Re stumping: The symptoms and solution

Every house needs a strong foundation to stand on. It can happen that the soil might be weak or become weak over a period. This could be due to heavy rains, flooding, or even other external reasons such as rampant construction in the nearby areas, etc.

In the event of the foundation becoming weak, there is every chance that the house might just collapse. Should we allow it to happen? Of course, your answer should be in the negative. In that case, what is the solution available at your disposal?

Before going into the actual solution, we shall look at the signs that can warrant taking such a solution.

Usually, you see four symptoms. They are as follows.

  • Cracks on the internal walls
  • Uneven floors
  • External cracks on the side walls
  • Frequent misalignment of the doors and windows

These four symptoms suggest that the flooring is not even. This translates into a weak foundation. The solution lies in restumping or re-blocking the house. DJ BAKER & SON offers restumping Melbourne at affordable rates.

The process involves a thorough investigation about the reasons for the damage to the foundation. It could be because of decay of the soil or the timber foundation. It could also be because of termites.

On ascertaining the main reasons behind the damage, the engineer takes a call on either replacing the stump with a new one or by just repairing it with some reinforcements. The restumping or the reblocking involves replacing the damaged stumps with either wooden stumps or concrete blocks.

 

In today’s times, they prefer concrete blocks because of the higher level of stability. The concrete blocks can last longer by being water-resistant and termite proof. The purists, though, prefer to have the natural wooden blocks to maintain the heritage level.

Anyway, the process involves jacking up the entire house along with its foundation using special machinery. On doing, so, the engineers remove the diseased stumps and replace it with fresh ones. It can happen that you might have to replace the entire set of existing stumps. It could also warrant replacing a few stumps and reinforcing the others. The engineer makes the decision after doing the thorough examination.

Once he completes the process, they place the house back on the new foundations. This is precision technology requiring high levels of skill. On replacing the stumps, the foundation gets a renewed life of at least another 60 to 70 years easily. This is the main benefit of restumping or reblocking.

Renovate Your Home With High Class Lighting.

Lighting is a key element when it comes to home design. With this, it is therefore highly suggested for you to choose only the best lighting that you will include in your home. Every aspect of your home counts in order to have an elegant and gorgeous room. With this, you must be very careful in choosing the best one that can help you to provide a home that you are actually aiming for. To mention a few, the following are some of the best lighting designs that can enhance the look of your home.

Side table lighting

If you are a budget conscious person who is looking for high quality side table light that you are going to use on a particular area of your home. You must also remember that the side table can provide you great level of comfort upon its use. Even more important, you can also choose to avail a wooden or glass side table, depending upon your taste.

Pendant lights

Lighting plays a significant role in terms of the design of your home. So, if you want to create a gorgeous look in your interior, then you can add designer glass pendant lights in your home. You can prefer to avail the hanging pendant lights that can lighten up the area of your room. As a result, you can also lighten up your mood and the people around you. Designing glass pendant lights has more designs as well as colors that you can widely choose from. With this, you can now have a more customized design of lights that can reflect the creative look of your interior home.

Wall light

Wall lights can be efficient to color management of your home. With this, you will have a beautiful ambiance that can help you to feel relax.

Table lamp

Table lamps are considered as one of the finest addition to home design. The best thing about it is that you can also use it outside or inside the kitchen. It can offer you a perfect usefulness within your home.
With this lighting design feature, you can make your home as your favorite place.

Powering ahead with the ‘Three houses at Pokolbin’ project

Now that the DA submission has been lodged with Cessnock City Council, the four students from Newcastle University who make up egresStudio are hard at work on the construction documentation, both for CC and detailed construction. As the design and construct project of the proposed three short-stay tourist houses is likely to be assessed by Council by late February, it’s all systems go working with the consultants for this stage of the project. In particular, consideration and integration of the structural engineering specifications and details continues to introduce new levels of knowledge and experience into the project.

