Category Archives: Concrete & Construction Contractors

Techniques On How To Create A Podium

Studying how to assemble a podium is among the least difficult carpentry related labor I’ve ever done. Most likely since it isn’t as detailed as some furnishings I’ve made in the past.

Podiums frequently called as pulpits or lecterns are necessary fixtures on a stage. There are variety of design that you can use for a podium in particular on its front area. Most usually the style is largely dependent on the purpose of which it is built for.

Construct a Podium the Easy Way

As I’ve mentioned earlier, building a lectern isn’t as hard as some other woodworking projects that is, if you have basic construction in mind. However, the good thing is that even if you are just able to build a basic structure, you always have the option of customizing it later on and adding some designs and embellishments once you have the basic construction done.

Making a Lectern – Issues to Keep in Mind

When I constructed a lectern for a function room late in the previous year, I’ve had several things to bear in mind to make sure the structure is precisely suited for the purpose it was created for.

Several of these are:

Height and Width

How high and wide would you like the lectern to be? In my case, I just have the average height of men in mind when making a podium as most speakers in that function room are men.

This is something that is entirely dependent on the height of the common user of the podium.

Standard Podium vs. Multi-purpose, Multi-compartment Lecterns

You have the decision of creating a fundamental design which is commonly very easy to create. You’ll just be in need of a 3 sided casing with measurements of your choice keeping the widest side for the front side of the podium you are making.

A multi-purpose podium however, would require to have some compartments installed to make some space for the materials that the speaker might be using. When I was making the structure I’ve added a sort of built-in cabinet in the podium as requested by the owner for storage purposes. Microphones and some equipment needed for the sound system is stored there.

Mobile Podium vs. Fixed Lectern

To construct a podium, specifically a movable one, you only need to attach an industrial strength wheels on the foundation of the structure. Just make sure they are locking wheels to make certain unwelcome motions when using the pulpit.

Furthermore, you may want to use lightweight materials for portability.

If you opt for a more fixed podium, you can just add more weight to its base to allow still for minor movements. However, you may also attach the podium to the floor for a more permanent fixture.

Plans for Making a Podium

To make a podium, a pulpit building plan will make the operation less complicated. With this, you would have the basic construction design all ready for you.

Of course the podium layout would have to be based wholly on the goal it is constructed for.

Personally, I made use of a very handy blueprint in constructing a podium. I’ve been making use of this source not just in building a podium but in my other woodworking projects as well.

Glass Houses

The First Influential Glass House

Building an entire house out of glass has fascinated and intrigued designers and architects for decades, but it was only in 1949 that this idea captured the attention of the world. Philip Johnson was the architect of this modernist glass construction on his own property in New Canaan Connecticut. The immaculate design was made entirely of glass in a geometric and proportional structure, complete with flat glass roof. The brick platform supported the eight steel pillars that held the glass intact. The only other material used within the house was a brick cylinder in the centre used to hide the bathroom from exterior eyes. This pillar of modern design was applauded the world over and introduced people to a myriad of new possibilities in design and building materials. The effects of Johnson’s design were felt in architectural works for years to come and after his death in 2005; the house was finally opened to the public.

Actual Houses Made of Glass

Johnson’s glass house might have been at the height of style at its time, but there are many impracticalities that come with glass houses. The lack of privacy with Johnson’s architectural innovation did not affect him within the isolation of his walled estate and his commitment to minimalism and immaculate design even prevented the use of a pillow on his bed, maintaining the aesthetic appeal of the house at all times. Many of us don’t have the private estate or the time to be as committed to the aesthetic integrity of our homes and issues like cleaning the expansive walls of glass become the most immediate concern. Massive challenges such as keeping such a home warm in winter and cool in summer are also pertinent concerns. Full glass houses, despite being fashionable and aesthetically stunning, have never quite caught on and one of the reasons that Johnson’s house retains its popularity today is that fact that it is still so unique.

