Jump Start: Where Infrastructure Spending Typically Goes

Provisions of a $1.5 trillion infrastructure investment plan revealed by the White House this past February include $200 billion in federal spending to incentivize local governments, support existing infrastructure loan programs like the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA), build projects of national significance, and provide rural block grants to states for investments into transportation, waste and power projects.
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DIY: How to Build a Simple Rolling Planter

Looking for a simple way to dress up your patio? Elisha Albretsen from Pneumatic Addict has teamed up with Simpson Strong-Tie to bring you this simple DIY rolling planter using Outdoor Accents® decorative hardware.

Spring and summer arrive quickly in central Arizona. Currently, we’re enjoying –70° temperatures while bragging to our East Coast friends, but in a couple of months the rest of the country will be the ones laughing. Triple digits are right around the corner, so that means I’ve got to take advantage of the nice weather while I can.

The Southwest has famously long growing seasons. So that means I get a head start on all my outdoor projects. I’m still so enthralled with the glass-topped outdoor table I built last year that I decided to build it a friend. I built a handy, rolling planter and was able to incorporate more of the gorgeous black hardware from the Simpson Strong-Tie® Outdoor Accents® line.
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Timber Strong Provides Real-World Engineering Experience

For the last three years, Simpson Strong-Tie has sponsored events at the Pacific Southwest Conference, a three-day competition promoted by the  American Society of Civil Engineers for civil engineering students. This year, 18  universities from Southern California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii sent teams to Tempe, Arizona, for the competition, which was co-hosted April 12–14 by Arizona State and Northern Arizona Universities.

The students compete in numerous events over the three days, with the two main events being Concrete Canoe and Steel Bridge builds sponsored by American Concrete Institute and American Institute of Steel Construction respectively. In the previous two years, Simpson sponsored Simpson Jeopardy and Timber Towers / Giant Jenga, but this year we were excited to sponsor the inaugural Timber Strong Design Build competition.
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DIY: How to Build a Leaning Bathroom Shelf

Because bathrooms are comparatively so small, creating storage space in them can be a real challenge. One possibility you may not have considered is to build a leaning bathroom shelf above the toilet tank. We teamed up with Jamison Rantz of Rogue Engineer to develop a rustic ladder-style shelf using Simpson Strong-Tie® Outdoor Accents® structural wood screws and hex-head washers. Learn how easy it is to build this leaning bathroom shelf. Be sure to check out his video at the end of this post.
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Deck Safety: 5 Warning Signs of an Unsafe Deck

Just like your home, your deck can’t be expected to last or keep you safe unless it’s correctly built and maintained. Most experts agree that the average life expectancy of a wood deck is 10 to 15 years, and estimate that millions of decks in the US may be presently unsafe. The good news, however, is attention to deck safety can prevent most deck collapses.

If you’re building a deck or already have one, you should know how to evaluate its construction to make sure it’s structurally sound and safe. Using the proper structural connectors and fasteners (like nails and screws) as well as regular maintenance are the keys to a safe, strong deck. It’s a good idea to inspect your deck annually to make sure all your connections are strong.
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Carbon-Fiber-Reinforced Polymer: Exploring Industrial Applications

The fact that carbon-fiber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) is strong enough to replace bulkier strengthening materials can be a surprise even to some experienced commercial contractors. After all, carbon fibers are only 5 to 10 microns in diameter, a little wider than spider silk.

Intuitively, it doesn’t seem that these tiny fibers could be a major component of a concrete strengthening system several times stronger than mounted steel plates.
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DIY: How to Make Barn Door Window Coverings

 If you love the rustic flair barn doors can bring to a home but aren’t ready to replace an entryway we have the perfect DIY project for you. We challenged DIYer Jaime Costiglio to come up with a unique and easy way to use barn doors in your home. She came back with this fantastic concept of using barn doors as window coverings in a bedroom. Check out her project and designs below.
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Better Engineering for Stronger, Longer-Lasting Bridges and Wastewater Infrastructure

Eighty-one years ago this May, traffic opened on a newly constructed bridge span between Marin County, California, and the city of San Francisco. At 4,200 feet long and with towers 746 feet high, the steel suspension bridge was the longest and tallest bridge of its time. Built at a cost of $35 million, held together with 1.2 million rivets, and painted international orange from end to end, the Golden Gate Bridge was an instant symbol not just of California idealism, but of American engineering and construction might.

While the Golden Gate is no longer the longest or tallest bridge in the world, its iconic status has endured. Named one of the seven wonders of the modern world by the American Society of Civil Engineers, the Golden Gate enjoys regular special attention from 13 ironworkers and 28 painters who replace corroding steel and rivets with high-strength steel bolts and constantly touch up the span with paint to prevent corrosion.
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3D Printing and Its Impact on the Building and Construction Industry

Whether you call it 3D printing, additive manufacturing or contour crafting, the ability to create something — from a small tabletop model to a livable home or towering skyscraper, to list just a few possibilities — out of paper-thin materials is intriguing, and promises to shape the future of our world. So promising is this recent technology, in fact, that manufacturing industries, government entities and educational institutions have made significant investments in 3D-printing technologies. These ventures, particularly those driven by partnerships, are shaping up to have a big impact on the building and construction industry.
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Staying Put, Riding Out the Storm and Surviving the Odds by Sheltering in Place

Disaster strikes. It’s inevitable, given enough time. Regardless of where you live, there are natural disasters waiting to happen, be they earthquakes, floods, tornadoes or hurricanes.  Meteorologists and emergency service providers can often provide advance notice of weather-related disasters like hurricanes, but seismic events, tornadoes and flash floods can often occur with little or no warning.

In the wake of recent catastrophic events such as Superstorm Sandy (233 deaths, $75 billion in damages), the 2011 Joplin tornado (158 deaths, $2.8 billion in damages), and Hurricane Katrina (1,245 deaths, $108 billion in damages), emergency management experts are increasingly evaluating the benefits of sheltering in place as opposed to evacuation. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), sheltering in place is generally advisable when it may be dangerous to leave your home or place of employment.
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