Monthly Archives: November 2012

Getting to Know the Players – Take Five

Interview by Fred Schmidt

Today you will meet one of the structural engineers on the project. Designing the structure became a tag team affair as we worked through getting the project completed within the owner’s timeframe. Tom Bush, P.E., Ph.D. is a senior structural engineer at FSB. A pretty calm and easy-going guy but according the Cathleen he can toss back some serious snacks.

Tom, tell us about your role on the project?

Tom: I came in a little later in the project. A lot of the systems had been decided. I worked from the slabs down on the foundations. Checking wall strengths, detailing rebar, sizing the footings and designing the elevated floor system of the Gallery area over the mechanical crawl space; the slab on deck. The other thing was the lateral load system; the sheer walls and the elevator core and getting the foundations properly sized for those.

What’s the purpose of a sheer wall? Continue reading

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Forming-laying down the foundation

The building is methodically growing from the ground up. The perimeter grade beams are growing like those 4th of July snakes that start as black pellets that expand exponentially when lit. Every kid who has played with fireworks can remember the smell of them smoldering. The perimeter French Drain continues to do its job collecting water seeping into the north and east edges of the site and discharging it at the southwest corner of the site. The workers at the site say it is a steady stream 24/7.

The photos at the top provide a panoramic view of the progress of construction on the site. The elevator is the tallest element in the center of the site. The elevator is surrounded by the perimeter footings being formed on the west, north and east sites of the mechanical crawl space.

The site is tight and there is not a lot of room left over beyond the building construction footprint. Continue reading


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Submittals – their role in the built environment

In the project schedule shared with you in a previous post, the first activity line shown was Submittals. This is an early and critical activity that serves as the process for eventual approval of all the materials and fabricated items that will become a part of the construction of the project. Submittals include items like shop drawings, product literature, samples, reports from testing agencies, operating instructions, installation instructions, maintenance instructions and warranties.

The above photo shows rebar that was submitted to FSB on October 10, 2012, approved on October 23, 2012 which as then fabricated and sent to the job site and assembled into the cages shown awaiting a pour of concrete to arrive that will transform it all into one of the spread footings for the Visitor Center. Continue reading

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The First Pour – a notable milestone

The primary activity over the past couple of weeks at the job site has been bringing in select earth fill by the truckload followed by compacting it with large earth work equipment. The one piece of equipment that does the major job is the sheep’s foot roller that shows up in the overall site photos. In the photos above you can see familiar neighbors including the Donut Palace and Artesian Hotel

The modified French drain as been effective in intercepting the water that continues to seep into the site from the north and east edges of the property. The following series of photos shows the construction of the French drain. The drain is created in the following steps:

The trench is dug and lined with filter fabric which allows water in but keeps out silt and mud that can clog up the drain assembly.

Drain pipe which is a special pipe that is perforated on the sides and solid on the bottom allows water to seep in and flow. The pipe must have some slope from the high point to the low point of discharge to have water collect and flow properly.

Gravel is the next ingredient. The drain pipe sits on a shallow bed of gravel which then surrounds the sides and top of the pipe to a greater depth.

The Contractor has been preparing for the “First Pour.” This is always a noted milestone in the construction timeline and depending on the scale of the project can be a large operation. However, it is regardless a significant tick mark for any project.

The activity I’m referring to is the first time that mixing trucks show up at the job site and concrete is poured into forms. The First Pour for the Visitor Center was the concrete slab located in the elevator pit. It is located in the bottom of the elevator shaft and represents the lowest slab in the project.

The concrete side walls of the elevator shaft are being formed and it won’t be long before there will be a 2nd , 3rd and 4th pour on the site.

On another note, today is election day. So, exercise your right to vote.

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