Modern Day Glass Houses

With recent technological innovations however, there have been significant advances in the possibility of finally being able to build glass houses. There is something about glass that oozes beauty and sophistication and many of us dream of having such an impressive structure to call home. Besides its aesthetic appeal and dramatic lifestyle statement, a glass house actually has many benefits:

•A home made of glass is environmentally responsive, blending in with almost any backdrop.
•These homes make low energy living easy and are thus kinder to the environment and your pocket.
•Glass houses can easily incorporate state of the art technology that can save you money in the long term and makes life easier.
•Glass houses improve the natural lighting in your home.
•Glass houses now come almost ready-made, in three sections that simply need to be erected.
•Glass houses are in fact exceptionally low maintenance, provided you have constructed it from the correct glass.

But What About the Problems?

While these benefits may sound terrific, especially the fact that you can practically build a new home in three steps, glass houses still come with a myriad of questions and scepticism.

Keeping the Glass Clean: Modern technology means that glass houses can now be built with glass that is self-cleaning. This glass has a special coating that reacts with the ultra-violet rays from the sun to break down and disintegrate organic dirt. When it rains, the same coating causes the water to spread out across the entire pane of glass, leaving it to run off and taking the loosened dirt with it. The glass dries quickly, without any unsightly streaking, basically keeping itself clean.

Keeping the House Warm or Cool: The type of glass used in the build of a glass house can go a long way to eliminating many heating or cooling problems. Low emissivity glass reflects heat back into a room whilst letting in free heat from the sun, making it easier and more cost effective to keep buildings warm. This type of glass helps to actually reduce heating and cooling bills, making your home more economical and environmentally friendly.

How to Manage a Glass Roof: Having a complete glass house, glass roof included, can be a scary thought as no one wants the sun’s rays beating down on them inside. Photovoltaic cells can be mounted on the roof to generate electricity and are angled like louvres to moderate the amount of sunlight that enter your home. The glass can also be etched with a slight pattern to reduce solar gain and add an attractive feature. To avoid sweltering summers you can use solar control glass in your roof construction. Solar control glass helps keep rooms at a comfortable temperature, therefore creating a more pleasant environment in summer than ordinary glass.

The Safety of Living Behind Glass Walls: As with the cleaning and the cooling, the safety of your home all depends on the type of glass fitted. Toughened safety glass can be fitted which is able to withstand deliberate attack of various kinds.

Waste Glass Houses

These days glass houses do not necessarily mean bright, transparent structures. With the recent rush to become more environmentally friendly, scientists are coming up with new ecological building materials every day. Bitumen blocks are the latest innovation in this area and are essentially building blocks made up of waste products. Crushed glass is a common product used and is mixed with bitumen as a binding agent. The mixture is then heated and compressed and cooled, creating a shaped building material that is stronger than concrete. This highly effective recycling method is gaining interest around the world, meaning you now might need to double check what it means when the brochure says “glass house”!

A Compromise

Many people love a light-filled home or having a house with a lovely indoor-outdoor flow, but just can’t quite get their heads around the concept of an entire home constructed from glass. One of the best ways to still incorporate all the benefits of glass into your existing home is to add on a conservatory. This glass structure adds instant style and sophistication to any home as well as an often much needed extra room. Furnished beautifully in natural colours and through the use of plants and decor, these rooms can bring the outdoors in, while creating a light and bright atmosphere throughout your home. Conservatories can be built using all the same glass products as a glass house, letting you reap all the same benefits, while you slowly get used to the idea of an entire home made of this unique building material.

High Temperature Exhaust Fans

High temperature exhaust fans can be grouped into two general categories: emergency smoke evacuation and process ventilation. Generally speaking, emergency smoke evacuation fans may never be used, but they must be installed and be capable of exhausting high temperature air and smoke in the event of a fire. In contrast, high temperature process ventilation requires continuous duty exhaust of high temperature air, fumes or particulate. Both application types are uniquely different requiring special construction and system design considerations. In this article, we will examine both types of exhaust applications, looking first at the emergency smoke exhaust category. Since emergency smoke exhaust deals with lifesafety issues, there are governing bodies in place that identify and regulate specific design and performance standards. The administration and organization of the various governing bodies is subject to modification based on the needs of the industry. Currently, four such agencies are Industrial Risk Insurers (IRI), Southern Building Code Congress International, Inc (SBCCI), the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL). IRI insures properties all over the world based on an informational manual, which details the construction requirements that belt drive emergency heat and smoke exhausters must meet in order to be covered by IRI.

