Feb 21, 2018 - Look around you. Well, actually, look up. If you’re inside a modern building, there’s every likelihood that you’re surrounded by heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) equipment. You might even be in an au courant structure where the HVAC ducting is exposed, lending the space a chic, industrial feel.
Whatever the case may be, it’s undeniable that HVAC technology has given rise to the architecture that we work and live in today. But how does all of this ducting and air management come about? Well, architects and drafters have to build these systems into their plans.
To help this cadre of comfort providers in their efforts, JTB World introduced an app, HVACPAC, that will run inside AutoCAD 2018. The HVACPAC app was developed using South African HVAC standards, meaning that its standards are similar to most other countries’ standards. It comes complete with both 2D and 3D tools for developing overhead schematic maps, as well as side-on views for HVAC control rooms and other facilities for maintaining and servicing HVAC hardware.
This seems like a pretty cool app, if HVAC is your game. It’s likely to take a lot of hassle out of building your own blocks or programming your own CAD protocols for building these standardized yet immensely complicated and critical pieces of architectural infrastructure.
According to JTB World, the new app includes all “in-line duct fittings and equipment, air terminals and HVAC associated pipe work.”
Feb 15, 2018 - The Government’s decision to rule-out funding for embattled company Fletcher Building is a refreshing change from years of corporate welfare and a bad habit of taxpayers’ money being used to bailout private businesses, says the New Zealand Taxpayers’ Union.
Taxpayers’ Union Executive Director, Jordan Williams, says “The previous Government used our money to bail out Solid Energy, Rio Tinto, and even Mediaworks. It’s great news for taxpayers that the new Government is starting their term by refusing to continue that policy.”
“Company bailouts are socialism for the rich. Shareholders don’t have to face any risk for their investment and the average taxpayer ends up footing the bill.”
“Sometimes taxpayer groups are accused of always being negative. Here we want to applaud David Parker and his Government for making the principled, moral, and right decision.”
| A taxpayers Union release || February 15, 2018 |||
Feb 14, 2018 - The construction union, E tū says it is working to clarify the effect of Fletcher Building and Interiors’ huge loss on its members at Fletchers.
“We’re still coming to terms with the fact that the country’s biggest building company is no longer bidding for new commercial projects, which is just extraordinary,” says Ron Angel, E tū’s Industry Coordinator for Engineering and Infrastructure.
“We’re trying to find out what happens next, but we will have members affected by this – though it’s currently unclear how many,” he says.
Ron says union organisers had visited Fletcher sites in Christchurch this morning, where members had been told to expect closure once work is finished on company projects including the city’s Justice and Emergency Services Precinct.
“Our immediate focus is to protect our members’ interests. We hope if there are redundancies our members can be redeployed in other Fletcher divisions. Some will be entitled to redundancy pay, but others won’t,” says Ron.
Ron says E tū has also spoken with members about the factors behind the near-billion dollar losses.
“In part, this is a result of too many people in head office doing the paperwork and pushing up overheads, and too few people on the ground doing the work,” says Ron.
He says a lack of experience in project management also meant a lot of mistakes, especially on the Justice precinct project.
“Our members have told us that 50 percent of that project was built twice.
“The workers say they’d put stuff up and a week later they’d be pulling it down again because the design changed or there were design faults, cracked tiles and the like. And there was too little supervision, with no one taking responsibility for the quality of the work.”
Poor cost control had also been flagged by the division’s Chair, Sir Ralph Norris, who has resigned.
Ron says Fletchers’ losses are “a salutary indictment of the sub-contracting model which is killing the construction industry in New Zealand.
“It means Fletchers has been unable to control costs and quality on these big projects and the result is just gobsmacking.”
Feb 08, 2018 - Auckland Airport today announced that it will build a new 65,000m2 distribution centre and a support centre for Foodstuffs North Island Ltd. The facility will be developed within Stage 4 of The Landing Business Park and will be constructed over a three year period, with completion scheduled to occur in late-2020. The development will comprise a world-class distribution centre plus a 5-star green-rated support centre, situated in landscaped and park-like surroundings.
A rather enlightening article posted on engineering.com by Roopinder Tara that has attracted a lot of interest. While the U.S. dawdles with much needed domestic infrastructure upgrades, China is already engaged in a project so massive that it will tilt the Earth in its favor. The trillion-dollar Belt Road Initiative (BRI) is a plan for a web of transportation routes (road, rail, shipping lanes, more—all leading to China) that will be created or expanded over the next 30-plus years. The BRI’s main purpose is to facilitate trade. China, the world’s leading producer of exports, no longer wants to rely on slow moving boats to move its goods out.
A bridge across the Irish Sea was proposed by Scottish architect Alan Dunlop as a direct response to the "Boris Bridge" suggested by the UK's foreign secretary, which would see a 22-mile-long crossing built between Britain and France after Brexit.
Jan 20, 2018 - The concrete contains a fungus that produces calcium carbonate when exposed to water and oxygen. If cracks in concrete can be fixed when they're still tiny, then they can't become large cracks that ultimately cause structures such as bridges to collapse. It is with this in mind that various experimental types of self-healing concrete have been developed in recent years. One of the latest utilizes a type of fungus to do the healing.
