Archive for the ‘Engineering’ Category

Reviewing Progress on Our Red Front Door

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

It was a full day today.

Al continued working on the roof, trying to stay in front of the forecasted rains for tomorrow (100% probability).  Bryan met with the City of Monte Sereno to review our preliminary lighting control plans, John Rider dropped by to see how the project is developing, Bryan and John met with Nathan Merrill to review the progress on our red front door, and Shane Lothrop provided instructions on how we could make an opening in one of our shear walls.

And our daughter, Kate, was on the winning team for her first AA baseball game with Los Gatos Little League (Kate plays hardball).

Reviewing Progress on Our Red Front Door

During John Rider’s quick walk-through of our project, Nathan Merrill called Bryan and asked if he could move the scheduled time of 2:00 pm forward to noon for Bryan to to review the progress Nathan was making on our red front door.  With John having to go back to his office, it was perfect!  John followed Bryan in his truck to Nathan’s shop on Dell Avenue.

John Rider has worked on our project since July 2008.  John is a LEED-accredited professional and is now accredited under the LEED for Homes program.  John dropped by to say that he wants to complete the preliminary rating review on our project and finalize the plans so we can proceed.  Darrel Kelly, our Green-rater under the LEED for homes program has been encouraging us to schedule another integrated project meeting to complete our preliminary rating.  John is with Jrider + Design.

Bryan introduced John to Nathan Merrill, of American Ornamental Iron and then Nathan took us into his shop.  Nathan had our door hanging from his shop forklift, so he could work on it. 

Nathan explained that he is planning to have the door powder coated and asked Bryan to sign off on the colors for the frame and the door.  Nathan has the original red front door in his shop and will take it to the powder coating firm so they can match the color.

John was impressed with the Valli & Valli hardware and Nathan showed John the details where he will not only be meeting the specifications and finish by Valli & Valli but exceeding them.  For example, Nathan is ensuring that all the edges of the door have the same rounding radius (.0625 inch) and that the stainless steel recessed machine bolts are brushed as per the Valli & Valli finish.  Detail is key …

Making an Opening in Our Shear Wall

The recent earthquake and resulting tsumani in Japan shocked us and underscored the importance of exceeding the local seismic requirements.  Since our objective is to live in this house for the next 15 years, we don’t want to meet code requirements – we must exceed those requirements.  We believe strongly that the San Francisco Bay Area will experience a 7.5 or greater earthquake in the next 15 years.

For our lighting control panels, Bryan reviewed locations in the house and then met with our Building Official at the City of Monte Sereno, Howard Bell, this morning to discuss our proposed locations.  Howard reviewed the alternatives with Bryan and recommended that we make an opening in our shear wall in the upper laundry room to do so.  If we go with that location then Howard requires us to review the opening with our Structural Engineer of Record, Shane Lothrop of Innovative Structural Engineering.

Shane reviewed the proposed location and then sent Bryan written instructions on where and how to make the opening.  Those instructions included requirements on the opening so it will maintain the structural integrity of the shear wall.

John Rider (right) and Nathan Merrill discuss our red front door (hanging from the forks of the forklift).

Nathan Merrill (left) and John Rider discuss our red front door (hanging from the forks of the forklift).

The door, including sidelights.  Nathan is fabricating the components around the door.  Note that the piece at the bottom of the door is a brace that will be removed before it is installed.

The door, including sidelights. Nathan is fabricating the components around the door. Note that the piece at the bottom of the door is a brace that will be removed before it is installed.

The door opens in, using four Soss hinges (invisible hinges).  Nathan explained that the door will need some cycles to get the hinges working smoothly (the door weighs 246 lbs).

The door opens in, using four Soss hinges (invisible hinges). Nathan explained that the door will need some cycles to get the hinges working smoothly (the door weighs 246 lbs).

Close up of the Valli & Valli hardware exterior hardware.

Close up of the Valli & Valli hardware exterior hardware.