SBCCI is a not-for-profit organization of government officials from the United States and several foreign governments, which serves a strong leadership role in the delivery of model building codes. The purpose of the NFPA can be summarized into three main categories. First, NFPA promotes the science and improves the methods of fire protection and prevention, electrical safety, and other related safety goals. Secondly, it obtains and circulates information on these subjects. And thirdly, it secures the cooperation of its members and the public in establishing proper safeguards against loss of life and property. The fourth organization is Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.. UL is a non-profit, independent organization that maintains and operates laboratories for examination and testing of devices, systems and materials to determine their relation to life, casualty hazards and crime prevention. UL has three safety standards that apply to emergency smoke exhaust products. UL705 is concerned with the mechanical and electrical construction to insure safe operation. All electrical components (motor, wiring, switches, enclosures, etc.) must be ULlisted. UL793 is concerned with the lifting mechanism for the butterfly dampers and the fusible link. In order for a product to be listed in the UL Directory under ÒPower Ventilators for Smoke Control Systems,Ó it must meet the requirements of both UL705 and UL793. Additionally, UL must witness a full-scale test of a fan operating for the required time at the specified elevated and temperature.

So what makes one fan more capable of sustaining higher temperatures than another fan? Each model has a recommended maximum operating temperature based on the construction materials, drive components, and airflow characteristics. The limiting temperature is determined to be the highest temperature that any component of the fan assembly will reach during any operating cycle. Similarly, the maximum operating temperature is typically determined to be the lowest temperature that begins to exceed the capacity of any one component. For example, in some cases the bearings may be the limiting component, while in other cases the fanÕs impeller construction material may be the limiting component. The construction material is perhaps the most obvious element of the fan to consider when dealing with a high-temperature application. In general, aluminum withstands maximum temperatures up to 250 F, standard carbon steel up to 750 F, and 316 stainless steel up to 1000 F. Critical components are many times constructed of ferrous materials to withstand the higher temperatures. If temperatures were to exceed 300¼F, for example, aluminum would be eliminated as a construction material option. Other construction considerations include bearing type, drive component selections, means of ventilation and cooling of the drive components, and insulation options.

The most common way of simplifying construction and component specifications to accommodate high temperature applications is to maintain separate categories based on the specified temperature range and time requirements.

Canada Blowewr has four ÒHeat Option PackagesÓ for high temperature operation. Heat Option I construction is designed for continuous operation between 200 F and 500 F. Heat Option II construction meets specifications requiring the fan to exhaust 500 F air for a minimum of four hours in an emergency smoke removal situation per IRI requirements. Heat Option III construction meets the specifications requiring the fan to exhaust 1000 F air for a minimum of 15 minutes in an emergency smoke removal situation per SBCCI. This construction also surpasses the IRI requirements for 500 F for a minimum of four hours. Heat Option IV construction meets specifications for UL Listed ÒPower Ventilators for Smoke Control Systems. This includes the IRI requirement of 500 F for a minimum of four hours, the SBCCI requirements of 1000 F for a minimum of 15 minutes, and the Snow Load Test for butterfly dampers in UL-793.

While it may be tempting to choose a higher heat option than necessary “just to be safe”, doing so can add considerable and unnecessary cost to the job. For example, selecting HT Option III when HT Option II is adequate adds insulation and high temperature bearings. These items would be considered “overkill” and add unnecessary extra costs.

The History Of Glass In Architecture

Glass was discovered, seemingly by accident, nearly 4000 years ago and has since evolved into one of our most used and most revered materials. It was only 2000 years ago that the manufacturing of glass progressed to being able to create sheets strong enough to be used as windows and architectural features. Today glass is used in everything from revolving doors to skywalks and interior partitions and is one of our most striking architectural materials with a fascinating history.