Inspired by the human body's ability to heal itself, the concrete was created by Congrui Jin, Guangwen Zhou and David Davies from New York's Binghamton University, along with Ning Zhang from Rutgers University. It incorporates spores of the fungus Trichoderma reesei, along with nutrients, that are placed within the concrete matrix as it's being mixed.
Once the concrete has hardened, the spores remain dormant until the first micro-cracks appear. When they do, water and oxygen find their way in. This causes the spores to germinate, grow, and precipitate calcium carbonate, which in turn seals the cracks.
"When the cracks are completely filled and ultimately no more water or oxygen can enter inside, the fungi will again form spores," says assistant professor Jin. "As the environmental conditions become favorable in later stages, the spores could be wakened again."
The research is still in the early stages, however, so don't go looking for the fungi concrete in a structure near you anytime soon. In the meantime, however, scientists from both Newcastle University and the University of Bath have been developing self-healing concrete that incorporates calcium carbonate-producing bacteria.
Jan 18, 2018 - Our future selves might look back and wonder how we ever handled having just plain old glass in our windows. Curtains or blinds might get the flick in favor of a variety of smart windows that can tint themselves or turn opaque on command, and now a team of German engineers has demonstrated a new design. Dubbed Large-Area Fluidic Windows (LaWin), the system uses iron particles suspended in liquid to block sunlight at different levels and harvest heat energy from the Sun.
Dec 22, 2017 - Changes have been made to the $4.5million Unreinforced Masonry Building Securing Fund (URM Fund) in response to constraints building owners were facing while attempting to secure buildings. “Changes to the initiative will increase the flexibility of the URM Fund and allow it to be used for more activities,” says Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa.
“I am also seeking to extend the time before penalties are applied and I’ll make a further announcement about this and seek feedback on potential changes in the New Year.”
From mid-February 2018, building owners will be able to apply for:
up to $25,000 to secure either a single parapet or façade, or both (instead of $10,000 for a parapet and $15,000 for a façade) funding for work to remove non-heritage unreinforced masonry parapets and facades raising the funding cap to secure large and complex unreinforced masonry buildings.
Building owners can also apply to MBIE for funding towards the cost of an engineering assessment as soon as they receive an invoice from their engineer, rather than once all work has been completed.
The Hurunui/Kaikōura Earthquakes Recovery (Unreinforced Masonry Buildings) Order 2017 was introduced in February 2017 in response to heightened earthquake risk following the November 2016 Kaikōura earthquakes.
Earlier this year councils in affected areas identified buildings with unreinforced masonry elements that need to be secured to manage life safety risks. Building owners with unreinforced masonry parapets and facades that face into busy thoroughfares in Wellington, Hutt City, Blenheim and Hurunui were given a year (through to March 2018) to get this securing work done.
At that time, heightened seismic risk was expected to continue until December 2017. Updated forecasting shows that the heightened risk is still present, and is expected to continue for at least another six months. Securing work remains the most effective means of managing the life safety risks during this period.
While the affected councils and engineers have actively supported building owners to get the necessary work done, engineering and contracting capacity is stretched, and some buildings are larger and/or more complex to secure than anticipated.
“There can be no doubt we need to get this work done quickly, to ensure we are meeting our safety requirements, however these amendments respond to the practical constraints building owners and councils are facing. We are looking to give building owners more support to get this vital work done,” says Ms Salesa.
Dec 21, 2017 - Construction is one of New Zealand’s biggest industries and predicted to grow for some time to come. Large and increasingly sophisticated building projects need well trained and qualified staff to run smoothly and efficiently - or risk costly mistakes. Ara Institute of Canterbury has responded to this increasing complexity in the construction sector by launching new qualifications that prepare graduates with the critical thinking skills and initiative to lead the way as construction managers and quantity surveyors.
Programme Leader at Ara Keith Power has many years of experience in quantity surveying and in teaching. “The construction industry told us this is what they need,” he said. “Construction is changing very rapidly with new technology and systems. Construction companies are increasing their productivity on increasingly complex jobs. Staff need to be better equipped for the future.”
“Most of the construction company employers, and a lot of their staff, have passed through Ara or its predecessor CPIT. We are trusted to train quantity surveyors and construction managers for the realities of the construction industry. Running a building site, or managing the cost of a project, means dealing with the materials, staff, sub-contractors and technology – it is increasingly innovative, and there are new ways of setting projects up from the very start. Our qualifications take graduates a step further to really future proof their work with courses such as advanced contracting and law, cost planning and BIM (Building Information Modelling), property development, plus elective choices that allow students to choose the specialised areas they would like to explore.”
The new qualifications are flexible to allow for part time study while working by using a blended delivery approach with online learning and two-day block courses. Full time study is also available using work-integrated industry placements to provide students with experience in an industry setting.
Ara will continue to offer the New Zealand Diploma in Construction and Power expects many diploma graduates to upgrade to the degree. Those qualified in other areas, such as civil engineering, can enrol in the graduate diploma to move into specialising in CM or QS.
It worth investing in upskilling, he says. “There are excellent employment prospects in QS and CM. The construction industry has moved on from the boom and bust, cyclical nature of the past, to steadier workflows forecast for the future.”
For more information go to www.ara.ac.nz or phone 0800 24 24 76.