Close up of the electrified mortise lockset.  The Valli & Valli logo on the inside door handle can be seen, just barely.

Close up of the electrified mortise lockset. The Valli & Valli logo on the inside door handle can be seen, just barely. Nathan's logo and the serial number will be on the top of the door.

Jig for making the wine racks.  There is a left and right jig as we will require 76 of the individual supports to be manufactured.

Jig for making the wine racks. There is a left and right jig as we will require 76 of the individual supports to be manufactured.

The other half of the jig.

The other half of the jig.

The first of some 24 vertical pieces in each of the three wine racks (left, center and right).

The first of some 24 vertical pieces in each of the three wine racks (left, center and right).

Alan holding the first component of the wine rack in the wine cellar.  Note the clearance at the top of the rack, by the ceiling where the radiant cooling will be installed.

Alan holding the first component of the wine rack in the wine cellar. Note the clearance at the top of the rack, by the ceiling where the radiant cooling will be installed.

Shear wall by Upper Laundry Room.  The framed area to the left is for one of three art niches; the stud bay to the right is where we would like the opening in the shear wall.

Shear wall by Upper Laundry Room. The framed area to the left is for one of three art niches; the stud bay to the right is where we would like the opening in the shear wall.

Shear wall from Upper Laundry Room, showing where we would like the opening for the lighting control system.

Shear wall from Upper Laundry Room, showing where we would like the opening for the lighting control system.

The electric cables for the lights in the ceiling will be run up these posts.  We will drill through each post to bring the electricity to the exterior fixtures that will light the underside of the upper flat roof.

The electric cables for the lights in the ceiling will be run up these posts. We will drill through each post to bring the electricity to the exterior fixtures that will light the underside of the upper flat roof.

In order to bring the electric circuits from the West side to the East side, we will have to drill eight holes through this beam.

In order to bring the electric circuits from the West side to the East side, we will have to drill eight holes through this beam.

 

Our daughter, Kate Mekechuk, in her first AA game catching in the second inning.  The Manager and coaching staff are by the fence, with photographers behind them.

Our daughter, Kate Mekechuk, in her first AA game catching in the second inning. The Manager and coaching staff are by the fence, with a photographer behind them.

Insulating Our Red Front Door with SpaceLoft

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

We received an e-mail from Nathan Merrill today, including four photos showing the progress that American Ornamental Iron is making on fabricating our red front door.

Insulating Our Red Front Door

Nathan designed our front door and is fabricating it from steel.  As with our original red front door, the new red front door will make a statement.  Being made of steel, the door will be quite heavy so the frame and structural components must be very strong.  We want the door to look monolithic but be light to the touch.  And, of course, the frame and structural elements must be minimal but designed to last for 100 years (or so).

The door is fabricated with a metal frame, with two sheets of steel on the outside.  The cavity between the two sheets of metal will house the braces that are part of the frame, the Soss hinges and the electric mortise.  Importantly, the door must be insulated so it does not allow heat to go into the house nor to escape from the house.

With only a one-inch cavity, we decided to use Aerogel’s SpaceLoft insulation so we would have the maximum insulation for the door.  We obtained a roll of 0.4-inch thick SpaceLoft insulation, which is rated at R-10.3 per inch. 

Nathan used three sheets of SpaceLoft and cut the first two sheets so they would fit inside the diagonal metal braces that provide structural strength to the door.  The third sheet of SpaceLoft covered over the entire door frame assembly to prevent any thermal bridging inside the door.

To allow for the 24 volt DC electrical wires going to the mortise, Nathan designed a curved conduit that goes from the hinged part of the door to the mortise.  This small conduit is covered with the SpaceLoft insulation.

It is very exciting for us to see our red front door coming together so nicely.

Ovrrview of the door, showing the top layer of Aerogel SpaceLoft insulation.  Note the pockets on the left side for the Soss hinges.  Also, note the pocket on the right side for the electric mortise.  There are three layers of SpaceLoft in the door cavity, resulting in more than R-12 (not considering the structural components and thermal bridging).

