Category Archives: Housing
Posted in Employees | Housing | Innovative Solutions | Leadership | Structural Engineering by Stefanie JH English, PE (Structural Engineering) on March 11, 2013
LDG’s Stefanie English, PE, recently co-presented at the inaugural Residential Building Design & Construction Conference, hosted by Penn State’s Pennsylvania Housing Research Center (PHRC). The conference took place February 20-21, 2013 at the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, PA. Read the presentation she developed in conjunction with Bill Brown, “An Introduction to Steel and Concrete Modular Construction”, below.
For many years, wood framed modular construction has been a useful and cost-effective solution in the residential market. While this type of construction has been a good solution for one- and two-family residential construction, it has been limited by factors such as available beam spans, lateral force resisting system requirements, and fire resistance, affecting its use in larger multi-story projects, such as hotels and dormitories. This presentation will explore the benefits of using steel-framed modules to achieve greater exterior opening distances, increased floor plan flexibility, LEED® certification, and non-combustible occupancies.
Posted in Codes & Regulations | Housing | Innovative Solutions | Water/Wastewater by Matthew J. Peleschak, PE (Project Manager) on October 24, 2012
Very few home buyers ask for a sewer inspection before buying a home. Buyers know to get a home inspection, but sewer lines are usually an afterthought, if they cross a buyer’s mind at all. Yet it’s one of the most important inspections a buyer of older homes can conduct, and can save the buyer both headaches and money.
Municipalities are always looking for creative ways to reduce costs to their constituents. Wastewater treatment is a significant cost for municipalities and offers a great potential for savings. To this end, private property inspections of sanitary sewer systems can help to reduce cost by improving efficiency. Many of the Northeast’s sewer systems have been in place for more than 60 years, which is past or almost past their useful design life. Systems of this age have been constructed of clay pipe, which has typically deteriorated to a point where significant amounts of excess clear water, called Infiltration/Inflow (I/I), is entering the system. The term infiltration refers to clear water that enters the system from a groundwater source, while inflow refers to clear water that enters the system from above ground sources such as downspouts and sump pumps.Comments (1) | Permalink |
Posted in Architecture | Building Systems | Current Events | Energy Conservation | Housing | Innovative Solutions | Structural Engineering | Sustainable Design | Urban Development by Brad Breneisen (Graphic Design) on July 20, 2011
Is the push towards sustainability strong enough for the design and construction industries to kick old habits and reconsider the Concrete Masonry Unit (CMU)?
Personal views aside, I think it is safe to say that society at large is becoming more and more conscientious about our impact on the environment. With the growing push towards sustainability, we are starting to see long established practices go under the microscope.
This post came about when a friend of mine named Gary Summers told me that he was in the process of obtaining a full patent for the first modular self-locking building block. Basically, he wants to usurp the existing concrete masonry unit (CMU). He sees his design as the connecting link between energy efficiency and structural design. I have always sensed that the existing CMU design is a bit primitive in relation to the progress society has made in other areas; but considering how entrenched it is in the way we build, it’s hard to imagine using anything else…until you talk to Gary.No comments yet | Permalink |
Posted in Architecture | Building Systems | Codes & Regulations | Housing by Stefanie JH English, PE (Structural Engineering) on September 1, 2010
Photo: © Jason Nelson
At the end of 2008, I responded to a call for volunteers. The assignment: serve the Commonwealth of PA as an engineering representative on the yet-to-be-formed Uniform Construction Code Review and Advisory Council. The primary focus of the group would be to consider the International Code Council’s 2009 edition, providing recommendations for exclusion of any new provisions introduced. At the time, I had no idea what I would be getting into.
Soon after the council was formed, I began to hear about “the big issue” – residential fire sprinklers. Being a structural engineer, this was not something I was particularly concerned with. It seems that I was not the only one; more than once when talking about “residential sprinklers” the person with whom I was speaking thought that I meant lawn sprinklers, not fire sprinklers. I’ll admit, when it was explained to me that one of the new provisions in the 2009 International Residential Code required fire sprinklers in every one- and two-family home, I thought it was ridiculous. It sure seemed like a lot of effort and expense. Was this really necessary? What’s wrong with how we’ve been building homes for decades? Well, I figured, this is a no-brainer. I can’t support a provision that doesn’t make any sense. This must be so narrow an issue that we’ll breeze through it during our review meeting…No comments yet | Permalink |