and a dog park should be located nearby, if not on the building premises.
- Automated control system for the condominium such as window shades, lighting and thermostat.
- A well-lit spacious lobby that welcomes not only the visitors, but also serves as a lounge area for the residents to meet and greet. Front desk should have also a package delivery service.
- Light fixtures should have motion detectors that could save their electrical bill and energy consumption.
- Bike repair station and bike lockers should be located near parking garage, along with electrical charge stations for hybrid cars.
Researchers at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands are working on placing bacteria in concrete mixes to fix cracks in concrete and make it self-healing. This could make concrete less susceptible to damage related to water that infiltrates a beam by way of a crack and results in rebar corrosion.
What do you really know about your roof warranties? There may be separate warranties issued for various materials and the installing contractor may have also guaranteed workmanship. Each will expire at some point and there are things you should do to preserve your protections.
1. Review the documents and assure they were properly executed. If, for example the papers were never signed and returned to the manufacture, you probably don’t have a warranty.
2. Be aware of your responsibilities. Failure to properly maintain the system could void warranties.
3. Properly notify all involved parties (manufacturers, contractor, etc.) of problems within the 10 to 30 days typically required.
4. Be sure that repairs are made using approved materials and contractors certified by the manufacturer. Unapproved materials and repairs may void coverage, at least in the areas affected by repairs.
5. Have a knowledgeable person evaluate the roof covering periodically and within six months to one year in advance of warranty expiration dates. There may be conditions that could be corrected at no cost before coverage lapses.
Some warranties can be extended or renewed for additional cost; however it may not always be advantageous to do so. The manufacturer could impose maintenance or rehabilitative requirements that are unreasonable when compared with the value of the coverage. Spending $100,000 to get a five-year warranty extension on a $200,000 roof might not be the best use of the money.
There is a lot of talk these days about using drones to inspect exterior building walls. Aside from issues regarding safety, liability, federal regulations, etc. there is little doubt that up close video photography can be a helpful tool. Visual inspection using binoculars from ground-level or other vantage points is a basic part of exterior wall inspection and investigation procedures. This process can only benefit from the use of drones in terms of being able to quickly examine large areas with good quality imaging (documentation).
However, any visual inspection is limited. An up-close inspection by a qualified inspector or engineer (using a roof-mounted swing stage, scaffolding, or a man-lift) provides the most reliable information possible by allowing the person to touch, probe, and sound (tap) areas of concern to check for delamination, stability, soundness, etc.
In addition, having an individual “on the wall” allows for intrusive sampling needed to determine in-place, hidden conditions. Visual examination alone cannot fully evaluate these matters.
Yes, drones can be a valuable part of an exterior wall inspection and/or evaluation. We own a drone and use it for certain inspections. However, drones alone are not capable of providing all the information necessary to perform a complete and comprehensive investigation of exterior walls or building conditions.
When buying a condominium or renting an apartment, amenity spaces have become an important aspect of resident’s comfort and lifestyle. In newer developments, as the size of the apartment is shrinking, it is the amenity spaces that become the home and outlet for activities. Traditionally, a residential building has a club room, weight room and an outdoor pool, which still serves well for many communities. However, in today’s market, buyers have many new interests and requirements. In general, the trend has been leaning towards spaces that suggest specific activity areas. Here is a list of growing trends in amenity spaces that has grabbed our attention.
- A Play Room for kids is a place for kids to go, without going anywhere (outside the building). It provides a place for kids (as well as parents) to have fun, play and interact with their community. Rooms are specially designed to provide kid’s furniture and colorful room finishes.
- A Fitness Center that is more than just a weight room. It includes a cardio room, machine room, free weights area, yoga/ Pilates studio and a massage room. We have seen many of these rooms located on ground floor with large windows to allow plenty of sunlight and fresh air.
- Entertainment and Sports Lounge for the sports enthusiasts. Watching a game with friends and having a pizza is a great American tradition. This room provides a comfortable family room environment to kick back and enjoy a game with friends and family.
- Rooftop Sundeck-Pool and an Outdoor Kitchen have become essential for residents to escape their daily lives and enjoy the outdoors on their rooftop. Many buildings offer special catered events to celebrate 4th of July and have a great meal.
- Dog Wash Room is a very practical amenity for pet lovers. Dog hair can easily clog your bath tub and taking your pet to grooming shop get tiresome during freezing months. Why not have a dog wash and grooming room that takes care of your pet inside your building.
- A Vegetable Garden is an amazing addition to your backyard, so why not to your building. Growing vegetables provides a healthy choice for food and exercise for the residents. Although it requires maintenance plans and agreements between management and residents, it is worth the effort.
Installing linoleum or similar covering directly on concrete floors can be problematic if there is moisture in the slab. This is especially a concern with on grade slabs where there may be moisture under the slab that can permeate upward. Linoleum and similar floor coverings act as a barrier that can cause moisture to be trapped under the flooring. When this happens, the floor covering can unbond, warp and become a serious hazard.
Carpet covering will let moisture vapor pass through and normally are not a problem. Carpet can be a solution where other floor coverings are adversely affected by moisture.
If a linoleum or similar covering needs to be installed, it is important to understand and analyze the moisture present in and/or under the slab. Various types of moisture testing can be performed to help verify that the concrete is dry enough to allow the installation of an impermeable floor covering.
Researchers at the University of Maryland have found a way to make wood transparent, which could change the way that we utilize this building material.
- Most importantly is your safety. Be sure to wear appropriate protection such as a hard hat, construction boots, yellow safety vest and safety glasses.
- Make an appointment with the contractor/management and be familiar with the overall layout, prior to your visit. Upon arrival check in with the construction site supervisor.
- Take photographs of the construction site and make field notes of your observations. Don’t forget to document date, time, project name and whom you met.
- Take along a 25-foot tape measure for field dimensions and a flash light for enclosed rooms that may not have electricity.
- The general contractor has authority and responsibility for the job site, therefore don’t direct workers, get in a debate or offer advice. It is best to state the purpose of your visit, make observations and be courteous