New Year Maintenance

By: Grady Herzog The Christmas and New Year celebrations are behind and I hope everyone had an opportunity to enjoy them. That being said, the coldest days of winter will soon be upon us and there are several precautions that need to be taken. Listed below are several items which can easily be overlooked and the resulting repairs very expensive. Fire sprinkler systems can cause serious damage if not properly maintained. Auxiliary heat sources should be checked so they are working properly to keep a wet pipe system from freezing.  The addition of heat tape to piping that is over…Continue Reading

Construction Permitting

By: Mike Lease 2011 is off and running.  The signs are strong that we are now slowly pulling out of this great recession. Interest rates for the moment remain low, and unemployment for Texas at least shows strong signs of rebounding. The U.S. gained 192,000 total nonfarm jobs in February 2011. Texas total nonfarm employment increased by 22,700 jobs for the same period or 12% of the nation’s new jobs. But challenges still remain. National state and local revenue deficits remain the toughest issue facing law makers. These deficits mean cuts in employees as well as services in most cases.…Continue Reading

Building and Interest Rates

By: Mike Lease The big question is not if but when. Interest rates are at historic all time lows and the one thing the economic experts agree upon is they are going to rise again. Most speculate that once rates begin to increase they will do so at a furious pace. The difference between a $500,000.00 loan at 5.25% today and one at an 8% rate over a 20 year term is over $200,000.00. That translates into $833.00 per month more in loan payment. You’ve heard people say that “there is never been a better time to be in debt.”…Continue Reading

Estimating the Dream

By: Brian Hale Clients often come to us with their dream of a new office that they have envisioned.  We take pride in making this dream office come true.  Oftentimes, there is a great lack of information that we as estimators need to have to provide accurate pricing for this office.  Because of this, we have to “take-a-stab” at specifying the desired plan of the space presented to us.  Let’s start with the basics: A simple floor plan. The floor plan is the base plan for any office.  It includes walls, plumbing fixtures, cabinetry, doors, equipment, and labeled rooms.  A…Continue Reading

Did you get what you paid for?

By: Casey Harrell  The reality of the world we live in dictates that successful construction projects have a reasonable budget.   At Structures and Interiors we are often changed with designing and building projects for owners that have never before been faced with the myriad of decisions that accompany a new construction project.  Our specialization in medical, dental and veterinary projects brings us face to face with the doctors who by the nature of their industry have an extreme attention to detail.  The work load of the doctors today may not give them the adequate opportunity to truly dissect the individual…Continue Reading

Lights Out for the Incandescent Light Bulb

By: Dave Hartman Thomas Edison demonstrated the first incandescent light bulb on New Year’s Eve 1879 [1], heralding a new age of productivity and prosperity. Over a hundred years later, the incandescent technology has dimmed from favor. In 2007, the Energy Independence and Security Act called for light bulbs to become 25 to 30 percent more efficient between 2012 and 2014 and up to 70% more efficient by 2020. [2] California has blazed the trail by banning all stores from restocking 100-watt incandescent bulbs. [1] So what is taking its place? Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) and Compact Fluorescent (CFLs) are…Continue Reading

Estimating Foundations

By: Brian Hale 6/27/2011 When estimating for a remodel or finish out in an already standing building, there are many factors to consider regarding existing conditions.  One of these factors is the foundation of the building structure.   Not all foundations are created equal.  The many different soil types and rock formations in the DFW Metroplex require different types of foundation systems.  In most cases a new floor plan requires new plumbing fixture locations or electrical chases.  In this situation a concrete slab will have to be saw-cut, demolished, or cored and eventually poured back or patched.  Whenever possible it is…Continue Reading

Unusual Building Materials

By Dave Hartman As “going green” becomes more common, it’s easier for the average consumer to find everyday products that are sustainable to some degree. However, there are a bevy of products available that are rather more unusual. Today, we’ll look at four: Straw Bale, Fly Ash, Reclaimed Wood and Recycled Newspaper (cellulose). Straw Bale Straw bale is a tightly bound rectangular bundle of straw, commonly from wheat, rice, rye or oats. The bales are stacked in a running bond formation and wrapped with a vapor barrier. The exposed surfaces can then be treated with stucco or plastered. Currently, it’s…Continue Reading