It’s Alive! Self-Healing Concrete, Materials Science and Other Evolutionary Developments

Legions of catatonic organisms lie asleep in the matrix, waiting only for momentary exposure to water and oxygen in order to awaken — whereupon the organisms immediately germinate, grow and fulfill their destiny, sealing the cracks in the fabric of their universe before falling dormant once again.
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BIM Inception: The Construction Language of the Future

Robots. Drones. 3D printing. Self-driving bulldozers. If residential construction is ripe for so-called disruption (and sweeping advancements already made by commercial and industrial builders says it is), then most technologists, forward-thinkers and first adopters agree we’ll need a native, digital, data-based language to help run it all. Continue reading “BIM Inception: The Construction Language of the Future”

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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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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News from IBS & WOC — What You Missed at the 2018 Simpson Strong-Tie Exhibit Booths

It was a muggy Tuesday morning, and thousands of people from all over the world were heading toward the long bank of doors to the Orlando Convention Center. The broad stream of people was just one of the signs that the International Builders’ Show® was underway.

Inside Hall C The Simpson Strong-Tie booth was impressive with a festively lit Outdoor Accents® pergola and shelves of Simpson hats and tee-shirts to give to booth visitors.
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Simpson Strong-Tie Renews Partnership with Habitat for Humanity to Help Build More Disaster-Resilient Homes

Simpson Strong-Tie is renewing its partnership with Habitat for Humanity to continue supporting the housing organization’s efforts to make homes resilient to disasters. This is the 12th consecutive year of the partnership to help more families in need of a decent and affordable place to call home. To date, the manufacturer of structural product solutions has contributed more than $2.75 million toward Habitat’s mission.
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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. Enter: Alternative homes.

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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Laying Foundations: Simpson Strong-Tie Mentoring Future Construction Leaders of America

Good news for anyone involved in construction: The industry added 23,000 specialty trade contractor jobs in November 2017, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The bad news? Construction employers will likely struggle to fill new positions, as a labor shortage triggered by the 2007–2009 Great Recession continues to dampen more robust growth for the builder economy.

In fact, the number of builders reporting a critical shortage of labor has grown from 21% in 2012 to 46% in 2014, 52% in 2015 and 56% in 2016, says Paul Emrath, who tracks industry economic statistics as the vice president for survey and housing policy research for the National Association of Home Builders.
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Modular Building: a Faster, Higher-Quality Alternative to Stick-Built Construction

Modular construction — sometimes also known as prefabricated, prefab, prebuilt, manufactured, factory-built, or panelized construction — ain’t no stroll in the trailer park. Although double-wides and modular prefabs sometimes roll off the same factory floor, the similarities end there between mobile homes and true modular construction, which is gaining a foothold in markets as builders and developers look for higher-quality, more efficient construction processes.

Like component construction, modular building takes much of the labor off of the construction site and puts it on a factory floor, where assembly can be value-engineered to minimize waste and maximize speed and overall product quality. And while modular building includes trusses and panels, modular component facilities are much more than your run-of-the-mill truss plant.
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