The Beginnings of Glass in Architecture

When glass was first used in architecture and construction, the limitations of masonry and weaker building materials meant that its prominence was restricted to small windows. With developments in construction, this began to change and by the Medieval Era glass started to be used as more of a decorative feature than simply a way to let light in. The trend for tall, stone Gothic churches facilitated the use of elaborate glass windows made up from fragments of coloured glass and depicting striking biblical scenes. These windows related the stories of the bible to an illiterate populace and spurned the architectural trend of searching for transparency, luminosity and weightlessness through glass.

The Next Big Step in Glass

It wasn’t until the 19th century that glass in architecture took its next significant step forward. Before this time, the manufacturing process itself restricted the use of glass to only small sheets, which is illustrated in the prominent use of cottage pane glass and intricately divided windows in 18th century architecture.

The introduction of iron and other materials during this time meant that glass could take on a whole new role in architecture. Thanks to the materials now existing to hold it in place, coupled with the new ability to mass produce large sheets, the possibilities for the use of glass in construction became nearly limitless. Architects began to experiment with things like conservatories and entire walls of glass that were held together by high trussed steel arches and finger fixings. The Crystal Palace constructed in 1851 represents the most ambitious glass architectural projects of its time – a construction made up of 300 000 sheets of glass.

Glass in Architecture in the 20th Century

Architects use of glass continued to evolve throughout the 20th century although most of the larger, ambitious projects were confined to large office buildings with massive budgets. The idea of transparency and dematerialisation was dominant during this time and architects the world over tried to use glass to create ‘honest’ buildings that focussed on a sense of light and space. One of the biggest changes during these years was the move away from seeing glass as only the material for the openings within a structure, but rather as the material for the structure itself. Glass skins became the challenge to tackle whereby a thin steel structure literally supported skyscrapers of full glass walls.
The Fagus Factory in Germany was one of the first buildings to employ this technique. This urban shoe factory was designed by Walter Gropius in 1911 and used a thin steel structure to hold up a full glass façade to meet the client’s brief of an attractive outlook.
One of the greatest feats in glass architecture in this century is the new Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan which is set to open its doors to the public in early 2009. The steel sphere of the planetarium is an 87-foot structure which can accommodate 585 people. What’s so breathtaking is that is seems to float in the centre of a breathtaking glass cube.

Using glass in architecture has certainly come a long way from its start. As structures like the Hayden Planetarium are constructed, limitations fall away and glass architecture takes on a life of its own.

Glass in Architecture Today

Constant innovations in glass and building materials continue to increase the possibilities for the use of glass in architecture and today have resulted in some of the most spectacular buildings imaginable. Lightweight, strong plastics, new cladding materials and fixing technologies have allowed for even more experimentation with glass and has enabled architects to translate many of these styles to work in the domestic environment and not only in corporate skyscrapers. Other innovations in glass have also enabled it to become less of a building material and more of a design feature in homes across the globe. Glass is now stronger and safer than ever, allowing it to be used anywhere from roofs to staircases and interior walls – glass is no longer just for windows and the occasional sliding door.

Other innovations in glass have made it possible to fully utilise glass as a building material and prominent feature in domestic homes. Before, architects shied away from a fully-fronted glass home as the heating and cooling bills were astronomical and were only practical in an office environment. With new innovations in double-glazed glass, thermal insulating glass and solar control glass, this problem becomes less of an issue as the glass itself helps to regulate the temperature inside.

Another drawback of abundant use of glass in the home was the need to keep it clean. Glass roofs, conservatories and high walls were often avoided due to the time or cost involved in their cleaning. The advent of self-cleaning glass has helped to reduce this problem, encouraging and allowing for new innovations in the use of glass in domestic architecture. Self-cleaning glass utilises a special coating that reacts with sunlight to break down and loosen organic dirt that is then washed away by the rain. This same coating prevents the water from settling and streaking, rather encouraging run off, leaving the glass naturally cleaner and clearer. This allows architects the freedom to use glass for any exterior that their creativity can take them and has left us with some of the finest architectural uses of glass yet.