Nov 7, 2011

REVIT Architecture 2012

Revit 2012 has arrived. What's new? At a glance, it seems pretty similar to the 2011 version. Ten minutes into it, you start noticing the upgrades. One of the very first ones to notice: Filled regions can now give you areas! Check this video for a highlight of the main upgrades:

My top 5 upgrades:

1. Customized detail callouts and dimensions.

2. Continuous section lines in zig-zag cuts.

3. Painting and noting in 3D views.

4. Worksharing in colors.

5. And last but not least... many more linked elements are up for tagging and copy-monitoring.

Revit Architecture 2012 has been available since March 2011. Update Releases 1 and 2 came out this June and October, respectively. For more information about these releases, visit Autodesk. For a more comprehensive list of the 2012 upgrades, click here.


Sep 9, 2011


In the railings and metals world, NOMMA is the National Ornamental and Miscellaneous Metals Associations based in GA.

Something that may interest you and that you may have already in some specs are the 4 Joint Finish Categories they have produced:
Joint 1 No evidence of welded joint
Joint 2 Completely sanded joint, some undercutting and pinholes Ok
Joint 3 Partially dressed weld with spatter removed
Joint 4 Good quality, uniform undressed weld with minimal spatter

Needless to say, Joint 1 specifies the best quality weld. For more information, visit NOMMA's website.

Jul 20, 2011

Key Roofing Terms

Addicott, a roofing contractor, shares a comprehensive list of roofing terms and definitions on this web link. Enjoy.

Jul 15, 2011

Magnetic Paint!

How it works? Magnetized metal flakes. It is a primer. So you apply any paint finish you want - including chalk board paint.

This one can be a fun and easy project for your kids' rooms. Enjoy!

Apr 24, 2011

Bay Windows Turned into Garage Doors

Trying to add parking to your San Francisco real estate? Simple, turn those beautiful bay windows into retractable walls.
Corey and Ben McMills of McMills Construction had a problem.  Their investment property on Oak Street, near Ashbury and facing the Panhandle of Golden Gate Park, needed to have a garage built to enhance his tenant’s use of the building and maximize their rent.  Parking, as is true in much of San Francisco, is hard to find in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood and is almost more valuable than living space.  They turned to Beausoleil Architects for help.

The project still needs a little finish carpentry and painting, but you can get the idea in the photos and video below.

Garage door closed                                             Garage door open

Apr 15, 2011

Detention Pond / Retention Pond

You like potato, I like potahto; you like tomato, I like tomahto. But oh, if it comes to detention and retention, let's not call the whole thing off.

A detention pond is a low lying area designed to temporarily hold a set amount of water while slowly draining to another location. They are more or less around for flood control when large amounts of rain could cause flash flooding if not dealt with properly. 
A retention pond is designed to hold a specific amount of water indefinitely.  Usually the pond is designed to have drainage leading to another location when the water level gets above the pond capacity, but still maintains a certain capacity.
How to remember which is which? A trick I use. If one gets detained, it is until they get bailed. If one is retained, who knows!
Extracted from this article. Happy Friday.

Apr 8, 2011

Hands-free sinks, Hindrance in Hospital Infection Control

A telling research on handsfree sinks by Johns Hopkins Hospital. This is the 2nd research I’ve encountered with negative results.
Thought you would find this interesting. “…(hands-free sinks) were more likely to be contaminated with one of the most common and hazardous bacteria in hospitals compared to old-style fixtures with separate handles for hot and cold water.”

For full article published by Johns Hopkins Medicine, click here.

7 Ways to save in Steel Construction

Did you know?

Steel construction represents 10% of the total project costs. Of that 10%, only 20-40% is the cost of the material itself. The other 60-80% goes to fabrication and erection. A few tips for your next building here.

1. Use Standard Lengths
2. Don't pay for primed or painted steel
3. Use BIM but only when everyone is on board
4. Make sure fabricators are certified
5. Know the details of what you are buying
6.Understand how to fire-proof steel cost-effectively
7. Don't be deceived by low-cost deals

Find the  full article here by Building and Construction Network.

Apr 7, 2011

Registration & Deadlines

Registration, one of the most important milestones for an architect, is not for everyone. While some architecture interns find alternative careers, many follow the traditional architecture path and pursue licensure. The Ohio Board of Examiners data suggests that in the past decade a median of 61% of new exam candidates during the same time became licensed.