Ovrrview of the door, showing the top layer of Aerogel SpaceLoft insulation. Note the pockets on the left side for the Soss hinges. Also, note the pocket on the right side for the electric mortise. There are three layers of SpaceLoft in the door cavity, resulting in more than R-12 (not considering the structural components and thermal bridging).

The three layers of SpaceLoft insulation, cut to fit inside the structural frame and the pockets for the Soss hinges.

The three layers of SpaceLoft insulation, cut to fit inside the structural frame and the pockets for the Soss hinges.

The pocket for the electric mortise.  Note the hole leading to the conduit for the electrical wires.

The pocket for the electric mortise. Note the hole leading to the conduit for the electrical wires.

Close up of the mini conduit that goes into the steel door frame.  This tube will protect the wires that go from the door frame to the electric mortise that will allow the door to be opened remotely.

Close up of the mini conduit that goes into the steel door frame. This tube will protect the wires that go from the door frame to the electric mortise that will allow the door to be opened remotely.

Visiting K&L Wine Merchants and Reviewing Wine Racks

Sunday, December 12th, 2010

Bryan, with our daughter Kate, went to K&L Wine Merchants in Redwood City to review the design of their wine racks.  As they say, “Immitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

We see things a bit different.  We want to take someone else’s ending point and use that as our starting point.  Essentially, we want to take someone else’s idea and make it better.

Yes, we’re lazy.

Various Wine Rack Design Elements Are Acceptable

K&L sells wine to consumers.  They have many people going through their branches and handling their wine bottles.  Also, K&L has been around for years so they know that earthquakes happen.  Consequently, their wine racks are designed to be robust and take a lot of punishment.

One of the interesting things that we learned was that K&L has several designs for their wine racks, indicating to us that nothing was ‘best’ and that various designs were acceptable.

Prior to taking any photos, Bryan bought a case of wine then asked for permission to take the photos.

Kate played patiently on her iTouch.

Rack with three rows of display bottles with the individual bottles under each.

Rack with three rows of display bottles with the individual bottles under each.

Detail of rack, showing the mitering of the edges of each bottle support.  All the racks are made of Redwood.

Detail of rack, showing the mitering of the edges of each bottle support. All the racks are made of Redwood.

Detail at base of rack.  The racks did not appear to be anchored to the floor as, probably, to allow for flexibiltiy in changing traffic patterns in the store.

Detail at base of rack. The racks did not appear to be anchored to the floor as, probably, to allow for flexibiltiy in changing traffic patterns in the store.

Magnum bottles (1.5 l) ... we need some of these but not too many.

Magnum bottles (1.5 l) ... we need some of these but not too many.

Structural detail on side of racks, showing 3/4 inch by 1-1/2 inch Redwood framing.

Structural detail on side of racks, showing 3/4 inch by 1-1/2 inch Redwood framing.

A distraction!  Bryan got stuck in the section with wines from Argentina.  This is a bottle of the ultra premium wine from Vina Cobas.

A distraction! Bryan got stuck in the section with wines from Argentina. This is a bottle of the ultra premium wine from Vina Cobas.

Another fine wine from Argentina.  We havent tried the wines from Durigutti.  Yet ...

Another fine wine from Argentina. We haven't tried the wines from Durigutti. Yet ...

Without any pride, Bryan pulls out his tape measure and gets to work recording the dimensions.

Shameless, and without any pride, Bryan pulls out his tape measure and gets to work recording the dimensions.

Depth of the display rack ...

Depth of the display rack ...

Width of the rack ...

Width of the rack ...

Dimensions for magnums (1.5 l) ...

Dimensions for magnums (1.5 l) ...

Dimensions for 750 ml bottles ...

Dimensions for 750 ml bottles ...

Display rack slope measurements ...

Display rack slope measurements ...

Height of display.  Note this is for retail purposes, with people wandering through the racks.

Height of display. Note this is for retail purposes, with people wandering through the racks.

Verifying the depth of the racks, again.

