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Juan Rodriguez

Juan's Construction Blog

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Real Estate Leaders Forum Brought by Professional Women in Construction

Sunday June 1, 2014
housing starts

On June 4th, the Professional Women in Construction (PWC) invites you to participate at the Meet the Real Estate Industry forum. This year's annual meeting will invite key decision makers to offer insider tips on topics and trends on the rebounding industry. The event includes a B to B interchange with exhibit tables. It takes place from 5:30 to 8 pm at Club 101, 101 Park Ave. at 40th St., NYC.This year's honored guests are: Margie Russell, executive director, NYARM; Ira Meister, RAM, CREA, president, Matthew Adam Properties; Carl Chastain, director market development, Honest Buildings; and John E. Janis, property manager, Stillman Property Management.

Founded in 1980, PWC is a national,non-profit 501(c)3 organization committed to advancing professional, entrepreneurial and managerial opportunities for women and other "non-traditional" populations in construction and related industries. For reservations, contact pwc@pwcusa.org, visit www.pwcusa.org/ny or call 212.486.7745.

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Louisiana $10 Billion Project Receives Approval from Senate

Monday May 26, 2014

A $10 billion flood control project in Lousina has been included as part of The Water Resources Reform and Development Act. The legislation authorizes 34 projects over the next decade including the 100 mile long project that includes levees and flood control gates in Terrebone and Lafourche. The legislation would require a second round of approvals but at least puts these projects one step closer to reality. Some other projects included in the bill are: the rebuilding of Whiskey Island, Raccoon Island, Trinity Island and Timbalier Island off the coast of Terrebonne Parish; and projects to reduce the loss of wetlands around Caminada Headland in Lafourche, Plaquemines and Jefferson Parishes. The bill also proposes changes on how the projects can seek funding and establishes time and cost limits for evaluation of new projects. One of the most important aspects is that it eliminates unnecessary Corps reviews and speeds up environmental reviews for potential projects.

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Indy 500 Road Course Rehabilitation Ready for Today's Race

Sunday May 25, 2014
Indy 500

When drivers head down to the Indy 500 Road Course today, they will be driving over one of the most acclaimed tracks in the world. However, that race track was recently renovated just in time for the Indy 500 that is being held today. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway was originally paved using more than 3 million bricks in 1909 and it was completed only within 63 days. Last November the road course was repaved using more than 20,000 tons of asphalt and completed in 63 days too. During the project only 70 crew members took part during the construction process and it was paved using only 40 heavy equipment machinery, including dozers, pavers, dump trucks and rollers. The project cost was about $5 million and it paved an area of over 16 acres equivalent to almost 16 football fields.

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11 Year Delay on Important Federal Construction Project

Friday May 23, 2014
Washington Monument

The largest construction project planned in D.C. since the Pentagon probably will remain as a plan. The massive headquarters for the Department of Homeland Security should have been completed by now, but instead the project is still under planning and might never be completed. The project, now 11 years behind schedule, has also increased its originally budget from $3 billion to over $4.5 billion as of today and that number keeps increasing. Following September 11, 2001 the government announced its plan to build new headquarters over historic buildings in D.C. but the progress is so slow that now some government officials are concerned that will never be build. The project is still pending approval and authorization to work on some historic buildings as well as some expropriations that have never materialized.

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Demolition Proposed on Historic Art Deco Building

Monday May 19, 2014
Oso Blanco

One of the few standing Art Deco Inspired Jails in the U.S is about to be demolished. The 'Oso Blanco Penitentiary' registered in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places since 2003, and designed by architect Francisco Roldan during the 1920's, could probably be demolished after an announcement from Puerto Rico government indicating that the building is very expensive to be retrofitted. Andy Rivera, president of Puerto Rico Historic Buildings Drawings Society, filed a court petition to suspend the demolition until the studies that recommend such an action be made public.The construction began officially in 1927 with the overview of a professional contracting agency and the use of prisoner workforce. The total cost of the project was $779,822.

The Puerto Rico Insular Penitentiary is a four-story, reinforced concrete, Art Deco/Neo Moorish correctional facility with a rectangular floor plan of symmetrical composition, an entrance portico and an interior central court. The walls are finished with smooth cement plaster and decorated with glazed ceramic tiles. The exterior facades are articulated by a rhythmic sequence of recessed and embossed bays and meet at the at each corner of the building with four turrets suggesting a fortress-like image. During the process of listing it as a historic building the property was described as 'The property is in excellent condition, though urban sprawl has replaced its original rural setting.' Apparently things have changed since then, but we haven't seen the actual study that indicates the property needs to be demolished at over $30 million dollars.

The government must then answer the question: Is it really cheaper to demolish an Art Deco Historic Building than retrofitting it?

