Build a Modern “Chic” Chicken Coop

This week’s post was written by Jamison from Rogue Engineer.

This past spring, my wife, Jamie, decided to bring home six chickens. Then she pointed at me and said, “We’re going to need a coop.” Well, six months later, the chickens were still sleeping in our old rabbit hutch at night and free-ranging around the yard during the day. One morning I went to let them out and saw all six of them tightly packed into a hutch designed for one rabbit, and I knew the time had come.

When I sat down to design this coop, I knew that we wanted something awesome. We wanted to design a coop with clean, modern lines that had a simple yet great-looking exterior. This thing will be sitting in our yard all the time, so we knew just any old coop wouldn’t work. Jamie and I sat down to research coop designs but nothing was exactly what we wanted. We didn’t want the standard look of boxes attached to boxes. We wanted everything housed in one single unit, under one roof.
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How to Fix the Most Common East Coast Framing Errors

Of all the possible mistakes that pop up across East Coast construction sites, one easy-to-correct framing blunder continues to vex even the best builders and structural engineering experts – the use of incorrect fasteners. Despite the industry’s best training efforts, the availability of print handbooks and installation guides, and even easy-to-understand smartphone videos and graphics, framing laborers are seemingly content to bang away at various anchors, straps and plates using whatever nail happens to be loaded in the gun.

“Even with great advancements in building designs and roof and framing systems, the bigger issue remains how well those designs are executed in the field,” explains Simpson Strong-Tie builder service rep Kevin Kelly. “No matter how much training we do and how many pocket install guides we publish, the biggest issue with framing connectors is always the use of incorrect fasteners.”

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Your DIY Pergola Makes Everything Even Cooler: Part 2

This week’s post was written by Jen Woodhouse from The House of Wood.

Hi friends! I’m excited to be back to share how we built this gorgeous pergola with Simpson Strong-Tie’s new Outdoor Accents® line. If you’d like to read about how we built the floating deck, click here.

If you recall, we built the floating deck and pergola for our neighbors, who also happen to be a fellow military family. The deck and pergola are our welcome home gift to their deployed soldier. Aren’t they amazing? I’m so thrilled that we were able to work with Simpson Strong-Tie and give our neighbors a beautiful new outdoor space that they can enjoy for years to come.
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Repetitive Training Needed to Fix the Most Common West Coast Framing Errors

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Take framing, for instance. In November 2009, Simpson Strong-Tie Pacific Northwest Outreach Coordinator Jim Mattison penned the article Framing Hardware Dos and Don’ts for the Journal of Light Construction, outlining some of the most common framing errors as seen in the field, including notching studs and joists around anchors, using incorrect fasteners and overdriving nails with pneumatic nailing equipment.

So what’s evolved out there on the jobsite in the eight years since? “Not much,” bemoans Mattison, who says common framing mistakes still vex most of the builders he visits across the Western US.  “When it comes to installing the hardware, the problems that plagued the industry in 2009 persist today, and while some of the hardware has changed in configuration and use, simple installation errors regarding use of incorrect fasteners and fastener overdrive are still happening frequently.”
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You Can Have a Cool DIY Floating Deck: Part 1

This week’s post was written by Jen Woodhouse from The House of Wood.

Hi friends, I’m so excited to share our biggest and best DIY project to date! We partnered with Simpson Strong-Tie to build a floating deck and pergola for our neighbors. Our neighbors are a fellow military family and this floating deck and pergola is our welcome home gift for their deployed soldier. I am thrilled to work with a company like Simpson Strong-Tie that proudly supports our brave men and women in uniform. And I’m equally thrilled that we were able to bless our neighbors with this amazing outdoor space that they can enjoy for years to come.

Because Adam works during the week and I homeschool our two young kiddos, we dedicated our weekends to building this deck and pergola for our neighbors. It took the two of us about 10 weekends from start to finish. It was a ton of hard work and we’re incredibly proud of the result! As an Army family ourselves, we know the sacrifice of deployment all too well and we’re so thankful that we’re able to give back to a fellow military family. I mean, who wouldn’t want to come home to this gorgeous space?!
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Protecting Homes Against Earthquakes With Seismic Retrofitting

If an earthquake were to strike at this very moment, are you confident your home is adequately constructed to withstand it? Depending on where you live, how your house is built—and the year in which it was originally constructed—an earthquake could have a devastating impact on your physical and financial health.

We’ve all witnessed the catastrophic impact that large earthquakes can have on society recently, and our hearts go out to those affected in Mexico who are picking up the pieces. Since October is Earthquake Preparedness Month and October 19 is the Great ShakeOut earthquake drill, we thought we’d share some steps homeowners and building owners can take to help minimize the risk of damage.

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Home Improvement Projects Done Without Permits Jeopardizes Home Sales and Contractor Reputations

In late July 2017, the Los Angeles County Superior Court finally dropped the gavel on Mohamed Hadid, sentencing the mega-mansion builder – and father of supermodels Bella and Gigi Hadid – to three years of probation, 200 hours of community service, and more than $3,000 in fines for unpermitted construction on a 30,000 square foot home perched over a Bel Air, Calif. hillside.

Dubbed by Curbed L.A. as the country’s “most illegal mansion,” the sprawling compound boasted pool decks, an IMAX theater, and an entire ground floor that city planners said were never approved. Between 2011 and 2015, ownership of the property changed hands five times even as Hadid stayed on as a developer, allegedly engaging in unpermitted grading and hiding illegal construction behind tarps and taped over doors and windows.
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Building Resilient Structures and Communities — It’s About More Than Safety

This article was written by our Engineering Director, Codes and Compliance, Jeff Ellis.

There’s been a lot of discussion recently about resilient buildings and resilient communities, including what it means to be resilient, why it’s important, whether it’s possible within budget constraints, and how it can be achieved. The 100 Resilient Cities Rockefeller Foundation initiative defines “urban resilience” as “the capacity of individuals, communities, institutions, businesses, and systems within a city to survive, adapt, and grow no matter what kinds of chronic stresses and acute shocks they experience.”

The discussions have noted that communities are made up of several components that are necessary to consider when developing a plan for resilience — such as buildings, infrastructure, water, power and communication. Even though community resilience is multi-faceted, the resiliency of buildings is a crucial component because research shows that Americans spend 90% of their day inside buildings.
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Keep Corrosion in Check

Just as knowing the load capacities of your metal hardware is crucial to the longevity and structural integrity of your building project, so is understanding the potential for corrosion. The likelihood of rust and rot increases when building outdoors in wet environments and other corrosive conditions. Having a solid awareness of the corrosive threats posed by the environment and your building materials will help you to choose the fasteners, connectors and anchors that will best mitigate corrosion risk and keep your project structurally sound for the long haul.

Start by evaluating the exposure levels in your environment. Is it an interior dry- or exterior wet-service job, for example? Generally, outdoor environments are more corrosive to steel because of the elevated moisture levels relative to interior spaces. Projects near the ocean or waterfront are at increased risk for corrosion due to airborne chlorides and salt splash prevalent in marine locales. Salt is also a danger if building materials will be exposed to de-icing salts.
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Prescriptions for a Perfect Pergola

Building a custom pergola, gazebo or patio cover is one of the best ways to enhance an outdoor living space. Beginning your project with a few simple construction tips in mind — and the right hardware on hand — can go a long way toward making your job easier, and to ultimately creating a pergola that’s both structurally sound and stylish. Here are five tips on how to build your perfect pergola or other backyard structure.
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