Verifying the depth of the racks, again.

Verifying the Electrical Chases in Our SIPs are Clear

Friday, December 3rd, 2010

We spent the day working on the electrical chases in the gable roofs.  The chases must be ‘open’ throughout their length so the electrical wiring can be completed.  Any chases that are blocked are not acceptable.

This is our last chance to verify these chases are 100% clear and electrical wires can be run unobstructed in the chases because we will be covering the wood fascia on the flat roofs and gable roofs with zinc.

While it didn’t feel like a productive day, it was an important day.

To explain, let’s go back in time …

Taking an Integrated Approach to Design

We took an integrated approach to the design of our home.  Claude Oakland was the architect that designed the house in 1969.  Subsequently, we had an entire team work on the remodel of the main floor, which followed the original design by Claude Oakland and, at the same time, the team also designed the lower level (basement), which is all new construction.

An ‘integrated approach’ required consideration of architectural design, functional design (ergonomics), structural design, energy efficiency, and the durability of materials.  As well, we included the major components of the HVAC, electrical and plumbing components in the initial, integrated design.

Once the overall, integrated design of the house (remodel and new construction) was completed, the detailed structural design was addressed, which anticipated future seismic forces.  The design and structural requirements were then used for the layout design of our SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels). 

Electrical Distribution Strategy and Design

Based on the design of the house, we arrived at an electrical distribution strategy, which the original house had as well.  The electrical distribution in the original house was over the 2×8 Redwood roof decking, which comprised the roof structure (you can see how the original electrical distribution was in a photo of the deconstruction on 09/24/08).  The electrical distribution in the remodel is in the SIPs that comprise the lower and upper flat roofs, and all of the gable roofs.

To provide as much flexibility as possible, both today and in subsequent remodels, the electrical distribution must be through chases that are intuitive and logical, and easy to understand and locate.  We decided to include these chases in the perimeter SIP roof overhangs, which are outside the thermal envelope of the structure.

Background – Design, Manufacturing and Installation of SIPs

SIPs are manufactured using shop drawings for each individual SIP.  The shop drawings are developed based on the design of the house, then the overall layout of the SIPs, and the structural requirements for the house.  We provided our SIP manufacturer, Insulspan, with the overall layout of the SIPs and the structural requirements.  Insulspan then revised the overall layout and developed detailed shop drawings for each individual SIP.  The SIPs are connected (joined) with splines. 

Within Insulspan, the manufacturing group reviewed the detailed shop drawings to ensure that the SIP layout and design, as required, could be manufacturing efficiently.  Subsequently, our structural engineer of record, Innovative Structural Engineering, signed off on Insulspan’s shop drawings and then we signed off on each individual shop drawing.  This marked the completion of the SIP design, which was then passed on to Insulspan’s manufacturing group. 

Manufacturing SIPs

Insulspan’s manufacturing group made the SIPs, and included all splines not requiring dimensional lumber.  Although Insulspan could have provided a complete ‘ready to assemble’ package with every component and spline required, Insulspan could not provide FSC-certified dimensional lumber.  Accordingly, we agreed to obtain FSC-certified dimensional lumber from our own sources through a detailed cut list and FSC-certified lumber order.

The splines that Insulspan provided included both foam splines and I-joist splines.  The foam splines were included but not connected to the SIPs that were to be joined.  The I-joist splines were installed in one of the SIPs; the adjacent SIP would then be attached as part of the on-site assembly.

Importantly, the holes for the chases were drilled in each of the splines, including both the loose foam splines and the I-joist splines that were glued in place to one of the SIPs.

Assembling Our SIPs On Site

Once the SIPs were delivered to our site, each SIP was identified and placed (stacked) near to where it would ultimately be located, in reverse order.  Essentially, the first SIP to be used was at the top of the stack and the last SIP at the bottom.  This required moving the SIPs around our (very crowded) job site.