Alongside the integration of the structural and other engineering requirements is the review of fixtures, finishes and material selections, all of which is starting to come to the fore. Once the DA is determined the students are looking forward to getting on site and getting their hands dirty. Once the egresStudio are still looking for material sponsors for the project, with the promise of extensive publicity both once the project is underway and at completion. Interested persons can contact egresStudio at egresStudio@hotmail.com

UTS Distort Pavilion

The UTS Distort Pavilion was a student design/build project that formed part of the Construction subject within the 1st year Architecture program in 2009. Due to the complexity of the design and construction requirements, the ongoing project was extended into a special elective subject for the students who wished to continue and complete the construction of the pavilion. The Distort Pavilion was exhibited at the UTS 2009 end of year exhibition, titled “INDEX” and was curated by David Burns.

The students involved with the Distort Pavilion were nearly all drawn from my tutorial group for the Introduction to Construction and Structural Synthesis subject, the subject coordinator being Joanne Jakovich, Senior Lecturer in the School of Architecture at the Faculty of Design, Architecture and Building, UTS. The elective subject was also coordinated by Joanne, and involved several additional students who during the semester had watched the progress of the pavilion project with a great deal of interest and therefore took the opportunity to be involved in its completion. Home builder in Melbourne, Inspired Homes Melbourne has been very keen to become apart of the on-going projects we’re involved with.

Originally, the pavilion project was an assignment within the Introduction to Construction and Structural Synthesis subject run as an internal competition looking towards entering a proposed open competition later postponed to 2010.

Each tutorial group was given a structural concept or system as their “inspiration” for the design of the pavilion – e.g. tesselation, moebius strip – and my group was given the Geodesic Dome. Probably the greatest exponent of the geodesic dome is Sir Buckminster Fuller – Bucky to those who had any kind of affection for the man and/or his work.

After wrestling with a number of extrusions, extractions, and reconfigurations of the geodesic form, the group decided upon a pavilion design where it could be experienced as an object as well as a “funnel”, or a form which one can walk through and under.

Alongside the development of the form came the selection of materials for the struts and the connections – in the original concept, bamboo struts were connected with metal plates. As the design and construction process continued beyond the student competition, the joints became highly developed as was necessary for the realisation of the full scale structure.

The joints were realised as a laser cut layered plywood ball, where threaded rods could be placed through pre-cut and drilled holes into a central void in each ball, thereby allowing the manipulation of the struts into the correct angles for the dome structure.

Although not executed in the final construction, the prototype produced for the internal competition also involved a fabric “skin” that was designed to “breathe” using sensors and a widget mechanism.

Needless to say, the pavilion was structurally complex, especially as the radical design had involved the removal and/or relocation of struts or members that would normally create the form of a conventional geodesic dome. Peter Standen from Partridge Partners contributed extensively to the analysis and refinement of the design during the development and construction stages of the project.

The base design was developed over the length of the project, with the inherent flexibility required for the fixing of the connecting base joints creating a some headaches along the way. Trial and error lead the way to finding a successful solution that will also allow demountability, a key part of the original competition brief.

The final material selection was kept deliberately narrow, on the basis of sustainability and ease of construction. Natural black bamboo sections formed the struts, with plywood utilised in the joints and pavilion base. Standard timber sections were used for the base structure, and fixings were limited to screws, threaded rods and…epoxy glues. Like – a LOT of glue, as in keeping-Selleys-in-business quantities of glue. Yes, that was possibly not so enviromentally friendly…

Apart from careful ongoing management by the senior academic staff in the DAB (namely Sandra Kaji-O’Grady and Kirsten Orr), the successful execution of this ambitious project was very much due to the sheer grit, hard work and perserverance of these 1st year architecture students, who well and truly exceeded expectations on all fronts. In my opinion, there are many experienced architects out there who would have paled at the thought of designing and building such a complex structure, with limited resources and competing deadlines

As they should all be publicly commended for their inventiveness and commitment, the Distort Pavilion team were as follows: Andrew Southwood-Jones (Project Manager), Wang Fung Cheung, Zeinab Choukeir, Sung Dae Chung, Laura Hinds, Maria Iskander, James Lauman, Jaehee Lee, Ivan Luburic, David Macalyk, Phillip Nashed, Kate Nason, Amelia Pang, Reymund Penalosa, Priyeal Ramji, Jessica Ristuccia, Amberlynn Rodriguez, Jordan Sernik, Jeah Loong Yeoh.