The first national licensing exam for architects produced by NCARB came out in 1965. Since then several aspects of the registration process have been redefined - if not all. The Internship Development Program (IDP), the Architectural Registration Examination (ARE), and the NAAB accredited degree requirements have all changed since then. "Every time there is a major change, candidates are motivated to finish the exams and get licensed," says Amy Kobe Executive Director with the Ohio Architects Board.  The graph below (Figure 1) shows the numbers of newly licensed architects since 1984, which spiked around 1994 and 2009.
Figure 1
Figure 1 - Ohio Board of Examiners Registration Database 
In 1994, Ohio adopted IDP training as a registration requirement. The new  qualifications seemed cumbersome in comparison and motivated interns to become eligible ARE candidates sooner. They tested and did quite well. Over 200 architects registered in the state in '94. The curve spikes again in 2009. We suspect it was largely caused by the ARE 4.0, introduced nationwide as a seven-exam module in July 2008. The last date to test in the old ARE version was June 30th 2009. The deadline motives interns to complete all tests and slightly increased registration numbers once again. "It is amazing what a deadline will do," Kobe adds.
Currently, ARE candidates face another deadline: the 5-year rolling clock, a rule that would limit testing periods to only 5 years. If you had been taking any of the ARE before January 1st 2006, NCARB, you had until January 1st 2011 to pass them. If you have not started yet, you must complete all exams in a 5-year period, beginning on the date you take your first exam.
In 2010 alone, only 74 interns became licensed in the state of Ohio. However, as the rolling-clock rule expires, interns nationwide will be motivated to test. The clock is ticking now, no pun intended.

Feb 22, 2011

Become an architect...

in less than 10 minutes..!
 Ok, it typically takes less than 10 years. 
But this one is a fun shortcut.

Feb 21, 2011

Replacing Existing Single Pane Windows

Good old windows, charming but drafty. To fix the problem, we hear the solution is to replace them entirely. Sure a single pane window doesn't offer the best U-value available, but don't to run to the closest hardware store just yet.

A double pane window sounds more energy efficient than its single pane counterpart. It became available in the 70's as an improvement and solution to the heat loss single panes represented. Nowadays, window solutions go above and beyond contractor grade. You'll find low emissivity glass, tinted windows and triple pane fenestrations with argon gas, just to name a few. All with the promise to keep your heating bills low. But exactly how much will you save?

The average window and installation runs for 400 US dollars. Is it worth the investment? That depends how long you are willing to wait. We have run into this very interesting article that you should read before tearing out your old windows. This article does the math and suggests that the ROI is well over 20 years. We assure you you'll think twice before going for this big investment. Adding storm windows sounds just a good.

PD. To play devil's advocate, we can argue that getting new windows will greatly increase the curb appeal of your home, increase the potential sell value of your home and get you a tax credit in 2011 when using Energy Star labeled windows... Something to think about. 

Ongoing JCAHO News

For JCAHO (Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations) updates, news and related subjects online, this website comes useful.

Feb 18, 2011

Floating Fireplaces

Most likely you are in the middle of winter, just like us, waiting for those sunny and green days again. Sadly, a few more cold gray days are still ahead. To keep you warm, we have found these beautiful and iconic fireplaces:

GYROFOCUS by Focus Creation. This made-in-France model was designed by Dominique Imbert in 1968. The signature model has been voted one of the "World's most beautiful objects". With a Jetsons feel-like style, it is the fist fireplace of its kind: wood burning and pivoting. 

TURN by Conmoto. Also a wood burning and ceiling mounted fireplace, it rotates 360 degrees as its own name suggests. One additional feature that makes it different from the Gyrofocus: a floor support, which can be added for a more solid structure. A simple line German model with a contemporary look.

Both great alternatives to help you cold with these winter days. Also ideal solutions when you are in search of something different, eye catching and non traditional.
Stay warm!

Feb 17, 2011

Please Welcome Barbie Architect!

Barbie can be career oriented too. This time she is an architect ready to inspire little girls around the world. To prove she can tackle the responsibilities of the profession, she comes in black frame glasses, a city line printed dress, a white hardhat. Personally, I would have chosen a more business like attire, or the classic all black architect suit. But Barbie stays true to her (blonde) roots, and love for pink. Good for her. This architect is part of the "Barbie I can be" series and will be available this fall.

Feb 3, 2011

Saving down CAD

Ever received a CAD file that you just can't open? More likely than not, it is saved in a newer version of AutoCAD. Before calling your consultant or client for a "down saved" version, download DWG TrueView by Autodesk. If you are running on a 64 bit version, click here.It's free and easy. Open your file with this program and save it down to whichever version of CAD you currently have in your computer.

Jan 30, 2011


Effective January 1, 2011, JCAHO has adopted the 2010 Healthcare Guidelines. The next revised edition is expected in 2014.

Jan 19, 2011

Revit Window Browsing

A new tip here. Browsing through the many CAD files is the same as browsing through your different Revit windows.

CTRL + TAB to move forward
CTRL + SHIFT + TAB to move backwards

Hope you find it useful!

Jan 17, 2011

Smoke Barriers vs Smoke Partitions

So close, yet not the same. Barriers are not partitions. Their obvious purpose is to prevent the ready and quick passage of smoke. Their difference is in the fire resistance properties:

  • Smoke Barriers, Building Code Section 709.3 "A 1 hour fire resistance rating is required for smoke barriers."
  • Smoke Partitions, Building Code Section 710.3 "unless required elsewhere in the code, smoke partitions are not required to have a fire rating."

This can make a big impact in your building construction, so pay close attention when reading into those fire rating requirements. For more details, exceptions, and commentaries, pick up that arm wrestling code book of yours.. and good luck!