When the SIPs were assembled on site, the SIPs were connected with the appropriate splines (either foam splines, dimensional lumber or I-joists).  The assembly team had to drill holes for chases in the dimensional lumber that connected each of the SIPs.  The foam splines and I-joists had holes for the chases pre-drilled in those connections by Insulspan’s manufacturing group.

If the SIPs were manufactured as per the design and the assembly was completed as per the design (with components manufactured correctly) then the chases would be clear and open, and located as per the plans.

Verifying the Chases Are Clear

To verify the chases were open and clear, we drilled holes in each location on the ends (rakes) of the gable roofs so we could insert a length of pipe into the 1-1/2 inch chase.  That pipe should go the entire length of the chase unobstructed.

Any obstructions must be cleared prior to installing the zinc fascia.

Simple, right?

We wish.

Where Could Errors Occur?

Reviewing the process, errors could occur in the design, manufacturing and installation of the SIPs. 

Our design was documented, with each a shop drawing for each SIP.  Design errors could occur where chases in adjacent SIPs were ‘disconnected’ and those disconnections not identified prior to manufacturing and installation.  Insulspan’s review process helped to ensure that our design was robust.

Errors could occur in manufacturing, where the chases were located in locations not specified in the shop drawings.  As well, the foam pieces, with the chases, could move or be placed upside down in the manufacturing process.  Any errors in the manufacturing process should be prevented through Insulspan’s  Quality Assurance program.  Any errors that do occur in the manufacturing process should be identified through Insulspan’s Quality Control process, prior to shipping to our job site.

Finally, errors could occur in the on-site installation.  First, the dimensional lumber splines that were not provided by Insulspan had to be ‘manufactured’ (i.e., cut to length and holes drilled for chases) on the job site.  Other errors could occur where panels were not connected correctly (using the wrong foam splines, moving or ‘flipping’ the foam splines) or where panels were not assembled plumb and square (offset).  As well, the mastic used to joint the foam splines, I-joists or dimensional lumber splines could leak/drip into the chases causing blockage.

Also, the on-site installation is the last part of the process where quality control is possible.  Any errors in the design, manufacturing and installation should be identified at this time.  Prior to putting the LVL into the gable ends (rakes) and as each panel is assembled, inspection will identify blockages in the chases.

As you can see, there are multiple parties involved in the process and multiple opportunities for errors to occur.  However, there are also areas where any errors could, and should, be identified.

Last Chance

Given this is our last chance to ensure the chases are open, we decided to invest the time and effort to drill 1-1/2 inch holes through the 2x fascia and the 1-3/4 inch LVL on the gable ends (rakes).  Also, we drilled holes through the fascia and LVL in the upper flat roof.

After drilling the holes, we started by using using 20 ft long pieces of ½-inch irrigation pipe to verify that the chases were open and clear.  Subsequently, we used larger diameter pipe.  We found problems.

In several instances, we noted that the pipe was hitting foam, indicating blockages caused by the manufacturing process.  In other instances, we noted the pipe was hitting wood, indicating problems with the installation process. 

As well, we found that after removing foam blockages that there were wood blockages.  As well, after drilling through wood blockages, we found foam blockages.

Given the problems we encountered within the sample tested, we are going to verify 100% of the chases in the overhangs where our electric distribution will be.

Using a 20 ft long 1-1/2 inch inside diameter irrigation pipe to identify where the obstructions are in the electrical chases.

Using a 20 ft long 1 inch inside diameter irrigation pipe to identify where the obstructions are in the electrical chases.

Assembling Our First Gable SIP Roof

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

With the lower flat SIP roof and mid-level flat SIP roof completed, the team from Earth Bound Homes started to assemble the first gable roof.

The gable roofs have a 12:12 pitch so the angle at the peak of the roofs is 90 degrees.  We designed the SIP roof so one roof section is 12-1/2 inches longer than the other section, so the SIPs are not mitered, or split, in the center.  Other designs for such roofs use mitered connections.