And as their tutor? I found this a challenging and interesting experience, which extended both my thinking and skills as an architect practitioner,and as a teacher who is passionate about students undertaking hands-on construction activities. I look forward to seeing the work these students produce into the future, for there is no doubt that this has been a unique experience for them.

The future for construction education

Consider this to be the first of many blog entries covering the big event in my professional life for 2010, being my research for the Byera Hadley Travelling Scholarship (BHTS) I was awarded last year. In case the name of this blog entry didn’t make my topic obvious enough, the real title of this research journey is “Build/Ability – The Future of Construction Education”. Catchy, huh?

Yeah I know – the use of the “/” in this title is possibly a little passe out there in archi-theory-land – BUT in an e.e. cummings kind of way, I did feel that the “/”  gave the best verbal and visual impression of what I am seeking and hoping to find in my research journey. That is – that the best teaching in construction is equipping the architects of the future with the ability to build what they envision and design. And that these two ideas are inherent to a holistic design process- thereby being blurred, overlapping, maybe even interchangeable at times – just like the “/” implies.

When I use the word “build”, I am not necessarily stating that architects must be physically involved with the building of their designs – although some architects out there actively seek and maintain that level of involvement in their projects. What I am referring to is architects having the ability to design so that the construction of their work is not only a true realisation of their design intentions, but is also one which is underpinned with a real understanding of materiality, functionality and sustainability (in no particular order).

Of course, this title is also a direct play on that somewhat clumsy word “buildability” – one online dictionary (businessdictionary.com) defines this as being “the degree to which the design of a planned building facilitates its construction and utilisation.”

Hmm – on the basis of this definition, it doesn’t sound unreasonable that an architect should be taught to design with construction in mind. And it is also not unreasonable for builders, engineers and other consultants in the industry, and the general public (shock horror) to expect that architects thoroughly understand the construction of buildings. Not unreasonable at all, I hear you say.

And yet……and yet…..

the construction of buildings is not what architecture students have necessarily been taught very much of at all lately.

The resulting low level of construction knowledge amongst recent graduates is evidenced directly and/or anecdotally by many of those established in the architectural profession. For example, graduates with little or no work experience are requiring extensive in-house training on basic construction knowledge – not what you would expect for someone carrying an M.Arch.  (and $40,000 in HECS debt). And this level of training is not what an employer wants to necessarily spend all of their time and money on…

For those who teach or tutor in architecture faculties, the sometimes increasingly dismissive approach to construction education has been experienced first hand –  where students are now receiving a single semester of construction lectures for each year of the undergraduate program, and often no construction teaching or tutoring at all in the Masters course. Along with this, there is little formal instruction in construction documentation (or CAD for that matter), and construction barely rates a mention in the Design Studio. And, as the icing on the cake, many students are completing five years of architectural study having spent very little, if any, time on real building sites.

Now, to avoid crucifixion by the archi-theorist-terrorists out there, I must clarify my starting position – I don’t believe that construction is more important than design. And I don’t believe that the design programs, philosophies and ideas being pursued in the universities should be limited to producing only that which is immediately “buildable” i.e. able to be realised with today’s technology, today. Rather, I do believe that stretching the design and overall conceptual thinking capability of students is most important for their overall development and future growth as architects. But this should not occur at the expense of developing their ability to design that which can be built, nor their ability to understand the impact that  their choice of material and detail has upon the budget, the consultants, the builder, the trades, the users and the environment.

Coming back to my investigative trajectory then, the main focus of my research is to review the approach to construction education across a number of Architecture faculties in Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, the UK and the USA. The places I will be visiting have been chosen because they are recognised locally or internationally for their particular approach to teaching construction and I want to experience and review first hand the course programs, facilities, student work and culture of these faculties that contribute to this area of architectural teaching. From this research it is my intention to compile a report document that proposes a model curriculum for the future of construction education.

So there’s my first blog entry. In my next post for the BHTS, I will be talking a bit more about some of my other research methods and the second strand of my topic. And maybe I will have some exciting news about who I will be interviewing as part of the research. So stay tuned…