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World Cup Stadium Becomes 2nd Most Expensive Soccer Field

Friday May 16, 2014
World Cup Stadium

At about $900 million, Brasilia's World Cup stadium is now considered the world's second-most expensive soccer arena. The Mane Garrincha stadium, part of Brazil's $11.5 billion World Cup Stadiums, contains over 275 concrete pillars holding a self-cleaning roof, on a city that has no major professional team. The price tag for these stadiums is now four times the estimate in 2007 and there are major concerns that these sport venues will not be used after the 2014 World Cup. Auditors have found increased pricing on several items such as grandstands, steel manufacturing process and construction planning.

Auditors also say they spotted $2.3 million worth of materials that were simply listed multiple times on bills. These projects are under fire as the government has also failed to enforce fines against contractors for a five month delay problem related to the final completion of the 2014 World Cup stadium.

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Free NEC 2014 Reference Guide Available for Download

Thursday May 15, 2014
Thomas & Betts has released a free reference guide to changes in the 2014 National Electrical Code. The reference was prepared as a guide related to T&B products as well as ABB Low-Voltage Products (LP) and ABB Power Products. The NEC Code Changes Guide is available for download and will help you determine the appropriate T&B products to comply with 2014 changes. The guide is one of the most comprehensive products offered by any electrical products manufacturer. The NEC guide is organized using similar layout as the 2014 code with a table of contents, and includes illustrations of products and applications that pertain to code changes.

The book presents significant changes to the NEC such as:

  • Addition of receptacles in garages (one for each bay).
  • Allowance for universal conduit bodies and full wire fill.
  • Removal of 600-volt limitation on Liquidtight Flexible Nonmetallic Conduit (LFNC).
  • Requirement of extra-duty in-use weatherproof covers in all wet locations.
  • Complete revision of the electrical vehicle charging systems article.
  • New article pertaining to fire-resistant cables.
The PDF can be downloaded at http://www-public.tnb.com/pub/en/node/1890.

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Top 10 Sustainable and Ecological Projects to be Showcased During AIA Convention

Sunday May 11, 2014
The American Institute of Architects (AIA), Washington, D.C. have selected the top 10 projects that will be awarded during the AIA 2014 Convention that protect and enhance the environment. The projects will be honored at the AIA 2014 National Convention and Design Exposition in Chicago, June 26-28. These projects provide a positive contribution to their communities, improve comfort for building occupants and reduce environmental pollution. These projects were capable of using reclaimed materials, conserve energy and water and through their design were able to improve air quality. The top 10 projects are:
  • Arizona State University Student Health Services; Tempe, Ariz. designed by Lake|Flato Architects + Orcutt|Winslow
  • Bud Clark Commons, Portland, Ore. designed by Holst Architecture
  • Bushwick Inlet Park; Brooklyn, N.Y. Architects: Kiss + Cathcart
  • Edith Green-Wendell Wyatt (EGWW) Federal Building Modernization; Portland, Ore. from SERA Architects in association with Cutler Anderson Architects
  • Gateway Center - SUNY-ESF College of Environmental Science & Forestry; Syracuse, N.Y. by Architerra
  • John & Frances Angelos Law Center; Baltimore designed by Behnisch Architekten and Ayers Saint Gross
  • Sustainability Treehouse; Glen Jean, W.Va. Design Architect: Mithun; Executive Architect/Architect of Record: BNIM
  • The David and Lucile Packard Foundation headquarters, Los Altos, Calif. by EHDD architects
  • U.S. Land Port of Entry; Warroad, Minn. designed by Snow Kreilich Architects Inc.
  • Wayne N. Aspinall Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse; Grand Junction, Colo.; Design Architect, Westlake Reed Leskosky and Architect of Record, The Beck Group
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Austin Receives Green Light to Plan a $1.4 Billion Rail System

Thursday May 8, 2014
High Speed Rail

The city of Austin has received the go ahead to develop a $1.4 billion rail network running a route from Highland Mall through downtown and ending on East Riverside Boulevard. The project, a 9.5 mile alignment, will consists of several bridges and tunnels that should be able to manage more than 8,000 riders a day. The proposed rail system has prevailed over other cheaper alternatives that at one time were considered but that are now have been discarded. City officials are now analyzing how they can proposed the project in different stages and provide a more detailed budget that should be approved in November. The initial cost of constructing the system will hopefully be offset by federal transit grants, which could fund up to half of the project.

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PSE&G Announces a $1 Billion Upgrade Project

Tuesday May 6, 2014
Public Service Electric & Gas announced that they will be investing more than $1 billion over a three year period that will allow them to upgrade and completer their "Energy Strong" infrastructure-hardening project. The plan is now a fraction of what was originally proposed, just shy of $4 billion, originally proposed after the utility was struck by Hurricane Sandy. Some of the most important projects that will be considered under this plan are:
  • $620 million to raise, relocate or protect 29 switching and substations damaged by recent storms
  • $350 million to replace and modernize 250 miles of low-pressure, cast-iron gas mains in or near flood areas and
  • $200 million to deploy smart-grid technology to better monitor system operations.
  • PSE&G said the proposed plan will generate over 2,000 jobs. The utility will strengthen the pole distribution system, relocate electric poles and move over 20 miles of overhead power lines.
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