At the base of each gable roof, we used rimboard with mitered ends.  The rimboard is fastened to the mid-level SIP roof and then the gable SIPs are attached to the mitered RM boards.  The top of the short gables have a 2×12 plate that the longer gables overlap with.  The overlapping gables are attached through to the structural ridge beam.

Structural details showing 2x12 in both the short SIP gable and long SIP gable.

Structural details showing 2x12 in both the short SIP gable and long SIP gable.

 

These two flush beams will be inside the mid-level flat SIP roof very soon.  The Living Room gable roof will be attached to the structrural beam on the left and the posts for the upper-level flat roof will be attached to the structural beam on the right.  Note the flush steel beam inside the SIP, which is supported by the steel post.

These two flush beams will be inside the mid-level flat SIP roof very soon. The Living Room gable roof will be attached to the structrural beam on the left and the posts for the upper-level flat roof will be attached to the structural beam on the right. Note the flush steel beam inside the SIP, which is supported by the steel post.

 

Ridge beam detail.  Note how the post supports the non-structural Douglas Fir beam from the original house, which is under the parastrand structrural beam, and these two beams have a continuous strap from one side of the post over the top to the other side of the post.  As well, there is a wide strap at the back, holding the structural beam and non-structrural beam to the post.  On top, we have a custom-milled triangular piece of wood that will support the two SIP roofs, which will connect at a 90 degree angle.

Ridge beam detail. Note how the post supports the non-structural Douglas Fir beam from the original house, which is under the parastrand structrural beam, and these two beams have a continuous strap from one side of the post over the top to the other side of the post. As well, there is a wide strap at the back, holding the structural beam and non-structrural beam to the post. On top, we have a custom-milled triangular piece of wood that will support the two SIP roofs, which will connect at a 90 degree angle.

 

Rimboard, with the ends cut off.  This rimboard will be connected to the mid-level flat roofs snd support the SIP gable roofs.

Rimboard, with the ends cut off. This rimboard will be connected to the mid-level flat roofs snd support the SIP gable roofs.

 

We used Simpson Column Caps (CCQs) to connect the posts to the structural beams.  The FSC-certified 2x6s formed the base of each of the SIP pony walls. around the Atrum.

We used Simpson Column Caps (CCQs) to connect the posts to the structural beams. The FSC-certified 2x6s formed the base of each of the SIP pony walls. around the Atrum.

 

Lifting the first SIP gable into place over the rimboard and ridge beam.

Lifting the first SIP gable into place over the rimboard and ridge beam.

 

First SIP gable in place over the Foyer.

First SIP gable in place over the Foyer.

 

Opposite end of first SIP gable.  Note the holes in the foam for the electrical chases.  Ultimately, the ends of these SIP gable roofs will have structrural LVL between the OSB and then the rakes will be covered with 2x fascia.  And, that will be covered with zinc.

Opposite end of first SIP gable. Note the holes in the foam for the electrical chases. Ultimately, the ends of these SIP gable roofs will have structrural LVL between the OSB and then the rakes will be covered with 2x fascia. And, that will be covered with zinc.

 

View from Via Sereno of first SIP gable in place.

View from Via Sereno of first SIP gable in place.

 

First SIP gable roof, showing open ridge detail  Note the holes for the chases that run vertically through the SIP roof.

First SIP gable roof, showing open ridge detail Note the holes for the chases that run vertically through the SIP roof.

 

First gable on opposite side.  This SIP gable is longer than the other SIP gable.  Note the 2x12 that is inside the first (shorter) SIP gable.

First gable on opposite side. This SIP gable is longer than the other SIP gable. Note the 2x12 that is inside the first (shorter) SIP gable.

 

Posts over Dining Room and Kitchen.  We need to put the Douglas Fir beams and structural beams in place over these posts next.

Posts over Dining Room and Kitchen. We need to put the Douglas Fir beams and structural beams in place over these posts next.

Staying on Track

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

Our project is complex and we’re doing our best to stay on track. 

