Infographic Offers Surprising Details About Skyscrapers

Chase Culpan at the Calgary Window and Door Guys did up a fascinating infographic on skyscrapers. Besides listing the tallest skyscrapers, the graphic details the cities with the most buildings over 300 meters (984 feet) high, the most iconic buildings in this class, the first skyscraper, the evolution of the skyscraper and illuminating facts about these very tall buildings. The infographic itself is very tall so you’ll have to click the Read More link to view it. Continue reading

Choosing Between Laminate and Luxury Vinyl Tile

Man installs flooring
A cost conscious alternative to hard wood flooring, laminates of all types have made significant inroads to the flooring market. (Copyright: lightkeeper / 123RF Stock Photo

(Thanks to Selby Carpets for providing and sponsoring this post. Selby offers every type of carpet and flooring in the London area for both commercial and business premises. Whatever type of flooring you go for, and whether you’re looking for commercial flooring or something for the home, you’re assured of a durable, cost-effective purchase.)

With all the flooring products on the market it is challenging for architects and designers to feel confident in specifying the right one. For homeowners, and for homebuilders, the job is even tougher. In particular, the choice between laminate and luxury vinyl tile often catches people off-guard just because of their similarities in  elegance, durability and low-maintenance properties. However, there are some differences, and choosing the right solution really depends on priorities. Continue reading

An Ancient Material Finds a Place in the New World Trade Center

Slag flowing from kettles
No longer a waste material, slag has found an important place in the building industry. (Copyright: graf_montekristo / 123RF Stock Photo)

Many people probably don’t know the One World Trade Center shares a characteristic with Roman Empire roads, railroads, and 18th century masonry work in Europe.  That characteristic goes by the unassuming name of “slag.”

Slag, the leftovers from the metal smelting process was a key component used as a base material in Roman roads. And while Germans made cannon balls from the stuff in the 1500s, it wasn’t until the 1800s that Europeans and Americans got serious about slag for building. Continue reading

Virtual Reality Stimulates Interest in Construction Careers

Young person designing tower cranes 14637470_s
Getting more youth interested in construction may take appealing to them at the technology level they’re used to. (Copyright: dskdesign / 123RF Stock Photo)

There isn’t much exciting about a hammer, especially to a young person. And running a shovel can’t be nearly as engrossing as running a backhoe. But hammers and shovels are the construction of yesteryear. Problem is, many kids don’t know that.

Add in our nation’s preoccupation with the “four-year degree,” and you’ve got a recipe for a long-term talent shortage in an industry that’s a significant part of the national economy.

But, what if you could show young people the real side of construction today? Continue reading

Five Ways to Research Your Next Construction Employer

cartoon of boss and worker
Changing construction jobs takes skill and research to avoid getting into a worse situation than you are already in. (Copyright: andrewgenn / 123RF Stock Photo)

If you are unsatisfied working at your current employer and you don’t see anything changing anytime soon, then you’ll have to be the one to make the change happen. And, now is a pretty good time to do just that.

By most accounts, construction is in for a period of labor shortages because many people left the industry during the recession, and there are massive numbers of baby boomers retiring. Continue reading

Steps to Controlling Runoff and Erosion at Construction Sites

muddy road with sky light opening
Mud is as native to construction as lumber and steel. But it now needs a lot of watching to make sure it doesn’t flow where it shouldn’t be. (Copyright: mihtiander / 123RF Stock Photo)

Recent devastating mudslides graphically remind us of just how tenuous our footing is, even on trusted land. And while most of the recent devastation wasn’t caused by construction activity, there are many times where runoff and erosion from construction sites is excessive and largely preventable.

The University of Missouri Extension reports that construction sites typically add 100 to 200 tons of sediment per acre, per year to waterways. Continue reading

Autonomous Heavy Equipment Becoming Better Suited to Construction

Komatso_machine_control-dozer
Komatsu’s D61EXi/PXi-23 Intelligent Machine Control Dozer is just one example of the latest round of machines promising to reduce errors, increase productivity and keep people safer. (Courtesy Komatsu)

With the announcement by international mining group, Rio Tinto, that it just moved 200 million tones (224 million tons) of material in Western Australia using autonomous haul trucks, the realities of automation in mining as well as in construction come into sharp focus.

Rio Tinto has 53 autonomous trucks in its fleet that use GPS to deliver loads 24 hours a day. Each truck carries 500 tons and is monitored remotely. Continue reading

New Design Build Documents Help Enhance Participant Interaction

signing contract
AIA updated its design-build documents to strengthen the relationships between owner and other parties. (Copyright: gvictoria / 123RF Stock Photo)

The American Institute of Architects updated the “most frequently used” documents of the entire AIA portfolio, saying the “significance of this release cannot be overstated.” According to the AIA, these updated documents are preferred for use on commercial design build projects.

The new documents are supposed to help improve the interaction between owner and design-builder by “calling for clearly defined and mandated Owner’s Criteria for the Project and requiring submission of a Preliminary Design by the Design-Builder.” Continue reading

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