Alternative Homes — the Impact of Rising Rents and Mortgages

After the collapse of the housing market in 2008, homebuilding is back on the rise, and the cost of housing is increasing nationwide.

According to the United States Census Bureau, in the third quarter of 2017, the median asking price across the country for a vacant rental unit reached an all-time high of $912. In comparison, the median rental price for vacant units in 1997 was below $500 nationwide. That kind of an increase outpaces inflation, adding significant burden to the wallets of renters nationwide. What’s more, the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University (JCHS) reports that nearly 48% of renters in 2015 spent more than 30% of their income on housing, with lower-income homes being the most affected.
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Picking Up the Pieces — Examining the Effects of Hurricane Harvey

From hurricanes and earthquakes to wildfires, floods, freezes, droughts, severe storms and more, natural disasters plagued the United States in 2017. The National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) reports that 2017 could be a record-breaking year for disasters that cause over $1 billion in damage. As of October of 2017, NCEI reported 15 such events in the United States, only one fewer than in the record year of 2011. Without going into the details of why these events occur — we’ll leave that to the scientific community — there are ways to prevent damage and destruction by building resilient communities and structures.
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Protecting Your Home from Earthquakes

On a Sunday morning in late August 2014, a 6.0 magnitude earthquake surprised Napa, California residents and caused structural damage to many homes and businesses in the area. Local news outlet KQED reported that the earthquake caused $300 million in damage to homes and commercial properties.

Napa is right in our backyard, about 60 miles north of Pleasanton. Many Simpson Strong-Tie employees felt the quake, but fortunately no one was injured. If you’ve ever been in a large earthquake, you would probably agree that it’s a frightening and unsettling experience. And unlike other natural disasters, there’s no warning. Here is one woman’s story about the Napa earthquake:
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Build An Easy DIY Bar Cart For Your Next Holiday Party

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

Hello! Jen Woodhouse here, happy to be back on the Building Strong blog, sharing my DIY bar cart just in time for the holidays!  Tis the season for entertaining and this bar cart with removable tray is the perfect addition to your festive holiday party.
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Turkeys and Gratitude

There are a couple of turkeys that like to hang out around our home office in Pleasanton and, no, I’m not referring to any of my colleagues — we actually have a gang of wild turkeys that comes up from the creek behind the office. Almost every day, these colorful birds feel safe enough to stroll onto the office walkway pecking for food outside our office windows and doors. It’s surprising to me that these beautiful creatures could be so fearless (or is it simply naïve?), especially around Thanksgiving time. Their presence reminds me that being fearless is important, because nothing new would ever be discovered if we were too afraid to venture outside our comfort zones.
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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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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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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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5 Ways Simpson Strong-Tie Collaborates with Construction Students

We’re not only focused on building strong structures, we’re focused on building strong relationships with the next generation of architects, engineers, builders and trade professionals who will help shape our communities. With the shortage of skilled laborers and fewer young people joining the trades, we believe it’s important to create and cultivate relationships that have a positive impact on the future of our industry.

To do that, Simpson Strong-Tie has appointed a select group – aptly titled Outreach Coordinators – who are dedicated to creating relationships with young people who are interested in our industry. Here are five ways that Simpson Strong-Tie and this passionate team are helping the next generation of engineering and construction professionals plan their careers.

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