However, our non-maleable building materials (i.e., concrete, glass and steel) make it difficult to correct mistakes or make other changes and, consequently, we’re taking more time and money than we had planned for this project.  That said, a LEED-H Platinum project, by definition, requires more thoughtful planning, material sourcing and handling, and documentation than otherwise.  Especially in an earthquake prone location with increasing seismic conditions.

So, comparing our budget, timeline and other elements to traditional projects, which are generally energy- and resource-intensive, is not appropriate.  But, no surprise, that comparison, and evaluation of our project management, is done by others every day. 

If we were using traditional building materials with traditional construction methods (i.e., stick framing, wooden floor joists and roof rafters, baseboards and door trim) then we should be on a much faster timeline and a lower budget.

We just need to get over it.

Assembling the Lower-Level Flat Roof

Around the entire perimeter of the house is the ‘lower-level flat roof’.  The ceiling height of this roof is identical to the existing house at 96 inches (8 ft).  The only exception to this is the roof at the back of the house, which sits above the lower-flat roof, which we call the ‘mid-level flat roof’.  Yesterday, the entire perimeter roof was completed as the mid-level flat roof connecting the Dining Room and Kate’s Bedroom was assembled.

Way cool.

Steel Flush Beam in SIP Roof

There is only one steel beam in our SIP roof and it is a flush beam that is hidden inside a SIP.  This is a critical beam that supports the upper-level flat roof over the Atrium and allows us to have only one post in the Kitchen area.  And, of course, have an extremely strong structure that meets the new code requirements for seismic conditions.

This steel flush beam sits on top of a lower-level roof SIP over the Garage and goes over the steel post in the Kitchen and is connected to a 7.00 x 11.25 inch Paralam beam that sits on the 8×12 Douglas Fir drop beam.  This steel beam will carry lateral forces into the concrete wall in the Garage so it must be connected robustly to that concrete wall.

The fabrication of the steel beam must include:

  • 5/8 inch Nelson studs to attach 2×6 nailers on the top and bottom;
  • a hole in the top and bottom flange to connect the beam to a 5/8-inch anchor bolt that is embedded in the concrete wall;
  • a Simpson GLT welded to the north end of the steel beam to connect it to the 7.00 x 11.25 Paralam flush beam;
  • two sets of 5/16 inch stiffeners welded in the locations where there are vertical loads (i.e., over the concrete wall and over the steel column);
  • four sets of plates welded to the flanges of the steel beam to connect to the 4×6 and 6×6 posts that support the upper-level flat roof; and
  • four bolts connecting the steel beam to the HSS 4×4 steel column in the Kitchen.

The steel beam must be the correct length and each of the components noted above must be in the correct locations.  Yeah, there is a lot going on with this steel beam.

Hosting Thien Doan’s Site Visit

Duquette Engineering designed the concrete foundation for the structure and Thien Doan did most of the work under Steve Duquette’s supervision.  Thien was at our project site numerous times observing the drilling of the holes for our concrete piers as well as the placement of the reinforcing steel (rebar) in the concrete slabs. 

When Steve Duquette attended our integrated project planning meeting on March 9, 2010, he said that he would like Thien to come by at this interim point in the project and take some pictures.

Thien came to the site today and walked the property with Bryan.  Thien was most interested in the SIPs and how the SIP wall and roof assembly was designed to transfer the shear forces to the concrete foundation walls.  Thien appeared impressed with the design and the construction, noting that there would probably be limited cracking of the sheet rock in the house during an 8.8 earthquake.

Reviewing the Shop Drawings for the Steel Beam with Larson Steel

Bryan drove to Larson Steel’s fabrication shop in Gilroy and met with William Zapeda to go over the measurements they took on Friday, March 19, prior to fabrication of the W8x18 steel beam.  They went over each of the measurements, noting one key area where Bryan needs to confirm with the lead framer from Earth Bound Homes, Francisco Espinoz.

William and Bryan went in the yard and reviewed the actual W8x18 steel beam and measured it.  The beam was a beautiful blue color, which is exactly what we would like the exposed steel beams and two steel columns to look like.

Finding Curb Damage in Los Gatos

The City of Monte Sereno requested that we have three 1-1/2 inch pipes carrying our excess water from our underground cistern to the curb on Winchester Boulevard, where it would then flow into the storm drain.  The engineers from the Town of Los Gatos did not like this design and requested that we connect our underground cistern with an 8-inch pipe connecting directly to the back of the storm drain.

They cited potential damage and maintenance issues as the reasons for requesting this change.  Today, Bryan saw a location where the 1-1/2 inch drain went though a concrete curb and had subsequent cracking and damage. 

Now, we can appreciate the request for a direct connection.

ArchiCAD rendering showing the W8x18 steel beam and the lower-level SIP roof.

ArchiCAD rendering showing the W8x18 steel beam and the lower-level SIP roof.

ArchiCAD rendering showing steel beam and posts supporting the upper-level flat roof structure.

ArchiCAD rendering showing steel beam and posts supporting the upper-level flat roof structure.

Mid-level flat roof at the back of the house.  This is where the three sliding glass panel doors will be located, which will go into a pocket behind the exposed concrete feature wall at the left of this photo (the Dining Room wall).

Mid-level flat roof at the back of the house. This is where the three sliding glass panel doors will be located, which will go into a pocket behind the exposed concrete feature wall at the left of this photo (the Dining Room wall).

View from the middle of swimming pool to the front door, showing the mid-level SIP roof that was assembled yesterday.

View from the middle of swimming pool to the front door, showing the mid-level SIP roof that was assembled yesterday.

Thien Doan, from Duquette Engineering, on the lower-flat roof over the Garage.

Thien Doan, from Duquette Engineering, on the lower-flat roof over the Garage.

View of Master Study and Master Bedroom showing completed 2x4 wall under 6x10 beam in Foyer and pony walls ready to receive the posts and ridge beams to support the SIP gable roof.

View of Master Study and Master Bedroom showing completed 2x4 wall under 6x10 beam in Foyer and pony walls ready to receive the posts and ridge beams to support the SIP gable roof.

Thien taking photos of the SIP roof structure.

Thien taking photos of the SIP roof structure.

Simpson Strong Tie HTT22 connecting the 6x6 post to the hollow core concrete panels.  Solid.

Simpson Strong Tie HTT22 connecting the 6x6 post to the hollow core concrete panels. Solid.

LPT4s in the Master Bedroom, reinforcing the SIP walls to the 6x10 flush beams in the SIP roof structure.

LPT4s in the Master Bedroom, reinforcing the SIP walls to the 6x10 flush beams in the SIP roof structure.

Exposed feature concrete wall at the back of the house, showing the space for the pocket that will hold the three sliding glass panels.  Note that we will be adding a drop beam under the mid-level flat roof.

Exposed feature concrete wall at the back of the house, showing the space for the pocket that will hold the three sliding glass panels. Note that we will be adding a drop beam under the mid-level flat roof.

Measuring the profile of the W8x18 steel beam in Larson Steel's yard in Gilroy.

Measuring the profile of the W8x18 steel beam in Larson Steel's yard in Gilroy

The W8x18 beam is 5-1/4 inches wide.

The W8x18 beam is 5-1/4 inches wide.

We like the blue color of the steel and are considering having all of the exposed structural steel in the house finished in gun-metal steel blue.

We like the blue color of the steel and are considering having all of the exposed structural steel in the house finished in gun-metal steel blue.

Concrete curb in Los Gatos, showing damage caused by the 1-1/2 inch pipe going through the curb.

Concrete curb in Los Gatos, showing damage caused by the 1-1/2 inch pipe going through the curb.

At the end of each day, Jo-Anne does her best to drop by and review our progress.  With the longer days and the time change, it is easier for her to do so.  And, it is always good to see her smiling!

At the end of each day, Jo-Anne does her best to drop by and review our progress. With the longer days and the time change, it is easier for her to do so. And, it is always good to see her smiling!